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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
North Korea Crosses Trump's Red Line With New Threat; Sources: FBI Raid at Manafort Home "Rattled" Trump's Inner Circle; U.S. Diplomats in Cuba Possibly Targeted in "Acoustic Attacks. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 9, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next, breaking news, North Korea crosses Trump's red line. A new threat to the U.S. territory of Guam and a statement flat out mocking the president of the United States.
An FBI agent staged a dramatic raid on the home of former Trump campaign chief, Paul Manafort. What are investigators looking for?
Plus, more breaking news. State Department employees in Cuba possibly victims of a, quote, acoustic attack, resulting in serious injuries. What happened?
Let's go OutFront.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news. Crossing Trump's red line. Kim Jong-un firing back at President Trump tonight, defying the president's charge not to make any more threats to the United States.
North Korean state media announcing Kim is seriously examining the simultaneous firing of four intermediate-range ballistic missiles near Guam. This is something the North Korean regime is saying could happen as soon as next week if Kim makes that call.
Guam of course is an American territory, home to 160,000 Americans and two major U.S. military installations. Guam is about 2,100 miles from Pyongyang which is well within Kim's striking distance.
Now, North Korea also mocking President Trump personally tonight as part of this response saying, quote, dialogue not possible with such a guy bereft of reason. And then saying this, Trump's fire and fury comments are, quote, a load of nonsense.
Well, you know, when you hear him talk about as a guy you may sort to say, is this serious? Well, one thing is true, it is a dangerous escalation in the war of words, kicked off yesterday when President Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. They will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So it took about 15 hours for them to respond to that with another threat. And we are learning stunning new details about President Trump's extraordinary fire and fury threat tonight.
Multiple sources telling CNN, the president adlibbed those words, they were improvised on the site. The president's (INAUDIBLE) prepared script which was only about opioids.
Now, Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly who was brought on board to instill discipline in the White House was, quote, aware Trump would take a strong tone on North Korea, according to one official but he didn't help in writing Trump's bellicose threat.
In fact, just moments before he spoke, Trump was handed notes about opioid addiction. Notes about opioid addiction. Noble points on North Korea.
Jim Sciutto begins our coverage OutFront on this breaking news from North Korea. And Jim, how serious is this threat from the north tonight?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, when a hostile power particularly a hostile nuclear power makes a direct threat against the U.S. or U.S. territory, it is taken very seriously. I spoke to a senior U.S. military official just a few minutes ago who reiterated that point.
And this particular threat is very specific. It specifics a target, Guam, where you have two U.S. military bases as you said. And the type and number of missiles, intermediate-range ballistic missiles and firing toward them. So a very specific threat, now the second threat, in fact, in the 24 hours since President Trump said that any such threat against the U.S. would be met by the U.S. with fire and fury.
Now, to be clear, when it comes to these kinds of missiles, this kind of targeting, it's not clear that North Korea has the ability today to carry out that threat with force. Do their missiles have the targeting necessary? The U.S. does have missile defense in Guam, the THAAD system to take out missiles just like this. Whether it can take out four is an question.
But beyond that, North Korea knows and that was part of the message today from U.S. officials that an attack on U.S. territory would be met with an overwhelming response. That's why a military exchange for North Korea is something that, frankly, it wants to avoid. And from the U.S. side, U.S. intelligence inside North Korea is imperfect. It doesn't know where all the military and nuclear installations are. They've been hidden and distributed with intent by North Korea to make it very difficult for U.S. to find them and take them out.
So both sides have limitations on what military action can do for them. And that's why, frankly, when you look at it rationally that neither side really wants to have that military exchange. That said, when the words escalate, that increases the chances for misunderstanding and that increases the risk of a dangerous escalation.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jim Sciutto. And, you know, just to be loud and clear here, right, there's no way to have a preemptive strike that would be total without the possibility of massive, massive civilian casualties.
As Sara Murray is OutFront near Bedminster, New Jersey where preemptive -- where President Trump is tonight. And Sara, it sounds like North Korea, obviously, the president laid up this red line. Said no more threats or fire and fury and they just came right back with a threat.
[19:05:07] Has there been a response tonight from the president?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, North Korea did come back with a threat. We have asked White House aides who are here with the president in New Jersey whether there will be any response. We have not heard anything back yet tonight. We're not expecting to see the president again tonight.
But, as you point out, the president has really set himself up in a tough position here. He spent the day on Twitter touting the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He talked yesterday about of raining down fire and fury if there was another threat from North Korea, not if there was action from North Korea, but if there was merely a threat. And that's the kind of rhetoric that raised some concerns among some in the national security community and even among some members of Congress who keep on saying, look, you can't put a threat out there like that out there unless you are ready to take action.
