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AT THIS HOUR
CIA Chief: Need "To Separate" King Jong-Un from Nukes; CIA Director Slams NYT for Revealing Operative; Police Chief; Bride-to-Be "Didn't Have to Die"; Chamber of Commerce to Congress: Get Act Together; Mueller Tells White House Staff to Preserve All Docs on Don Jr's Russia Meeting; Anthony Scaramucci Named White House Communications Director. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired July 21, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:30:00] MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula and get the weapons off that. The thing that is most dangerous is the character who holds control of them today. From the administration's perspective, the most important thing we can do is separate the two. Separate capacity and someone who might well have intent and break those two apart. I am hopeful we find a way to separate that regime from this system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That got a lot of attention, it seems, Matthew. He avoided calling for regime change but is seems a pretty aggressive posture.
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. It's interesting. His people, afterward, made it very clear there was -- he was absolutely not trying to call for regime change there and did seem to be very much threading the needle or however you want to put it. I do think he was putting pretty far forward that, as he sees it, the administration sees it, they need to find a way to either end the program, to get rid of the missiles, to deal with North Korea's nuclear missiles program, nuclear weapons program before it's becomes a genuine substantial threat to the U.S. and others around the country, around the world.
BOLDUAN: And Pompeo had a lot to say on a lot of topics, it seems. He took issue with a piece that you wrote, I think, back in June, if I'm correct, on the CIA officer taking on a new role at the agency. Pompeo called it unconscionable that you named the guy. I want to give you a chance to respond to that.
ROSENBERG: At the CIA, many people are considered clandestine. Their identities are not public. They are classified. That covers everyone from guys in the field, who are in covert operations, to some of the most senior officials in Langley. In the case of the person we named, he is the head of the -- the new chief of the Iran program there. He was the architect of the drone program for years before this. His role is more akin to a general in a secret war than it is, say, to a guy who is out there in a hostile power trying to do spy work. I do think, you know, when you say we named a covert operative, you are suggesting we put somebody's life at risk here. This is a senior official who works at headquarters in Langley. You know, the idea of naming him is these are issues and actions that our country is taking and that we think the public has a right to discuss and scrutinize. Part of that process is knowing who is in charge of these issues and who is leading them and who is helping them execute policy.
BOLDUAN: Great to have you on, Matthew. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
ROSENBERG: Great. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: See you soon.
Coming up for us, more on breaking news. Bob Mueller asking White House staff to preserve all documents relating to the infamous Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer. We'll have more details on that.
Plus, "She didn't have to die," the police chief in Minneapolis saying those words, saying that about the bride-to-be shot and killed by a police officer in that city. The comments not any consolation to the family. Still demanding more answers. So many questions still out there. The details on that, coming up.
[11:37:44] BOLDUAN: "She didn't have to die," that's the surprising admission coming from the Minneapolis police chief right now about the fatal shooting of an Australian woman. In her first public statement on the death of Justine Ruszczyk, the police chief said the shooting was the actions of the actions and judgement of one individual. Ruszczyk died Saturday after being shot by an officer responding to her 911 call. The officer, Mohamed Noor, has refused to speak to investigators.
Joining me now with the very latest on this, CNN national correspondent, Scott McLean.
Scott, you spoke to the family's attorney. How are they reacting to what the police chief said? A real surprise?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are right, Kate. I should point out, there was a public march last night with a singular focus, and that was justice for Justine Ruszczyk. She was killed in this alley way on Saturday night after calling to report a possible sexual assault. Now It was a pretty unusual alliance of people who showed up. Many ordinary neighbors from the middle-class Minneapolis neighborhood who say they might think twice about calling the police. And also, a handful of activists who want police accountability. One was Valerie Castile. Her son Philando was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis later year. She said it's symbolic Justine Ruszczyk was killed on her son's birthday.
As you can see from this memorial left behind, the questions people want answers to in this neighborhood is why. So far, we only have answers or the account of one single officer, Matthew Harrity, the officer driving that night. He said his partner, Mohamed Noor, heard a loud sound that startled him before Justine Ruszczyk showed up and that fatal shot was fired. His lawyer said it was reasonable for officers to expect a possible ambush.
But the lawyer for Justine's Ruszczyk's family doesn't buy that. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT BENNETT, LAWYER FOR JUSTINE RUSZCZYK'S FAMILY: It's not exactly ambush central out there, nor is it the ambushee or the person who would conduct this ambush likely to be the one to call the police and come to check to see what they were doing in their pajamas. I mean, those kinds of excuses are beyond the pale. This information is meant to distract and reflect, rather than shed light on anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:40:11] MCLEAN: That lawyer, Bob Bennett, also represented the Castile family and won a large $3 million settlement in that case.
There is still an active investigation by an outside state agency. But as you said, Kate, the police chief did speak last night. She said that Mohamed Noor was well trained, a good hire but, in this case, she will not defend him.
