tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN August 23, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
here to do exactly what is important to us. >> thank you. >> bye-bye. >> reporter: the former russian ambassador to the united states. he is not in that post anymore. he was giving some responses to some of the key questions that were asking him. he is a diplomat until the very end. >> a fascinating interview, matthew chance. kislyak seems to take a certain amount of glee -- he had a smile on his face the whole time over perhaps all the controversy he has been in the middle of for more than a year. thank you for that interview. good morning. i'm john berman. the president of the united states is giving himself glowing reviews. he says his controversial overnight 77 minute go after everyone speech he says it was amazing. he also said it was a packed house, which some reports are questioning. that aside, the president vented, defended, teased and attached and made important news
for words he did not say. the president revising history. he edited out a phrase that set off a firestorm in the wake of the unrest in charlottesville. >> here is what i said on saturday. we're closely following the terrible events unfolding in charlottesville, virginia. this is me speaking. we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hate, bigotry and violence. that's me speaking on saturday. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. it's been going on for a long time in our country. >> left out in the sides, many sides, which was, of course, the source of so much of the initial controversy. boris sanchez in phoenix covering what was a remarkable event last night.
boris? >> reporter: that's right. it's probably easier to go through who the president didn't go after than who he did. some of his favorite targets, the media, democrats, some republicans, amazon.com. he threatened to shut down the government if he didn't get funding for the border wall. no mention of mexico paying for it. he threatened to undo nafta. he went after arizona's two republican senators. he didn't name them. here are some of the highlights. >> the obstructionist democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, we have to close down our government, we're building that wall. i will make a prediction. i think it's going to be just fine. okay? but i won't do it tonight, because i don't want to cause any controversy. i think we'll end up probably terminating nafta at some point. okay? probably. one vote away. i will not mention any names. very presidential, isn't it? and nobody wants me to talk
about your other senator who is weak on borders, weak on crime. so i won't talk about him. >> reporter: after saying it's not -- rather, that it is very presidential that he didn't name any names this morning on twitter he did just that. the president taking to twitter roughly 40 minutes ago, writing,
quote, phoenix crowd last night was amazing. a packed house. i love the great state of arizona. not a fan of jeff flake, weak on crime and border. the president went on to tweet about the fake news media, saying that we didn't cover his response to the violence in charlottesville accurately. he also then went on to criticize the republican senate saying they should get rid of the filibuster rule, otherwise they're just wasting time. so that measured by the book, by the teleprompter donald trump we saw monday, he is taking a different approach today, john. >> boris sanchez for us in phoenix. thanks so much. whatever divisions the president
is smoking thpok stoking, one m mitch mcconnell. sources tell cnn the president and the senator have not spoken since the stormy phone call two weeks ago. some of the details. this is a relationship that could be dangerous to mess up. >> that's right. it's not going particularly well right now. i'm told from sources with direct knowledge of that august 9 phone call that the president essentially blew up at mitch mcconnell. really frustrated about the issue of russia in particular. not believing that the senate majority leader has done enough to protect him from the investigation. also, frustrated at congress passing a russia sanctions bill that essentially tied the hands of the administration in loosening sanctions. this is something the president privately expressed significant frustration with mitch mcconnell. in fact, i'm told even there were profanity from the president towards mcconnell on that phone call. they have not spoken since.
