tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 8, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
breaking news tops this hour. reaction to a threat from the president to north korea that is a world apart from anything any president has said in more than 70 years. these are words we're talking about, not a call to arms, and it's hard to understand the thinking behind them. first, here is what the president said today. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. he has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly,
power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. >> that was president trump today, a day we learned that pong i don't think may have mastered putting nuclear warheads on icbms. the language eclipses president kennedy's during the cuban missile crisis. the last time word like this were used was during world war ii by president roosevelt. you can see why it truly matters what the words mean because north korea has issued a threat of its own. cnn national security correspondent jim sciutto joins us on that and other developments on this busy night.
jim, it's a threat against guam. >> reporter: a specific threat, anderson. there are two major u.s. military bases, air force bases. north korea threatening via the state news agency that it was considering specific weapons to target those facilities on guam, intermediate ballistic missiles. why guam? they mention in there is the fact that guam is where u.s. strategic bombers are based. we reported on monday that the u.s. flew bombers based in guam over the korean peninsula along with japanese and korean fighter jets alongside. these are standard operations, the u.s. has done it before. but it appears that threat about guam tied directly to that flight of u.s. strategic bombers over the korean peninsula. >> we don't know for sure, there's conflicting information,
if this threat from north korea came before or after president trump's statement today, right? >> reporter: we don't know for sure when the threat was ordered from on high. the report on north korean state news came after the president made his statement. so it's possible that it was decided they would make this threat before the president made his statement. but the fact remains the president said if north korea made any more threats the u.s. would respond in this way, fire and fury like the world has never seen before, and a few hours later, north korea makes a threat that it hasn't made before with a specificity it has not made before. >> and jim, the nuclear development or the possible nuclear development by north korea, if it's true, it is a big step forward for their nuclear program, right? >> reporter: that's right. multiple sources telling myself and my colleagues today that it's the u.s. intelligence community's assessment, not a consensus assessment but an assessment of the dia, that north korea is manufacturing
miniaturized nuclear weapons that can be fit on top of intercontinental ballistic missiles. it's not believed that they have successfully deployed or tested such missiles. but still, a step along the way that is significant. and listen, one official who was briefed on the intelligence telling me, again, not a matter of if but when. and the u.s. military preparing for that. the assumption being among u.s. intelligence that we as a country, that the u.s. as a country has to act as if north korea already has that capability. >> jim sciutto, we appreciate it. more now, cnn's tom foreman joins us now with a closer look. >> reporter: hi, anderson. this picture purports to show kim jong un with a miniaturized nuclear weapon. people laughed at it when it came out last year. but if it's the real deal, what does it show us? it would suggest this would be about two feet across, experts say it may weigh 500, 600 pounds, something like that. and the destructive potential of those bombs which the united
states dropped on japan 72 years ago this week. but look at the difference in size. each of these was 10 to 11 feet long way around, something like 10,000 pounds. these had to be carried by a heavy bomber. this is a different thing altogether. in this case, maybe you are talking about something that can fit in the nose cone of one of their existing missiles. if that is the case, it changes the game, because their last missile test went 2300 miles up into space, way above the space station, way above many satellites out there. it only went 621 land miles. but that's because it basically went straight up and came straight down. some scientists say if you flatten out that trajectory, if you fire it across the earth, then you could reach guam, you could reach hawaii, alaska, and some scientists say based on the weight of the payload, in theory they could reach about half of the united states and some major cities, anderson.
