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Interview with Ray Mabus; Trump Travels Draining Secret Service Funds; U.S. Navy Expected to Order One-Day Operational Pause; A Rare Total Solar Eclipse to be Seen Coast-to-Coast; Interview with Bonnie Tyler. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 21, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:04] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He said the investigation would provide a, quote, "broader look" at what is happening. This comes as the search continues this morning for 10 U.S. sailors missing after the USS John McCain was colliding with an oil tanker at sea off the coast of Singapore.

This is the fourth accident involving U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific just this year.

I'm joined by former secretary of the Navy and naval veteran, Ray Mabus. He's also the former governor of Mississippi.

Governor, thanks so much for being with us right now. Look, four of these accidents in just one year. If you were part of this investigation, what would be the first question you ask?

RAY MABUS, FORMER U.S. NAVY SECRETARY: Well, the first thing -- the first thing you got to do is find those 10 sailors and worry about them. But then this broader investigation, I mean, one accident maybe, because these are busy shipping lanes. But when you've got a pattern here, and particularly the Fitzgerald in June and now the McCain, you've got to find out if there's something systemic going on.

If there's something in training, if there's something in the way that watchers are being stood, the way that these ships are being operated because it's getting too many to just be a coincidence.

BERMAN: Yes. On its face what you're suggesting is that this shows there's something systemic at play here.

MABUS: Well, I don't know. And that's why you've got to have the investigation. But you got to look broader than just at the McCain. And that's what the secretary of Defense and that's why Admiral Richardson, the chief of Naval Operations, announced already that this is going to be Navy-wide. This is not just to look at what happened to the McCain a couple of days ago. This is going to be looking at, OK, what's going on in Navy? Is there something going on? Or is it just a coincidence?

BERMAN: All right. The other thing in the news right now that you of course are involved with is the removal of Confederate statues around the country. There were Confederate statues removed from the University of Texas Austin overnight. You're the former governor of Mississippi. And you say that every Confederate statue in the country should be taken down forever. Why?

MABUS: Well, these statues were put up to reestablish white supremacy. These statues were put up in the 1880s, 1890s, through the 1920s. They weren't put up to honor people who had fought in the civil war. They were put up to reestablish Jim Crow. They were put up to reestablish white control and white supremacy and to disenfranchise African-Americans. They were put up to change history. To sanitize history. And that's why they need to -- that's why they need to come down.

These statues that were not put up right after the civil war, but the only reason the South seceded, the only reason they took up arms which is the textbook definition of treason against the government of the United States was slavery. So we have statues that were put up to reestablish white supremacy, to reestablish white rule, to disenfranchise so much of our population, and to put in place the things that we had to fight in the civil rights movement against.

The things that made second class citizens. And they're monuments to the notion that -- on the idea that it's OK for one human being to own another one.

BERMAN: Quickly, what is your message to people around the country taking matters into their own hands? Because there have been incidents of violence and destruction against some of these statues that are still standing.

MABUS: Well, I don't think that's the answer. I think that violence on either side is wrong, it's counterproductive. But the officials need to take action. These states need to take action. These localities need to take action. And I am so proud of people like Mayor Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans, and mayors and governors and other leaders around the country who are making the decision in a measured, in an ordered way to not glorify slavery, not glorify white supremacy.

BERMAN: All right. Governor Ray Mabus, former governor of Mississippi, which is notable here, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it, sir.

MABUS: Appreciate it, John. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. It is a very big day. CNN is going to have live coverage of the president's prime time address tonight starting at 9:00 Eastern Time. That address on U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Right after that, Jake Tapper sits down with Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, for a live town hall from Ryan's home district. And that begins at 9:30 p.m. only on CNN.

[10:35:07] And I should add that at 10:50 a.m., very shortly, we're going to talk to Bonnie Tyler who sang a song about eclipses. That's going to happen.

In addition to that, no secret the president likes to get away on the weekend. The problem is the Secret Service can't afford it anymore.

And then as we said just hours away now from the total solar eclipse. An event which requires speaking to Bonnie Tyler. Oh, and we will.


