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United Nations Security Council Votes to Sanction North Korea; Investigators Seek Paperwork Related to Michael Flynn's Financial Dealings with Turkey; Fox News Anchor Eric Bolling in Hot Water; Special Counsel Investigating Possible Collusion Inching Closer to the White House Tonight; President Donald Trump Calls New Hampshire A drug-Infested Den. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 5, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:09] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I want to welcome the viewers in the U.S. and around the world.
We begin this hour with a historic and stunning response to the North Korea nuclear threat. The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved harsh new sanctions against North Korea today uniting to punish the brutal regime for recent ballistic missile tests.
On the very same day President Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster warns the U.S. is prepared to take military action if North Korea does not back down soon. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley says today's action are a gut-punch to North Korea.
I spoke with her just a short time ago.
CABRERA: You called this the single largest economics sanctions package leveled against North Korea. Do you expect a different result from these sanctions?
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Well, thank you very much for having me. First of all, it is a new day at the U.N. This was a day of action. This was a day where we stopped all the talk. And this is a day where we said to North Korea they have to stop their irresponsible actions. And I think that what you saw today was a unanimous vote that said we are going to make sure that North Korea understands what we are talking about.
This resolution is the strongest resolution with sanction measures that we have seen in a generation. It will go after a third of North Korea's hard currency, it bans coal, it bans iron, it bans additional laborers that they can send overseas. It has quite huge implications to North Korea. We hope they take notice. And we will see what happens.
CABRERA: But again, the question was do you expect a different result from North Korea because we know time and again sanctions have been imposed, sanctions have been increased, and yet North Korea's program continues to progress.
HALEY: Well, I think what everybody needs to understand is that the revenue that goes into North Korea doesn't go in to feed its people who are starving. Instead what it is doing is it is going to fund the reckless nuclear program. So if we reduce the hard currency, we are reducing the funding that allows them this to do that.
Secondly, we hope they take note. We hope they realize this was the international community speaking in one voice saying that this activity has to stop. They now have a decision to make. This was a gut punch to North Korea today. They can either now take heed and say, OK let us stop. Let us start being responsible and let us see another avenue or they can continue what they are doing and the international community will continue to respond.
CABRERA: We brought our viewers your comments before the U.N. council live here on CNN. And you said further action is required even beyond these sanctions. What does that further action look like?
HALEY: Well, implementation of the sanctions. We can go ahead and say we are going to put sanctions forward, but the implications need to come not just from members of the Security Council but from all member states. And we need to send that message. And so the first part is package. The second part is implementation. So we need to go ahead and make sure that we do this. It will cut into a third of their economy. And I think that they will have to respond accordingly.
CABRERA: Is preemptive military action own the table right now?
HALEY: That is all up to North Korea. At this point they really have serious decisions to make. What I will tell you from the United States perspective is we are prepared to do whatever it takes to defend ourselves and to defend our allies. And the ball is in North Korea's court. They now has to decide where they want to go from here. We hope that they go the route of peace and security. We hope they will go the route of focusing on human rights and feeding their people. We hope that they go the route of stopping modern slavery that they do in terms of sending laborers overseas and then taking the money from that situation. But again, all this now is in North Korea's court and we will see how they respond.
CABRERA: Well we have seen how they respond to the sanctions in the past. And that is more aggressive action. Kim Jong-un is accused of orchestrating the murder of his own brother. Can sanctions or diplomacy stop him?
HALEY: Well, you know, I think we did what we could in the U.N. And that was basically speak with one voice. He is now on an island. North Korea now has to look at the rest of the world and see that they are all telling him to stop this reckless activity and they need to respond to that. And they need to respond in a good way.
We want to see peace and security on the Korean peninsula. We want to see responsibility come back in. What we have seen is a reckless dictator who has been paranoid, who has been irresponsible, and who has continues to make his own interests over the interests of his people. And I think that this is now going to see what they are going to do in response.
