tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN March 17, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
hello. you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm ana cabrera. mourning 50 lives lost in the terror attacks in new zealand. president trump is tweeting, not about either of those things but trashing the late senator he once said wasn't a war hero. for the last two days now, mr. trump has been going after john mccain for, among other things, the late senator's decisive vote against repealing obamacare. trump's attacks coming on the anniversary week of mccain's release as a p.o.w., 46 years
ago. cnn white house correspondent boris sanchez is joining us now. senator mccain's daughter is pushing back. >> that's right, ana. i'll get to her response in a second. the reason president trump reignited this spat that he has had with late senator john mccain for several years, ken starr, former prosecutor who investigated president clinton in the late '90s, said one of the stains on john mccain's legacy was the involvement in the steele dossier, collection of information gathered in 2016 that contains sala tchsalacious allegations. he tweeted about ken starr, going so far as to say another stain on john mccain. meghan mccain laid out a stinging rebuke, adding this. no one will ever love you the
way they loved my father. i wish i had been given more saturdays with him. maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter, obsessing over mine. the spat between these two prominent republicans still something that lingers in the president's mind more than seven months after senator john mccain passed away. ana? >> boris sanchez, thank you. contributor and national reporter for the washington post. wes, why is the president so obsessed with john mccain? >> i think it's two-fold. first there's clearly a mccain specific obsession. this was someone who was one of the president's chief critics from his right, or at least from the right-hand of the political spectrum, someone who helped undermine the obamacare repeal, which was extremely important to the president, and someone who was willing to stand up to president trump at a time when many senate republicans were not. the second part of this is that the president is obsessed with basically whatever is on fox news right now.
and the fact that he tweeted about this earlier today is because someone was on tv, talking about it. i think it speaks sometimes to the temperament to the president even less than it does to the specific of these fights. >> lindsey graham has become friends with the president and is one of his biggest defenders. as to senator john mccain and his devotion to his country, he stepped forward to risk his life for his country. he served honorably under difficult circumstances and was one of the most consequential senators in the history of the body. nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished. but nowhere in there is he telling trump to cut it out? why not? >> he doesn't even mention the president. the fact is that it's the president's party. president donald trump has 90%, some of the latest polls, of republican voters. this is something that a lot of republicans in washington recognize. look, they're politic alan males. they think about the next
election, about who they represent. and look at how far back into the president's own political career, only 3 1/2 years old, back in that summer of 2015, he went after john mccain, as you said at the top, ana, and didn't suffer any sort of political consequences for it. i think that is something that the president recognizes and these other senators, like lindsey graham, recognize that he has control of the party. >> it's not just lindsey graham. there aren't other republicans, either, coming to john mccain's defense. of course, he can't do it himself. wes, the president is spending all this time this weekend tweeting about a dead war hero when he could be clarifying his words on white supremacist, trying to bring people together after a horrific attack. take a listen to trump's chief of staff this morning. >> the president is not a white supremacist. i'm not sure how many times we have to say that.
