Return to Transcripts main page


Scaramucci Deletes Negative Tweets; White House Communications Changes; Undocumented Migrants Found in Tractor-Trailer; Relief to the Northeast; Kushner Meets with Senate Committee. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 24, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Take a closer look at what this new communications director will do.



ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: 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.


CAMEROTA: All right, the White House has a new communications director. That was Anthony Scaramucci, who seems to have a lot of love for President Trump, though he does not appear to share many of the president's positions. Sean Spicer is now out as press secretary.

So what does this mean for getting real information out of the White House?

Joining us now, CNN's senior political commentator Jennifer Granholm and former Trump campaign adviser and CNN political commentator Jason Miller.

Great to have both of you.

Governor, I want to start with you because Anthony Scaramucci is an interesting guy.


CAMEROTA: And you took note of that on Twitter. You took note of his past positions. Very recent past positions. You tweeted out, Scaramucci deleted tweets showing he's pro-choice, anti-gun, pro- Hillary Clinton, anti-Donald Trump, pro-gay marriage, anti-death penalty and he thinks climate change is real. You sound enthusiastic about this choice for communications director. [08:35:08] GRANHOLM: Yes, I mean, he -- I mean he's pretty much aligned. And I forgot to mention, because we only had 140 characters, that he's anti-wall as well. You know, I mean it's pretty amazing that Donald Trump, who's Mr. Loyalty, right, who is suspicious of anybody who donated to somebody else in the campaign, regardless of the fact that Donald Trump has donated to Hillary Clinton in the past, right, or to Democrats in the past.

But the bottom line is that it's really interesting to me that he picked somebody is to be his spokesperson who is completely antithetical in his own personal beliefs to so much of what Donald Trump purports to stand for.

CAMEROTA: So, Jason, this was a job that you previously held in terms of communications director for the campaign or the transition. How will this work, that Scaramucci feels so differently than the president he serves?

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Anthony is going to do a fantastic job here. I think one of the important things for folks to remember is that Anthony was an active surrogate on the campaign, as well as the transition. So he's very familiar with the president's positions. He's been a very effective advocate for those positions. And one of the things that the governor knows is that when folks sign on to work for, whether it be a candidate or for someone who's actually in office, they're signing on to their beliefs, their positions and they're going to tow the line and work for the -- to help advance that agenda.


MILLER: I'm sure the governor -- not everybody who ever worked for the governor during her time in office agreed with every single position, but I think where --

GRANHOLM: No, everybody did.


MILLER: Right. Not -- not --

CAMEROTA: Yes, yes, of course. Of course.

MILLER: Yes, right. Not -- right, everybody. But here's the important thing.


MILLER: Anthony has a proven record of advocating the president's positions.


MILLER: And he really, truly gets this spirit of making America great again, this broader agenda that the president is trying to move on the legislative side. CAMEROTA: Yes, but, hold on, Jason, I understand. But to be so

fundamentally at odds with your own positions versus the president that you serve. I mean would you take that job? Would you take a job with someone with whom your positions were antithetical?

MILLER: Well views might change a little bit over time and also things get said in the course of campaigns maybe when you're on the same side as someone or on a different side. It might be a little bit heated.

But the thing that's very clear here is that Anthony is on board with what the president's trying to do. And I think it's also -- when you go back and look at Anthony's background as someone who's a businessman. He comes from Wall Street. He comes from the world of private capital and trying to get the economy and growth going. That's very much in the same spirit as where President Trump is. And that's why I think -- part of the reason why I think both of these two get along and agree so much.


GRANHOLM: I think -- you know, I mean, ultimately, this is -- it isn't about Anthony Scaramucci's core, right, because he's -- he's willing to give that up in order to be the spokesperson, right?

CAMEROTA: Is that how you interpret this?


CAMEROTA: I mean so like the things that he has tweeted -- let me just throw up some for people so that they understand. He had all of these tweets that represent what you say, that he is pro-choice, he's pro- gun control. He said things about Hillary Clinton. "If Hillary keeps this up, she might be in play for 2016." He said this in 2012. "I hope she runs. She is incredibly competent." He said about gun control, "I have always been for strong gun control laws."