But to have China stand with us along with Japan and North Korea and the rest of the international community telling North Korea to do this, it was pretty impactful. This was a strong day in the U.N. This was a strong day for the United States. It was a strong day for the international community. It was not a good day for North Korea.
[19:05:00] CABRERA: We have seen in the last week, if the last cup of weeks, in last month different messages coming from the Trump administration about how to handle North Korea from Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, to the CIA director Mike Pompeo talking even about the possibility of regime change. And we heard you last week say no more talk. Why the different messages from this administration?
HALEY: I don't think you have got different messages from this administration. I think what you heard was we said we are done talking. It is time to act. I think you saw today the United States led the efforts to these negotiation this week and worked with China to see if we could really make an impactful statement to North Korea. Today we acted. It is a new day at the U.N. where it was just it is not about talk all the time. It is about action. And I think you are going to see us go forward. I think that the administration has said and we will continue to say that North Korea has acted recklessly, irresponsibly, and it has to stop. And think that we have tried to say multiple times that all options are on the table. We continue to give North Korea an out. We continue to give North Korea the ability to stop what they are doing. And now they have to see what they do with that.
CABRERA: Let me ask you briefly real quick about the President signing off on these fresh sanctions for Russia. You have said before that everybody knows Russia meddled in our election. Do you think the sanctions are enough to stop Russia from meddling in future U.S. election including the midterms in just 18 months from now?
HALEY: I think we will have to wait and see. You know, we should always be hard on any country that tries to meddle in our elections whether it's Russia or anyone else. And I think that what you saw is those sanctions were in response to the meddling. And we will now see how Russia responds with that. I will tell you that we negotiated with Russia this week on this security resolution. And we were able to find common ground in terms of making sure that we had a strong voice for North Korea. We hope that they will continue to see that it is about strong actions and not about irresponsible ones. And so we hope that their days of meddling in elections are over.
CABRERA: What are the expectations with Rex Tillerson meeting at this Asian Security summit with Sergey Lavrov?
HALEY: Well I think it is a continuation of what secretary Tillerson has tried to do which is say where can we find common ground with Russia. There are a lot of issues that we need to talk about with Russia in terms of counterterrorism, in terms of how are we are going to deal with North Korea, in terms what we are doing with our crisis in Syria. And so I think that they will be discussing those and many other things.
And so the goal is to see where we can work together. Where we can't work together, we are going to be loud. We are going to be transparent. We are going to be open with them. But where we can work together, we are going to try and see if we can make some things happen so that we can bring additional peace and security to the world.
CABRERA: Has anybody expressed a problem with twitter diplomacy?
HALEY: I'm sorry?
CABRERA: Has anybody expressed a problem with twitter diplomacy as we have seen the latest comments from the President saying that the relations with Russia are at a very low point.
HALEY: I have not had one country complain to me about one President's tweets. It is he is going to do it. This is a President who communicates through twitter as much as he communicates through everything else. The countries pay attention to what he says. Never have they complained because to them they know where he stands and what he stands for. And so no complaints from the United Nations or any of the member states on the President's tweets.
CABRERA: All right. Ambassador Nikki Haley, we appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us.
HALEY: Thank you very much.
CABRERA: And just moments ago President Trump tweeted about the new sanctions against North Korea. He said quote "United Nations security council just vote 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big. Financial impact."
Let us talk it over with our senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth and CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott in Washington along with national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary of homeland security department.
Now Richard, first to you. Was today's unanimous vote expected? And just how hard will these sanctions be on Kim Jong-un's regime?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: I think they are expected. The days of going into a meeting a getting a surprise veto doesn't happen that often. And certainly they want to be sure have all of their ducks in a row before they go into the chamber especially on North Korea.
