tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 29, 2019 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
♪ >> thanks so much for joining us tonight. i'm jim sciutto. ac 360 starts right now. /s >> the deadliest track for a dangerous storm. john berman here for anderson. that combination is now a growing possibility for hurricane dorian. a path that maximizes both the number of people in harms way and the fuel it feeds on. for that reason we have live coverage from one of the highest risk areas tonight, but we begin with new storm data from the national hurricane center just in. and cnn meteorologist alison, tell us the latest. >> let's look at what we've got. current statistics is 85 miles per hour sustained. the forward movement is to the northwest at 13 miles per hour. we had not one, but three different hurricane hunter planes out investigating this storm at one point in time. that first one has now finally begun to exit and head back home.
an all-female pilot crew there. that one was checking out the upper level environment. that helps us determine the steering. where is the storm going to go? the two missions that are out there right now, those reconnaissance missions are taking a look at the center of the storm. is it intensifying? is it getting stronger? those types of things. that data should be in shortly. and that's really going to give us an idea whether or not the storm is getting stronger. is it a category 2? could it be getting even stronger than that? here is a look at the track. we still expect this to be a major hurricane, likely getting to that point? just about 24 hours from now. and, john, we are still looking at the potential for a category 4 at landfall in florida. >> in florida, still looking at monday, tuesday landfall. what's the timing there? i know there is difference in the models. >> there is. there is quite a discrepancy actually. let's take a look. the different models we have shifted quite a bit. the american model was favoring
north florida. the other one is favoring south. the american model on the right, the european model on the left. notice the land point, they're coming together where they think the landfall will be. most likely the south central portion of the state. but look at the times. huge difference here, john. monday at 8:00 p.m. versus wednesday at 8:00 a.m. you're almost talking a 48-hour difference for the two models here in terms of landfall timing. and that could be substantial, too, because the longer it takes, the more likely it is to sit over florida and be much slower to exit out of the region. >> that's a huge difference in time. i don't think i've ever seen that before. alison, a lot of times when we do talk about these storms, it's important not only what category they are, when they hit, but also how long it takes them to break up. as you were saying there, do you have any idea what path the storm might take after it makes landfall? >> right. so what you tend to look at, then, let's look at how much rain is going to drop. does that start to move out
pretty quick? because we all know we learned from harvey, we learned from florence the longer a storm can sit over the area, the more rain it can dump. here's one of the models, how much it can stretch. the highest amount of rain, in excess of 10 to 20 inches of rain. notice how widespread this is. you're talking about an area from fort lauderdale to jacksonville. this does signal to us that, yes, it does have the potential to sit here for an extended period of time before it can get picked up in some other atmospheric phenomenon and finally take it out. so, yes, it is not out of the question for this to make landfall and essentially sit in place for a little while before it finally exits. >> all right, alison, thank you for that information. i know you're getting more data. please keep us posted. this takes on even more residents when you consider it was 14 years ago today that hurricane katrina came ashore. and one legacy, one of the few positive things to come out of what was for so many people such a terrible experience is the
idea that no hurricane should every be taken lightly. a state of emergency is now in effect in all of florida's 67 counties and preparations underway across the state, including in port canaveral along the space coast. cnn's leyla santiago there now. how concerned are residents at this point? what are you hearing? >> reporter: you know, of those that i've talked to, they are very quick to say, listen, it is still very early, but we are keeping a close eye. we are monitoring. and often i've heard people say, i was here for hurricane irma, i remember it, and i don't want to see something like that again. so that tends to be the response from the residents and businesses. today we spoke to one hotel manager who said that she was concerned overall the cancellations that she's already received. said she'll take about $120,000 loss because it's labor day weekend. so she was expecting a lot of folks to come in and stay at her hotel for the long weekend.