>> what challenges do the north koreans still face in this development? >> reporter: significant ones, i think. the reason we say "in theory" is because scientists say, look, if you give them range, if they figured out thrust enough, there's a green light on the possibility of a missile simply strong enough to carry a nuke that far. there are gigantic questions about this part, accuracy and reliability. technically, getting a missile into space and bringing it back at that angle through the atmosphere without it tearing apart or burning up, and then delivering a warhead to a target, those are gigantic challenges. this is at best a yellow light because there's no sign yet that north korea has figured out that part of the equation. bear in mind only a few weeks ago we had a red light on the idea that they had a miniaturized nuclear warhead to even consider this with, because many scientists said that simply could not be the case at this point. now we're getting reports that
maybe this belongs more in the yellow zone. you can see it right there, anderson, the way that north korea has steadily kept marching towards something they very much want even though so many in the world including the united states don't want them to have it, anderson. >> tom, thanks very much. let's get perspective from our mill they're analysts. general mark burt generally, james marks, and rick francona. general hurtling, do you believe the president grasps the magnitude of what he's potentially threatening or for that matter the specifics of it? >> i sure hope he grasps it, anderson, he's the president. but i think what he has done is he's eliminated something that all leaders want and that's options. as soon as you start saying specifics, as he said at the meeting today, you've just narrowed your ability to react. he's kind of made comment on president obama for doing the same thing in terms of drawing a line. whenever you say you're going to do something or threaten to do
something, you've just eliminated the thing that the leader wants most of all, and that's various options to deal with the problem. >> it's also interesting, general marks, during the campaign the president talked a lot about not tell graphic what you're going to do and not tell graphing your strategy. this does seem to be tell graphing a strategy or at least a threat. what kind of measures, general marks, could the u.s. military now take to, in terms of guam's protection or even south korea's protection, what could they take? >> anderson, bear in mind that the united states and south korea have had a coalition that has been in place for years, over 60 years. it's very strong. it's exercised as a matter of routine. processes are in place. forces are allocated, forces are assigned, in other words they're on the peninsula. forces are designated to arrive at the peninsula. and there's a very large series of exercises and planning that
takes place throughout the year, each year, to ensure that that type of defense capability exists. now in terms of the air defense capability, certainly the terminal high altitude air defense system which the united states and south korea have allowed to be deployed in the south part of the peninsula works exceptionally well. guam is protected, if you're able to engage a missile as it launches. clearly the most vulnerable time during a missile launch is that first 45 seconds to a minute where it's getting locked, where it's coming off the ground. if the united states can detect and can engage, it will work exceptionally well. also, i would say, look, what kim jong-un said, what the regime said about attacking guam, he has said before. this is rhetoric that has been used many, many times. i think we all should take a pause and realize this is more of the same coming from the regime in the north. >> what's new, really, is the comments by the president, not just toward north korea but any kind of comments like this,
since harry truman. the president's chief of staff, national security and defense secretaries, all generals obviously for years have looked over military plans in the worst case scenario in north korea. how difficult or how many options does the u.s. have militarily against north korea? >> well, they have a range of options. the problem is all of them are bad. no matter what happens, any military action, it is going to precipitate the one thing that we don't want, a massive north korean attack on the south. and as general hertling said in the last hour, the human cost of that would be astronomical. they've got i believe over 10,000 artillery troops just north of the dmz. the north koreans have developed an entire class of weapons just to range seoul.
they will range death and destruction on the capital city. then whatever follows that, are they going to engage japan, launch any kind of other attack? and it will start the war that will probably end his regime. so we do have options, but all of them are bad. the best option of course is not to have to fight. if we can get through some sort of diplomatic effort. if we think that the north koreans are going to diplomatically remove their nuclear weapons, i think that's not going to happen. >> general hertling, we had ambassador baucus on earlier, saying that he believes china would get involved, they wouldn't just stand by and watch a conflict get under way on their border without getting involved. do you think that's a possibility? >> i think that's probably very true, and he knows it more than most having been the ambassador at one time. anderson, if i can say something else. >> sure. >> when i was the war planner in the pentagon right before we went into iraq, one of the tasks i had was to determine what