So yes, it was expected. The big question as you raised is what kind of impact. I have been here for many, many years, and we have had U.S. ambassadors say these are the toughest sanctions. Susan Rice said that many years ago. Nothing seems to change North Korean behavior. New sanctions that affects the economy and affecting seafood. Look, they banned snowmobiles for the North Korean elite. Kim Jong-Un, nothing has stopped them. So I think the countries are happy that there is unity at the council, though there is division on the deployment of the THAAD missile system in South Korea which was expressed at the table. But right now I think they are just going to hope. But I would say starts to countdown for the next missile launch.
CABRERA: Yes. And they often on the weekend in particular.
Elise, after today's vote during those prepared remarks, we heard from Nikki Haley. She made it a point to thank China. Meantime we have seen the President recently on twitter knocking China. How big of a foreign policy win is this that it was a unanimous vote?
[19:10:15] ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think it is very big. And as Richard said, I mean, generally you don't go for a vote until you know you have the vote to pass the resolutions these days at the United Nations. But I think, you know, Nikki Haley should be credited. Secretary Tillerson obviously had a hand in the negotiations with Russia and China in getting the resolution passed. I mean, I think that China was also a little bit worried that perhaps President Trump was going to pass some more secondary sanctions or some kind of trade measures. There was some rumors about that. But you know, at the end of the day, China went along.
And look. I think China is, you know, obviously, walking a very fine line here. It doesn't want, you know, instability in the Korean peninsula on its border. And so, it has been hesitant to go too far. But it's also concerned about North Korea's behavior about its nuclear program.
So I think it needed to go along with the U.S. whether it is willing to do more the kind of cracking down on supplying North Korea with revenue, with trade, I think that remains to be seen. China really has the leverage with about 90 percent of North Korean trade.
CABRERA: Juliette, Nikki Haley did not rule out preemptive military action. Your thoughts on that.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No. She was actually quite clear that it was North Korea's choice to determine whether United States would take preemptive action. It is tough talk. And we have heard it before. It would require the South Korean I think to agree to it. So let us not make any delusions here. And they definitely do not want a war on this Korean Peninsula.
But I think it is consistent with just a very I think sort of carrots and sticks approach to North Korea that I think the ambassador actually does enunciate very well. You get a sense that there is strategy, bring everyone together for the sanctions, but let the U.S. continue to talk tough as the President wants her to do. And so I do I think it is a - I think she is very good at enunciating what there is in terms of a Trump doctrine, vis-a-vis North Korea.
Now, it may not work, right, because as we have all been saying, there have been sanctions before. But nonetheless, I think we should give her credit for that. CABRERA: And we also heard Nikki Haley say that this is sort of the
beginning, more actions will be necessary.
CABRERA: Richard, is it fair to say that not only there is a big foreign policy win for the Trump administration given how hard it is to get a unanimous vote on this particular security council, but the fact that given the current tensions between Russia and the U.S. and again the tensions between China and the U.S. lately, I mean how common is it for all of these countries to agree on something?
ROTH: Well, going back in history of the world, whether it was Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Iran or other countries, you need that common villain. And it is perhaps it's the classic regime in Pyongyang that everyone can focus on and agree on and say launching ICBM missiles. We can condemn that and move against that. And, yes, there are still problems on the margins regarding missile deployments and trade agreements and refugees.
So far, so good. But as you keep moving forward, U.S. will want to get tougher whether it's shutting down the oil or raising the stakes and who gets sanctioned. Then comes the true test. Russia also condemning in the council meeting the U.S. deployment with South Korea on the missiles.
But no matter, despite all the rhetoric that has been going on, Kim Jong-un is able to rally all of the countries to condemn and to in their resolution threaten further serious measures if North Korea doesn't comply. Similar language we have heard before. But it's a tougher it seems administration right now in the White House on North Korea.
CABRERA: Elise, realistically what are the chances these sanctions do, indeed, have a greater impact on the North Korean regime that previous actions?
LABOTT: Well, they are going to have an impact on the economy. It has been saying it is one-third of the revenue, $1 billion. That is going to have a financial impact. Whether it has an actual impact on Kim Jong-un's decision-making, I think that's highly unlikely as we have been saying and remains to be seen.
