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President: Scrutinize And Shut Down Fake News; Bannon Warned Trump About 25th Amendment; Hundreds Missing As Deadly California Wildfires Rage; North Korea Says Trump Has "Lit The Wick" Of War. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 12, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: -- should possibly be shut down.

The president tweeting quote, "Network news has become so partisan, distorted, and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public."

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska punching back at the president with a tweet of his own.

"Mr. President, are you recanting the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?"

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president specifically lashing out at "NBC NEWS" over its report he wants a ten-fold increase in the nation's nuclear arsenal, a report Secretary of Defense James Mattis called absolutely false.

Last night, the president went even further.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The media is bad. They're really dishonest people. These are very, very dishonest people, in many cases -- in many cases.

But when you're the one being written about you know if it's good or bad, and it's always -- they try and make it negative. So the media has done that.

I call it fake media. It's fake. So much fake news.


ROMANS: President Trump's latest feud with the media comes amid reports of turmoil behind the scenes at the White House.

Helping us break it all down is CNN political digital reporter Tal Kopan, live in Washington. Good morning.

You know, Tal, presidents never like their coverage. I have never covered a president who liked what we wrote or said about him. Some ice out the media, some get mad at the media, but this president takes it to a new level. TAL KOPAN, REPORTER, CNN POLITICS: That's absolutely right and like, you know, sort of bashing the media has been a really effective political tool for a while.

But most politicians do it with sort of a wink and a nod and they, you know, insinuate that there is something about their coverage that they don't like. But they don't threaten to pull licenses which, by the way, isn't how things work so it's not really something that he could do because networks such as NBC are not actually licensed. Local news stations are.

And there have been some other things that the president has talked about -- equal time laws. It simply doesn't make sense.

But the overarching theme is this threat to a free press, in some ways. And, you know, there's absolutely an expectation that what is printed and reported on air is true, and accurate, and verifiable, and backed up by reporting. And any credible news organization has internal control to ensure that that is the case, and wants that to be the case, but no politician is entitled to flattering coverage.

And if you even listen to the president on "HANNITY," he's talking about whether it's good or bad for him, not necessarily truth. And that's the real issue here, is that he's fighting over unflattering coverage, even if it's truthful, and that is not what any government person is -- politician is entitled to.

BRIGGS: Right, because he made several false statements right next to a quote "member of the media" last night who sat there and grinned --

ROMANS: Did not challenge.

BRIGGS: -- and left it all unchecked.

ROMANS: Did not challenge.

BRIGGS: So there are problems with the networks. He put them on display last night.

But he also won't like this piece coming out in "Vanity Fair" from Gabe Sherman, that as a result, the 25th Amendment was trending throughout the day on Twitter, which is just astonishing.

But here's what the claims are from inside this White House, if we could put them up on the screen, from this "Vanity Fair" piece related to claims made by Steve Bannon and the 25th Amendment.

"When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment" -- to the president he said -- "What's that? According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term."

This is stunning stuff. These aren't from Trump's enemies but from, arguably, his biggest supporter. What's the impact of all this intrigue?

KOPAN: That's right. And, you know, we don't know what kind of tone those comments were made in, whether they were a joke --

BRIGGS: Right.

KOPAN: -- whether they were a flat reflection of, you know, the number of people --

ROMANS: That's right.

KOPAN: -- in Washington who are out for Trump.

TEXT: What is the 25th Amendment? Adopted in 1967; vice president, cabinet may recommend removal of unfit president; president may respond on the recommendation; Congress has 21 days to vote; two- thirds majority of both Houses required for removal; if removed, vice president becomes president.

KOPAN: But certainly, you know, the 25th Amendment covers a few things but it does have a procedure in place as part of it that would allow the cabinet and the vice president and -- with Congress' help if this is contested -- to transfer power for from the president to the vice president, which is typically only something that this country has contemplated in the context, for example, a president being under anesthesia for a procedure as sort of temporary transfer so that the country still has someone in, you know, the Oval Office making decisions.

But theoretically, there is a procedure that this amendment lays out that someone could be removed from office without impeachment proceedings. It's not something that people have talked about all that seriously, like you said.

Certainly, Trump enemies in Washington and Democrats have raised the specter of the 25th Amendment but, like you said, to hear it coming from one of his closest advisers is truly remarkable. And I think it's just an example of how, you know, unprecedented to an extent, today's Washington actually is.

[05:35:07] ROMANS: We saw president -- the president, yesterday, you know, in front of the group of truckers there in Pennsylvania and he was talking about health care --

Some of these initiatives he's going to make with health care with executive orders -- a couple of different ones -- being able to allow people to join health associations that are exempt from some of those Obamacare standards. And also, signing an executive order so that people can buy insurance across state lines.

