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Trump Again Fails To Condemn Alt-Right, White Supremacists; Gen. Dunford On N.K.: Military Options On Table If Sanctions Fail; Burkina Faso: At Least 18 Killed In Restaurant Terror Attack; Two NFL Players Protest During National Anthem. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired August 14, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD), RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: -- and be willing to identify those responsible and take action to prevent this from happening and make it clear that this is not acceptable in this country.
It's not about political support of any one group, it's about what this country stands for. And the people who are our elected leaders -- the President of the United Stateshas to be very clear about standing up against this type of hatred.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We'll see if he does that today.
Thank you very much, Sen. Cardin. We appreciate your time this morning.
CARDIN: Thank you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right.
So you heard from a Democratic senator there. What do members of the president's own party want to hear from him today? Do they think it's too little, too late? Republican Senator Todd Young joins us, next.
CUOMO: CNN has learned that President Trump is expected to address the deadly violence in Charlottesville today. So far, the president has not denounced white supremacists but he did campaign on calling out terrorists by name, so why isn't he doing it now?
Joining us now is Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana. He's on the Foreign Relations Committee and served as a Marine Corps intelligence officer.
[07:35:00] It's good to have you on the show, sir.
SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN), MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, FORMER MARINE CORPS INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Chris, thanks so much for having me this morning.
CUOMO: So, we have one threat home, we have another threat abroad in the form of North Korea. Let's discuss them both.
What do you want to hear from the president today about Charlottesville and the people who were involved there among those white supremacists?
YOUNG: Well, Chris, thanks for covering the Charlottesville tragedy.
Let me begin by offering my condolences and prayers to the families of the young lady who lost her life and was engaged in peaceful, civil disobedience assembly, and the two officers in blue who were brave in trying to protect all those assembled.
Listen, I can speak for myself here and say that such hatred, such bigotry, such evil which was exhibited by these white supremacist groups is -- it's not only un-American, it is anti-America. It grates against all that we stand for as a people.
We are a pluralistic country and we need to celebrate our diversity which does make us stronger, and I want to be unambiguous about that. And moving forward, I think all of us from the local level on up need to continue to speak out against such senseless acts of violence.
CUOMO: Should the president speak out today or do you think it's too late?
YOUNG: You know, the president has spoken and I'm not going to get into the business of trying to understand his statements. Certainly, it's not my job --
CUOMO: Even when it's about something like this? I mean, this isn't about job numbers or about Kim Jong Un and who's the bigger tough guy, you know. There we get what the president can sometimes do stylistically and whether you like it or not, it's subjective.
This really isn't subjective. This is about calling out hate in America. There is no equivalence between the people who were down there --
YOUNG: This is --
CUOMO: -- protesting, you know, in favor of hate and against hate.
The president seemed to not recognize that. We don't know why but it's not something that should just be dismissed as style.
YOUNG: Well, I share your conviction, your sentiment, and frankly, the sentiment that I've heard from Hoosiers that I represent. This is hateful. There's no place for this sort of action, this violence, and this sentiment in America and I'll be unambiguous about that.
I represent all Hoosiers and they sent me to Washington, D.C. to represent them on the issues most important to them. One of them is making sure that everyone feels respected and represented in this country and I will forcefully advocate on their behalf on important issues, from their domestic security to national security. CUOMO: Well, Senator, what you say about Charlottesville is not being
called into question so the Hoosiers should feel good in terms of what they wanted from you on that.
What the president says, we'll have to wait and see. He certainly has a situation to make up for.
So let's move now to North Korea. We hear that Dunford is pushing for diplomacy.
There is this rhetorical imbalance between well, all military options are on the table but the Secretaries of State, Secretaries of Defense are saying no, no, no, diplomacy is where we want to go. We don't want regime change. We're not looking for war.
How do you see this?
YOUNG: So, the two are actually quite compatible, and they're not only compatible, it's necessary that the two co-exist. That is we need to have a credible threat and a military force, on one hand, and then exercise vigorous diplomacy on the other.
Sanctions are very important. In fact, I'm very proud of Sec. Tillerson and Ambassador Haley, who just got through the most robust sanctions regime certainly in my lifetime against the North Koreans.
But a sanctions regime which can be further ratcheted up must be complemented with a credible threat of military force. So, it's important that moving forward, Gen. Dunford and the rest of our military continue to increase not just our readiness through further military exercises off the South Korean Peninsula and within the Peninsula itself and surrounding areas, but also by moving other military hardware into the area.
