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Trump Denies Tillerson Resignation; Congress Could Ban Device; Senators Slam Credit Reporting Industry; Newton Laughs at Female Reporter; Author on Trump's Unique Style. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 5, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:47] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump tweeting this morning about reports that the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, wanted to resign and called the president, quote, a moron. The president says, Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. No verification from me.

How do we deal with this impasse? Good news. We have the antidote on set this morning, CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman.

So, this, very, very unusual, full stop, to have a secretary of state come out and feel the need to validate or, as he said, reaffirm his commitment to the president. What's your read?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, my read is that the president was very upset about the NBC report, which, by all of our reporting, is accurate, that Rex Tillerson had threatened to resign. You know, the big question was whether he had called him a moron. I did hear that from one source that that had happened. You noticed that Rex Tillerson did not address that at his own press conference.

Rex Tillerson made very clear he was speaking to an audience of one. Most people don't think that Tillerson has a lot of longevity in this administration but he does seem to want to last for roughly a year or so. And I think there are other people within the cabinet, other advisers to the president, who think it is imperative that he be in place right now. Given everything that is going on in the world, it would be incredibly tumultuous for the administration to be doing a secretary of state search right now.

CUOMO: Let me ask you about the status quo one step sideways. Aaron David Miller, friend of both of us, recourse to everybody watching right now on CNN, he has a piece about how unusual a public rift between the secretary of state and POTUS is and what this tenure -- this short tenure would mean historically as well.

So now to the state of play. Angus King said something that -- in his hearing -- senator from Maine -- that he asked Mattis directly, should we stay in the Iran deal? And he said after a pause, yes. And it made me think, Tillerson says we have to use diplomacy. The president says he's making a mistake. Publicly embarrasses him.

HABERMAN: Yes. CUOMO: Mattis says, got to stay in the Iran deal. Next week the president has to certify compliance or it begins to unravel. What if he does the same thing to Mattis, which then made me think about Senator Corker, who said, Mattis, Tillerson and Kelly are the three men keeping us from chaos.

HABERMAN: That's a direct quote. The fact -- that Corker comment yesterday, given everything that is happening this week, by the way, did not get the attention I thought it would. That was a shocking statement.

CUOMO: Because?

HABERMAN: Well, because he was making clear that the chaos that he's pointing to is the presidency. He's not talking about outside events. He's partly talking about that. But he's saying, basically, these men are a bulwark against a president who has, you know, no international experience. And according to people that have spoken to him, a limited understanding of global affairs and that these are the men who are keeping, you know, essentially sitting on the wall and keeping us safe, to quote "A Few Good Men."

CUOMO: Now Kellyanne says, no, no, no, the chaos is what's happening around the world. That's what he's referring to. Listen to him. Here's Senator Corker.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos. And I support them very much. You know, he ends up not being supported in the way that I would hope a secretary of state would be supported. And that's just my -- from my vantage point.


[08:35:15] CUOMO: The context was, in your opinion?

HABERMAN: I mean the context was, I think, again, I -- two things with the context. One is that Corker is expressing a sentiment that a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill will say privately. He is retiring from the Senate. He now clearly feels emboldened to say these things publically. The rest of the context is the president has made clear, you know, in his conversations with people where he stands on world affairs. There are a lot of people, including in his own circle, including in the West Wing, including cabinet officials who will privately say, you don't understand how many things we stop from happening that he thinks should happen. I believe that's what Corker was talking about.

Yes, there is obviously chaos globally and I think that's a factor, but I don't think that's what he's referring to. When he says those are the three men who are protecting us, you know, Donald Trump's message over the campaign was, he would the one who would protect us. And you hear Corker saying something very different. CUOMO: Las Vegas, for all the talk that now is not the time, of course

now is the time otherwise the issues of why these happens never gets discussed.


CUOMO: Nancy Pelosi, we had the town hall last night. She was asked about this first by the husband of a victim who died there. Here's what Pelosi says that she is promising to do with the Democrats. Here it is.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: We have -- we take an oath to protect and defend the American people. And we're not doing that. So your impatience and your -- your weight that you bring to your question is a real challenge to the conscience of all of us. And we're never going to rest. We've said this to the families over and over again, we're never going to rest until we get this done. But we have to make -- shorten the distance between what is inevitable to us and inconceivable to others.


CUOMO: Now, two things. One, that's Bob Patterson and his daughter, Amanda. And, of course, they have family in all of us right now grieving for their loss. But the idea that you're doing disrespect to the survivors by talking about this at all, that's what he wanted to talk about. And we hear that time and time again out of this.

