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Washington Post: Sessions Discussed Trump Campaign with Russian Ambassador; White House Researching Presidential Pardons; Trump Upset Mueller Reportedly Looking into Tax Returns; Protesters Call for Minneapolis Mayor to Resign After Shooting; Video Appears to Show Baltimore Cop Planting Evidence; Negatives Stories Dashed High Hopes for Trump's "Made in America" Week. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired July 22, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:13] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks for being here.
First up, brand new action from Congress to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 election. House and Senate negotiators have now reached a deal that, if passed, would give Congress new ability to block the Trump administration from easing sanctions on Russia.
This news comes as get a new bombshell report out of attorney general Jeff Sessions, the highest law enforcement official in the land, and his pre-election meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. According to "The Washington Post," Kislyak told his Moscow bosses that he and Sessions did talk about campaign-related matters, including Trump's position on policy issues important to Moscow. This directly contradicts how Sessions described their conversation.
I want to bring in White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins.
Kaitlan, how is President Trump responding to this new report on Sessions?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it should be no surprise he's tweeting about it. In fact, he tweeted about it this morning along with a slew of other things. Let's put that tweet on the screen. Trump said, "A new intelligence leak from the 'Amazon Washington Post,' this time, against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks like Comey's must stop."
Now, it's worth noting that in this tweet the president is not denying the substance of this "The Washington Post" report, but he's saying he believes the leaks are the problem.
Now, Jeff Sessions has repeatedly said publicly that he did not discuss anything related to the Trump campaign when he met with Russian officials last year. Now, that contradicts this "The Washington Post" report that says U.S. intel has picked up conversations from Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak who told his superiors back in Russia that they did discuss policy issues, campaign issues that were relevant to Russia when he met with Jeff Sessions.
Now, all of this comes in light of the president publicly bashing Jeff Sessions in an interview with "The New York Times" this week where he said he wouldn't have picked him to be his attorney general if he knew he was going to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
CABRERA: And, Kaitlan, the White House we know is also pushing back on the reports that aides are now researching the ins and outs of presidential pardons. What more can you tell us about that?
COLLINS: Yes, "The Washington Post" also reported this week that Trump aides and lawyers have been talking about pardons with him, that he's curious about the extent of his pardoning power and that they've been discussing it. And the president seemed to confirm that this morning when he tweeted about pardons. He said, "While I'll agree the U.S. President has complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is leaks against us? Fake news".
So this is the most notable of everything the president tweeted this morning. Though he discussed James Comey, Hillary Clinton and the like, this tweet is essentially confirming that the president is asserting his power to pardon whoever he thinks he should pardon. And he's not saying that it's an option he's going to pursue, but he does seem to be leaving it on the table here.
Now, it's worth noting that his lawyer, Jay Sekulow, has told ABC this week that the president is not considering pardoning anyone and that it is not an option that's on the table right now -- Ana?
CABRERA: We'll have to see.
Kaitlan Collins, thank you.
Joining us to discuss, CNN national security analyst and former CIA operative, Bob Baer. Also with us, CNN legal analyst, Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor who's worked closely with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the past as part of the Justice Department.
So, guys, this suggestion that Sessions talked about a possible Trump administration and Russia policy issues with the Russian ambassador is all according to this intercepted conversation, apparently, that the ambassador had with his superiors back in Moscow.
Bob, how much credence would you give the Russian ambassador here? Is it possible he could be exaggerating or even lying to his bosses about just how close he was with Sessions and what they discussed?
BOB BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, he's not lying, Ana. He's a professional diplomat with a wonderful reputation inside Russia. A Russian diplomat, especially an ambassador, doesn't call up to Moscow and make up stories. It just doesn't happen.
And as far as intercepts go, as a former intelligence officer, you know, they're the gold standard. I love them. And I, right now, with Sessions changing his story every couple of months, I would have to go with the intercepts and the Russian Ambassador Kislyak -- Ana?
CABRERA: So you believe Russia over Sessions here? You believe Sessions could be misleading the American people and Congress in his testimony?
