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NEW DAY SATURDAY

China Urges Trump To Use Restraint Over North Korea; Trump Ramps Up War Of Words With North Korea; Japan Deploys Missile Interception System; President Trump Speaks With The Governor Of Guam; Trump Won't Rule Out Military Option For Venezuela; Protest in Charlottesville, VA Regarding Removal of Confederate Statue; Attacks on McMaster, National Security Advisor. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 12, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


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[06:00:14]

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump issuing an ominous warning to North Korea's leader and to the world.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This man will not get away with what he's doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's drawing red lines, but he's also acting like a child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have tried to hamper North Korea for the last 20 years and it got us nowhere.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have many options for Venezuela. I'm not going to rule out a military option.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president may have played directly into the hands of the Venezuelan president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What place do confederate monuments like this one have in today's world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The statue itself is symbolic of a lot of larger issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want there to be violence. We don't want there to be conflict.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. A new threat just last hour from North Korea warning President Trump to, quote, "Act properly" or America will meet its, quote, "tragic doom." This is according to the "Wall Street Journal." No response from President Trump just yet, who was urged by China to use restraint as nuclear tensions are escalating here.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now President Trump initially called President Xi last night to pressure him on a trade issue warning that the U.S. investigation into China's practices could open as soon as Monday, but Xi in return pressured President Trump to tone down threats like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: If anything happens to Guam, there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: And Japan now ready to respond. Take a look at the pictures coming in. Massive missile interceptors are in place now should North Korea make good on their threat to strike Guam.

BLACKWELL: Also, President Trump signaling possible military intervention in Venezuela torn there by crisis. And military leaders, officials there as well calling the president's warning, quote, "cowardly, insolent, and vial."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have many options for Venezuela, and by the way, I'm not going to rule out a military option. We have many options for Venezuela.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Our correspondents are covering the big story all around the world this morning. We're in Hongkong, Tokyo, Guam, and with the president in New Jersey. We're starting in China with David McKenzie, and that phone call between Presidents Trump and Xi. David, hello to you.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Yes, that phone call was by the Chinese president and President Trump. Xi Jinping rarely seemingly tried to calm the situation down, urging for restraint, hinting perhaps that the comments coming from President Trump are not helpful from the Chinese perspective.

I want to read you something from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that came out on Friday. The Chinese side hopes all relevant parties speak and act with caution and do more things that are conducive to deescalating the tense situation and enhancing mutual trust among parties rather than relapsing into the old path of showing between the old path of showing assertiveness and escalating tensions."

You know, Victor, I've covered China for several years, and often you can just predict exactly what they're going to say about North Korea. This is different. It's a rebuke of the U.S. and North Korean rhetoric coming out in recent days. China desperately wants to try and ease the tension in a very volatile situation -- Victor. BLACKWELL: David, thank you so much.

PAUL: David, thank you. While Chinese President Xi Jinping is urging restraint from all parties there, as we said, President Trump is not seeming to let up on the words he's using with North Korea.

CNN politics reporter, Dan Merica, joining us now from Bridgewater, New jersey. Dan, good to see you this morning. What has the president said about North Korea and about his call specifically with the Chinese president?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Good morning, Christi. Yes. The president's trip working vacation here in New Jersey has been dominated by North Korea and tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump has not only doubled down but has tripled down on some of his bellicose rhetoric about the nation and obviously North Korea has responded as well, leading to somewhat of a tit for tat between New Jersey and North Korea.

President Trump initially promised fire and fury if Kim Jong-un continued his threats and later said that statement may not have been tough enough. Yesterday, he again went round for round with reporters and said this about the North Korean leader.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And if he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat, which by the way, he has been uttering for years and his family has been uttering for years, or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[06:05:12] MERICA: No easing of tensions there. What we've seen here is a number of strategic shifts by the president that have been notable to reporters who have been following him.

