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U.N. Passes Tough New Sanctions on North Korea; White House Faces Scrutiny as Election Probe Widens; New Sanctions Could Cost North Korea $1B in Exports; Legal Groups to Trump: "See You in Court". Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 6, 2017 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:00:00] NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The ball is in North Korea's court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we know about this regime, they prioritize their nuclear and missile program above all else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Russian investigation is heating up and so is the president.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia, or Ohio, or Pennsylvania?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sources tell CNN financial links could offer a more path to potential prosecution.

TRUMP: I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's senior policy adviser is under consideration for a high level communications job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to have folks like Miller on television defending him basically no matter what.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at an international meeting of foreign ministers in the Philippines, where he will be meeting with his Chinese counterpart. And just last hour, he met with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: This after the U.N. slapped harsh new sanctions after North Korea over its missile test. Now, sanctions that cost the country a billion dollars in exports annually.

Listen to what U.N. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told CNN's Ana Cabrera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HALEY: 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 have to decide where they want to go from here. We hope that they will go the route of peace and security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Plus, President Trump was on Twitter commenting on North Korea sanctions saying United Nations resolution is the single largest economics sanction package ever on North Korea, over $1 billion in costs to North Korea.

Let's talk about this and bring in Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst and former army commanding general for Europe and the Seventh Army, and Sue Mi Terry, former CIA analyst on Korean issues and former White House official.

Good morning to you. You know, as I was preparing for this, I wonder, Sue, why we haven't heard from Kim Jong-un?

SUE MI TERRY, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, he will speak very shortly. But I'm -- you've heard him before. I don't think sanctions, why these are important measures and I'm glad the UNSC passed a resolution slapping sanctions. Kim Jong-un is not going to really give up nuclear weapons. He has said this over and over that he is not going to give it up. So, I'm glad these steps are taken but I think we have still a long way to go before we get to any kind of peaceful state.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, General, let me come to you, and the potential for talks. We know that South Korea wants to talk. China wants to talk. And even Tillerson has said that he would like to engage in some talks, but, first, North Korea must abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions.

Will the U.S. have to, I guess, step away from that prerequisite in order to have these conversations? And do you see that potentially down the road?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I agree with Sue on this, Victor. This is something that Kim will not back away from. This is his regime survival. This is how he stands out in the area. He feels like he has to defend his country against all of the surrounding hordes that would take him down. So, I don't do you're going to see him give up the nuclear weapons program or the missile program.

What he may be able to do is put that under control due to the impetus by the sanctions and the diplomacy which is pulling together a bunch of nations of the world for the first time, countering his actions. That might be enough to cause him to live more by the standards of global norms and that is what is missing lately.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, will there be talks? If Kim is not going abandon this effort to get a nuclear weapon and the U.S. has said that we won't engage in talks unless you do that, will the U.S. engage in talks any way at some point? HERTLING: Well, we don't know. That is the key part of the

diplomacy. You give a little bit and you get a little bit.

But I agree. This is going to be very challenging. This has been his attempt at snubbing his nose at the world and to do otherwise would cause him probably a little bit of losing of face to his people and that's not acceptable for him right now trying to control a regime that's really on the precipice of failure.

BLACKWELL: So, Sue, if Kim is not going to abandon this effort to obtain a nuclear weapon, at what point will the world or have some countries already silently even adjusted to the idea of pursuing a nuclear or nonproliferation strategy instead of preventing him from getting the weapon, just accepting that nuclear -- there will be a nuclear North Korea and then what?

TERRY: That's absolutely right. I just spent five weeks in Seoul and I just came back, and while this is not a stated policy, I do think more people are now painfully realizing that we might have to live with a nuclear North Korea.

[07:05:07] And the U.S. has to also make that painful decision, because as I've mentioned, I don't think North Korea is going to give it up and I think more provocations are coming despite these sanctions. I'm betting on another ICBM test and a nuclear test down the road. So, we really have to get realistic and decide, are we OK with deterrence policy? Are we going to live with nuclear North Korea?

