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Poll Finds American Malaise; Rand Paul Clarifies Israel Support; NATO: 20,000 Russian Troops On Ukraine Border; New Leaker Exposing U.S. Secrets

Aired August 6, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Basket's right outside our office. I try to intimidate her.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All you do is make noise outside my office.

CUOMO: And you yell at me.

BOLDUAN: Because you make noise outside my office? You know who doesn't make noise outside my office?

CUOMO: John King?

BOLDUAN: That's right.

CUOMO: Time for INSIDE POLITICS, there's the man himself looking very well.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": You need me to clean this one up?

CUOMO: As always.

KING: Good morning. My daughter, she's a bit older about to go to college but when she was younger, she is a huge Becky Hammon fan, when she played for the New York Liberty. We have her autograph. Becky Hammon does know basketball. It would be interesting to watch that one as it plays out.

Now to the world of "Inside Politics." With me this morning on a busy day to share their reporting and their insight, Todd Zwillich of WNYC and PRI, and Manu Raju of "Politico."

Let's start with this new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, which shows the American people hate this town and just about everybody who works in it. But in a mid-term election year the North Star is usually the president's approval rating.

Look at these numbers, 40 percent of Americans approve of the president's job performance, 54 percent disapprove. That's an all- time low in the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" polling and part of the reason they are mad at the president is they think the country is heading in the wrong direction.

This is a stunning number, 71 percent of the Americans say the country is on wrong track. Nearly eight in ten Americans are dissatisfied with the American political system and 71 percent says Washington bears responsibility for part what have they believe is an economic funk.

If you look at those numbers, three months from a midterm election, but what's the biggest scene this jumps at?

MANU RAJU, "POLITICO": Very ominous sign for Democrats. Any time the president is under water like this, his party suffers in a midterm election. We are looking at that probably in the house. There's chance that Democrats -- Republicans take control of the Senate.

But the interesting thing in those poll numbers too, John, is that voters aren't typically motivated behind a specific issue unlike 2010, the health care drove Republican voters out to the polls, in 2006 Iraq drove Democratic voters out to the polls.

We may see a pretty low turnout election here, which may mean there may not be Republican wave that you would expect them to have. They may gain seats, but maybe they'll leave a couple of seats on table and maybe they end up just short of a Senate majority. Voters are not motivated because they hate Washington.

KING: They almost think no matter who they send here it's not going to work. Normally the White House would say, and they have a case to make, look, the Republican brand is worse than our brand. However, midterm elections normally don't work that way, right?

TODD ZWILLICH, "THE TAKEAWAY" WNCY/PRI: One thing Democrats worry about in this environment. The House is not going to flip. Let's stipulate that, there will be a Republican-controlled House. The Senate is what we're really talking about. One thing the Democrats worry about in this environment is cynicism against government, which they think has been fueled by Republicans.

Dysfunction, government shutdown, debt limit, 40 votes to repeal Obamacare, dysfunction, that that kind of cynicism turns around and helps the people who have been shutting down government. Because people say government doesn't work and I'll vote for the anti- government party.

What's interesting is that as Manu said there hasn't been a whole lot of coalescing however around the Republican brand. Another number in that poll is what we would guess, 14 percent approval rating for Congress. The president is going to do all he can to pin that number on the chest of Republicans, to expose the divides in the Republican Party, which are deep.

So I think when we're talking about the Senate there are a lot of questions as to who really capitalizes. Democrats are on defense and they might lose the Senate, no question, but the actual -- I think the actual conclusions you can draw from that poll leave a lot of questions who benefits.

KING: The 14 percent who approve Congress, friends and family. We look at the polling numbers and laughing about them. Actually sort of sad if you look at it. The polling numbers, as Todd mentioned, 14 percent approve of Congress. decided to ask a different way, asked some folks out there if you could describe Congress in one word, what would it be?

Look at this word cloud, useless, worthless, joke, corrupt, incompetent, lazy, inept, idiots, selfish, dysfunctional. You can keep reading. None of those words are good words. If this were your job review, time to find a new line of work?

RAJU: I think so, but these guys are probably going to get re-elected as we saw last night in the primaries -- John.

