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Trump to Address U.N.; Manhunt in Subway Attack; Haley Talks North Korea Sanctions; Military Option for North Korea; Trump Tweets About London Attack; Trump and ESPN; Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 15, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: The FBI would be aware of it. It seems to me you're really stretching those 140 characters to take that from it. If you read that, I think you show that to 100 people outside, 99 or 100 of them is going to think, oh, Scotland Yard must have been aware of these specific people who committed this act. And apparently, according to H.R. McMaster, that's not what Trump was saying.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The president, Elise, will address the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday morning. Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador, she said it's a new U.N. right now. It's -- all of a sudden they're doing things they never used to do. She said, the U.N. Security Council sanctions are going to result (ph) in 30 percent reduction in oil, shipments to North Korea, a 90 percent reduction in North Korean exports. Things are beginning to happen. And she added, they've already started to feel it, the sanctions, North Korea. There is no way North Korea doesn't feel this.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, I think they're starting to feel it. But I think, you know, the end result is what is China going to do? And they still haven't been able to square that circle in terms of how much China is going to implement those sanctions. Certainly they're not going to do that in the next month or two. The Chinese party Congress is coming up. That's a very important period for the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. And I think that's going to be whether North Korea's going to be squeezed enough to come to the table.

And also, look, Nikki Haley is trying to, you know, show that the U.S. leadership is very tough at the U.N. She has been very forceful on U.N. reform. President Trump will be running this -- hosting this meeting of all countries to work on U.S. -- or U.N. reform. And the secretary general has also been very strong on that.

So I think, look, this U.N. General Assembly is going to be mostly about the world in the era of President Trump. And it's going to be a much -- as much about U.S. leadership and America's role in the world is it's going to be about any of these one or two issues.

BLITZER: A lot to unpack from this briefing we just heard.

And we're going to continue our extensive live coverage in "NEWSROOM." Brooke Baldwin picks up our coverage right now.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf, thank you so much.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. We are, of course, following the news out of North Korea. The North firing another ballistic missile over Japan in defiance of these recent U.N. sanctions.

That is the sound of a siren ringing out in northern Japan earlier today warning citizens to take cover. Soon, the U.N. Security Council will meet for an emergency session at the request of Japan.

And just a short time ago there over at the White House, we just heard from H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and the U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: What we are seeing is they continue to be provocative. They continue to be reckless. And at that point, you know, there's not a whole lot the Security Council's going to be able to do from here. When you've cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil. So, having said that, I have no problem kicking it to General Mattis, because I think he has plenty of options.

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What's different about this approach is, is that we're out of time, right? As Ambassador Haley said before, you know, we've been kicking the can down the road and we're out of road. And so for those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option. There is a military option. Now, it's not what we prefer to do.


BALDWIN: Just a reminder, this marks the second missile launch since President Trump's fire and fury warning last month. President Trump already facing pressure to respond to this latest attack ahead of the address to the U.N. General Assembly next week.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has already tweeted, quote, clearly North Korea does not give a damn about U.N. sanctions or tough talk. It is time to more forcibly back up our diplomatic efforts with the threat of a credible military option.

As the president himself is staying relatively silent on North Korea today, he is going off on Twitter about today's terror attack this morning in London. With the bomber or bombers still on the run, the president wrote this, quote, another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sight of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive. That was one of several we saw this morning on his Twitter feed. And that forced a response from the British prime minister, Theresa May, who is now dealing with at least five terror attacks in the U.K. this year alone.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I nerve think it's helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation. As I've just said, the police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible.


BALDWIN: The bombing today created what one eyewitness described as, quote, a wall of fire inside a London tube station in Parsons Green. Police believe the explosion came from this bucket bomb. The photo shows it was still burning from within.

[14:05:11] At least 29 people have been hurt. Thankfully, no critical injuries. But many people suffering flash burns. As one of the wounded showed his forehead and hair singed there on Twitter.

So let's go first to London here to CNN's Erin McLaughlin.

So we know the bomber or bombers still on the run. What more do they know or are saying?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, the investigation is still underway. The focus of that investigation, that bucket bomb that you were just referring to, certainly seeming to be the work of an amateur, seeming to be poorly constructed. One security source telling CNN that there was a timer found inside the device. And had that device gone off as it was intended, it could have caused much more carnage.