of course, this comes at a critical time, john, at a time when there's a number of issues that are lingering for the congress to come back and deal with come september. at the same time, "the new york times" reporting that mitch mcconnell actually has raised concerned about whether the president could salvage his presidency, whether he can actually get some of the key items done in order to keep the government open and in order to raise the national debt ceiling as well as the big ticket items such as infrastructure, tax reform, things that they hope to accomplish, that they will need to do together. what the president is doing this morning is not helping things either. some republicans expressing frustration at his continuing going after changing the filibuster rules, going after jeff flake. republicans in the senate support flake, particularly mitch mcconnell who is raising money to ensure that jeff flake stays in that seat as well as the republicans are saying they're not going to change the filibuster rules, as though the president continues to go after mitch mcconnell over that very
issue. the thing that really is irking president trump is the fact that he does not believe that mitch mcconnell is doing enough to prevent congress from going after him in the russia probe. mitch mcconnell is leaving it to the committees to deal with the investigation. >> a lot of people seem irked right now over this. manu raju, thanks so much. joining me now matt, simone, ben. i want to play you some response to the president's speech overnight. this was on cnn with the former director of national intelligence james clapper. let's listen. >> i found this downright scary and disturbing. i really question his ability to -- his fitness to be in this office. and i also am beginning to
wonder about his motivation for it. maybe he is looking for a way out. >> ben, you take serious issue with the questions that director clapper raised. >> yeah. i think it's bush league. i think it's childish because you don't like the president to imply that he is either trying to figure a way out by what going down in flames or people saying that somehow the president is unfit. people have been saying, maybe this seis early onset dementia. if you don't like the president, that's your right. but to imply that i'm terrified or he is unfit or we need to go to plan b, it's been six months. you don't like the president, say it. but to imply that somehow he should be -- not be the president because the american people elected him, the american people decided he is the president. to have the discussion that he is having i think is out of bounds. i think it's irresponsible. i also think that is undermines
the office of the presidency, which is bigger than any one man, including donald trump. i didn't like barack obama. i never said he shouldn't be president because he was unfit or i'm wondering if he is trying to somehow self-implode his own presidency and we should move on to plan b. it's wrong. it's embarrassing. i think it's absurd. >> simone? >> i think we're conflating feelings with the facts. yes, there are people that do not like the president. i don't like the president. but the facts are that he went on an unhinged rant yesterday evening. >> it was a rally. >> the facts are that donald trump has done not one, but plenty of things that we can point to that have caused not only folks like myself but director clapper to question if he is fit for the presidency. this is not about people not liking the president. this is about donald trump standing up on a stage and literally calling himself the victim when someone was killed in charlotte scharlottesville. this is about donald trump
saying he wants to bring the country together but talking about pardoning a known racist. this is about donald trump not being presidential. this is about donald trump not upholding the bar that used to be really high for the office. >> i totally respect the ability for you to disagree with the president. you don't like the sheriff. >> it's not about -- i want to be clear. it's not about me not just liking them. >> one at a time. ben. >> he is racist. he has been convicted for racially profiling people. >> then i want to go to matt. >> many supporters would say he did his job, which was to go after illegal immigrants. he was successful. we will save that for another day. i go back to the point i made. just because you don't like what the president said -- his rally was the same, the same style he had since he started his campaign. no one was saying back then he was unhinged. >> i was. >> i understand that you don't like him.
again, the fact that we're even sitting here six months into a presidency and people think it's appropriate because you don't like the policies or a rally the president has to say he is unfit to be president, here is what i would say. i dealt with obama for eight years and policies i didn't like and him lying saying if i like a doctor, i can keep it, but i didn't say he is unhinged or he has dementia. that's out of bounds. >> hang on. matt. you have been sitting ever so quietly. go ahead. >> this is my conservative temperament. i would take issue with ben a little bit. i think barack obama was a horrible president, too. but he didn't have a problem with impulse control. barack obama, remember the no drama obama? the problem with obama, a lot of bad ideas, a lot of bad policies. in some cases i would say dithering in action in terms -- he endangered us for different reasons. it's fair to say that donald
trump does have character issues, does have a problem with impulse control, does seem prone to fly off the handle and just be reactive rather than thinking things through. i don't think that six months is premature to say -- to give this analysis. i think six months -- we have seen every single day the chaos that this man has brought to this country. i don't think that's premature. >> matt, i want to follow up. get my voice in there. i had to jump in quickly. matt, one person who is dissatisfied after six months is the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell. who was openly questioning whether the president can salvage his administration. then had a shouting match over russia. it begs the question to me, is the president making the russia situation even worse? is bob mueller going to want to talk to mitch mcconnell and saying was the president trying to end the senate investigation into russia? >> i think he is making
everything worse. some of the things that worked to get him elected i think are working -- are not working so well in terms of governing. mitch mcconnell is a guy like him or not, who he overcame polio. he has been in politics for 50 years. he didn't just sort of get elected nationally because of charisma. he is a guy who climbed the greasy bowl of politics. worked up over 50 years to become the majority leader. he has a vested interest -- he and donald trump should be on the same page. they should be trying to fix health care and reform it, make it more conservative and possibly repeal and replace obamacare. do tax reform. do infrastructure. mitch mcconnell's wife would be in charge of that project. from a cabinet level position. here they are fighting. i don't think it's because mitch mcconnell is contentious. i think it's because president trump is not capable of governing. >> we will get to you.
