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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
White House: Trump "Joking" in Call for Police to "Rough" Up Suspects; Interview with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Aired on 7- 8p ET
Aired July 31, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT ANCHOR: OutFront next, breaking news, Trump's Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci out as the president declares, quote, a great day at the White House. Is the chaos ending or just beginning?
Plus, the White House claims the president was joking when he talked about roughing up suspects by police. We don't get the humor.
And what's the red line that Trump supporters say he cannot cross.
Let's go OutFront.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news, survivor White House edition. Anthony Scaramucci out as White House communications director.
The latest top staffer to be, quote unquote, voted off the island, that is the Trump White House. And it sounds like I'm joking or being facetious but this is not a reality T.V. show and it's not a joke.
In the highest office in the land. We're talking about the White House. Scaramucci was ousted moments after General John Kelly was sworn in as White House chief of staff. Here's Scaramucci actually standing nearby at that event.
Officially we're told, he offered to resign but let's just make no mistake about it. He was fired. Kelly wanted him out.
Sources telling CNN Kelly found Scaramucci undisciplined and without credibility after his profanity-laced tirade to a reporter.
Think about this though, it was just 10 days ago that Trump was praising Scaramucci, saying he had, quote, great respect for him, calling Scaramucci a, quote, great supporter and, quote, important addition. That was the president's judgment about him.
But then today, this was all the White House had to say about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He does not have a role at this time in the Trump administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, it's pretty shocking in many ways, especially because Sanders did add at this time which raises the question of whether Scaramucci could return to a job in the administration.
Now, here's the thing. Even after Reince Priebus resigned on Friday, after Scaramucci said he had to go and Scaramucci today. It begs the question of who is next.
Take a look at this. This is newest cover of the New York Post, a paper generally of course on its editorial pages supportive of Trump. Here's the problem though, it's not a contest, it's not entertainment.
This is the group of people who are tasked with running the most powerful country on earth and the way they operate, the way they manage and carry themselves has a direct effect on the credibility and reputation of the United States of America.
Never mind on the practical part of it, right. The president's ability to execute his agenda. If we count the days Scaramucci put in since he officially took the job, 10 altogether. He has a very firm grip on the record for shortest tenure as communications director in history.
Reince Priebus by the way with a 189 days working for the president is the shortest term for a chief of staff in American history. Michael Flynn, 23 days as National Security adviser under Trump, the shortest tenure ever in American History.
And then there's James Comey, of course in the middle of a 10-year term, his firing after 109 days by the president a record for full pledge the FBI director under a new president.
So today begin with President Trump declaring in a tweet there is, quote, no White House chaos. Well, you can call it what you want but Webster's dictionary which of course can define a word, right calls chaos turmoil, commotion and disruption. All of which seems to be accurate descriptions for what we have been seeing unfold in the White House.
And just moments ago, just to make things clear. President Trump was back again on Twitter saying it was, quote, a great day at the White House. Jeff Zeleny is OutFront on the scene. And Jeff, you have new details at this hour on how Scaramucci's ouster went down?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we are getting small reporting about exactly what transpired this morning here at he White House and it was pretty extraordinary. You showed that photograph earlier of Anthony Scaramucci standing inside the Oval Office at the swearing in ceremony for the new Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Well, it was shortly after he was in the Oval Office watching this all happen, watching his new boss be sworn in, that he had a face-to-face meeting I am told, with the new chief of staff in the office, here in the West Wing and he said, look, you are going to have to leave. It was not a voluntary resignation. The Chief of Staff John Kelly made clear that Anthony Scaramucci would have to leave because of the profanity last week. Because of what he viewed as, you know, just inappropriate comments but also not the type of discipline he wanted to instill here in the West Wing.
And the fact that Anthony Scaramucci reportedly bristled at the fact that he would be reporting to the new chief of staff. But throughout the weekend, I've talked to three people who have talked to Anthony Scaramucci throughout the weekend, Erin, and they said that they thought he could weather this storm. They said he did not plan to resign. He was not coming here this morning with the intention of resigning but of course that is exactly what happened.
Now, the question here is what happens to him next. Sarah Huckabee Sanders as you said left open the possibilities that for now there's no other spot for him in this administration. That that is apparently much an open question.
One of the reasons he wants to stay in the government is because of this tax referral he could get millions of dollars here. So that is something we'll be watching in the coming days, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny.