Is this administration ready to do that, we don't have a clear answer as this point, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Sara, thank you very much.
As we wait to see if there is a response from the president from the White House. OutFront tonight, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel who has been to Pyongyang twice.
Congressman, the breaking news, North Korea seriously examining, right, a clear threat possibly firing four missiles at Guam. They say they could be ready to do this, to execute this next week if Kim decides and gives a go ahead and says go ahead and do this. Do you take this as a real threat?
REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Sure. I think it's a very big threat and I think it's very, very dangerous as everyone has pointed out. There are American servicemen in Seoul, population of Seoul is a huge city, we could have a million casualties or even more. The threats to Guam, the erratic behavior of Kim Jong-un, this is a family that's been in power for decades and decades and decades. But I think that the currents leader is taking this to an all time high and that's why I think the president has to be careful.
You know, this is another example of the Trump foreign policy fly by the seats of your pants. Whatever he is thinking about at the moment comes out of his mouth and no thought to the damage or the problems it could cause.
BURNETT: Now, North Korea is saying that these missiles, they actually gave a range where they would land. They said they would land between 19 and 25 miles from the island of Guam. So it's pretty clear they're trying to make a point.
We can hit you. We can aim accurately. We can fire four at once which -- as Jim said very possibly overwhelm any missile defense in Seoul if they were to do so there. These are the points they're trying to make.
Should the United States allow them to do this if we were able to get a sense of real preparations or strike preemptively because it does seem that they're going to have it land in the water, right then put a payload on it?
ENGEL: Well, I think first of all, that we have to make it clear to them that any kind of an attack is something that will be met by force. It was different from what the president said as he was starting and he was talking about --
ENGEL: -- threat. And I don't think that's how (INAUDIBLE) but I think the North Koreans know that we won't just going to sit idly by and let our people to be hit. And that we would respond.
BURNETT: But they're essentially saying we're just going to let these fall harmlessly into the water to prove a point. Should the president preemptively strike to stop it?
ENGEL: Well, I think it's hard to say. I think the results, the decision would have to be made based on all the consequences and based on the facts then. It's difficult to say now.
But what I think is the problem is when the president is the first one to get up and make bellicose remarks. Look, North Korea has been a threat for years. The question I asked is how did we allow North Korea to get this far in terms of having nuclear weapons through successive administrations alike. So this isn't a political football.
BURNETT: No, but -- the president's words yesterday, it seemed to have been uniformly condemned and even his own defense secretary and secretary of state seems to walked them back which is I'm going to put out in a moment. But he has a point in one thing. Diplomacy has failed, right. Theoretically, they went from being a nuclear power to having a possibly a nuclear attempt intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike most of the United States. Diplomacy has failed.
ENGEL: It's failed and it certainly failing under the Trump administration because they've cutback -- you know, we are facing a 31% cut in State Department funds. We are facing cuts in embassy security and everything else. There's no ambassador to South Korea, there's no under secretary.
BURNETT: But he was handed a country where the biggest threat to the United States was North Korea. And with this intercontinental ballistic missile with the nuclear on top by President Obama.
ENGEL: Yes. And before him by President Bush. I mean, this is a successive failure by American diplomacy.
BURNETT: Does the United States look weak though if now the president does not enforce his red line? It may have been the wrong thing to say the next time you threat us I'm going to do this. But is it worse now to allow the threat to happen and do nothing?
[19:10:01] ENGEL: I don't think that we should worry about looking weak. I think what we should worry about is trying to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. You know, back in 1962, President Kennedy and the Russians over Cuba, we came as close to nuclear war as we ever have come since except perhaps until now.
And through quiet diplomacy and calmer heads and help from other countries we were able to all back down (INAUDIBLE). This is what the Trump administration should be working on now not making bluster. We can make bluster and we're certainly stronger than them but what price will we have to pay.
BURNETT: So Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state has clearly tried to walk back what the president said. Let me just play what he said this morning when he actually stopped in Guam for a planned refueling stop on his way back to United States. Here's Tillerson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the president -- what the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language. I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S., you know, unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies. And I think it was important that he delivered that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's clearly not saying the next time you threaten we're going to strike. He's trying to say only to defend. Will North Korea listen to him or will they say we're going to listen to the president? ENGEL: Well, I hope. Now, again, getting the help of other countries like China who whether we like it or not is very important here. And diplomacy quiet behind the scenes diplomacy is the only thing that's really going to get us out of this.
