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Three Storms, Three Different Responses; Trump's Escalating Feud With Sen. Bob Corker; EPA Chief Announces Withdrawal From Clean Power Plan. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 10, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:33:33] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We have an update now on the Las Vegas massacre investigation.

Police say the killer shot a hotel security guard six minutes before he started firing on concertgoers. Now, police originally said the security guard was shot as the mass murder was underway, diverting the killer's attention.

Authorities say they have spoken to the killer's brother and other family members but the motive remains a mystery.

More breaking news.

A college freshman is now in custody after allegedly shooting and killing a Texas Tech University police officer. The incident unfolded when officers were bringing the suspect, 19-year-old Hollis Daniels, to the campus police station after allegedly finding drugs in his room. Police say Daniels shot the officer in the head and then tried to run away.

Over to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. I know there's a lot of news, I know there's a lot of political intrigue. But we cannot forget the people who were left behind by these storms, all right -- Harvey, Irma, Maria. The need is still so great.

We want to give you an update so you can stay involved here with Harvey. OK, you remember this. Texas and Louisiana, 82 people killed, $180 billion in damage. You know, you've got 30,000 federal personnel there.

Now, you still have 60,000 people displaced. There is still a great, great need for temporary housing. Education there has been slowed.

There's a great need. You can help address it. Go on the Web site. There are ways that you can get involved, all right?

[07:35:03] So, that's Harvey.

Then, of course, we remember Irma and what it did in Florida with all of us standing in those high winds. You had 60 people die. Again, $150 billion to $200 billion in damage. You have to remember these numbers because we're going to have to

figure out how to pay for this, all right, and it's not going to be that easy. It's necessary, but it won't be easy.

Ten thousand still displaced. FEMA trailers needed urgently. Why aren't they there? They don't have enough of them.

So again, this was about how you were prepared for it and what you do -- not a criticism, but as a reality.

Again, in the Keys, life is nowhere near back to normal. The need is great. You can get involved.

And then, of course, Maria. We've been hearing it a hundred different ways. I know that this has been politicized. It should not be.

The reality is a simple one. It is a crisis, it is in crisis. You do not celebrate when you put out of the fire in half of your house, OK? The rest of the house is still on fire.

You will hear reports there that people are subsisting on the kind of food that sounds like a refugee crisis that's going on there.

And, in fact, you will see mass exodus from this island. They have right of return.

They can come to the United States. It's a U.S. territory. They are U.S. citizens.

But it can't stay like this. You can't survive this way. Eighty-five percent still without power, 40 and a half percent still without water.

Again, the term that they're using there -- instead of saying hello to each other they're saying agua e luz. Do you have water and power?

It's not sustainable life there. That's why we're going to stay on the criticism of it.

That's why I'm going to try to -- I can't even get rid of the situation. I can't even wipe it off the screen. That's how persistent the problem is -- that we can't wipe it off.

Obviously, no joke, Alisyn. We're staying on it all the time. We know that news will get in the way but we can't forget the people who are in need.

CAMEROTA: No, that's so important, Chris. I'm so glad you're giving us a status report on all of that because obviously, news comes and it eclipses everything but the story doesn't go away. So thank you very much for that.

So up next, what do Congressional Republicans think about the feud between Sen. Bob Corker and the president? What does it do to their agenda? We ask a GOP lawmaker, next.


[07:40:50] CUOMO: So one of the top Republican senators is raising major questions about President Trump and his ability to lead the nation.

Here's what Sen. Bob Corker told "The New York Times."


SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN), CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I do worry that he's -- yes, and sometimes I feel like he's on a reality show of some kind, you know, when he's talking about these big foreign policy issues. And, you know, he doesn't realize that, you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the kind of comments that he's making.


CUOMO: How seriously should this be taken? What are you going to hear from other people who are involved within the party?

Let's ask Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman --


CUOMO: -- always a pleasure. Thank you --

KINZINGER: I'll switch jobs with you for a little bit.