[19:05:00] OutFront now, our Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, author of the "Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Four Presidents and Race in America". Also, Chris Whipple, author of "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chief of Staff Define Every Presidency". And president and CEO of the Family Leader, Bob Vander Plaats who's been very critical of Scaramucci and said President Trump needed to wash his mouth out with soap and take away his credentials.
So, I hope you're all stunned as Mark, let me start with you. Are you surprised clearly Anthony Scaramucci was this morning by how quickly he flamed out?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And look, although I thought he would flame out eventually. I didn't think it would happen as --
BURNETT: I mean, Bill Kristol came out last week and gave him two weeks and we all sort of laughed.
PRESTON: And he would have lost the (INAUDIBLE). You know, in many ways, I think that Anthony Scaramucci probably was saved, saved himself by getting fired now. The role that that he was in as communications director is not a role that you go out very publicly as a spokesperson, you know, offhandedly making remarks. You're supposed to be creating the game plan, the map for all of your communications strategy. Anthony Scaramucci didn't want to do that.
BURNETT: No, he didn't and certainly that's not his background. I mean, April, you have some more reporting here because obviously Jeff Zeleny is saying that Scaramucci thought he could weather the storm, came in this morning with no sense that this was coming. And you now have some more details on what happened before he was fired?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, according to what Jeff Zeleny said, he basically affirmed what I had been tweeting not long after or around -- well, before the briefing I believe, or around the briefing time. I can't even remember. Everything is like a blur now in time.
But, I have heard from my sources that there was a back and forth between General Kelly and Anthony Scaramucci. And it got to the point where he said I don't have to report to you and the general said you're gone and he is.
And here's something really interesting. If it was as calm as the press release said and as Sarah Huckabee Sanders said from the White House briefing, why was he escorted out? I talked to former officials of the previous administration, I've said, when are people escorted out? You know, if everything is so great and, you know, there are flowers and everybody is singing kumbaya, are people escorted out? They said no.
BURNETT: That's pretty amazing he was escorted out. I just want to make it clear what you're saying. I mean, people came in to bring him out.
RYAN: Escorted out. Yes. Yes, he was escorted out of the White House. Off the grounds.
BURNETT: I mean, which is an amazing detail April is reporting. I mean, Bob, I know this is the outcome that you wanted and you saw the statistic. He's now the shortest serving communications director in history, 10 days. You look at Michael Flynn, shortest National Security, Reince Priebus, shortest serving chief of staff.
President Trump today though, let's just emphasize, Bob, says there is no White House chaos. Do you agree?
BOB VANDER PLAATS, EVANGELICAL LEADER: Well, it's obvious there is White House chaos. I think General Kelly says as well there's a White House chaos and that's why it's a restart, it's a reset today.
In one of my tweets I said, we're going to see what kind of day it's going to be if Kelly gets rid of Scaramucci or if Scaramucci stays. Because Scaramucci would have stayed, it would have been business as usual. And that would have been warning signs for all of us watching this drama unfold.
But now that Scaramucci is gone, Kelly has shown he's the leader, he's in charge. And now we're really hoping and we're praying that some order and some clarity is going to go forward.
But for that to go forward, President Trump also has to allow General Kelly to lead and needs to listen to General Kelly. There needs to be clarity of mission, clarity of vision. We're all hoping and praying for the best for this country but there needs to be some clarity in this administration right now.
BURNETT: All right. So Chris, this does come down to this, right? And when you -- Anthony Scaramucci, 10 days as communications director. Six f bombs in one interview with the New Yorker reporter, just one press briefing. And yet he clearly had the full confidence of the president of the United States. Clearly.
We just play the president talking about Anthony Scaramucci so people don't have to trust my word for it. Here's President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How was your press conference? Good? You did a good job? He's a terrific guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: If Scaramucci's spectacular failure, just words I feel is fair to use here. A reflection on Anthony Scaramucci or the man who hired him?
CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, "GATEKEEPERS: HOW'S THE WHITE HOUSE CHIEFS OF STAFF DEFINE EVERY PRESIDENCY: Well, you know, I mean, this is a no- brainer. I mean, this was really the minimal first step for John Kelly to do, to show that he was serious and that he's, you know, working for a presidency and not for a T.V. reality show.