You know, again, look, if we have an all out nuclear war, God forbid, with North Korea we'll win it but at what price. So what we have to do is kind of cool off, walk back from the brink and let diplomacy reign. I want to say Secretary Tillerson hasn't really come out against these terrible cuts to the State Department which is slashing embassies and slashing diplomacy and slashing all these things. We need to build these things up not slash them.
And the president can't just fly by the seat of his pants and say whatever he wants to say on Twitter and think that there's no repercussion. When I heard the president's comments I thought they more likely what could have come out of the mouth of Kim Jong-un.
We don't need that and we don't want that. And it's as distasteful as the North Korean regime is and I've been there twice, it is certainly a regime that we don't want to have a nuclear war with. And everything that we need to do needs to be done to prevent that and that's diplomacy.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman, I appreciate your time and thank you.
And next, more on the breaking news on North Korea's new threat issued moments ago. We are live in Guam.
Plus, breaking news involving the surprise FBI raid, pre-dawn raid at Paul Manafort's home. Tonight, reaction from inside Trump's inner circle.
And, any way you want it, unless it involves Trump. How a visit to the White House could be the end of Journey.
[19:16:48] BURNETT: Breaking news, North Korea making a new threat moments ago defying the president of the United States' red line. As we speak, Pyongyang claiming it is quote seriously examining a plan to launch four missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam.
The plan according to North Korea will be in place in just days and could have the rockets landing just about 20 miles from America's military bases in the Western Pacific on Guam.
Our Ivan Watson is OutFront live from there. And Ivan, this threat of course comes about 15 hours after the president said, if you threaten again the United States, I will unleash fire and fury the likes of which the world has never before seen. And now here we go, Kim is doing it.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And, you know, after the initial threats came from North Korea where they singled out Guam and said that Guam could be the target of enveloping fire as North Korea put it from North Korean intermediate ballistic missiles, you had local officials here on the ground, on this American island that's home to more than a 160,000 American civilians trying to calm and reassure the population.
The governor saying that there had been no increase in the threat level here. The local representative at the Department of Homeland Security saying that there was a lot of communication with local military commanders, with Washington as well to ensure that there were preventative, protective measures.
After threats were made by North Korea against Guam in 2013, you had the installation, the deployment of a THAAD missile defense system here on this island, and that's something that local officials have pointed to, a protective measure that they say is in place here.
When you talk to the ordinary people of Guam -- I'm just going to show you a bit of the scene of the beach here. There is not panic in the streets or on the beaches here. People are playing. We came in less than 12 hours ago on a commercial flight from South Korea of all places with Korean tourists who live every day under the threat of North Korean weapons coming here for vacation.
The hotels are largely booked solid, so the tourism industry has not taken a dent yet. Some ordinary people that I've talked to here, some say we don't really care. Others say we're worried and they are sleeping in their clothes at night and keeping bottled water by their bed. So it really depends on who you talk to. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much Ivan Watson from there on Guam.
And OutFront now, I want to go to Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser and communications director for President Obama, Jack Kingston, former Georgia congressman and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and Mark Preston, our senior political analyst.
Jack, well, the ball is now in President Trump's court, all right. North Korea not only with this threat so it's not only saying that they couldn't negotiate with such a man who lacked reason. They went on tonight to publicly mock the president saying that while he (INAUDIBLE) golf range, he, quote, let out a load of nonsense about fire and fury.
They're mocking him, they're taking him on playing golf. Can he not respond? Is it possible for him to not respond?
[19:20:01] JACK KINGSTON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I think it is. And I think what he's doing right now is being very measured and I think it's important. I think yesterday's statement was a call to the international community to say listen we need to get China --
BURNETT: So wait, are you saying -- what is measured. The fact that he hasn't responded in the past 30 minutes to breaking news or fire and fury. I'm not joking, I'm just -- KINGSTON: No, he's not expanded on the fire and fury comment of
yesterday so -- but I believe that behind the scenes, there's a whole lot of things that are going on that we don't know about. I've been in classified briefings many times and what you see in those rooms can't be repeated outside of them. And I can say this that the president and his team have seen a lot of things. I know that for certain.
But I also know on the State Department side, there's a lot of diplomacy that's got to be going on, not necessarily with North Korea and the United States, but through China and through other third parties. And then some other discussions that are going on.
So I think there's a lot that we're not aware of in terms of the THAAD system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in Guam, extremely important defense that we got to keep up. There's a lot that is out there on the military side that we probably don't talk about in public and very wisely so.