That timer, though, raising some eyebrows here in the capital because that suggests that whoever created this IED, whoever planted that IED, is still on the run, who was not there to see the chaos unfolded at 8:20 in the morning, the height of rush hour. The train just arriving at the station behind me. As the doors opened, according to eyewitness, that's when the small explosion occurred. Chaos ensued. Take a listen to what one eyewitness had to say about that moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just heard this bang. And it was loud enough to make me wonder what the bang was. And I looked around and this wall of fire was just coming towards us. So we just run. You just, you know, it's a fire -- you know, just running from it. This fireball was just going over your head and everybody's screaming. And you just run out of the tube as quickly as you can.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I spoke to another eyewitness who arrived here. She was dropped off from work a short way from the station. She said that she saw children, she saw a woman covered in blood. Keep in mind that this all happened in an affluent area, residential area of London, not far away from schools. Tonight, this neighborhood in absolute shock, coming to terms with terror on their doorstop and a manhunt underway.


BALDWIN: As we said, the fifth terror attack in England this year alone.

Erin, thank you so much, for us in London.

Let's talk about London and also North Korea. I've got David Sanger, CNN political and national security analyst, and national security correspondent for "The New York Times," and David Drucker, CNN political analyst and senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner." And also with us, CNN's Will Ripley, who was just back from North Korea.

So to the Davids, to my right, good to see both you guys.

Before we get to it, it's really important to talk through what -- some of what Nikki Hailey and General McMaster said at the briefing.

First to you just on the missile itself and the trajectory, right? I believe the math is 200 miles farther than say Guam. The inference being, it's not just a message from Pyongyang to its allies, but also the U.S. territory. Not allies, I mean our allies in the region.

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, look, I think that Kim Jong-un is trying to make clear, number one, that he's very capable of using these weapons, but also that he has no intention of ever getting rid of them. And if you look at this from his point of view as sort of irrational as we tend to talk about him, the only thing that keeps him in power and keeps him relevant is his nuclear weapons capability, because his regime is so atrocious in the way it treats its own people is so atrocious, without this program, there is nothing to keep him propped up and nothing to protect him from an international community that might sanction them into the ground.

BALDWIN: So I just wanted to set it up.

Then comes you, sir, on what we heard from the White House. And when initially Ambassador Haley had said, her quote was to all this talk about the tougher sanctions, right. And she said, well, we have strangled their economic situation at this time. Before she said, if they continue to be reckless, we're kicking it to General Mattis.

But we were talking before you came on and you said, strangled their, you know, their economic situation? It's BS.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Not even close. They're only, at the very beginning, of what sanctions could do, if they could get the Chinese, and to a lesser degree the Russians, on board here.

Look at Nikki Haley's initial draft for this U.N. resolution. It would have cut off all oil and refined petroleum products. It would have had a complete ban on Kim Jong-un's own holdings, if we can found them. I'm sure they've found some.

And, most importantly, it would allowed all states, including the United States, to use military force in inspecting shipping coming in and out of North Korea, which is how they're getting everything other than what comes across the Chinese border. [14:10:12] She got none of that. She got some limits on energy, which

are very hard to monitor. They just went in on Monday. You wouldn't see the effects of that for months on end. She didn't get the inspection requirement. She didn't get the Kim Jong-un requirement. So to say that we strangled them is overstating the case.

Now, what was the line about Mattis all about? The line about Mattis was actually not intended for Kim Jong-un. That was intended for the Chinese, to say --

BALDWIN: How so?

SANGER: Because what do the Chinese fearing here? They fear that --

BALDWIN: A unified Korea?

SANGER: They -- they may fear a unified Korea. They really fear a United States and the South Korea that move right up to their --

BALDWIN: Border.

SANGER: To their border, right.

So what she's saying is, we're perfectly willing to move to the option that will crash the regime down. So you will get the outcome you've been trying to avoid.

And that's what this is all about, changing the Chinese calculus so they turn off that oil.

BALDWIN: Hang on, before we come to you, let me go to the region. Will Ripley is standing by, fresh off of another trip to Pyongyang.

And, I mean, David Sanger makes an excellent point on a message to China. What are you hearing from the region?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's pretty unlikely the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is going to do anything between now and October when he has his big party congress, that he would consider destabilizing. And that includes cutting off the oil supply to North Korea. He -- obviously, China and Russia have their fingerprints all over this latest U.N. Security Council resolution. They threw out the oil embargo and the other things that would have made it much more difficult for North Korea. And so this missile launch, a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile, like the kind that they launched around two weeks ago, this is not going to be provocative enough to motivate China to take further steps than they already have, even if they do strongly condemn this, because they continue to think that the United States, through its perfectly legal joint military drills with South Korea, they think that the United States shares the blame for escalating the situation because it's training with South Korean forces. Again, perfectly legal under international law, unlike the repeated North Korea missile launches, the nuclear tests, which are flagrant violations of international law.