And he talked about health care in terms of getting new health care through and he says I don't need anybody. Let's listen to what the president said.


TRUMP: And we're going to have great health care across state lines. People can buy it. It will cost the government nothing. You'll go out -- private insurers are going to give you incredible health care. And I'll tell you what, this will take -- and I can sign it myself. I don't need anybody. I would have done it earlier except I was hoping that they were going to put this through and I'd have it in the bill.

But we're signing tomorrow a health care package that will cover, I don't know, people say 30 percent, people say 25 percent, and some people say it could be 50 percent. It's going to cover a large percentage of the people.


ROMANS: People say -- people say it's going to cover -- so I don't know how many people it's going to cover.

But what do you make about the president's tweaks on health care in the absence of health care reform from Congress?

KOPAN: Well look, this buying across state lines was sort of the one thing that throughout the campaign, besides just repeal and replace Obamacare, that he talked about wanting, so it's not entirely a surprise. There's definitely some debate about whether it's even an effective proposal.

But the real risk that the president is wading into here is the more he tinkers with Obamacare -- you know, he said let it fail on its own. Democrats will be blamed. That's not really true and the more he tinkers with it the more he's going to own whatever the health care situation is for Americans and that is a politically perilous place to be in if he actually thinks that the health care system is in trouble.

ROMANS: There's a --

BRIGGS: He's actually forcing its implosion.

ROMANS: Right, right. There's letting it implode and causing it to implode and hurting people. Those start to be very different things.

BRIGGS: all right. Tal Kopan up early. You're going to be up late my friend. Get a nap.

Cubs nationals, game give, 8:00, TBS.

KOPAN: All the marbles.

ROMANS: Should the Cubs --

BRIGGS: Thanks much.

ROMANS: All right.

President Trump is making a false claim about the national debt.


TRUMP: The country -- when we took it over it owed $20 trillion. And, as you know, in the last eight years they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right?

And yet, we picked up $5.2 trillion just in the stock market. Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months in terms of value.

So you could say, in one sense, we're really increasing values and maybe, in a sense, we're reducing debt.


ROMANS: In no sense does the stock market rally reduce the national debt.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked to explain that false comment but Trump says a roaring stock market helps the national debt. It just isn't true and two have no obvious connection.

The stock market measures the wealth of companies -- the profitability of companies. How much money they are making. The benefit of that goes to their investors -- the people who are shareholders in those companies.

The national debt is money owed by the United States government. Government spending increases debt. The debt is lowered when the government spends less or raises taxes.

But the president isn't talking about raising taxes. He's promoting a tax plan that would -- could add trillions of dollars -- trillions to the debt.

Also, it's true that the national debt increased under President Obama, but so did the stock market. In 2009 through 2017, the S&P 500 rose 235 percent. So if President Trump is giving himself credit for a stock market rally that he says reduces the national debt, then he should apply the same standard to President Obama.

Stocks are up since the election. The Trump bump is the tail end of a very long bull market -- you can see that. Twenty-five percent rally in the Dow and the S&P really, since the election, and you can see how that fits right on to the current bull market.

BRIGGS: So what you're saying is the president is right when he tweets that the news is distorted and fake because that media member didn't challenge that statement. He let it go unchecked.

ROMANS: It just -- the president promised during the campaign that he could get rid of the national debt in nine years, which is just about -- it's like me having 15 babies in one year. It just isn't possible. That can -- that cannot physically happen.

BRIGGS: It's quite an image, though.

ROMANS: I know, right?

He's trying to -- I think -- you know, he said this week that he doesn't get enough credit for the stock market rally. We've written 75 stories at "CNN MONEY" about the stock market rally and I talk about it every day.

There is a pro-business feeling on Wall Street because the president was elected. But you can't say adding trillions of dollars of wealth to shareholders and companies translates --

BRIGGS: It pays down the debt.

ROMANS: -- into a lower national debt. Those two things are apples and asteroids.

BRIGGS: You'd call that fake news?

[05:40:00] ROMANS: That's not even news. I wouldn't even put the word news in there. I would say that's --

BRIGGS: That is actually the right description.

All right. Ahead, dangerous and deadly fires ravaging Northern California where authorities continue to battle this catastrophic inferno.


ROMANS: The death toll in California's devastating wildfires rising overnight. It is now 23. Two hundred eight-five people remaining missing in Sonoma County, alone.

Statewide, firefighters are battling 22 blazes. In one state they had to cope with shifting winds blowing up to 50 miles per hour in some places.

BRIGGS: More than 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes, including the city of Calistoga. Residents in the city of Napa have been told to prepare for possible evacuation.

A total of 115 flights canceled at San Francisco International Airport yesterday due, in part, to reduced visibility from the wilderness of the wildfire there.

[05:45:05] For more, let's check in with Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, this fire is still going. You can see the smoke behind me. This is one small section of this massive wildfire and the concern is that as the winds pick up that you could see more devastation.

I was in a Blackhawk helicopter Wednesday afternoon and what we saw was breathtaking. Only with that bird's-eye perspective can you get a full appreciation of what things look like. And we saw home after home, street after street that had been decimated.

The other thing that stuck out is just how much active flame there still is and that's why authorities are still going door-to-door trying to evacuate people, making sure people flee the danger.

This fire is not the most destructive fire -- wildfire in California history. You have to go back to 1991. Then, you had 2,900 buildings that were destroyed. This time, 3,500 buildings destroyed.

And, unfortunately, this fire has the potential to become the deadliest, as well -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: We know -- we just talked to a deputy -- a deputy sheriff there in Sonoma County and he told us frankly, there's single digits in terms of containment.

BRIGGS: Yes, containment.

ROMANS: I mean, for the first 42 hours there was zero containment and now they're hoping at dawn they'll be able to get some containment here, but the weather's just not cooperating.

BRIGGS: Fifty mile and hour winds, what they're fighting.

ROMANS: Unbelievable.

BRIGGS: Devastating.

ROMANS: All right. Our best to them.

Forty-six minutes past the hour.

Tension building between the U.S. and North Korea and President Trump is dialing up the rhetoric. After weeks of publicly undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his diplomatic approach to North Korea, the president admits he sees this crisis through a different lens.


TRUMP: I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody but ultimately, my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? That's the way it works. That's the way the system is.

But I think I might have a somewhat different attitude and a different way than other people. I think, perhaps, I feel stronger and tougher on that subject than other people.


ROMANS: Let's go live to Seoul and bring in CNN's Alexandra Field.

Alexandra, North Korea's foreign minister, of course, firing back at President Trump. Bring us the latest.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they do have a way with words when it comes to rhetoric, as we know, Christine, and the foreign minister is speaking to a Russian state news agency, saying that U.S. President Donald Trump lit the wick of war when he made his address to the United Nations just last month.

During that address, of course, he threatened with the U.S.' capacity to destroy North Korea if necessary, and he taunted the regime's leader Kim Jong Un, calling him "Rocket Man."

In this interview with Russian media, the North Korean foreign minister went on to blame the U.S. for the escalation of tension on the Peninsula that's been unfolding for months now.

He went on to call the sanctions that have been leveled against North Korea acts of aggression and said that North Korea was not in a position to negotiate -- wouldn't be negotiating when it comes to its missile or its nuclear program as long as the United States continues its hostile policy aimed at crushing North Korea.

So those aren't exactly new lines from the regime. They continue to say that they will not be negotiating with their missiles or their nuclear weapons. They see that as key to the survival of the regime.

And they aren't the only ones who are saying that this is not the time for talks. We do know, of course, that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recently been in the region trying to open up avenues of dialogue with Pyongyang.

Efforts that were undercut, on Twitter at least, by President Trump, who has continued to say that only one thing will work when it comes to North Korea. He's been cryptic about that message and hasn't said exactly what it means.

But we do know that just in the last day or so he was briefed by his top national security officials on a range of options following those briefings. B-1B bombers were sent over the Korean Peninsula. That's a move that, of course, does enrage Pyongyang.

Another move that enrages Pyongyang, there will be more naval drills between South Korea and the U.S. later this month -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that, Alexandra Field. We're so lucky to have her there in Seoul --


ROMANS: -- following all this for us. Really tense.

BRIGGS: Tremendous.

All right. Time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joining us.

Chris, the First Amendment and we, the news, under attack this morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, welcome to the new reality, my friends. You know, I watch these teases often and I realize that yes, you know, I get it. I get what the tease is.

So I'm going to do it a little differently this morning. So, Christine, Dave and I are out in Las Vegas, right, where he did a great job. We got to the hotel to check in and they like don't know who we are and they don't have the reservations --

ROMANS: They don't know who you are?

CUOMO: And Dave only has like his Boy Scout card in his wallet. He doesn't have his I.D., so it's like a total mess.

But -- so everybody's frustrated, everybody's tired, it a hundred o'clock in the morning, but Dave was really calm. Had he not been calm, had he popped off, it would have been understood because he's upset, he's exasperated, and it was in the moment. But he wasn't that way.

[05:50:05] That's the way normal people are. Dave was better than most people are in this situation.

Why am I telling you this story? By way of instruction of what we're dealing with, with the President of the United States, we get that he's upset, we get that he's exasperated, we get that he like praise and that criticism bothers him more than you usually find it in anyone at the top of an organization, let alone the most important person in the entire world, by most measures.

And yet, how you react when you are upset matters. Be like Dave. Calm in the moment and dealing with being perturbed and being upset because you're in a leadership position.

Dave didn't want to embarrass the entire organization by being in a fit of pique over his upset over losing his I.D. -- kind of, he actually found it. He handled it well.

The President of the United States decides he doesn't like what's happening in the news so he challenges the constitutional premise of a free press.

Now, I know that the political right and those who support the president will come out and say oh, look at that Cuomo agitating and the news is -- but at the end of the day, look at what he is saying and why he's saying it. Everything that we're covering this morning has a through line with this, what he's doing with the First Amendment, and it is what he's doing with the First Amendment.

Jake held up a copy of the constitution because that's what this is about --

ROMANS: I know.

CUOMO: -- when the President of the United States challenges it.

The whole moron controversy. Because he doesn't like the word and the insult we now have instability around arguably, one of the one or two most important positions in our government. And because he doesn't like what's going on in Afghanistan -- who does

-- he challenges the leadership authority of all of these people who are appointed to give him best counsel, which he obviously and sorely needs.

He doesn't understand FCC licenses, he doesn't understand the First Amendment, he doesn't understand the nuclear arsenal, so he needs the help.

So that is the tease for today. There is a through line and people should be like Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes. If you can't handle the constitution, just read the FCC rules -- just eight pages of them.

CUOMO: And, by the way, they don't govern us --


CUOMO: -- in the same way so he's going to have to find a different mechanism to come like this. Or, Christine, he can be like Dave.

ROMANS: Mean to people.

No, he doesn't understand how the stock market works and how the national debt works. And I'll be on your show to explain why the president doesn't get it.

CUOMO: And when you come, be like Dave.

ROMANS: OK, I will. Thanks, Chris.

BRIGGS: That's the moral of the story.

ROMANS: President Trump, once again, hyping his tax plan -- of the historic tax cut for the middle-class. Now, he's adding a new claim. I'm going to cut your taxes and I'm going to give you a pay raise.

Details on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:57:20] ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this Thursday morning.

Global stock markets mixed today after record highs on Wall Street yesterday, folks. All three major averages closed at records.

The Federal Reserve signaled a December rate hike. That didn't affect U.S. stocks. Investors already expect that.

The market jumped after a report of a market-friendly candidate succeeding Fed Chief Janet Yellen. Yes, the Fed guessing begins.

Third quarter earnings also kick off in earnest today. JPMorgan and Citigroup report before the opening bell. All right. President Trump, once again, pushing his tax plan, calling it a historic tax cut for the middle-class. But in Pennsylvania yesterday, he introduced a new claim to that -- a tax cut and a $4,000 pay raise for middle-class families.

The White House providing no evidence but it echoes what a White House economist proposed or said last week.

The argument here, companies keep profits off shore to avoid a high corporate tax rate. A lower rate for companies will encourage them to bring that money home. Bringing that money home will result in higher wages for their workers -- a wage increase of $4,000 over eight years.

Now, there's no proof corporate tax savings does go directly to workers and not share buybacks and dividends, but this is the new claim from the Trump administration.

I do believe this president really wants his tax plan -- his tax framework to be middle-class tax relief. I have no doubt he is -- I know for a fact he is telling his team this has to be a middle-class tax cut.

But when you look at what his team has assembled, the bulk of the tax benefits go to corporate America and to the wealthy. This new angle from the White House is that OK, that corporate tax relief will end up giving people a pay raise for its workers.

BRIGGS: This is also bringing home money from overseas.

ROMANS: Bringing home money from overseas. That's what companies --

BRIGGS: And a lot of assumptions. Need some strings attached --

ROMANS: It does, it does.

BRIGGS: -- perhaps.

ROMANS: You know, and I've said that for some time that if you're going to give a big tax cut to that income stake --

BRIGGS: A holiday.

ROMANS: Yes. If you give them that tax holiday put some strings on it. Use it for infrastructure, use it for wages, use it for factories. Don't let it just go straight into the pockets of investors.

All right. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. See you tomorrow.


TRUMP: It's, frankly, disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't get to pull licenses because he doesn't like what's being said.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, HOST, CNN "RELIABLE SOURCES": He is increasingly angry at the coverage of this White House in crisis.

ROMANS: A new "Vanity Fair" report claims sources in the White House believe the president is quote "unstable and unraveling."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look back, there wasn't this kind of very early questioning of the president's own abilities.

LAUREN SIVAN, JOURNALIST: He exposed himself and I just stood there kind of frozen. It's amazing to me how casual he was with that kind of encounter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a culture of fear in this company.

HILLARY CLINTON (D): This has to shine a bright spotlight on anything like this behavior.