BURNETT: Dan, what do you say? Can he be quiet?
DAN PFEIFFER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think, you know, we shouldn't launch, you know, intercontinental missiles because, you know, sort of a game of dozens between a couple of guys. But I think we have to really think about what Trump said was not part of some strategy.
He has a very distinguished national security cabinet with General Mattis, his chief of staff, General Kelly, H.R. McMaster in the National Security Council, and none of those people knew that Trump is going to say that before he did. That's not how this supposed to work.
This is a incredibly grave situation with all kinds of various equities and consequences to be measured, and so he should talk to his advisers, come up with a plan. But just sort to say and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is not presidential and it's pretty dangerous in a situation like this.
BURNETT: And Mark, he said the fire and fury, likes of which the world has never before seen -- I'm sorry. He said it twice. And I want to be clear about this because we have learned from multiple sources that that was adlibbed. He' been handed a sheet of bullet points about opioids and at the top he instead chose to say this.
Now, the White House press secretary today, Mark, said, quote, General Kelly and others on the NSA team were well aware of the tone of the statement of the president prior to delivery. The words were his own. The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand.
Do you buy it? Do you think that Chief of Staff Kelly, H.R. McMaster, that others on the National Security Council were aware of the tone and strength, fire and fury likes of which the world has never before seen?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, a couple of things. One is I think the definition of how severe the tone is going to be might be different from how President Trump delivered it and perhaps what the discussion was before he actually went out and delivered it.
But we always talk and seems that we say this every night now that words matter. And when you use words that President Trump used to describe the situation and basically for what North Korea to back off, then you better be prepared to cross that red line when you make that assertion, because if you do not -- if you do not follow through, then any other threats that you make going forward are going to fall flat.
So, I do think we're in a very precarious position right now. And to Jack's point, I do think when you're talking to people that China might be the way out of it at this point, perhaps there is some negotiations going on behind the scenes but publicly, we're not seeing it.
BURNETT: And Congressman, all that maybe true but let's just lay down the stark facts here. This is a president who, you know, repeatedly criticized President Obama for his Syrian red line, right that he never observed.
He laid out a red line yesterday, OK. It said if you threaten I'm going to unleash fire and fury the likes of which the world has never before seen. He can't follow through with that. He cannot observe that red line tonight, right.
So let's just face the definition here, right, Congressman? That his red line that he put out yesterday is not worth anything.
KINGSTON: Well, I think that the criticism is valid but on the other hand it's not safe to say this is the red line don't cross it because it's kind of undefined this as to what the threat would be and what the fire and fury would be.
BURNETT: Four missiles, 20 miles from two military bases in Guam next week is not a threat?
KINGSTON: I am not saying what the threat level would be, what the threshold would be. I'm just saying, listen your criticism is valid but I'm also saying let's not goad ourselves into, you got to follow your word on this now.
I want to point out something that's very important to the Trump critics, that all through the campaign all we heard is, he was undisciplined and his message therefore he's going to lose this state, he'll lose this group, he'd offended one senator or somebody else. And yet he kept going on.
[19:25:00] I would suggest to some of his critics a lot of what he says is not spontaneous, although it may look that way, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is. And I don't think that statement yesterday was an off the cuff statement at all. I think it was very deliberate.
BURNET: Dan, if it was, then what? PFEIFFER: Well, look, I worked on campaigns and I worked in White Houses. And what you say in a campaign, it's important but it doesn't really matter that much. What you say when you're president of the United States, matters. And you can't go out and threaten the equivalent of nuclear war just because you feel that way that morning. There is a process for this and there's a way to take this seriously.
I hope he doesn't feel out of some obligation of insecurity or ego to go at North Korea because he said this. But this goes to an inherent flaw in the president and the system that's been setup around the president. If any (INAUDIBLE) he has these distinguished generals that he talks about so much, if he's unwilling to listen to them and follow their advice or seek out their counsel, this is going to be one in a never ending series of diplomatic national security crisis during his presidency.
KINGSTON: What kind of conversations did you guys have when President Obama said don't cross this red line in Syria and then lost all credibility in the Middle East? Maybe President Trump's advisers are saying we don't want to end up like Obama, we better soft pedal this and let's see if the diplomatic community behind the scenes working through China can come up with a solution.
PFEIFFER: Congressman, that's not what the president said. (INAUDIBLE) what he's saying something and now his aides are forced to try to walk it back, try to basically not implement what he's saying. And anyone -- you said you've been in a lot classified briefings. You can't tell me that you're not concerned about what the president said and how he said it because these are serious matters. You can't wing it in between 18 holes of golf on vacation on serious matters like this.