But you have China and Russia both with veto power on the U.N. Security Council who are, in many ways, taking North Korea's side, or at least showing some more empathy for North Korea than the rest of the international community and certainly the United States. You heard Vladimir Putin talking about the need for dialogue, saying that the sanctions are a dead-end road. And that is somewhat similar to what the Chinese have been saying, although they have held up their enforcement of the U.N. Security Council resolution. They haven't bought North Korean coal for months and they have pledged to crack down harder along their ports of entry regarding trade with North Korea.

BALDWIN: Will, thank you. I think I'm seeing you next hour. We're going to talk about this fascinating inside look of North Korea that you have ahead of this documentary airing tonight at 10:00.

But back to you -- both of you gentlemen on my right. And I just want to pivot. I know you have more to say on North Korea. But while I have you, on London, I think it's important to talk about the president and what he tweeted out this morning and the message, how it's being received by Scotland Yard and Theresa May. He, again, tweeted, another attack on London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who are in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive. You know, I mean, to me the implication is he's saying that they perhaps knew more than they were letting on, that they could have prevented this.

DRUCKER: So the president --

BALDWIN: Not a good look if you're -- for the U.K.

DRUCKER: Not -- and it -- and, first of all, you know, we are supposed to have a special relationship with the United Kingdom. That is very important for us in Europe because so many of the European countries are so suspicious of us and our foreign policy. And we've always been able to lean on the U.K. as a sort of backstop of U.S. support abroad.

But the more important thing here, and I've talked to foreign policy analysts that actually like a lot of the policies that they're seeing out of the Trump administration, but say that a key thing that is missing is the president's rhetoric. And they're saying that the president's rhetoric here has not caught up to his policies to give further explanation so that there is more leadership coming from him to affect these policies.

The other thing is that when he badgers other countries this way via Twitter or any other way, what he does is he creates a problem for his own policy because these countries have their own domestic constituencies, their own voters. And so what the president did this morning in regard to London causes Theresa May a problem. And she is supposed to be one of his closest allies in the region. So while the president's busy using this for his own domestic purposes --


DRUCKER: He's causing himself long-term problems in his attempt to work with the U.K. to defeat jihadist terrorism. BALDWIN: But then the message also, David Sanger, is that, you know,

he's -- we all see the reports this morning coming out of what's happened in this tube station. He's jumping on these conclusions, right, based upon however much he really knows. Juxtapose that with what he said right after Charlottesville, which was this.

[14:15:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't make statements that direct unless you know the fact. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don't know the facts. And it is a very, very important process to me. And it's a very important statement. So I don't want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.


SANGER: Well, so much for General Kelly's new initiative to review facts in the tweets before they go out. And it could turn out in the end that part or all of what the president said was right.


SANGER: But he had no way of knowing that at that time. We don't even know who this was.

Something else that strikes me. So think of what had happened in those 12 hours. You had had the North Koreans, as David points out, show that they could shoot something 2,300 miles, get past Guam. So he's got a big, strategic concern.


SANGER: Involving a missile, a known miscreant --

BALDWIN: Says nothing about it.

SANGER: Says nothing about it, OK? And then we've got what's happening in the London subway, which is, you know, terrible, awful, particularly for the people there. This was a bucket bomb. This was not a terribly sophisticated attack.

BALDWIN: Thank goodness. Thank goodness. But I hear your point.

SANGER: Highly tactical. And it just makes you wonder whether he's focusing -- I understand there's better imagery out of London where you could sort of see, it's very emotive. We all worry about --

BALDWIN: Doesn't it help play to his base in the wake of the DACA, chocolate cake and Chinese food dinner?

DRUCKER: That's exactly what it was all about.

SANGER: Yes, of course.

BALDWIN: Yes. DRUCKER: Resetting relations with his base who were concerned that he's about to go back on his promise not to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. And that's what the entire morning tweet storm was all about.

And just to go to those remarks on Charlottesville that you played, one of the reasons that the president got so much blowback at the time is because we know, and we've seen in the past, and he did it again this morning, that he comments all the time without getting the facts and it's never bothered him before.

BALDWIN: We just thought we'd point it out. You know, as we can go back to archived footage, and as we do.

David Sanger and David Drucker, thank you both so very much. Have a wonderful weekend.

SANGER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Meantime, coming up here, demanding an apology. President Trump calling out ESPN today, again taking to Twitter to do this, saying the sports network is paying a price for its politics. This as the White House stands by itself call for an ESPN host to be fired for calling Trump on Twitter a white supremacist. Is the White House going too far? Let's debate this, hear from both sides, next here on CNN.


