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1 Dead, 7 Injured in Ohio State Fair Ride Accident; Scaramucci Calls for Inquiry after 'Leak' of Financial Form. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 27, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR (via phone): We basically have an all-out public war in the White House.
[05:57:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president's new communications director seeming to suggest Reince Priebus had a hand in leaking his financial disclosures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is deplorable behavior at the highest levels.
SCARAMUCCI (on camera): I don't like these leaks. If we don't stop the leaks, I'm going to stop you.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: This certainly won't be easy. Hardly anything in this process has been.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate now barreling toward a dramatic final series of votes.
JASON MILLER, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: The fact that we can't actually get a bill through the Senate is an absolute disgrace.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, July 27, 6 a.m. here in New York. We're going to get to all of the big political stories today in a moment.
But first, we do begin with breaking news for you, because one person has been killed and at least seven hurt after this ride breaks at the Ohio State Fair, tossing passengers into the air and then crashing to the ground.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Now, we've all seen rides like this. And we keep freezing the video, because some of it's disturbing. But you just have to take a look at it to appreciate what this apparent malfunction wound up doing. People got flung 20 to 30 feet from being that high at speed onto the ground.
Investigators have shut down all the rides at the fair. They're trying to figure out what went wrong.
We have CNN's Ryan Young live in Columbus, Ohio, with the breaking details. And this ride combines all the risk factors, right? I mean, you've got a bunch of people. You've got it swinging fast, and it's at elevation.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Look, this is a horrific accident. And when you watch that video, you see how high these people were. The ride's called the Fireball, and people are stacked, like, six rows deep. It swings some 40 feet in the air. And in fact, we're not going to show you all this video, because it's quite horrific.
YOUNG (voice-over): Tragedy at the Ohio State Fair captured on this dramatic video showing the Fireball spinning and swinging before a piece of the structure breaks off, sending riders flying. Witnesses say some fell 20 or 30 feet onto the concrete below.
JENNIFER BODY, WITNESS: I heard a girl scream, "Help." And I looked over, and I seen something fly out. And then I seen it flat to the ground.
YOUNG: The accident leaving at least one dead and injuring several others, including some who are now in critical condition. A CNN affiliate reports the victims range in age from 13 to 41.
DEVRAY WILLIAMS, ON RIDE DURING ACCIDENT: They were stuck in a hole, you know, what you put over you? They couldn't move. And she goes, "Mom." I just remember the little girl's face. She was screaming for her mom.
YOUNG: Police on scene pushing fairgoers back so medics could treat the injured.
DAVID EVANS, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY WEXNER MEDICAL CENTER: This was a great force and a great mechanism, really consistent with a very high-speed motor vehicle crash, with an ejection.
YOUNG: The cause of the malfunction unclear. Safety inspectors emphasizing the ride was cleared on Wednesday after being inspected multiple times in the last two days by multiple groups.
MICHAEL VARTORELLA, CHIEF RIDE INSPECTOR, AMUSEMENT RIDE SAFETY DIVISION: My children, my grandchildren ride this equipment. So our guys do not rush through this stuff. We look at it. We take care of it, and we pretend it's our own.
YOUNG: Ohio Governor John Kasich launching an investigation and offering his condolences.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: It's a very tough day, very tough night for the people of our state. You know, the fair is about the best things in life. And tonight with this accident, it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy.
YOUNG: The governor has shut down all rides here at the fair. The fair will open today at 9 a.m. in the morning. There's another ride just like this one at the California State Fair. That ride has also been shut down, as well -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Ryan, appreciate it. Thank you for the reporting. We'll keep checking in with you. You let us know as we get information about everything and everyone involved.
All right. So now to our other top story. We suggested that chasing after leakers by the White House could easily get out of control. And that already seems to be the case. The White House crackdown exposing paranoia among staffers. Anthony Scaramucci, the brand-new communications head, takes to Twitter to call for a federal investigation into the leak of his financial disclosure forms. Scaramucci then deleted the tweet, which seemed to accuse chief of staff Reince Priebus of leaking. Anthony Scaramucci says that that is wrong. That's not what he was doing.
CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with more. This already seems to be a problem.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's for sure, Chris. The incoming communications director has made cracking down on leaks a top priority of his. And after Politico reported the contents of his financial disclosure form, he was able to claim that he was the victim of an illegal leak himself.
But it's unclear whether this was illegal, unclear whether it was a leak, because it could have been information obtained under the table or through official sources.
JOHNS (voice-over): Anthony Scaramucci ramping up his rhetoric against leakers, tweeting that he will be contacting the FBI and the Justice Department about the alleged leak hashtag #swamp before cryptically tagging White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Ryan Lizza, a reporter for "The New Yorker," tweeting shortly after that that he can confirm that Scaramucci went to the FBI to investigate Priebus for leaks.
RYAN LIZZA, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORKER" (via phone): I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Anthony Scaramucci believes this, and that was exactly his intention when he tweeted this.
JOHNS: Scaramucci deleted that tweet over two hours later, calling reports that he was going after Priebus wrong, although Lizza stands by his reporting. Hours earlier, Scaramucci told FOX News he believes the leaks are coming from the top.
SCARAMUCCI: And one of the big problems here that I'm discovering in the coms team is that senior people are really the guys doing the leaks. And they ask junior people to leak for them. And so I'm very proud to be reporting directly to the president so that I can hermetically seal off the coms team from this sort of nonsense.
JOHNS: The Justice Department responding to Scaramucci's interview with a statement noting, "Like the attorney general has said, whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail, and we will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead."
Scaramucci taking a page out of his boss's playbook by taking to Twitter to air grievances with his fellow colleagues, while President Trump continues to publicly attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter. Despite growing backlash from conservatives and his senior advisers urging him to stand down.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I don't fully understand why the president has said what he said, but I think Jeff deserves better treatment.
JOHNS: The turmoil in President Trump's inner circle comes as the Pentagon was left scrambling after Mr. Trump abruptly announced on Twitter a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military, a stark reversal from the promises the president made to the LGBTQ community on the campaign trail.
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: I served active duty in the military, and I can tell you, we don't care about gender orientation or identity or who you love. We just care you can shoot straight and complete the mission.
JOHNS: That announcement is expected to shore up support from the president's conservative base, which had been critical of his attacks on Sessions. The Justice Department also took another shot at the LGBT community in court papers yesterday, asserting that the Civil Rights Act does not apply to employment discrimination involving sexual orientation.
Chris and Alisyn, back to you.
[06:05:10] CAMEROTA: Joe, thank you very much for all that reporting.
Joining us now to discuss all of it, all of these new threads in breaking news, we have CNN political analyst John Avlon; CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger and associate editor of RealClearPolitics A.B. Stoddard.
OK. John Avlon, let's start with the palace intrigue of what's going on inside the White House. There seems to be some sort of mortal combat now brewing between White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci and chief Reince Priebus. If you base it on the tweet that lived on Twitter for two hours, where Scaramucci seemed to be suggesting, rather overtly, that it was Reince Priebus whom he believes is behind the leaks.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. This goes way beyond your typical office politics. I mean, this is vicious, paranoid and probably not fact-based. But it lays bare, for at least a few hours in that tweet, the enormously bad blood, paranoid, distrust at the highest levels of this White House. Tone comes from the top. But for this to spill into public so early into Scaramucci's term is a bad sign for everybody.
CUOMO: Let's thicken out the record here a little bit, David, because there's actually a lot to unpack. First, Anthony says, Scaramucci says that this was a wrong reckoning. That he put Reince Priebus on there to show this consolidated effort to go after it. So why is that being seen as suspicious? Because there's a ton of reporting that Priebus has been out to do Scaramucci wrong for a while, that he kept him from getting a job. He didn't want him to get this job. So there's a basis for speculation about what's going on here.
But the whole context is somewhat of a flawed premise, that leaks are all bad, that they're all illegal, all dangerous and injurious to the republic. That's just not true.
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. Let's put aside the "Game of Thrones" part of this.
CUOMO: Just for a moment.
SANGER: For just a minute. OK? So I've been dealing in the national security space and the, you know, alleged leaks for more decades than I want to go admit to here. What the document that he claims was leaked...
CUOMO: Which is called a disclosure form.
SANGER: ... is intended to be a public document. After you have filed it -- and he probably filed it in his previous federal job earlier this year -- it is publicly available after 30 days. We checked. He filed his June 23. It was publicly available as of last Sunday. I don't know how Politico got it, but my guess is, having done this more than a few times, they asked for it.
CAMEROTA: To just dive in a little bit further, this is a financial disclosure form that reveals what, that Anthony Scaramucci may still be collecting on investments?
SANGER: No, just...
CUOMO: This is the information he provided.
SANGER: It's what he provides about his level...
CAMEROTA: But I mean, what's damning about it?
SANGER: There's nothing damning about it. It tells you what your assets...
SANGER: You can even see it for the president. Every federal employment gets to go file these.
Now, what's the problem in the way they're wording all of this? First of all, most leaks aren't illegal. Most leaks are perfectly legal.
Secondly, leaks that are all about the "Game of Thrones" -- who's up, who's down, whatever -- they may be damaging to someone, they may be embarrassing. They're not illegal. Go into the memoirs of previous cabinet members, you will find discussions that took place in the situation room about national security measures. Not every conversation in the situation room is classified and illegal to disclose.
CAMEROTA: OK. So we have Scaramucci talking about all this last night on "Hannity." So listen to who he thinks is leaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARAMUCCI: It will be virtually impossible to get rid of every leak, but I think we can take dramatic steps to get rid of leaks. And one of the big problems I'm discovering in the coms team is that senior people are really the guys doing the leaking, and they ask junior people to leak for them. And so I'm very proud to be reporting directly to the president so that I can hermetically seal off the coms team from this sort of nonsense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, A.B. Stoddard, this is important, because you have a White House that says it's constantly distracted by the media. But let's be honest. It has just constructed its own massive distraction. This chasing after leaks is just a projection of the paranoia of the president. He wants to be the one who gives the message. He wants the one -- be the one that has the conduit to leak to the media. He doesn't want anybody else doing it. They've made it a nefarious behavior, and now we see this.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: And they're always harping on how the media wants to talk about Russia or other things except the agenda. And then Scaramucci spends most of his time on camera talking about leaks.
And as David points out, you know, we're not talking about high-level national security secrets here that are being leaked illegally. There are feuding factions in the White House. This is the way that President Trump has always operated as a businessman. He's going to operate the White House this way from the time -- from the time he got in in January to the time he leaves, whenever that is.
This man keeps people on who hate each other. And they're -- that's when you -- that's when you create these sort of festering resentments and people leak against each other.
So Scaramucci can run around and fire a bunch of people and try to stop, you know, some leaks. But as long as you have Ivanka Trump with Jared Kushner and Gary Cohn and Dina Powell lined up against Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon and some others, and people are leaking to protect their special fiefdoms, and the president keeps people like Reince Priebus, who's always on death watch, in his role, even though Scaramucci, she's trying to do this street fighter, overheated, you know, tweet combat with him to publicly shame him, all of this tension stays and all of the leaking continues.
AVLON: Tone comes from the town. That's the point that A.B. is making. And this is all about mimicking the president's own memes and actions. From Twitter outbursts to target people. Trying to publicly shame his internal, not enemies but challengers.
I mean, what Scaramucci may have done to Priebus last night, in some ways, mimics what the president is doing to Jeff Sessions on Twitter. None of it is healthy. None of it is normal. None of it speaks to any kind of leadership that puts a cohesive team on the field to achieve goals for the American people, writ large. It's just a microcosm of the chaos we're dealing with, unfortunately.
Yesterday was supposed to be about health care. It became about a trans ban that was popped by the president on Twitter, removing rights from Americans currently serving, a series of other -- other initiatives and then capped off in the evening by sort of bloody knives between White House staffers on Twitter. This is not useful.
CUOMO: And it's just very clear where it's coming from, David. Anthony Scaramucci just got installed. You know he's dealing with the president very closely and constantly. This is clearly a presidential priority.
How else do we know that? Well, Jeff Sessions, who has every reason to be doing whatever the president wants, what did they just announce? They're going to launch an investigation into leaks. It seems like this is what the president wants.
It certainly does. And of course, the president himself was doing tweets about leaks before Scaramucci ever was thinking about incoming to the White House.
There's something more that John raised in here, as well. Think about how the transgender ban was announced yesterday. Was this an official announcement from the White House with a background briefing for us about the legal analysis that went into...
SANGER: ... why you treat transgenders differently than you would treat any other category? No. It was a single sentence or two from the president. No one knows how this is supposed to be implemented. No legal justification offered. And more importantly, no cost benefit.
Certainly, there are issues about having transgender among the troops. There are also huge benefits about doing this and great work that many of them are doing for the military. Did anybody sit down and say, "We've evaluated these? And here's" -- None of the process, none of the explanation. AVLON: And obviously, also, no self-awareness that it was tweeted out
the morning of the anniversary of Harry Truman desegregating the U.S. forces. Now, that would also require a president who reads American history. But he fact that there's any lack of coordination has a cascading effect is chaos, and it's frankly cruel to those...
CUOMO: They have the DOJ coming out with a finding, which is really fundamental to the progression of rights for the LGBT community. The DOJ coming out and saying they don't believe they should have statutory protection, the LGBT community, in the work environment is huge, because gay marriage did not end the struggle for equality for this group of Americans.
You're going to have to have -- until it is made, a category of protection under federal law in every regard. You're going to have these piecemeal things. So it came out the same day as the DOJ. Is that a coincidence?
CAMEROTA: We'll talk more about that throughout the program. Stick around, panel, please.
CUOMO: So we've got another setback for Senate Republicans on health care despite all the distractions around them. They've got problems in the main on the issue. They're going to get added today, debating the merits of something called a skinny repeal. What is that? Any chance of it passing? Why? Why not? We discuss next.
[06:18:08] CAMEROTA: The Senate will tackle health care again today as the GOP now pivots towards an alternate skinny option, and that would leave parts of the current law intact. This comes after Republicans rejected a straight repeal of Obamacare.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is live on Capitol Hill for us with more. What's the latest, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Alisyn.
We are certainly set up for a dramatic next 24 hours, kind of the conclusion of the Senate debate will be coming soon. But if there had been one thing we've learned, really, over the last 48 hours, it's that Republicans definitively cannot agree on a repeal and replacement plan.
We saw this a couple nights ago, the repeal and replace effort falling well short, nine Republicans voting against that. And then, as you noted, the repeal-only option, an amendment that would kind of cut back large swaths of Obamacare, not have any replace element to it, but that fell short. Seven Republicans voting against that.
So where does that leave us now? Well, the kind of alternative that Republicans are starting to coalesce around, the idea the Republican leaders are pushing, as you noted. It's called the skinny repeal. And essentially what it is, it's a very paired-back repeal of three key elements of Obamacare: the individual mandate, the employer mandate and the medical device tax.
Now guys, this is something that all Republicans agree they dislike. And that's kind of the key element here. They're trying to find something everybody can agree on. Now, do Republican leaders want this to be the final proposal? Absolutely not.
When you talk to Republican leadership aides, guys, they say this. We want this to be a vehicle to get into a conference with the House. Essentially get it passed, get something done, keep the process moving. Then we can hammer out details later on.
If you've heard that before, that's because it's true. That's what House leaders told some of their skeptical members: "Just wait for the Senate. They'll fix it." That's what Mitch McConnell told his members before the procedural vote: "Just wait until we get on to debate. We'll fix it." Right now it looks like they're trying to punt again.
But guys, one key element here. As of now, they still don't have the votes to even pass that. That's the work that's going on behind the scenes to keep a very close eye. Another thing to keep a close eye on, Democrats. Last night, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer coming to the Senate floor, saying Democrats will no longer offer amendments until they can physically see this skinny repeal proposal. It's a little bit wild up here, guys, and it's certainly going to continue in the next couple of hours -- Chris.
CUOMO: Also remember, though, Phil, you know, context that you provided very well at the beginning of this process, the Senate would improve what the House had done.
There was this allusion -- a-l-l-u-s-i-o-n -- that the House had put something together and, yet, it was too raw. It was too mean as the president of the United States said, the Senate would improve it. Now it seems like they're just trying to match what the House did.
All right, Phil, stay with us. Let's bring back John Avlon and A.B. Stoddard. So in terms of where we are and what the concern was about this end run around the traditional process -- right, but what we were told was, well, they did that for seven years, so let's that expedite it.
It seems that they are chasing tails right back to where they started, which is box out the Democrats. The amendment process will be somewhat of a farce, and let's get it as lean as possible. Pull as much money out as possible to pass along in other parts of the agenda.
AVLON: That's right. And keep it moving and don't look at what this hand is doing. The ultimate cruel political irony is that, when Nancy Pelosi said you've got to vote on the bill to find out what's in it, that was used in 1,000 Republican campaign ads.
CUOMO: And rightly so.
AVLON: That is accurate. I agree with you. They are doing their own version of that today. Look at the individual parts. Don't look at the whole picture, because there is no whole picture. We'll improve it behind -- behind doors, and then we'll see what the ultimate bill is.
All we know is even the skinny repeal, which would remove the individual mandate, would remove the companies being required for coverage, remove the medical device tax. Each of those may discreetly look attractive to different Republicans. But what we know, at least, about CBO scoring is, it would increase premiums and decrease the coverage. So that's a bad deal. The numbers are rough, but the process is even worse.
CAMEROTA: So A.B., I mean, you obviously have lots of sources on Capitol Hill. Is this as chaotic as it seems, or is there some method to this madness?
STODDARD: No, this is really a disaster. And looking at -- it doesn't matter what the CBO score is on skinny repeal. A, it's not a repeal and conservatives don't like it. And B, it's not going to become law, as Phil said. It's a ticket back to the House for a conference, where conservatives will go nuts again on the Medicaid expansion, try to pare it back, and moderates will fight to restore it.
