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Senate Combats Human Trafficking; North Korea Responds to Trump; Goodell Returns to New England; Trump Responds to North Korea on Twitter; Trump Comments on McConnell. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired August 11, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: Get the justice that they deserve.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: No question it's a 50-state problem. Kids as young as 10. And, again, U.S. kids, American kids, being sold into basically the new slave trade.

PORTMAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Senator, we're all over it. We have a documentary coming out this fall. Let us know what happens legislatively. We will stay on this story. Thanks for joining us on NEW DAY.

PORTMAN: That's great. Thanks, Chris. Always great to be on with you.

CUOMO: All right, be well, senator.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump not backing down in his war of words with North Korea, but does his brand of tough talk go too far? We'll ask Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California next.


KEILAR: North Korea responding to President Trump in a stunning new statement this morning, saying the president is driving the situation to the brink of nuclear war. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are dealing with the fallout. Congressman Eric Swalwell tweeting, constituents texts pouring in asking should we worry about North Korea. I've never seen anything like chaos Donald Trump has created.

Congressman Swalwell joining us now. He does sit, we should mention, on the House Intel, as well as the House Judiciary Committee.

[08:35:01] Sir, thanks for being with us.

And as you respond to constituents, what are you telling them about North Korea and how concerned they should be?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning, Brianna. And it is troubling to see so many constituents asking me at town

halls this weekend and asking me over direct messages on Twitter or text message, you know, what's going to happen? Are we prepared for this? And I tell them, you know, fortunately around the president are experienced foreign policy hands, generals who know that the options militarily are not good ones and we just have to hope that they are asserting themselves for the sake of our future and the sake of our country.

KEILAR: So when we look at what North Korea has said this morning, the official word saying Trump is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war. Donald Trump has said this morning on Twitter, military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded. He does say should North Korea act unwisely. So he is saying essentially this would be a reaction to something North Korea does. Does that give you any comfort in what you expect about how this will play out?

SWALWELL: No, no, I have -- I have no comfort in the way that the president is conducting foreign and military policy, Brianna. And, mind you, he's doing this from a golf club in New Jersey. He would be well served to go back to the White House to assemble his team to talk to our allies. We're going to need a lot of allies if we're going to engage in a military conduct with North Korea. And also continue to engage with China.

You know, this policy is also very inconsistent from what I thought was a foreign policy success over the weekend where in a 5-0 vote tougher sanctions were put on North Korea. That's what diplomacy first looks like. And now to a radically deviate from that, I think, puts us at a grave risk of a conflict with North Korea.

KEILAR: What should he be doing?

SWALWELL: Talking to the experts. He does have generals and foreign policy experts. He needs to fill the South Korea ambassadorship. Right now that position is vacant. Talk to our friends.

I think, you know, missing right now is that scene of American leadership where he'd be sitting with our allies and telling North Korea that we're not going to tolerate their continued escalation as far as developing nuclear capabilities. But he's not doing any of that. He's isolated at a golf club in North Korea and just sending out bar stool threats. And that's not helpful.

KEILAR: Well, so -- but let me ask you about that just because -- clearly, you know, he's clearly railed against President Obama for playing a lot of golf, but work can be done when you are on vacation. We know that. We've seen -- we saw President Obama do that from Martha's Vineyard and from Hawaii. Big national security issues he had to deal with while there.

So that aside, speaking not as a Democrat but as an American, about how you want him to change what he's saying and if you really think that that will do anything. Some people have made the point that he is sounding the bell at least on this. People are listening. And they believe that Kim Jong-un won't actually do something stupid. What do you say to that?

SWALWELL: I say that we've collected a lot of chips over the years through the leadership of American presidents. We have friends in the world. And so start talking to those friends. I seek their advice. Understand, what would they be willing to do with us against North Korea. But right now, I think most Americans sit at home, Republican and Democrat, and fear that this is going to be a U.S. go it alone strategy. And that we have seen in the past recklessly has led to chaos.

KEILAR: You don't -- you don't see that -- you don't see what he's saying perhaps drawing China into doing something? What do you think about that?

SWALWELL: If he's doing it through back channels, you know, that's one thing. I don't think anyone though right now from what has been reported and the way that he is just tweeting and needling China sees that he's trying to constructively engage China on this issue. And China, as we know, is their primary source of food and fuel into North Korea. They have a lot of leverage over North Korea if they want to use it.

KEILAR: You know, it is certainly a scary time as your constituents have been discussing with you, congressman.

Congressman Eric Swalwell, we appreciate you being with us.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

CUOMO: All right, different category of news. The NFL's commissioner making a surprise trip to enemy territory. What happened? The "Bleacher Report," next.


[08:43:33] CUOMO: All right, this was a pretty big deal in the world of football. For the first time since the deflategate saga, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in attendance at a Patriots home game. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

And if he was thinking bygones be bygones, he is forgetting whose house he was in.


You know, Patriots fans had been anxiously awaiting Roger Goodell's return to Foxborough so they could give him a nice warm welcome. You know, they haven't got to see him in person since he suspended Tom Brady for deflategate.

But, you know, unfortunately, no one really knew Goodell was even at the game. This was a surprise visit. The broadcast never even showed Goodell. All we have really is this grainy pic of the commissioner in Patriots owner Robert Kraft's box.

But, check this out, there were at least three Patriots fans that aren't still mad at Goodell. They took this smiling pic with the commissioner. Fans in New England will get another chance to see Goodell soon as she's scheduled to be at the NFL season opener in Foxborough on September 7th.

So, Brianna, the fans there in New England will get a chance to formally great the commissioner just in a few weeks.

KEILAR: Greet with air quotes you mean?

SCHOLES: Yes, greet.

KEILAR: Greet. OK, we will see. Andy Scholes, thank you, sir.