>> michael mulvaney is the latest member of this administration to have to publicly defend the president and assure people that he is not a white supremacist. >> certainly. and i do think that if the white house and the surrogates for president trump mean what they say, they genuinely personally do not believe that he holds racial animous or is courting these white supremacists who, at times, have supported him and often use rhetoric similar to his, i think it would make sense for the president to give a public address about this specifically, right? it's hard to remember the obama years now since so much has happened since then but this constant uproar that the president wouldn't use islama fascist terrorists. and if he wouldn't do it, it was some sign that he was soft on isis or soft on al qaeda, the president who had bin laden killed, right? here you have donald trump, who said there were good people on
both sides of charlottesville. president trump who, in the hours after 50 people are killed in new zealand about invaders, immigrant invasion across our border. reasonable people, not just political opponents, from listening to the president says and be concerned about them. and think if he is not actively courting some of the support, at least not discouraging it. i think the president and his surrogates need to address this question. be it muslims, black americans, hispanics believe they should be protected by their leader and safe in our country. >> the president isn't facing pressure from his own party to call out white supremacists but they did rebuke him in this week in their vote on the emergency declaration, forcing the first presidential veto of his presidency. was this a one-off or something more? >> we'll have to see. there was another vote on the war powers resolution regarding
american forces in yemen that the president also lost. look at the total number of republicans who voted on this national emergency declaration. it adds up to 10% of republicans in congress. again, the party is trump's. a lot of these members of congress recognize that the base of the party is with the president. and maybe that helps explain a little bit of what he's focusing on. the president that is. people who know how the president thinks, he doesn't think strategically, long term about his political future. what he does know, however, is his audience and tv parlance or his base. going back to his tweets about john mccain, this is something that the base of the republican party, at least the trump base of the republican party, they agree with the president on. they don't like what john mccain
has done politically over the past several years. he has given voice to that. it may not be a strategically good decision but it's his own thinking of how he should be using his platform. >> manu raju points out the president isn't just attacking john mccain, but looking at all the things on his mind, he's talking about fox news weekend anchor anchors, google, "saturday night liv live". the president's focus clearly elsewhere not the goings on of the world. >> he's tweeting through the headlines. he is a reporter who woke up this morning and decide to get his take of snl last night. there's a legitimate question -- it's almost funny to a certain extent. it would be hard to imagine president barack obama or george
w. bush or anyone waking up and saying i hated that snl skit. let me send a tweet about it. there's something to be said about what this says about the president's temperament and what the republicans see when they allow him to behave this way and not push back. he when you look back at this moment there will be analysis to be done on how officials have tried to speak up against the president, like john mccain or folks perhaps like paul ryan, who say i'm not going to weigh in on every tweet. it will be interesting at the end to see perhaps what strategies worked and which didn't. largely so far, people are saying the president has his twitter fingers, will do and say what he wants to. and people are not really interested in trying to keep him in check there. >> thank you both. exclusive reporting about the president's fox news friend jeanine pirro, still off the air
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prime ministers of new zealand and great britain spoke on the phone moments ago. theresa may expressing her shock and offering britain's support to the people of new zealand after friday's attack in christchurch. 50 people were killed as they attended prayer services in two different mosques. 50 others were wounded. today facebook and other social media companies say they're still fighting to keep the video of the attack from spreading virally. 150 copies have been removed of the viral video from their platforms so far. fox news is not making president trump happy this weekend, it started when they decided to replace jeanine
pirro's show with a documentary last night. anchor of "reliable sources," brian stelter, what did you learn about pirro not hosting her show? >> she was suspended but only privately. a source told me she was suspended after that islama phobic rant. that's off the air for the time being. i don't know if she will be back this time last week, i don't know how long the suspension lasts. according to sources, she hasn't been fired but it is unusual to see a network suspending an anchor, a host like this, of one of the highest rated weekend talk shows. he spoke out in her support today, saying bring back jeanine pirro. he doesn't want to see one of his single boosters get the boot, even temporarily. >> he had a couple of tweets defending jeanine pirro as well as other of the opinion posts who defend him. he has been critical today in