other strategic challenges we might face if we did go to war in another country. so you have to lay out things not just the microscope that's focused on north korea. what i would like to do is lift us out a little bit and say, what other challenges are we facing around the world? and i might suggest that there are three or four major security challenges in other places in the world that if we focus almost exclusively on north korea, and that would be what we would have to do, this is a single war, and it would be a devastating conflict which would take a lot of our equipment, forces, manpower, and will, the rest of the world is still there. there are certainly a lot of challenges that we face that i think the national security council and the president and his cabinet need to consider before you just focus everything on one spot on the globe. >> right. obviously afghanistan, which is even just recently has been more in the news about troop levels there, syria, iraq, elsewhere. >> right. and europe, and the potentially for other things going on with
russia. cybersecurity. an attack and using all of our forces in north korea would generate a whole lot of actions in other places where bad people exist. and they would want to take advantage of us being focused on one spot. >> general marks, i don't want to in any way kind of rachet up fear, but just from a military standpoint, we talked to general hertling about this in the last hour, the level of destruction in the region in any kind of conflict between north and south korea that the u.s. is involved in, if china gets involved as well, it's not something that the united states has seen for a very long time or frankly that the world has seen. >> absolutely. we have not. and it's certain. the destruction and death that would occur is certain. seoul understands that. president moon and his cabinet understand the incredible risks. they're waking up this morning and getting the very first
cables on what our president said, what does the latest intelligence say. every day starts with not only president moon but with the entire combined forces command doing an intelligence review of what has occurred in the last 24 hours. and you mix it with what the u.s. posture looks like along with the south korean posture and it paints a very, very tenuous picture based on what we've seen in the last 24 hours. but those plans that mark has talked about and rick has talked about, they have been in place for years. and those forces exist. but what we have now is what's called a zero notice type of a scenario. in other words, the north koreans have a capability to launch artillery without any warning at all, zero warning, zero notice. that creates this incredible drama, this cataclysmic event that's going to take place in seoul. the evacuation of the wounded and the families. at the same time, just think of
the physics, at the same time you're trying to position forces into the peninsula as you're trying to get civilians, wounded, and you're trying to evacuate folks out. there are only a certain number of places you can do that. this becomes incredibly complicated and this is where the horrors of war manifest their face in all their incredible sadness and difficulties. >> anderson, if i could add to what "spider" just said, that's a critically important point. you can shoot down a high explosive ballistic missile, you can even shoot down one that's carrying a nuclear weapon. but when those things go up and that's your focus of attention, suddenly there's 10,000 artillery pieces firing on a city of 10.5 million, that's still going to cause a lot of death and destruction. that's the conundrum that we face defending on the korean peninsula. >> we'll take a quick break and pick up the subject in just a moment. we'll also speak with a key republican member of the senate intelligence committee when we continue. day 13. if only this were as easy as saving $600
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breaking news, over a few hours today u.s. intelligence analysts assessed that north korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead. president trump warns of fire and fury like the world has never seen before, and north korea threatens a strike on u.s. territory guam. i spoke with jim risch of idaho, a member of the senate intelligence committee. >> it really does. this is moving so rapidly, it's hard to stay with. anderson, i can't overstate what a serious situation this is. i mean, it is an incredibly serious situation. and it doesn't seem to be backing off any. >> was it wise for the president, for president trump, to issue this ultimatum, not against action by north korea but against threats by north korea? if you say, if you make any more threats you're going to pay this price, and then somebody makes a threat, then is the u.s., you know, if they don't act, do they
look like they're blinking? >> this president is notorious for saying exactly what's on his mind. whether you agree or disagree, like him or dislike him, he tells you what's on his mind. that's what's on his mind. i think the regime in pyongyang needs to very seriously consider what's going on here. he's pulled the trigger twice since he's been president. that hasn't been done in the united states in a long time. he did it once in afghanistan, once in syria. and so they are in very dangerous territory. >> do you have a sense of what -- i mean, if the worst happened, and obviously there are questions about north korea's capabilities of reaching the united states, but putting aside the idea of reaching guam or reaching the united states, even if whatever weapons they
have, they just used on south korea or surrounding countries, do you have any sense of the death toll that is potentially involved here? >> you know, i really do. we have 30,000 troops in south korea that are reachable easily by the north koreans. in addition to that, the population of seoul is 20 million, give or take a little. seoul is so close to the dmz that it's reachable by artillery fire. if they have a nuclear weapon they could deliver even by artillery fire, the death toll would be in the millions. they can easily reach japan. we all know how dense the population is there. i mean, with a person like this and a regime like this in north korea, the scenarios are mind-numbing, really. and the chinese are well aware of it, just as we are. the chaos and just the horrible situation that could occur by miscalculation.