KINGSTON: But I don't think he is winging it. That's what I'm trying to say --
BURNETT: Congressman, that's my question to you. If he didn't wing it, is that worse to threaten nuclear Armageddon and to do so purposely is pretty terrifying.
KINGSTON: It is terrifying and I don't think he's winging it so I'm not afraid to answer that question Erin. But let me point out something that Eliot Engel just said to you in the interview.
He said diplomacy has failed and I do believe that it has failed. That for 30 or even 50 years we've been trying to bring North Korea into the community of nations unsuccessfully. Democrats and Republicans alike through all kinds of measures in the six nation talks and so forth.
I think we are at the stage now where they are armed and dangerous and diplomacy is in the 11th hour along with everything else. The stakes are extremely high right now. And so, you know, I understand people being concerned about President Trump but they should be far more concerned about Kim Jong-un.
BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much. I appreciate it. And next, more breaking news. What Trump's inner circle is saying about FBI agents raiding Paul Manafort's home in pre-dawn in connection with the Russia investigation.
And a mystery in CUBA. U.S. employees suffering serious injuries in an apparent acoustic attack. Yes. Those are the words.
What is this? Who did it? And how is the United States retaliating tonight.
[19:31:42] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, President Trump's inner circle rattled tonight after learning the FBI carried out a raid on the home of the man who once ran President Trump's campaign, Paul Manafort. It was reportedly a pre-dawn raid one day after Manafort met with Senate intelligence investigators.
Now, sources tell our Sara Murray that news of the raid took Trump's team by surprise and, quote, rattled a few cages of the inner circle.
Our Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill.
And, Manu, look, this is pretty stunning, right? We're saying he met with Senate intelligence investigators and then in the early hours of the next morning, FBI investigators raided his home. It's a pretty stunning thing.
What are you learning about the raid?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: In a dramatic escalation, Erin, this coming after Paul Manafort's team said they had been cooperating with congressional investigators and federal investigators as part of this probe and then this pre-dawn warrant coming to his house and raiding his house, potentially even waking him up in this no knock warrant, a sign that actually these investigators were concern that Paul Manafort could have potentially been willing to destroy some documents that they were trying to obtain.
Now, what we do know is they did get some financial and tax records that they were seeking as part of their warrant. Now, Manafort spokesman said that they are actually cooperating fully with this investigation. They did confirm that this happened. We do know this happened in Manafort's home in northern Virginia, but they did not provide any more details. But pretty significant development and a sign that's Bob Mueller is looking very closely at Trump's former campaign chairman.
BURNETT: So, Manu, I'm trying just to understand because you said, he said he was cooperating, right, and I know you learned some of the records that were seized by the FBI, included documents Manafort had already given to Congress.
RAJU: Yes, that's --
BURNETT: How many -- what do you know about, how many documents he's given and do we read into a raid a guy trying to hide documents or not?
RAJU: Well, we know he's given documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee and some of the records that were seized were given to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Now, Erin, I'm also told that roughly 400 pages of records were given to the Senate, that Senate Judiciary Committee in early August, and those also pertain to that meeting that Paul Manafort had at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and those Russian officials, as well as Jared Kushner in which those Russians were promising dirt to Donald Trump Jr. Now, Donald Trump Jr. himself turning over roughly 250 pages of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee. That same committee, Erin, also getting new documents I'm told about the Russian lobbyist who was at that meeting, including how that Russian lobbyist entered the United States.
Also, Erin, that same committee getting roughly 20,000 pages from the Trump campaign over all of its communications, including communications with any communications that occurred with Russian officials. The investigation is still moving forward at a rapid pace, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, Chris Swecker, who served directly under Robert Mueller for two and a half years, also a former assistant FBI director for the criminal investigative division, and John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel.
So, Chris, let me start with you because you know, obviously, Mueller and you know what the FBI would be looking for here. When you put it in context of spoke to Senate investigators, he had given them 400 pages of documents.
[19:35:04] Then you have a surprise raid to seize documents and other materials at his home. What does this indicate to you?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION: Well, first and foremost, it indicates the director, former Director Mueller, and his investigative team are very serious about their business. And unlike the political theater that goes on in these congressional committees, they are not going to gently ask for evidence, they are going to go get it if there's slightest indication that evidence is going to be destroyed or evidence is going to be withheld.
In this case, they could have gotten the information or the documents via subpoena. For all we know, they may have tried to do so. But executing a dawn search warrants, a delayed or a no notification search warrant means that they convinced a magistrate that there was potential for destruction of evidence.