his tweets of a couple other fox news anchors. what's this all about? >> that's exactly right. this backscratching relationship between trump and fox news is unlike anything in the history of american media, but it does have limitations. the president loves the booster-type shows that he sees in prime time. he doesn't like all the news reporting on fox, all the daytime anchors on fox. he called out three of them today. it goes to show he's watching a ton of television, continuing to react in real time to it. it makes me wonder why he's so active on twitter. you were talking about this before the break. why is he so active right now? why is he lashing out even at fox, his favorite television network? it suggests to me some vulnerability. it suggests to me maybe he's worried about something. it's always risky to indulge in speculation. you never know for sure when it comes to president trump. he seems quite perturbed by what he's hearing and seeing on fox
news right now. >> the video and fallout that's still happening for facebook and other social media companies following the attacks in new zealand. now we learned 1.5 million of these videos that were pulled from facebook were out there in the first 24 hours and they are having to pluck them away. and they still are. how significant is this in terms of damage control for companies already facing pr issues? >> facebook is trying to take this seriously by telling us how many videos it has taken down, 1.5 million in the first 24 hours of the massacre. what we don't know is how many of those actually got through and how many people were able to see them and why is there such a desire by so many people to see these horrific videos when they happen? that's a problem that's bigger than facebook and bigger than google. >> and how easy it is for this to get out of control. >> yes. >> for the regulators, the
people who control facebook. >> yes. >> they're self controlled but they can't keep a handle on it. >> and the challenge for the governments that regulate facebook and the companies that run these sites. this is deeper than the moment when the shooting starts. it's about what this person was reading and consuming and talking about online. for the years before he decided to enter this mosque and attack people what i worry about more, why was he able to get to the point where he's reading so many crazy things on line that he felt compelled to act? that will be harder for the facebooks and youtubes to address. democratic senator kirsten gillibrand of new york makes her run official as vice president joe biden accidently, or maybe purposely, drops a big hint about his future plans.
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another democrat officially jumping into the 2020 race this weekend. new york senator kirsten gillibrand formed an exploratory committee months ago. here she is today. watch. >> we need a leader who makes. >> big, bold. >> brave. >> choices. >> someone who isn't afraid of progress. >> that's why i'm running for president. >> gillibrand's announcement ends with an invitation to join her at the trump international hotel in new york city next sunday, where she plans to deliver her vision for restoring america's moral integrity, straight to the president's doorstep, she says. joining me now, arlette
siens. a record number of women candidates, how is gillibrand trying to distinguish herself on gender issues? >> she has made gender issues a main focus, centerpiece of her campaign. when she's out on the campaign trail she talks frequently about equal pay, paid family leave and promotes herself as a young mom, who is out there, willing to fight for other people's kids the way that she fights for her own. and kirsten gillibrand came into the national spotlight as she became the me too senator, becoming a champion of women trying to combat sexual harassment in the office place, sexual assault on college campuses as well as in the military. in that video, she talks about how she took on the pentagon to try to end sexual assault in the military, but her reputation is
kind of the me too senator took a little bit of a hit this past week after there were claims that she mishandled sexual harassment allegations in her own office. now the senator and her office contend that the claims were -- the charges and accusations were handled appropriately, that they followed the appropriate measures, but perhaps this video and campaign official announcement can act as a kind of reset for her as she runs for president in 2020. >> let's talk vice president joe biden coming very close to announcing his candidacy in the 2020 presidential race. then he stopped short. >> criticized by the new left. i have the most progressive record of anybody running for the united -- of anybody who would run. [ cheers and applause ] i didn't mean --
[ cheers and applause ] of anybody who would run. >> he caught mims but it's too late. usually a flub like this means that a candidate is going to run. when is he going to make up his mind? >> the current thinking is that joe biden will make some type of announcement as soon as april. so, we're still a few weeks away knowing for certain he's going to run for president in 2020 but joe biden has certainly been dropping a lot of hints and clues along the way and all signs at this point seem to point to him going ahead and launching that presidential bid. you heard him last night in that speech back on his home turf in delaware offer a little bit of a preview of what a campaign could sound and and look like. and he talked about the need for americans to rise above the petiness of politics and to focus on consensus building.
take a listen to how he kind of framed his message as a contrast to president trump. >> we must be clear. everybody knows who he is. we've got to be clear who we are, who we are. we've got to understand, we democrats, we choose hope over fear. we choose unity over division and we choose truth overlies. >> so, joe biden there, making it clear that he's ready to directly take on president trump as he gets closer and closer to that 2020 announcement. ana? >> thanks for the reporting. tomorrow night, cnn hosts a presidential town hall with another 2020 contender, senator elizabeth warren. jake tapper hosts that event live from jackson, mississippi.