BLACKWELL: General, I want you to listen to the Chinese foreign minister today at the ASEAN Summit. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): China urged North Korea to treat the new resolutions by the U.N. Security Council regarding North Korea in a calm manner and not to conduct missile tests and nuclear tests which violates U.N. Security Council and the desire of the international community. Of course, we will also urge all other parties, especially the United States and South Korea, not to further escalate the tension.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So, dissect this for us, General. Obviously, calling for North Koreans to stop with the testing of the missiles, the nuclear test or the test launches, the U.S. to dial down the rhetoric. They also don't like the drills with the South Koreans but the Chinese signed on to the sanction.

Help us understand what the Chinese really expect the U.S. and North Korea to do.

HERTLING: Well, they are walking a very fine line, aren't they, Victor? It's a critical element they need to tamp down, not only what the North Koreans are doing because they realize they are becoming more and more pariah on the world stage, but they also know that there are a lot of people to include Mr. Trump and his administration who are willing to cause further disruption in North Korea which will certainly affect China.

And it's not just the fact that there could be an explosion between the U.S. and North Korea. It also has to do with what will happen on the South Korean peninsula, what kind of immigration will China be forced to face if there is somewhat of a humanitarian implosion on the peninsula, and what other effects on the Chinese economy will occur if some of the bellicose language that's been used lately actually comes to fruition.

They are walking a very fine line between all this, trying to keep North Korea tamped down and under control and, at the same time, be part of the league of nations that's trying to bring apart -- bring around this reduction in inflammatory languages between the U.S. and North Korea.

BLACKWELL: Sue, the sanctions could be in a billion dollar impact for the North Korean economy. Put this into context, put some meat on the bone for us. What does this mean for the North Korean people and for the regime?

TERRY: Well, Kim Jong-un has now less money to fund his missile and nuclear program because this is going to cost about over a billion dollar on over $3 billion GDP. But most importantly, for these sanctions to work, they have to be enforced. So, the question for the United States government is how much are we going to pursue secondary sanctions against Chinese banks and entities that have business with North Korea.

So, these sanctions are good but they have to be enforced on the ground level, and China has been reluctant to do that before. So, I think the question is back on the U.S.'s table in terms of how much are we going to pursue secondary boycott.

BLACKWELL: I'm running low on time but, General, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that 75 years ago on this very day, August 6th, 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. So, this is not happening in some abstract discussion. This had a real impact on people.

I want you to hear today from the mayor of Hiroshima talking about what this means, these conversations we are having.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAZUMI MATSUI, HIROSHIMA MAYOR (through translator): This hell is not a thing of the past. As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment. You could find yourself suffering their cruelty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So, General, beyond the minute-to-minute negotiations and discussions, put a cap on this. Put it into some context for us.

HERTLING: Well, I'll tell you -- that's a very powerful message. And, frankly, Victor, we have been talking about the use of nuclear weapons in the last three to four years than we have ever before. And not only on the part of North Koreans missile program but in other places in the world like Iran, Russia, and China. So, this -- you might also include India and Pakistan in that regard.

So, any use of nuclear weapons are deplorable. Listening to someone who is experienced that, you know how deplorable they are and anything that might be use in terms of a nuclear weapon in the future will make Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem tame by comparison. So, we've got to get diplomacy, economy and information in this -- factored into these reductions in nuclear arms.

[07:10:05] BLACKWELL: Seventy-two years ago today.

General Hertling, Sue Mi Terry, thank you both.

TERRY: Thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you.

PAUL: The investigation into potential ties between the Trump team and Russia could be creating some legal trouble for the president, himself. Special counsel Robert Mueller now seeking White House documents related to the probe and looking into the Trump family finances.

BLACKWELL: Plus, see you in court, President Trump. A national organization announces plans to sue the Trump administration over the president's transgender military ban.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Well, the investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidency and Russia is closing in on some important members of the Trump administration. This investigation now approaches the White House, the Trump campaign and even President Trump's personnel finances.

CNN's Pamela Brown has new details of the scrutiny of the president and those closest are facing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[07:15:02] TRUMP: Does anyone really believe that story?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Russia investigation continues to widen, as federal investigators explore the potential financial ties with President Trump and associates to Russia. Sources tell CNN financial links could offer a more concrete path to any potential prosecution. Investigators are delving into possible financial crimes including some unconnected to the election.

For the president, that's going too far. He's warned that delving into his businesses is a, quote, violation.

Trump has maintained there's no collusion and he has no financial ties to Russia.

TRUMP: And I can tell you speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia.

