Return to Transcripts main page


Could Trump Slide Sessions To Homeland Security Secretary?; Trump Tries To Reset With Staffing Shake-up; V.P. Pence On North Korea: All Options On Table; Putin Retaliates Over Looming U.S. Sanctions; U.S. Conducts Show Of Force With Japan And South Korea; Feinstein Says We Can't Allow A Missile That Can Reach U.S.; Trump To GOP: Don't Give Up, The World Is Watching; Pro-Government Candidate Killed In Venezuela; Chelsea Handler Slams, Thanks President Trump; Kid Rock For Congress?; "The Nineties: New World Order" Airs Tonight At 9 E.T. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 30, 2017 - 15:00   ET



[15:01:38] FREDRICKA WHIFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

President Trump hits the reset button. Hours from now, Homeland Security secretary and retired General John Kelly takes the reins as the new White House chief of staff. With so much seeming turmoil and chaos in the White House, will Kelly be able to keep the president on message, and help calm West Wing tensions?

And speculations swirl over what Kelly's move might mean for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Plus, Russian State Media says President Vladimir Putin is ordering more than 700 U.S. diplomats to leave. We'll have more on that in a moment.

But first, the reset in the White House with a new chief of staff. Let's go now to CNN's Boris Sanchez in Washington. So talk to us about this speculation about Sessions and whether he would move to Homeland Security?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. At this point it is purely speculation. I want to stress this comes from a Politico report in which some of their sources talked to officials at the Department of Homeland Security who threw his name out there as a possible new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. CNN has not received any indication that the president is even considering this or that Sessions would even accept the job. But because we've seen so many unprecedented moves from this White House before, lawmakers are now responding to this, at least entertaining it as a serious possibility.

Lindsey Graham yesterday said this would be a bad idea. Today -- earlier today, Susan Collins was on "Meet the Press" and said that she would be opposed to the idea if the move were made, because Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. But as we know, that's the main point of friction between the president and his attorney general. Kellyanne Conway reiterated that earlier today. Listen.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Again, that's a personnel question that only the president can answer. I will tell you that the president has expressed frustration about the recusal. So much has flowed from that recusal and so much of President Trump's agenda flows from the Department of Justice. Many of the primary issues in the program he won successfully on go through it the Department of Justice, and look what's happened with this ridiculous Russian collusion delusion?


SANCHEZ: Though the idea, Fred, of moving Jeff Sessions from the Department of Justice to the Department of Homeland Security is a wild theory, it certainly is a possibility, because Sessions has already been confirmed by the Senate, the president could move him to DHS and have him lead the Department of Home Security for up to 210 days as he then goes and nominates a different attorney general. Perhaps one, Fred that wouldn't have to recuse themselves from the Russia investigation.

WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much from the nation's capital.

So as John Kelly prepares for his new role, those close to the president say they are confident the retired general will bring a sense of discipline and order to the White House.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: Take Reince at his word. I don't think Reince is hiding the ball on this at all. The president wanted to change directions. He wanted to go a different way in the way that office was managed.

I think Reince was terribly effective but was probably a little bit more laid back and independent in the way he ran the office. I think the president wants to go a different direction, wants a little bit more discipline, a little more structure in there. You know that he enjoys working with generals.

[15:05:07] CONWAY: If we can have protocol, pecking order, order, discipline, and a chief of staff that empowers the staff to succeed, I know that General Kelly has done that on the battlefield. I know he's done that as a chief military aide to former cabinet secretaries. I know he's done it as a cabinet secretary. And so we have great faith that will be done.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's discuss all of this now with CNN political commentators, Ana Navarro and Jeffrey Lord. Good to see you both of you. JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How are you Fred?