I mean, now comes the really, really tough part. And the tough part is not only being -- making sure that he is empowered as first among equals and that everybody in the West Wing reports to Trump through Kelly, but as fundamentally it is, how do you manage Donald Trump? Here's a guy -- this is a White House that is completely broken, that in six months Donald Trump has not learned anything about governing.
[19:10:03] It's a White House that can't issue executive orders that are enforceable. It can't pass legislation, it can't prioritize the president's agenda whatever that agenda maybe. It can't get anybody on the same page. And this is a president who is completely out of the box and undisciplined when it comes to his Twitter account.
So, look -- I mean, it's really just this is -- this job is exponentially more difficult than anything John Kelly has ever faced.
BURNETT: And when you talk about everyone reporting through him, look, Mark, they were clear about that today. The press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked, is everyone is going to report to him not to the president. By the way, Anthony Scaramucci was reporting directly to the president.
The answer was yes. There was a follow up. Does that include Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. The answer, yes.
But I ask you, is it really possible that Trump's daughter is going to walk -- not be able to walk into her father's office, not be able to tell him what she thinks and instead go to General Kelly?
PRESTON: No. I think if she wants to walk into the Oval Office, she is going to do so, as well as her husband quite frankly. I do wonder though if Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will be more forthright in talking to Kelly about what they're trying to accomplish, you know.
I mean, the fact of the matter is, Jared Kushner has a portfolio that is, in many ways is kind of ridiculous --
BURNETT: Well, it's too much to handle. It just states the fact.
PRESTON: I mean, a piece in the Middle East in and of itself would be one thing that should be focused on. But I will say this though, as far as trying to bring order to the West Wing, I don't think he will have any luck in doing so with Donald Trump. I do think though he might have luck with the staff in trying to streamline things.
WHIPPLE: People forget that one of the key responsibilities of the chief of staff is to be the so-called honest broker of information, making sure that every decision is teed up with all of the relevant information on every side of it. And making sure that, you know, in a battle between Tillerson and Jared Kushner, that policy gets made with honest information. That's a really difficult thing, especially when the boss is staying up and getting stuff off of Breitbart and picking up the phone and calling his pals.
BURNETT: So Bob, I asked you though because I know you were outraged and you've made it very clear about how you felt about Anthony Scaramucci, right. One of the comments he made in that interview to the New Yorker.
"I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to blank my own blank. I'm not trying to build my old brand (INAUDIBLE) strength off the president. I'm here to serve the country."
And, you know, as I said at the beginning of this panel, you said he needs to wash his mouth out with soap and take back his credentials. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president of the United States didn't like that language. But, President Trump himself has used incredibly similar language. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, FORMER "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" HOST: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy. I can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Bob, is there a difference between President Trump using the "p" word and Anthony Scaramucci using the "c" word? VANDER PLAATS: Well, I think what happened is that President Trump did that back in 2005. He did apologize on air after that was released, the Billy Bush tapes. This was somebody working for the White House. I mean, degrading fellow team members with that type of language, no mission can succeed.
There's got to be standards not just in the White House but for any mission to succeed. That's why I said Scaramucci needed to go. And I do think President Trump and General Kelly made the right decision today.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
And next, General Kelly himself. New details on what made General John Kelly almost quit working for Donald Trump.
Plus, President Trump facing growing backlash by encouraging police to rough up suspects. Tonight, the White House says he was just joking.
It's not a laughing matter.
And trump supporters warning the president, don't fire Jeff Sessions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be your red line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my red line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:17:34] BURNETT: More now on the breaking news that Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House communications director. The news coming just hours after General Kelly was sworn in as chief of staff.
CNN learning that Kelly himself actually thought about resigning after Trump fired the former FBI Director James Comey. Shimon Prokupecz broke the story. Shimon, obviously it's a pretty significant detail here. What more can you tell us?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes, that's right Erin. So we've learned that incoming White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was so upset with the way President Trump handled the firing of James Comey that he called Comey shortly after he was terminated to say how angry he was. At that time, Kelly was secretary of Homeland Security.
The sources say Kelly was particularly upset by the way Comey was treated. You know, and the way he learned about that he had been fired, it happened on the news rather than the news being delivered by the president.
Now, this call between Kelly and Comey took place while Comey was traveling back from Los Angeles to Washington on May 9th after learning the news of his firing. Comey declined to comment about this story as well as others that we contacted.