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>> the main number one villain for us is howard shults. >> 2001, when then starbucks chairman howard schultz leads other investors in buying the nba's seattle supersonics. soon, schultz wants a new and improved arena, like other seattle sports teams. he offers $18 million and asks local government for $200 million. >> very quickly making demands, i want public money. i want a deal like the mariners got and the seahawks got. from his point of view, he thought he was next in line, it was his turn and all he had to do was ask. >> lawmakers refused to foot the bill and schultz never got the money. >> back and forth conversations i had with the mayor, the city council and the state legislature could fill a book. >> reporter: a frustrated schultz sold the sonics for a profit to a group from oklahoma. they moved the team there two years later.
>> the country has lost a sense of leadership. >> reporter: with schultz considering a run for president, he's now apologizing to fans. >> it's a very hard lesson. i have to live with that lesson. and it's a mistake that i made. and i apologize. >> reporter: with no political record, his time lobbying state lawmakers for a new arena has voters questioning how he would govern. >> he can't even deal with legislatures who are making $5,000 a year. how are you going to deal with congress? >> reporter: former city councilman, says the real misstep schultz made was not understanding how to play politics. >> successful business leaders have a difficult time maneuvering, because they have been successful, they think they know how complicated business deals work. as a result, i think he would make the same mistakes that donald trump has made. >> reporter: schultz in his new
book says he has learned some valuable lessons. >> the experience also imprinted upon me the searing knowledge of how a single decision can adversary affect thousands of lives. >> reporter: but for supersonics fans, there's little he can could do to make up for the team leaving town. >> if howard schultz is able to buy the oklahoma city thunder, build an arena, relocate the team and get the name back to the seattle sonics, he's got my vote. >> thank you to vanessa. it is a case that brought back memories of mobsters and old-school mob hits but an arrest in the murder of a reputed mob boss has taken a twist. now i'm at verizon building a powerful 5g experience for america. we call it 5g ultra wideband.
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this just in to cnn, highest u.s. military official in the country is saying a report on u.s. troops in syria is wrong, quoted saying as many as 1,000 u.s. troops could remain in syria long after the full withdrawal from president trump in december. general joseph dunford chairman of the joint chiefs of staff released a statement a while ago saying t"the wall street journa" report is, quote, factually incorrect. no final decision on troop numbers in syria has been made yet, he tells cnn. 30 years since a mob boss was assassinated in new york city. that streak came to an end when frank cali was found dead wednesday shorkts ten times outside his staten island home.
known as frankie boy was thought to be the acting boss of the gambino crime family. police have someone in connection with this killing, sources tell cnn that the crime does not appear to be mob related. joining us now is palo sandoval. this has nothing to do with the mob? >> he was gunned down outside his staten island home. police were initially concerned we could potentially see a repeat of the brazen mafia violence we saw decades ago. according to information that my colleague brynn gingrass is hearing from a police source, this investigation could be taking a very different turn. >> often times the first story is not the final story. >> reporter: it's looking less likely that the murder of frank cali was a mob hit. instead it could be the result of a personal feud.
