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New Track for Maria; Feinstein on Retweet; Spicer at Emmys; Trump Makes U.N. Debut; Trump Nicknames Kim Jong-Un; Iran's President on Nuke Deal. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 18, 2017 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:18] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being with me.

We're going to begin with another major hurricane heading straight for a region already devastated by the last one. And, moments ago, a chilling, new forecast. Everywhere from the Caribbean to the northeast coast of the United States could be impacted. Three named storms right now churning in the Atlantic. But the focus is on Hurricane Maria, now a powerful category 3 hurricane. Maria is following very close to the same destructive path of our most recent one, Hurricane Irma. And it is gaining strength quickly.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the CNN Weather Center for us.

You just got that new update, especially on those winds. What's the story?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so the two big, obvious things that came out of this newest advisory is, one, we're seeing an increase of winds. We are now up to 125 miles per hour. A five-mile- per-hour difference. That may not seem like a lot, but it is, especially when you also look at the other thing that changed. We now have an eye. Albeit it very tiny, but it is there.

What that tells us is, the storm is strengthening. It's going through an intensifying process. So five-mile-per-hour increase may not seem like that much, but it shows us the trend that it's likely going to keep going up from here. And we expect it to. We actually anticipate getting up to category four strength within the next 24 hours. It will likely maintain that for all of the way probably to about the Turks and Caicos.

The thing of it is, it's going to cross over many of the same islands that Irma already impacted, including Puerto Rico, who may end up taking a direct landfall with this storm. Now, the models are in very good agreement up to that point in Puerto Rico. They may differ on the exact land point, but they both say that Puerto Rico is going to take a direct hit.

It's after that where the models really start to split. The blue, which is the European model, has it veering back out over the open Atlantic. The American model, the red dot, actually has it continuing northwest and heading toward the U.S.

So why the discrepancy? What is the difference between the two? It all comes back to this high pressure. Now, it's this high pressure that's been steering Maria up to this point and will likely continue to do so. The European model assumes that the high is going to stay in place. If it does, it will allow the storm to wrap back around and head out into the Atlantic.

However, the American model thinks that the high is going to shift a little bit farther to the west, pushing Maria toward the eastern coast of the U.S. Again, we're still talking seven to ten days out. So we -- at this point we really just need to know where that high is going to end up in that same timeframe.

We've talked about the comparison with Irma. The yellow line is Irma. The red line is Maria. You can see Maria starting off a little bit farther south and ending up a little bit farther north. But again, Brooke, they're so close, this is why so many of those same islands are going to be impacted by Maria that were just hit by Irma.

BALDWIN: Just want to make it go far, far away, if at all possible, but we can't. You're tracking it. And we can watch it on

Allison, thank you so much.

For now, let's move on and talk about the president of the United States. We're going to get to his big debut at the United Nations in just a moment.

But first, this just in, a top Democrat, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, is now lashing out at President Trump, chastising him for re-tweeting a video that depicted violence against his former rival Hillary Clinton.

So this is the video. You can see it for yourself. You be the judge. It's video that shows him hitting a golf ball which a couple of edits later eventually hits Hillary Clinton in her back, knocking her down.

This is what Senator Feinstein's statement reads as follows. The president's Sunday morning tweet of a video depicting an attack on Hillary Clinton is appalling and disgusting. He continues to obsessively lash out at her, at his rallies, with his words and now through social media in a manner that is utterly unbecoming of the president of the United States. Every one of us should be offended by the vindictive and candidly dangerous messages that the president sends that demean not only Secretary Clinton, but all women. Grow up and do your job.

Wowza (ph).

Jamie Gangel is with me, CNN special correspondent, and Chris Cillizza is here, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large.

I've been waiting, you know, for a woman to come -- to come up and speak up and to say, Jamie, grow up and do your job. Those are some strong word, you think? JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Absolutely. And here's

the other thing. There are a lot of Republicans who may not be saying that with their name attached to it, but, trust me, they've been saying it for months now.

[14:05:04] I think we should point out that is a fake video that we saw there, but this is -- no one is happy about this. This is, you know -- the other point I just want to make is, General Kelly has done a lot to try --

BALDWIN: The chief of staff.

GANGEL: The chief of staff -- to bring discipline. And we'll get to this. President Trump did not tweet during the Emmys last night, at least not yet. But he can't stop some of this.

BALDWIN: Chris Cillizza, I mean, again, it's coming from the president. We've had multiple conversations about the way the words in which the president has chosen to speak about women in the past.