she was counting on this for her business. that is changing already. so for businesses, especially here at the port where we are right now, they're already expecting to see changes in tourism. >> how else is the community preparing? and i ask this because i was surprised to see video of long gas lines already. >> reporter: right. well, the first thing i noticed when i got here was the fact that many stores are already limiting the amount of water that people can buy. i spoke to the folks over at the city of coco beach, and they tell me tomorrow they're going to bring in two truckloads of sand so that folks can make their own sand bags and prepare. and i've also seen that they have waste management out and about picking up any tree become dangerous debris should - this storm make landfall here. so people are already preparing. i do hear quite a few mentioning
what i said earlier, that it's early, but every single person that i've asked, what is your biggest concern, they say a direct hit is the big concern. >> and now is the time to get ready. leyla santiago, thank you so much for being there for us. i appreciate it. president trump tweeted about the storm today and it was quite a contrast from his remarks when puerto rico was in harms way. he trashed the commonwealth, as you will recall. here's what he said about florida. hurricane dorian looks like it will be hitting florida late sunday night. be prepared and please follow state and federal instructions. it will be a very big hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest. the president did cancel a trip to poland so he could better monitor the storm. joining us now is ben malac, the mayor of coco beach. they are getting ready. mayor, it was two years ago that hurricane irma slammed into coco beach causing a lot of damage to that community, even tearing the roof off your police department. so what concerns you most about
this storm? >> obviously the storm -- good evening -- these things have a mind of their own. if you look at the models that are kind of all over the board -- for those of us that have been boarded up for quite sometime, tropical storm tembin' best it's best to prepare for the worst. >> that is the best course of action. preparing now when you still have time, what is your community doing to get ready for dorian? >> you bet, absolutely. now is the time to get supplies, have your hurricne kit ready, have some flashlights if you lose power, which is quite a good scenario. floridians that have been here awhile are pretty well versed in this. [ inaudible ] >> all right, mayor, we're
having audio problems. we appreciate you trying to join us tonight. i know the message you're trying to send to your people is get ready now. used to, use tomorrow, get the supplies you need. and your experience in hurricane irma two years ago taught you that preparedness is the best course of action. mayor, thank you very much. next up for us, president trump accused of leaking classified information of breaking the law. now the justice department's report on firing fbi director james comey is out and you'll want to see what it says about the president's allegation and comey's conduct. and later, will it be yet another present for putin? we'll look at a possible new presidential move that seems to leave the country that russia invaded high and dry.
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former fbi director james comey bent or broke the rules, but did not break the law. that's the conclusion of a juice advertise department inspector general's report on his handling of memos he wrote detailing what he said were attempts by president trump to obstruct justice and extract a personal loyalty pledge from him. that's one key headline. the other concern is the president's repeated claim that director comey broke the law. cnn has been reporting on this really from the beginning. he joins us with all the details. what exactly did the i.g. determine comey did wrong here? >> reporter: violated policy. that is, you don't circumvent the process, you don't go around the department of justice. you don't go around the fbi, and then on your own, unilaterally decide, okay, i'm going to release information because i want to see something done in this investigation. and that is that -- we know comey wanted a special counsel appointed in this case, and so he has said so himself, that he
put this out there, he leaked some of this information out there through his lawyer to try and get a special counsel appointed. and the two key things here, as you said, john, was that for comey, look, he did violate policy. i think he is fully aware that he did that. the thing, though, most important for him is that the inspector general found he did not leak classified information. he didn't give any information to the media that is classified. so he did get something out of this, obviously violated policy is a big issue. the inspector general saying he put, basically, people in danger. by doing something like this, you're sending a message that others can do this and that was really the biggest concern for the -- one of the biggest concerns, i think, for the inspector general in this report in that they say he was supposed to safeguard this information. and instead, he did this to try and create public pressure for that special counsel to be appointed. >> a little more detail if you can on the idea of the