But I do think in addition to those sanctions you have this, you know, desire by secretary of state Tillerson to get some diplomatic approach going. He said earlier this week he would be willing to talk to North Korea. North Korea is not the enemy. That's been said before, but now that you have what I think is a little bit more of a credible threat of force, you have seen this President use force against Syria when they crossed the redline. So I think the credible threat of force almost strengthens secretary of state Tillerson's hand in terms of getting some diplomatic approach together because I think that is, you know, in addition to the United States and its allies clearly Kim Jong-un does not want to see any kind of military action, because while he could respond, it would basically spell the end of his regime. [19:15:10] CABRERA: Juliette, a lot has been said about the
President's quote-unquote "Tweeter diplomacy" which I asked Nikki Haley about. And she said she has not heard from a single country there at the U.N. expressing concerns over the President's tweets.
KAYYEM: Right. I am sure she has not. I mean, in the sense like who is going to actually say to the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., we don't like the President's tweets. But certainly you are hearing not just the tweets but the discloser of the conversations that the President had with Mexico's leader and Australia, a lot of pushback.
Look. The President is I think it is safe to say, is not a linear speaker, you know. He doesn't sort of get to the point. And there is a lot of discussions that seem are not germane to the serious issues that we have with Mexico, Australia, or any other country. And so, you are starting to see, you know, that this America first policy is actually as Tillerson agrees with is becoming sort of an America isolated policy. That may be good. That maybe why Trump's supporters voted for him.
I personally think it's bad because at the same time, it is not like China is going away, right. I mean, there is vacuums that China is fill. There are vacuum in Syria that Russia is filling. And so, there are consequences to us not acting in ways that other countries respect. And so, I don't doubt that other countries do not say anything to her about the tweets, but it is the same reaction that we tend to have about those tweets is very similar to the outside world. Secretary Tillerson has sort of admitted as such.
CABRERA: Well, on the tweet because it is 140 characters, they could leave it open for interpretation.
KAYYEM: I mean, there is. I will say this. There is something unbelievably irresponsible about some of those tweets because they can be interpreted by an enemy as a plan of action, right, that we are going to do something that we may have no intention of doing. So do you remember when he had the transgender tweets?
KAYYEM: So we hear later on that people at the Pentagon thought, oh, my goodness, is he tweeting out that North Korea that we are going to go, you know, the war with North Korea? Because it was like seven minutes delay between those tweets. Well, if our own military is thinking that, think about what are the other countries feel? And so, you know, part of a whole - secretary new chief of staff's job is that you have a responsibility with these tweets. I mean, now there are ways to communicate with people. But there is a world out there, enemies and the like, that need to respect the United States. And the tweets just often don't cut it.
CABRERA: Juliette, Elise, Richard Roth, our thanks the all of you on that great discussion.
Meanwhile, rescue crews are searching for three missing U.S. marines involved in a training mishap in Australia. We are told the U.S. military was carrying out training exercises with the Australian military off the country's eastern coast when a U.S. osprey aircraft, helicopter went into the water near shoal water bay. Now officials say 26 service members were onboard, 23 have been rescued. We are told President Trump has been briefed. But at last check, three remain missing. We will bring you any updates as we learn more.
So ahead this hour in the NEWSROOM, hands over the papers. A new report says investigators want the White House to give them documents related to Michael Flynn. What this could reveal about where the Russian investigation goes next.
Plus, texting scandal. A Fox News host has been suspended pending the results of an investigation to whether he sent lewd photos to co- workers. Our Brian Stelter has the details.
And later, chilling details about the kidnapping of a 20-year-old model. We will tell you who is under arrest for allegedly organizing an auction on a pornographic website.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:22:52] CABRERA: An important development this week in a special council's investigation of Russia and connected to the White House. For the first time there is a specific action and specific request for the team led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.