WHITFIELD: Great. Welcome back, Jeffrey. So, Ana, you first. You know, to hear Mulvaney and even Kellyanne say that the president wants structure and wants discipline. Is that what the president is hoping to see in a John Kelly as a chief of staff? For someone who knows John Kelly, but does that sound like the wishes of the president? Discipline and structure?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I have no idea what Donald Trump wants, right? I'm not good at interpreting, reading the leaves with him. And I would say, be careful what you wish for because you just may get it.

What I do know is that with John Kelly, he does get a leader who is into discipline, and to structure and to chain of command. He's a serious guy with gravitas. He has led on the combat field. He's a man who has led troops.

I knew him in Miami, got to know him and his wife, who are very active in the gold star family movement in Miami, when he was commander of Southcom. He was very respected in Latin America which is the jurisdiction of Southcom by his colleagues and did a lot of very good bilateral work in Latin America with governments on things like drug interdictions and gang violence and all the projects that we have in common.

Now, the question is, though, how much power is John really going to have? What's he going to do with Ivanka and Jared who are relatives? What's he going to do with Scaramucci, who says he reports directly to the president? What's he going to do with Kellyanne Conway?

What's he going to do with all of these people who apparently have walk-in privileges? I mean, they walk in to the Oval Office like people walk into a public bathroom.

WHITFIELD: Right. And a chief of staff --

NAVARRO: So, what is he going to be able to get that under control?

WHITFIELD: Right. A chief of staff, you know, can put a stop to that. Can say, nobody gets to the president before, you know, first interacting with me, coming through me.

So Jeffrey, do you see that John Kelly would be that kind of chief of staff who would say, no longer is there going to be this easy access that the president has or all the people that Ana just mentioned? But first you've got to go through me.

LORD: Well, I think what they'll do is he'll consult with the president and see what the president wants to do. And then he'll execute it in an orderly, and in -- if I -- I guess the obvious fashion, military fashion. Ana knows him, I do not but he certainly sounds like a disciplinarian, exactly the kind of person you need.

You know, one of the appalling stories that came out in the last few days that I heard when I was on Anderson Cooper show from Josh Green who's written this book the president and Steve Bannon, it was called "Devil's Bargain." That morning, Josh had been on NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota and in the course of the interview Mr. Scaramucci called in and got into a debate on-air on the phone with Chris. Fine enough.

The problem is, that while that was going on, Josh Green was getting texts from people inside the White House dissing Mr. Scaramucci. That's not a good thing. I mean, you've got to have a discipline and a White House staff has to be orderly and not be doing that kind of thing.

WHITFIELD: So Scaramucci was brought in as communications director to help control the message, and he came out guns are blazing so to speak in his first few days. Didn't see him at all, you know --

LORD: So to speak.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so to speak. But, you know, former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, you know, has been among those very critical of Trump and says, John Kelly will indeed have his hands full tomorrow. Scaramucci or not, or period. Listen to what he had to say on ABC earlier today.


JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: General Kelly will have his hands full tomorrow morning when he starts work at the White House. I think he's got to protect the Justice Department and he's got to protect Bob Mueller and the investigation that's going on there from the continued assault by the president and by the White House. It's going to be his job to provide a bulwark against interference by the White House which in the end of the day, it's going to get them in more trouble rather than less.


WHITFIELD: Ana, how do you see it?

NAVARRO: I think John Podesta is right. I think John Kelley is going to have a handful when he shows up at that White House tomorrow. The disorganization, the dysfunction, the disloyalty, the amount of leaks. The people taking matters into their own hands. The protagonism that we've seen, the turnover that we have seen in this White House in the last six months is frankly very hard to keep up with.

[15:10:02] And so the question is, will John Kelly be able to do it? Now, I'll tell you this, I know a lot of political leaders, I've known a lot of them through the years. I have never in any one case not seen a staff and a level of functionality of the office that does not accurately reflect the principle. John Kelly is the chief of staff, he's not a miracle worker. This has got to start with Donald Trump.