>> senator risch, i appreciate talking to you tonight, thank you. >> thank you. we're now in the political dimension. with us is josh green, alice stewart, paul begala. matt lewis. you heard there, the president is known for saying exactly what is on his mind. i don't know, and i'm not sure i can tell whether this was a prepared remark by the president or whether part of it was prepared, that phraseology that he used. was it wise for him to use this rhetoric against the idea of north korea making any threats against the u.s. as opposed to actual action by north korea? >> it clearly, based on the fact that he said it a couple of times today, it indicates there was more of a prepared statement. and i think it's important, we need to flex our muscles in this case. i think the real concern here is the fact that the kim regime has accomplished their goal of a compact nuclear warhead that can be put in a missile. that's the concern here. it's important for the u.s. to flex their muscles. ambassador nikki haley has followed up over the weekend
saying the u.s. is prepared to do whatever it takes. and i think we need to send that message. and i think while oftentimes many people accuse the president of being unpredictable, he was pretty clear today. and when you're dealing with a madman like kim jong-un, it's important for us to be clear and decisive on this. >> clear and decisive and precise, though. as senator risch pointed out to anderson, the president today said if you make another threat, essentially we'll use nuclear weapons against you. the north koreans made another threat. now, maybe you can interpret that to mean a physical threat against the united states, he's got wiggle room, those of us who play with words know that. but i was troubled. i think ambassador haley is doing a fine job. i think the sanctions we got passed are terrific. i think secretary tillerson talking about negotiating. he's got a good team. i'm not reflexively bashing my president here. but he's got to be careful how he uses words.
he's doing this, a very defensive, "i feel threatened" gesture. it shows people that you want to be removed from the situation. you want to be protected. it's not actually the body language i would coach my president to use. nor that language. we have to be strong. we have to be strong, it's a real threat. >> that language is also at odds with what secretary of state rex tillerson said just days ago. >> what was odd to me was that trump just won a great diplomatic victory over north korea this past saturday by getting a unanimous vote in the u.n. security council to impose really tough new economic sanctions on north korea. >> got china and russia to go along with it. >> and got by partisan praise for it. you heard democrats and trump critics say this was on track. so it's odd that he would switch so swiftly from a diplomatic track that was succeed to go this bellicosity. >> there was obviously a big
development between the time we not that achievement. there's an argument that donald trump, the loose cannon, could incentivize china to hold north korea to the agreement they committed to. we've had u.s. presidents who are nice and polite and appeasing, trying to use diplomacy and strategic patience to get north korea to cooperate and they continued to develop nuclear capability. and i think the fundamental question we have to ask is, every president says we will not allow north korea to get a nuclear weapon that can hit the continental united states. they say that's a red line, we will not. really? are we really committed to that? or are we okay with it? i think it's perfectly plausible to say, look, pakistan and other countries we don't necessary like, they're nuclear, we can live with that. but we've always said we can't. and if you can't live with that, then you do have to get tough at some point.
donald trump has gotten tough on a couple of other people in six months. >> there's a way to send a message. i think this is an opportunity for him to be presidential. and if you look back at crisis moments like with the cuban missile crisis, with jfk, or even the evil empire speech that ronald reagan gave, you have a presidential address that's given, not tweets that are sent out or off-the-cuff bluster. >> saying we're going to bomb russia in five minutes. >> that was a mistake. >> i think the kgb was chastened by that. >> jfk in his speech during the cuban missile crisis showed resolve and firmness but also reassured the american people at a moment that was very uncertain, advocated patience and restraint and a desire for peace and spoke directly -- >> reagan also called them the evil empire. >> he did, and that's fine.
they're still evil, just a smaller empire. >> i agree. >> i want to correct your history. when president clinton, very bellicose, threatening military action against north korea, kim jong il backed down. he backed down. he stopped his nuclear program. he let the united nations put cameras in and for several years that nuclear development was frozen through a combination of carrots and sticks. the chinese were important to that, as well. we're in much worse shape now because they have nukes. they did not 15, 20 years ago when president clinton was dealing with them. the two options are war or china. i would send tillerson on the plane to beijing tomorrow. >> we've got to take a quick break. when we come back, is president trump himself promoting leaks of classified intelligence while railing against them? details next. somewhere along the great journey of self-discovery: a breakthrough. ♪ it's in our nature to need each other.
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capabilities. simply put, these leaks hurt our country. we are taking a stand. this culture of leaking must stop. >> those are attorney general sessions on friday with the director of national intelligence dan coats, announcing steps to end what they and the president clearly see as a major threat on many levels. >> they endanger the men and women of the intelligence community, the armed services and those who serve overseas. they give our adversaries knowledge of our activities. they impede our ability to share information with our allies. there is also a real cost in dollars to compensate for blown programs. and most importantly, as i have previously noted, these unauthorized disclosures endanger the safety and security of americans across the country. >> unauthorized disclosures from anonymous sources to news organizations about sensitive subjects, including, say, that the u.s. has evidence that north korea is equipping patrol boats with anti-ship weapons that can sink american vessels.