BALDWIN: And this is also the president just before, you know, the Super Bowl of geopolitics, you know, giving his big speech. Today being number one for, you know, the U.N. General Assembly. Tomorrow being the big speech. The world is watching and the world is watching his Twitter feed.

CILLIZZA: Yes. And we've talked about this, too, Brooke, which is that his Twitter feed, I think, is the best reflection of what he cares about and what is on his mind. We've seen his Twitter feed break with his administration on a number of policies. And I think you should always trust the Twitter feed because the Twitter feed is him as opposed to the filter that is being presented by the White House.

I thought the words in Dianne Feinstein's quote, statement, that were the most interesting is the unbecoming of the office. Donald Trump has, for some reason, conflated the idea of rejecting being presidential with this crusade he's on against political correctness and against what he would term as the liberal media elites. That is, if you act like they think you should act, you are therefore being presidential, but that's all bunk anyway and, you know, don't pay attention to that.

But there are ways that we need to act as humans to one another. There are also ways that, as a president of the United States, you need to act, whether it's in your Twitter feed or in person. And he seems willfully, and I say willfully ignorant of that fact. I think he is just flouting it because he hates convention. He hates being told to do what he is -- you know, being -- doing what he is told to do.


CILLIZZA: And I -- it's just hugely problematic I think not just for this presidency, but more broadly speaking, you know, there is a reason that we expect our presidents to represent our best -- the best of us, our better angels, to take the high road, right?


CILLIZZA: They are supposed to lead in that respect, not tweet edited videos of him hitting Hillary Clinton in the back with a golf ball. I mean I -- just think about that for a second. Take it out of its context. Think about that. Imagine Barack Obama tweeting a video of him -- he played golf frequently -- taking a swing and hitting Laura Bush -- Laura Bush.

BALDWIN: Or President Bush. Or H.W. Yes. Yes, no.

CILLIZZA: I mean it would be -- it would be out --


CILLIZZA: We would be going bananas.


CILLIZZA: Now this has created a controversy, but compared to what it would be in anyone else, there is a difficulty in normalizing this kind of behavior.

BALDWIN: There are ways to speak about and to treat women and then there are ways we do not. I'm just going to leave that point hanging.

Let's move on to Sean Spicer, shall we? Jamie mentioned, you know, the president didn't tweet during the Emmys last night. We saw the reaction shots from celebrities sitting in the audience. Roll it. In case you haven't seen it, Sean Spicer making a cameo.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, EMMY AWARDS: Unfortunately, at this point, we have no way of knowing how big our audience is. Is there anyone who could say how big the audience is?

Sean, do you know?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.

COLBERT: Wow! That really soothes my fragile ego. I can understand why you'd want one of these guys around.

Melissa McCarthy, everybody! Give it up!


BALDWIN: Jamie Gangel, funny or not so much?

GANGEL: So I already know because I read what Chris wrote on that he and I disagree on this. I thought it was funny. I think that a lot of people thought it was funny. That said, it has blown up on social media. There is a lot of outrage

there. Outrage is the coin of the realm on Twitter. So this has gone a little bit crazy. And a lot of White House correspondents are offended because he stood there and lied to them.

BALDWIN: April Ryan, for one, who we're talking to next hour.

GANGEL: Right.

BALDWIN: She wants an apology.

GANGEL: On the other hand, this was very self-depreciating. He owned up to it. He -- that was saying, you know what, I wasn't telling the truth.

[14:10:09] BALDWIN: But isn't it a little fresh? The wounds are a little fresh? I mean, Chris Cillizza, you know, if you're sitting in that White House press pool, if you're sitting in that room each and every day and you're asking the tough question of this man and, you know, just -- you know, I don't know how many days he's been out of the job and he rolls out on the Emmys stage and ha, ha, ha, and I can make a joke about crowd size?

CILLIZZA: Yes, I mean, yes, let's -- I'm going to interrupt you there, Brooke. Look, two things. One, I -- Jamie's exactly right about Twitter and outrage. I see it in my feed every day. It's often manufactured outrage.

And, number two, I hate occupying the humorless scold role, but I just -- here's the point that I would make. This is someone whose salary is paid for by taxpayers in Sean Spicer. This is someone who, yes, all press secretaries of the White House are loyal to their boss, the president, but are also trying their best to represent the -- what the administration is doing for the American people, who is also a boss of theirs.

I just, for me, for him to go out and like the joke is ha, ha, see, I was lying all that time. I don't know. I just -- again, I'm not -- I'm not trying to be humorless in this. I get it.


