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Trump Supporters React to Sessions Russia Revelations; Sources; Yemen Al Qaeda Revealed Hundreds of Names. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 3, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:33:46] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: There is infighting in the Republican Party over Obamacare. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul calling out his fellow Republicans, demanding to see their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Kentucky senator believes House Republicans are deliberately keeping the measure under lock and key.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There's some question as to whether or not it exists at all, by the way.

President Trump visiting navy sailors aboard the new USS Gerald Ford and building on his plan to pump $54 billion more dollars into defense and security spending. The president calling a bolstered military presence a way to prevent wars, and, if necessary the way to win them. Trump says he's asking Congress to eliminate the defense sequester so the Navy could regain its strength and increase its fleet of aircraft carriers.

CAMEROTA: Irony alert. Vice President Mike Pence, reportedly used a private e-mail account to conduct official state business as the governor of Indiana. And his account was hacked. "The Indianapolis Star" reports that Pence used his AOL account to discuss a range of sensitive topics from security at the governor's mansion to state's response to terrorist attacks worldwide.

[06:35:01] Vice President Pence, you will recall, was a fierce critic of Hillary Clinton of her use of personal e-mail as secretary of state.

CUOMO: So, what do loyal Trump supporters think about this most recent wave of controversy that's now surrounding the Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Are they concerned? The A.G. may have lied under oath about his Russia contacts? Do they think we need a broader investigation? Next.


CUOMO: All right. President Trump touting his planned military buildup aboard the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford. There is a cloud of controversy hanging over the administration. Now, you have as attorney general embattled because of these conversations with the Russian ambassador considered by the U.S. to be a top spy.

So, Trump supporters, how do they feel about what's going on?

CNN's Randi Kaye found out.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On board the USS Gerald R. Ford, sailors and shipbuilders packed the belly of the aircraft carrier anxious to see their new commander-in-chief.


KAYE: Many in the crowd haven't we heard that Jeff Sessions was under fire for failing to share during his confirmation hearings that he had met with a Russian ambassador twice during the campaign.

(on camera): Many members of congress, including Congress said he misled during the committee confirmation hearings, does that concern you?

QUENTIN CAVANAUGH, ATTENDED TRUMP RALLY: It does. I hope that's not true.

KAYE: Should he resign?

CAVANAUGH: No, I don't think so. I think we need to find out more about it first.

KAYE: Do you think it's a big deal?

LANCE HALL, ATTENDED TRUMP RALLY: Yes, probably. If he's talking with the Russians, we don't know exactly what's going on. I'm not sure exactly.

TOM EARMAN, ATTENDED TRUMP RALLY: They say he was going there because of his job at the time. Not because of Mr. Trump or anything else. So --

KAYE: So you believe he met with him as a senator and a member of the Armed Services in the. Not as a Trump surrogate?

EARMAN: Why would he not? You got to take the man at his word, right?

KAYE: So, all the questions of him lying under oath, do you believe he told the truth?

EARMAN: I do not know the questions, but there is no outside the line.

CAVANAUGH: I hope that he hasn't done something illegal.

KAYE (voice-over): We told him the man Jeff Sessions met with is considered by U.S. intelligence to be a top Russian spy. She refused to even talk about the situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You better get somebody else, because that really pisses me off that that was said.

KAYE: Some in the crowd thought Sessions deserved a break, suggesting it was memory lapse or that he was possibly being coached.

EARMAN: It's a part of his normal routine, you don't know what you do every single day.

KAYE (on camera): Are you concerned that perhaps Senator Sessions lied under oath?

ABBY PRUET, ATTENDED TRUMP RALLY: No, I think at that time, he was probably told he should not say anything. So, I don't think he was lying under oath.

KAYE (voice-over): About those appeals for him to step down?

(on camera): What do you make of the attorney general to resign? Is it too soon?

MATTHEW HAYES, ATTENDED TRUMP RALLY: I think it may be too soon. We need to have more facts come out. Give more time to see what happens. You know, let the whole due process continue.

KAYE: You think he will make a good attorney general?