That includes our special operators, that includes our anti-missile defense. There are even some conservative elements of the South Korean government calling for the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons into South Korea. They were removed, as you may recall, back in the nineties.
All of these things will send a message together that the pressure campaign is ramping up and, hopefully, bring this totalitarian monstrous dictator, Kim Jong Un, to the table so that we can peacefully resolve this situation.
CUOMO: I appreciate the explanation on this issue. It's complex but it matters to the American people. We will stay on it as there are more developments.
[07:40:05] Senator, please come back and help explain them to the American people here on NEW DAY, and thank you for calling out hate for what it is in Charlottesville. Thank you, sir.
YOUNG: Thanks so much, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Now, tomorrow on NEW DAY we're supposed to have former White House
communications director Anthony Scaramucci on the show to get his take on what is this now growing question of who told the president? Was this about him or people around him telling him not to mention the KKK in Charlottesville?
HARLOW: Looking forward to that.
Meantime, some breaking news.
A massacre unfolding in West Africa. Attackers taking over a restaurant popular with tourists. The breaking details on this overnight, next.
CUOMO: A terror attack in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. At least 18 people have been killed, including a French citizen. The massacre unfolding late Sunday at a restaurant that's popular with foreigners in the capital city.
The number of gunmen involved is unknown at this time but a government statement claims two terrorists were killed.
HARLOW: "The New York Times" is reporting that Special Counsel Bob Mueller is reaching out to the White House to set up interviews with current and former administration officials, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
Now, Mueller is reportedly asking for details about specific meetings as part of his Russia investigation.
CUOMO: All right.
[07:45:00] So, two NFL players kicked off the pre-season by sitting down during the National Anthem.
Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett stayed on the bench Sunday. He referenced the attack in Virginia, saying he wants to continuously push a message against injustice in society.
On Saturday, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch did the same thing, sitting on a cooler behind his teammates.
Both players had publicly voiced support last season for then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick who was criticized for kneeling during the anthem. Kaepernick remains an unsigned free agent and there's a lot of speculation as to whether or not teams want to pick him up because of that baggage.
HARLOW: Look, this is -- athletes are who kids look to, oftentimes -- teens, kids, adults for guidance.
HARLOW: And right or wrong, they're voicing, you know -- right or wrong, whether they should have to be these symbols or not, they're choosing to be those symbols.
CUOMO: Yes. And look, there was a big debate about it last time. There will be this time as you're there to play football. Is that the time to protest?
But it is -- as Poppy's saying, it is a national audience. Is it a time to speak your conscience? And this will, once, again, be the debate we'll hear about.
HARLOW: We will, for sure.
He is not known to pull punches, but President Trump has been silent this morning about what happened -- that tragedy in Charlottesville -- despite all the criticism from both sides. Why? We're going to dive into that ahead.
[07:50:20] CUOMO: CNN has learned President Trump is expected to speak about the deadly violence in Charlottesville again today. So far, the president has kept his comments vague.
Mike Pence, the vice president, who is traveling overseas, is calling out the hate groups by name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have no tolerance for hate and violence and white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or the KKK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Why didn't the president say that? Will he say it today? If he does, is it too late?
Former Virginia attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli and CNN political commentator Symone D. Sanders are with us today. It's good to have you.
So, let's talk about timing and impact.
Symone Sanders, if the president comes out today and says, of course, I meant the KKK and neo-Nazis and white supremacists -- of course, I condemn them -- is there satisfaction in that?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, BERNIE 2016, COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT, PRIORITIES USA ACTION: Look, I think if the president comes out today and says those words and uses the term white supremacists, KKK, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, I think his problems will not completely go away but the tide will begin to turn.
Look, words matter and actions matter as well. And so, then folks will be looking for the President of the United States and this administration to take additional concrete actions.
You know, the DOJ has already said that they are going to investigate what happened. I would -- I would propose that Steve Bannon and Gorka also need to be looked at. And the president might need to make some changes with his staff.
So we need to, I guess, wait to see what the president is going to say, and I'm cautiously optimistic, Chris.
CUOMO: Ken, what's your sense as to where this statement came from -- this original many sides, many sides statement?
We just heard from the A.G. this morning, Jess Sessions, when he was asked whether or not there should be any equivalence drawn between the KKK and the people who were down there protesting against the KKK, and he said absolutely not.