fox reported it, citing u.s. officials with knowledge of intelligence in the region, in other words officials leaking classified information, something u.n. ambassador nikki haley confirmed, perhaps inadvertently, when asked for comment. >> do you have any information on the new information that we have that north korea is for the first time since 2014 is moving some military assets maybe in response to these sanctions? >> i can't talk about classified information. >> classified information, leaked classified information, leaked classified information about an ongoing confrontation with kim jong un, which the administration says it's trying to contain. except when it's not. that story, that ambassador haley wouldn't even comment on, is the one the president promoted this morning, linking to it on his twitter feed. if the story does indeed hurt
american interests, the damage is already done, the story is out. that said, the fact that the president is plugging the story instead of decrying it sends a signal, whether he knows it or not, that links should be judged on their benefit to him rather than the harm they might do to the country. back now with the panel. josh, it is the ultimate irony that he's blasting leaks of unidentified source and yet retweeting stuff. >> i don't think trump distinguishes between what's classified and what's not. we know he isn't a careful reader of intelligence reports, he doesn't have the patience, they have to bullet point stuff. i doubt trump is carefully sifting what's classified and what's not. he tweets stories that happen to be in front of him when he's watching "fox and friends" in the morning. >> also he's not much of a reader, it's possible he didn't even read the story he was sending out there. >> unfortunately this is what happens when your presidential daily briefing starts when you're watching "fox and friends." he clearly wasn't, to your point, he wasn't fully aware if this was classified information. the story doesn't explain it in
full detail. but i think it's really important, when he has now put together this panel, empowered jeff sessions to crack down on leaks and hold people accountable, it's critical from the president to everyone on down to also follow through and make sure they crack down on leaks and don't be a culprit of passing on classified information at the same time. >> i agree with that. he can't run the government without some secretes, especially about national security, i get that, i support that. yet at one level they seem to be taking it too far when they prosecute journalists, there was some conversation about that in the obama administration, it was wrong then, it's wrong now. but he undermines it when he tweets out a story based on leaked classified information. i do think it's not the distinction between what's classified and what's not but what's helpful and what's not. that's a big problem. it's his job to know. he said he's a hands-on manager, he knew every hole of every golf course that he owns. he has got to get on top of
this. it really matters. you can't simply say this hurts or this helps. >> the other question is does the department of justice investigate this leak like they say they want to investigate other leaks? >> that's right. i think this is going to highlight whether they are actually serious about the leaks. as paul mentioned, they have indicated they are willing to go after journalists, and here they have one. and by the president leaking classified information himself, it raises the question on whether this is truly about national security or is this about chilling the kind of speech that they just don't like. and if they start being selective in the kinds of leaks that they try to prosecute, not the ones from fox but the ones from "the new york times," that's going to both give a defense for the journalists that might end up entangled in this web, i think it's also going to undermine the credibility of the department of justice. >> also keep in mind, this was early this morning, when he was basically wanting to convey to his twitter followers and people
that may not have seen the news, that north korea is really racheting things up and it's becoming much more serious, then followed up a short time later, when he came out with his powerful comment about fire and fury like away never seen before. in my view, he was looking at this in a way, i need to make sure people understand things are heating up in north korea and that supports what i want to say. >> i think it's more about what pleases him and what doesn't. some of us who are old remember that once upon a time there was a white house aide called anthony scaramucci. he alleged it was a federal offense to release his security form. he was going to sic the fbi on this because he didn't want his finances released. it's a public disclosure. >> one of the things kelly said he was going to do was come in and limit the president's sources of information so you don't have these embarrassing gaffes where he's doing things
like tweeting out fox stories based on leaked intelligence. i believe kelly is up there at bedminster this weekend. clearly that process is either not in place yet or it's not working very well. >> you can't take the remote from the president and say you can't watch tv unless you've had your broccoli. >> somebody's got to. >> i mean, it seems like what kelly is trying to do is maybe there are all these stories of people kind of selectively giving the president things that they printed off the internet as news items for him to read. it seems like that's something that kelly can tamp down. >> if there's a story in fox news based on leaked intelligence, there's somebody whose job it should have been to say, heads up, the president needs to know this story is based on leaks. >> his response should be to call his chief of staff and/or national security adviser. i just saw something on tv, folks, tell me what's going on, tell me what's true, track down the leaks. his first impulse is to tweet. >> brian kilmeade is now our