BAER: Oh, absolutely. Because there's no motivation for the Russian ambassador to call up Moscow and lie. It doesn't work that way. And Sessions, you know, he's been changing his story all along. that he didn't remember meeting the Russians, oh, he met him as a Senator but can't remember what happened. And then, you know, then Trump has come out and said this is an illegal leak. In other words, he's certifying this leak in a sense. He's saying, yes, it's true and it shouldn't have been leaked. It may not have been leaked, but if Sessions would tell the story, the true story of what happened, leaks wouldn't be happening.
[15:05:10] CABRERA: So, Michael, how significant are these intercepted calls to Mueller's investigation? What does he do with them?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he'll get the transcript of the call and he'll see what is said. And he'll see whether it bears on anything that has to do with the collusion aspect of his counterintelligence investigation.
But I must say, I take a little bit of a different point of view on this. I tend to credit the attorney general over Kislyak on this in two respects. One is, one of these meetings that the Senator had when he was on the Armed Services Committee, which is one of these meetings, was in his role as Armed Services Committee, and so he could well have had some conversation about Russia policy in his role as Armed Services Committee Senator. And that gets conflated with the second meeting, which is at the Republican National Convention, which could just be on the state of the campaign. So you could theoretically have a conversation where, at the Republican campaign he says how are things going, Kislyak to Sessions. And Sessions says, you know, pretty well, actually, I'm surprised, we're doing much better than I thought, in his office with his staff present -- so there should be notes by his staff -- they're having a more substantive meeting on matters related to the Armed Services Committee. Kislyak reports these two things together, and that's what creates the proposition that they had substantive conversations that were otherwise undisclosed. So I want to see more before I'm prepared to jump to the conclusion that Jeff Sessions is not being truthful here or that there really simply are two ships passing in the night, each saying something which is mostly true but from a different point of view from each of them. So let's see how this plays out. I'll just -- I'm just not there yet.
CABRERA: OK. So, so much to talk about here.
The other big thing this week, the president reportedly disturbed to learn Mueller might go after his tax returns, the same returns the president has refused to release despite promises to do so. President Trump also said this to "The New York Times" in that bombshell interview. Let's listen. (BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
MICAHEL SCHMIDT, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances unrelated to Russia, is that a red line?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Would that be a breach of what is actual --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say yes. I would say yes.
(END AUDIO FEED)
CABRERA: He says digging into his family's finances could be a red line, Bob. As a former CIA chief, when someone tells you, don't look here, is that the very next place you look?
BAER: Exactly. I mean, especially the finances. I mean, on any mole hunt, and this isn't a mole hunt of course, but you look for the money, follow the money. And the accusation is hanging out there that Russians have been laundering money through Trump incorporated. And does this somehow give some sort of control over Trump. Until you look at the money, you can't understand these accusations of collusion or any coordination or any debt that Trump owes to the Russians. You have to answer that question. In my mind, absolutely, you have to answer it.
CABRERA: Michael, you're an expert when it comes to financial crimes. That was the focus of your role in the Justice Department. Our Sara Murray is now saying that Trump's team is eyeing Mueller's lineup of lawyers warily, particularly those with expertise in white-collar financial crimes. Does Mueller's team of investigators suggest to you this is becoming a follow-the-money investigation?
ZELDIN: Yes, and I've thought that and said that. I think we've talked about it, Ana, ourselves, that he has assembled a group of lawyers who have financial criminal law background. And I think that he understands that one of the questions he needs to answer is, if there was collusion, what accounts of it. If there was some effort on any part of the Trump campaign, whether it be Manafort or his son or Trump himself, to do something that was favorable to Russia in exchange for something else, they'll have to look to see whether money on indebtedness, whether it comes from Manafort and his Ukraine or Flynn and his activities or whether it's Trump and his casino or his several properties --
ZELDIN: -- they have to look at all that stuff.
CABRERA: So on that matter - on that matter -- ZELDIN: They have to look at all that stuff.
CABRERA: Can I have you hold your thought for just a second?
CABRERA: Because The president's lawyer haves said that would be out of the scope of this investigation, especially if they're looking into financial issues, documents, records from years ago, because that has nothing to do with the campaign itself.
ZELDIN: No, but --
CABRERA: Is it within their scope?