BROWN: Now, one year into this complex probe, the FBI has reviewed financial records related to the Trump Organization, the president himself as well as his family members and campaign associates. CNN has told investigators have combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump branded real estate properties. They scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower in Manhattan, reaching back several years.

And officials familiar with the investigation tells CNN special counsel Robert Mueller's team has examined the backgrounds of Russian business associates connected to Trump --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Moscow, it's Miss Universe 2013.

BROWN: -- dating back to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant he hosted in Moscow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you to Aras Agalarov and the Crocus Group for their amazing hospitality.

BROWN: CNN could not determine whether the review has included Trump's tax returns.

But even investigative leads that have nothing to do with Russia, but involve Trump associates, are being referred to the special counsel to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate.

TRUMP: The entire thing has been a witch hunt.

BROWN: President Trump keenly aware of the increased financial focus, regularly denounces the investigation.

TRUMP: Russia is fake news. This is fake news put out by the media.

BROWN: Trump's team seeking to limit Mueller's investigation.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's point is that he doesn't want the special counsel to move beyond the scope and outside of its mission, and the president's been very clear as have his accountants and team that he has no financial dealings with Russia. And so, I think we've been extremely clear on that.

BROWN: CNN has learned new details about how Mueller is running his special counsel team. More than three dozen attorneys, FBI agents and support staff, experts in investigating fraud and financial crimes broken into groups, focused separately on collusion and obstruction of justice. There is also focus on targets like Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, and General Michael Flynn, his fired national security adviser. CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious of Manafort

when they turned up intercepted communications that U.S. intelligence agencies collected amongst suspected Russian operatives, discussing their efforts to work with Manafort to coordinate information that could hurt Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House, according to U.S. officials.

In Flynn's case, the focus is now on his lobbying work for the Turkish government which he failed to initially disclose as required by law.

While both men deny any wrongdoing, the approach to the Manafort and Flynn probes may offer a template for how the focus by investigators on possible financial crimes could help gain leverage and cooperation in the investigation.

(on camera): The president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, said to CNN in a statement, quote: The president's outside counsel has not received any requests for documentation or information about this. Any inquiry from the special counsel that goes beyond the mandate specified in the appointment, we would object to.

And for context, investigators don't have to go directly to the president's lawyers to get financial information. Investigators can issue subpoenas to financial institutions and get records from the Treasury Department.

Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: So, "Chicago Sun Times" Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet is with us, as well as CNN political analyst and "Washington Post" columnist, Josh Rogin.

Thank you both for being here.

Let's listen to what -- actually, let me ask you about the statute of limitations, if there is one on this, Lynn. How far back can this investigation go, can Mueller go looking into the president and any of the people that are around him when it comes to -- you know, when we look back at the Clinton administration? They started with Whitewater and they ended with Monica Lewinsky. Could we really have a repeat of something like that?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Well, you can, because there's a difference between what you may charge in a crime and their statute of limitations may take effect, and there's no limit to where you follow the investigative stream, which is why this is, of course, a massive concern to Trump because you don't know where the various leads go to and you may go down paths you never imagined, just like who back in the day would have thought Whitewater would have led to Monica Lewinsky.

So when you think of what a chargeable crime is, it's a very high standard. If you're just trying to connect the dots to figure out where you should be looking, you could go wherever you want. Especially, you know, in Pamela's report, when you have all these forensic agents and the accountants and access to a lot of records and intercepts, connecting dots that may not have been -- may not have looked like a pattern of significance without this context, you have a lot of raw information that then needs to be evaluated and you can decide if there is legal charges that could be the fruit of that investigation.

PAUL: There are some gray areas, Josh, when it comes to President Trump and Russia. At one point, he said he hadn't met Russian President Vladimir Putin and really liked him. On the other point, he said he never met the man. What if President Trump did have some business dealings say, 20, 25 years ago with Russia, would it matter today?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think you have to go back that far. There was a period in 2007, 2008, at the height of the financial crisis where Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump were making multiple trips to Russia to seek buyers for properties that the Trump Organization had been developing that were all of a sudden going empty and were a big liability on the company, right? That is one area that the investigation is likely to look into.

