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Strong Pushback From North Korea Over U.N. Sanctions; What the President Tweets About & Why; Interview with General Michael Hayden. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 06:30   ET



WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And a big diplomatic win for the Trump administration, an unprecedented 15-0 vote by the U.N. Security Council. Even here in China which has never approved sanctions after missile tests, only nuclear tests, they are saying they are ready to go all-in.

But the North Koreans also doubling down, promising a physical response against the United States for what they consider a violent violation of their national sovereignty. These sanctions cut off their main exports, and their access to international financial institutions. They could cut North Korean exports by as much as a third.

But I can tell you I was in North Korea back in June, speaking with officials about this. This does not come as a surprise. They say they will find ways to get around those sanctions and continue to test the weapons which experts say, Chris, could potentially reach much of the mainland U.S. in a matter of months with that ICBM.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's gotten to be a very dicey situation. The thing that matters most to the United States is the thing that North Korea wants to discuss the least, its nuclear capabilities.

Will Ripley, thank you very much for that entrenched reporting.

So, these new poll numbers bring up a lot of themes, the ability to believe, be believed by for this president, and why that is. The tweeting, the social media comes to mind. His supporters will say it's his most powerful tool, but is it also what's holding him back?

We discuss it, next.


[06:35:31] CUOMO: The president watches a lot of TV, sees it as his strength, tweets a lot, some of his advisers believe it's his most powerful political tool. But what he focuses on and ignores is just as important.

Great example yesterday. We had Senator Richard Blumenthal on the show. He was talking about the Russia investigation. The president didn't like it, and we know that because he started tweeting during NEW DAY about Senator Blumenthal, not what he was discussing but the senator personally talking about what a liar he was, about his Vietnam record and how brave he said he was, and now he gets to judge collusion, and the Twitter attacks just went into the entire afternoon, and all of them were basically off topic.

Remember, it was 200 days into the administration. He could have been talking about his achievements. He wasn't.

Now, Senator Blumenthal has replied to this. This isn't the first time it happened, the first time the senator was on the show, the president attacked him the same way. The senator says he won't be bullied.

We should point out Blumenthal was in the marine reserves during the war. Trump was draft eligible as well, but he sought multiple deferments, never served. So, that's a little bit about the intrigue there.

How do you feel about Trump's obsession with cable news?

Well, we've got some instincts in the new CNN poll. Seven out of ten of you say he does it too much. On top of it, Trump's tweets about what he sees on TV news are often wrong. Proof, Monday at 4:15 p.m. he tweeted his frustration the media wasn't covering the U.N. sanctions against North Korea. We covered it all morning.

Jake Tapper was covering it when he tweeted that.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: North Korea is vowing revenge against the United States after the U.N. Security Council led by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley unanimously adopted the toughest sanctions yet against that country.


CUOMO: And, of course, the most famous inaccuracy so far was Trump blasting the media for mischaracterizing his conversation with the prime minister of Australia. Then transcripts leaked out showing that the conversation was everything the media said it was, and in fact worse.

All right. So, let's discuss the impact of social media play and the president's tendencies on his poll numbers. We have CNN senior media correspondent, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst Bill Carter.

So, Bill, you're out there in Los Angeles, what do you make of the tweeting? Do you like it? Does it help him? Does it hurt him? Why?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I personally, as you said earlier, I think it's great, in a sense that we get an unfiltered view of his point of view on all these topics. I think it's interesting, you know, yesterday, it was raining at the golf course and so he had time on his hands and when he -- well, when he has time on his hands, he does two things. He watches TV and he tweets.

And really if you think about it, he probably could be getting information on other topics. He could be learning more about North Korea. He could be learning about climate change, for example.

But he's more interested in topics that are about him and so he's watching news, he reacts to that, and he comes across in a very personal way in attacking Blumenthal, which, you know, we get a view of what he's really like there. He reacts when someone tweets him. He has to come back at them, and we know what that means, and maybe that means something in the future when an international leader comes at him. So, we do get insight from it.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But, Brian, you know what's really instructive in the CNN polling is that 70 percent, as Chris just showed us, of people think the president tweets too much about what he sees on TV news. And so, that suggests that if he could stop, if he could somehow control the Twitter compulsion, that he could turn around all of his poll numbers. I mean, if that's something that's really bugging people, that's an easy one to fix.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I don't know how he can improve the huge portion of the country that believes his White House is not honest. That would take a long time, but you're right, there can be gradual improvements if his tweets were more on message. Then again we get into the issue what does on message mean when we're talking about President Trump?

CUOMO: That's the point.

STELTER: The message is the chaos and the fighting and the battling that is a lot of the message. He could have been tweeting about that IED at that mosque, the target in Minnesota, he could have tweeting about Poppy Harlow's report on the opioid epidemic from here yesterday morning. There were a lot of topics he could have been tweeting about that were on television. But as you said, Bill, it always comes back to what the personal issues are.

CUOMO: We lost three service members, he could have been tweet being that. You have "The New York Times" reporting on this climate change examination, 13 different federal agencies.