CUOMO: No way. You're too good looking, you're too smart, you have too much value to the country.

So, OK, here's where we are in the spectrum with Corker. Either one extreme would be he's making a case that the president is not fit for office.

The other extreme is this is political sour grapes. He got sideways with Trump. He's retiring so he's speaking out now.

Where do you see it in terms of your level of concern about his comments?

KINZINGER: Well, I'm concerned about some of the comments he makes.

But also, at the same point, I don't know where this all came from. I mean, it was literally one day -- I thought they got along, actually, pretty well and then one day the president tweets against Corker, Corker tweets against the president. And I literally woke up and go where did this feud come from?

I mean, Bob Corker was being considered for secretary of state at one point. Look, I don't agree with Bob Corker that, you know, it's World War III or there's three guys that separate the world from chaos.

I actually -- and I've said this repeatedly -- I think some of the president's comments on international issues actually show some unpredictability which I think is beneficial in cases like North Korea when you find out that Kim Jong Un is reaching out, you know, to Republican strategists to say what's this guy made of. So, I don't share that level of concern with Mr. Corker.

But, you know, look, I think, obviously, there are some folks that are concerned with the tweeting that the president does. I mean, every morning you wake up and you see something new.

CUOMO: Well, the tweeting is just a delivery device, right?


CUOMO: The ideas, the feelings, the passions, the misconceptions are his own --


CUOMO: -- and that's why we monitor the way we do.

North Korea, though. In terms of the unpredictability, make that case for us, Congressman, because the criticism is don't mess with a madman --


CUOMO: -- unless you're ready to do something about it.

And, you keep hearing the president saying diplomacy's a waste of time and that everyone else around him is saying no, diplomacy is the only way we have to go here.


CUOMO: Where's your head on it?

KINZINGER: I think there's a little good cop, bad cop there, intentionally or not. I think it's intentional, but even if it's not that's how it's working.

So, you have what's called the DIME model of power -- diplomatic, informational, military, and economic. We're using all those against North Korea.

But to use diplomacy -- the old saying of speak softly and carry a big stick, you have to have a big stick. That's the military option behind it.

So when the president says hey -- in essence, to paraphrase -- we're willing to bomb North Korea if we have to, that puts a lot of impetus on the diplomatic, not to Kim Jong Un. He's not -- I mean, he is scared he'll die in this attack.

But it's to the Chinese who say if there's a military attack America will win and now North Korea is not a buffer state. Now, North Korea's a client state, theoretically, in the United States in their minds.

CUOMO: All due deference, you understand military tactics and strategies better than I ever will. But it is -- it keeps being said that the military's not an option unless -- look, if North Korea, God forbid, were to do something that's that highly provocative and dangerous to the United States, there are exigencies that take over.

But the baseline assumption is if you do anything military there you are guaranteeing large-scale human loss because of obviously, the contiguous border. We have 30-plus thousand troops there with their families. You have the huge population of Seoul.

Do you think military action is actually an option?

KINZINGER: I think it's an option. It's an unthinkable option but --

CUOMO: What is an unthinkable option?

KINZINGER: So, it's basically the next to the last case scenario, right? It's let's do everything we can up to the point where that's the -- where that's the solution and hopefully we get them. I think that's what the administration, if you listen to the briefings, is trying to do everything prior to that.

[07:45:06] But let's think about what happens if we just basically say we've exhausted everything and North Korea can have nukes. First off, they can build nukes to exceed our rate and ability to intercept them. Now, North Korea has not just built them, they've also stated an intention to use them and they've flown them over a territory -- friendly territory.

But the other thing is now, how do you prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons once you've given it to North Korea, or any other regime that --

CUOMO: Well, you have a deal in place so that's an interesting -- good segue. Thank you, Congressman.