[14:21:58] BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

First, it was the White House press secretary. Now it's the president himself lashing out at ESPN for the disparaging tweets by one of its hosts, Jemele Hill, days after the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, suggested Hill be fired. The president took to Twitter this morning and this is what he says. Quote, ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics and bad programming. People are dumping it in record numbers. Apologize for untruth.

And moments ago Sarah Sanders weighed in again.


QUESTION: Are you or the president saying that she should be fired?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's not a decision that I'm going to make. That's something for ESPN to decide. Again, I was asked about that. I think it is a fireable offense based on the standard that ESPN has set themselves by saying that people that go too far and make political comments have been suspended from their own network. I think that that is a consistency that they should probably focus on.


BALDWIN: Let's bring on Marc Lamont Hill, CNN political commentator and Temple University professor. Also with us, Ed Martin, president of the Eagle Forum Fund and former state chairman for the Missouri Republican Party.

Gentlemen, wonderful to have you both on.

And, Ed, you get the first one, which is, you know, this is what I was wondering, of all the pundits and the commentators and the columnists out there who have gone on the record and called the president a racist, why do you think he chose to go after this particular incident?

ED MARTIN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, MISSOURI REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, you know, I was going to say, I was thinking, as we were waiting to be on, you know, ever since ESPN made Chris Berman do less coverage, I've kind of tuned off of ESPN. I think I loved -- Chris Berman never played football and I liked that.

But, look, I think ESPN is a private company and they should be, you know, pressured by others like they're doing, like the president's doing, in any way they want, but it's a private company. And Sanders said, you know, Sarah said, it's a private company, they should have their own policies. I think they'll pay a price with people.

But, look, I think the president, he's allowed to be annoyed. It's like, as a conservative, when Senator Flake writes a book that's really unpleasant, and then everyone sort of says, well, he's a Republican, get along. The president's mad at him. And I think the president can be --

BALDWIN: Sure, sure, sure, sure and I'm with you -- I'm with you on him being allowed to be annoyed. But to your point about it being a private entity. I mean think, Ed, to all the magazine covers. You know, I think we have a couple, you know, "The New Yorker" and "Time" and "The Economist," you know, the covers of the magazines calling him a racist, why did it, you know, at the time, the White House, Sarah Sanders, vis-a-vis the president, you know, demand that those white editors be fired?

MARTIN: Oh, I guess -- I guess I had even thought of who the editors were or what the color was. I think part of this could be, honestly, I think the president likes Curt Shilling. And Curt Shilling, for those of us that watched him get fired for saying something about the transgender bathrooms, it's kind of like, wait, you guys had a standard there. I didn't think -- I didn't even know that the other editors had said he's racist were white or black. I don't know. I mean I don't think that's the factor.

I think it's more -- and, look, the president loves this kind of stuff. He loves the counter-punch. And this was a popular -- it's a popular issue. You know, it's gotten a lot of traction. And he's in the middle of it. He likes that. And I think more power to him. But I don't think ESPN has to fire him because the president says -- her, because the president says so. But, you know, let's see what happens.

[14:25:10] BALDWIN: Marc, how do you see it? MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A couple things. One, I

mean I 'm sure he didn't consider race or the race of the editors as a factor. I think that's part of the extraordinary privilege of whiteness is not having to consider race or the role that race may play in a particular incident.

You're also right that it's a private company. And part of what federal law prohibits is a member, an employee or -- a member of Congress or a member of the executive branch or an employee of the executive branch influencing the employment of a private citizen based on their political views. And so when I hear a press secretary and/or a president encourage someone to be disciplined or fired for their political views, that, to me, is not only an egregious abuse of power, but it's also just unseemly.

And, yes, the president likes to counter-punch. I do find it troublesome that out of all the people who have called the president racist in America, that he -- that they decided to kind of locate their power and focus on this one black woman. That is troublesome to me.

And then there's this other piece of the pie, the big elephant in the room, which is that people seem to be more upset about people calling Donald Trump racist than wrestling with the fact that Donald Trump may actually be racist. To me, that is the more fundamental issue that we should be wrestling with. Let's actually -- let's test the truth claims, not whether or not she should say it or not. And I support Jemele Hill fully 100 percent. I think she was right. I think her analysis was right. And I don't think there was anything inappropriate about what she said or did.

MARTIN: Come on.

HILL: Yes, I do.