So --



GRANHOLM: This is quite -- I mean if it were one evolution, that would be interesting. But he's -- he's evolved. If it's true that he would have evolved, now adopts the president's position, that is a -- that would -- that's head spinning. I'm sure he --

MILLER: No. Look, governor -- governor --

GRANHOLM: But, no, no, I'm just saying. But my point is, Jason, is really to sort of agree with you and to say, he is the -- he's a hired gun now really for the president. It's no different than if you're a lawyer and you have to argue your client's case.

And then the -- the more interesting point to me was the president hasn't seemed to want to have people who had evolved like that. He wants somebody, usually in the past, who was loyal to the core.

But here's, I think, what's more importantly, is, can Scaramucci get the president to get on message? I was -- I was checking out the number of tweets that the president did just in the -- this month of July on his own defense, the obsession that he has about the Russia stuff and about feeling attacked and about fake news and he did about -- well, actually, he did another one this morning. So 47 in the month of July tweets related to his worry about China -- excuse me, about Russia, fake news, all of that, to feeling attacked. His defense. He only did -- so that's 47 -- 14 tweets about jobs and this is supposed to be the month where he goes to make it in America.


GRANHOLM: So there's a huge disproportion --

MILLER: All right, Alisyn, I've got to jump in.

CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE). Go ahead, Jason.

MILLER: All right, you've got to let me jump --

CAMEROTA: Yes, go.

MILLER: OK. So this -- this is why the democratic Party is so rudderless right now. Governor, there is not one person in the United States that woke up this morning who gave a rat's you know what about Anthony Scaramucci's or anybody else's tweets from days or months or years ago. No, there is --

GRANHOLM: No, I'm not talking about -- no, no, I'm talking about Trump. I'm talking about Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: From Donald Trump.

MILLER: Nobody -- well, before you were talking about -- and then you want to pivot into this -- what people care about is advancing the agenda and trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

[08:40:01] GRANHOLM: That's my point. That's my point.

MILLER: They care about getting some substantive tax reform done. They want to get --

CAMEROTA: Yes, and so will of the new communications director be able to do that?

MILLER: And, absolutely, because Anthony Scaramucci believes in the president's mission and what he's trying to do to move this country forward. That's what people care about. People aren't focused on these -- on these tweets and these other --

GRANHOLM: OK. So -- so when I look at August --

MILLER: And -- but, again, this is even -- even today you take a look at what -- I mean I'm going to throw you a bone here, governor, and talk about the one attempt at a positive message that the Democrats are trying to put out today. It's not even a positive message. They're trying to go on the attack and trying to attack people left and right.

GRANHOLM: No, they're speaking about jobs, man. That's what the president should be talking about is jobs. His tweet this morning is talking about the investigation, raiding the --

MILLER: No, and it's -- no, and that's -- with no -- with no -- you know who actually has --

GRANHOLM: He's not talking about jobs.

MILLER: You let -- you know who actually has a plan? President Trump actually -- President Trump -- you look at the job growth records since he's come in.


MILLER: It's doing fantastic. You look at the stock market. You look at investor confidence,. You look at consumer confidence.

Governor, our economy is finally starting to move in the right direction.

GRANHOLM: What has he done? What -- what bill has he passed? Not one. He hasn't passed any (INAUDIBLE) bill. He has not -- all he's done is proposed -- (INAUDIBLE) bill.

MILLER: He has -- he has already started to reduce regulations. He went to Michigan -- he went to Michigan, your home state, and he's already started --

CAMEROTA: OK, Jason, answer that -- answer that as the last word.

MILLER: He's started to make some fantastic progress to reduce burdensome regulations to were hurting the auto industry. He went and signed that right there in your --

GRANHOLM: And that's why Ford decided to move their jobs to Mexico, right?