ZELDIN: Well, yes. The point that I think I want to make here is that it could provide an explanation for why Trump and the ecosystem of people around Trump behaved the way they did. If there's indebtedness or some level of gratitude or some current obligations that are due which could be called, they have to look at that to understand whether or not there is a motive for the collusion allegation. So it is basically money laundering 101. I've said, when I was chief of the money laundering section in the Justice Department, if any one of my lawyers didn't follow this lead, we'd have a conversation about why not. And I think that's what Mueller is doing here. He's trying to figure out what the relationship is between prior business dealings, potentially, and current collusion allegations.
[15:10:34] CABRERA: Bob, do you see anything that could be considered off the table when it comes to the purview of this investigation?
BAER: Oh, I agree with Michael, absolutely not. You've got to go way back, even before the campaign. You have to look at the money. There's so much out there with the Deutsche bank loans, Cypress, Manafort's indebtedness to the Russians. I mean, just look at the context of this whole thing and it stinks, frankly, Ana. Jared Kushner asking for a back channel, using Russian communications. If this were a true spy investigation, all these people would be waiting out in the street. They wouldn't have their jobs anymore, until the investigation were done.
If the president wanted to block it, then, Bob, how does he block it?
BAER: You know, he could fire Mueller. He goes down there, you know, just keep on going through the FBI. But, I mean, this would be a constitutional crisis. And every day, from my view, we're moving towards one.
CABRERA: Michael, do you see a solution if the president were to try to stop them from going down a certain road? ZELDIN: I've written about this previously on CNN.com that I don't
really think that the president has a tenable way to fire Mueller without jeopardizing his presidency through some sort of political impeachment-styled inquiry. Mueller can only be fired under the regulations if he acts with bad faith or has a conflict. And I don't believe that Mueller will ever reach that level. And so if they were to try to fire Mueller, it would be Rosenstein who has to do that. And Rosenstein said he'd quit before he does that. And I think the people in the succession order behind Rosenstein would likely do the same thing. So I think Mueller is here to stay. Though, you know, you say that and then you take a swallow and think, well, but we're talking about President Trump and he behaves in a mercurial way sometimes. And one could be on the losing end of a bet, quite frequently, if you're going to predict the future of what Donald Trump is going to do. But I think Mueller is here to stay.
The speculation that one of the reasons that they're trying to damage Sessions is that Sessions will get, you know, so aggravated he'll quit, then they'll appoint a new attorney general who himself won't be recused and that person will be loyal to the president and the president will then control the investigation. I just don't see that as a viable strategy. I think that Senator Burr understands that he sits in a pretty, you know, sort of famous seat in the Senate. It's the seat Sam Irvin sat in during the Watergate committee, from the same state no less. And I don't think he's going to let this investigation be politicized in that way. So I have faith that this is going to be what it is. Mueller's going to be investigating this. He's going to look at the financial data to see whether it's relevant. And then he'll make a conclusion about whether anything was done that was indictable or not.
CABRERA: All right, Michael Zeldin and Bob Baer, thank you so much.
Coming up, Sean Spicer is out. There's a new communications team in town. Can the president's new communication director get the White House back on track?
Plus, new fallout over the police shooting of a bride-to-be. The Minneapolis police chief has now resigned and protesters are demanding more heads roll.
Caught on camera. A big-city police department facing questions about planting evidence, after this body cam footage goes viral.
[15:18:09] CABRERA: After a rollercoaster six months, Sean Spicer is out. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer submitting his resignation yesterday, just minutes before Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump campaign advisor and fundraiser, accepted the job of communications director. Sources familiar with the changes say Spicer adamantly opposed Scaramucci's hiring and stepped down despite the president's request to stay on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president obviously wanted to add to the team more than anything. I just think it was in the best interest of our communications department, of our press organization to not have too many cooks in the kitchen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: For his part, the president tweeted this, "Sean Spicer is a wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the fake news media, but his future is bright."
Now, as for Scaramucci, he used his first press appearance before the press corps at the White House to emphasize his love and loyalty for the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The president's a winner, OK. And what we're going to do is we're going to do a lot of winning.