classified information. he found that comey did not leak classified information? >> that's right, that's what they found. they found that within the memos that did ultimately wind up in the press leaked to "the new york times," there was no classified information. the memos themselves at some point, after the fbi takes a look at these memos, again, after it gets out there, they then start taking a look at this, the fbi does. they said, you know what, there are some things in here that are classified. some of the wording, some of the sentencing. it wasn't that all of it was classified, but there were parts of it that were classified. so what they did was, as we've seen them do in other cases, they went back, they looked at it and said, well, now we're going to classify. so at the time that comey had these memos, certainly the ones -- some of the information that got out there, that wasn't classified at the time. but then the fbi went back and they took a look at it. okay, we're going to classify some of this. so they did it retroactively. >> okay. as for james comey himself, how
has he reacted to these findings today? >> obviously critical of the attacks. he has felt that he's taken in all of this by the accusations he leaked classified information. in a tweet he says, i don't need a public apology from those who dee famed me, but a quick message with a, quote, sorry we lied about you, would be nice. for all those who spent two years talking about me going to jail and being a liar and a leaker, ask yourselves why you trust people who gave you bad info for so long. and then, of course he writes, including the president. obviously not holding back here. he feels that he has been attacked continuously, accusations made against him of leaking, that he should go to jail. so i think in the end here as you can see, he feels vindicated, but still tough words here from the inspector general who said that he violated policy. and i can tell you, john, just briefly, i think for people at the fbi, they're happy to see this part of it over. there is still another part coming. another inspector general report
that's going to take a look at the entire russia investigation and how that was handled. and that is expected to be tough on the fbi as well. but for now, i think having this part behind them, for the fbi, i think they're thankful for it. a lot of them in the end do not agree with what comey did here, even though supported him initially, now do not believe what he did was right. more to come obviously. more inspector general reports that should drop soon. >> all right, thank you very much for your reporting. more now on this report. the repercussions and the controversy surrounding it. joining us two cnn legal analysts, vrabel yelliott willi. and ann milgram. do you agree with what the i.g. found? james comey didn't break the law, but he violated d.o.j. and fbi policy. does that seem reasonable? >> two things can be entirely true. number one, that director comey violated d.o.j. policy and these
guidelines with respect to information and how to safeguard them, but also that we're in remarkable times and the president of the united states, senior law enforcement officials did not trust him to the point that a number of them around him needed to write memoranda, writing down every word he said because they didn't know he wouldn't lie. even the white house counsel don mcgahn -- and this is in the mueller report, there is an entire section on it. mcgahn whenever he was face to face with the president would write memoranda afterward because he was president certain the president wouldn't lie afterward. so those two things can be true. yes, comey might have behaved in a manner that wasn't entirely appropriate, but also the conduct of the president was so problematic that people behaved in a remarkable way. >> well, that's basically the argument that comey's been making all along. extraordinary times or alarming times, as he would say, calls for extraordinary measures. but the inspector general's report addresses this which says, there are systems to go
through if you have problems with the way things are happening. >> yeah, i think one of the fascinating things about this is that comey definitely saw himself almost as a whistleblower here. but if you look at the way this went down, i understand the instinct that i think relates to what elliott was talking about which was to take those documents and almost make sure an insurance policy, the president just fired me, something is going on, he's trying to impair a investigation. i'm going to take them with me. it's leaking them and making them public it's fair for the inspector general to say you shouldn't do that and there are other ways. in comey's mind, he saw himself as a whistleblower and ran to the media to get that outlet, but the inspector general is saying, look, there are other ways to think about doing these things and those weren't your documents to leak to the media. >> and that's important because the inspector general has to think about the institution and forever. they can't send the message that every fbi official can take documents home and leak them when he or she thinks there's a crisis. >> exactly. and that they get to choose. i think this is a problem so i get to leak it. obviously comey definitely i
