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Clapper Questions Trump's Fitness to be President; "Duck Dynasty" Star Calls On Trump to Unify Country. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 25, 2017 - 06:30   ET


LT. GENERAL RUSSEL HONORE, AUTHOR, "LEADERSHIP IN THE NEW NORMAL": -- along the coast, the surge water is coming in and flooding places that don't normally flood and places that haven't had a surge of this type since 2008.

[06:30:12] And that is a big problem, Alisyn. That's right on top of our national chemical and refinery corridor, from that part of Texas and on through Louisiana give great concern to people who elect to shelter in place and do not heed warnings from local governments to evacuate. But FEMA and the governors I think are off to a great start.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: General, I want to underscore something you're saying which is people may see this as a huge rain event and what can all of a sudden happen as this storm stalls is that the flooding really overtakes communities, and makes it then impossible to evacuate and then you're into a cascading situation of problems.

HONORE: Absolutely, sir. If at any given time during major thunderstorms, and, Lord, we've had enough of them in recent years, and your community has flooded, it will flood this time. If you're in that cone of uncertainty between south of Corpus Christi, all the way over to Cameron Parish.

If you've ever seen flooding before from a storm or hurricane, you can see it again, and it will cascade, because as the storm comes ashore, it will not do its normal move on through, up through Arkansas and northern Texas. It's going to stay around a day or two and could be with us through Wednesday. That will probably shut down some of the refineries in that area. It's going to have a significant impact on the flow of fresh gas to pumps throughout the United States. And we'll see the price of fuel probably going to go up.

So, fill your car early and be prepared to evacuate. If you are evacuating, check on your neighbors, particularly those who have special needs and don't have cars, take them with you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That is such good advice. I mean, this storm as you're pointing out, will park itself over Texas, and it could bring 30 to 40 inches. I mean, our storm chasers and meteorologists are saying this is not a situation that they have no seen before.

And so, General, at this hour, this morning, if you were in charge of the preparedness for this storm, what would you be doing? HONORE: I would probably be more direct and tell people to get out of

the places that we suspect are going to flood. I would expand that as opposed to telling people voluntary evacuations. I would start making this mandatory evacuation.

You know, Alisyn, you can go to -- if you've got an iPhone -- I don't push iPhones. But if you go to compass on iPhone, at the bottom of that compass is elevation.

If you're along the coast and it doesn't take much to figure this out, that you're going to be in a surge that's covered around six or seven feet and you're going to get a foot and a half of water. That if you're not about that 20 or 30-foot elevation in the home you're in, you need to evacuate.

The government isn't good enough to come by and tell everybody at the door you need to go. They're broadcasting this broadly by zones, and people need to evacuate now as opposed to waiting until later, those people who are in areas who have flooded before need to move and need to move now.

CAMEROTA: OK. I didn't know my iPhone had this function. Thank you for teaching me that. Look at this. We're at 90 foot elevation now. I didn't know that.

GREGORY: Yes, all kinds of technology now.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, General, for opening my mind to this and all your expertise, General. Thank you. We'll call upon you throughout all of this.

All right. Thank you -- back to another top story, President Trump repeatedly altering facts, changing his tone. Is this posing some sort of national security threat? General Michael Hayden has thoughts on this. He's the former director of the CIA and NSA. He'll be with us next.


[06:37:46] GREGORY: As you well know, the president depending upon his audience, depending upon the day, sounds like a different president when he's making various speeches. He's depending that. His rhetoric has prompted former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, to question his fitness to hold office.

Joining us is CNN national security analyst, retired General Michael Hayden. He's the former director of the CIA and the NSA.

General, good to see you this morning.


GREGORY: What do you make of this criticism? It's one thing to have a different message or a different tone for a different audience. That gets into the realm of temperament and fitness as James Clapper has said. Was that criticism that was warranted? HAYDEN: I think it was. Now, look, this is a very difficult

situation for Jim. David, maybe the main teaching point here is that someone of Jim's temperament and experience felt compelled to kind of go out of our traditional lane and make this kind of commentary.

But I think what concerned him was the stark contrast between the president on script, on prompter, and the president extemporaneous. It's just not style. It's content.

One language is unifying. The other language is divisive. One tone is presidential. The other tone is thuggish. And, frankly, that creates such dissonance, but I can understand why Jim and, frankly, like me are quite concerned.

CAMEROTA: Bt when you say you're quite concerned about the thuggish tone, what are you concerned about? National security issues?

HAYDEN: It's -- well, yes, but that's part of a broader package of things, Alisyn.