BERMAN: All right. This morning the head of the Secret Service is talking and his words are pretty surprising. The agency can no longer afford to pay its agents because of the frequency of presidential trips and the number of people involved. The head of the Secret Service telling "USA Today" that more than 1,000 agents already hit the caps for salary and overtime that was supposed to last the entire year.

Joining me now from Washington to discuss, "USA Today" reporter, Kevin Johnson, who broke this story.

[10:40:05] And this is not some, you know, shady anonymous source here. This is the head of the Secret Service telling you on the record this is happening, Kevin. What did he say?

KEVIN JOHNSON, REPORTER, USA TODAY: Yes, he did. I think Director Alles was recalling some of the same problems that the Secret Service faced last year when about 1400 agents reached the cap during the contentious campaign season.

There was an expectation that the workload would normalize this year after the campaign season, but that just hasn't been the case. There has been an increase in the number of protectees up from 31 to 42, includes about 18 Trump family members. There's been frequent travel and there's been a requirement for the Secret Service to secure the Trump family residences in at least three locations.

BERMAN: Yes. And my understanding is one of the issues here is that Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster, for instance, they're hard to protect and keep as safe as is necessary because there's still members, there's still other people around all the time.

JOHNSON: That's true. And both at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster there's -- it's an open club, but at least there are members who are there. So the Secret Service has to adjust for that reality. And Director Alles has been adamant in that he wants to make sure that his agents are paid for the work that they have been doing.

BERMAN: And the number of protectees, the number of people associated with the administration also going up this year. Largely because of the president's children, who continue to do what they do in terms of their business around the world.

JOHNSON: That's correct. Again about 18 members of the family, and it's been some time since the Secret Service has had to adjust to account for members of the family who are very active in their own businesses and require protection when they travel abroad and throughout the country.

BERMAN: You know, and there will be people who make political hay of this in some way. However, this is really just a question of security here. And the Secret Service, basically, it just needs the money to deal with this. JOHNSON: That's right. Last year the Secret Service got a one-time

fix. Congress approved pay to cover all of the overtime that was accrued by those 1400 agents. What the director is now asking for is a more permanent fix that would raise the caps from $160,000 to $187,000 annually. And so there have been talks on the Hill about getting that done.

BERMAN: All right. Kevin Johnson from "USA Today," great report. Thanks so much for joining us today. Really appreciate it.

So you cannot look directly at a total eclipse of the sun. But what about a "Total Eclipse of the Heart?" One person knows the answer. Bonnie Tyler. We'll speak to her.


[10:47:39] BERMAN: All right. First on CNN, the U.S. Navy is expected to call for a one-day operational pause. This is hours after the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker. And this is to investigation, we understand, the series of events that have taken place this year.

CNN Military analyst and diplomatic analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby joins us now.

Admiral, what does this mean, a one-day operational pause?

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, what this is, is they're going to give fleet commanders across the Navy a chance over the next couple of weeks to take one day at their discretion -- because they all have operational commitments they have to meet. I mean, they don't want to stand in the way of the Navy's mission readiness every day but they want to take one day over those weeks and give fleet commander chance to take a pause, a safety stand down, if you will, a chance to not operate at the unit level, and take a look at how they're training, how they're preparing, how they're standing watches, equipment readiness.

Just take -- basically like taking a knee, John, to take a hard look at where they are in terms of watch standard readiness and material readiness before they go back out to sea. And again, this will be up to each unit commander to determine what day is best for them over the next couple of weeks. That way the Navy can still meet all its mission requirements.

BERMAN: All right. Admiral John Kirby, thanks so much for helping us understand this news.

Again, the U.S. Navy issuing a one-day operational pause across the Navy to assess the situation in the wake of the collision with the USS John McCain.

All right. Do you have your eclipse glasses ready? Yes?

We were supposed to have music right there. Apparently we don't. But trust me, we're going to speak to Bonnie Tyler who sang a very famous song about eclipses. She'll be right here on CNN.


[10:54:07] BERMAN: All right. It is nearly time. The total solar eclipse is coming for all of us. CNN has crews following this once- in-a-lifetime journey with Stephanie Elam in St. Joseph's, Missouri.