You know, dating back to the '90s, you know, again, as Lynn said, there is a lot of evidence that, you know, there are relationships with Russians. That doesn't necessarily speak to collusion or crimes per se, you know? But the point is that, you know, we won't know what's relevant and what's not relevant until the investigators go through all of this inquiry and investigation and that is what I think the new grand jury that "The Wall Street Journal" reported on last week are meant to go about, right? Some of it will be perfectly above board, some of it will be a gray area, and some of it could be very, very problematic for the Trump Organization. You know, the only way to get through it is to actually do the investigation and find out what the ground truth is and then work from there.

PAUL: All righty. Well, this, of course, all coming as the president just signed this bill this past week, new sanctions against Russia. I want to hear now what the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said about Trump's sanctions on Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: I think we'll 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 what you saw is those sanctions were a response to the meddling and we'll now see how Russia responds with that. I will tell you that we negotiated with Russia this week on this Security Council 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'll continue to see that it's about strong actions and not about irresponsible once. And so, we hope that their days of meddling in elections are over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Well, listen, I'm getting word that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as we know, met with foreign minister -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. And out of this meeting, Lavrov said to Tillerson, he asked him about Russia's retaliation to the U.S. sanctions. We do not know what happened beyond that.

But the question is -- Russia just voted with the U.S. and the U.N. on sanctions against North Korea. There is a commonality there. What is the chance, Lynn, that there is a rift that could form between Russia and the U.S. that could affect North Korea moving forward?

SWEET: These alliances group and regroup often depending on the issue and diplomacy, just like investigations go down many rivers and trails and streams here. So, when you have a common ground, you pursue it. It doesn't negate the sanctions, it doesn't negate the rift that we may have with Russia over meddling, which isn't it interesting that U.N. Ambassador Haley outwardly says, yes, there is meddling -- something that the Trump White House doesn't like to say.

Now the important thing, though, I think in diplomacy to underscore is that sometimes it's just situational and just issue by issue and in this one when it comes to the growing military threat in North Korea, everyone in the U.N. Security Council found common ground.

PAUL: All righty. Real quickly, Josh, President Trump in New Jersey for the next 17 days. And he claims, listen, I am not on vacation! He does not like that terminology.

He tweeted working in bed minister, New Jersey, as long planned construction is done at the White House. This is not a vacation. Meetings. And calls.

Why does this get under his skin?

ROGIN: First of all, I'd like to say one quick thing with North Korea.

PAUL: Go ahead.

ROGIN: Russia and U.S. are not on the same page with North Korea. What Russia has been doing is actually increasing its trade with North Korea quite substantially that undermine sanctions. You know, when they signed this sanctions bill that sort of kabuki diplomacy where we all pretend we are on the same page for a second.

[07:25:02] But the truth is that Russia and the United States really are pursuing very different strategies in North Korea and that's undermining the international efforts to bring pressure there.

You know, as for President Trump's vacation, I think he's entitled to do a vacation. You know, we all are. At the same time, you know, for them to claim that he is working every day would be nice to have some details about that. They haven't released any schedules. They haven't released a book reading list. You know, I'm not sure that those books will actually get ready any way, but it's always nice to look at.

You know, there is a gap between what the administration says that the president is doing and what we actually can confirm. And I think that's what is causing a lot of uncertainty about the claims here.

PAUL: I think it was Nancy Reagan that I read who said the president is never on vacation. He just gets a change of scenery is what it is.

Lynn Sweet and Josh Rogin, thank you so much.

SWEET: Thank you.

ROGIN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, the U.N. hits North Korea with devastating sanctions over its long-range missile program. President Trump celebrating the sanctions. What does this mean for the administration? Our political panel is here to answer that.

Plus, is the vice president preparing for a 2020 run?

PAUL: And what are the next steps for the transgender military ban? One group says their next step is to sue the administration.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:30:29] PAUL: Take a nice deep breath as you head into Sunday morning at 7:30. We're glad you're with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: So, let's talk about the sanctions for North Korea in response to its nuclear missile testing today.

BLACKWELL: The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution slashing the regime's banks, businesses relationships and key exports by more than a billion dollars.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley says these are the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: We are prepared to do whatever it takes to defend ourselves and our allies. And the ball is in North Korea's court. They now have to decide where they want to go from here.