I love the mission that the president has. I love the president. I obviously love the country. He's genuinely a wonderful human being.
I love the president. And I'm very, very loyal to the president.
I love these guys. I respect these guys.
I love the president. The president's phenomenal with the press.
The president himself is always going to be the president.
I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history. He's done a phenomenal job for the American people.
He's the most competitive person I've ever met. OK, I've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, he's standing in the key and he's hitting foul shots and swooshing them. He sinks three-foot putts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Does it seem like he has a man crush there? Kind of seems like he loves the president.
Joining me now, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood, and Ellis Henican, political analyst and writer of the "Trump's America" column for "Metro" paper.
So, Ellis, I'll start with you.
Scaramucci doesn't have the experience Spicer had, but he did look comfortable up there at the podium. He also is a showman just like the president, of course. He speaks with those big hand gestures. He even blew the president and the press corps a kiss at the end of the briefing.
[15:20:20] ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST & WRITER, METRO PAPER: He clearly learned rule number-one, which is love Donald Trump.
CABRERA: Yes. How big of a deal is this with a White House that's had a messaging problem up until now?
HENICAN: But not since -- have we had someone who loved his leader in the same way. Donald Trump had done 11 holes in one the last time he played golf. I don't know who this -- except for Donald. But it is wrong to think of Mooch as the new communication director of the White House because Donald Trump will always be the communications director in the White House.
CABRERA: Well, and we heard "Mooch," as he likes to be called affectionately.
HENICAN: That's right.
CABRERA: That is Scaramucci's nickname, and he embraces that. He has even said in this first press conference, let the president be the president, don't try to hold him back.
HENICAN: Right. That is probably a winning strategy for keeping one's job in the White House, let Donald be Donald. Not that you could stop him, even if you tried, but it's a fool's errand to attempt it.
CABRERA: But, Sarah, "The New York Times" editorial board was very tough on Spicer. When we talk about the White House and its messaging, after Spicer's resignation, they called him a four Pinocchio press secretary. They wrote this, "From the beginning, when an apprehensive America wondered what was ahead, you stood at the lectern at the White House and lied. Even though lots of people do it now, you were a trailblazer. And nobody can take it away from you. Let's not say good-bye. Let's just say you have no further comment."
Ouch. I mean, we saw how contentious the relationship was between Spicer and the press corps, but will Scaramucci change that?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, that's the kind of sentiment we heard from Scaramucci yesterday, that he wanted some sort of detente with the media, that he actually said the words "de-escalate," that's the kind of thing he wanted. But at the same time, there's a fear that Scaramucci is cut from the same cloth as President Trump that he could amplify Trump's worst impulses when it comes to chaotic messaging strategy, when it comes to straying off topic, drawing attention back to his negative simply because he can't let a false charge or an unfair charge lie. Those are the kinds of things that I think Sean Spicer and some of the more traditional press aides who come from a more traditional political background have tried to do to stop that kind of behavior, to try to add some more traditional conventional structure to the messaging strategy. And that hasn't always worked. And in fact, it's sometimes backfired when they tried to say something that then the president directly contradicts. We might see less of that with Anthony Scaramucci because he is so similar to the president because they have similar backgrounds.
CABRERA: So speaking of Scaramucci and his background, he hasn't always been so loyal to the president. In fact, he said this in the past, prior to being appointed as the new com director.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARAMUCCI: He's a hack politician.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're in trouble now.
SCARAMUCCI: He's probably going to make Elizabeth Warren his vice presidential nominee. You have to cut it out now and stop all this crazy rhetoric spinning everybody --
SCARAMUCCI: You're an inherited money dude from Queens County. Bring it, Donald.
SCARAMUCCI: Bring it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: He's had some pretty critical tweets as well. And today, Scaramucci comes out and tweets this, "Full transparency, I'm deleting old tweets. Past views evolved and shouldn't be a distraction. I served the president of the United States agenda and that's all that matters.
I mean, speaking of the president's agenda, Ellis, some of these tweets are in support of Hillary Clinton, saying the wall won't work, bashing the president's plan to build a wall at the border. We know how much loyalty is important to the president here. Could these past tweets come back and haunt Scaramucci?