According to "The New York Times," investigators want the White House to hand over paperwork related to Michael Flynn's financial dealings with the government of Turkey, especially during the final months of last year's Presidential campaign. Now, Flynn is the former army general who served as Trump's national security adviser for just 24 days.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is here with us.
Now Boris, this part of Mueller's investigation isn't directly related to Russia's alleged meddling in the election, but there is a connection. Talk to us about that. And why they are so interested in money Michael Flynn might have received from Turkey.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Ana. As you said "the New York Times" is reporting that Rob Mueller's investigative team is now taking a closer look at alleged secret payments made to the former national security adviser on behalf of the government of Turkey allegedly for his lobbying work in that country and working against a political opponent of the President there, Recep Erdogan.
"The New York Times" also going further saying that Mueller's team is requesting specific documents from the White House pertinent to Michael Flynn going as far to question officials about his ties to that nation's government. This coincides with some of CNN's own reporting that the special council is zooming in, focusing in on payments made to Michael Flynn by foreign governments. Now we reached out to Flynn's attorney. They declined to comment on
the story. We also reached out to the White House counsel including Ty Cobb who gave us a statement essentially saying that they didn't want to get into the specifics of their legal team's conversation with the special council except to say that they are fully complying with this investigation.
Very important to point out, Ana, back in the spring if you recall, the House oversight committee leaders there indicated that Michael Flynn may have violated the law by not disclosing some of these foreign payments on his security clearance forms, not only from the Turkish government but also potentially from RTTV, the Russian news network.
So this is one slice of an investigation that continues to broaden. And as you remember, Ana, Flynn was fired for apparently lying the vice President about conversations that he had had with a Russian ambassador. So there is still so many questions to answer in this probe, again, one that continues to broaden seemingly every week, Ana.
[19:025:34] CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez. We now know there are 16 attorneys that are part of Robert Mueller's team investigating all o of this. Thanks so much.
Coming up, who could possibly follow the Mooch? How about a White House policy adviser just days after a heated argument with a CNN reporter.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:30:03] CABRERA: As President Trump vacations now at his golf club in New Jersey, the beginning of his 17-day break, there are talks back home at the White House that Stephen Miller may be due for a promotion. A White House official tells CNN that the President's senior policy adviser is now under consideration for a high-level communications job. This is the same man that just a few days ago found himself going head to head in the press briefing room with our own Jim Acosta over the new immigration proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It is actually it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind -- no, this is an amazing -- this is an amazing moment.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like you are trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country's policy.
MILLER: That's one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you have ever said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's bring in our senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES' Brian Stelter.
So Brian, what exactly is the position he might be taking on?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Some sort of communications job. Maybe not necessarily the communications director tie off that Anthony Scaramucci had but something similar hopping to shape the President Trump's messages when and how he makes announcements.
This would be a promotion from Miller right now. The policy advisor, a hard liner on subsequently immigration. He is beloved on the right side like Breitbart and the Drudge report. But he is a very controversial speaker partly because of those kinds of scrapes he gets in with reporters like Jim Acosta. If he is promoted into a communications job, it's a sign the President wants to continue his war against the media. And he is not looking for better relations but a continued aggressive behavior.
CABRERA: And speaking of war against the media, we saw Jeff Sessions announce a big, you know, leak crackdown yesterday at his press conference. He also even talked about media subpoenas and going after the media. Let's listen to what he had to say about going after leakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: One of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas. We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited. They cannot place lives at risk with impunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So the President just tweeted this tonight in response to this presser. After many years of leaks going on in Washington, it's great to see the A.G. taking action for national security. The tougher, the better. So this is the first time we have seen the President now praise Sessions on twitter after all the criticism he was doing. And, of course, it comes as Sessions is bashing the media.
STELTER: Indeed. It's a big deal to have the President supporting Sessions for the first time in many weeks. It has been nothing but criticism. And this is the first time that the President has offered any support at all in public for Sessions. Just in the past few minutes, I think the dedications that Sessions, he succeed in his goal. He had this event partly in order to reach the President. To show the President that he is taking leaks seriously.