Now, the second point, which is, I said it to Nancy Pelosi last night, we've been saying it this morning, that Democrats had the numbers, they got nothing done. The bump stock that we're talking about right now actually it made it through ATF during the Obama administration. Not that it was a purgative of the White House, but that's when it happened. They haven't been able to get anything done. I get why she's going to say, yes, we must, but they never do. They don't even want to talk about it right now. What is the chance that we see any progress? Your best reckoning.

HABERMAN: I think it is slim. I think it could happen. I think it is slim. You have heard Republicans, especially in the upper chamber, suggest they will take a look at the bump stock issue. And, again, it depends on what scope of something happening that we're talking about. If we're talking about background checks, that's been really hard. If we're talking about doing something about bump stocks, which is right now where the conversation is, that seems like there is a little bit of space for that.

We come back to a couple of things. One is where the GOP is on this, because to your point, Democrats had the votes and -- or at least have -- had control and nothing happened.

The president himself, Democrats hope they can push a little bit on this issue. They hope that they can get him faced with his own previous support for some gun control measures, because the president, as he has with many issues, has been on several sides of this at different points. They are hoping that they can press upon him, after seeing what he saw yesterday in Las Vegas, a need to make a change. I still think the chances are very slim. It is ultimately important to remember the NRA was one of the top outside funders of the president last year.

CUOMO: It will be interesting we they decide to talk about this. We haven't heard from that organization.

HABERMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: That's not unusual in this timing as well.

HABERMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: Maggie Haberman, always a pleasure. A little odd for us to be here instead of in New York.

HABERMAN: It's weird. Yes.

CUOMO: But, you know, you know no limitation. You know, no limitation.

HABERMAN: Neither do you.

CUOMO: I know. I ignore limitation. You have no limitation.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I do. I know -- I'm trapped here in the studio. You guys have abandoned me for D.C. That looks like a fun party down there.

We'll be back to you in a moment.

Meanwhile, Carolina Panther's quarterback Cam Newton is under fire today for calling a female reporter's question funny. Why no one was laughing, next.


[08:43:36] CAMEROTA: It's time for CNN "Money Now."

Equifax's breach exposed the financial data of 145 million Americans. Now its former CEO is on Capitol Hill. "EARLY START" anchor Dave Briggs in our Money Center with more.

Dave, what did you learn?


Well, we learn former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, after being grilled by senators on both sides of the aisle yesterday, not only about the Equifax hack and its botched response, but why consumers don't have control over the data Equifax collects. In other words, questioning the entire industries business model.

Here's Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Equifax did a terrible job of protecting our data because they didn't have a reason to care to protect our data. The incentives in this industrial are completely out of whack.


BRIGGS: Now, the main criticism here, Americans are the product, not the consumer. Equifax is one of three nationwide credit reporting companies, and Americans don't choose to share their data with these companies, yet they profit from selling the data to lenders and with very little oversight. Will this breach lead to more? Well, no word yet, but several senators are calling for stronger regulations on the industry.

And, Alisyn, the Trump administration reportedly weighing changing the Social Security Number system outlined in the article in "The Wall Street Journal" this morning.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's an interesting development.


CAMEROTA: Dave, thank you very much for that.

[08:45:01] Stick around for this sports story because a former Super Bowl quarterback facing a firestorm after comments that he made to a female reporter. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report."

What happened, Coy?


This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

We're talking about Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, under fire for this response to a female reporter who was simply asking about the stellar play of one of his teammates.


JOURDAN RODRIGUE, "CHARLOTTE OBSERVER": Devin Fanchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his route and -- and making -- getting those extra yards. Does that give you a little bit of an enjoyment to see him kind of truck (INAUDIBLE) people out there?

CAM NEWTON, PANTHERS QUARTERBACK: It's funny to hear a female talk about routes. Like, that's funny.


WIRE: A Panthers' spokesman said Newton and the reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, spoke afterwards and that Newton expressed regret, but Rodrigue says Newton did not apologize. The beat writer for the "Charlotte Observer" said, quote, I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me, but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs, un quote.

The NFL has responded as well. Spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNN Sports, quote, the comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league, unquote. Sure to be a hot topic, Alisyn. The Panthers do have an open locker at 1:45 Eastern. We'll see if Cam Newton makes himself available for that.

Also, NFL action tonight, Patriots play the Bucks.

CAMEROTA: OK, Coy, thanks so much. Keep us posted on all of that.

So, the president's critics say that his response to Puerto Rico shows a lack of empathy. Up next, the co-author of Trump's "Art of the Deal" book tells us what he saw.


[08:50:55] CAMEROTA: How has President Trump handled the various tragedies facing the country this week in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas? Here with some unique insight on the president's style is Tony Schwartz. Thirty years ago he co-wrote Mr. Trump's memoire, "The Art of the Deal." And now Tony Schwartz has contributed to a new book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump."

Tony, great to have you in studio here.