HENICAN: Well, you are right that loyalty in the Trump administration is like Fifth Avenue, it's a one-way street. But you know what, Ana, you cannot delete a tweet anymore. This is not Nixon and the tapes. Any tweet that you try to delete is actually in 50 places that all of us can get it. So it's probably the right symbolic gesture but ain't nothing going to disappear ever.
CABRERA: Sarah, Scaramucci revealed he won't be reporting to the chief of staff like most communications directors do. Rather, he's going to report directly to the president. Do you think this will create more staff divisions or actually smooth over some of the issues?
WESTWOOD: Well, clearly, there was a divide within the West Wing about the president's decision to bring Scaramucci on board. Sean Spicer wasn't the only one vehemently opposed to this move. Chief of staff Reince Priebus was opposed, Steve Bannon, the chief strategist, also did not want Scaramucci to come onboard. In conversations with people familiar with the process, what we were hearing was that the president wanted Sean Spicer basically to continue fulfilling the duties that would traditionally fall to a communications director, but have Anthony Scaramucci take on more of a public facing role, because the president really enjoyed the way Scaramucci has been defending him on television lately. Now, Sean Spicer, obviously, was opposed to that.
But clearly, now you're going to have another competing power source within the White House when you already have so many. You have Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, all with their own agenda, some working together. But clearly, this is one more layer of someone else, another big personality with a direct pipeline to the president. I'm sure we'll see more of this palace intrigue in the weeks ahead.
[15:25:35] CABRERA: And CNN is reporting that it was Ivanka and Jared Kushner who wanted Scaramucci to be appointed this new position, while, like you said, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, they were on the other side. Look who won out there.
Ellis Henican and Sarah Westwood, thank you both for joining us.
Just a quick programming note. Anthony Scaramucci will be Jake Tapper's guest tomorrow on CNN's "State of the Union." Stay tuned for that at 9:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific.
Coming up, forced out, the Minneapolis police chief loses her job after that deadly police shooting of a woman who called 911. And now protesters are demanding another top official step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not want you as the mayor of Minneapolis! And we're asking you to resign!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:30:29] CABRERA: There's new fallout in the wake of a deadly police shooting in Minneapolis where a bride-to-be was shot and killed as police responded to her call for help. The police chief has now resigned. And protesters say it's not enough. They want the mayor gone, too. Their anger boiling over during a press conference last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want you as our mayor of Minneapolis anymore! We ask you to take your staff with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want you to appoint anybody anymore. Your leadership has been very ineffective. And if you don't remove yourself, we're going to put somebody in place to remove you. We do not want you as the mayor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: All that anger over the death of Justine Ruszczyk shot by an officer after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.
CNN national correspondent, Ryan Young, has been covering the story from the beginning. He was there for the dramatic scene last night.
Ryan, what's the mayor saying now for the calls for her resignation?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORERSPONDENT: It was amazing last night. You could feel the explosive anger when people walked in the room last night. They were angry. They wanted to make sure their voices were heard. In fact, I asked the mayor, would you step down or resign, she said no. Keep in mind she's in the middle of a re-election campaign. So a lot feel this was partially political for her to make the police chief step down. The police union, for its part, is asking for the mayor to step down. They believe her leadership is ineffective at this point.
But so far, when you talk to community members, they really want to see more transparency, especially when it comes to these police- involved shootings, because they say they are tired of innocent people being shot.
CABRERA: Ryan, I know there was a new witness now to last Saturday's shooting that suddenly has emerged, a bicyclist. What can you tell us about this?
YOUNG: You know, that has been the big mystery in this case because, obviously, we heard from the driver of that car, not from the partner who fired that shot. And people knew that the investigators were looking for a man seen on a bicycle. We've now learned from state investigators they were able to talk to him. They didn't release any additional information in this. In fact, they went on to say they wanted anybody else who may have witnessed something to step forward. We know there was a canvas done in that neighborhood.
CABRERA: Ryan, I got to step away. We can't hear you. There are audio issues. Sorry about that.