We hope that they will go the route of peace and security. We hope that they will go the route of focusing on human rights and feeding their people. We hope that they'll go the route of stopping modern slavery that they do in terms of sending laborers overseas and then taking money from that situation. But, again, all of this is now in North Korea's court and we'll see how they respond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Sanctions come as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting with world leader in the Philippines today. He just met, in fact, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. But world leaders will watch how Tillerson interacts with his North Korean counterpart. The two will be in the same meeting but they could completely ignore each other for all we know. Whether the two speak or not, the encounter could certainly set the tone for the Trump's administration policies on Pyongyang going forward.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about these sanctions and more with Jack Kingston, a CNN political analyst and senior former adviser to the Trump campaign, and A. Scott Bolden, former chairman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party.

Gentlemen, good morning to you.

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN WASHINGTON D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Good morning.

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So, Scott, let me start with you. On this weekend, when everyone is counting the days the President Trump spent at one of his golf resorts or how long he's going to be on the vacation or the lazy boy cover, this is -- even a Democrat who is not a fan of the president will have to admit a significant accomplishment for the U.S. and for the Trump administration.

BOLDEN: Well, I think it's significant because we got Russia, they got Russia and China to sign on board. This was unanimous. I think it's important, obviously, and I think it's the right step, but it's not dispositive of the nuclear issue with North Korea because North Korea refuses to put denuclearization or even the nuclear issue on the table when they get to the table in the -- when they got to the table in the past.

And so, I still think that the pressure has to be put on surrounding countries, especially China, to force China to be a leader on this issue and until that happens, the people of North Korea can starve, but North Korea wants to be a player at the table and they know the -- having nuclear arms is what gets them to the table.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jack, to you. We have heard this week this conciliatory tone, I should say, pardon me, from the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that North Korea is not the enemy. They do not want to have a regime change. But on the other hand, we've heard from the president calling Kim Jong-un a mad man reportedly and going after him on Twitter.

Will we continue to hear that type of rhetoric from the president?

KINGSTON: I think you're going to see both. You're going to have the good cop and bad cop approach to diplomacy and you can also have it I think against trying to urge China and other nation to toe the line with us.

I mean, Scott is right. China is at the table but, at the same time, China's imports from North Korea this year alone have gone up 10 percent, and I think it's something like $3 billion. They are a nation with a GDP of $40 billion. So, a billion might not mean much to China, might not mean much to the United States, but it means a lot to North Korea.

So, I think the president has to talk tough. I think Tillerson, though, on the other hand, has to be the guy out there saying, look, we don't want war. We want to cut a deal with you and we want peace.

And I think, you know, you're leaving the door open but you're also saying, we are going to talk tough, we're going to show you the B-1 bombers, we're going to show you the THAAD missile defense system.

BOLDEN: Right.

KINGSTON: We're going to show you what we have got in case you do not behave.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right. So, let's turn now to 2020 presidential politics. I guess it's never too early.

BOLDEN: Already?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Scott, let's start with you.

We heard from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren yesterday saying that I'm not running for president. I'm focused on the job in front of me. Now, one can hear that as if I'm not going to run and another one can hear it as I'm not running at the moment.

But let's take it as if she's saying that she's not in 2020. What does that mean for the field? Does it open up a lane for a progressive liberal?

[07:35:02] What does the party lose or gain potentially from Elizabeth Warren not pursuing the White House?

BOLDEN: Well, I think it's way early, quite frankly. Despite that, you know, you had John Delaney on the show last weekend talking about he is the first declared. I think the field is wide open for the Democrats. I think primarily what is important is what's going to happen next year with these 35 governorships. Can the DNC get really organized? And then the field for a presidency is going to play itself out.

I think 2018 is really important. So, we are a long way off. She may not want to run now, but depending on whether the progressives in the Democratic Party can figure out how to win, she can take that off the table and throw her name in the hat. But there is a lot that is going to happen with the Democrats and the Republicans before that field settles out.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Jack, let me go to this "New York Times" reporting which I'm sure you saw this weekend that there are a series of Republican shadow campaigns they are reporting for 2020 and one name mentioned in this write up from "New York Times", Vice President Mike Pence. According to sources for "The Times", an aide for the vice president says Pence wants to be ready if there is an opening in 2020. The vice president has been, you know, having big donors and conservative activists at the Naval Observatory, his official residence.