national security adviser. coming up, a credibility gap, it's one thing for the president to say he got phone calls that he didn't actually get. any of the things happening lately. it's another thing, during a potential nuclear crisis. get your ancestrydna kit.here. spit. mail it in. learn about you and the people and places that led to you. go explore your roots. take a walk through the past. meet new relatives
new polling shows the president has a credibility gap. a majority of people simply do not believe he's honest and trustworthy. many pundits warn this could be a real problem in a real crisis. the latest cnn poll shows just 24% trust most of what they hear from the white house. back now with the panel. this is one of the things, if crisis, that so many people have been saying for so long, many of
the people on our air, about credibility is one thing in the best of times, but when the nation is facing crisis, you have to believe what the president is saying. >> and there's no substitute for the president's voice. i'm glad he has a strong national security team. i'm impressed with general mattis, general mcmaster, ambassador haley is doing a fine job, secretary tillerson looks a little shakier. but only the president should have that moral authority. and the fact that only one fourth of americans believe their president as we may be entering into a crisis is itself a crisis. there's no quick fix for that. >> there isn't a quick fix. you can turn it around eventually but not overnight. >> clearly when we're talking about national security, i think people are beginning to really recognize that this north korea situation, it is real and getting more serious by the minute, and like you said, with the national security team, and certainly now with chief of staff kelly in there, they are a commanding presence. i think with the national
security team, arm in arm with the president, people will certainly have confidence in what we're going to do. and i think when it comes to foreign policy, the american people will stand behind the president, especially with that team. >> but, i mean, today the president was suggesting a -- you know, i mean, more power than the world has ever seen, a nuclear response, i assume that's what he was suggesting, if that's more power, yeah, i mean, i don't know what else it would be. and he was doing it arguably in what seemed to be kind of an off-the-cuff way, it wasn't a statement, it wasn't a speech. it was sitting around a roundtable. >> what it did was engender confusion in the press corps. what made it even odder, rather than march out one of his generals to explain it in context, he had kellyanne conway, no disrespect to conway who is not an expert on national security, come out and talk to reporters today. that's why hours later people are still wondering, what did he intend by that statement? >> donald trump and others have
made this point, that what he did in syria, what he did with the moab, does lend a certain amount of credibility to the fact that he has been decisive, i'm not talking about a preemptive nuclear strike, but if you're talking about sending a message to a foreign power that you're not messing around, that you mean business, he does have some credibility on that. as many as but when it's conflicting with messages that other members of the his team are giving, when there are diplomatic overtures being made, when there might be nuances to the military strategy that his generals might want no -- >> rex tillerson the other day gave a very detailed statement, we're not looking for regime change, we're not looking to be a threat, which was clearly a statement that had been worked over. >> right. >> as i mentioned, nikki haley is saying, look, all options are on the table, the united states will not stop at anything. i think these statements are not mutually exclusive. i think we need to put everything out there on the table and make sure that the kim regime understands that we mean business. there's also a part of this,
they're sending a message to china as well, saying china needs to exert pressure on north korea in order to halt their weapons. >> i think that donald trump's unpredictability is actually a benefit when it comes to dealing with other countries. where it becomes a problem is with rallying the american public and holding us together. that's when you need the moral authority, that we believe the president, what he says. i think, you know, domestically, in terms of keeping this country together at this very perilous time, donald trump is not in good shape. i'm actually a little bit relieved that he is -- i'm okay with the fact that other countries don't know what he might do. >> i'm not. >> i'm not. >> if you want to take the most positive analysis of what happened today, and matt touched on this, there is a line of
thinking that what he's doing is trying to put pressure on china. even though trump won this diplomatic victory at the u.n. security council and got these economic sanctions imposed, there are further things that could be done. you could limit oil imports to north korea which russia and china doesn't want to do. you can crack down on chinese banks which launder money for north koreans, which the trump treasury did with one chinese bank in june. by coming out and essentially threatening what i guess was supposed to be nuclear war, you could argue or some of his advisers could argue, look, the chinese if given a choice between letting trump go down this path and racheting up sanction on north korea a little more, maybe we should go ahead and do what the americans want. >> we're going to take a quick break. more ahead. he's the most famous independent political counsel, and he's been taking heat about what he's said about robert mueller. i'll speak with ken starr, next. this is not a cloud. this is a car protected from storms by an insurance company