So far in the Trump administration, only one person has actually been prosecuted for alleged leaking. That was reality winner who allegedly sent a document to the intercept website. We haven't seen a lot of prosecutions. But Sessions said the number of investigations has tripled. And that was music to President's ears. CABRERA: And real quick before I let you go. I want to ask you about
FOX News. They have a new potential scandal. Another host in some hot water. What can you tell?
STELTER: Indeed. Eric Bolling, you seem him here on camera. He is a riding star at FOX. One of the most pro-Trump hosts on the channel. He has allegedly many years ago he was sending inappropriate messages, pictures to some female colleagues. He has been suspended this evening by FOX News. And here his statement from his attorney. His attorney said the anonymous uncorroborated claims are untrue and terribly unfair. We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation so that it can be conclude and Eric can return to work as quickly as possible.
In the past not only we have seen other FOX News star like Bill O'Reilly go away and never come back amid harassment allegations. We will see what happens in this case. But Bolling is a 5:00 p.m. host right now. He will be off the air at least while FOX investigate this allegation.
First published by the "Huffington Post" last night of inappropriate pictures he was sending to colleagues.
CABRERA: But you said it was from years ago. So the question is why now?
STELTER: Yes. At least -- I believe it was several years ago. It's not something that happened very recently. It didn't happen for example in the past few months since FOX has implemented changes in the wake of Roger Ailes and that harassment scandal. Why now? It is because the "Huffington Post" wrote a story about it. It was able to speak with many anonymous sources about this. FOX try to silhouettes is taking allegations of improper behavior in the workplace seriously because for many years it seems they didn't when Roger Ailes was in- charge. So change in tone by FOX here.
CABRERA: Brian Stelter, as always, thank you. Don't forget Brian's show tomorrow "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 a.m. eastern here on CNN.
Coming up, as President Trump begins his summer break, the drip, drip, drip of the Russia investigation follows him to vacation. We will tell you why former national security adviser Michael Flynn's name is back in the headlines.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:39:09] CABRERA: The special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is inching closer to the White House tonight. According to "New York Times" investigators have now asked the White House to turn over documents related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Now, the FBI, we already knew, was investigating Flynn's actions during the campaign, even before special counsel was appointed, but this is first time that we know of that the White House has ever been asked to turn over documents related to his time there.
Let us bring in our panel. Joining us CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor Paul Callan and the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Time" Lynn Sweet.
So Paul, what does this development mean for the Trump White House?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's an important development, of course, because Flynn was the national security adviser to the President for a brief period of time. But certainly had close contact with the President and was initially mentioned as the Russian link. He has been under investigation by the FBI really going back into last summer and his failure to register. So I'm not surprised that trail would eventually lead to a subpoena or request for White House documents.
[19:40:17] CABRERA: Lynn, President Trump has called this investigation over and over and over again a witch hunt. He said it's an excuse by Democrats for losing the election. But there's a real effort, a bipartisan effort now under way to protect Mueller and this investigation. Do you get a sense that lawmakers are worried about what the President might do?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU, CHICAGO SUN TIME: Well, we know they are because the Senate did not officially go into recess when they left for the month of August. They are still in official pro forma session and they did this. This is a Republican-led Senate, not trusting Trump to not fire Jeff Sessions the attorney general and install a puppet attorney general who would then fire the special prosecutor.
So this is extraordinary when you control the Senate to technically stay in in order to avoid what's called a recess appointment. So, yes, the Senate is concerned. Now, we know as the weeks have gone by that with the new chief of staff in place that Jeff Sessions' job is safe for now. But the Senate didn't know it when they made this arrangement for the Senate to still be officially in session to tie the President's hands.
CABRERA: That's right. John Kelly, the new chief of staff, apparently spoke with Jeff Sessions this week saying he was safe.