If Donald Trump wants more discipline, he needs to give John Kelly the power, the absolute power to exert that discipline, build the structure and carry it through in the White House. If he is sabotaging John Kelly from day one by allowing Scaramucci to go off are and, you know, go do his crazy stunts on T.V., and, you know, Kellyanne will do the other stuff, you know, and Jared to go be his own pirate on the ship, then there's nothing John Kelly's going to be able to do.

WHITFIELD: OK, and quickly, Jeffrey, discipline comes from the top --

NAVARRO: -- but he's not able to stop this, he leaves.

WHITFIELD: Right. Wouldn't discipline come from the top, Jeffrey?

LORD: Yes, yes, you're right. And one thing for perspective. I've gone back and take a look and found stories from the Obama administration all the way back to the Reagan era in which, literally, that the story is headlined "Chaos in the White House."

WHITFIELD: All right.

LORD: And it's about a White House staff in turmoil, et cetera. Every single administration between Reagan and Obama I found these things. So there is a little perspective here. Each president needs to get their footing and then sail on.

WHITFIELD: All right, we will leave it right there. Thank you so much. Jeffrey, thanks for coming back. Ana, we'll see you again later on too. Appreciate it.

This breaking news now.

Out of Russia, state media is saying President Putin is ordering Washington cut its staff in diplomatic missions in Russia by 755 people. This in response to a sanctions bill that President Trump is expected to sign.

Let's go right to CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance in Moscow. So, Matthew, how is this message being conveyed to the, what, 755 U.S. personnel, many of whom are diplomats there in Russia that they have to leave, and how soon?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's an absolutely huge number. And the Russian Parliamentary says that this figure will have to be implemented by September the 1st. And so this just, well, just over a month for that to take place.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president went on state television earlier today to announce that that was indeed the case. Seven hundred and fifty-five people, personnel would be slashed across Russia's -- the U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia. The embassy in Moscow, the three consulates elsewhere in the country.

It's not clear whether they'll all be U.S. citizens. Of course all of those diplomatic missions employ a mixture of Russian nationals and U.S. nationals. But whichever way you cut it, this is a major step by the Russians and it underlines just how angry and disappointed the Kremlin is to this U.S. sanctions bill passed so convincingly in the U.S. Congress. And so it's something that they're very angry about and this is their retaliation measure for it.

WHITFIELD: Matthew Chance, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

All right, straight ahead, Vice President Mike Pence says, all options are on the table for dealing with North Korea after its latest missile launch and it's new threat. And Pence agrees with President Trump who says China needs to do more. What this could mean for the region, next.


[15:17:31] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. A short time ago, while traveling in Estonia, Vice President Mike Pence said all options are on the table with North Korea. This after the rogue nation fired off a long-range missile Friday that appears to have the range to hit U.S. cities. Also, North Korea threatened to respond with, quote, firm action if the U.S. continues to cling to strong sanctions.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The continued provocations by the rogue regime in North Korea unacceptable. And the United States of America is going to continue to marshal the support of nations across the region and across the world to further isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically, but the era of strategic patience is over.


WHITFIELD: And this morning, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley had this to say on Twitter. "Done talking about North Korea, China is aware they must act. Japan and South Korea must include pressure. Not only a U.S. problem. It will require an international solution."

The U.S. also conducted an anti-missile defense test from Alaska. The THAAD system as it's called, shot down a missile over the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. also sent two bombers to fly over the Korean Peninsula as a show of force.

We have team coverage on this tense situation. CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Rear Admiral John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst. Good to see both of you.

All right, Diane, you first. So start with anything more that you can tell us about the U.S. response?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Fred, of course the most visible aspect to the U.S. responses, this show of force that we've been seeing for the past couple of days. The successful THAAD system out of Alaska. The bomber fly over of the Peninsula with the Japanese and South Korean fighter jets.