BURNETT: All right. So, let me ask you about that because when you put -- you know, obviously, the cloak and dagger sort of thing when you hear it as a lay person, and you hear pre-dawn raid and it seems to indicate something. It sounds like you're saying it does, they are sending a message and they are making a point.
SWECKER: I think so. You don't get a no knock search warrant without providing information in an affidavit which is probably sealed, that there is the potential for destruction of evidence and there's probably probable cause to think that evidence is being withheld or destroyed.
So, ordinarily, you'd have to give notification, knock on the door, politely, ask to come in.
SWECKER: So, this is -- it usually is done in drug seizure warrants or drug searches.
BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty interesting. You're saying that this would mean they believe he is withholding or destroying evidence.
I mean, John, you're also, I think agreeing in the sense of it they were able to get the warrant to do this to just go in and take it, that that is a big deal.
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: This is unprecedented. I think of an incident where a presidential scandal involved a pre- dawn raid by the FBI. It didn't happen in Watergate, didn't happen in Iran/Contra, didn't happen in the Lewinsky investigations.
So, this is -- they are upping the game here and they are sending a message to everybody involved that they are deadly serious. They think there are crimes involved. And it looks like they are looking at financial material based on the reporting.
BURNETT: So, Chris, the raid -- as far as the raid as we understand it, you know, Manu reporting, took place on July 26th in the early dawn hours, which is just a little bit over two weeks after we first learned Donald Trump Jr. arranged that Middle East with the Russian lawyer in which Jared Kushner attended along with Paul Manafort.
Do you think there's a connection between this raid and that meeting or is it impossible to tell?
SWECKER: I don't have any inside information, but I think it's part of the equation, because if they are investigating potential collusion, there was some emails that Don Jr. e-mail string that I thought were very significant and may have helped provide the probable cause, and that was the reference to the Russian government support for Trump in general and a reference to the crown prosecutor providing this information to help.
So, I'm not saying one way or another whether there was collusion. I'm one of those folks that don't believe they will establish actual collusion, but I think it provided building blocks that provided the probable cause to get the search warrant.
BURNETT: John, let me just ask you a basic question. This investigation has been going on for a while. If Paul Manafort was going to destroy documents, wouldn't he have already done it?
DEAN: Well, you would think so or he's removed documents from his office to his home. That's always a possibility. So, there could be a number of reasons where they think a crime was committed. We can't be certain.
BURNETT: All right. And, of course, as we know they did -- they did go to his home. Thank you both very much.
And next, several U.S. embassy employees in Cuba are suffering from very serious and mysterious injuries. And tonight, official says they are the target of an acoustic attack.
Did President Obama do enough to rein in Kim Jong-un or is he part of the problem here? Did he just punt a nuclear crisis to Donald Trump? An Obama's homeland security adviser is OUTFRONT next.
[19:42:56] BURNETT: Breaking news, CNN has learned several State Department employees at the embassy in Havana may have been subjected to what's called an acoustic attack. These attacks were so severe, two employees had to return to the United States due to serious health problems. And one may have permanent hearing loss.
The State Department, though, as bizarre as this whole story is, is being very vague about the perpetrator of the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER NAUERT, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: They've reported some incidents which caused a variety of physical symptoms. I'm not going to be able to give you a ton of information about this today but I'll tell you what we do have that we can provide so far. We don't have any definitive answers about the source or cause of what we consider to be incidents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Two Cuban diplomats, though, were expelled from the United States as a result of those incidents and, of course, as we told, the words they used are acoustic attacks.
Elise Labott is OUTFRONT from the State Department.
And, I mean, Elise, not only is this bizarre, but explain what makes officials say that these are acoustic attacks?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it's very unusual and very concerning about late last year, the -- a lot of diplomats, about half a dozen were having serious health problems mimicking concussions. And they weren't at the same place at the same time. They were starting to complain of serious health problems.
The State Department cents medical personnel down there to examine them, to talk to the Cubans. The Cubans said they had nothing to do with its. They had to bring these people back for treatment, at least two of them, and we heard that at least one of them could have permanent hearing loss.
Now, they say that this could be some sonic weapon, sonic attack where you use some kind of sonic frequency to affect someone's brain waves or someone's hearing. Obviously, the FBI investigating right now and the State Department says it's very concerning and asked two Cuban diplomats to leave until it's resolved.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Elise.
[19:45:00] OUTFRONT now, the former CIA operative and CNN intelligence and security analyst, Bob Baer.