I'm reminded of the story told about Harry Truman when he was president. Someone on the personal staff did something he didn't like and he sharply criticized the person, and then he realized suddenly that he had shattered this person because he wasn't semi important politician from Kansas City, Harry Truman. He was the president of the United States.

And now, you've got this businessman from New York who has habituated to saying things in a certain way.

[06:40:02] But now, it's coming out with the full force of the American presidency. He's got to recognize that.

GREGORY: Do you worry, though, General, that you have this specter of parts of the government, people will look at it, Jim Clapper or Brennan as CIA director and say, oh, these are Obama holdovers? That's incorrect, of course, because they've served Republican and Democratic presidents. But do you worry about the specter of the entrenched bureaucracy of government going after Trump, and that's how it looks to many of his supporters?

HAYDEN: I worry about that a great deal, David. Let me make this a little more personal. A lot of folks who have expressed concerns about the course of action of the Trump administration are from the intelligence community. It's Jim and John and me and Mike Morrell and Jeremy Bash and Phil Mudd, a whole bunch of folks, many of whom appear on CNN.

And I fear we've created this impression that the intelligence community is at war with the Trump administration, and that's a very, very bad impression. The intelligence community exists to support, to make the Trump administration better, but you do have this image that you just suggested.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but the president has also gone after the intelligence community. I mean, the sense that there's a war brewing is a two-way street. The president has tweeted about his criticism of them.

HAYDEN: It is. I've tried to stay away from that. For Jim, Director Clapper, it was a little more personal because he was actively involved in that transition and he actually called the president-elect to complain about the tweet with the Nazi reference, and Jim tells the story that it was actually a fairly productive call.

GREGORY: But let's pin this down. Clapper talked about worrying about Trump with the nuclear codes. From an intelligence point of view, from relationships with foreign governments, what kind of instability are you concerned about specifically as it would relate to the president's handling of the crisis?

HAYDEN: Well, first of all, David, let's keep in mind now who Jim Clapper is. Now, Jim is known to practically every intelligence chief on this planet, and he's known as a somber, sober, serious professional. And now he goes and says this.

So what do you think these folks are beginning to think about the stability of the American government? And so, several things come to mind, come into play because of our current circumstances.

I can imagine intelligence chiefs abroad now trying to tell their prime minister who speaks authoritatively for the American government. It's not clear to you and me, is it? That's one question.

What's the stability of the current administration? What are the possibilities for political violence in the United States given the events in the last two weeks? These are questions that not just our adversaries are exploring, but I think some of our friends now.

CAMEROTA: General Michael Hayden, thank you very much. Always appreciate getting your perspective on these things.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

GREGORY: Very difficult perspective, and it can be politicized so easily. But you also have members of the president's party bringing up some of these issues as well. So, this conversation is certainly going to continue.

Switching gears. "Duck Dynasty" star Korie Robertson who voted for President Trump now calling him out after the deadly violence in Charlottesville. She wants him to change his ways, and that's not all. Our one-on-one interview exclusive with the reality star, coming up.


[06:47:36] CAMEROTA: "Duck Dynasty" star Korie Robertson is joining the chorus of voices who are calling on President Trump to work harder to unify the country. Robertson says her concerns bubbled up after the deadly violence in Charlottesville and the president's reluctance to call out hate.

CNN's special correspondent Jamie Gangel spoke with Robertson. She joins us with more.

This is interesting, Jamie.

JAMIE GANGE, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is. Her husband was a big supporter of the president, but she was not. She was very concerned, and we talked to her about Confederate statues. We talked to her about Charlottesville, but this really all started last week when she retweeted President Barack Obama's tweet after Charlottesville.

So, we started by asking her why she did that.


KORIE ROBERTSON, STAR OF "DUCK DYNASTY": I retweeted it because, I think it just kind of felt like goodness was kind of winning the day, you know, on social media, to see something that was like positive and that was such truth. It just felt like light was winning, and I thought I'm going to retweet that as well.

GANGEL: Willie, your husband, was one of the early supporters of Donald Trump and you have publicly said that there were a lot of family discussions during the campaign. What were you concerned about?

ROBERTSON: It was a stressful time. I think our whole country felt that, you know? And there is a lot of husbands and wives, you know, arguing around the dinner table and we certainly had plenty. And Willie was outspoken about Trump from the beginning, and I was not.

GANGEL: In the end, can I ask you? Did you vote for Donald Trump?

ROBERTSON: You can ask me that. I will say I did not make that decision until the day of the election. I really, really struggled with it. It was a very hard decision for me.

And in the end, I did. I chose to mainly because of Hillary Clinton's views on abortion. So, I think that, you know, in the end, a lot of people made the choice because they felt like the other wasn't the right candidate, rather than we had a really great choice.