But there are the current sanctions and the push for additional ones that seems to really be what North Korea is focused on, then of course, there was the matter of China. The President's tweets last night of course accusing them of not doing enough but there thus appear to be a bipartisan front of publicly acknowledging that without China, there's no diplomatic solution with North Korea. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein acknowledging as much today on "Face the Nation" and saying that when it comes to Kim Jong-Un, time is of the essence.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I'm convinced that North Korea has never moved at the speed that this leader has to develop an ICBM, to put solid fuel, to have an interesting launch device. And to have a trajectory which as of the latest analysis would enable it to go about 6,000 miles and maybe even hit as far east of Chicago. We can't have that.


[15:20:14] GALLAGHER: Yes, as far east of Chicago, Feinstein saying there are pretty ominous words, Fred. You can see whether they are Democrats or Republicans taking this North Korea threat very seriously now.

WHITFIELD: And then John, what's your reaction to what Senator Feinstein was talking about? Her concerns reaching as far east of Chicago? What are your concerns about North Korea's capabilities?

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I certainly share her concerns. And I think she's absolutely right when she talks about the acceleration here that the regime has been able to apply to, to developing these capabilities, they are moving faster. I would say though, Fred, that look, the window still isn't closed for diplomatic action. And I kind of would like to rebut Ambassador Haley's comment that the time for talking about North Korea is over.

There's still time to try to find a diplomatic solution to this. And I do think the administration is right to point to Beijing and try to work through China. That's the only nation sake in the world certainly let alone in the region that has any kind of meaningful influence on Pyongyang. We just got to find a way to help get them to use that influence. Obviously the approach thus far hasn't worked but doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep trying.

WHITFIELD: Is it you're that China is apparently why North Korea is able to accelerate as it has with its missile system?

KIRBY: Well, I don't think it's fair to blame China for all the acceleration. I mean, this is a decision that Kim Jong-un has made. That said, China can do more and China hasn't done enough to try to stem this development and to try to bring Pyongyang back into compliance with so many U.N. Security Council resolutions. I just think that we need to keep trying to find new ways to attack this problem by going through China.

The window for diplomacy isn't over and we shouldn't think about it being over. That said, of course, the military is a planning organization and has to continue to plan for defenses and military options. You heard that from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dunford just a few days ago. That's their job and they need to do that. But I don't anybody wants t to come to that stage right now.

WHITFIELD: How much confidence do you have in the U.S. missile defense system, THAAD?

KIRBY: Well, the THAAD system is very sophisticated, it's very strong. You just saw as Dianne reported a recent successful test. I mean, it is a good system.

And it is a purely defensive system and this is something that people need to remember, particularly Russia and China. And this isn't an offensive system. This is about protecting our interests and protecting the interests of our allies and partners.

But it's not going to be a panacea, Fred. I mean, it does works and it is capable, but nobody is looking at this as sort of to, you know, solve all the problems kind of solutions.

WHITFIELD: All right, Admiral. John Kirby, Dianne Gallagher, thanks to both of you, appreciate it.

All right, the president of the United States has a message for Senate Republicans over their failure to repeal and replace ObamaCare saying quote, the world is watching.

Straight ahead, how his threats are being received and what they could mean for your health care.


[15:27:11] WHITFIELD: All right. Today, President Trump is offering words of encouragement to Republicans after slamming the failed effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. He tweeted this, "Don't give up Republican Senators. The world is watching. Repeal and replace and go to 51 votes, nuke option, get cross state lines and more."

Well, this comes after his threat to lawmakers. In a tweet he said, "If a new health care bill is not approved quickly, bailouts for insurance companies and bailouts for members of Congress will end very soon." This morning on CNN's STATE OF THE UNION, the Director of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney clarified what the president meant in that statement.


JAKE TAPPER, STATE OF THE UNION HOST: Is the president threatening to cut off funding for the health insurance plans for members of Congress? Is that what that means, bailouts for members of Congress?