CILLIZZA: I get that being self-deprecating works.


CILLIZZA: But I'm just not sure that Hollywood, which has spent the whole rest of the time bashing President Trump, should celebrate Sean Spicer, even a self-deprecating, the joke is kind of on him way.

BALDWIN: Yes. And I don't know if, you know, they all reacted. You saw the reaction shots. And maybe, in the end, they, too, didn't think it was funny. It was just everyone couldn't believe there he was rolling out, you know, his podium on the stage.

We'll let everyone else be the judge and we'll see where he goes from here.

Chris Cillizza and Jamie Gangel, always a pleasure. Thank you two so very much.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up, the president making his debut, as we mentioned, here in New York, the United Nations this week, callings on the U.N. to get its house in order, making a plug even for his own building across the street. We'll show you what happened there.

And this new paranoia inside the White House. Why officials are worried their colleagues might be wearing microphones in the West Wing for the special counsel, Bob Mueller.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


[14:16:48] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

To another nickname for another enemy, the president calling the dictator in charge of a nuclear armed North Korea, quote, the rocket man. And President Trump dropped the insult on Twitter as he makes his debut at the United Nations today under the spotlight of the world stage just 24 hours before he makes his big speech tomorrow morning. He met with world leaders, including Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu just a short time ago. It was then where he made the announcement that there can be peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, after also taking aim at the U.N. himself -- or itself, rather, President Trump telling the roundtable to get its house in order.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement. While the United Nations, on a regular budget, has increased by 140 percent, and its staff has more than doubled since 2000, we are not seeing the results in line with this investment.


BALDWIN: Let's go to our senior diplomatic correspondent over there at the U.N., Michelle Kosinski.

You know, this is a president who ran, of course, on the platform, America first. What are you hearing about the message and the tone he'll present tomorrow on the global stage?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, what you heard just there was a little bit of the tone of, I know better than you. I can solve these problems. That tone doesn't always sit well, even with U.S. Allies. But on that issue of trying to reform and streamline the U.N., he does have a lot of people with him on that. More than 120 countries signed on today to that.

But here you have a nationalistic leader of the free world, somebody who has repeatedly and harshly criticized the U.N. in the past, saying that it's not a friend of freedom and democracy. And now here he is giving his debut appearance before that very body and asking other countries to work together and follow his lead to help solve the world's problems.

How do you fit that all into the speech? Well, that's why so many people are very interested to see how this will go. Other leaders are also looking to see what his tone will be. How he addresses them. How does he express support for the U.N. How does he articulate U.S. foreign policy. And how does he put that all together in a way that they're going to see as presidential and an accessible message.

You know, his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said there are going to be three themes, promoting peace, but framing it in a way of protecting Americans. Also, promoting American prosperity and upholding sovereignty and accountability. Kind of saying, well, everybody needs to take care of their own, but we all need to work together when it serves our mutual interest, Brooke.

BALDWIN: The big speech tomorrow morning. The world will be watching, as I said a moment ago, 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Michelle, thank you.

Let's discuss. Let's broaden this out. Matthew Rosenberg is joining me, CNN national security analyst and national security correspondent for "The New York Times." Also Hagar Chemali, former spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations and former director for Syria and Lebanon on the National Security Council.

[14:20:11] So welcome to both of you.

And let' let's with a little bit more sound from the president. This was when he started off this morning with a little bit of a plug of his building.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you, and it was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project.


BALDWIN: So turning to you first, you know, some people are making a bit of a deal about this, that one of his first messages was on real estate and his building across the street. How was --

HAGAR CHEMALI, FORMER SPOKESWOMAN, U.S. MISSION TO THE U.N.: It's silly. It's not surprising, really. I mean I think President Trump has taken every opportunity he can to make a plug for his own business opportunities and deals. And he's just that guy. And he keeps doing that. And he's not learning to how one conveys as a president. But I think more importantly, I mean, I think his comments about the U.N. not reaching its potential --

BALDWIN: What did you think of that?

CHEMALI: You know, he's -- what's surprising. First of all, he's standing -- he's sitting right next to the U.N. secretary-general. So if I were his communications director, I probably would have been a bit more diplomatic. But, at the same time, I don't disagree with him. And, you know what, I don't think -- I don't think that the previous presidents disagree with him and previous permanent representatives of both parties.


CHEMALI: He just has a way of delivering that comes off a bit too harsh sometimes.

BALDWIN: So that was this morning.