KINZINGER: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Or if you are in favor of decertifying that deal there are two issues. One, now, to answer your own question, how do you keep Iran from getting nukes if you don't have the deal? And, how do you get North Korea to make a deal if they've watched you walk away from the Iran deal?

KINZINGER: I think North Korea -- you can get them to make a deal if we get, frankly, China on board and Russia on board and there's got to be verifiable inspections.

With Iran, I think you need a better deal. Right now, I mean, Iran is sending in its own soil samples to the IAEA. We need American inspectors on the ground there. There's some things we can fix.

But I would say --

CUOMO: Fix without decertifying?

KINZINGER: No. I think decertifying is the process to saying how do we get to a better deal.

Now, I think --

CUOMO: But you wouldn't walk away from the deal all together, just to be clear.

KINZINGER: It depends. It really does depend. It's a bad deal right now.

I think people need to -- I've heard kind of what the comprehensive strategy is that the president's going to outline. I can't go into that right now.

I think when the president makes the case on this Iran process it will make a lot more sense than just we're going to decertify the deal. I think you'll see the broader picture and the goal here.

CUOMO: Now, we heard that from H.R. McMaster also --


CUOMO: -- that this is part of --

KINZINGER: I heard it from him, yes.

CUOMO: This is a -- this is a larger strategy at play.


CUOMO: And we look forward to what it is and we'll scrutinize it when we do.

But you're dealing with a situation where it wasn't just the U.S. This wasn't a bilateral deal, OK? You had several different parties of allies, none of which says that Iran is in non-compliance. That they're not complying with the deal.

So what is the basis with which you go to your allies and say I know all of you think that this is OK. I don't, so I'm going to blow it all up -- you know, excuse the reference. But, I'm going to walk away from this deal when they don't want you to. They will not do the sanctions the way they did the last time so where does that leave the United States?

KINZINGER: Yes. So I think what we're seeing in Europe is an understanding of what this deal has done.

And again, we like to focus on the nuclear issue in Iran. It's a much bigger issue in Iran. I mean, they're meddling in Syria. They're responsible for blood on the --

CUOMO: The deal is just about nukes.


CUOMO: You could make an additional deal.


CUOMO: You could take additional steps because of their meddling, as you -- as you call it,

KINZINGER: Yes, sure.

CUOMO: -- and certainly, they're nefarious activities, but that's not what this deal was about.

KINZINGER: No, but this is part of that broader process to say we're not going to put nukes in the silo, we're going to put nukes in your overall behavior.

You have blood on your hands, Iran -- so does Russia, by the way -- for propping up a genocidal dictator in Syria, Bashar al-Assad. They're threatening Israel, they're threatening all this kind of stuff. They've --

I fought against them in Iraq when I was in Iraq, through their involvement there.

So I think it's a broad, comprehensive approach. Decertifying is different than saying the deal's torn up, we're never going to --

CUOMO: True.

KINZINGER: -- abide by it.

And I think it gives us an opportunity -- or the administration an opportunity to go to Europe, to go to Iran and say we're not happy with it. What can we negotiate from here?

CUOMO: I know you're very conscientious about your work but just to get it out there, once again, you guys are going to keep your eye on what's happening in Puerto Rico and the maintaining --

KINZINGER: Oh, absolutely.

CUOMO: -- of reliefs in Harvey and Irma, right?

I know it's going to be expensive. I know you're going to have to figure it out but that is a high priority, yes?

KINZINGER: This is -- the number one role of the federal government is to defend its people and I say military and also in things like hurricanes or natural disasters. One hundred percent, absolutely. We'll keep our eye on this and we've deployed all the assets -- the federal assets that are necessary, from what I understand. Anything else we'll do -- I'm a Guard pilot, by the way. I fly an RC-

26. We're involved, right now, in Puerto Rico looking for damage and people that are stranded or missing and assets that are needed.

Congress will keep its eye on it.

CUOMO: There's no question the first responders are working their asses off, as always. We see it in real time. It's also no secret that more is needed.