SCHOLES: All right.

KEILAR: New York City is often thought of as a concrete jungle, right? And for many families living in poverty, green spaces and affordable fresh food can be hard to come by. This week's CNN Hero was volunteering at a school in Harlem and was shocked to discover that many students could not properly identify vegetables, let alone incorporate them into their diet. So he planted the seed for a solution. Meet Tony Hillery.

[08:45:11] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY HILLERY, CNN HERO: The children come in here and they fall in love with the land.

Got it. That's lunch tomorrow.

In a bustling city like New York City, to find an oasis like this where you can go in and everything seems to slow down, this is their green safe place.

Look at that.

It's not just growing the vegetables. It's growing the children.


KEILAR: Find out how Tony's urban farms are sowing seeds of hope. Just go to And while you're there, nominate someone that you think should be a CNN Hero.

All right, two extraordinary statements that ramped up the hot talk between North Korea and the United States. Is this a show of strength that will help cool it down? Is this a way of aiding diplomacy or is it boxing us into a response? David Axelrod has "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:50:23] CUOMO: Kim Jong-un versus President Donald Trump. The hot talk keeps getting ramped up. New statements just this morning.

First from North Korea state news agency. Trump is driving the situation on Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.

The president reads and responds this morning on Twitter. Military solutions now fully in place, locked and loaded should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong-un will find another path.

Let's bring in CNN senior political commentator and former senior Obama advisor David Axelrod for "The Bottom Line."

You came up in a conversation tangentially this morning. A supporter of the president said, you know, President Obama said we could destroy North Korea, so don't blame the president, Trump, for ratcheting up the fiery talk. Obama spoke the same way. Fair comparison?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the president said the other day that Obama didn't speak about it at all, so everybody better get on the same page over there.

Look, Chris, my concern is, is the president dealing with reality or does he view this all as a reality show? Is he a president with a strategy or is he playing a tough talking president on TV because he likes the look? It feels a lot like he is backing Kim Jong-un into a corner, giving him a choice between submission or war. And given the psychology of the North Koreans, it seems like it's ratcheting up the possibility of war.

I watched Rob Portman on your air a few minutes ago, a thoughtful Republican. It was interesting because on the one hand he was supporting the president and suggesting that this pressure could be helpful. But then he spent many, many minutes talking about all the tools, diplomatic tools, in the toolbox that should be exercised in the service of trying to solve this problem.

And the question is, the president thinking about all these things? What is the end game here? Or is it just to him another TV show? And it's very hard to know.

KEILAR: You heard what Congressman Swalwell said, which -- to his constituents. He's a Democrat and he's telling them to comfort them in a way that there are good people around the president.


KEILAR: So he's even saying that. It seems that he's -- he wouldn't say that he was getting comfort, but it does seem that he does get a little from that fact.

So as we've heard this morning, if you just look at these words, they're so alarming and yet a lot of experts are pointing out, Kim Jong-un isn't suicidal.


KEILAR: So should we take something away from that?

AXELROD: Yes, look, first, I -- I agree with Congressman Swalwell. The president has a lot of serious people around him. Jim Mattis is a serious person. I think Tillerson has been very responsible in this -- their -- you know, general McMaster, there are serious people around him. The question is whether this is a strategy that is being developed in concert between them or whether they're hustling at every moment to catch up with his latest tweet, which is a very, very dangerous way to proceed.

It feels like they're trying to catch up with his tweets. So one hopes that at the end of the day that the group is making decisions and that the president isn't going to improvise or continue to improvise. But, you know, that's an open question.

CUOMO: And there had been speculation that General Kelly was going to monitor the Twitter. I can't believe that that's going on given the productivity the president has had on Twitter since then.

Let me get your take on something else, Ax, while we have you.

So the president goes after Mitch McConnell, makes it public, makes it obvious.


CUOMO: Brianna pointed out earlier that he's retweeting articles on his feed that are negative about McConnell. And I think we've heard a surprising number of Republicans say, well, maybe McConnell should go. If he doesn't get it done, the president's right, he's got high ground here. Repeal and replace was the signature move. They got the numbers on the basis of it in large part and they didn't deliver. Does the president win on this one?

AXELROD: Well, I think it plays very well with his base. The Republican leadership in Washington is detested by the base that is core Trump support. And so, you know, there I think he's scoring some points. In a practical way, though, you look at Mitch McConnell -- Brianna's covered The Hill, she knows -- there's not a wilier character on Capitol Hill. And he actually has quite a bit of support among his own caucus.

[08:55:02] And there are a thousand ways in which he can be either helpful or hurtful to the president, many of which we'll never see that go to arcane procedural matters. So if you want -- you want to get your program across, then it seems to me going to war with McConnell is sort of mystifying in a way that -- in the same way that going straight ahead at Kim Jong-un leaves you with some questions.

You know, this is Donald Trump, man. He doesn't have brakes on the truck. It's just going straightforward and there's no reverse on the gear shift either. And, you know, we'll see if there's a cliff ahead.

KEILAR: David Axelrod, thank you so much.

And I suspect you and other Democrats would be glad to see Mitch McConnell go because he is very effective. And we've seen that in so many ways.

So, all right, David Axelrod, thank you so much, sir. AXELROD: I'd like to see the country get some stuff done too, but,

yes, we'll see you guys. Have a great day.

KEILAR: Yes. Well, of course. I was speaking politics, of course. David Axelrod, thank you.

And CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow starts after this break.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.

This morning, new pointed words from President Trump and the North Korean regime just hours after saying his fire and fury warning to North Korea might not have been tough enough. President Trump is declaring the U.S. military now fully prepared for action.

[09:00:06] In a statement this morning the president writing, military solutions are now fulling in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.