think he's sincere in thinking it was absolutely a problem and that he was doing the right thing. but i do think the inspector general was right on that. >> the other big finding, elliott, this james comey thinks is the most important finding here, is that he didn't leak classified information. does that shut the door on this forever? because i have a feeling the president is still going to accuse him of being a leaker. >> this is exactly ann's point. he didn't leak classified information, but he acted in contravention of d.o.j. policy. not leaking what he knew to be classified saves him from being criminally charged. as we know multiple times donald trump, jr., and hillary clinton and the president, meeting that criminal standard is very high and very difficult at times. and so certainly, no, he did not leak classified information, but this is the drum beat today and this is where -- the report is frankly somewhat fair to director comey in that this is conduct that, if we wish to
treat information as secure and protect the integrity of the investigation -- frankly, protect the safety of the d.o.j. personnel, you need to follow the guidelines with respect to how to safeguard information. >> ann, what do you make of the decision not to prosecute? it seems you think that was fairly easy to make? >> yo, i think here there's no question they made the right decision. there is absolutely no intent to leak classified information. elliott mentioned they classified the documents after. but it is also important to note comey himself could classify information. he was the director of the fbi. he did mark two of the memos as classified. he did not take those. and so it's very clear that his intent was not to take any classified material and that he believed what he had and what he shared was not classified. >> he had a consciousness of classification when he was doing what he was doing. >> he intentionally did not take that. to try to argue he did anything intentionally with regard to classification, i don't think the government could make that case. >> elliott, i'm not sure one could be done one way or the other to james comey's reputation. people have views that are set
in stone on him. but what does this do for his legacy? >> look, you heard the term rorschach test before. people are going to think about -- the ink blot test that psychologists use. people are going to think of james comey and frankly the president of the united states what they are going to think. there are people who believe james comey was acting in the interest of the united states. the president's behavior was simply remarkable, regardless of what you think of the president. it's remarkable behavior when even the white house counsel doesn't trust him. there are also people that think that jim comey should be in jail. no, i don't think anyone's view is changed right now, but again, this was a fair report. he's not charged with a crime. >> ann, he dealt with the fisa application, the other investigation to begin with william barr is looking into here. does this report portend anything for that? if this inspector general, every time he's taking a look he's found things that make him
uncomfortable at the least, upset at the most, does that mean the next ones are also going to be highly critical? >> i don't -- i don't assume not, but i would say you're right in how markle horowitz, who is the inspector general. he is a stickler for the rules for sure. he has called out any single violation of the rule. he's been quick to say even under remarkable circumstances, here is a violation, here is a violation. so, you know, i think he's going to call it as he sees it. i don't think that this outcome necessarily speaks at all to the fisa and the beginning of the investigation. but as you say, it's sort of extraordinary all these inspector general and investigations that are happening. >> elliott, i can tell you from people i speak to who have been connected to the agency or still on the inside, they expect the next one to be critical. there is a sense out there that it's going to be tough. i know you have some connections inside as well. do you sense that same thing? >> di do. and look, i overlapped with michael horowitz. he's going to be fair.
there is blame to be fair, like the president would say, to go around on all sides. the complexity, and the hot feelings that many people have and many people who believe they were acting in the interest of the united states, but at times violating d.o.j. rules. and as we saw just today. >> the next report, by the way, expected in september, which isn't that long away at this point. elliott williams, ann milgram, thank you for being with us tonight. the white house sending signals it wants to cut a significant military aid package to uh crane, something that has critics wondering why the president appears to be favoring moscow yet again. i'll speak with a key member of congress and other issues facing congress when it returns from summer recess.