BURNETT: Obviously a pretty significant detail. And you're told Shimon then that General Kelly went even further than that. It wasn't just like a one phone call and done, right?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, that's right. I mean, it really wasn't. I mean, the conversation went on for a short period but Kelly was, you know, sort of angry at the point where he even contemplated and he said this to Comey that he's even thinking of resigning from his position as secretary of Homeland Security in the show of solidarity.
We're told Comey said to him, look, there's really no need to do that and said, you know, don't resign. It's not even clear to us, based on the conversations we've had with these sources, that Kelly was even serious about resigning and, you know, and now he's the chief of staff at the White House.
BURNETT: All right. Shimon, thank you very much. A pretty significant detail and one wonders with all these details, what kind of an impact they have on the president of the United States that so values, as he says, loyalty.
OutFront tonight, Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio, CNN contributor and author of "The Truth About Trump" and Major General Spider Marks, CNN military analyst.
Spider, let me start with you. It seems Kelly can speak truth to power. That obviously historically has not been a trait that Trump responds well to. I know you know General Kelly. Do you think he can make a real difference in the Trump White House?
[19:20:02] RET. MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think General Kelly would not have taken the job if he didn't think he could. Look, as leaders, we are trained from day one that you have to lay down, you've got to embrace your organization and makes sure it's squarely doing what it needs to do. Everybody is talking, everything is aligned.
And you also have lead up. You have the obligation to talk to your boss as a matter of routine and ensure that you are aligned. And if you are in the midst of trying to execute tasks, and for some reasons, there's a disconnect, the obligation is go back to your boss and say, OK, what gives?
We're burning daylight here and we're not moving in the right direction. So you have to lead up and I know John Kelly has absolutely no qualms, no hesitations about doing that. He won't be bashful. I think we could see that as a result of today's events.
BURNETT: Right, and certainly today he showed who's in charge. I mean, Michael, Trump though has been nothing if not incredibly (INAUDIBLE) of General Kelly thus far. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of our real stars, truly one of our stars. John Kelly is one of our great stars.
I predict that General Kelly will go down in terms of the position of chief of staff, one of the great ever. We respect him, admire what he's done and at Homeland, what he has done has been nothing short of miraculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, he can't ask for more of a vote of confidence than that, Michael. Although you heard what the president said about Anthony Scaramucci a few days ago and here's what he had to say about others in his administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A truly great general. Right here. Mike, thank you.
Reince is really a star. And he is the hardest working guy.
Jeff understands that the job of attorney general is to serve and protect the people of the United States and that is exactly what he will do and do better than anybody else can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sessions obviously still hanging on in the job tonight, Michael. That was the president on Michael Flynn and president on Reince Priebus. Sounds a lot like how he's talking about General Kelly now. Will he be loyal to General Kelly?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, DONALD TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Well, I think certainly General Kelly hopes so and General Marks would know better than me whether he would even be affected by this kind of praise. One of the problems people have with the president is that he will be so effusive when he's bringing you in and then pretty (INAUDIBLE) dismiss you if he's done with you. And it would be wise for anyone to take all of this with a boulder of salt, not just a grain.
I think the president has trouble being loyal to people when he is (INAUDIBLE) himself. I think that this move indicates that he is deeply worried about his presidency. He may even fear that it's already a failed presidency.
If General Kelly can bring some order and actually discipline, not only the staff that managing down that was discussed earlier but also managed up with the president. Almost putting some guardrails in there or guardrails so that he feels secure. I think he hasn't been secure in the office since day one.
BURNETT: So General Marks, you know, getting rid of Scaramucci today was a big show of force by Kelly, right? He's in charge. But, I mean, I just want to remind everybody, Scaramucci, 72 hours before or close to it was able to get rid of Reince Priebus when he was reporting directly to the president. I mean, sort of build his top dog. I mean, can Kelly keep the power he seems to have today? When this seems to have a president who is giving the power to someone whether it's Bannon or Scaramucci and then whipping it away when he chooses.
MARKS: Well, there certainly was momentum coming in today as you can see and I'm sure General Kelly's first conversation with the president was, look, we've got a bunch of chaos, we got some turmoil. I mean, we don't need to have these kind of distractions. You, Mr. President, the office of the presidency does not need to deal with this kind of drama.
And I'm sure General Kelly asked the president, look, I need to have that guy working, you know, Mr. Scaramucci working for me, is that OK with you. And the president probably made the decision, no, let's let him go so that we can put this behind us.