you will have the last word. the president suggested last night that he would be willing to shut down the government over funding for the border wall. the democrats welcome that fight? >> no. the president of the united states should be concerned with the government running probably, with things running on time, not with shutting down the government so that he can get an arbitrary wall built that will do nothing. a wall that he told us mexico was going to pay for. another lie he told us. democrats are willing to come to the table with republicans in congress and with the president when they are willing to offer something substantive. democrats will come to the table on health care if folks are willing to fix obamacare. we are not coming to the table on repeal and replace and neither are some republicans. i think it's high time folks stop with this arbitrary rhetoric and deadlines and arbitrary things that apparently we think america needs and get down to the business of getting things done. >> all right. ben, you will be rewarded for
your patience. >> let me say this about mitch cconnell. he has been never been a fan of donald trump. that's very clear. i think mitch mcconnell has proven that he cannot lead the republicans on simple basic issues like repeal and replacing obamaca obamacare. the president is right to be angry and upset with mitch mcconnell. the majority of republicans don't like mcconnell. i think mcconnell is john boehner 2.0. he is probably the next to go. he cannot lead on the issues that the american people elected donald trump to do. if it's personal and he is not leading because he doesn't like the president, that tells me just how amateur he is at his job. if you know the american people put you there to do certain things -- >> the president is attacking -- >> get over the fact you don't like the president. >> he is attacking republican senators, two incumbent -- >> be the bigger man. >> the president -- >> hold on. >> mitch mcconnell -- >> guys, we're out of time. three words, matt. >> he is attacking -- this is
more than three. the president is attacking two incumbent republican senators. >> who didn't do their job. >> we will leave it right there. we have to go to break. wow. a lot to discuss. interesting debates. it goes to show the discussion the president really has started. thank you. pardon me, the president says the controversial former sheriff will be just fine. new reaction from the new sheriff next. so close it made her skin crawl. hillary clinton, new words you have never heard before. what she is saying in her new book about this very memorable moment in of the second debate. what is in a name? this is stunning. a sports commentator just found out what he will not be doing because his name is robert lee.
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was sheriff joe convicted for doing his job? i will make a prediction. i think he is going to be just fine. okay? but, but i won't do it tonight because i don't want to cause any controversy. is that okay? >> all right. president trump hinting more than hinting that he may pardon former arizona sheriff arpaio. joining me for his reaction is the successor. thanks for joining us. i want your reaction to the president last night who made it clear that he does intend to pardon sheriff arpaio. >> the potential pardon is not an issue that we focus on nor care about. i care about the health of our
community. right now, our office has spent $70 million in taxpayer money due to the actions of my predecessor and the court orders that hold in compliance over this office. we have a lot of work to do. any distractions take away from our efforts to shine the great work by the men and women in the office carrying on after. >> he was convicted of not complying with that court order. correct? >> correct. there were issues of civil rights violations and other things that are not reflective of what professional law enforcement stands for. last night we had a rally here in phoenix. you saw law enforcement handle challenging circumstances. the professionalism, the discipline in the face of the challenges is what's defining of this selfless service. we need to really recognize, we have work to do. the work is building relationships with our community to address issues of crime and remove distractions or those who
have not acted in the manner in representative of what this authority stands for. that's how we're going to restore order, earn trust and have a safer community. >> what message does it send to the community if the president weighs in on these issues? >> well, i can't speak necessarily for the community at large. i did speak recently on this issue. we made a decision in november -- i was fortunate enough to be privileged with this office. that decision was final. this community said they no longer believed in the leadership that they had in the office. they wanted to see new leadership. the actions or the potential actions of the president is his prerogative. that will be respected. but this community was not happy with what they had as a sheriff. the justice system held him accountable. >> you heard the president say last night -- he questioned was sheri sheriff arpaio convicted for
doing his job. from where you sit, was he convicted for doing his job? >> the justice system made it clear he was convicted because he defied court orders. no one is above the law. everyone who is in violation of the law should be held accountable. that process brought out the facts of the case. the judge made a determination. forgive me, but as the sheriff, we have very serious issues to deal with here. we have a great community. we're going to thrive. what's most important is we close the page on the previous legacy, start anew and build a community we can be proud of and that anyone when they look to arizona, they see professional law enforcement and they know it's a safe community. >> are you supportive of a border wall which the president is? >> my focus is on comprehensive security for our nation. if that means, in part, physical structures along with staffing our border agent properly and getting training to ensure that they are safe and give them tools they need is absolutely a