In the last few days, he's taken at least 50 questions from press who have been following him around here in New Jersey. That's a huge shift from past trips with the president where he hasn't taken questions.

Additionally, on that call with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, he also told the president that he would initiate a trade review of trade policies between the United States and China, which will come Monday.

That's pretty tough talk for a president of the United States who needs China to help in North Korea -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dan Merica for us there in Bridgewater, thank you so much. Right now, some of Japan's missile interceptors are arriving at three bases. Japanese leaders say this is a precaution.

Now, this is only if North Korea were to launch a missile towards Guam that would fly right over Japan. CNN's senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah, is in Tokyo for us. Kyung, talk to us about these pack three interceptors.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the best way to think about them is that this is Japan's country's ability to provide its best defenses to any sort of projectile that might come close to this country.

These are interceptor missiles. Pack three ground-based missile interceptors that were originally housed in Central Japan. After that very specific threat from North Korea to Guam saying that these missiles would fly right over Japan, what we saw from the Japanese government was a pledge to protect this country.

Moving those pack three missile interceptors from Central Japan to four different military bases in Southern Japan. The southwest portion of Japan, those specific areas that were called out by the North Koreans.

And the government saying that they would try to protect the homeland in any way possible. This would not protect the United States if a missile were launched from North Korea towards the United States.

But if there were any projectiles that were falling to Japan, that's the defensive measure that I'm talking about. What is perhaps -- what is most surprising about all of this is where they are being placed.

Hiroshima, which is forever immortalized in history as the place that was a city that experienced and was devastated by nuclear bomb, that is one of the locations where this missile interceptor has been placed -- Christie.

PAUL: All right. Kyung Lah, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

The North Korea threatened to strike the tiny island territory of Guam. As you know, President Trump has assured the governor there the public is safe. For more on that, CNN correspondent, Martin Savidge is in Guam this morning. Martin, talk to us about that conversation between the president and the governor.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. You know, Guam is in an interesting prospective here. They're caught in the cross hairs, of course, potentially of any kind of action taken place on the part of North Korea.

But at the same time, they're on the tip of the spear of any possible response on the part of the U.S. military. It's got a very large Air Force base just to the northern part of this island.

So, you've got an island here of about 160,000 people, many of which are Americans trying to give this perception that everything is fine and at the same time they're being warned for the possibility of preparing for maybe a nuclear strike of some kind.

And you could understand why apprehension is running high beneath the surface and that's why there was conversation that took place between the governor of Guam and the president of the United States. Here is some of that.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): We are with you a thousand percent. You are safe. We are with you a thousand percent and I wanted to call you and say hello. How are you?

EDDIE BAZA CALVO, GUAM GOVERNOR: Mr. President, as the governor of Guam representing the people of Guam and as an American citizen, I have never felt more safe or confident with you at the helm. So, with all the criticism going on over there, from a guy that's being targeted, we need a president like you, so I'm just so thankful and I'm glad you're holding the helm, sir.

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SAVIDGE: And the reason that phone call was so important, even though it may sound like just a couple of men having a very simple conversation is the fact that Guam as a U.S. territory is a long way away are from the U.S. mainland and sometimes the population here can feel a bit overlooked.

And especially in a time of crisis like that, that is not something you want the public to feel. So those words coming from the president do actually resonate quite widely on this island.

Remember, it's just a little over 2,000 miles to North Korea from here. Missile flight time put at 14 minutes. That is not a lot of preparation time that this island would have in the event of the worst -- Christie and Victor.

PAUL: Very good point. Martin, let's listen together here, though, to another part of this call that the president had, and he mentioned tourism in it. Let's listen.

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[06:10:12] PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): I have to tell you, you've become extremely famous all over the world they're talking about Guam and they're talking about you, and I think tourism, I can say your tourism are going to go up in like ten-fold expenditure of (inaudible) money so I congratulate you. It looks beautiful. You know, I'm watching. They're so much -- it's so -- it's a big story. It just looks like a beautiful place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Your tourism is going to go up ten-fold. Martin, what is the reaction to that part of the conversation?