BALDWIN: Matthew, big picture. You know, he's here for the U.N. General Assembly for four days. I was reading one article where someone described it as like speed dating from hell, right? I mean all these heads of state, meetings, bilaterals, dinners, handshakes, you know, you get it. And so it takes a sort of discipline and stamina. But then you also have the president of the United States, for the very first time, addressing the world. And the world leaders' first impressions of him, many of whom haven't met him until this week. How do you thread that needle as President Trump?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, I think every -- at this point everybody's got an impression of President Trump. If there's a world leader out there who doesn't, they probably haven't been watching TV or read the news.

You know, it's a tough one for Trump. Look, he is who he is at this point. The real estate jokes, all that, that comes with him. And these meetings, like most international diplomacy, are so formal and kind of so ritualized, such as they are. I think there are people who will find his willingness to be frank on some subjects fairly -- and, you know, maybe endearing is the wrong word, but like look at his speech about the U.N. About the need to reform. That is not a sentiment that is uncommon among U.N. staff, among many of the member nations and he was fairly direct about it.

BALDWIN: So you (ph) could argue (ph) that, yes.

ROSENBERG: But, you know, it's going to depend on whether he can keep it together. If he starts, you know, going off about his crowd size victory or freelancing on other kind of pet topics, if he starts making up facts and meetings, you know, that's going to -- it's going to alienate people and it's going to make it tough to move ahead with what the U.S. wants in North Korea and elsewhere. I mean one of the problems here, though, is -- there are fundamental

problems. You've got this president coming in who has preached and spoken about this vision of this nationalistic kind of America does what it wants world and the U.N. is probably the biggest symbol of this idea of a multilateral world, of countries constrained by rules working together.


ROSENBERG: You know, it's a tough one. It's a tough one if you're going to be direct about what you say. And I think we've seen that with President Trump. He says one trying on Twitter, one thing to his audience, and something entirely different to an audience -- a different audience.

BALDWIN: Chris Cillizza was just on. We were talking about that re- tweet from over the weekend saying it feels like the Trump Twitter is his -- seems like his true self.

Matthew, you mentioned North Korea, so, Hagar, let me just ask you. You know, amid serious, serious tensions we've been covering, you know, the back and forth. You see President Trump over the weekend on Twitter referring to Kim Jong-un as rocket man.


BALDWIN: Appropriate?

CHEMALI: Not appropriate, but not surprising, again, for the way, you know, the vitriol he uses over Twitter for sure. And I agree, I think that's his real self-coming out. But I also think sometimes, especially on Twitter, he pushes and it comes off as macho. And when actually there are a number of steps that are still there, available in the U.S. tool box, to increase pressure on North Korea further.

There are still U.S. unilateral sanctions that haven't been imposed yet. So even when Secretary of State Tillerson, I believe yesterday, made note of, you know, there's still -- there's -- the military option is left. I think there's still a lot there left. So there's no need to amp it up on Twitter. That's just not helpful.

BALDWIN: He likes nicknames. We remember the campaign trail.


BALDWIN: He likes his nicknames.


BALDWIN: And, you know, throw rocket man in there.

On a much more serious note, though, Matthew, to you on Iran. The Iranian president telling CNN that the U.S. will pay the price for killing a nuclear deal. Will this kind of threat just rile up President Trump? [14:25:03] ROSENBERG: I'm sure it will. Sorry, I can't hear you that

well. I'm having a little bit of technical difficulty. But I think I know what you're asking.

I'm sure it will. You know, President Trump is not a man to shy away from a rhetorical challenge, I guess. And, you know, this is -- this is going to come up again and again and again. I think everybody hopes it doesn't lead to a crisis where someone says something. President Trump either takes it to the next level or just out of nowhere just decides to go after somebody on Twitter, go after another country on Twitter and say incredibly aggressive kind of saber rattling statements. And, you know, these things do have real world consequences.

BALDWIN: Yes. All right, Matthew, thank you. Hagar, nice to meet you.

ROSENBERG: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thanks for coming by. Appreciate you as well.

CHEMALI: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: Ahead here on CNN, a couple of President Trump's lawyers pulling no punches while having lunch and having a very loud conversation about the Russia investigation in Washington, D.C. Oh, and, by the way, at the table nearby, a "New York Times" reporter. We'll discuss that.

And a fourth day of protests underway in St. Louis after a white former police officer is acquitted in the shooting death of a black man. The situation there turning violent overnight with dozens of arrests. Some now left wondering what could tonight look like? We'll be right back.