priority. whether one or all of those pieces is necessary to accomplish that, i'm not sure. i will tell you this. we as a nation must be safe. we must ensure that anyone who is within our nation is here lawfully and that we respect what is the greatest aspect of being an american citizen or citizenship. there's a lot of elements to it. i don't believe any one piece is the solution to it. >> sheriff, thank you for joining us this morning. we know you have a job to do. it has been busy in your neck of the woods the last 24 hours. >> it has. leadership in this trying time is critical. we need to make sure leadership is focused on serving others and not ourselves. that's what we're doing here. >> sheriff, thanks so much. >> thank you. her skin crawled. this was a moment so many people remember for the election. hear what hillary clinton has to say now. almost surreal narration of this moment, excerpts from her new book just released. stay with us.
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and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. brand-new this morning, hillary clinton speaks or more accurately reading aloud. audio excerpts from her new book, an account of how she saw the election, including a play by play narration of a crucial debate moment. listen to this. >> this is not okay, i thought. it was the second presidential debate and donald trump was looming behind me. two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. now we were on a small stage,
and no matter where i walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. it was incredibly uncomfortable. he was literally breathing down my neck. my skin crawled. it was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, well, what would you do? do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren't repeatedly invading your space, or do you turn, look him in the eye and say, loudly and clearly, back up, you creep, get away from me? i know you love to intimidate women. but you can't intimidate me. so back up. i chose option a. i kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. i did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. i wonder though whether i should
have chosen option b. it certainly would have been better tv. maybe i have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world. >> with me to discuss, former campaign manager for hillary clinton, patty doyle. your impressions hearing that? it's like if you are a football fan,analysis, with the video from john madden there, it was stunning to hear those words from hillary clinton. >> i remember that debate. i remember watching it. i'm sure we all remember watching it. donald trump was like a great white shark, circling her around. it was incredibly uncomfortable to watch. i can only imagine how uncomfortable it was for hillary to be there. you know, the only thing i can say about it is if the shoe fits. he is a creep. he bragged about grabbing
women's vaginas. he had called women pigs. he had, you know, demeaned the miss universe winner. he has a long history of bullying women. i almost wish that hillary had said back up, you creep. i'm going to get a t-shirt that says, back up creep. >> to that point, you say you almost wish it. you don't get a re-do. politically speaking in h retrospect, would that have been a better decision? >> we have talked about this many times, you and i. hillary clinton was a very cautious candidate. and cautious politician. running against someone who -- we're witnessing the unraveling of this presidency because he speaks off the cuff in sort of crazy ways. going up against someone like donald trump i think a little
impromptu back up creep may would have helped. >> it does sound like maybe she's thinking that. we had jonathan allen who wrote the first book about the campaign. he noted that secretary clinton actually rehearsed, practiced for a moment just like this. what they practiced was for her to keep her cool, not to respond if and when then candidate trump invaded her space. this was a choice going in that they thought was the right call. perhaps it was based on what had happened in the primaries when one republican after another tried to go after donald trump directly, demean him, confront him on his terms. and ended up losing. >> you know, i have to say, john, after -- first of all, there's not a day that goes by over the last eight months that i don't wish that hillary clinton were in the oval office instead of donald trump. but we have seen sort of donald trump unhinged. and i think when you are
president of the united states, you need composure. you need calm. you need to be able to prove to the american people that you can handle a crisis. so i think that's what the clinton campaign was thinking. i'm running for president. i'm not running for reality tv show. i think donald trump, he won. he is there. he was running to be the lead in a reality tv show about the presidency. >> this morning he called it amazing. patty, great to have you on with us. interesting to hear that analysis. he says he is not a spy or a spy recruiter. the former russian ambassador to the united states really at the center of the entire russia election meddling scandal. he speaks to cnn. we caught up with him. a remarkable exclusive interview next.