[06:40:05] That is going to be good test for this administration, Bill, because it's going to go to the credibility factor. You got all these scientists from the government, the White House, the surrogates are going to spin it deep state, Obama scientists. But it's going to the credibility.

If you can't believe your own scientists, you know, what are the people left to judge this administration by, if they can't believe their own reports?

CARTER: Well, if you already have decided before the science comes in, they think that their policy is based on a decision they've already made, and the fact that the scientists have come out and said this because they're afraid it will be suppressed says an awful lot about what's going on. It's not really about the facts or the information. They want a political point of view they're selling, and, you know, it becomes really risky for us, you know, in the media because we want to get information, we want to trust information and they are not particularly interested in giving us straight information.

STELTER: Let me offer a note of optimism about this. This document, there's concern about it being suppressed. So, what happens? It gets out through the "New York Times" and publishes it. This new CNN poll, all this data showing the lack of credibility in this White House, it means the press is operating as a check and balance, and the American people are hearing the coverage. They're hearing the reporting. They're understanding I think what is being said and heard and written about.

There's a lot of awareness of the lack of credibility, of the credibility chasm that John Avlon referred to earlier this hour. I think it means the journalism that's happening is being interpreted, it's being appreciated. It's not being dismissed by the American people as fake news.

CAMEROTA: So, Bill, let's talk about something that does appear to be fake, that the president has fallen for, and that is this Twitter account. There is a Twitter account that experts believe was a Russian bot masquerading as a Trump super fan named ProTrump45. It's from Nicole.

STELTER: It's so confusing, we have no idea who this is.

CARTER: This is really confusing.

CAMEROTA: But look at this. OK, look at what Nicole, also known as Russian bot, said, Trump working hard for the American people, thanks, heart.

Now that does sound somewhat robotic, frankly.

STELTER: It does.

CAMEROTA: Now in the light of day.

STELTER: It does.

CAMEROTA: Twitter has suspended this account because they say so many people complained that this appeared to be some sort of bot, not -- a humanoid, not a real human. However, President Trump retweets it regularly and says thanks, and false words.

CARTER: Again, it's because it's about him. He reacts to things about him. I mean, it's a good thing for him. So, he wants to jump on top of it before he gives it any thought, and we see this, you know, pure, you know, id from him. It just comes out. It's another example of that.

CUOMO: Id is for super ego, is that what you're saying?

CARTER: Maybe it is, yes.

STELTER: President Obama read ten letters a day in the Oval Office. It was that famous thing. The White House gave him 10 letters to read from Americans. President Trump could reply to 10 Americans on Twitter every day, real Americans.

These accounts are really confusing. Some people are claiming she's real. Others claim she's a bot. He could be replying and engaging with voters as opposed to tweeting insults about Democratic senators and tweeting insults about the media. That would be another effective use.

CAMEROTA: He is replying, thank you, Nicole.

STELTER: That's my point of all the people he's engaging with, it could be this strange account. He's not actually answering questions, suggesting he's going to help that person if it is a person. That's what's so confusing.

CARTER: Brian, he's not answering questions at all as you pointed out. He's really not answering questions.

CUOMO: Not our questions, that's for sure. That's for sure.

CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

CUOMO: All right. Some big sports news. Quarterback Jay Cutler, OK, he was supposed to move into the broadcast booth. Now, he's back in the game. What is behind his return to the gridiron? Details next.


[06:47:26] CUOMO: So, this is an interesting story. When you think about professional football players, fitness comes to mind, they're amazing athletes.

But this quarterback who has been in the league for a long time, he's now back in the game. He's supposed to be a broadcaster. The Miami Dolphins brought him back. He's raising eyebrows because of his apparent lack of enthusiasm.

Coy Wire with the "Bleacher Report" at least for cardio. He doesn't seem to have a lot of enthusiasm


Now, retirement was looking pretty good for Jay Cutler. He and his wife had a vacation plan, that TV gig you talked about as a game analyst, but then he was offered 10 million bucks and accepted it to play the game he loves, for about five months. So, you'd think he'd be really excited.

Here he was yesterday.


JAY CUTLER, DOLPHINS QUARTERBACK: Come here to help and, you know, get back into football. We'll kind of see how it goes.

The good thing is I play quarterback so I don't have to be in that great of cardiovascular shape, but I'll be fine.


WIRE: See how it goes. Don't have to be in shape. I'll be fine. Excited is not the word one would describe to use the impression Cutler gave fans yesterday about potentially taking over for the injured Ryan Tannehill there in Miami. The 11-year vet has 33 days to get in shape for the Dolphins season opener.

Two-time Super Bowl champ Vince Wilfork is excited. He does not have to make weight anymore. He announced his retirement yesterday with an epic video. Check this out.


VINCE WILFORK, TWO-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: Hey! No more cleats, I'm moving on to smoked meat fellows. Peace out. I'm out of here, later!


WIRE: Oh, that will get you moving. Wilfork used this video to announce a farewell tailgate there at Foxborough ahead of the Patriots regular season opener on September 7th, wanted to share that with you and bring some levity to your morning -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. You accomplished that, Coy. Great to see you.

WIRE: You too.