KINZINGER: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Congressman, thank you --


CUOMO: -- for the candor, as always.


CUOMO: Alisyn --


Coming up, the Trump White House is set to repeal Obama-era environmental rules. CNN's Van Jones calls this a death warrant for the planet. Van Jones here, next.


[07:53:20] CAMEROTA: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says the Trump administration will repeal an Obama-era clean power rule which regulated greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. This is just the latest in a series of Obama policies being undone by President Trump.

Let's discuss with CNN political commentator Van Jones. He's the author of a new book out today, "Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together."

Van, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: We'll get to the book in a second.

JONES: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: You are the green job czar --

JONES: True.

CAMEROTA: -- so I'm sure that this wrinkles you -- all the things that are happening. Let's pull up a full screen so the people get a full sense of what's

happening in terms of what President Trump is changing.

TEXT: Trump rolls back EPA regulations. More than 50 rules and regulations to be rolled back including: clean power plan, Paris Climate agreement, car and truck fuel efficiency standards, fracking on public land, oil rig safety regulations, exploratory drilling in the arctic wildlife refuge, flood building standards, coal anti- dumping rule, offshore drilling ban in the Atlantic and Arctic.

CAMEROTA: Look, I mean, it's just -- we don't have time to read it all.


CAMEROTA: The Clean Power Plan going away, Paris Climate agreement, car and truck fuel efficiency standards being changed, fracking regulations being rolled back, oil rig safety regulations being rolled back.


CAMEROTA: You are trying to sound the alarm on what you see here.

JONES: Well, I mean, it's really unfortunate. First of all, there's so much misinformation.

This is a -- this Clean Power Plan, where'd it come from? This conservative Roberts Court told the Obama administration -- actually, told the Bush administration that the conservative Richard Nixon's Clean Air Act and EPA require them to deal with greenhouse gases. So this is -- this is coming from a right-wing court and Richard Nixon.

The Obama administration tried to implement these rules. First, they went to Congress and couldn't do it. Tried to implement the rules administratively. And now, they're saying these rules were why there's been a war on coal.

The plan was never implemented. You know what the real war on coal is? Fracking. Fracking brought the price of natural gas down so low that it out -- it displaced coal.

[07:55:00] These same guys say they want more fracking and more coal. That's literally, economically impossible. If you have more fracking, coal gets more expensive and you have less coal. So they're lying to the people.

Fundamentally, what I want to say is this. This is another part of the crazy and I am declaring war on crazy. I am a crusader against the crazy.

My book is a cure for the crazy. I'm trying to get rid of the crazy so we can have some real policy here.

CUOMO: The middle ground is this.


CUOMO: Yes, the court had its ruling that this was something which was in the purview of the executive --


CUOMO: -- and by extension, to have law. You're right. I read it.

However, how you did that --


CUOMO: -- was subjective in its standard and the criticism is all of these went too far.

It creates economic disadvantages or workers. Economic disadvantages versus other world powers because we are much more stringent, like in the Paris Accords.

It's harder on the U.S. than it is on anybody else. You've got to keep America competitive. These rules didn't do that.

JONES: And what's -- if that were true, it would be reason to wring your hands.

Unfortunately, here's the actual truth. The clean energy sector in America actually is the one that's booming. It's growing.

CUOMO: They say it's with heavy subsidies --

JONES: Well, look --

CUOMO: -- and if those businesses worked on their own they wouldn't be --

JONES: Well, you know what's a subsidy? When you get to pollute for free.

Right now, if you're coal, if you're oil, you get to dump megatons of carbon into the atmosphere and you don't pay a penny. That's a subsidy.

If you're big oil, the Pentagon makes sure your for-profit product gets here from the Middle East. That's a subsidy.

Every form of energy in the world is subsidized. The question is, do you want to subsidize the ones that's going to give you more jobs or more pollution?

And so, what -- I think we've got to come back to the table. This used to be bipartisan. That's the point of my book.