SAVIDGE: Well, again, you know, you have to understand that though it is said in a Trump like fashion, that too is pretty reassuring here. There are two primary industries on the island of Guam, and the biggest one is tourism, 60 percent of the economy is driven by tourism here. The other 30 percent is the second big employer, and that's the U.S. military. But if tourism is impacted, that would have a devastating impact on this island as far as jobs, as far as its future, as far as livelihoods of many, many people.

So, the whole fear throughout this is not just that there could be military action, but if there is some turn-off of all of the tourism here, and much of it comes from South Korea and from Japan, Asia.

So far, we haven't seen any indication of that, but that is the real threat that hangs over, maybe not a military strike, but they do fear the tourists won't come, and if they don't, well, the impact isn't quite the same as an explosion, but it would have a huge negative consequence here.

PAUL: No doubt. All right. Martin Savidge, good to see you this morning. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, the president surprised the Pentagon by suggesting possible military action in another country far from North Korea. What Venezuela's president is saying about a potential U.S. intervention and how that could play right into Nicolas Maduro's narrative. We'll talk about that next with our political panel.

PAUL: Also, can the U.S. prevent a nuclear strike by way of hacking? A cybersecurity expert and ethical hacker is joining us to talk about that.

BLACKWELL: Also, white nationalists holding torches and marching through the University of Virginia's campus. They are preparing to march on (inaudible) today in protest of the removal of a confederate statute.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're honoring the founding fathers who were white. We're honoring all the great white men who are being smeared and did defamed and torn down.

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[06:16:43]

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PRESIDENT TRUMP: We think that lots of good things could happen, and we could also have a bad solution, but we think lots of good things can happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be bad solution, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think you know the answer to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you say bad solutions, are you talking about war? Is the U.S. going to go to war?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think you know the answer to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: That was President Trump speaking with reporters, of course, not backing down from his talk on North Korea's nuclear tensions as they escalate. North Korea now offering the latest threat, just minutes ago warning President Trump to act properly or America will face its final doom.

That's according to a translation from "The Wall Street Journal." Will President Trump respond to this newest threat?

Let's talk now about this with Errol Louis, CNN political commentator, and Melissa Quinn, breaking news reporter for the "Washington Examiner." Good morning to you.

So, I first want to start with the red line, the threshold that President Trump set yesterday when discussing what could incur the wrath of the U.S. military. Let's watch this.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP: And this man will not get away with what he's doing, believe me. And if he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat, which by the way he has been uttering for years and his family has been uttering for years, or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast.

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BLACKWELL: All right. Overt threat. Anything with respect to Guam, American territory, American ally. Let me read for you what the North Korean state media released this morning.

"If the Trump administration does not want the American empire to meet its tragic doom, they'd better talk and act properly. U.S. has done all sorts of wrong to the DPRK. Now it finds itself in an ever- worrisome dilemma. This is tragic comedy of its own making."

Errol, first to you, this seems to be a strong statement from North Korea, but maybe intentionally not crossing the line of an overt threat.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it sounds a lot like what we have heard from the North Korean regime over the years. I'm not sure how different it is. I mean, the president in some ways kind of walked himself into a trap by suggesting that even a rhetorical threat from the regime in North Korea would be grounds for military action.

Now, some of his aides later sort of cleared that up or cleaned it up a little bit, suggesting that, well, it's the generals who are making the threats, not the leader himself. We're going to hear the kind of rhetoric that we've heard from this regime for decades. They talk big, talk tough. It's a country the economy is the size of the state of Vermont.

You know, they happen to have an insurance policy in the form of this nuclear threat, but beyond that, they're of no particular military consequence. What really has to be the focus is making sure that those nuclear weapons stay exactly where they are. It's not clear that the president's rhetoric is going to change that at all.