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there are reports tonight that president trump is seriously considering blocking $250 million in military assistance to ukraine, something that would no doubt please russian president vladimir putin. supporters of the aid say it helps counter russian influence and aggression in the region. nothing is final yet, but if the administration goes ahead, it is bound to draw considerable push back from congress from both sides of the aisle. this as an administration officials tells cnn the pentagon has already setaid a hold on th aid should be lifted. joining me is democrat connelly. congressman, thanks so much for being with us. i wonder what message -- >> good to be with you, john. >> i wonder what message you think this sends about whose
side the u.s. is on when it comes to russia and ukraine. >> you know what, a good question. there is nothing even subtle about this one. you know, trump is sending up smoke signals bigger than mountains for vladimir putin. and for that matter, for those countries who are counting on u.s. assistance and support against russian. remember russians occupy parts of russia, muldova and annexation of crimea. this is a clear signal. >> some republicans have come forward already and condemned the notion of blocking this aid, but president obama had ever seriously considered blocking military aid to ukraine, don't you think that every single republican would be up in arms? do you need to hear more from the other side of the aisle? >> absolutely. i mean, the double standards
among my colleagues in the house and the senate on the other side of the aisle are too numerous to retell. but there's no question that most of them choose silence or rationalization for policies that are frankly indefensible. but in this particular case, lives are at risk. remember, fighting is going on in eastern ukraine. lives are being lost. the ukrainian people are trying to recover their lost territory, and the united states ought to be standing side by side with our fellow democratic nation and with, frankly, freedom fighters and freedom lovers in the ukraine. >> and this does come on the heels, by the way, of the president at the g7 pushing for russia to be readmitted. do you see a connection there? >> i think it's all part of a pattern. none of us really can fathom
this bromance between donald j. trump and vladimir putin. but now it's gone much further than that. this is enabling behavior. this is inviting putin into the tent and turning a blind eye -- in fact, turning his back toward russian malicious behavior, especially in ukraine. i think it is something that ought to be roundly condemned by all members of congress. and the congress needs to reassert as quickly as possible that $250 million that's appropriated. it must be provided to the government of the ukraine. >> we'll see how government handles it when you come back next week. i also want to ask you about the reporting that president trump recently told aides he would pardon them if they committed illegal acts while fulfilling his demand to build a border wall by 2020. now white house insiders tell us he was only joking when he said
that. not clear, but some of the democratic colleagues in congress say if it is true, it would constitute an unconstitutional abuse of power. do you agree and do you think it needs to be investigated? >> i certainly think it needs to be investigated, john. is it an abuse of power? well, pardons are not a laughing matter. and the abuse of the use of pardons, which is a pretty broad use provided in the constitution, is deeply troubling. he promised -- he says he was joking -- his aides who expressed concern that some of what he was asking them to do was against the law. he said, well, i'll pardon you. don't worry about it. go ahead and do it anyhow. if that is accurate, he is urging staff members to commit violations of law, crimes, in return for which he'll promise them a pardon. that is itself potentially criminal activity on the part of
the president. >> potentially impeachable? >> absolutely. you know, we had a governor of, i think, tennessee, you know, a number of years ago who went to jail for selling pardons, for offering pardons in exchange for something of value. and that's what president trump is doing here if this story is accurate. >> all right, jerry connelly, democratic congressman from virginia, thank you very much for being with us tonight. do appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. >> up next, reaction from a former intelligence insider to new remarks by former defense secretary james mattis about his relationship with president trump. james clapper joins us next. let's get down to business.
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more tonight from former defense secretary james mattis who resigned abruptly last december after president trump announced he would withdraw all u.s. troops from syria. mattis is speaking out about his time in the trump administration as he promotes his new book out next week. he told the atlantic, quote, you don't endanger the company by attacking the elected commander in chief. i may not like a commander in chief one freaking bit, but the system puts the commander in chief in there. and further weaken him up against real threats, i mean, we could be at war on the korean peninsula every time they start launching something. joining me is retired general james clapper, former director of intelligence and cnn national security analyst.