So the notion that you're referring to is, is there a sense of momentum after this very first engagement? And I would say, of course there is but every day leads to new challenges, new requirements and you've got to score points every single day. It's not a matter of relying on what happened yesterday. It's clearly a matter of looking forward and being able to provide the president the very best service that you can and that is speaking truth to power.
BURNETT: Michael, yesterday Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager gave some advice and he said, "The thing General Kelly should do is not try to change Donald Trump. I say, you have to let Trump be Trump."
Will a general, a military general be able to let Trump be Trump where so many others have failed?
[19:25:02] D'ANTONIO: Well, I think if you look at Corey Lewandowski's own experience, he was removed from his job as well. So the strategy of managing the way he would manage doesn't seem appropriate to me. And, you know, I really suspect that General Kelly has a vision for the presidency or an understanding of the presidency that is beyond Trump being Trump.
The president needs to be the president of all the people. He needs to fulfill obligations, even ceremonial obligations with seriousness and a sense of respect. And I -- right. And I don't think that someone coming from a military background is going to just say, well, go ahead, be yourself when we can all see that being himself hasn't worked out so well so far.
BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much. And OutFront next, the White House says Trump was joking when he said police should get rough with suspects. An official from a top police department is OutFront and he says it is no laughing matter.
And Jeanne Moos on Anthony Scaramucci's 10 memorable days.
BURNETT: New tonight, police roughing up aspects -- suspects, I'm sorry, is something that frankly is not a laughing matter, despite the White House insisting the president was just joking when he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in rough. I said, please don't be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over.
Like, don't hit their head and they just killed somebody. Don't hit their head. I said you can take the hand away, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, today at the White House, the president's press secretary defended what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Was the president joking when he said this or did he check his remarks out with the International Association of Police Chiefs or maybe the attorney general?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDRES, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I believe he was making a joke at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now from New York to California to Florida, police departments don't think it was joke. They don't think it was something to laugh at.
OUTFRONT now, police officer and spokesman for the Gainesville, Florida, Police Department, Ben Tobias.
Wesley Lowery reports on law enforcement for "The Washington Post". He's also the author of "They Can't Kill Us All: The Story of the Struggle for Black Lives." He's going to be with me in just a moment.
Wes, I want to begin, though, Officer Tobias, with you. The White House says the president was just joking, right? You just heard Sarah Huckabee Sanders said I believe he was joking. What's your response?
OFFICER BEN TOBIAS, GAINESVILLE, FL POLICE SPOKESMAN: Well, the joking of anything referencing police brutality is not a joke. It's no secret that in today's culture, the distrust that the public has for the police is pretty rampant around our country. Police agencies like Gainesville police agencies around the country have tried to make strides over the past five or 10 years to rebuild that trust. And for the president of the United States to make a joke about police brutality is just taking away some of that stuff that we've worked on.
BURNETT: So, Officer, I just want to watch the officers of who we could see around the president. Obviously, they were applauding and cheering when he made that remark as we will show everyone again here.
He paused. He appreciated that moment. And what do you say to that response?
TOBIAS: The officers that were behind him applauding and cheering about a comment that he made about police brutality should be ashamed of themselves. American modern law enforcement is not anymore about roughing people up, it's not about slamming people into cars, it's about community-oriented policing. It's about knowing your community and treating everyone with respect, even if, you know, they're a neighborhood citizen to a murderer.
We're police officers. We're expected to be the most professional that we can be.
BURNETT: And, Officer, you were very quick to make your comment, your point of view clear. In many police departments across the country, they have followed that lead and have said that they are upset by this and it is unacceptable.
The president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, though, a union representing Cleveland's rank and file police officers, told CNN, and I wanted to read you the quote, Officer: Not surprisingly, Trump's comments have been taken out of context by the racially exclusive and divisive profiteers seeking to call into question his support of all law-abiding citizens and the law enforcement that live and work among them.
What do you say to critics who are -- I mean, basically, saying you among others, but you are being a divisive profiteer, taking Trump's comments out of context?
TOBIAS: Well, I like to get -- I live in a communications world. So, I like to give the benefit of the doubt and I want to check the context for myself. I heard the comments. I found them to be unacceptable. So, I wanted to check the context and see what I was listening to.
And yes, I was in fact listening to the president talking about MS-13 gang members which are some of the worst gang members in our country. They are murderers and they do just horrible things.