KENNETH CUCCINELLI, FORMER VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL, PRESIDENT, SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND: Right. I certainly agree with the Attorney General.
It sounded like -- when you read the whole statement by the president, the written statement was very good and this looked like one of those kind of off-script additions that he does so often and he's gotten himself in some trouble with it, I think.
I would note, you know, you said their actions and words. The most important action taken so far was almost at midnight Saturday when the -- once it had been known that the driver had crossed state lines, presumably that was an important factor.
The Department of Justice announced that they were going to proceed with a civil rights investigation. This is in the Western District of Virginia.
Rick Mountcastle is the U.S. Attorney there. He is not a political appointee, he is a 20-year professional. I worked with him when I was Attorney General of Virginia, so this is in very good hands. The actions are all good and are, essentially, everything the federal government can do.
Turning to the words, I would expect to hear stronger language, like we heard from the vice president, coming out of the president as we get here into the beginning of the business week, and I think there's every reason to expect that.
I think some of the aspersions cast on people like Steve Bannon are really outrageous. I think that's people using a situation to try to paste somebody they'd like to lay a glove on.
SANDERS: I would disagree.
CUCCINELLI: But the president here -- the president -- OK, disagree.
The president needs to take stronger steps here --
CUOMO: All right.
CUCCINELLI: -- as the week goes on and --
SANDERS: Well, Chris --
CUOMO: All right, Ken.
SANDERS: Steve Bannon --
CUOMO: -- what is your disagreement?
SANDERS: My disagreement is because Steve Bannon has -- when he was over "Breitbart" just a year ago, he said he was proud that "Breitbart" was the platform of the alt-right. The alt-right is nothing but a white supremacy in khakis. Steve Bannon has been a curator of alt-right.
You played audio from Sebastian Gorka just moments ago on your show where he basically said it's not the white supremacists, look at these brown people in the Middle East. And so, it's not aspersions that have been cast onto these individuals. These are words that these folks have used.
White supremacist sympathizers are seemingly advising the President of the United States and that is jarring and concerning to me. This is the people's house. They have -- white supremacy has no place in our administration.
CUOMO: Ken, what's your sense of --
CUCCINELLI: Yes, I certainly agree with that.
CUOMO: What's your sense, Ken --
CUCCINELLI: Go ahead, Chris.
CUOMO: -- of where it came from? You know, just think about it.
If, you know, God forbid, you were ever in that situation and you bring your advisers around you and you say here's what's going on. You know, the KKK went to march because they're upset about the Robert E. Lee statue coming down, but you know, it got out of control and this kid flew in with a car and somebody's dead now.
Where would the idea of but let's be measured, let's say that everybody's wrong here. You know, let's not call out the KKK by name, let's not do that.
[07:55:07] Who says that? Like, where does that idea come from, in your mind? And if that is a Bannon, if that is a Miller, is that is a Gorka, how do you insulate them from criticism for helping the president arrive at that kind of conclusion?
CUCCINELLI: Well, I don't know anything about Gorka. I know about Steve Bannon and I just disagree with the comments made about him.
But I think that you expect presidents to start, even in serious situations, fairly measured, expressing concern for the people injured and thenworking their way through because remember, he's on top of the prosecution that happens with the civil rights investigation.
If you look back to the shooting in South Carolina -- the tragedy where you had Dylann Roof shooting --
CUCCINELLI: -- in the black church, President Obama's initial comments were much more measured than as he went on days later. And it was a very appropriate escalation by the president --Obama, I'm talking about -- and I think that we should reasonably expect to see that here with President Trump.
CUOMO: Ken, I don't think it sized up like this and --
SANDERS: We have not -- we have not had a --
CUOMO: -- the president took a long time here -- hold on, Symone.
The president took a long time here. It wasn't like as the violence was unfolding. The president came out in one regard about let's make sure it stops and let's let the police do their job and find out what's going on.
They had a long time here to figure out what it was. He knew what the conditions were on the ground when he spoke to it, he just didn't use the words. He said on many sides, Ken.
And if you want to defend Bannon I think you've got to put some meat on the bones because, you know, his outlet, "Breitbart" was deafening in its silence in how it covered Charlotte. You know, this is not a place that's shy about getting after things when they're controversial, but they didn't get after this.
And Bannon does have a history. He did say it was the home for the alt-right and that matters, Ken.