KING: Isn't that stunning that there is this sense out there, Congress isn't working. It's a daycare center in some ways. They can't do anything hard anyway and yet if you look across the primaries, only three House incumbents I believe have lost, one was a big one, the House majority leader. No Senate incumbents have been defeated. Why doesn't the disgust translate into a revolt?

ZWILLICH: There's this old conventional wisdom about the power of incumbency, the ability to fund raise and old political networks. All of those things are in play here. It's just not that easy to unseat somebody.

In the case of Pat Roberts, who won his primary in Kansas against charges that he's never around, he barely lives there, some of those charges had some merit, and another long-time Senator Dick Lugar from Indiana suffered that fate just a couple of years ago, not being present in the state.

RAJU: John, candidates and campaigns absolutely matter here, and Pat Roberts was able to effectively discredit Milton Wolf, his Tea Party challenger last night, and you've seen that happen time and again this election cycle, Mitch McConnell did to Matt Bevin in Kentucky. The Republican establishment has learned how to fight back and make these guys seem unelectable.

KING: You make a key point, if you want to beat an incumbent, you need a better candidate.

ZWILLICH: You mentioned McConnell, we should mention, it's not going to be a primary, but we have to keep the page open on the incumbents because the McConnell race is the big one. Will he get to the Promised Land if Republicans win the majority, don't want to be Moses standing on the hill, you know, not able to go with them.

KING: He's not only a long-time incumbent, he is a leader. If you're going to stoke an anti-Washington vote, he would be the target to watch there. It's a good point. Let's move on. We talked a bit about this yesterday.

Rand Paul who is on the record repeatedly saying that he would repeal foreign aid including foreign aid to Israel is trying to clean that up as he tries to raise his profile as a potential Republican in 2016 contender. We talked a bit about this yesterday, but Rand Paul out there yet again saying listen I do not -- remember, he wants to underscore not even if the past he said I do, want to take away Israel's foreign aid.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I've always said that my position is similar to Netanyahu's position, that ultimately for Israel, it would be even better if they were completely independent, but I haven't proposed targeting or eliminating any aid to Israel.


KING: Yesterday we played an exchange with Wolf Blitzer where Wolf said to be clear, all foreign aid to Israel and he said yes. Now maybe he hasn't brought a bill to the floor to do that, but he's talked about it a lot. How is this clean-up going?

RAJU: I mean, it's not looking very good. Look like he's rewriting history. The challenge for Rand Paul always has been establishing his brand beyond his libertarian following, the following that was really fervent behind his father, but also did not propel his father to the presidential nomination.

Rand Paul wants to broaden that and it appeals to a more diverse coalition. He's trying to showcase that he can appeal to all segment of the party while also maintaining the libertarian brand. It's not very easy to do

KING: Why can't they just say I changed my mind?

ZWILLICH: The human genome project has proved that the politicians share about 50 percent of the chameleon genome, too difficult for many to just change a position.

KING: Right.

ZWILLICH: I think more broadly and I'll say this quickly, stepping back from Rand Paul, confronting the clash between his libertarian past that propelled him to national prominence and prominence in Kentucky with the realities of the Republican Party, still half hawks, still half defense hawks. You have to be pro-Israel to be a national Republican and he's got to deal with the change.

KING: He has to deal with the change. Todd, Manu, thanks for coming in. We get back to you guys in New York. I want to close with this Hillary Clinton, Stephen Colbert. Maybe she should be a TV producer, watch this.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Stephen, I've got a hard choice for you.


CLINTON: It will be brought. Your choice, promote my book or I won't appear on your show.

COLBERT: But you have already appeared on my show. No. No. Fine, buy "hard choices" at book stores everywhere, our done here, OK.

CLINTON: Thank you, Stephen, was that such a hard choice to make?


BOLDUAN: I love that guy, if only.

KING: If only.

BOLDUAN: If only -- I mean, I'm not even asking for like blur power, pixelation power. That would be good.

CUOMO: Please, how much would you love to be able to snap your fingers and pixelate your face? Nobody would know what I look like.

KING: I don't know.

BOLDUAN: How many times do you think she said hard choices at this point, John?