That's when police have to be the most professional. It would be so easy for just an average Joe to want to take out aggression on that murder suspect that had just killed somebody horribly. But that's when police have to be the most professional.
We are granted -- police officers are granted two huge powers by the government and by the public. We have the ability to take away someone's freedom by arrest and we also have the ability to take away a life in a life or death situation. For us to have that power that is made by a single officer, the public should expect and demand that we're the most professional.
So, when we're handcuffing murder suspects and putting them into vehicles, that's when we have to rise above and be absolutely the most professional we can be.
BURNETT: I want to bring in Wesley Lowery to the conversation. Now, Wes, you've had a chance to speak on the heels of the president's
comments and the heels of the White House saying that it was just a joke. You've spoken to families who have been affected by incidents, police brutality. Does anybody take this as a joke?
WESLEY LOWERY, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I actually don't even know that if it was a joke, that would somehow make it more defensible than if it were an earnest statement. I'm actually not sure if that makes it better. I think it was Charles Ramsey, the former commissioner in Philadelphi and D.C. who said, in fact, you know, this is the commander in chief of the United States, not a stand-up comedian.
But I do think that Officer Tobias' point that he made a second ago was extremely important, right? I think that very often, there's this idea within our political rhetoric, especially around law and order and around law enforcement, that if someone suspected of a crime, then they can be treated however, you know, the ends justify the means. The reality is, the suspect is a suspect.
[19:35:00] BURNETT: Even -- let's be clear, Wes, even if you just saw them commit a murder, if there's no question.
BURNETT: The point is we have a rule of law, right?
LOWERY: Correct. Most people are entitled to civil rights, you know?
And I think that in a world in which, you know, you have large portions of the population who -- the data shows have reason to believe that they are likely to be profiled or more likely to receive mistreatment, to see a president, again, let's remind you, this is a president who once called the execution of five men who were exonerated of a brutal crime in Central Park, right, the idea that he's going to return this type of rhetoric I think is troubling for a lot of people.
But I will say, also, though, I do think that the president has, from the campaign to moment, exploited a real division in law enforcement. You have command staff, chiefs, commissioners who will commend this, but you also have rank and file who will applaud this type of rhetoric. The idea that any criticism of police is unfair or that there needs to be a more permissive attitude towards, you know, look, that's a thug. Slam his head in the back of the thing, lock him up.
You know, those types of ideas while I think many -- the types of people who can come on CNN would say that's the wrong type of thing to say, there are many rank and file officers who would not.
BURNETT: So, Officer Tobias, what do you want to hear from the president now?
TOBIAS: Well, I just want the president to understand that -- let me say this. The administration has been very vocally supportive of law enforcement and it's nice to know that the guy in the White House has our back, understands what we do. But I want him to realize that his comments did not support us. And, in fact, it may erase some of the things that we've worked so very hard on in our communities to enhance police relationships with our communities.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. I appreciate it. Thoughtful remarks.
LOWERY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, President Trump says he's going to, quote, handle the North Korea threat. So, what does that mean?
Senator Mark Warner of the Intelligence Committee is my guest.
And are Trump supporters starting to lose patience with the president or not?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's there to drain the swamp, right? That's what he says. Well, start it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:40:34] BURNETT: And back to our breaking news tonight: a surprise shakeup at the White House. Anthony Scaramucci out as White House communications director after only ten days on the job. His short foul-mouth tenure wreaking havoc and leading to two high profile resignations or firings.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Senator Mark Warner from Virginia, who is ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
And, Senator, I very much appreciate your time. Scaramucci, of course, now holds the record for the shortest tenure in American history, as communications director. Reince Priebus, the record for shortest serving chief of staff. Michael Flynn, the record for the shortest national security adviser.
How do you explain what's going on at the White House?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: There does seem to be a pattern here. Well, I don't -- you know, I keep saying I didn't think the president could surprise me anymore and he continues to surprise.
I hope this is a sign that his new chief of staff, General Kelly, is going to try to bring a little more order to the White House and try to maybe restore a little bit of a respect that the office of the presidency deserves.
Clearly, Mr. Scaramucci made quite a bit of news in his short tenure, but news that frankly couldn't be broadcast on family networks for the most part. So, it's probably a good sign for the president, frankly, for his White House that you're seeing General Kelly step in and hopefully try to bring a little order out of chaos.