But Paul, let's take a look at what is being review now as part of this investigation. We learned this week that records related to the Trump organization, the family, and campaign associates are being looked at. Investigators are also looking at lists of people who have brought Trump branded real estate or lived in Trump towers and Russian business associates from the Miss University pageant four years ago in 2013 when it was in Moscow. Is it a concern that Mueller's scope maybe to wide and valid?
CALLAN: Well, this was the President's great fear. I spoke with red line if Mueller proceeded down the road that he appears to be going. It is logical road to follow though. And I see all roads leading back to that Miss Universe contest in 2013. The Trump empire, the Trump real estate empire, established Russian contacts in connection with that pageant. So you certainly would expect that any investigator would be looking at those people to see if that was a continuing intermediary between the Russians and the Trump administration. So, you know, I think we are going to see a lot more of this and a lot more discomfort on the part of the President as Mueller proceeds.
CABRERA: Lynn, a White House official tells CNN senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is being considered for an elevated communications role, not maybe the communications director, maybe something similar but without the formal title. But, of course, this comes after that contentious briefing with Miller in which he sparred with reporters including our own Jim Acosta earlier this week if he is being considered for this role, does that signal the President liked what he saw at that briefing?
SWEET: Well, it showed that he wanted a contentious spokesman in addition to the southern style Sarah Huckabee Sanders who has just a more downplayed and warmer way about her when she talks.
It's puzzling, though, how long that Kellyanne and President Trump might want to leave a communications spot until. Because the Trump White House is just letting routine, no hanging fruit that are stories that you want that of appointments and who is doing this job and that job, things that reporters do care about get lost now because they are focused on what happened last week, Stephen Miller picking a fight with Jim. And so he could get out his line about being a cosmopolitan elite.
Well, you know, by the way, Stephen Miller grew up in Santa Monica, California. So before he starts tossing out these lines, you know, he could look in the mirror too. He went to Duke University. But you don't need to engage in that fight with reporters. And if you want to communicate, it is one thing. If you want to pick fights, that's something else. And that's where he might President Trump might like in Stephen Miller.
CABRERA: Paul, President Trump talked about the Russian investigation at rally on Thursday. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Russia story is a total fabrication. It is just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics, that's all it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So talking about messaging, we know the President has been advised to stop talking and tweeting about Russia. If you were his legal team, would you be concerned about anything he said there?
[19:45:06] CALLAN: Well, I'm always concerned about what he says, you know. The closest election, biggest landslide in history, whatever he said, what about Truman against Dewey, you know. I mean, everything that happens on the President's watch he thinks is the biggest, the best, and historic. And I think his accuracy and public statements is an important factor that lawyers have to focus on. And if he is going to make public statements about the Russian investigation, it had better be very accurate.
And the one thing that struck me about that statement, now he got a lot of cheers from the West Virginian audience but it came in the aftermath of clear evidence that his own son Donald Junior had met with a Russian designated lawyer to try to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Now, he never got the dirt apparently, but clearly there was an effort to reach out to the Russians. So for the President to say, this is absurd, I have nothing to do with Russians ever, it's simply inaccurate on its face.
CABRERA: Paul Callan and Lynn Sweet, thank you both.
SWEET: Thank you.
CABRERA: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, leaks transcripts of the conversations between the President and his Mexican counterpart revealing some less than flattering comment about the state of New Hampshire. How those in the granite state are responding next.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:50:32] CABRERA: Remember when candidate Donald Trump said this about the opioid crisis in New Hampshire?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For the people of New Hampshire where you have a tremendous problem with heroin and drugs you wouldn't believe it. You see this place and you say it is so beautiful. You have a tremendous problem. The first thing always that they mentioned to me. Mr. Trump please do something. The drugs, the heroin, it is pouring in. And it is so cheap because there is so much of it. And the kids are getting stuck and other people are getting stuck. We are going to end it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now listen to this, a leaked transcript of a phone call between President Trump and the President of Mexico where he called the state a quote "drug-infested den." It's sparking outrage in the granite state.