So -- an obviously, we'll have the argument also about tax cuts for the wealthy that, you know, a lot of Republicans now want to keep the Obamacare taxes in. That's anathema to conservatives. The grassroots are furious. They want all the regulations and the taxes gone.
Obviously, that has to do with tax return. If they don't get that money, a trillion -- $500 billion to $1 trillion out of health care, their setback on their next big, more favorite goal of tax reform. And what's amazing to me is when the House bill was floundering and it was a mess back in March, it failed March 24.
In April, it seemed like they could never get anything done, and they did get the House bill out in the first week of May. All these members kept saying, "Why don't we pass a shell bill? The Senate is the one that will write this bill. We can never pass a bill. If we send just a medical device tax repeal over to the Senate, they are going to be the one that writes -- they have to write the bill that makes it to the president's desk. Over here with the Freedom Caucus, we can never decide on a bill."
So the idea of the Senate punting it back to the House is really a sad statement about where we are.
CUOMO: Also, we have to remember something here in the macro sense, to borrow from Anthony Scaramucci that makes this matter a lot more. Yes, it's about money. Yes, it's about moving towards another part of the agenda. But the point that you make all the time is, this is about people. The skinny part of this is going to be a function of starving people from their health care. That's how this gets skinny. You're pulling the money out. Sixteen million more uninsured in this country. There's going to be a price for this savings.
CAMEROTA: That's the early estimate from the CBO. AVLON: Yes. And listen, the chaos, unfortunately, runs into
contradiction with compassion. It should be -- but remember, we've had eight years for them to come up with a comprehensive policy, and there's been a total absence of it. Instead, let's just keep it moving. Let's just keep it moving. Let's get a win on the board. We'll figure it out later. That is an absence of compassion in the context of public policy.
And look, it's also significant last night that a bipartisan group of governors, including big-time Republican governors like John Kasich and Charlie Baker, most popular governor, Republican from Massachusetts, came out against the skinny bundle. I mean, so a lot of this stuff...
CUOMO: And your hospitals, and your providers, and your medical expert associations.
AVLON: But a lot of the rhetoric that Anthony Scaramucci used on the show yesterday, decentralization, freedom, empowering the states. The governors are saying this is a bad deal. That's a contradiction you simply can't ignore.
CAMEROTA: So Phil, one thing I've been looking forward to is the vote-a-rama, because I have a '70s outfit that I want to wear for that. So is that happening today?
[06:25:08] PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're going to come up here with the outfit, aren't you?
CAMEROTA: Yes, I am.
CUOMO: Big heels with a goldfish in them.
CAMEROTA: So I don't know what it's about, but it sounds fun. What's happening?
MATTINGLY: Look, it is fun unless you have to cover it or participate, in which case it's tedious, very, very long, and you just want to take a nap. So it's absolutely happening. That's part of the process, of the budget process that they've tried to pursue to try and pass this.
At the end of debate, there's about ten hours left of debate. They will start the vote-a-rama process. And what that means, guys, is any amendment that's offered that falls within the budget reconciliation rules and is germane to the bill will have to be voted on. And I've been through these before in past bills. You're talking potentially hundreds of amendments. Each amendment gets one minute of debate for each side, and then they vote again, and they just roll through it. And it should start sometime this evening, and it will go all the way through, basically, until they run out of amendments, the members decide that they're very tired, or floor staff has simply had enough.
Now, I think the big element here is to watch in vote-a-rama, and we've seen it in the amendment process up to this point. Every amendment is failing. None of these amendments are passing. None of these amendments are perfecting a piece of legislation, making a piece of legislation better, even kind of shifting the piece of legislation ideologically one way or the other. These amendments are all being put up to be defeated. Even the amendments the Republican leaders would really like their members to get behind.
So essentially, this is an exercise that doesn't actually have an end game that changes things until the very end. And I think this is kind of how you look at the entire process. Vote-a-rama very, very long.
At the very end, Republican leaders will put up the bill, likely the skinny repeal, that they want their members to vote on and kick back over to conference committee or to the House, that's what matters. So guys, you can kind of tune out the ten or 11 hours before that if you want.
CAMEROTA: But you can't, Phil. So we appreciate you being there and covering it all so we don't have to.
CUOMO: And this is the Democrats' concern. Is that this is being called opening debate, but it's only a 50-vote rule. It's not like the Obamacare vote where they got 60. So the Democrats can propose whatever they want, true. And they can vote every one of them down in a minute, like that.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, panel, for all of that. We will be watching today, of course.
Meanwhile, there's some troubling new intelligence on North Korea. And it suggests that Kim Jong-un could be capable of a nuclear missile launch by early next year. Is the North Korean leader about to conduct another test? We'll tell you next.