I mean, what did do you make of some of these moves that are being interpreted as preparing for an opening in 2020?

KINGSTON: Well, I read the article but, you know, I think Mike Pence, if he's helping Trump, he's helping himself. If he is helping himself, he is also helping Trump. And I think part of his attractiveness as veep is that he is kind of guy that the establishment is a little more comfortable with.

Charlie Dent, for example, the leader -- the moderate leader of the Tuesday Group in the House, spoke very highly of Mike Pence, having served with him. But, at the same time, groups like the Family Research Council who are very comfortable with him because of his Christian moral traditional values type stances.

So, there are coalitions that are going to be behind Mike Pence. But really anything he does to help Trump is going to help him and I think Mike Pence, I've known him for a long time. He is a team player and that's what he is doing. He is just playing on the Trump team.

BOLDEN: Not this early, Victor. Not this early.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead, Scott.

BOLDEN: He is hosting -- he is hosting these conservative groups. He is on the extreme part of the conservative Republican Party. He's got -- he just hired a chief of staff who is political operative, not a government veteran.

And so, everyone, if Democrats and even Republicans, given that Donald Trump is not your, quote, whatever normalcy is, president, whatever that is any more --

KINGSTON: Yes.

BOLDEN: -- is he is preparing. He is preparing to run because many people don't believe Donald Trump will be available to run in 2020 based on the Mueller investigation, based on his hypocrisy and based on his not consistency, based on the inconsistency that messaging that the White House is putting out. He may not be here in 2020.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Jack, let me get you to respond to this because I've only got a few seconds left. One line here in this write-up, John McCain -- and you can add your comment to what Scott said right after you respond to this. John McCain told "The Times", quote, they see weakness in this president, discussing Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Ohio Governor John Kasich also making some moves. This president hasn't been a single day of his presidency out of -- above water in the favorability polls.

Is this president in trouble heading to 2020?

KINGSTON: You know, McCain also underlined this is not a nice town. It's not a nice place. And I think that that's part of what you get, you get ambitious people always angling and they have always a scenario.

But one thing that ties McCain and Scott's comments together is the fact that we, as Republicans, during Bill Clinton's first term, did the same thing. We thought he is a goner. So, we just knew he was a one-term president.

But what happened? The economy improved. For example, right now, unemployment at the lowest rate in 16 years. A great jobs report, 1.3 million jobs created.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

KINGSTON: Stock market at record highs. Border crossing is down.

I think what the American people are going to see these results, then all of this talk might not die down, but I don't think the people will be any more successful than the Republicans were.

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it there but we have a few more years to have this conversation.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDEN: Democrats never doubted Clinton.

BLACKWELL: The chief of staff of the vice president has pushed back against this saying this is essential nonsense and I'm paraphrasing there. But still, some interesting reporting from "The Times." Everybody should go and read that.

A. Scott Bolden, Jack Kingston, thank you both.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, looking ahead to "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER", Congressman Adam Schiff and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the show, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, the search for three missing marines off the eastern coast of Australia has been suspended and now being characterized as a recovery effort. We're told the families of the marines have been notified. Now, the Marine Corps is describing this incident as a mishap with an MV 22 aircraft that was conducting regularly scheduled operations when it entered the water.

[07:40:08] We do know 23 of the 26 personnel onboard were rescued.

Next, see you in court, President Trump. The Trump administration could face a lawsuit soon. Those are the word from one group who says they are suing the president over the transgender military ban.

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BLACKWELL: Two legal organizations say they are planning to sue the Trump administration over its transgender military ban. They say the president has, this time, just gone too far.

PAUL: Last month, President Trump tweeted that he banned transgender people from searching in the military. Now, we should note the Department of Defense says they're waiting for further guidance before making any policy changes.

Asha Rangappa, CNN legal and national security analyst, also an associate dean at Yale Law School, is with us.

Asha, thank you for being here. I wanted to ask you first and foremost, the fact that the DOD has not made any attempts at this point to modify the policy, does that tell you anything about where this is going?

[07:45:10] ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't think so. The president has before tweeted about things like wanting to build a wall or immigration, letting in refuges and he has translated that into executive orders. But I do think there would actually have to be a policy in place in order for the lawsuit to move forward, because you would actually have to have people affected by the policy before they could go into court and challenge it.