And, Bob, I want to make a point here. When Elise lays out the timeline on the political side of this -- obviously, there's been a change in Cuba policy under President Trump. But she's saying that's this happened late last year, which would be under President Obama. So, I just want everyone to understand the timing here.
When we're talking about acoustic attack, Bob, or sonic weapons, what are we talking about?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Erin, the Cubans and Russians have been doing this for years, attacking our embassies in Moscow, in Amman, Jordan.
They use various techniques. Microwave. They'll bombard a window with microwave and they can pick up acoustics. They've even done with it radiation where you can read documents by radiating a room.
They've done it with laser microphones. What that does you shoot it at, let's stay a Styrofoam cup on a desk and take that audio and send it back across the laser. So, it could be any one of these things.
The Russians have been experimenting with this for years and we've been aware of it. It's very, very difficult to prove. And that's why we probably haven't gone to the Cubans with definitive proof. But in a place like Havana, it's not the Germans or somebody like that bombarding our embassy. It's either going to be the Cubans or Russians or possibly working together.
BURNETT: All right. So, why would they do this? And do you think that the Cubans would have the ability to do this without Russian assistance?
BAER: Oh, I don't think the Cubans could at all. I mean, they need -- it's very sophisticated. A lot of these techniques, even the CIA or the National Security Agency can't replicate. The Russians are very, very good at this stuff, and the Cubans would need the Russians.
It's very useful to pick up a conversation inside an embassy. You can find out who the spies are. You can find out about diplomatic initiatives in advance. You can find out all sorts ever things. It's very useful. In fact, you can -- remote attack like this, pick up a voice inside an
embassy and Cuban intelligence can use it against us and they have in the past very successfully.
BURNETT: So what do you think the motive would be here if it was, you know, done by, sounds like you're saying the Russians would be able to do it. Are they doing it to help the Cubans or are they doing it themselves?
BAER: Oh, Erin, I think they are working together. It's possible the Russians gave them equipment and gone out on their own but we just can't tell at this point. We don't know. I think it's almost definitely Russian equipment. I -- you know, that's speculation, but based on 40 years of experience.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Bob Baer. Bizarre and frankly terrifying story.
And more on our top breaking story right now, North Korea leveling a new threat, crossing the president's red line, warning tonight that its military is seriously examining, in their words, a plan to, quote, simultaneously fire four ballistic missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam, about 19 to 25 miles away. They're incredibly specific.
This follows President Trump's red line, saying he would unleash fire and fury if Pyongyang continued to threaten the United States.
OUTFRONT now, Lisa Monaco, the former assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism.
You've been at the center of the North Korea conversation and all the classified briefings that you went through on that.
Lisa, this threat clearly, this crosses President Trump's red line. Did the president box himself into a corner here or not?
LISA MONACO, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR HOMELAND SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM: Well, that's going to be a real concern, Erin. Good to be with you tonight.
Look, this is an area of the world and a regime where there's no room for error. And so, the kind of apparently off the cuff statement we saw yesterday from President Trump is very concerning because what we're going to be worried about here, particularly in this area of the world with this regime, is the danger of miscalculation and potential escalation.
And the concern is that the statement we just saw released in the last hour or so from North Korea is exactly that type of escalatory cycle that we're going to be very concerned about coming from seemingly uncoordinated discussions or uncoordinated statements from President Trump yesterday that if the reports are true were not coordinated, were not the subject of careful deliberate analysis by his national security team, by Secretary Mattis and Tillerson and others, and were not the subject of deliberate steady leadership and discussion that has marked prior presidential statements about North Korea. BURNETT: Right. We're reporting did he say that off the cuff. It
was ad-libbed. General Kelly, at least, was aware of the tone and tenor of what the president was going to say, although not his specific words.
I don't know if you're aware, Lisa, but the president's personal attorney representing him in the Russian investigation, Jay Sekulow, today tweeted six times not about Russia, about former President Obama. And one of the tweets said this: The strategic patience of the Obama administration has given North Korea the time it needed to build up its nuclear arsenal.
[19:50:02] What's your response to that charge?
MONACO: Well, first, Erin, I think I would say this is the first time I've ever been asked to respond to foreign policy analysis from the president's private defense attorney. So leaving aside that very strange circumstance, what I would say is, these are capabilities that North Korea has sought to develop over time, over many, many years in the course of many administrations.