But, Ryan Young, thank you very much. Coming up, more questions about police misconduct, this time, in
Baltimore. Caught on camera. Police officer under scrutiny there for what he was allegedly seen doing on his own body camera. We break down the video next.
[15:37:08] CABRERA: Video from a Baltimore police officer's own body camera is now leading to fresh concerns about how the Baltimore Police Department operates. The video released this week allegedly shows an officer planting evidence at the scene of a drug bust with two other officers standing by.
I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Polo Sandoval, who is joining us. He's been looking into this.
Polo, Baltimore, I understand, is launching an investigation into some of these other cases these officers were involved in.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, about 100 cases now that are under the microscope again. The Baltimore city attorney saying they want to examine them, see if there are perhaps other ways of proving those, because one of the investigators in question here was directly involved with these cases.
Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Department facing a challenge of their own and that's maintaining public confidence.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If perception is reality, then this video does not help police community relations in Baltimore. Watch as the officer wearing the body camera appears to stuff a baggie of heroin into a can during a January drug bust. He and his fellow officers walk away, only to return a few seconds later. This time, the device's mic is active.
UNIDENTIFIED BALITMORE POLICE OFFICER: I'm going to check here.
SANDOVAL: After scanning over some debris, the officer finds what appears to be the same can containing the same drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICER: Yo.
SANDOVAL: Was this officer intentionally planting evidence or re- creating when and where the narcotics were initially found? An internal investigation will have to determine that says Commissioner Kevin Davis.
KEVIN DAVIS, COMMISSIONER, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: So if our community thinks that there are police officers who are planting evidence during the course of their duty, that's certainly something that will keep me up at night.
SANDOVAL: This is the latest controversy to rock a department struggling with growing public distrust. CEDRICK ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: None of them are
perfect. And there are going to be things that are going to happen that's going to create some concern.
SANDOVAL: In March, seven Baltimore investigators were arrested as part of a federal racketeering takedown. The group is accused of robbing people and defrauding their department. On Friday, two of the suspected officers pleaded guilty in court.
SANDOVAL: And police community relations reached a breaking point in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray while in custody. Residents clashed with police in the streets following the incident. All of the officers involved were eventually cleared of wrongdoing, causing further division between the community and police.
Cedrick Alexander, a former top law enforcement official, believes bridging that gap requires action on both sides.
ALEXANDER: We cannot give up on each other. Police need community. Community needs police. And we have to find a way in order to continue to build that trust and build those relationships.
SANDOVAL: Baltimore may be taking a step in that direction with Commissioner Davis promising transparency by releasing the body camera video.
[15:40:03] CABRERA: And accountability, it sounds like, as well, as they're looking into these other cases.
But, Polo, something isn't adding up here, because wouldn't have that officer known his body camera was on?
SANDOVAL: It's an interesting question, Ana. It's a fair question. And the way the body cameras work, especially the one the officer was wearing, the moment you hit the trigger to begin recording, to initiate that recording process, that camera automatically captures the 30 seconds before the camera started to record, which means this officer, or at least one would assume that the officer knew that that camera was watching. Ultimately, though the investigation will have to provide that, will have to provide that answer. But as you heard in our piece, and as the Baltimore police commissioner said, really, perception is reality. These pictures do not look very good.
Meanwhile, these officers, one of them is off the job, two are on administrative leave, until we find an answer to that key question, what did he do?
CABRERA: Keep us posted.
Polo Sandoval, good to see you. Thanks.
Coming up, the White House dubbed this "Made in America"" week. Were hopes for positive headlines dashed by the president himself? We'll discuss next.
[15:45:36] CABRERA: This week, the president pulled out all the stops and the props for "Made in America" week, from trying on a cowboy hat to swinging a baseball bat, even hopping into the seat of a fire truck. The president tried to shift attention from a number of negative story lines, but not even a picture of the president in a fire truck could put out the fire surrounding the GOP's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. One top Republican telling CNN's Jeff Zeleny, quote, "He was playing with a fire truck and trying on a cowboy hat as the bill was collapsing, and he has no clue."
Here's what else happened during "Made in America" week. The president blasted his own attorney general and refused to rule out firing special counsel Robert Mueller during a "New York Times" interview.