BOLDUAN: What the police chief said, as the outside agency is investigating, I find really remarkable as this plays out. Of course, we'll wait to see what comes of that investigation.
Thanks so much, Scott. I appreciate it.
We return to breaking news this hour, a CNN exclusive. Special Council, Bob Mueller, making a request of White House staff to preserve all documents, text messages, e-mails, any notes taken related to Donald Trump Jr's now-infamous meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower at the height of the election and the response after the fact. What does it mean for the investigation and the White House? That's next.
[11:45:09] BOLDUAN: The influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce seems to be downright scolding lawmakers for not working together to get a health care bill passed. It's coming in an open letter to Congress. The Chamber encouraging them to get started on tax reform.
CNN's chief national correspondent and host of "Inside Politics, John King.
You broke this story, John. This letter was fascinating. And the final line in it laid out to members of Congress: "Members of Congress, be warned, failure is not an option." Wow.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Kate, exasperation is the polite word I will choose on where the Chamber of Commerce stands right now as they watch the action in Congress. The Chamber is not alone. A number of Republican coalition groups look at the calendar, it's the end of July. We are moving into summer vacation and August and none of the big-ticket items, whether health care, tax reform, infrastructure, other items, have been done.
Let me read you a little more from the letter sent by the Chamber CEO yesterday to every member of Congress: "We are a quarter of the way through this Congress but we are not yet where we need to be on key issues, like health care, tax reform, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. Promises were made. Promises much be kept. The time has long-since passed to get to "yes" in health care, tax reform and infrastructure investment.
From the Chamber's perspective, they do not want the year to pass without tax reform. That is most important to the business community. Health care is important. Infrastructure is very important. Tax reform is their holy grail. They look at what's happening in health care and they are worried. Why? They thought President Trump, he promised -- remember he was "Art of the Deal" president. Hasn't worked on health care. They hoped health care would get the competing factions in the Republican Party to come together, learn to govern, learn to make compromises. We have seen that has not happened on health care. Tax reform is just as hard, if not harder. Infrastructure requires Democratic votes.
You see the frustration at the six-month mark of the Trump presidency and six months of Republican-controlled Washington that the party has not shifted from opposition to President Obama to learning how to govern. And to groups like the Chamber that need to get things done, they want to get things done. They were promised things would be done and done pretty quickly. Are -- again, I'm going to use the word, exasperated. But it's lunch hour and I'm being polite.
BOLDUAN: Let's move to the breaking news. I want to get your reaction to the news we are hearing about Bob Mueller asking the White House -- putting in a request that the White House staff preserve all documents related to the now infamous meeting from June 2016 and Donald Trump Jr and others and the Russian attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Maybe pro forma, maybe just what would happen early on in an investigation, but does this spell trouble for the White House?
KING: Yes. It spells trouble for the White House, even if nothing wrong was done. In the sense that if Bob Mueller is saying preserve all documents you have, all text messages, communications, written notes about what you know about the June 2016 meeting, but also about a meeting on Air Force One on the way back from Europe to plot the response and the White House statement in response to this. This now means the presidency is consumed by this. You can bring it back to the conversation we were having. If the White House is consumed by it, we know the president is shaking up his legal team, and we know the president is made about this, we know the president is spending a lot of time worrying about it and lashing out. It's time not spent on health care, on tax reform, on other issues. A, it puts on the record Bob Mueller is, indeed, investigating the things sources tell us they are investigating.
BOLDUAN: Right. Right.
KING: Now it's on the record. Number two, Kate, I went through this in the Clinton years. When a special council expands focus, it adds months and it adds tens of thousands, if not in the case of the president, millions of dollars of legal bills to the investigation. If you are looking at July 21st, we are at six months, the first year of the Trump presidency, this letter tells you this investigation is going to carry on deep into the second year, at a minimum.
BOLDUAN: Maybe can explain some of what is clearly the worry from inside this White House.
KING: That's a very key point. I don't mean to interrupt you, but that's a key point. The president and his team know more than we do. When the president raises the word condo in defending his, I don't have Russian investments, I don't have Russia money, when the president is lashing out at the attorney general and lawyers, what does that tell you? He knows things about the investigation and he doesn't like them.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, John. We will see you in a few minutes on "Inside Politics."
KING: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Thank you.
Joining me now to discuss, CNN political commentator, Symone Sanders, is here. She was the press secretary for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. And CNN political commentator and former communications director for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, Alice Stewart, is here.
Great to see you both.
Let's choose your own adventure. Let's start with the breaking news.
Alice, what do you make of -- John laid it out. It's trouble for the White House. And I remember you even talking about this. We've talked about this. When the evolution of statements were coming out from Don Jr and others, and then the news that White House staff had been involved in crafting those responses. You said this is going to open this up to a lot more people.