North Korea did not get the capability to have a nuclear bomb on President Obama's watch. But it's certainly the case that President Obama's approach of not continuing to engage in prior cycle of responding to provocations from North Korea with concessions, that was not -- that approach was not changing North Korea's behavior. So, President Obama's approach was to escalate defenses, improve defenses in the region, and for the United States itself increase pressure on North Korea, and importantly, try to bring China to help bring North Korea to the table.
MONACO: And I would note that under President Obama's watch, we have not seen this type of brinksmanship, and that's no small feat.
BURNETT: OK, let's talk about what we did see, because this is crucial. I'm not just going to point the finger at President Obama. The failures go well before that. President George W. Bush, President -- I mean, there's plenty of blame to go around here.
But when you talk about the sanctions and negotiation rounds, right, the Six-Party Talks that President Obama was a part of, failed. U.N. Security Council passed round after round after round after round of sanctions while President Obama was in office. And yet, none of it worked, right?
Diplomacy did not work. We have to admit that, right?
MONACO: Look, I think it's certainly the case that the current approaches and the approaches employed by past administrations, including the Obama administration, as you point out -- Bush and Clinton and others, has not resulted in a change to North Korea's behavior.
Look, the sanctions that were imposed last weekend by the U.N. Security Council, that was a positive step. That was a good sign. And the administration should be credited for that. That was unprecedented in terms of the unanimity of that step. And frankly, the focus ought to be on working with allies and partners to ensure that those sanctions are being enforced.
And the danger from this escalatory cycle that we seem to be engaged in, in the last 24 hours, is that we have a dangerous distraction from that type of very important work to enforce those sanctions.
BURNETT: When you say President Obama worked with China, right, that goes to the heart of this, right, and where we are now. Just last year, President Obama defended China's record when it came to punishing North Korea and standing up to North Korea. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: I can tell you that based on not only their presentations but actually intelligence and evidence that we've seen, China has done more on sanctions implementation than they have on some of the previous U.N. Security Council sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty tepid, more than on some of the previous rounds. I mean, Lisa, look, the facts are painful here. China's trade with North Korea just in the first quarter of this year was up 37 percent. Their imports from China to North Korea, up 65, imports of 18 percent. That's China's own trade data, right? This is what they admit to.
And yet, during this time, North Korea's arsenal got bigger and bigger. Is part of this President Obama's fault?
MONACO: Look, Erin, I think the truth of the matter is, in that statement you just showed from President Obama went on to say that there's more that China can do in this area. And that is certainly the case. And frankly, what we're seeing from the current administration seems to be a push China towards that, to increase pressure on China to do more against the banks that China has that are continuing to do business with North Korea, to increase pressure. That's all to the good.
The danger with the type of rhetoric we're seeing in the last 24 hours is that it doesn't seem to be part of a larger, broader strategy, one that was done in consultation with our allies and partners, in consultation with China, in consultation with Japan, and South Korea, who, of course, are facing the artillery fires from 35 miles north of Seoul, just from North Korea. So, this type of rhetoric really has a danger for unintended consequences.
BURNETT: All right. Lisa Monaco, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.
And next, Jeanne Moos on how a journey to the White House could cause the rock band to go separate ways.
[19:57:49] BURNETT: Tonight, the rock band Journey, famous for its "Open Arms", but what about when it comes to politics?
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANN MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is it possible that Journey has reached its end? That it won't go.
The feud was stoked by a visit to the White House last month by three of Journey's members. That's the White House spokesperson hugging keyboardist Jonathan Cane. The band members posed for a photo with President Trump. All of which caused Journey's co-founder, guitarist Neil Schon, to explode on social media.
Journey should never be used and exploited by anyone, especially band members for politics. This clearly shows no respect or unity, just divide.
One way or the other, I won't be dealing with any more toxic blank. Done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is blowing up what's left of this band.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like it could be the end of Jjourney as we know it.
MOOS: The band's anthem --
MOOS: -- had one fan telling the White House visitors: Fellas, time to stop believin' the lies and liar in chief.
But others said there's nothing political about visiting the White House. It's an honor. And Cain told TMZ that there was no way the band was at risk of breaking up. In the past, they've agreed --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best place to stay is neutral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not political.
MOOS: Cain is married to the blond in red, televangelist Paula White, who happens to be a spiritual adviser to President Trump.
Schon tweeted: It's not about Trump at all. But rather mixing music with politics.
Is it conceivable that they could go their separate ways?
Remember Tony playing "Don't Stop Believing" in the final scene of "The Sopranos"?
(MUSIC) MOOS: Well, at the moment, the band seems to be pretty much in the
same place where the Sopranos ended. In limbo.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Don't let the White House break you up.
Thanks for joining us.
Anderson is next.