he's also the author of facts and fears. i wonder if you would agree with the point the secretary mattis made. he owes the commander in chief silence. i ask because your service in this country started 1961, ended the day president trump was inaugurated. instead of entering private life silently you started speaking up because you found some of what he was doing was dangerous. >> that's right, john, i did. initially my objective was simply to defend the intelligence community, which at the time was and in some ways still is under attack by the president. and having just left it, i understood how difficult it is for those who were in it to speak up and felt i had to play that role. and i sort of follow the model of mike hayden, who during our
challenges in the snowden -- with the snowden revelations, and mike was very effective, sort of our unofficial public spokesman. i thought i should follow that, that model. i will say this is a very individual personal decision. what jim did is circumspect as he has been, is classic jim mattis. and i'll never forget the scene when he and the president elect were standing on the doorstep there at bedminster and i had two thoughts. thank god that jim is going to take this job on as secretary of defense, but it won't last. jim is a man of principle. and he stayed as he said. he did as well as he could for as long as he could. truth in advertising, he's a friend and someone i greatly admire. >> on the subject of it won't last, in the same interview we're talking about, general
mattis says, quote, there is a period in which i owe meisei lens. it's not eternal. it's not going to be forever. so when do you think this grace period might end for him? >> you know, i don't know, john. and i thought that statement was very intriguing. i think jim is -- not to be an amateur psychologist here, but internally conflicted. i would be very surprised if he doesn't speak out more explicitly about the president as the election draws nigh. i can't put, obviously, a date and time. but i think we'll hear more from jim and i hope we do. >> interesting, because that, of course, is the date a lot of people are looking at right now. will he speak more before the election. i want to read one more passage from this article describing the meeting that led to mattis resigning, because we've never
really heard these details before. it reads, quote, mattis matd his case for keeping troops in syria. president trump rejected his arguments. 30 minutes into the conversation, mattis told the president, you're going to have to get the next secretary of defense to lose to isis. i'm not going to do it. now, i should note jeffrey goldberg who wrote this piece said none of those details came from mattis himself, but still a pretty remarkable scene, no? >> well, yeah. it is. as you point out, john, it's not directly from jim mattis himself, but it is, i think, consistent. and i saw this when he was commander of central command, jim placed a very high premium on relations with our allies. he's not one who believes that the united states can go it alone. that's why i figured that with this america first approach, that jim's time as secretary of defense was limited. and i think the straw that broke the camel's back was leaving
syria when isis had not been defeated and as well kind of leaving the kurds high and dry who only did everything we asked them to do when it came to heavy lifting and fighting and dying. that was it for jim. >> in the realm of supporting your allies, i do want to ask you about the news out today the president is considering blocking military assistance to ukraine, $250 million worth, ukraine an ally of the united states. so what message would that send to the world and vladimir putin? >> well, not a very good one in terms of the messaging to our friends and allies. and, of course, you know, this is a good day -- it's a happy face day for vladimir putin. you know, we have -- the united states has an ethical and moral responsibility to help the
ukraine who is fighting against the separatists in the southeast part of the country and still dealing with the seizure of crimea. it's been consistent policy since that happened to support them. and as well, your previous segment is germain here. this kind of conflicts with the congressional will. >> james clapper, general, thank you so much for being with us tonight. always appreciate it. >> thanks, john. >> when we come back, see why getting smaller is the biggest news possible about the next democratic debate. also who is in and who is out. >> former congressman beto o'rourke. i mean, if you haven't thought about switching to geico, frankly, you're missing out. uh... the mobile app makes it easy to manage your policy, even way out here. your marshmallow's...
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right. you see senator amy klobuchar, buttigieg, former vice-president joe biden, senator elizabeth warren, senator kamala harris, entrepreneur andrew yang, former congressman beto o'rourke, former hud secretary julian castro. ladies and gentlemen, your september democratic debate. let's check in with chris for more on what this all means and what he's working on for cuomo primetime. when we last spoke on tv, you couldn't hear me but i could hear you. >> yes. that's the opposite of how you want it to be. i was faking it, i heard you the whole time. i'm kidding. >> warren and biden, that's what people want to see. >> 100%. i think if elizabeth warren tunes joe biden out, what does that look like in it looks like him not wanting to engage with her, him being too deferential to the time clock. him not seeming to have the same passion and sense of purpose that she has. see, i'm not mentioning ideas. i'm not mentioning policies because i think that party right