MULVANEY: Yes, actually I talked with the president at length about that exact issue yesterday. And I think his attitude is this and his attitude is pretty simple. Keep in mind, he does have this way of channeling a large number of the American public. And what he's saying is, look, if ObamaCare is hurting people, and it is, then why shouldn't it hurt insurance companies and more importantly perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress? There is a certain benefit that members of Congress get as part of an OPM decision from a couple years ago. And I think the president is simply looking at this and going, is this fair. Is it fair that ObamaCare is hurting people?

If you live in a county that's what we call now a bare county, with no coverage, if you're obliged by law to buy something not for sale and it's hurting you. Or if you got a coverage but can't afford to go to the doctor and that's hurting you. Shouldn't the insurance companies and members of Congress bear some of that burden as well? So, for me with that issue, we'll see what happens as we move forward.


WHITFIELD: All right. But Republican Senator Susan Collins says lawmakers and insurance companies are not the only ones who would be hurt by cutting off that funding.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: It really would be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens if those payments were cut off. They're paid to the insurance companies but the people that they benefit are people who make between 100% and 250% of the poverty rate. So we're talking about low-income Americans who would be devastated if those payments were cut off.


WHITFIELD: All right. So let's talk it all over with CNN Political Commentator Ana Navarro, who's back and CNN political commentator and political communist with the Orange County Register with us now, John Phillips. Good to see both of you.

All right, so Ana, the president is encouraging, or, you know, threatening Republican senators to keep fighting for an ObamaCare repeal, and blasting them for the failed repeal effort last week. But when you hear Jeff Flake as he was on ABC's "This Week" earlier today. He said, you know what, I'm paraphrasing, quoting him in part. If you want stuff to sign, we better look across the aisle. Martha Raddatz with ABC, then ask, you know, what about health care and he says we're getting there.

[15:30:05] He was disappointed that it died last week, but he says, he and others are glad to be talking about, sitting with colleague, going back to regular order. It will be good for us and good for the country.

Is that really the mandate or is that kind of the order of business that many Republicans on the Hill will be taking as opposed to listening what the president has to say, which is go back to the drawing board? NAVARRO: Well, look, first of all, I just don't understand the president's tactics, because if he think that attacking the co-equal branch of government which is the legislative branch is going to work, I think he's grossly mistaken. Frankly, I don't know how long Republicans are going to take it or why they're even taking it. But then to your question of bipartisanship, yes.

Look, Democrats tried ObamaCare, health care fix on their own and it has enormous amount problems. Republicans tried it on their own and it failed. It couldn't even get 51 Republican votes.

So what's left to do is try to actually do what many Republicans are asking for, which is take into consideration what the governors are saying, get them to have input. Work across the aisle, and let it actually compromise and come up with a bipartisan approach for what is an urgent national crisis.

WHITFIELD: So, John, do you see that some of these Republicans on the Hill, whether it be, you know, John McCain, Susan Collins, you know, Jeff Flake, who are going to say, wait a minute, we're going to now try something different. We are going to reach across the aisle.

And it's essentially dismissing or ignoring what the president has to say. You know, or is this kind of a, a turning point for the GOP that, you know, that the president's credibility, you know, is damaged at this point?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, whatever they do I hope they have plenty of money for fluids because Ana and I are about ready to go down in the Southern California heat. But this is not something that requires heaven and earth to be moved here. They're not that far away legislatively.

Is what they need, is they need some legislator to step up to the plate and come up with a computing plan. Because when you're this deep into the process, it's not an essay question, it's a multiple choice test. And right now we have the option of ObamaCare or the plan the Republicans put together.

They didn't have the votes. They missed it by one vote, John McCain's vote. So they need to go back and they need to do some legislating.

Lindsey Graham stepped up and said that he may have an idea that could produce those extra votes that they need to get this thing across the finish line. But people are suffering under ObamaCare. They need to do something.

WHITFIELD: This is Tom Price, the Health and Human Service secretary earlier today, with a message that has left many wondering, you know what is exactly the message coming from the White House? Listen.