BLACKWELL: So Melissa, to you, does this meet the requirement, the request of China we learned from the conversation between the two presidents last night to dial back the rhetoric?

This is pretty much the boilerplate bluster that we get from North Korea several times a year without making an overt threat on Guam or the U.S., is this the middle ground that allows them to save face?

[06:20:05] MELISSA QUINN, BREAKING NEWS REPORTER, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, I think that remains to be seen. I mean, it's not only China. There are several world leaders including Russia's foreign minister and the German chancellor, who have come out and really pushed back on President Trump's rhetoric toward North Korea particularly in the wake of his fire and fury comment.

But the president really needs our U.S. allies to stand behind him and so far, it seems like they're calling into question the language that he's using against North Korea.

And what we've seen in this past week is not only a doubling down of threats against North Korea, but a tripling down of threats, and that's exactly what we saw when the president addressed reporters in Bedminster yesterday.

Now, whether or not China feels like this is that sort of dialing back that they called for and that President Trump and President Xi discussed in their phone call last night, we'll have to see.

BLACKWELL: So, Errol, where is the president on China now? We know that during the campaign and the first several of the months of the administration, he said that China can fix this, calling on China, I can't believe China would allow this to go on.

In this latest round of this fight, we are hearing the president call on China less and speak out as the American president, saying, standing up for the country without referencing China in every discussion.

LOUIS: That's right. Reality appears to have set in. Perhaps the president is listening to the foreign policy professionals who are briefing him. The reality of course is that China has a limited amount of influence over North Korea.

They certainly are the vast majority of all of the trade with North Korea, but on the other hand, they do not want instability on their border. They do not want hundreds of thousands of North Koreans pouring into China if that country should fail.

They also have some autonomous provinces or semi-autonomous provinces that are mostly Korean. They don't want that kind of instability and I guess, finally, Victor, it's worth noting it's a different kind of politics than in the U.S., but a major party Congress, they go through this every five years or so reshuffles the top leadership of China.

That's set to happen this fall. This is the last thing they want to be involved in, all of the potential instability right on their border at a time when they're trying to go through a somewhat delicate political process themselves.

BLACKWELL: Melissa, let's talk about the surprise from this news conference from the president saying that he's not taking military action off the table in response to what the world has been watching in Venezuela.

Let's go back just a couple of days and listen to the national security advisor, H.R. McMaster talking about the potential for military action in Venezuela.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see a military intervention from any outside source?

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: No, I don't think so. I think what's really required is for everyone to have one voice about the need to protect the rights and the safety of the Venezuelan people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Any indication of how the president got here? Not saying that military force is next, but saying at least suggesting it without being prompted by the reporter?

QUINN: Yes. I mean, just as many things that President Trump does, we don't really know what led him from Point A to Point B, but I think the comments from H.R. McMaster, the president's national security advisor was just a starking departure from what President Trump said yesterday actually considering a military option as we heard earlier on.

But I think the interesting thing to note here is that particularly when it comes to military options in Venezuela, despite the disagreement that there seems to be among the president's top officials, we also have to remember Congress's role in this.

Just last night, Senator Ben Sasse came out with a very, very strong statement saying essentially, look, Mr. President, if you're going to send Nebraskans into Venezuela, you better come to Congress and ask us for permission to do so first.

And it seems like not only are the president's top advisers advising against military options in Venezuela this could really be an issue where we see Congress come in and push back against the president as well.

BLACKWELL: We'll talk about later in the show. But Errol, quickly to you, we're just days out from new sanctions on Venezuelans and they stayed away from the oil industry, which if that were to be the next step, that could have a significant impact. So, there are measures short of military force that the president could have invoked here.

LOUIS: Absolutely. You know, God knows, he could also invoke some diplomacy. There's already a pretty serious backlash against what's going in Venezuela from some of their regional neighbors.