CAMEROTA: All right. One of our top stories: North Korea refusing to give up its nuclear weapons and threatening the U.S. What's next in this showdown? General Michael Hayden joins us.


[06:53:36] CUOMO: The war of words escalating between the U.S. and North Korea, in the wake of strong economic sanctions unanimously approved 15-0 by the U.N. Security Council. North Korea saying it will, quote, make the U.S. pay dearly for all the heinous crime it commits against the state and people of this country. The U.S. is sadly mistaken if it considers its mainland a safe haven for being on the other side of the ocean.

Let's get reaction from the General Michael Hayden, CNN national security analyst and former director of the CIA and NSA.

First thing you can do for us, General, and thank you for being with us as always, is -- GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- is interpret the significance of the rhetoric. Is this the kind of talk that you take North Korea at face value or is this hype?

HAYDEN: No, you need to cabin that over here, Chris. We've seen an awful lot of this kind of rhetoric from the North Koreans, so I wouldn't attach any special meaning to it. Now, that said, the reality behind it is gradually, inexorably changing, they are actually increasing their capacity to actually do some of the things they're saying. But the rhetoric is pretty standard.

CUOMO: How do you reconcile what we keep hearing that there are no good options? It's very hard. These are the latest round of sanctions. Sanctions don't seem to work unless China and Russia pull back the labor that they have. Pull back the money with direct trade. You're not really going to woo North Korea.

How do you reconcile that with this obvious escalation by the U.S. government not in terms of the stakes, but making this a priority?

[06:55:09] We're raising its priority but we don't seem to have better options. How do you reconcile the two?

HAYDEN: That's a great question, Chris, and frankly the Obama administration I think deserves some fair criticism for their strategic patience, which was frankly paying this problem forward, not solving it on their watch, and passing it forward to the Trump administration.

And the clock's ticking. The North Koreans are becoming more capable, more threatening at least in their capacity to do things.

Look, Chris, sanctions are slow moving. They're like rust as opposed to an explosion, which are identical chemical reactions but one obviously takes a lot more time. We'll see if over time, the sanctions -- and the Trump team deserves some credit for getting these sanctions. They are very tough. They kept the Russians on side. They got the Chinese to agree to them as well.

But this will be a slow-moving mechanism and, Chris, look, the range of available options are pretty much where the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations were. Sanctions, diplomacy, leaning on the Chinese, leading to some sort of eventual negotiations.

CUOMO: I mean, that's the hope. You know, the risk is the more you push the situation, if you don't have good options, you might wind up creating a flash point.

So, then there's another aspect that comes out today that is kind of a reflection of our bizarre new political reality. The president retweets an article from FOX about intelligence from the U.S. government that spy satellites detected North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to a patrol boat.

We haven't been able to confirm this. It's just the FOX News report. But the president retweeted it.

Isn't it odd? Why would the president retweet a FOX article about something that comes from U.S. intel? You know what I mean? Wouldn't he know whether or not this is a reality without getting it from FOX News?

HAYDEN: Yes, that is most unusual to have the president do that sort of thing. Chris, I mean, look, it's an echo of what happened in February, when he retweeted, appears to have retweeted accusations that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.

He's the president. He can get the answer with a phone call. The same with this.

So, I'm not sure what that adds to the body of human knowledge on what the North Koreans are doing.

Chris, can I make one additional point, too? Some really sage observers are now pointing out that we need a holistic approach towards nuclear proliferation and if the president's over here discounting the Iranian deal and frankly press accounts are suggesting he's telling his team to come up with reasons why he can decertify the Iranians, what does that mean with regard to any hope for negotiations with the North Koreans?

CUOMO: And the linking thought is what?

HAYDEN: Well, the linking thought is, why would the North Koreans seriously enter into negotiations with us if we are now backing away from an agreement with the Iranians with -- for all of its flaws, the American intelligence community is saying broadly the Iranians are observing?

CUOMO: Interesting observation and leads us to a larger point that we see reflected in the new poll, the idea of credibility, the word counting from the White House. As former director of the CIA and NSA, what do you make of that? One in four Americans trusting what comes out of the White House, only one in two of people within the president's own party believing what comes out of the White House. What kind of contagion can a lack of credibility become?

HAYDEN: Chris, we saw this coming. And that was one of the great fears of people like me that these kinds of announcements, tweets, positions taken by the White House on important and less important issues were going to erode overall confidence in what the president and the White House says, and when we come to that point where everyone's got to take America's word for something, a lot of people are going to be very skeptical.

And, Chris, look, let me give you my personal conclusion. I take everything the president says seriously, but just because the White House says it now, that's not definitive in and of itself for me, and I think that's where most Americans are now, too.

That's a great sadness, and a danger. CUOMO: Well, look, another example of exactly what you're suggesting,

playing out right now -- the president has called climate change, everything from a hoax invented by the Chinese to not really understood and maybe there's something to it. He's vacillated at best. It's become a little bit of a pet for the right fringe of his party playing with the realities of science.

You now have government scientists in a report approved by some 13 agencies that suggest what most in the scientific community say is obvious at this point, climate change is real.