MILLER: And they have a lot more that they're keeping here and growing here and -- and we're excited about the jobs that we're seeing in the United States.

GRANHOLM: And Carrier -- Carrier's jobs continue to move. Harley Davidson started to move. I'm just saying --

CAMEROTA: You guys really --

MILLER: And the president -- and the president was able to help keep 1,100 jobs right there in Indianapolis.

CAMEROTA: I can see that we just wound it up and now you guys are getting started.

Governor, Jason Miller, thank you very much.

GRANHOLM: You bet.

CAMEROTA: It will be fascinating to see how Anthony Scaramucci handles all of this.

MILLER: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, another story for you. Police are piecing together a deadly human trafficking operation. Dozens of people, maybe as many as 100, trapped in the back of a semi-truck. Temperatures topping 100 degrees outside. People lost their lives. Nine at the latest count. What's going on? We have the latest from the scene.


[08:45:52] CUOMO: An investigation underway into an appalling case of human trafficking in Texas. The driver of a tractor trailer is due in court later today after dozens of undocumented migrants were found inside a sweltering truck parked at a Wal-Mart lot. Thirty-nine people overheating, at least nine of them dead.

CNN's Ed Lavandera live in San Antonino.

I've heard numbers as high as 100 people. And as you know from your work on the border, this is the reality. And there's an urgency now to squeeze ever more people into these trips across the border because of concerns about detection.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is true. You know, as gruesome and as horrifying as this story sounds to many people across the country, the reality is, is that this way, the way these people were being moved, is a quite common occurrence along the southern border, especially in this part of south Texas where you really see the highest number of illegal immigration numbers coming across the U.S. southern border. So this kind of way of moving undocumented migrants is very common.

Obviously, this one taking a horrific turn. Nine people dead, 30 others being treated in the hospital, nearly 20 of those in critical condition. The driver of the truck has been identified as 60-year-old James Bradley of Clearwater, Florida. He's expected here in downtown San Antonio, expected to face federal criminal charges here at some point this morning. So that continues.

And that investigation really centers around him, Alisyn, as people here, investigators try to figure out just exactly who he was working with and who else was involved in this human smuggling operation.


CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Ed, it will be fascinating to hear what he has to say in court today.

Thank you very much for that reporting.

So 17 hikers trapped in Arizona, now safe. Take a look at the rescue effort. You can see one man there being air lifted to safety. The victims were trapped in this severe flash flooding. My goodness.

Meanwhile, stormy conditions ushering in cool air in the northeast. CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray has our forecast.

Hi, Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Alisyn. That's right. First we got to get through the storms, though.

And, by the way, this weather report brought to you by Tempur-pedic. Tempur-pedic, sleep is power.

Look at all this rain pushing across the Northeast. In fact, one area in Maryland actually reported a tornado earlier this morning. So crews will be out assessing that damage. But all of this rain pushing through today. We will see the benefits by tomorrow, but we've got to get through today first.

Look at all of these flood watches in effect. Even a flash flood warning in effect right outside of Philadelphia. This will be pushing out today. May get one more round of rain. New York City later this afternoon. But we will see cooler temperatures by tomorrow in the lower 70s in the Northeast.


CUOMO: All right, Jen. When's the baby coming?

GRAY: In about a month?

CUOMO: Boy, oh, boy, good luck.

GRAY: Yes.

CUOMO: We look forward to that. That will be a forecast that we'll be paying attention to, that's for sure.

GRAY: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you, Jen.

All right, so Trump's son-in-law and top aide, Jared Kushner, is going to face tough questions on The Hill today. It will be in private, but not under oath. And that doesn't matter. You still have to tell the truth when you're before the Congress. "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:51:48] CUOMO: All right, so in about an hour, Jared Kushner is going to meet with investigators on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He's also going to meet with the House Intel Committee. That's not today.

He released an 11-page statement that will give the investigators a look, and all of us, before it even happens, of his statement of the facts.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" on those facts with CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.


What is your bottom line, Ron, on the 11 pages?