election meddling investigation speaks to cnn exclusively. this just happened. the former russian ambassador to the united states, sergei kislyak, our matthew chance hunted him down for a pretty amazing interview. matthew joins us. what went down here? >> all the way here to the central european part of russia. this is a figure, remember, john, who was the reason why general flynn, the former national security adviser for president trump, had to resign. he is the reason jeff sessions, the attorney general of the united states, recused himself from all the russia investigations. sergei kislyak is a key figure in the ongoing investigations into collusion between the kremlin and the trump team and the trump administration. we managed to get face to face
with him and ask him some of those key questions. hi. quick question. did you discuss lifting sanctions with any members of the trump team when you were in the united states? >> i'm here to talk to russian people. >> i understand that. you say you have no secrets. >> i have said everything i wanted prior to this. >> did you discuss opening secret channels with the kremlin with jared kushner, for instance? >> i have said many times that we do not discuss the substance of our discussions with our americans ou s out of respect t partners. >> when you met donald trump, were you surprised when he disclosed secret information to you about syria? >> i'm not sure that i heard anything that would be secret. but that was a good meeting. we were discussing things that were important to your country and to mine. >> what about this allegation that you are a spy master, a spy recruiter? >> nonsense. nonsense. >> did you attempt to recruit
any members of the trump administration? >> you should be ashamed. >> he said we should be ashamed for prop you withat story. it was u.s. officials that identified kislyak as a senior spy. and throughout this story, there's been this narrative that what was he there for? why was he meeting key figure sfigures? was it to gain information to take to the kremlin? it was an important point to make. i asked him about the future of u.s.-russian relations. he said it's a different political climate in the united states and criticized the u.s. sanctions bill which places responsibility for lifting sanctions away from the president, in the hands of the congress. >> matthew chance, really interesting. if nothing else, kislyak smiling the whole time, seeming to enjoy the discussion and all the questions about russian election meddling. this is not a story that seems
to bother them. great to have you with us. thanks. the navy has officially dismissed the commander of the 7th fleet, he was released of duty. the latest, of course, involved the "uss john mccain" near singapore. the search area is expanding for the ten soldiers still unaccounted for. yesterday we did learn that the remains of some of those sailors were found inside the damaged vessel. president trump trying to get his base revved but going after incumbent republican office holders. where does the republican party go from here? stay with us. here's to the safety first...
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in just a few hours, president trump heads to nevada, another controversial stop after raising many questions at an event overnight in phoenix. among other things, threatening to shut down the government over funding for the border wall. listen. >> the obstructionist democrats would like us not to do it. but believe me, we have to close down our government, we're building that wall. >> with me to discuss congressman tom cole of oklahoma. you have a vested interest in, say, funding the government, congressman. do you welcome the president saying he will shut down the government if he doesn't get the funding he wants for the wall? >> no. i think it's always a mistake to shut down the government. you make life worse for the american people. you put the country at risk.