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overstepping his bounds. the investigation of that, i'll speak with ken star in a moment. here's what he said on cnn's noon day on friday. >> to the ks tent that you're moving beyond collusion with russian operatives or interests or the russian government itself, or into that which doesn't seem to have a direct tie to russia, then these questions are in fact raised. it is certainly a serious matter when a special council is accused, and i was accused of that, of exceeding his or her authority. that's a serious matter. we do not want inversion and prosecutors out on a fishing expedition. >> ken star joins me now. some thought that was critical or surprised or hypocritical of the comments that it was a fishing expedition. >> what i also said is that there's checks and balances under the statute under which i
was appointed. some of the most controversial phase of the investigation, the lieu win ski phase offense orchestrated by -- >> when you found excerpts about the president's behavior with monica, you wen back to get approval to investigate that. >> absolutely. it was a number of serious possible crimes involving the president himself and others around the president. we didn't just start investigating we wen to the attorney general. so, to bring that back to the russia collusion investigation, i think that's the responsibility of the special council to make sure he's staying one the guard rails of what he's charged with doing. we don't want fishing expedition. >> one of the things the report is saying, robert mueller is not only look at the donald trump
jr. meeting, and not just the formal national security adviser, flynn, but looking at potential financialing proprietities or trans actions between russians and then citizen donald trump used before the election. numb in your opinion, would that be -- because it would still involved russians -- would that be appropriate? >> i think it's getting to the outer perimeter, it's a judgment call. but let me come back to the the lieu win ski investigation. we go to the attorney general of the united states and say here's what we have, and we laid it out transparently, we believe it merits investigation and so it's your judgment. we would not have investigated had we not had the approval of attorney general reno, and then goes to a three-judge court. now we don't have any of these mechanisms in place, all we have is the judgment of the justice
department senior leadership and the person of rod rosenstein. >> he was a very horribernl man. >> the special council is subject to the rules and regulation of the department of justice and we done engage in fishing expedition. if we find what's in the scope -- the investigation in a can, if it's something outside that scope he needs to come to the acting attorney general, tip, me for permission to expand his investigation. >> that's exactly what you're saying that they have to do. >> exactly. rod rosenstein is now the attorney general. he is the three-judge court from the old independent council days. >> "usa today" is reporting through his chief counsel, president trump has sent private messages to mueller, messages expressing, quote, appreciation and greetings. does it seem like the trump administration has changed or there's a change of tone from
the white house toward the investigation? fewer tweetings of the president attacking or raising questions about the investigation and obviously there's the chang of torns. >> yeah, and this out reach is inappropriate by an attorney. this is john dowed whose a very experienced lawyer representing donald trump and for them to have this line of communication with robert mueller is entirely aappropriate. it would not be appropriate needless to say. and to say why don't we bring bob mueller in here and have a conversation -- >> but it's okay for the president to send praises to bob mueller? >> yes. is it ideal, i don't think so. >> did the president clinton sent owe greetings and appreciation? >> well his counsel did. i wouldn't appreciation. i had a very good relationship with floyd cutler who was
clinton's counsel at the time. i took over the investigation. and i've always had a professional relationship even though we disagreed. >> the other thing i've talked to, chief of staff, and everybody that's served, they all say the same thing. it's crucial that the president and his team be able to compartmentalize wen there's an investigation like this going on. it's one of the things people said about bill clinton that he was able to compartmentalize and conduct business and then separate -- there's real questions whether president trump to do that. in your opinion is that crucial for a president to do? >> critically important. and you're right president clinton was able to focus on other things. and say okay, we're here to get the job done and serve the country and so forth. there's this other here but we leave that to the lawyers. and again, lloyd cutler who was counsel to the president made it very clear, that when it came to
issues of potential -- potential criminal couple ability you go raise that can private counsel and they worked very well. >> thank appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. thank you. fl[ gasps, laughs ]c, progressive gives you options based on your budget. you ever feel like... cliché foil characters scheming against a top insurer for no reason? nah. so, why don't we like flo? she has the name your price tool, and we want it. but why? why don't we actually do any work?
see that? yes! i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. . that's it for us thank for watching. time to hand thing over to don lemon. cnn tonight starts right now. president trump threatens fire and fiery to north korea and draw a headline but what happened next? north korea has produced a nuclear warhead that could fit on a missile. >> they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> that he says will be the response to