And our Kaylee Hartung has reaction now from New Hampshire -- Kaylee.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Ana we are here outside New Hampshire state capitol in Concord. And we have heard seemingly every elected official in the state speak out one way or another in reaction to the President's comments, including governor Chris Sununu who is a Republican. Who has been ardent supporter of President Trump. But he is no supporting did the President's comment about his state and said he is disappointed that President would cast a misconception and aspersion upon his entire state. And it is not just politician to have an opinion here. President Trump's comments come as big news to all in New Hampshire.
HARTUNG (voice-over): From Port Smith to Manchester to Nashua, it is the talk of the grand state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is to either review from the granite state after reportedly called New Hampshire quote "a drug infested den."
HARTUNG: In a January conversation with the President of Mexico that was leaked Thursday to "the Washington Post," President Trump claimed he won New Hampshire because the state is a drug infested den.
MARY MACDONALD, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT: I'm horrified. It is deplorable. He had no business saying that about New Hampshire without -- and the fact that he said that he won New Hampshire was bad enough. But then to call us a despicable den of whatever was just -- I'm speechless.
KYLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT: I don't see living here. You don't see like the day to day. I don't know. I have lived. I was born and raised in New Hampshire. I have -- I would never call it a drug infested den.
HARTUNG: Though many called the President's comments disrespectful and point out Trump did not actually win the state of New Hampshire in the 2016 general election. Although he did win the primary. It's not all universal scorn.
REP. AL BALDASARO (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Enough with the PC correction here. Donald Trump did the right thing. He called it out for what it is.
HARTUNG: The numbers don't lie. New Hampshire is in the throes of a public health crisis. In 2015 only one state had a higher rate of fatal drug overdoses than this one according to the centers for disease control.
GRANT BOSSI, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: It is a serious problem.
HARTUNG: Grant Bossi is the editorial page editor of the "Union Leader," New Hampshire's the only statewide paper.
BOSSI: It's the most serious problem for the past four years and people are frustrated.
HARTUNG: While the opioid crisis has rattled that granite state to its core, Bossi thinks Trump's jarring comments did little to jar the politically savvy people. Live and voted in the state with the first of the nation primary.
BOSSI: I think a lot of people are going to will confirm what they already thought of the President. And if they are fans they love that he is talking about this in the strongest terms possible. If you are not a fan you are going to be insulted again. But on the spectrum of ridiculous things Donald Trump has said, this is pretty low. I think this is the new normal when dealing with President Trump.
HARTUNG: We can't underscore enough the conversation that President Trump's comments have generated here in New Hampshire as we walked into the "Union Leader" newspaper offices yesterday, a debate broke out among two staffers in the lobby. My cameraman here, Jonathan, went to a barbershop in town yesterday. He said it was all the talk there.
And Ana, while we can debate all day long how President Trump spoke about New Hampshire, what we found agreement upon here is that what he said, the drug problem this state is facing, is a serious one, one that this state is trying to combat.
CABRERA: All right, Kaylee Hartung reporting in New Hampshire. Thank you.
Coming up, a story that will give you chills. A glamorous photo shoot in Milan that took a horrific turn for the worse.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:49:08] CABRERA: A British model who was kidnapped, handcuffed, and kept in a chest of drawers was to be auctioned off on the dark web. Italian police say this 30-year-old Polish national is now under arrest in connection with the kidnapping after dropping off the woman at the British consulate in Milan. The 20-year-old model was kidnapped during a photo shoot on July 10th. And she was allegedly assaulted, drugged and stuffed into a travel bag before being loaded into a car and imprisoned at a remote cabin in the Italian Alps. The alleged kidnapper had demand #300,000 from the model's agent to stop the auction. He told police he was working on behalf of the Black Death group which is an illegal trafficking organization that operates on the dark web. At least one other person is still being fought in connection with that kidnapping.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
We began with the breaking news. Today's extraordinary response to punish North Korea for its nuclear threat.