He also shook up his communications team by adding Anthony Scaramucci and losing Sean Spicer.
I want to bring in our political commentators, Mark Lamont Hill, host of "BET News" and professor at Temple University. And also with us Harlan Hill, a political consultant who sits on the president's advisory board.
Gentlemen, this is a lightning round. That means you'll have 30 seconds to answer each question. You'll each get a chance to answer each question. And you'll hear this when your time is up. Listen.
All right, guys, let's have fun.
Harlan, I'll start with you here.
CABRERA: This was supposed to be "Made in America" week. Health care reform was the other big agenda item. And then, President Trump had his interview with "The New York Times." That set off a whole chain of other news. It shifted attention back to the Russia investigation. Does the president have some hard times getting out of his own way?
HARLAN HILL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, look, the media can focus on whatever it wants to. But President Donald Trump, if he does nothing else but what he did in his first week as president, which was withdraw the United States from negotiating TPP. He has saved millions of American jobs. And he has kept that promise to make things in America again.
But it goes further than that. You know, you look at the $4 trillion that's been added to the market capitalization here in the United States, it's $4 trillion in American wealth, created just in the first six months of this administration. Construction's up 6 percent. Mining's up 20-something percent.
(BUZZER) HILL: This president has a whole host of successes you guys should be talking about.
CABRERA: OK. I apologize. I don't know if you heard my question, Harlan.
But I'll give Marc a crack at answering it.
Go for it.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATO4R: Well, I mean, that's the great thing about -- Harlan just kind of modeled what Trump does, right? He hears the question and says I'm going to answer whatever I want to answer. I think it's a pretty interesting choice that Trump has made this week, trying essentially to divert America's attention from those things which we have been obsessed with and concerned with regarding Russia, regarding these investigations, regarding potentially firing the investigators. And so "Made in America" is a great set of props, it's a great set of sort of distractions. But seeing Donald Trump --
CABRERA: For the record, you can always finish your sentence if you hear the buzzer.
CABRERA: But let's move forward. Let's talk about Sean Spicer and the big news there. He was elevated to prominence, of course, few press secretaries have achieved because of moments like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration period, both in person and around the globe.
When we use words like "travel ban," that misrepresents what it is.
I've said it from the day that I got here, until whatever, that there is no connection. You've got Russia. If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection.
I've not asked the president since the last time we spoke about this. And I haven't spoken to him about it about the reason.
I honestly, don't know. I haven't asked him that specific question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So people soon won't forget the name Sean Spicer. But how significant is his departure? We though people come and go from the White House all the time. LAMONT HILL: It's certainly a significant departure for the cast of
"SNL" and for those of us who make our living commenting on media because he was such an extraordinary figure. He was obviously a target for laughter, but he also represented a particular disposition toward the media that I think, while funny at times, was also very, very dangerous. I don't think that changes with the shuffling in and out of people. But Spicer, in many ways, was a lightning rod for a bigger problem, which is the Trump administration has waged war on the media and made the media the enemy as opposed to protectors of democracy.
CABRERA: Harlan, how do you see the significance of Spicer's departure?
HILL: Well, I see it as a positive step forward for the Trump administration. I believe that the White House needs to do a better job of communicating the successes of the president. And I did that in the first question I answered for you guys by laying out a lot of the statistics and pointing to the success. The White House, it can finally do that now with Anthony Scaramucci. I know him. I know him really well from doing television with him. He's an effective communicator that gets the president. And for once, he's an adviser to the president that's not trying to change him. That is a really positive development.
[15:50:26] CABRERA: Harlan, the new book, "Devil's Bargain," is about the inner workings of the presidential campaign. You know the president. You say you know Anthony Scaramucci. But there is a story in this book about who Trump and one of his early endorsers, Chris Christie, had a falling out on election night because President Obama was apparently going to call Christie's phone to congratulate Trump. Trump, a germaphobe, didn't like that. His quote is, "Hey, Chris, you know my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Just give it to the president. I don't want your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) phone." So when you combine that with Trump lashing out at Jeff Sessions and the resignation of Sean Spicer, Harlan, does it indicate that while the president demands loyalty, he doesn't always return the favor?