now is grossly overestimating their value in the upcoming battle they'll be in with this president. what does it mean other than what you and i are talking about? doesn't mean that much. 100, what, 56, 57 days before anybody casts a vote. they're going to keep winnowing it down. they have to figure out what matters most to them. it's allegation interesting to watch. >> what do you have coming up on the show? >> all right. got andrew yang here. for a little bit of the conversation we have here, what is his place in the field, what does he feel about the place of his party, is he agreeing what they are culling up into this. we have dorian, one of the storm chasers in the plane, one of the noaa guys. what you and i will be heading into them. >> reason for serious concern. thank you very much, chris. we'll see you in a few minutes. up next, he said it was the god's truth. someone said joe biden may have been truly mistaken about the war story he keeps telling on
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♪ (music plays throughout)♪ ♪ .. joe biden has a war story he likes to tell on the campaign trail. a new report says the specifyings of his latest version are mostly wrong. traveling with the former vice president and joins us now with the story on the story. what can you tell us about this? >> reporter: well, this all steams from a story that joe
biden told last friday at an event in new hampshire. he was recalling the story of a war hero who had gone down a ravine to bring back the body of a comrade. he told that person had told him at the time, as he awarded him a medal, that he did not want to receive that medal because he doesn't feel like he had actually deserved it. the "washington post" is now reporting that the facts, the details in that story were conflated. they were drawn from three different accounts and put into one incident. the "washington post" does acknowledge the core, one component that he did tell where he says there was a service member who said that he didn't feel like he deserved the award, that was true. they interviewed someone named army staff sergeant chad workman in afghanistan and did get a medal pinned on him by the former vice president. so right now, the "washington post" reporting that the former
vice president conflated the details of this incident. three incidents into one. >> the former vice president has commented now on this story. and he seems to be pushing back, yes? >> reporter: that's right. he did push back on this in a series of interviews today. one with the post and courier. a local south carolina newspaper. and another interview with the "washington post." jonathan capehart. take a listen to what he had to say there. >> what was the gaffe when i said there was a young man, i tried to pin a medal on him. he didn't want it. he died. he died. it was a young man. my recollection was that in fact pulled a colleague of his out of a burning humvee and he risked his life doing it and the young man died. that he tried to save. >> now, we tried on ask biden
about this as he was leaving the event in greenville, south carolina. he ignored the reporters' questions as he was leaving. he did not further elaborate on the details of the story he told last week. >> all right. thank you very much. joining us now, the former white house communications director in the obama white house. someone who knows the vice president, and who worked with him in the administration, what do you make of all this? >> well, the way joe biden has been telling this inaccurate version of it for several years. back to 2016 and even before. that doesn't make it right. he should be telling the accurate version of the story but what he's trying to convey is his connection with military veterans and men and women who are serving. everyone knows his son served. he keeps a record with him of the number of men and women who have been killed in iraq and afghanistan and places of war with him on the trail every day. so that is who he is and what he's trying to convey. i don't think that there is going to be big demarkation
points against him for combining stories that were accurate. he is still conveying that he cares about the men and women who serve him and that bears out by validation of people who have met him. even that veteran who ar lette mentioned? >> details are not accurate, which was why it was curious today how the vice president pushed back completely and said no, i did get it wrong. or suggested if he did get it wrong, it didn't matter because the thrust of the story was right. has donald trump made it safe to say up is down in some cases? >> well, that's also that kind of pushing back is what we've seen joe biden do. unrelated to donald trump, over the past several months. when some of the statements he's made have been questioned or they've been a little bit off. or he's made comments that have
been offensive at times. his initial gut is to not acknowledge that. that's who he is as well. so in this case, i wish that he would have that, i did have that experience with a veteran. i gary the men and women who serve. of course you wish that's what he would have that. >> and we have 30 seconds left. the other issue is if he did remember the story accurately, does this play into the questions about his age? >> well, i think, gaffes in general, there is a lot of focus on them. i don't think they matter unless they play into a perceived vulnerability. and there has been this chatter fair or unfair about him, whether he is up to the task or not. this plays into that. we haven't seen it bear out in polls even with gaffes on the trail. so it might be that people are forgiving and they don't care. >> it may just be part of the new era we're in where things like this don't matter as much as they used to.
great to have you on tonight. i appreciate it. a lot more going on with hurricane dorian bearing down. the news continues. i'll hand it over to chris for cuomo prime time. >> thank you. welcome to prime time. hurricane dorian is gaining strength, heading for florida. and we have someone here who braved the dangerous elements to make his way with his crew to the very center of the storm. the hurricane hunter is in the sky right now. we'll bring you the latest on what the concerns are and why of we have andrew yang here. he made the cut for the next debate stage. is he cut out to take on the ultimate fight against donald trump? his big pitch is a stipend for all. let's put it to the test tonight. he's been going at it with bernie sanders. we'll