[11:50:18] ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. A wise old former boss of mine used to say the truth never changes. That's the good thing about telling the truth. You don't have to worry about what you said in the past. The fact these statements out of the White House have evolved over time that will be problematic, and I think it's critical for them to get on record with their statements. All the facts together before they move forward and certainly before they testify to what John talked about, asking them to preserve the documents. I wouldn't read too much into that. That's part of the process. Certainly -- I don't like to play -- Hillary Clinton lost a lot of e-mails and that hampered finding out information. In this case, Mueller is wise to say, let's make sure nothing disappears, that's part of the investigation. This is a broad scope of an investigation. Wise to do, but I wouldn't read a lot into it.
BOLDUAN: That's what we do, Alice!
From the political standpoint, talking purely political, the news we talked about also at the top of the hour that "The Washington Post" and "New York Times" reporting that the White House, the president, his staff, are looking to discredit. Looking at ways to discredit Bob Mueller and his team. Investigating the investigators. From a political standpoint, do you that surprise you at all.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: NO, it doesn't.
BOLDUAN: Do you fault them for doing that?
SANDERS: I, of course, wouldn't be under investigation about possible collusion with the Russians and I can't tell you what I'd do because I don't think I'd find myself there. I'm not surprised that --
BOLDUAN: Don't say never. Keep going.
SANDERS: I don't think. I don't think. Never-never. I'm not surprised Donald Trump is -- about the cover-up. So I think there are Republicans, though, that are surprised. Lots of folks thought, look, once Donald Trump gets into the White House he's going to make this imminent pivot they said was coming and he would just embrace the fact he is now the president of United States and would govern. I don't think he's done that. I don't think Donald Trump understands that this has wider implications for our national security, for us around the world more than just Donald Trump's backyard. I'm not surprised that his first instinct is to save himself.
BOLDUAN: Stand by.
We're getting breaking news coming in just now.
Over to the White House. Kaitlyn Collins is standing by.
Kaitlyn, what are you picking up?
KAITLYN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. We're hearing Anthony Scaramucci has been named as the White House communications director, now from a senior administration official, a White House official, and a third person with knowledge of the meeting that Mr. Scaramucci had with the president at the White House here this morning. He's taking on this position left empty since Mike Dubke resigned in early June and left the White House. A position Press Secretary Sean Spicer handled the last few months. But we hear Anthony Scaramucci is the new communications director here at the White House.
BOLDUAN: Fascinating move. Something may have been rumored and now confirmation of it.
Kaitlyn, thanks for bringing the breaking news.
Let's bring in CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, on this.
Brian, talk of a shake-up in the press shop, it's been much discussed for a significant period of time.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: Oh, yes.
BOLDUAN: Anthony Scaramucci, he's not a -- he's become a very popular spokesman for the president.
STELTER: Yes. A fighter on television. Something the president really appreciates. We've seen him on CNN and other channels defending the president vigorously. And clearly the president wants that. He's been dissatisfied with the press operation. Hard to find a new communications director. This job has been vacant well over a month. Sean Spicer filling in on a temporary basis.
BOLDUAN: Unclear, of course, Brian, what would make the president -- please the president?
STELTER: Satisfy him about this?
BOLDUAN: Satisfy the president in terms of his com shop, it's safe to say?
STELTER: Absolutely. A key job in the White House. We know the names of some of the former communications directors in the Bush and Obama years, Dan Pfeiffer, Karen Hughes. Nicolle Wallace, Jennifer Palmieri. Visible on television back then and still today. It's a really crucial job helping shape a president's image. Deciding when and where they'll give interviews, when they won't. This president believes it's his own best P.R. person. He's a hedge fund guy, entrepreneur. Appointment at the Export/Import Bank. Now moving into this job. Unclear what it means for Sean Spicer. We're told he'll stay in the White House. He was asked and Spicer reportedly slammed the door in his face. We don't know if there will be a press briefing today, and, if so, if on camera or off.
BOLDUAN: Questions will be asked. In what format? Stand by for that.
Brian, great to see you.
STELTER: Thank you.
You guys, a quick reaction on this?
STEWART: Smart, super savvy. The president has ultimate faith and trust in him. He is a street fighter, as Brian said. The goal of any com work, plan your work and work your plan. That's needed here. Unfortunately, the president is calling the shots by the com shot and likes to fly by the seat of his pants.
[11:55:17] BOLDUAN: There were a lot of people that knew the president was going to move Sean off this job.
Symone, what do you think?
SANDERS: Has Scaramucci ever written a communications plan? Does he know the --
BOLDUAN: Needs to write one for this White House?
SANDERS: Yes. It's more than just Donald Trump. When you are the communications director at the White House, you are directing the strategy. Like what is the strategy for getting, not just on television but getting the stories? How do we tell our stories, out messaging stories? Themed weeks that nobody knows about.
BOLDUAN: And congratulations. Now we've come to the end of "Made in America" week.
Great to see you. Thank you so much.
Brian, great to see you.
Great to see you guys as well.
Much more on our breaking news coming in right now.
"Inside Politics" right after this.