Peru, for example, withdrawing their ambassador. You've got other countries that if the U.S. wanted to try a diplomatic approach could really sort of help move in a credible way to sort of set things right there or at least put pressure on the regime.

The tough talk and the sort of mysterious allusions to possible invasion are the last thing that's going to advance that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol Louis, Melissa Quinn, thanks for being part of the conversation this morning.

QUINN: Thank you.

LOUIS: Thanks.

PAUL: Using fire and fury to respond to the North Korean threat, well, that's the verbiage President Trump is using.

[06:25:04] But next another possibility, how effective could a cyber weapon be?

BLACKWELL: Plus, Charlottesville, Virginia, bracing for a white nationalist rally today. Activists gathering there in protest of removal much a confederate statue.

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PAUL: It's 29 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. There is a new threat this morning from North Korea warning the U.S. to avoid tragic doom. Now, this is coming as China is trying to cool tensions, bring down the rhetoric, urging both sides to show some restraint.

[06:30:00]

PAUL: Yes, that plea came on the same phone call where President Trump warned China, saying pressure might be applied on trade starting with an investigation of Chinese trade practices.

BLACKWELL: And Japan is also hoping for a diplomatic solution to this standoff but right now they're deploying their own missile defenses just in case. Their missile interceptors are now set up in locations across the country in case a missile is launched in the direction of Guam.

PAUL: The Governor of Guam said after a phone call from the White House he feels safe and so should the residents of Guam.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EDDIE BAZA CALVO, GOVERNOR OF GUAM: I appreciate the President's leadership. He's providing a very clear message that any threat to Americans, whether it is here in our island paradise in the Western Pacific, or in California or in New York, that he will insure our protection.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Now listen, there may be a way to neutralize the North Korean threat without using troops or missiles, tanks or jets. Instead the weapon of choice would be a computer keyboard. Remember SESNET it was the secret line of code, a cyber weapon that set back Iran's nuclear program for years. So the question is could a similar cyber attack work on North Korea? David Kennedy is joining us. He's a cyber security consultant and an ethical hacker. Thank you so much for being with us. Back in the spring you said it is 100 % possible that the US could prevent a nuclear strike by hacking a North Korean Missile. Given the technology we know they have now, given their capabilities, do you still believe that to be true?

DAVID KENNEDY, CYBER HACKING EXPERT: I do. You know, if you look at our extension of what the military can do, we have a whole fleet that's called Cyber Command which is an extension of the military force that we can actually go and do. So hacking into their infrastructure, you know, waiting until they're about to launch, you know, specific missiles and actually blowing them up before they actually take off are things that we have as far as capabilities. I mean something that we would definitely look to use as part of our extension of warfare where we wouldn't have to launch missiles. We'd actually do preemptive strikes, shut down their infrastructure, shut down their grid, shut down communications. Ways of causing a lot of dismay within North Korea to hopefully prevent missiles from actually launching in the first place.

PAUL: So could the North Korean guidance system, for instance, for the missiles be compromised?

KENNEDY: Absolutely. We look at a wide array of different ways to impact any type of launches or communications. If the North Koreans don't have the ability to even communicate to their systems, to even lock into actually send the missiles to detonate in certain locations, they wouldn't even be able to launch in the first place and then we could launch preemptive strikes from South Korea as well as our carrier ships across the globe to actively go and hit them. So there's a number of different variety of ways that we can shut them down both from a power perspective as well as how they're actually communicating to their systems and actually shutting down the systems themselves.

PAUL: What do we know about the North Korean system and the networking that they have?

KENNEDY: The problem we have with North Korea is they are a very much shut off country and they actually have cyber capabilities as well. I wouldn't say that they would have the ability to disrupt what we can do, but you know, they saw that they were able to take down Sony and other companies. There's ways that they can hit us back here but they're very secretive in what they actively go and do. But we have a lot of capabilities that are actively trying to get into North Korea at a given time and there's times where they boot us out and there's times where we get back in again.