according to the source, the suspect, anthony carmelo, had some kind of relationship with one of cali's family members that the mob boss disagreed with. carmelo allegedly took offense with that. carmelo was arrested. the 24-year-old is captured on video outside of cali's staten island home the night of the murder and say cali was face-to-face with his alleged killer moments before the shots rang out. >> has a conversation with an individual in front of that residence. that individual, at some point in time -- about a minute into it -- pulls out a firearm and shots are fired. >> cali was a reputed member of the gambino family, served a 16-month prison sentence for his role in an extortion conspiracy, released in 2009. >> we are well aware of mr. cali's past. that will be part of this investigation as we determine what was the motive for the incident on wednesday evening. there are multiple, multiple angles that we are still
exploring. >> reporter: detectives had yet to find the murder weapon and are looking at carmelo's past. >> was he acting alone? was he acting for other people? are there others involved? what is the motive? i simply, standing here, do not have all those answers for you. >> officially, police are leaving all options on the table until they can definitively determine why frank cali was killed. >> robert gottleib, the attorney for carmelo, releasing a statement. i'll summarize it for you here. he believes at this point that the people who know his client best, including his friends and family, simply cannot believe what they are hearing and this attorney saying that there is something very wrong here, and he promises to get to the bottom of it. as for his client, he is expected to face a murder charge tomorrow in staten island. >> palo sandoval, thank you. it was a scandal that took down an american president. coming up, three legends of watergate talk to me about those
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rise, fall, comeback and political destruction as richard nixon. now an all-new, four-part cnn series, tricky dick, splors the life and career of the 37th president. >> i don't give a goddamn what the story is. >> richard m. nixon has lied repeatedly. >> no reporter in "the washington post" should ever be in the white house again. do you understand? >> the tougher it gets, the cooler i get. i have what it takes. [ crowd chants ] >> i want to say this to the television audience, because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. well, i'm not a crook. this crap about watergate.
>> let others wallow in watergate. we're going to do our job. i'm going to kick their ass. >> nobody is going to package me. nobody is going to make me put on an act for television. i'm not going to engage in any gimmicks or stunts, wear any silly hats. if people look at me say that's a new nixon, then all i can say is, well, maybe you didn't know the old nixon. >> i recently sat down with three legends of the watergate era, carl bernstein, whose dogged reporting helped uncover the scandal, david gergen, and former white house counsel and star witness whose testimony ultimately brought down nixon's presidency. here is our conversation. john, i want to start with you. you worked with president nixon. in this series, we hear a lot of nixon in his own words, in candid moments, without a filter. does it paint an accurate picture of him as a person and
as a politician? >> i think it's a very accurate picture. i like the fact that it was original footage. it doesn't look like it's been in any way enhanced and you feel like you're there. it's what we actually looked at, at the time. and given the four hours, you really get a you see the good points and the bad points. >> you and your partner broke the watergate story that led to the end of nixon's presidency. when did you realize this was connected to the white house? >> very early. there was a secret fund, a secret fund that was maintained by nixon's top campaign advisers that we found out about eight weeks after the break in had been controlled by people very close to nixon ask in his campaign. and once we knew that, even though there were denials all around, it was evident that there were connections to the white house. it was impossible that this came out of some kind of
self-starting effort that was disconnected from the people around them. fwl did you confront the white house right away? >> it was really about doing the reporting step by step by step over a course of a couple years. and just building on what information we were able to obtain. we eventually found out after about 10 or 12 weeks that that fupd was controlled by, among others, john mitchell, the campaign manager and nixon's former law partner. and also by hr baldman, the white house chief of staff. so that us a pretty good idea of where this was going. but it also took awhile to understand what watergate, what the break in was about. and what we discovered and what we know was it was a massive campaign of political espionage and sabotage engineer ed from te white house, from the president's reelection advisers to ensure that the democrats
picked the weakest candidate through this lit call espionage, sabotage and dirty tricks. >> you were a special assistant during the watergate era focusing on speech writing. what was that like during this challenging time? >> it was an extremely awkward period of those of us felt we had been through the marine corps experience together because we took a lot of bullets coming in. but i must say that the cover up worked better in the white house than anywhere else. you came into work and would read and talk about woodward and you hear stories from them where you curl your hair, but they were working on. and then inside you'd be told,