MARTHA RADDATZ, THIS WEEK HOST: You have said nobody is interested in sabotaging the system. So are you going to help it implode or try to fix it? TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: The responsibility of the department is to improve the health and the safety and the well- being of the American people, and we take that mission extremely seriously. Which is why we are so passionate about making certain -- we have a health care system again that works for patients.


WHITFIELD: So Ana, what is the message because you've got the president who says implode, you've got the Health and Human Services secretary who talks about the president's passion, in response to, you know, is that the idea, just allow ObamaCare to implode? What's happening here?

NAVARRO: Oh, Fred, you know, this is what we see from this White House over and over again, right? Where it's like having a conversation with a multi-headed dragon. You've got Price saying one thing, you've got Conway saying another, you've got the president tweeting another.

And so it's very hard to figure out what the message is. We don't know right now just how much they're going to try to do to sabotage ObamaCare and see it fall of its own weight. Here's, you know, and here is what I think voters, Americans, really got to get active.

So we have ObamaCare which we have got to admit has got huge issues. We don't have a Republican plan because it failed. So the option right now is to either see a White House that's going to make ObamaCare, which already has problems, fail that much quicker, or try to get this fixed.

And while we're in the midst of all this political posturing, we have got to remember that this is about people's lives. This isn't a political chess game. This is about people who need urgent treatment.

This is about people with pre-existing conditions. This is about mothers and fathers who have sick children are worrying every night, not knowing what the future is going to bring. The option of doing nothing is not an option.

The option of allowing ObamaCare to fall of its own weight is not an option. Legislators have got to be responsible, have got to take action, have got to find a solution, because Americans demand it and there are too many sick people that need us to step up to the plate.

[15:35:05] WHITFIELD: So, John, the president isn't using language that says he's passionate or demonstrating that he's passionate about the well-being of human beings, just like Ana just spelled out. Is that a big problem? And that's what's missing.

PHILLIPS: Well, the Republicans have run on repealing and replacing ObamaCare in three different national elections. It happened in 2010 when they were successful, 2014, 2016. It's popped up in some of these midterm elections. They don't have an option, they have to do something. They have to put together a majority in the U.S. Senate. We already have it the House and they need to come up with a bill. But doing nothing as Ana said is a death warrant for ObamaCare because it is imploding on its own. And it's not going to be homicide by Donald Trump, it's going to be suicide because the legislation has tons of major fundamental flaws.

WHITFIELD: All Right. We'll leave it there. John Phillips, Ana Navarro, thanks so much.

All right, be sure to watch CNN's special "Why Trump Won". It airs tomorrow at night, 10:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN. And we'll be right back.


[15:40:16] WHITFIELD: That huge explosion targeting police motorcycles in the Venezuela capin -- capital rather, where a vote is under way that could hand President Nicolas Maduro even more power. Earlier, Senator John McCain tweeted about this situation there saying this, "We stand with the people of Venezuela today who deserve democracy, not sham elections and Maduro's repression."

CNN's Leyla Santiago joining me now with the very latest on this. So Leyla, what is happening with all of these protests and this kind of unrest and even a candidate being killed?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. That candidate, Fredricka, died last night after somebody broke it -- a group broke into his home. He was shot and killed. His name is Jose Felix Pineda and he was one of the candidates that people would have been voting for today.

We went to the polling sites. There were some lines, although when I asked multiple people how this compares to prior elections, Jose Felix Pineda hey tell me this was much smaller lines, much shorter lines at these election sites.

Now, while some people spent their day going to that election poll, which, by the way, closes in about half an hour, others took to the streets. You saw that video of the explosion in the area of (INAUDIBLE) and we were in another area on the east side of town where we saw similar protests, very violent protests. There have been police officers injured, protesters injured.