it shows political dysfunction, particularly when you control the presidency, senate and house. i would strongly advise against any threat to shut down the government of the united states. >> you have said the white house needs to be more disciplined. does that comment from the president -- does that fall within the scope of what you consider discipline? >> no, i don't. although, i must say, we saw two different presidents in the last two nights. i thought the president did an exceptional job on afghanistan and, frankly, was brutally honest with the american people. this was something i didn't want to do. i went through a lengthy process, which he did, very disciplined process. i relied on the best advice and this is the best thing to do and i will pursue this, even though it's at odds with my earlier positions. i liked that and respected the president for being straightforward. i think we would be better served if that's the president
we saw more often. again, he ran an as an unorthodox figure and i think he still is. he draws support. has a lot of folks that agree with him. >> you seem to offer up last night as something in opposition to the version of the president that you liked monday night when both you and i now everyone seems to know -- we're talking about one human being. there is one donald j. trump who is president of the united states. all of this is part of him right now, including the part which you seem to think is not disciplined enough. >> well, i think that's a fair statement. he is a complex person. but he is the president of the united states. on most issues, we agree. i will try to work with him where i can. i worry a little bit on this wall issue on both sides. if you actually know what's in the bill -- and i do -- it's
$1.6 billion in a better than trillion dollar spending bill. it's enhanced border security. there is construction in it. but there's also things like additional judges to make sure we can process cases more rapidly. you know, this is -- this should be a point of agreement. we all believe in stronger security on the border. i think if you focus there and put your rhetoric there, you can achieve an agreement. we did that last may. >> big part of your career is the budget, spending. an earlier part of your career was devoted to electing republicans to different offices and re-electing sitting republicans in congress. now the president of the united states is taking aim at republican incumbents, including jeff flake of arizona right now. having done what you did, i can't believe that that doesn't go counter to your dna. >> it does.
look, i think -- it's okay to say where you differ with people. sometimes that's very healthy. frankly, i have to tell you, i think the president was right in saying that the failure on health care was a congressional failure. it was primarily a senate failure. i think having that discussion and being honest about it is true. frankly, if they had voted to move the bill, we would have gone into conference. you could have stopped it later. i think it's a mistake to personalize things in politics. who is your opponent today can be your friend tomorrow. that's true on both sides of the aisle. we have democrats that could vote with us on a number of things. if we make it impossible for them to do that, they're going to put their own political survival ahead of, frankly, maybe what is in something they actually believe. again, i would just advise a different style. reach out to people. you are not shy about where you disagree. but don't make it personal. remember, these are members of
your team and you have a lot to get done this fall. you are going to need every vote you've got in the united states senate. >> congressman, thanks for being with us. appreciate it. >> thank you. there is a man named robert lee who just had a bit of a job reassignment at espn. boy oh, boy, are there some opinions about this this morning.
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trades in the nba you are going to see. coy has more. >> good morning. a big trade. october 17, opening night of the nba season, lebron james and his new point guard isaiah thomas welcome kyrie irving and the se celtics to cleveland. players were shoved. cleveland received thomas, a couple other players and a first round pick in next year's draft. boston received kyrie irving. i get the sense berman is okay with this. a lot see this as a win/win for both teams. kyrie wanted to be traded and out from james' shadow. lebron gets thomas who is a dynamic player on the court, just as dynamic as irving. lebron shared this video that someone posted on twitter in honor of kyrie saying nothing but respect. what a ride it was over our three years together.
espn removed an announcer named robert lee from calling a university of virginia game because of the coincidence of his name. robert lee is asian. robert e. lee was the confederate general whose statue removal sparked the tragic events in charlottesville. the network made the decision with lee to switch him to another game citing safety reasons and concerns over his name. they said in part, in that moment it felt right to all parties. it's a shame that this is even a topic of conversation, and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue. the network receiving backlash for what many think is an overreaction. >> bob leigh was joking about it this morning. i think espn would like a do
over at this point. thanks for being with us. >> you are welcome. >> i like the kyrie irving trade very much. thank you for joining us. "at this hour" starts now. hello. i'm cla rrissa ward. president trump heads to a speech in reno, nevada. he will be speaking to the national congrevention of the american legion. just one day after calling for racial healing and unity, the president went off teleprompter and wildly off message, basking in the warmth of an adoring arizona base, he unloaded his fury and defended his