KING: Six million plus.


CUOMO: Oddly, I think he's right. Thanks, John. See you tomorrow.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, Ukraine launching an air strike on rebels in the east as thousands of Russian troops reportedly are gathering along the border. Is Vladimir Putin preparing to order an invasion? We're going to have analysis after the break.

CUOMO: And the U.S. government has another leaker on its hands. What is he exposing and what is the U.S. going to do about it? All details ahead still here, still here.


CUOMO: File this under no big surprise. Russia is flexing its muscle along the border they share with Ukraine again. Again there are troops doubling in a week. NATO officials now estimating some 20,000 have moved closer to the conflict breaking out in Eastern Ukraine, their weapons being supplied.

That's increasing as well and caught in the crossfire the crash investigation, MH-17 where there are believed to still be remains and obviously personal effects and a lot of investigating to be done. International monitors are struggling because of all the clashing that's going on around the perimeter of the site.

So let's take a closer look. We have Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Colonel, can't come as a surprise politically.

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: No. CUOMO: Sanctions, everybody says sanctions will be enough. Clearly they don't mean anything to Putin. Let's take a look at the map and see what's going on, where the build-up is here. We'll show you with the floor of the world that we have. Obviously, Ukraine and Russia share a border. What do you see and what does it mean?

FRANCONA: Well, the Russians have moved a lot more troops, 20,000, as you said, 17 maneuver battalions. That's enough to go into the East Ukraine if they really want to. The question is now will they?

CUOMO: Now the obvious question but they need to be asked. Is there any good reason for them to be there? Are they ever there? Is there ever any justification for them to be there other than the obvious?

FRANCONA: They will say this is for a military exercise or they are preparing for humanitarian aid to fellow Russians.

CUOMO: Both of which they said before Crimea?

FRANCONA: Exactly. This is a template they see. They either call a military exercise or say they will have humanitarian intervention.

CUOMO: And you said we're seeing humanitarian symbols on some of their vehicles.

FRANCONA: A lot of the Russian vehicles already have the humanitarian aid emblem that we've seen in the past.

CUOMO: Like a tank with a humanitarian aid emblem.

FRANCONA: More of a truck and you move troops on these trucks and Putin has in the past used these and declared humanitarian interventions, and he's got a lot of ethnic Russians in there and he believes himself to be the protector of all Russians everywhere.

CUOMO: But to be very clear this is exactly what he's been asked not to do.

FRANCONA: Correct.

CUOMO: All right. So if anybody was wondering what the sanctions are doing in terms of slowing him down as many in our government have suggested doesn't look like it now.

FRANCONA: No, it doesn't. Vladimir Putin has a vision. He has a mission and he believes that he's going to carry out that mission and nothing we have done yet has slowed him down.

CUOMO: All right. Now proof of what that mission may be. Let's go to the next picture because we want to show you where the fighting is going on in Eastern Ukraine right now. Now, you have Donetsk and Lahansk, two positions there. Ukraine is starting to gain advantage in those areas and no small reason for why we're seeing a build-up.

FRANCONA: Exactly. The Ukrainian Army over the past month or so has gotten its act together and pushed the separatists into the enclave in the border right opposite where Russian forces are, and the Russians are now concerned that their clients in East Ukraine are about to lose.

They moved forces down there, but they have provided across-the-border support and we've also seen artillery fire going from the Russian side into the Ukrainian side.

CUOMO: I actually got something valuable from social media. Someone contacted me online and said, you know what, 700,000 plus people from Ukraine have repatriated to Russia under some easy way to do it that Russia has set up, and they use that as a way of saying the people who are there right now fighting in Eastern Ukraine, they are not separatists.

They are not people who want to stay there and live but under their own rule. This is about a militant rebellion that's going on fueled by Russia and that's what that build-up is about. Now the collateral damage here, which we should all be paying more attention to.

Go to that picture again under our feet of MH-17 where it is. This is the problem. You can't get near it because it's dangerous.

FRANCONA: And the fighting is getting closer and closer. We thought that there would be a window of opportunity where the investigators could get in there. It's very important to get in there and recover whatever we can of those human remains.