I watched myself as the clash moved forward and everyone seemed to be throwing cocktail Molotovs or tear gas in both directions. Both sides saying that they want freedom, they want peace but I'm seeing anything but that today here in Caracas. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow, incredible images and a lot of volatility in that election on that election, on this election day. Leyla Santiago, keep us posted. Thank you so much.

And we'll have much more from the NEWSROOM after this.


[15:46:22] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. American politics these days has inspired a lot more entertainers to be a bit more outspoken. Here's the latest example.

Comedian Chelsea Handler slamming President Trump and thanking him at the same time. The comedienne and talk show host spoke with Jake Tapper onstage at Politicon yesterday kind of convergence of entertainment, comedy and politics.

She said this, "He's a big bully, he treats people terribly, he's disloyal, he lies constantly, its recorded lies. He's also unstable." But Handler also said that she's thankful for Trump saying this, quote, I've become a better person and I'm more informed. I'm learning. I have the Trump family to thank for it.

Let's bring in CNN's Media Analyst Bill Carter. So Bill, what do you make of this very strong opinion, but its not just Chelsea Handler. We've seen it from a lot of entertainers who have kind of put their spin on politics.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes. Well it, you know, you can, -- it's really not particularly new to -- I mean, obviously in this case we had Meryl Streep and many other celebrities criticizing President Trump. But, you know, you can go back and you had the Republican celebrities like Ted Nugent who made these outrageous comments about Obama. And going back further you remember Kanye West said President Bush doesn't like black people.

I mean, I think celebrities like to use the, you know, the attention that they can attract to make their political points. I do think Trump is getting much stronger reaction because the Hollywood community tends to be the Democratic, left to center and they're obviously not going to like his policies at all.

WHITFIELD: Yes. So you think there is something about this political season, or perhaps this administration it's unleashed even more from people who are in the entertainment field?

CARTER: I do. I think they're -- you know, they're inspired to react in ways the same way many people who are just, you know, in the center and on the left feel about this president, that he's doing things that get them, not just angry, but also afraid. I mean, I think it's scary, they think the country is at risk, because they think a lot of the policies that he's promoting are, you know, antithetical to American values.

So, yes, I think the ire, the venom that's being directed is much stronger than I've -- than I can recall. And more unified in a way, because you do see, you know, groups of people, you know, on Twitter who's, saying the same kinds of things. Many, many celebrities are on Twitter making these points.

WHITFIELD: A singer, musician, you know, Kid Rock has also been apparently teasing people with a potential bid for the U.S. Senate. And now he's actually announced that he is creating a nonprofit -- CARTER: Yes.

WHITFIELD: -- to promote voter registration. So, do you think this is more the impetus of getting people to be more actively involved registering, or do you think he's serious, he's thinking about running for office?

CARTER: Well, he's turned up very well in the polls in Michigan. He has a high recognition factor. I think he makes for a very unusual Republican in a lot of ways because of this, you know, colorful music history past with, you know, many arrests, several arrests for assault and battery, and, you know, he killed a cougar once he's done. So pretty outrageous things that you would think Republicans wouldn't necessarily want to. But you'd -- you have to say, President Trump has changed that game too because they're willing to tolerate certainly conservatives who are more willing to tolerate a lot of behavior that they in the past would have criticized.

[15:50:01] So, you know, could he be a viable candidate? Why not? I mean, at this point, one thing that Trump has definitely authored is the expectation that you have to have some experience in the politics to run. And, you know, basically, the president ran because he was a celebrity on the "Apprentice" on television. And I wouldn't surprise to see more people in the entertainment field saying, hey why cant I run for office. This guy won maybe I could too.

WHITFIELD: Yes. well, that's the presidency but there been others. Hey, Al Franken, right?

CARTER: Al Franken, Ronald Reagan. I mean --

WHITFIELD: Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean, Ronald Reagan. There you go.