So there's a constant effort of trying to get a foothold into the infrastructure and we have folks that are continuously going after their infrastructure, going after their communications and going after their systems, as well as spies and everything else you can possibly imagine that you see in the story books of trying to get access to their critical military infrastructure to shut them down in the event that there is an actual attack.

PAUL: And obviously without compromising anything, infiltrating North Korea, as we were just talking about, very different than infiltrating Iran.

KENNEDY: It is. You know North Korea is extremely, you know, not tied to many other governments other than China for the most part and to some extent Russia. You know it's very difficult to get people in there. It's very difficult to use human intelligence and other methods to get inside of the regime itself. They've been very closed off for a long time. It's probably one of the most difficult ones we have available to us. So you know, getting in there is difficult. Maintaining access is difficult. But, it's definitely something that we've been focusing on for a large effort for a large period of time so we definitely have capabilities there. There's no question about it.

PAUL: All right. David Kennedy, boy, appreciate your insight this morning. Thanks for being here.

KENNEDY: Absolutely. Thanks for having me Christi.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead on Your New Day, why nationalists marched through the University of Virginia's campus overnight protesting the removal of a Confederate statue. Charlottesville police are preparing for thousands more today. We'll tell you what they're expecting ahead.

PAUL: Also taking shots from all sides as the National Security Advisor tries to navigate the crisis with North Korea, he is also dealing with what's been described as an all out assault on his character.

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[06:35:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

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[06:40:00]

BLACKWELL: So this is a group of white nationalists at the University of Virginia last night. This is the head of their rally planned for today in Charlottesville. Now you see the violence here, the pushing, the shoving. This was as protestors you see holding torches, maybe heard the chant of "white lives matter," but they're going through the campus in this video protesting the removal of a Confederate statue at Emancipation Park.

PAUL: Today's rally is called Unite the Right and Virginia police are preparing now for thousands of people to show up. CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung has more details for us.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a debate cities across America are having. What place do Confederate monuments like this one have in today's world?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MIKE SIGNER, MAYOR OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: I don't think that these debates that cities and states around the country have had are just about a piece of stone, you know, or a hunk of rock. I mean these are symbols and they have a lot of meaning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Mike Signer is the Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, and historic college town trying to reconcile it's past with the present. This statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has become the focal point since the City Council voted in February to remove it.

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JASON KESSLER, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA GRADUATE AND CHARLOTTESVILLE NATIVE: We're going to start standing up for our history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Charlottesville native and University of Virginia graduate Jason Kessler is the lead organizer for the Unite the Right rally, a protest the Anti-Defamation League says could be the largest white supremacist gathering in a decade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KESSLER: The statue itself is symbolic of a lot of larger issues. The primary three issues are preserving history against this censorship and revisionism, this political correctness. The second issue is being allowed to advocate for your interests as a white person, just like other groups are allowed to advocate for their interests politically. And then finally, this is about free speech. We are simply trying to express ourselves and do a demonstration and -

HARTUNG: Kessler doesn't consider himself a white supremacist but his activism has caught the attention of the Klu Klu Klan and the Alt- Right. This will be the third demonstration in as many months by those who object to the removal of Lee's statue and it's expected to be the largest. Mike Roddy is among a group of more than 40 local business owners who are asking the city to protect them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your fears for what this weekend will be like?

MIKE RODDY, CHARLOTTESVILLE BUSINESS OWNER: I HAVE A LOT OF FEARS. I THINK MOST OF US ARE JUST ANXIOUS. We don't there to be violence. We don't want there to be conflict. You know there's a lot of-there are a lot of heated emotions really on both sides of the spectrum.

HARTUNG (voice-over): During previous demonstrations counter protestors vastly outnumbered Lee supporters. Faith based group civil rights organizations have plans for today as well. Law enforcement will try to keep the peace with approximately 1,000 responders on duty, the Commonwealth's largest deployment of state police in one place in nearly 30 years.