But at the end of the day, you know, it's not going to be the chief of staff. It has to be whether this president himself is going to change his behavior and so far, we have not seen those changes.
BURNETT: So, when you say could there be order out of chaos, obviously, the president is saying that the White House is not in chaos today. But it raises a crucial question, Senator. Is Anthony Scaramucci's spectacular failure, which I think it's fair to say it was, given how much coverage he got and how brief he served, is that a reflection on him or is it a reflection on the man, the president of the United States, who had hired him?
WARNER: Well, I think at the end of the day, the buck stops in the old Harry Truman line at the office of the president, and I would think the president would have known the character of Mr. Scaramucci and, clearly, it appears some of his language and techniques were not unexpected.
And what bothers me is that this is not so much Democrat versus Republican, it really is, as sitting on vice chair of the intelligence committee, the words and actions of the president of the United States matters domestically, but they also matter abroad in terms of how our country is viewed. And what we've seen over the last week or so from Mr. Scaramucci's comments to the president's outrageous and inappropriate comments at the Boy Scout Jamboree, to their lack of focus on health care, it does not paint a pretty picture.
BURNETT: So, the Russian sanctions bill, I want to ask another question here on an important topic on the president's desk. You supported it. It's on his desk. He hasn't signed it yet. Yet is the operative word.
Russia is retaliating though, slashing the diplomatic staff that America is allowed to have in Russia, warning of more retaliation to come.
What should President Trump do?
WARNER: What President Trump should do is sign that legislation that passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate. In the House, it was 98-2, and the Senate I think was north of 400 votes. Do what the Congress has set here.
And what's remarkable, Erin, is that in many ways, this legislation would not have been necessary with President Bush or President Obama. In many ways, this legislation reflects the fear that we in Congress have that the president might arbitrarily roll back these sanctions on Russia, the sanctions were put in place because Russia attacked our democracy and everybody on the Hill and I think the vast majority of Americans understand and agree with that. Maybe the only person that doesn't and still does not completely acknowledge that attack is the president himself, which raises a whole host of other questions. BURNETT: I want to ask you about some other major news today and that
is, of course, North Korea, for the second time launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. It's a significant thing. It happened incredibly quickly after the last one. And experts are saying had this been in a more standard trajectory, it could have hit, with the ability to hit Los Angeles, Denver, even Chicago.
The president spoke about it today, Senator, and said he would solve this, no problem. Here he is.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll handle North Korea. We're going to be able to handle them, right? It will be -- it will be handled.
[19:45:01] We handle everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is it that simple?
WARNER: No (ph), I wish it was that simple. And candidly, North Korea has been an emerging threat through now three administrations, back to Bush 43, the Obama administration, and now, during the Trump administration.
We can't lay all the blame, by any means, at the feet of the Trump administration. There are options we have but one of the options is to portray an era of strength and to have China be a partner in reining in North Korea and so far, we've seen the president has not been able to portray that. And, frankly, instead, we've seen the Chinese government, in effect, offer a series of trademarks to the Trump family in an era that is, again, a question that seems a bit inappropriate and I think restricts the president's ability to really force China to be a partner against North Korea that we need.
But this is -- this has been a problem that's been developing for more than a decade but the idea that it can be handled this simply, as the president said, shows enormous naivety.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator Warner. Appreciate your time.
WARNER: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, staff shakeup, a stalled agenda, growing frustration in Trump country on the president's performance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury is out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury is out.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And Jeanne Moos on Anthony Scaramucci's 10-day legacy and the Internet sensation he has become.
[19:50:23] BURNETT: Tonight, the White House says President Trump has 100 percent confidence in all members of his cabinet, that's a quote, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It's quite a change of tone from a week ago when the president called Sessions beleaguered in a tweet, referred to him as weak.
So, what are Trump supporters saying about this?
Miguel Marquez went to find out.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Freight trains rumble through Pepin County. They rarely stop here in rural western Wisconsin. Hugging the Mississippi, Pepin voted big for Trump, expecting him to get things done.
(on camera): First six months in office, where are you on how things are going?
CURT PATNODE, OWNER, COUNTY DIESEL AND DRIVELINE: I -- I -- I --
MARQUEZ: Hard to say?
MARQUEZ: The jury is out.