BROWNSTEIN: My bottom line is the baseline. How strong a baseline Jared Kushner sets here and the intensity of his statements. There are no subordinate clauses here, Chris. I mean this is -- there was no collusion. There were these minimal contacts. He now has provided, in essence, a -- you know, a very strong, unequivocal statement that investigators will then go back and look at.

In terms of what's in here, I was struck mostly by one thing that isn't discussed and one thing that is discussed. The isn't discussed is he notes, in passing, that he was the leader of the digital and data and polling teams. Many of the democrats and many of the investigators looking at this, you know, want to -- have focused on that area. The question of whether these fabricated news stories that were developed by Russian intelligence, how were they targeted in the U.S.? Did they know themselves where to target it or was that a point of collusion.

And then the other thing that really struck me was, he confirms that he discussed with Ambassador Kislyak after the election the creation of a secure communications channel through Russian facilities does not answer why -- did not -- even if you thought that was necessary to discuss Syria, as he says in a statement, why he did not discuss that in terms of using American facilities.


BROWNSTEIN: So there are obviously more questions, but this is a pretty strong statement that investigators are then going to pick over.

CAMEROTA: That one's fascinating because why trust the Russian embassy over your own State Department -


CAMEROTA: Over your own White House communications operations? I mean he needs to explain that today to investigators. Why go through the Russians.

But here's a new tweet that we want to read to you in real time from the president. We know that you have not read it yet.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. CAMEROTA: He says, so why aren't the committees and investigators and,

of course, our beleaguered attorney general looking into crooked Hillary's crimes and Russia relations? I mean, wow, Ron, I mean this is the president fixated.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Wow. I mean -- right. Did he say beleaguered? Did he say beleaguered?

CAMEROTA: Yes, he said beleaguered about the attorney general.

BROWNSTEIN: He said beleaguered.


BROWNSTEIN: Yes, he's -- but --

CUOMO: Well, he's right about that. I mean thanks to his efforts most recently --

BROWNSTEIN: Right, he --

CUOMO: I think the AG is beleaguered.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I've said this before, I don't think the president, especially on the Russia front, but on many fronts, is really about making arguments that are designed to convince people of goodwill in the middle of the country. I -- he -- almost all of his arguments, from day one, have been about stoking, mobilizing his base, feeding their sense of victimhood, equating himself with them, the idea that, in essence, by raising these questions about him, all of these, quote, "elite forces," are trying to suppress his supporters.

And I think this is just a continuation of that. I mean this isn't really a serious engagement. He has to deal with health care today. I mean they -- you know, they're about to make, you know, the third attempt on the Senate tomorrow to bring a bill to the floor. He's going to make a health care statement today.

[08:55:04] There's a poll out today, a "USA Today"/Gallup poll, that has the country evenly split on whether he should be impeached. He -- the Gallup today put out their 50-state approval ratings and in many of the states that were key to his victory, particularly Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, he's at 43 percent or below. He has serious issues to address in terms of broadening a coalition that will allow him in -- among other things, to give him more leverage to move forward his agenda and he is still making arguments that are about stoking the sense of grievance among the people who voted for him, rather than directly dealing with these -- these underlying issues, not the least of which is continuing, as we saw yesterday, to reject the unanimous conclusion not only of the previous intelligence committee, but his current intelligence officials that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

CUOMO: And this tweet is yet more proof of what Anthony Scaramucci said, which is that when the president hears Russian interference, he hears legitimacy. BROWNSTEIN: Ys.

CUOMO: And that's why he, once again --


CUOMO: Puts it on the Democrat.

CAMEROTA: Ron, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line." It will be a fascinating week.

So, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman will pick up after this very quick break. We will see you tomorrow.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


The breaking news this morning, I didn't do it. I did not collude. Also, I got a lot of e-mails and was new at this whole politics thing. That's the first official defense, 11 pages worth, from senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner to the swirl of Russia questions surrounding the Trump campaign and the Trump White House.