And as the fighting gets closer and closer, it's becoming more and more dangerous. As we talked before, both sides of this, both the Russians, Ukrainians and the separatists, all of them just want this to go away, but the rest of the world is not letting this crash site go away so they have got a problem, and they are not dealing with it very well.

CUOMO: Well, they are not dealing at all, some would argue, and you know, you have to put fair blame. Ukraine is shelling in that area. They said they put together a 45-kilometer zone where there wouldn't be shelling. Anyone on the ground would tell you that range is being breached.

FRANCONA: Here's the bottom line. When either side feels they need to do something on that hallowed ground are where the airplane sits, they will use it to their tactical advantage, and the -- the remains are just going to be collateral damage.

CUOMO: The dignity of the dead, what we've been talking about from the beginning.

FRANCONA: Exactly.

CUOMO: Everyone says they care about it there, but you're not seeing it in the actions, militants not being as open and Ukraine is bombing and Russia is talking about a humanitarian crisis and yet they never identified what happened at MH-17 as part of it. Colonel Francona, thank you very much for explaining what is getting to be more and more obvious. We'll take a break here on NEW DAY. There are new leaks about U.S. government activity that does not involve the colonel, but they are also not from Edward Snowden. The government is trying to figure out who is spilling the beans now. We have the inside scoop for you when we return.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Is a new government leaker following in Edward Snowden's footsteps? U.S. officials believe that there is a new person exposing national security documents. They point to journalist, Glen Greenwald's intercept web site as proof of the newest leak.

He posted an article on the growth of the government's terror database, which has doubled during the Obama administration and now has more than a million names on that list.

Justice correspondent, Evan Perez, has been speaking with government officials about it. He is joining us live now with more details. Let's talk about what has been exposed, but also I think is important, Evan, what you found out about where this leaker got this information.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kate. That's right, we found out that the -- this information came from a Pentagon computer system called "Cipronet." We have some of the documents the intercept posted on their web site yesterday and one of them said "secret no foreign" not to be shared with foreign governments.

It is a secret document and it is housed on this computer system, which has access, which Pentagon people and the State Department people have access as well as some law enforcement officials -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: How damaging can this leak be? Do they know yet? Do they put their hands around that yet?

PEREZ: Well, it's too early to tell. We don't know exactly how far this person has gone into the computer system. We don't know what documents this person has retrieved yet -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Also you found that this network that this leaker got this document from. This is the same network that now Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning also able to pull thousands of documents from as well.

You assume if it's the same network that the government has been working to tighten security not only after the Manning leak, but definitely after the Snowden leak. Does this show they haven't done it?

PEREZ: Right. This is the big question that this opens up. It really points to the fact that these networks are very hard to secure. We're talking about 3.2 million people who the Pentagon has cleared to have access to Cipronet to have access to top secret and other types of compartmentalizing information. That's a lot of people, and how can you vouch for all those people being able to basically just have their eyes on the things that they need to have access to. Why are all these people having access to all this information is the big question?

BOLDUAN: A big question and not a lot of answers right now. Real quick, is the working theory that this person is still within the government, still able to get more?

PEREZ: Well, the assumption is this person is a government employee or a contractor because there's a lot of contractors who also have this. Right now the hunt is on. We'll see where this goes.

BOLDUAN: We'll see where this goes for sure and hopefully this means that security will be improved. It doesn't seem like it's locked tight yet. Great reporting, Evan.

PEREZ: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, Mideast peace talks set to begin today in Cairo as a cease-fire continues to hold between Hamas and Israel, for now, that is. Can a more permanent truce be reached? Jake Tapper is on the ground with the very latest developments.

Plus the deadly Ebola virus raging across Western Africa. This as a second infected American gets treated here in the United States. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have an update on their conditions.


CUOMO: Happening now, peace talks. The cease-fire is holding so Israeli and Palestinian representatives are set to meet today in Egypt. We'll dig in on what each side wants and whether they're just too far apart to create lasting peace.

BOLDUAN: Threat from within, a U.S. general murdered by a supposed ally in the Afghan army. The highest ranking officer killed in a war zone since Vietnam. New details on how the shooter got the flows and also new questions now about the readiness of the Afghan army.