no, this is all ben bradly. they just hate us. they are trying to bring us down. it's what they would call fake news. and i didn't know many people had been to jail personally so i tended to believe the people inside the white house until it became obvious that they were the ones lying. >> you became white house counsel a year after the break in. this was a story that took years to really drag out all the details after the scandal was well under way is when you stepped up into this difficult role. when you tried to convince nixon this was a problem telling him it was a cancer on the presidency, you were blamed for the cover up. you were fired. you ended up testifying against nixon and the famous watergate hearings. this was all your word against the president of the united states. what was going through your mind and what was your strategy as you spoke at those hearings? >> the water gate cover up was
covering up the fact that it the same people involved in the break in had been involved in a break in for the white house. that daniel els psychiatrist's office when he leaked the pentagon papers. to get to your point about my confronting the president, i didn't have any dealings with nixon until actually 255 days after the arrest. i i meet with him once when the indictments come down. but then he starts calling on me. some eight months after the arrest of the watergate because he wants his chief of staff bob haldman and top domestic adviser to be working on his second term. he's won an overwhelming reelection victory. and he wants to keep them busy on reorganization of the executive branch, repopulating is and bringing in new people. so he starts dealing directly
with his white house counsel. i didn't know how much he knew or did not know. to this day, i don't believe he knew about the break in in advance. but he certainly did know about the cover up. >> you have spoken a lot about some of the parallels between this administration and the nixon administration. particularly when we talk about the disdain that the trump administration seems to have for the media. we have heard nixon on the tapes saying not a reporter comes in this white house. pushing forward here, what do you see as the impact of sort of the narrative and the adversarial approach that the current administration has had with the media? what do you see as the impact long-term? >> nixon b made the conduct of the press in watergate from the first days after the break in and the arrest of the burglars. it didn't succeed. it was a different country, but still, an awful lot of the country did not believe what we were writing in "the washington
post." there was a campaign to kind of tar and feather us verbally. and our reputations. but you continue deny the facts. the facts started to make real sense and fit together. and what we know now is that nixon was a criminal president of the united states from the day he took office until the day he left. that's what the tapes make clear. the criminality began at the begin ining. and it was a huge misuse of constitutions of government for personal purposes this is a little different. maybe what we're seeing now is worse than watergate because the system worked in water gate. we don't have are evidence that the system is working because we don't have a bipartisan consensus as developed in water gate. it was republican, the great the
conservative, nominee for his party in 1964 part the presidency who marched to the white house. after the discovery of some of the last tapes and what was on them and said to richard nixon, you have to leave. you have to resign because nixon asked whether he could survive a senate vote on impeachment. he expect ed he could and gold water said, no, mr. president, you may have four votes and you don't have mine. and the next day he resigned. >> so what is the legacy of watergate and how does that apply to the trump administration and investigations today? >> one way of look iing at thiss we seem of a to have a major national scandal in our politics. about every 50 or 60 years. you go back to the 1920s. we had a scandal then and then we had gaewater gate.
water gate and it's a recurrent theme in our democracy. and one that does require a lot of support for the rule of law for traditions and guardrails in our democracy. had the system not snuck back, and i agree the system of checks and balances ultimately did work in the watergate case. we haven't seen where they are going to work in the trump indication. i also think that the nixon provides something which trump does not. nixon had a very bright side in his life. he had an aspiration side. he inspired to be a man of peace, who built a lasting foundation of peace. he wanted to follow in the footsteps of a churchill or some of his great heroes. and he had this child-like
feeling that he could be a great things for the country. and yet this was what brought him down. he had these demons inside him that he never learned to control. they got the best of him. if you were not for me, he thought you must be against him. he believed in the law of the jungle. eat or be eaten he had this dark side that came spilling out that ultimately knocked him out. as he told david frost later on when he was asked, what really happened. he said i gave my enemies a sword and then they ran me through. and that's what he did. he did give them a sword. i think john and carl and i probably all agree on that. >> gentlemen, thank you so much for this interesting conversation. the series is going to be fascinating. i appreciate it all. good to have you with us. >> thank you. who is tricky dick?