PATNODE: The jury is out.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): For hard core supporters like 31-year-old Curt Patnode, who runs a successful truck repair business, the performance of President Trump -- hard to gauge.
(on camera): You think he's moving in the right direction?
PATNODE: Yes. I can't say I have an opinion as to which directions he's moving and why.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): President Trump won Wisconsin by less than 1 percent. He flipped 23 counties that voted Obama in 2012, 19 of them rural. Pepin County hadn't voted Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972.
In this dairy and farming dependent part of the state, even among the president's most ardent supporters, hope mixed with growing frustration.
(on camera): How frustrating is it that the Republicans have all the levers of power in Washington but can't seem to pull them? JIM BAUER, RETIREE: I tell you, that upsets me a lot there. I wish
he would clean house. I mean, he's there to drain the swamp, right? That's what he says. Well, start it. Start it.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): At a music-in-the-park event, we caught up with Gerald Bauer, a long-time local politician.
(on camera): What would be your advice to him?
GERALD M. BAUER, PEPIN COUNTY BOARD MEMBER: Take it cool. Work on your agenda, not on picking on people. If he gets rid of Sessions over this deal, I'm not voting for him.
MARQUEZ: That would be your red line?
BAUER: That's my red line.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): He says he wants the president making more announcements, like this week's $10 billion investment by Foxconn that could bring thousands of jobs to Wisconsin.
BAUER: He has so much good in him. You know, like this new plant coming into Wisconsin. If it don't fall through, that's going to do great things for Wisconsin. Although I wish they would have built it here, but you can't win all of them.
MARQUEZ: Spoken like a politician who knows both winning and losing.
BURNETT: That was amazing, because you actually -- it wasn't just, OK, everything is fine, it's here where I'm going to draw the line. I mean, they really -- they had a clear line. What is the reaction from them to the latest White House shakeups?
MARQUEZ: So, we were out there in the middle of the shakeups, and so, Spicer just left, Scaramucci was just hired. They didn't like Scaramucci. They were unhappy that the president was starting to beat up on Reince Priebus. He is a local Wisconsin guy after all.
BURNETT: Right, of course.
MARQUEZ: I had never heard -- been to a lot of states, talked to a lot of Trump supporters, I have never heard Trump supporters so torn, so uncertain with where the president is headed. They certainly hope he gets it together. They still support him, but they're starting to heavily question, at least in places like Wisconsin, what he's actually doing.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Miguel Marquez.
And next, Anthony Scaramucci's goodbye. Jeanne Moos looks back on his first, last, and only 10 days at the White House.
BURNETT: Tonight, Anthony Scaramucci is out. But of course, he was barely in.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Audiences were just getting the hang of repeating his nickname.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: The Mooch!
MOOS: When suddenly --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Mooch is toast.
MOOS: His political obituary read July 21st to 31st, and entirely coincidentally, the Harvard Law School alumni directory erroneously listed Anthony Scaramucci as dead.
Read one tweet, Mooch's direct deposit didn't even kick in yet.
Scaramucci found himself on a 2003 movie poster, "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." The film's star, Kate Hudson, posted a version calling it, the number one comedy in America, how to lose a guy became how to lose a job in ten days.
What will comedians do without those mooch-oh-bizarro Mooch quotes?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If you want to eat an elephant, you've got to eat it one bite at a time.
SAMANTHA BEE, COMEDIAN: Don't bother, dude, that elephant is eating itself.
MOOS: New techniques were invented to cover his potty mouth.
SETH MEYER, COMEDIAN: We're going to play a rooster and you can figure out what word he was using.
Suck my own --
MOOS: The news that Mooch is out means the loss of a job for another guy.
MARIO CANTONE, COMEDIAN: I could barely tell where you end and I start.
MOOS: Mario Cantone from "Sex in the City" had a bright future ahead impersonating the Mooch on "The President's Show".
CANTONE: I love the president. I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you.
CANTONE: I love you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you.
CANTONE: I love you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you.
CANTONE: I freaking love you.
MOOS: Mario knew his days could be numbered.
CANTONE: And you've got to strike while the iron is hot. Who knows if he'll be here in October?
MOOS: October? He didn't make it to August. The White House is like Oz.
DOROTHY: My! People come and go so quickly here.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Follow the yellow brick road.
MOOS: Only Jeanne would find that ending touch.
Thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere. Just got to CNN. We'll see you tomorrow.
"AC360" with Anderson starts now.