PAUL: OK, I want to read to you something from the Website of Lambda Legal, which is an LGBT rights group. The staff attorney there wrote this: Lambda Legal has a long history of fighting for LGBT service members and teaming up with OutServe SLDN, we're more than ready to fight like hell again. See in court, President Trump.

Will it get that far and how far could this go?

RANGAPPA: I think this is an issue that could go very far. So, if the Department of Defense under, say, an executive order implements a far reaching policy of the kind that the president has described in his tweets, which is to actually remove transgender personnel who are already serving in the military and to prevent further people from going in, it raises a whole host of legal issues. So, for the people who are already in, to remove them would create a lot of due process concerns.

There are people there who have relied on their, you know, the promise that they would remain in the military to make job decisions. Many of them are accruing a pension and maybe, depending on that, it's called a reliance argument. They can challenge that through due process hearings and that could take up a lot of administrative resources within the military.

Now, for people who are outside military who want to go in and would be banned by such a policy, that would be a little bit harder to challenge because, typically, legally speaking, the courts will give a lot of deference to the military. But again here, something that so far reaching that doesn't just limit to people in combat. You know, this is talking potentially about engineers and doctors and the people who drive trucks on bases, that could really open up to a lot of scrutiny what the government's -- what the president's motivations are in promulgating this kind of policy in the same way that it was questioned in the travel ban. PAUL: You mentioned the money aspect of this. Do we know what is at

the core of all of this? And how Lambda Legal or any group could argue against it? What would be their best defense? Because on the surface, it seems like it's discriminatory.

RANGAPPA: Absolutely. So, I think the main thrust of the argument would be that this is in violation of equal protection, that this is simply motivated by animus against a particular group, and they would point to the fact that, you know, the policy would be implemented so far reachingly across the board if these tweets actually go into effect as they have been written.

There is also been a cost argument that's made by the government that transgender personnel would require additional medical costs for surgeries and such. That, I think, can also be challenged. I think the cost has been estimated about $4 million out of a $600 billion budget. And that's something that if that were the case, the government could actually just simply refuse to provide that benefit.

But, ultimately, what the issue would be is how the courts are going to view this group of people. Now when the government makes policies based on race, for example, or gender, what they are going to do is they are going to look a little more carefully at what kind of reasoning the government is giving and they're going to make sure that, you know, they are a little skeptical of it.

PAUL: OK.

RANGAPPA: You know, this -- whether they are going to do this for transgender people remains to be seen in the courts.

PAUL: OK. Asha Rangappa, we appreciate your insight today, thank you.

RANGAPPA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, let's weigh the numbers for the president, better than expected jobs report, slipping approval rating. How he is trying now to appeal to his base. That's coming up on "INSIDE POLITICS".

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[07:54:06] PAUL: So, ask yourself, can walks in the forest really help my health? Well, in today's "Staying Well", we are looking at some people who are finding relaxation, meditation and spiritual healing by getting back to nature.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put one hand on your belly, the other hand on your heart.

So, forest bathing comes from the Shinrin-yoku, which is Japanese word.

Now, reach your arms up. And it means being in nature.

In Japan, they have special medical forests where people can go, be out in nature.

You're coming into a forest with a conscious intention to slow down, to connect, to heal. It's all about moving slow, a lot slower than you expect and about engaging all your senses.

DR. NOOSHIN RAZANI, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OAKLAND: In our hospital, we actually prescribe nature. Studies have shown that within minutes of walking into a forest, your stress improves. Heart rate will come down. Blood pressure will come down.

[07:55:02] Then, over the course of an hour to an hour and a half, if you're walking through a natural setting, symptoms of depression or anxiety improve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like to say pretend you've just landed on earth and you've never seen any of this before, really invoking that curiosity in people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gosh, it's really beautiful here. You can smell the eucalyptus, flowers, you can see the berries are starting to come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's nothing to do with the destination. It's nothing to do with getting there fast. It's just slowing down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And with that, we wish you a very peaceful --

BLACKWELL: You always tell us to breathe deeply.

PAUL: -- a very peaceful Sunday.

BLACKWELL: I'm trying to oblige.

PAUL: That's right. And I appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: OK.

PAUL: Make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

"INSIDE POLITICS" is coming up after a quick break.