CARTER: Absolutely. Yes, that's --

WHITFIELD: All right, Bill Carter, thank you so much. Appreciate it. For more on this visit, and we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: All right. This week's episode of the CNN Original Series THE NINETIES" looks at a number of events that changed our world during that pivotal decades. Here's a clip.


[15:55:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever America goes to war, there's going to be protests in the streets. But you needed a congressional support or you wouldn't have popular support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world looks to the president. He can play an historic role in leading us to solve this crisis in a nonviolent way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make no mistake about it. Our vital interests are at stake. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush knew that to hide or let that process go forward. You couldn't just declare a war and do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hope of peace remains in my heart and the hearts of us all. But this debate is now about war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll see their power in a matter of days can bring this villain to his knees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us stop beating the drums of war. Let us oppose this march to violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nowhere is it or gain than the new world order must begin with a new world war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had a great national debate and the argument for going to war prevailed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Bush said the action by Congress now shows Saddam Hussein that the United States government is serious and united in its demand that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait or face the consequences.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We now close ranks behind a clear signal of our determination and our resolve to implement the United Nations Resolutions.


WHITFIELD: All right, joining us now is Tim Naftali, a CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Good to see you Tim.

So, you know, we heard there about that U.S. decision to go to war over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. So, what at the time was at stake for the United States?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, what was at stake for the United States and for the world was, what would be the rules in the new -- in the world war that followed the end of the Cold War. Were you going to allow a petty dictator to resolve a border dispute with his neighbor by using force?

If you let Saddam Hussein get away with taking Kuwait, you are sending a signal to the extra nationalists, the super nationalists in central Europe, who wanted to redo the borders, that the United States would stand by, that the united -- that the world would stand by and allow them to use force. So it's extraordinarily important in 1990 and 1991 to send a signal, not just to Saddam Hussein, but to any of these revisionists that in this new world, this would not stand. We as a collective security, as a collective group, we would not allow force to be used to resolve what could be resolved diplomatically.

WHITFIELD: And just reading the body language of those lawmakers and how impassioned many of them were at the time. And what about for the legacy of President Herbert Walker Bush there? NAFTALI: Well --

WHITFIELD: How did this impact his legacy?

NAFTALI: Well, I mean, Americans we are -- we tend to be blessed with superb leaders at important times in our history. Franklin Roosevelt was superb in World War II. Harry Truman was the right president to have at the start of the Cold War. And George Herbert Walker Bush was absolutely the right man to be in-charge at the end of the Cold War. You know there are times in our history when its important not to jump and down in declared victory.

One of the things that George Bush understood was that he had to work closely with Mikhail Gorbachev, he had a partner there. And if he made it politically difficult for him, Gorbachev, it'll be much harder to achieve a unified Germany. The unified Germany and NATO, a soviet union that would participate in the coalition against Saddam Hussein.

None of these things would have happened if the United States had been a bully. So George Bush's quite, patient diplomacy was absolutely what was needed to stabilize the world in those tumultuous days following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much. Tim Naftali, thanks so much for that a look back. And of course, THE NINETIES airs tonight at 9 o'clock Eastern Time only on CNN. We'll be right back.

All right. Hello, again everyone and thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with new retaliation from Russia. Russian state media says President Vladimir Putin is demanding 755 U.S. diplomats and personnel leave Russia by September 1st. This is in response to a Russia sanctions bill President Trump has yet to sign.

North Korea also in that bill, that country is responding we a, quote, firm action of justice against the U.S. This threat comes out just two days after Kim Jong-un tested a ballistic missile that experts say could one day reach the West Coast of the U.S. and other parts of the mainland.


FEINSTEIN: I'm convinced that North Korea has never moved at the speed that this leader has.


WHITFIELD: Also early this morning, the U.S. military says it successfully tested a missile designed to intercept that threat, and sent two bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

All of this comes as the person in-charge of protecting the homeland is leaving his post. We'll discuss what it means when a general becomes the president's right hand man.