SIGNER: A lot of strong opinions here this weekend. Democracy is often noisy and messy, but I'd rather that than the alternative of being sort of quiet and complacent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARTUNG: In Charlottesville, Virginia, Kaylee Hartung, CNN.

BLACKWELL: We'll of course continue to watch that and the rally scheduled for today. Let's turn now to the President and H. R. McMaster. McMaster was standing right next to the president yesterday during that news conference at Bedminster. And we'll get a look inside the White House at a battle that he's facing, the National Security Advisor under attack.

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[06:45:00]

PAUL: Well the man trying to help President Trump steered this intense international crisis with North Korea is coming under fire himself.

BLACKWELL: And a source is telling CNN that the work environment for National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster is incredibly difficulty, even ferocious. Now that source tells us the people inside the White House are trying to undermine McMaster because he does not share their nationalistic foreign police views. Here is CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper with the attacks in the West Wing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While the President's National Security Advisor and the National Security Council are trying to provide guidance to President Trump as he attempts to navigate an escalating high-stakes show down with North Korea, they're also facing attacks from outside the White House and from within the White House. Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor to the President, has been fending off an information and sometimes disinformation campaign against him by a warring faction vying for power under the same White House roof. Allies of the President's Senior Strategist Steve Bannon, and in those of his first fired national Security Advisor General Michael Flynn.

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MICHAEL ALLEN, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: It's really a fight for the should of President Trump as he grapples with should I be more a traditional National Security President or should I try and be a Foreign Policy President in my campaign voice?

TAPPER: Bannon received a special waiver to continue to talk to his former employees at Breibart News where he served as Chief Executive and which he once described as a "platform for the Alt Right". It's a website that has launched attack after attack against McMaster in a slew of recent articles. Earlier this week the Atlantic Council's digital forensic research lab noted that many of those stories as well as other attacks against McMaster by fringe websites and figures including Infowars, have been pushed on social media using the hash tag fire McMaster by a former Breibart employee who now literally works for the Russian Government as an employee of Sputnik News.

Fire McMaster has also been pushed by fringe conspiracy theorists with social media presences who have occasionally been granted access to the White House briefing room by the Trump Team. Also pushing this propaganda, someone not particularly influential, but extremely noteworthy, Michael Flynn, Jr., the son and one time top aid of the man who used to have McMaster's job, General Michael Flynn. The Digital Forensic Research Lab notes that the hash tag spread partly because of fake or automatic accounts or bots.

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TAPPER: They say the campaign against McMaster began in earnest after McMaster ousted the fifth of five controversial officials of the NSC who had been brought in by Flynn. Why Rich Higgins, a strategic planning aide who worked on the Trump campaign, was fired by McMaster is subject to debate. Some sources say he and others exemplify McMaster's view that Flynn hired unqualified substandard staffers. But there's also the matter of this memo that Higgins wrote rife with conspiracy theories reminiscent of those in the fevered corners of the paranoid internet.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you are on the McMaster's side, you do not like this memo because you read it and you say, "Hey, is he talking about me? Is he talking about someone in leadership who may disagree with the President? Am I that guy?"

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TAPPER: The memo obtained by foreign policy.com purports to unravel a bizarre conspiracy theory about a coordinated effort between the establishment, the media, globalists, bankers, Islamists, Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, the Organization for Securtity and Cooperation in Europe, The United Nations, Cultural Marxists and the so called Deep State or Permanent Government Apparatus. All of whom, the memo claims, are banding together to de-legitimize and destroy President Trump and prevent him from making America great again. "For this kabol the memo states, Trump must be destroyed."

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ALLEN: To me it was really a declaration of war on some of the choices for personnel that the President has made. This memo's message essentially was, "Hey, those that are perhaps Generals or those that have been in the process, that's not your brand, that's now who you are."