CAMEROTA: What did you think of the president's tone and behavior as he confronted these two human tragedies this week. Let's start with Puerto Rico.

SCHWARTZ: I was horrified. Mosely horrified by --

CAMEROTA: What part?

SCHWARTZ: The absolutely insensitivity and the lack of empathy in a situation in which comforting is what ought to be happening. But he's incapable of comforting because when Donald Trump looks out into the world, what he sees is a reflection of himself. And that self he sees is a black hole that's leaking and it's leaking self-esteem at a very, very rapid rate. And so he needs to keep filling it up. The ability to see other people is almost nonexistent.

CAMEROTA: You know, you write about this in the new book, and I'll just read a portion of it, but it's the one about his own sort of psyche. It says, to survive, I concluded from our conversations, Trump felt compelled to go to war with the world. It was a binary, zero-sum choice for him. You either dominated or you submitted, you either create and exploit fear or you succumbed to it. How did you conclude that from all the time that you spent with him? SCHWARTZ: Well, I think, first of all, hundreds of hours around him

made it very clear that a person was either a -- serving his interest or was an enemy. There was never anything in between. And often that same person who was an ally could become an enemy in a moment. And he will say wonderful things about a person who he then excoriates in the next moment.

So, I mean, it's a world view and he himself has said that he's the same person today as 70 that he was at seven. And I believe that. That his world view has not changed. And you develop things like empathy and a conscience and sensitivity and self-awareness long past the age of seven. So if your development is arrested at age seven, then you're not going to get those qualities. You're not going to have them.

CAMEROTA: He's getting much higher marks for the way he's been dealing with survivors and family members in Las Vegas. He went to the hospital. He interacted with people. He gave out hugs. The CEO of the hospital there said that he was making people laugh. He was providing comfort.

So what went on there? Why do you think he wasn't able to do it in that style in Puerto Rico, but was here in Las Vegas?

SCHWARTZ: Well, first of all, he was being criticized by the mayor of San Juan and the minute he's getting criticized, everything shifts to, how do I react, dominate or submit, win or lose. So it was a win/lose game there.

As soon as he can be in a position of total and complete authority, then he can put on a show. That empathy is not empathy he's feeling from inside, he's an actor in that role. And in certain situations, when he's not under threat, he can be an actor.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk about the way people around him deal with him, because you try to capture this in the chapter that you wrote in this book. You write, in the hundreds of Trump's phone calls I listened in on with his consent and the dozens of meetings I attended with him, I can never remember anyone disagreeing with him about anything. The same climate of fear and paranoia appears to have taken root in this White House.

Why can't people tell the emperor he has no clothes?

SCHWARTZ: Because he can't take it. You know, it's the classic story of the bully. If you criticize him, he feels not just diminished but decimated. That's an internal feeling that's going on and so he's going to attack back harder. And he's said that many times, I'm a counter puncher. If you challenge my value, I will challenge yours.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, John Kelly, his chief of staff, Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state, Defense Secretary Mattis, they don't play by those rules. So why are they succumbing to that now?

[08:55:07] SCHWARTZ: He's the president of the United States. You either play or you get out of the -- you get off the field. And he doesn't give you another choice. And he is the final authority. He makes the decisions. And so they have no choice but to go along.

You can see with Tillerson, who you were talking about earlier, that what's going on behind the scenes is a lot of teeth grinding and anger and frustration. But, you know, it's very seductive to be in that role, to be in any of these roles, you know, in the cabinet or close to the president. And so it's a trade that they're all making every day.

I've said before, and I'll say it again, that every person -- every rational person who is around Trump knows who he is in a moment because the outer Trump is no different than the inner Trump. And what we see is what they get times ten.

CAMEROTA: I mean it sounds like what you are describing from your experience, very quickly, is just classic narcissism.

SCHWARTZ: I'm describing a personality disorder. In this book of 27 essays, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," this book of 27 essays has a variety of psychiatrists, very esteemed psychiatrists, making different judgments, but all agreeing that there's a fundamental personality disorder. He is not fit to lead. And that he has made clear. And that's what frightens me the most. And what I don't want allow to be normalized.

CAMEROTA: Tony Schwartz, it's always interesting to get your perspective since you have spent so much time with him in writing the book. Thanks so much for being with us.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman will begin after this very quick break.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.


So did he have help? That is the key question this morning surrounding the man who murdered 58 people in Las Vegas. Did he have help? You have to make the assumption he did. That's from the Las Vegas sheriff leading the investigation, who also said the killer appeared to make plans to get away, to escape. His girlfriend, now questioned by the FBI, says she had no idea he was planning violence against anyone.

HARLOW: We see that violence from a new perspective also this morning, in a video taken by a city worker who helped evacuate the open air concert site, just across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Look at that.

[09:00:12] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)