John McCain ran as a climate champion. John McCain ran on cap and trade. He said it would create more jobs.

This is -- this was eight years ago, nine years ago. This was bipartisan. Now, even this is crazy.

And so you've got American jobs -- there are about 50,000 coal miners in America and God bless them. They're America's heroes.

You've got 120,000 solar workers, 140,000 wind energy workers. You've got smart cars, you've got smart batteries.

Let's help all of us. Instead, what you do, you go in and you demonize one set of workers against the other. That's not the way to do it.

My book is a cure for the crazy. I am a -- I am a crusader against the crazy. There's a smart way to do policy.

CAMEROTA: But you're going to be busy.

JONES: I'm a smart -- there's a smart way to do energy policy.

CUOMO: That book's not long enough.

JONES: Hey, listen -- hey, listen, it's a start. There's a smart way to do policy.

CAMEROTA: Don't you need a different costume?

JONES: I need a cape.

CAMEROTA: You need a cape.

JONES: I need Chris' biceps, is what I need.


All right. One more issue before we get fully to the book and that is that ESPN has just suspended Jemele Hill. She's a commentator.

She had called the president a white supremacist, gotten in trouble at ESPN. It sounds like said no more political talk and then she put out a tweet or a statement that said something about that advertisers should boycott the games -- football games because of all the kneeling issue that's going on with the NFL.

What's your thoughts on this --

JONES: I think --

CAMEROTA: -- whole issue?

JONES: Look, I think it's unfortunate.

ESPN has a right, just like CNN has a right, to tell its employees what to do and what not to do, so it's not a question of rights. This is not the government doing it, it's a private employer doing it.

I think it's unfortunate because this debate really has now gotten so far away from what it was supposed to be. This was supposed to be about police misconduct, remember? The kneeling was about police- community relationships.

We're now talking about free speech for athletes, whether we respect soldiers. Nobody said anything bad about soldiers. We're talking about advertising boycotts.

What does this have to do with police-community relations?

And don't forget, these all -- these rich football players, they should shut up. Trump is rich. He complains all the time.

But these guys come from neighborhoods, two to three years ago, where they saw bad stuff and it's still happening. They're trying to do the right thing.

The reason I'm against the crazy is because we can't even talk what we're supposed to talk about. We've got to talk about everything else.

CUOMO: But the answer's in the book.

JONES: Yes, I agree.

CUOMO: The NFL was a brilliant play by the president to distract from things where he's getting beaten up, and rightly so, and to the divide.

He -- Van makes a great -- you've got to look at the open letters that Van has put out from the book. One --

CAMEROTA: For liberals and conservatives.

CUOMO: Right. One's to the progressives, one's to the conservatives.

And in the conservative one -- we were talking about this before you came on -- you try to make the case that you guys have to coalesce around what you are and create a positive agenda and don't just bash the liberals.

But the NFL thing is exactly that playbook that worked so well for the president. I'm sorry, works --


CUOMO: -- so well for the president. These lefties and big money versus the working man. Yes, Trump is walking hypocrisy on that but he still made the sell.

Liberals want to ruin our traditions.

JONES: Yes. What I say in the book --

CUOMO: Liberals want to go against our cops and our soldiers.

JONES: Yes, well -- and which is completely natural.

But what I saw in the book is I have an open letter to conservatives and to liberals.

I'm saying we need -- I said, if you're conservative, stay conservative. But we need better conservatives. They are missing a huge opportunity.

You've got black guys from poor neighborhoods who are concerned about police. They're speaking up.

You say, you know what, great. I'm concerned, I've got answers for you. I've got jobs for you, I've got work ethic for you. I've got criminal justice reform for you that Republicans are leaning on.

You reach in and grab those guys. You don't call them out, you call them in. They're not doing it.

This book is a cure for the crazy.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but for liberals --

JONES: There's a way for both parties to do better.