Stephanie, nothing I can say.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is really pretty cool to see the excitement, John. I want to show you what's happening here now because we have until about 1:00 local time before the totality is going to reach us here in St. Joseph, Missouri, provided that the clouds actually clear out and let us see the sun at the time.

But take a look. See the cars snaking in here right now? People are coming in. This whole plan here in St. Joseph, Missouri, has been in the works for several years now. They expect that there may be some 15,000 people that are going to show up here.

This is right in the path of totality. We expect it to start around 11:40 or so, and then it will -- around 1:06 local time here we should have totality. Now in case you're not in the path of totality, most of the United States will be able to see it.

[10:55:05] Just keep in mind, though, that you really do need your glasses to see it because, well, you don't want to ruin your eyesight for a very long time. So you've got to have these goggles or glasses or these.

I've got two pairs, sorry, John, I can't get it to you in time.

BERMAN: Stephanie, just to be clear. Look up, is it sunny there? I mean, are there clouds there that are getting in the way of the totality as it were where you are?

ELAM: It is very cloudy here and that's one of the concerns. In fact there is one group that was here that was leaving because of this. But they're hoping it's going to break up and happen. Even if it is cloudy they're still saying it can be very spectacular. So a lot of people here are very hopeful -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Talk to your producer on that. Get rid of those clouds.

Stephanie Elam, thanks so much.

And now the moment we have all been waiting for.

A truly amazing thing is happening on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship today. Bonnie Tyler will sing one of the greatest songs of all time during the total solar eclipse.

Bonnie Tyler joins us now from aboard the cruise ship.

Thank you so much for being with us. Explain to us exactly what's going to happen in a few hours.

BONNIE TYLER, SINGER: Well, I'm singing with a young, vibrant band that you know, DNCE. They've done a different version of it, which is great. We had a rehearsal of it yesterday. So I'm on this amazing ship. And looking forward to the performance later on.

BERMAN: So every time there is a total solar eclipse, your phone rings off the hook. Your YouTube video gets thousands of new hits. You're essentially the official voice of total eclipses, correct?

TYLER: Yes, but, you know, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is an evergreen song, all year through, not just on eclipse. But, you know, it's a powerful ballad, and everybody loves to sing it. You know? It's number one karaoke song. And yes, gets more attention I suppose now with the total eclipse of the sun. And I'm going to see it in its totality later on in the afternoon.

BERMAN: How do you think a total eclipse of the heart differs from a total eclipse of the sun?

TYLER: Well, heartbreak is the "Total Eclipse of the Heart," I think. And, you know, it just shows us that, you know, this universe is amazing, isn't it? You know, I mean, this is -- it just reminds us about what really is out there and what we're part of.

BERMAN: Can you stare into a "Total Eclipse of the Heart" without glasses?


TYLER: That's a good one. I will definitely be wearing my glasses later. But I'm sure that you can look into my heart. I wear it on my sleeve.

BERMAN: Indeed you do. And this song, the original song is, what, eight minutes long? You've got to cut it down because the actual totality of the solar eclipse is about 2 1/2 minutes, right?

TYLER: That's right. The total eclipse is like two minutes, 40 seconds. And my song is like eight minutes. Except it had to be edited. But we are doing the full version today with DNCE. And they're really a great band, you know.

BERMAN: What's your favorite line? Can you give us your favorite verse from the song?

TYLER: (Singing) "I need you more than ever and if you only hold me tight, we'll be holding on forever."


TYLER: Well, you know, what time is it? It's in the morning.

BERMAN: Bonnie Tyler, you have given us more than we could ever have hoped for. Thank you so much for being with us. And we wish you luck today. Break a leg. TYLER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Enjoy both the total eclipse of the sun but more importantly the "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Thank you, Bonnie Tyler.

TYLER: Thank you. Thank you.

BERMAN: That will be something.

All right. Just a quick reminder that you can experience the eclipse live in virtual reality at or you can go outside.

All right. Thank you all for joining me today. I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Jim Sciutto in today for Kate Bolduan.

President Trump just hours away from shouldering one of the most somber burdens of his office. Asking the nation to trust his leadership in war.