HILL: Absolutely not. When Anthony Scaramucci had trouble getting through the initial process of joining the White House team, the president remained loyal to him. Six months later, he has found a leading role for him in the White House. The president has demonstrated, time and time again, that he's one of the most loyal people in politics. Certainly, more loyal than just about anyone I can think of in Washington. And as someone who has crossed party lines to support the president, I can tell you, from firsthand experience, how disloyal many Democrats can be just because you -- you have some differing politics. The president, even though you disagree with him --
HILL: -- is loyal to you. He doesn't stab you in the back.
CABRERA: Marc, do you agree? LAMONT HILL: The president is loyal to you as long as you agree with
him and you don't investigate him. Under those circumstances, you're just fine. I think one of the things we have seen in the last few months is that Trump will very quickly throw you under the bus. And whenever there's a failure, he refuses to take responsibility for that failure. Instead, he puts it on his team and then he throws the team under the bus. And of course, you know, he loves Jeff Sessions until he doesn't anymore. He loves everybody, really, until, suddenly, they make a turn or a pivot away from him. James Comey, same thing. For me, Donald Trump is not a model of loyalty. He's a model of self- interest. It's really disappointing to see just how so flagrant he is.
CABRERA: All right. Marc, we heard your voice, your picture froze. So we're going to end there.
Marc and Harlan, that was fun. Thank you both for joining us for that lightning round.
By the way, Marc, you were smiling in the picture so serendipitous there.
CABRERA: -- the freeze there versus not a funny face.
We appreciate it, guys.
We'll be right back.
[15:57:09] CABRERA: One in eight women develop breast cancer during their lifetime and this week's "CNN Hero" was one of them. She helped create a way for families to reconnect, knowing how stressful this time can be for them, so they can enjoy life again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: When the cancer bomb goes off in your house, it's devastating. It's financially, physically, emotionally exhausting.
There you go. You've got it, girl.
Our hope and our goal is to put a huge embrace on families as they're going through the breast cancer journey.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: To have them hit the pause button and just relax and play.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: To learn more about Janine's story or to nominate someone you think is a "CNN Hero," just log on to CNNheroes.com.
Finally, this hour, Jeanne Moos, on the photo of two feet at 20,000 feet that's gone viral.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jessie Char (ph) was thrilled when she got on her JetBlue flight to San Francisco and see she was seated in an empty row. "My two favorite people to sit with on a plane," she tweeted. And then this happened.
JESSIE CHAR (ph), AIRLINE PASSENGER: A foot started to poke out, toes wiggling.
MOOS: And then another. The arm rest became a foot rest.
CHAR (ph): Just two little feet wiggling their toes.
MOOS: "Today, I flew on the set of a nightmare," she tweeted. And the bare feet in flight went viral, provoking oohs and yuks.
"This should be on the no-fly list."
"What's worse, snakes on a place of bare feet on a plane?"
The disembodied feet reminded one commenter --
MOOS: -- of Thing from the "Adams Family," but double and worse.
Actually, we have seen worse. Ponytails over the seat back, a passenger doing a headstand, a guy that took off his jeans and lounged in his boxers with his feet up, a passenger with his belly exposed and a pillow case over his eyes, so at least he did not have to see himself.
Which would you prefer? This or these?
(on camera): The feet, by the way, were attached to a woman. Jessie described her as a short woman in her 40s.
(voice-over): For once, not man spreading.
(on camera): This would be called, what, foot spreading?
(voice-over): And then they became even more, foot loose.
CHAR (ph): Her left foot kind of reached over and pulled up the window shade, and then pulled it back down.
MOOS: When Jessie tried to signal a flight attendant, the feet reattracted, but at least they had at least closed the shade, thus avoiding a repeat of the old "Twilight Zone" episode in which William Shatner sees a creature out on the wing.
MOOS: The episode was entitled "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." One with a sequel, "Nightmare of Two Feet."
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
(on camera): Well, thank you very much. Very nice of you to do this.
(voice-over): -- New York.
[16:00:09] CABRERA: Top of the hour now. You're in the CNN NEWSOOM. Great to have you with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.