PRUET: I think he will.

KAYE (voice-over): So does this man who was quick to point out all senators talk to foreign nation, it's a part of the job.

(on camera): Does that bother you?


KAYE: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's a patriot. God bless America.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN.


CAMEROTA: I always like watching those, you get a cross section, obviously, of opinion, based often upon how you are inclined to begin with, whether or not you want to give somebody the benefit of the doubt as we heard there.

CUOMO: Yes, I mean, look. You will play your preference, right? Is this is now a home team situation, you know, as pronounced as I've seen it in politics by the way. But there is also a different dynamic going on. This matters, it's hard for people to digest how much matters because we don't know all the facts. But what matters more to them in the belly of that ship? Jobs. CAMEROTA: Yes. But you did hear people who said that that would

really, quote, "piss them off".

CUOMO: Yes, if true. You know, I mean, that's the big question. You're going to have people facts more than ever now. They're not going to take it on trust or insinuation.

But they care about jobs. Those were ship builders in there. And that's what they want more of, is more about them and their life, less intrigue.

CAMEROTA: We do have facts, including on this important story. Last month's raid in Yemen in which the Navy SEAL was killed, well, is it actually now bearing fruit in the fight against al Qaeda? As you know, there are differing reports. So, we will tell you exactly what U.S. officials are saying about that raid.


[06:47:29] CAMEROTA: As you will remember, Colin Kaepernick made news last season for kneeling during the national anthem in protest.

Well, according to multiple reports, Kaepernick will end his protest.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

What do we know, Andy?


Well, Colin Kaepernick will soon be a free agent. He has decided to stand for the national anthem next season. Kaepernick's action of kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice started a movement in the NFL and across the sports world over the past year.

But according to ESPN, Kaepernick no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he believes has been created. Off the field, Kaepernick has donated more than a million dollars to community organizations helping underprivileged people.

All right. Mets and Marlins in spring training. Adeiny Hechavarria throws his bat on this swing. It heads straight for the Mets' dugout. You'll see one guy runs for cover on the replay. But don't worry, because Luis Guillorme has cat-like reflexes and just reaches out and snags the bat out of free air. Unbelievable.

I don't I ever saw one catching a bat through the air. Guillorme didn't even flinch.

And, Chris, this brings to me, you know, there's two scenarios when there's either foul balls or bats heading for the stand. There's two types of guys, the guy that runs for cover like we saw or the hero that goes for the catch. What do you do, Chris?

CUOMO: You know what we do. You know what we do.

SCHOLES: Hero all the way.

CUOMO: That was strong. Man law dictates, you stay and take that bat right in the head if you have to. But you don't run away.

Good stuff. Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

CUOMO: New U.S. airstrikes that have been targeting al Qaeda in Yemen. Are they based on intel obtained in that deadly raid that killed a U.S. Navy SEAL? We've got the latest information on this, next.


[06:53:08] CAMEROTA: Questions linger about that deadly Yemen raid last month that killed Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. What came out of that mission? Sources tell CNN that the raid has revealed intelligence.

Let's discuss it with CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr and CNN military analyst and former army commanding general for Europe and the 7th Army, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

Nice to see both of you.

Barbara, tell us about this. What did this raid yield? What does your reporting find?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. You know, one of the questions people ask was there actionable intelligence? A phrase that means, could you take action?

Well, what we're learning from sources we're talking to, U.S. officials, they say that they have been able to take some action on the intelligence gathered. It might not be what you expect. Not exactly.

It's modern warfare. It's in the cyber world that they discovered hundreds of contacts in the laptops the electronic data they gathered, the laptops, the cell phones. And these are now people contacts, they are trying to follow up on locate, see if they're genuine, see what they can monitor from these contacts.

The worry is these are contacts people that may be sympathizers to al Qaeda in Yemen, could even be involved in helping al Qaeda in Yemen plot future attacks. So, are you seeing immediately bombs dropping? Although there are airstrikes in Yemen again overnight.

Bombs dropping as a result of this specific intelligence? No. But you are seeing action taken, very detailed intelligence analysis going on, taking those actions to go through the data and see what they can learn about this very violent al Qaeda group.

CAMEROTA: So, General, that is such important reporting that Barbara just shared with us, because when there's a questionable, why didn't they just do this with an airstrike? That's -- with an airstrike, you can't get the laptops and that level of intel contacts.

[06:55:04] LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, absolutely right. Barbara is right on it, Alisyn.

What I tell you, too, is there has probably been the lay down of a network for a very long time. This just didn't happen because of the raid. But imagine a puzzle on the floor where you got some pieces that may be linked together and suddenly you find one or two pieces that make it all come clear and then momentum gains and you can put all sorts of other pieces into place. All you need sometimes is just one item of information to have a deluge of activity.

And, Alisyn, one of the things the military that we used to do when I was in combat is you fight for more intelligence. That becomes key on the battlefield. It isn't just fighting the enemy. It's fighting for more intelligence.

And sometimes these electronic signatures, even the capture of one cell phone that has a bunch of numbers that you can then trace, see what other people are doing. We used a method where we used to get a cellphone and send out images to all the recipients saying, hey, we just caught your boy, what are you going to do next? And then we monitor what other people started doing. So, it became like kicking over a rock and seeing a bunch of cockroaches come out from underneath.

CAMEROTA: I mean, obviously, just on a human level, this will be comfort to Ryan Owens' widow, who, of course, we saw there in front of Congress who doesn't want him to have died in vain.

I want to ask both of you about this new developing story. There is an intelligence assessment that has been leaked. It's from the Department of Homeland Security. And apparently, there is some information that would have gone into crafting or should have at least gone into crafting President Trump's travel ban.

What he has found is that most foreign born violent extremists do not arrive in the U.S. from their home country radicalized. In other words, they are not violent extremists when they land, rather, they become radicalized after living in the U.S. for several years. MSNBC first reported it last night. CNN has not confirmed it.

Barbara, what does this mean about the travel ban and the national security?

STARR: Well, it's another piece of information in this puzzle, if you will, because I think it's fair to say that intelligence has also shown that citizenship in a foreign country is not an indicator of radical activity. People who do not support the president's travel ban certainly will make the case I think based on all of this that a travel ban is overly broad perhaps, that it goes to people you know, an entire group of people based on their citizenship, based on where they come from.

And I think what most military commanders, what most intelligence professionals will tell you, it is very painstaking work to find an individual who is radicalized, who may commit a terrorist act. It doesn't necessarily mean everyone from that country will be involved in that kind of thing.

You really have to hone in and have the intelligence to find that single person.

CAMEROTA: And yet, General, I mean, won't the Trump White House, in order to justify their travel ban, just say, well, so what, this intel, all this proves is that there are people from foreign countries that are susceptible to radicalization, if they don't land here already radicalized, they become radicalized once they're here, so keep them out?

HERTLING: Well, then it would beg the question, why not ban everyone from coming here? Because there is potential for various countries to have their citizens radicalized when they come in.

But this gets to your first question, Alisyn. This combines what we are talking about between Yemen and the fight for homeland security. There are a lot of intelligence officials who are in dark little buildings with a little light coming in, who are analyzing these kinds of issues, saying what are the threats, both in Yemen and in the United States.

And it's very important to pay attention to these people who are doing this painstaking work, and so far, I think you have seen not as much attention being paid to these individuals who do this kind of work and do this analysis because it takes months and years to get the right data to protect the nation, both overseas and here at home.

CAMEROTA: And one quick point. We had we heard that the travel ban, their new and revised version was going to be announced this week. We still don't have a date yet or know when that will be happening.

Barbara, General, thank you very much for all the reporting and information.

Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next.

And for our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I did meet one Russian officials a couple of times.

REPORTER: Should Sessions recuse himself from investigations into your campaign and Russia?


SESSIONS: I might have recused myself.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The fact that the attorney general lied under oath is ground for him to resign.

SESSIONS: I don't believe there's anything wrong with a United States senator meeting with an ambassador from Russia.