CUCCINELLI: Well, right, but whatever you want to assign to him you certainly can't assign what "Breitbart" is doing now --
CUCCINELLI: That's not fair.
SANDERS: We're not -- no, no, no, no.
CUCCINELLI: -- in Charlottesville, Virginia. So --
SANDERS: We're assigning what "Breitbart" (INAUDIBLE) did.
CUCCINELLI: -- you know, the -- look, one of the problems with these hate groups like this is they assume mantles that start to pollute everything around it and everything that it touches. And, understandably for people who are part of that, that's the case.
But look, there were white supremacists, there were neo-Nazis. This all turned violent and, frankly, I think they wanted it to turn violent. I think they wanted the kind of attention they're getting now.
SANDERS: That's how white supremacists operate.
CUCCINELLI: That was part of their hopes. And, that's right.
And look, their -- look at how many people were there. There were about 1,000 people, if police estimates are right, that came from all over the country to participate in this and there were far more than that protesting, objecting, et cetera. And I think that's more representational of America. It certainly is of Virginia.
And as you noticed with --
SANDERS: Chris --
CUCCINELLI: -- the arrests that were made --
SANDERS: Chris, if I may --
CUCCINELLI: -- most of them were from out of state.
CUCCINELLI: There was only one Virginian arrested.
SANDERS: Chris, if I may --
CUOMO: Symone, go ahead.
CUCCINELLI: So this was attracting trash from all over the place.
SANDERS: Let me be clear. Let me be very clear.
What happened Friday, Saturday in Charlottesville was a direct result of folks being upset that a statue -- a monument of the Confederacy was going to come down.
When President Trump took the podium on Saturday a woman was dead. She was murdered by white supremacists, neo-Nazis. He did not use those words -- that terminology.
You have white supremacists, neo-Nazi sympathizers apparently in the White House in Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon. This is not just rhetoric. This is very real for people all over America.
CUCCINELLI: Yes, that's a -- that's an --
SANDERS: And I would suggest --
CUCCINELLI: -- outrageous overstatement.
SANDERS: -- that we have to --
That is not an outrageous overstatement.
CUCCINELLI: An outrageous overstatement.
SANDERS: You know what? In Germany -- wait, Chris. In Germany, there are no statues and monuments of Nazi soldiers. Children do not go to schools named after Nazi generals.
But in the United States of America, our children walk through parks, walk down streets, and go to schools named after generals of the Confederacy. Folks who, if in present day, took up arms against the government would be considered treasonous because they felt it was their right to own people that looked like me in this country because it benefitted them economically.
That's what this is about and so there is no overstatement here.
CUCCINELLI: No, that is not what this is about.
SANDERS: These are the facts and we would like to --
CUCCINELLI: No, that is not what this is about.
SANDERS: That's what the Robert E. Lee -- that's what they were marching for.
CUCCINELLI: It's an excuse for a bunch of racists and neo-Nazis --
SANDERS: No. Yes --
CUCCINELLI: -- to get together.
That was a local blogger --
SANDERS: We have not --
CUCCINELLI: -- who got a permit. This guy from Ohio cares about Robert E. Lee?
SANDERS: You're going to dismiss this --
CUCCINELLI: Nobody from Ohio cares about Robert E. Lee.
SANDERS: Mr. Cuccinelli, are you really going to dismiss this as though this is not more -- this is not bigger and more serious than just Charlottesville?Charlottesville is an egregious symptom of what is wrong with parts of all over America.
CUCCINELLI: Look, you want to keep jumping from -- who want to keep jumping from one thing to another.
SANDERS: I'm not jumping to conclusions, sir. I'm being factual --
SANDERS: -- and you are dismissing it.
And, you know, perhaps if you would actually --
SANDERS: -- speak to the heart of this thing --
CUCCINELLI: No, no.
SANDERS: -- we could get to the bottom of it.
CUOMO: Ken, hold on a second. Symone, let's get a point of clarification.
Ken, what are you disagreeing with, exactly? Symone's argument basically --
SANDERS: Apparently white supremacists.
CUOMO: -- that, you know, you know what white supremacists are about.
CUCCINELLI: Her point that --
CUOMO: You know what Robert E. Lee evokes. That's what they used for the basis for coming to gather.
What is your point of disagreement, exactly?
CUCCINELLI: Right. Well, my point of disagreement is that that was an excuse to bring these groups together.