MARTIN: I mean her analysis. I mean her analysis. It's just an assertion about something that she's observed. I mean, again, you know, my assertion back would be, when I watched the images of Donald Trump interacted with African-Americans at -- when he went down to Houston. You know, when you see a man hugging and speaking with and kissing a baby and they happen to be black, I say to myself, he's not a racist. You can't fake being a racist there. So she may be able to read into this.

HILL: Well, why can't you? Can you explain that to me?

MARTIN: You should be able to -- but why can -- how can she, by observing him, not knowing him say he's a white supremacist. You're saying she's allowed to do that. And I'm not allowed to say what I say --

HILL: I didn't say that.


HILL: I didn't say that at all. I didn't say that she could see into his soul. That's a straw (ph) man. What I actually said is that she made an analysis. You said that it wasn't an analysis. One of her primary --

MARTIN: Her analysis is he's a white supremacist.

HILL: Well, let me tell you -- no, her analysis was that by virtue of things that he has said and done and the people -- and the company that he keeps and the people he has hired, he has shown a strong connection to white supremacists. That's not seeing into his soul.

MARTIN: That's not what you said.

HILL: Actually it is. Go back and -- go aback and read the tweet. She said, he is a white supremacist who is surrounded by white supremacist.

MARTIN: He is a white supremacist is different than saying that the people around him and the things he said make her think that he's got positions like that. That's a different argument. I mean I think --

HILL: Read the entire tweets.

BALDWIN: Well, she points to Charlottesville as an example of the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis there. That's one example she does specifically give.

Go ahead.

HILL: That's not the example. That's not to say --

MARTIN: NO, but I understand -- I understand. But I'm pointing to another example and I think I'm allowed to too that says that I've seen the guy interact. Again, I don't see it his soul either, but I watch him on TV. When I see the pictures of him kissing an African- American baby and being around people, it doesn't look like someone who is thinking -- and when he says to African-Americans on the campaign trail, the Democratic Party's let you down. Your school system is failing. Why can't we do better? That feels like somebody that sees a problem. I don't think that there --

HILL: He has a problem because he didn't have any black votes. I mean here's the thing.

MARTIN: Sure he did.

HILL: Let me ask you -- let me ask you a question.


HILL: Is it possible to kiss a black baby and still be racist?

MARTIN: Well, of course it is. That's not what I said, though. It's just -- it's impossible --

HILL: No, I know, but you used it as a piece of counter evidence. What I'm saying is, is that it's not counter evidence if both could be true. They're not computing claims. I'm not disputing that Donald Trump kisses babies and gives photo-ops. What I'm disputing is that his politics, his world view and the company he keeps is inconsistent with white supremacy. I'm saying it is in fact consistently. You don't hire white supremacists --

MARTIN: I know but we're talking about a reporter for ESPN who says -- makes an assertion, which you have now conceded is that he is a white supremacist based on what she saw. And I'm saying that that is --

HILL: No, based on what he's done.

MARTIN: His -- that is not consistent with ESPN's previous conduct about saying people shouldn't be political. So whether she should be fired or not is up to ESPN. All I'm saying is if she gets --

HILL: But again --

MARTIN: If she gets to assert that she knows he's a white supremacist, I'm saying what I observe about it is that a guy seems to like people of all different colors, and I think that that seems like a pretty neat thing. But that's where she and I have (INAUDIBLE).

HILL: OK, but, yes --

BALDWIN: Marc, you get the last word. I'm just listening to y'all. Marc, go ahead.

HILL: Again, finally, you're misrepresenting Jemele Hill's position. She's not saying he's racist because I'm looking at him and I can just somehow see racism in his skin. What she's saying is, based on his practices, his policy and who she's hired, the Charlottesville example is just another example of many that many of us have offered with regard to Donald Trump. And there is a critique of Donald Trump to be made with regard to racism.

Do I think Donald Trump is racist? Absolutely. Do I think Donald Trump is white supremacist? Absolutely. And I don't think it's because of how he looks. I think it's because of the things that he does and the things that he does not do.


HILL: That is the critique here. And there has to be space between the private sector and the public sector for people to say it. If you say it on your ESPN show that might be inappropriate because it's a sports talk show. But if you say it on Twitter and back it up, I say more power to you. We should defend her right to do it. Just like I would defend your right to make the claims that you're making, even though I think they're baseless. I still think you have the right to make them.

BALDWIN: And, Jemele, if you're watching, we'd love to talk to you.

[14:30:01] Marc Lamont Hill and Ed martin, appreciate both of your perspectives.

MARTIN: Thanks, Brooke. BALDWIN: That's why we wanted to have the conversation. Thank you, both. Thank you, truly.

Ahead here on CNN, new details about President Trump's Oval Office blowup at his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions.