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Trump Presidency at Six-Month Mark; House To Unveil Budget; Russia Cloud Grips White House; Bride-to-Be Killed after Calling 911; Gore Continues Climate Change Quest. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 18, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Desire to prop up the presidency. How do you see it six months in?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think it's a completely stymied presidency at this point. I mean we are at the six month mark and obviously this spectacular failure of health care, which was the major legislative push that the White House had put in place for this first out of the gate moment for this Trump presidency, and that has fallen apart.

This comes as we saw the polls this week showing him with the lowest approval rating among anyone in the modern era in the presidency at this point in their presidency. You have friendly places like "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page starting to turn a little bit. And you have the constant Russia swirl still around them.

This is - this is a stymied presidency at this point. Obviously we're only six months in. There's three-and-a-half years to go. Lots of time to turn it around. But it's unclear right now how to see to get that all turned around because what - what proves so difficult on health care, guys, it shows you where the fault lines are, even the intra- party Republican fault lines. The power that controls every lever in Washington. It's not necessarily going to make tax reform super easy or infrastructure or any other perhaps conventionally more popular things to deal with than health care. You see how tough it's going to be.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's a few options to turn it around. A, you bring in David Gergen. That's what presidents have tried in the past. Meaning, you bring in somebody who knows how to navigate through Washington and through Congress for some help. Or you do something that is sort of popular in a bipartisan way, infrastructure, and do something that should be, on its face, easier and get a win.

CHALIAN: Yes, if that's achievable. I mean right now, because of where the president is positioned, there's almost no political incentive at the moment for the Democrats to join in. Yes, you are right, both parties have talked about infrastructure and have talked about it as something they can work on together, but we've seen precious little advancing on that front.

And now, as you know, the House Republicans have put out their budget plan. This is now to start to unlock the process of tax reform. Something that they believe, if they pass the House budget and, according to the rules, they can do tax reform with just 50 votes in the Senate, the way they were trying to do health care, and that doesn't seem like that's going to be a big bipartisan outreach if you're trying to get it done with just 50 votes.

CUOMO: Well, and, also, then you have hanging over all of these policy considerations are the deep issues about the truth and the reliability of this administration in light of the Russia investigation. How big a factor is that probe now in light of the latest developments with Donald Jr.?

CHALIAN: Yes, I mean it's clear - it clearly is getting in the way of everything they'd rather be talking about. So you have a very hard time driving an agenda forward. And no doubt it is - it is having some impact with independents who we see leaving the president's support, with - as the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll showed this week, some of the counties that he flipped from Barack Obama to him. His approval rating there is a little under water, even though they were part of his winning coalition. So there is clearly some dissipating going on. He still has his very core support.

But if all you have is your very solid core support, it is hard to convince battleground state members to get on board and join you in moving something forward, especially with the swirl of the Russia controversy. So he is in a tough spot. I agree with Alisyn. This isn't like he can't turn it around. He's got nothing but a lot of time ahead of him. But at the six month mark, you've got to say that it is a - it is a stunted, stymied presidency and at this moment there's nothing on the board right now that looks like it's going to be an easy, quick, big win for the president.

CAMEROTA: Well, you touched on tax reform. Both parties, everybody says that's what they want. Everybody says that that's what they'd like to focus on. But, of course, they approach it from completely different sides and viewpoints. So that seems like a tough one to start to tackle too.

CHALIAN: It is. It will be, no doubt. You're right, it is one of those things that is seen as a popular item for many to - but every party - each party slices it differently.

What I think is more important, though, Alisyn, is inside the Republican Party. Remember, they're the ones that are in charge of everything. Just take a look at the House budget proposal. Just like when the White House put out the budget proposal, these are opening, negotiated positions. But instantly you're seeing the House Freedom Caucus saying that the spending cuts don't go far enough. They're not in line with Trump's priorities. There's going to be an intraparty battle on these matters as well.

CAMEROTA: Interesting.

CUOMO: Well, but then again, he does have things going for him as well. He has momentum and enthusiasm in the markets. We see the indexes are up. We see that consumer confidence in terms of how people see the economy as up. That's something to work with. This is made in America week. Let's see how the president plays that as a parlay. We'll come back to you for "The Bottom Line" on that. Brother Chalian, thank you very much.

[08:35:07] CHALIAN: Sounds good, guys. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

So this story that is haunting so many people, there are still unanswered questions after this Minneapolis police officer shot a bride-to-be who had called 911 for help. What happened? The mayor of Minneapolis joins us next.



DON DAMOND, FIANCE OF JUSTINE RUSZCZYK: We've lost the dearest of people and we're desperate for information. Piecing together Justine's last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy.


CAMEROTA: A Minneapolis man is desperate for information after his fiance was shot and killed by a police officer over the week. Here's what little we know. Justine Damond called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home late Saturday night. Police responded to the call and then at some time, while she was outside of her home, one of the officer fired a fatal shot killing her. The police officers involved were wearing body cameras but they were not turned on. There also was no dash camera video. And, of course, this has left a lot of unanswered questions.

[08:40:14] Joining us now is Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Mayor, thank you for being here.

BETSY HODGES, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: You're welcome. Good morning.

CAMEROTA: I know you have said you're heartsick about this, as so many people across the country are. What have you, as mayor, been able to find out about this incident?

HODGES: Well, you know, like everyone, I just share how awful and tragic this is and, as you said, I'm just heartsick. I'm deeply disturbed. And we have a policy in Minneapolis, and have for a couple years, that of critical incidents like this involving police officers, we have an independent investigation. So the state of Minnesota, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is doing the investigation. So to make sure that we respect and that I respect the integrity of that investigation, I don't know more than other people do. They are conducting that investigation and we're doing our best to cooperate with them and I ask that they give as much information as they can as quickly as possible.

CAMEROTA: So have you tried to call the police chief?

HODGES: Certainly I've been in contact with the police chief. Assistant Chief Aridondo (ph) is the lead here on the ground, and he's doing a great job helping lead the department and lead the city through this - through this difficult time.

CAMEROTA: But are you saying that he can't give you any information because of this policy whereby the state immediately takes over control of the investigation?

HODGES: Well, because he is with the Minneapolis Police Department, he's not conducting the investigation. That's happening with a different agency at the state level. And so they are - certainly we're in contact with them because we are - we are cooperating with that investigation, but, no, I don't have information that - until and unless the investigators make that information available.

CAMEROTA: But what has the police chief, or the assistant police chief, told you at least about why the body cams weren't activated and turned on?

HODGES: So since it's an independent investigation, the BCA of the lead investigator since the beginning, so they are asking the questions about what happened that night. So we don't have those answers.

Have the same questions everyone else does, why weren't the body cameras on, how did - what happened in the shooting? And those are burning questions we all want the answers to, most especially the family, most especially the family, and we're hoping that information gets released as swiftly as it possibly can be without jeopardizing the investigation.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean -

HODGES: But the Minneapolis Police Department doesn't have answers because we're not doing that investigation.

CAMEROTA: Well, I understand but surely they can tell you, did they have a policy of not turning on cameras? Were they broken? Was it just these two officers who didn't turn on their cameras? I mean, I understand, I hear you, you're trying not to get in the way of the state's investigation. Understood. But surely the police officers on the ground have some information that they can share.

HODGES: I mean certainly we have policy that govern the use of the body cams. Since we - since I don't know - we don't know what happened in the incident, I - you know, I don't know why the body cameras weren't turned on. The investigators are the ones that are asking those questions and doing their best to get that information. You know, certainly, you know, if the information comes back, if we find out there was a policy violation, that's its own issue. But I share the questions you have, why weren't those body cameras turned on and how and when can we know and find out?

CAMEROTA: Two officers, we understand, are now on administrative leave. One of them an Officer Knorr (ph). He issued his condolences through his attorney to the family. He also said, we would like to say more and will in the future. When do you think we will be able to hear more?

HODGES: I don't know. You know, that's a question for the investigators, again, because they are the ones who would take the statements from the officers who are involved. My hope is that that information will come as quickly as it can for a family and a community that is grieving and baffled and disturbed and needs answers.

CAMEROTA: What do you say to Don Damond, who you heard there making that (INAUDIBLE). The fiance who lost his bride-to-be. They were to get married next month. What do you say when you hear him crying out to you and other public officials, please, let me know what happened in these final moments?

HODGES: Well, I have spoken with him directly. And I told him that I share the questions that he has. That I am, you know, in treating the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to proceed as swiftly as they can, while still do a thorough investigation that has integrity. But really what I say to him is, you know, my condolences to you. I'm so sorry for your loss. How can I be of service to you? I - you know, I don't - I don't have information that he wants but I am - I stand ready to be of service to him and the family in any way that I can.

[08:45:29] CAMEROTA: Mayor Betsy Hodges, please come back when you do get any information and, of course, we're thinking about your entire city of Minneapolis during this trying time. Thanks for being here.

HODGES: Thank you. Thank you.


CUOMO: All right, so do you remember the film "An Inconvenient Truth"? Al Gore was at the forefront of it. Well, it's been a decade since that award winning documentary on climate change and now there's a sequel. Why? What's changed or what hasn't changed that made these filmmakers feel the need to tell more of this story?


CUOMO: Can you believe it's been 10 years since Al Gore brought us climate change and brought it into the forefront, the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth"? It went on to win an Oscar. A huge shocker. Well, now, there was a need for a sequel says Al Gore and the filmmakers, and here's a sneak peek.


AL GORE: We are close in this movement to a tipping point beyond which this moment, like the abolition movement, like the women's suffrage movement, like the civil rights movement, like the anti-antiapartheid movement, like the movement for gay rights is resolved into a choice between right and wrong. And because of who we are as human beings, the outcome is fore ordained and it is right to save the future for humanity. It is wrong to pollute this earth and destroy the climate balance.


[08:50:30] CUOMO: An interesting shift in this film. It went from laying out what the problem is to actively seeking the solution. And you will follow Al Gore in his efforts to get people to understand what this evolution, this revolution could be. You can see the movie in select theaters on July 28th. But right now you can get a preview from the filmmakers. You've got Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk.

It's good to have you both.

So let's deal with this proposition of, Bonni, what this film sets up, what was the need for this film 10 years later?

BONNI COHEN, CO-DIRECTOR, "AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER": Well, we got a call from Participant Media (ph), who had been in discussion with Al Gore for a number of years about whether or not there was a need for a sequel, when they would do it, when would be the right time and they decided on 10 years later for a number of reasons. One was that climate related events, natural events have gotten a lot worse. Things are a lot worse in terms of the natural world. But on a more exciting note and hopeful note, the solutions to solve the climate crisis are in place now and they weren't in place the way they are now 10 years ago. There's been a cost down curve for solar and wind and getting countries and cities and towns and individuals to understand that was the real mission of the film.

CAMEROTA: Are there things that had to be amended over 10 years? Are there things that we know better now? Are there projections that have changed? Are there things that had to be corrected say?

JON SHENK, CO-DIRECTOR, "AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER": In the film you see Al Gore go to Greenland and you see that the ice melt has happened way faster than science predicted 10 years ago. That's really been the main thing is that actually, you know what, in the last 15 years, most of those years have been the hottest years on record. So it's happened much faster and much more furious than science predicted 10 years ago.

On the other hand, as Bonnie was saying, the cost down curve and the sustainable energy revolution, as Al Gore likes to say, has also happened much faster. So now there's like a drama going on between this incredible hope with where we might go in terms of getting our electricity versus the climate, which is really mother nature screaming louder than ever about the crisis.

CUOMO: Well, and when just heard critics shouting louder than ever also in this most recent election. You had this push from the president and his party back towards the coal sector. Bring those jobs back. And the underlying understanding was, you know, we went so green so fast that it was way too aggressive. All these industries are super subsidized, wind, solar, that's why they're doing well. And if you took away those subsidies and government waste, those businesses are fake. Let's get back to what we do best, coal and oil. What do you say? COHEN: The energy revolution is all about alternative energy. I mean

the cost down curves are irrefutable. If you look at them, it makes sense for small towns and cities to take on alternative energy as a way to bring economic reality and survival back to their towns. So I mean it's a - you know, I don't know if getting into the subsidy argument is smart, the truth is that, you know, if you just talk to the industry - the people in the industry, this is the way to go.

CAMEROTA: All right, so we have an announcement to make to our viewers. Two weeks from today, former Vice President Al Gore will join us for "The Climate Crisis." This is a CNN town hall event. You can see it on Tuesday, August 1st, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. This will be very interesting.

Jon, Al Gore, I mean just in that little clip that we played, seems to have found his voice. That was Al Gore unplugged. You know, if people only remember him from his time as a VP or running for president, Al Gore seems to have also gone through an evolution.

SHENK: One of the amazing things about this film is that you really kind of meet Al Gore, the person. It's really kind of a - we get inside, we're following him, you know, in bilateral meetings, in his personal life, in his business life. You really get to see Al Gore the man.

I think that people will see a different Al Gore than they news when he was running for president, for example. He has really found his deep passion and kind of a second career that he's built for himself since the loss in 2000.

CUOMO: And we know that the former vice president believes that the decision for the U.S. to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord is going to loom large. We're sure that he will take that on in the town hall.

Bonni, Jon, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thank you guys for having us.

CUOMO: Good luck to you.

SHENK: Thank you for having us.

CAMEROTA: Good to talk to you.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

How about a little "Good Stuff" for you, next.


[08:58:30] CUOMO: "Good Stuff." Meet Adam Husami (ph). He's a five- year-old and he decided to set up a Kool-Aid stand to help his neighbors beat the heat and help them help a - support a local entrepreneur. So this mailman comes by.

CAMEROTA: Yes. CUOMO: And he's thirsty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, do you want Kool-Aid?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, I'm sorry, I don't have any money on my.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was like, you can still have some.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he poured him a big cup.


CUOMO: His mother Krista (ph), you just saw her there, says Adam didn't even give it another thought. And then a letter showed up in the mail. It was a thank you from, who else, the mailman, right, who not only wished young Adam encouragement, but also hit him with a Jackson, a $20 bill. Mom, Krista (ph), says it sends a wonderful message to her young businessman.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That small gesture was something really big.


CUOMO: You can do good, and still do well. Good for him helping out that mailman and nice for him to return the favor.

CAMEROTA: That is really great. That is a good message. It's all about your customers, treat them well and maybe it will pay dividends later on down the road. (INAUDIBLE) our young hero there.

CUOMO: Maybe. Well, it did this time.

CAMEROTA: It did. I see your skepticism.

CUOMO: That's who I is.

CAMEROTA: I know. I get it.

All right, time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman.

CUOMO: Speaking of people to be suspicious of.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Great to see you guys this morning.

Exactly, a mixed message, but point taken. Thanks so much, guys. Got a lot of news. Let's get to it.