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TAPPER: The memo also compares Trump to Abraham Lincoln casting Trump's struggle as a battle between good and evil. "In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition, in both inside and outside of his wire in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump," Higgins writes. "Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic."

Though President Trump, it should be noted, defended McMaster just yesterday.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's our friend. He's my friend and he's a very talented man and I like him and I respect him.

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TAPPER: Evidence the campaign is having an effect while McMaster is trying to give essential national security advice to the President during this critical time, he's also forced to fend off these attacks from the far right both from outside the White House and the memo makes pretty clear, from inside as well. CNN reached out to the National Security Council for comment and they said the memo was not an official NSC document. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.

PAUL: All right. Switching gears here, the NFL's leading rusher sidelined, Andy Scholes what's going on?

(MUSIC PLAYING) ANDY SCHOLES, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, Christi, the Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliot receiving a six game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. We'll have his reaction to the suspension coming up.

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BLACKWELL: The NFL dropping some consequences on Cowboy's running back Ezekiel Elliott suspending him for the first six games of the season for violating the League's personal conduct policy.

PAUL: Yes, Andy Scholes has more with the Bleacher Report this morning. What happened?

SCHOLES: Yes, good morning guys. So the NFL had been investigating allegations that Elliott physically abused his ex-girlfriend. They've been doing that investigation for more than a year and yesterday they finally announced that Elliot would receive a six-game ban even though he was never charged with a crime in the incident. Now in a letter sent to Elliott from the NFL, the league said it interviewed more than a dozen witnesses in connection to the domestic violence allegations including the alleged victim. The NFL's investigation also look at photo and digital evidence, thousands of text messages, and other electronic communication records.

The NFL says based on the evidence that they observed, they found that Elliott used physical force against the victim resulting in her injury. Now on top of the six game suspension, the League also warning Elliott that another violation of this nature may result in your suspension or potential banishment. Elliott has three business days to appeal the decision. He issued a statement last night via Twitter saying, "I am both surprised and disappointed by the NFL's decision and I strongly disagree with the League's findings. I recognize the distraction and the disruption that all this has caused my family, friends, teammates, the Dallas Cowboys Organization, as well as my fans, and for that I'm sincerely sorry. I admit that I'm far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard on and off the field to mature and earn the great opportunity that I have been given."

SCHOLES: All right, elsewhere in the sports world, it looks like former Yankee great Derek Jeeter is going from the dugout to the owner's box. According to reports his group has won the bidding war to be the next owner of the Miami Marlins. Now Jeeter isn't the only big name in this ownership group. Michael Jordan is also reportedly one of the investors. Now the price tag, a whopping $1.2 billion and this is still far from a done deal. The purchase must be vetted by Major League Baseball and approved by the League's owners. Bruce Sherman, a New York Venture Capitalist, is reportedly going to be the controlling owner with Derek Jeeter running the baseball side of things.

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SHOLES (Voice-over): All right finally one thing golfers hate to do is wake up super early to go finish a round that was delayed for weather. So check out the guys during round two of the PGA Championship. They were racing to finish before it got too dark after a nearly two-hour rain delay earlier. Jason Day was still putting on 17. Look at Dustin Johnson, he runs ahead to 18 to tee off. Now he did that because the rule is if someone in your group tees off before the horn sounds, everyone still gets to go finish the hole, and mission accomplished. The group got to finish. You still see them running up the fairway. So guys instead of waking up at 5:00 a.m. to go and play one hole, Day who is in third place, now is going to get to sleep in. He's not going to tee off until after lunch time. So you can see why he had that kind of sense of urgency.

BLACKWELL: And if anyone appreciates it, we do.

SCHOLES: Absolutely.

PAUL: Yes, I was going to say -

SCHOLES: At this time of day, even five minutes makes a difference.

PAUL: That is so true. My goodness, thank you Andy, appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.