GANGEL: You didn't think Donald Trump was a really great choice?


GANGEL: Because?

ROBERTSON: Because I don't think he's leading our country to a place of like unity.

[06:50:02] I think he's in fight mode and he still is in fight mode and I'm like, you know, you won. Like you won the election, so you need to get out of fight mode and let's get into like peace and unifying people.

GANGEL: Talk to me about Charlottesville. When you watched it, how did you react?

ROBERTSON: I get emotional about it, because it was so sad for me to see that amount of hate being spewed out by people. And it was like, you know, you see these people, and these are just men that look like your neighbors, standing up there and just spewing this hate for other people, because of their skin color, or their nationality, or any of that.

And it's so counter to Jesus' teachings and the way we're supposed to be.

GANGEL: So, then President Trump comes out and it's not hard to say the right thing, but he doesn't do it.


GANGEL: What does that say about Donald Trump that he seems to be so reluctant?

ROBERTSON: Yes. I don't know, you know? It was -- it was shocking and scary, the fact that it didn't feel like he was willing to call them out.

GANGEL: You don't think there's a moral equivalency between the two?

ROBERTSON: No, absolutely not. And I think that, you know, I guess I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt of what he meant to say. But then when he came back and, you know, he started saying that there were good people on both sides and all that, that's when it got even more shocking to me because I was like, I don't know how you can say there are good people that are marching with torches and shouting Nazi slogans, wearing Hitler shirts, you know, spewing all amount of hate.

So, if there's a good person that showed up there, they would leave whenever they saw what was happening, you know? So, I just -- that floored me, and I don't really understand that. I really can't defend him in any way on that.

GANGEL: So, fans of "Duck Dynasty" know that you have six children.


GANGEL: And three of them are adopted.


GANGEL: And one of them is by racial, part African-American, Willie Jr. and Rebecca is from --

ROBERTSON: Taiwan, yes.

GANGEL: How do you say to them, we voted for this guy?

ROBERTSON: Well, I will say this. If we had thought for one second that Donald Trump was racist in any way, we would never have voted for him. So I will say that. That wasn't -- that was not -- we did not believe that he was at all.

And I'm not saying that Donald Trump is a racist at this point. But the words he's using is somehow identifying with that group. And somehow they are thinking that he is accepting them. They think that he is, you know, speaking on their behalf in some way.

GANGEL: If you could send a message to Donald Trump right now, what would it be, about the way he's handled this?

ROBERTSON: You know, say you were wrong, and stop fighting, you know? I just feel like it's exhausting, like, why are you still fighting? Like what are you trying to prove at this point? Let's just like come together, and be a leader that unifies, that brings people together. And that's, I think, what we need right now.

GANGEL: Would you vote for him again?

ROBERTSON: Well, I think we'll just wait and see if that becomes an issue. I don't know. I can't answer that right now.


CAMEROTA: Wow. I mean, so candid.

GANGEL: Right, absolutely. And there's something else you wanted to make clear. She is in favor to take down Confederate statues. She said it is important to remember our history so that we don't repeat it, but we don't need to revere that part of history.

You know, this is a family with great values. It's also personal for them. They have a son who is African-American. They have a daughter from Taiwan. So all of this is something she felt very strongly about.

GREGORY: An interesting focus group of a supporter, maybe reluctant supporter, whose support is softening at the very least for Trump as he is in fight mode. That was very well-said. He's in constant fight mode.


GANGEL: Right.

CAMEROTA: Jamie, thank you very much for bringing this to us.

All right. Much more coverage of Hurricane Harvey barreling towards Texas. The rainfall is expected to cause devastating flooding. We have live reports tracking the storm in moments.



CAMEROTA: Hurricane Harvey intensifying rapidly and roaring towards the Texas coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's healthy and it's getting stronger. This will reach category 3 status.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to be ready and prepared for whatever Mother Nature may send our way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president stands ready to send resources if needed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will vote with the president when I believe he's right and I'll challenge him when I believe he's wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fighting against Mitch McConnell and others, there's nothing unhinged about it. It's a political strategy.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't really take it as going after me. I'm not that worried about this. We will pay our debts.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He campaigned on the wall. He's going to make sure that gets done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mexico is going to pay for it, no American taxpayer dollars. He should go find the money over there.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.


CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off. And David Gregory joins me.

This is not a sleepy summer Friday. We have a lot of news.

GREGORY: And a lot of concerns for folks along the Texas coast as the storm is bearing down.

CAMEROTA: So, let's get to our breaking news. Hurricane Harvey is intensifying rapidly as it bears down on the Texas coast. This is a monster storm and expected to strengthen to a category 3 hurricane before making landfall.