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Trump Wishes Happy Birthday to Wrong Lee Greenwood; Ambassador Haley Gives One-On-One Interview; U.S. Forces in Niger Tried to Out- Flank Attackers; Was Lee Harvey Oswald a CIA Agent?. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 27, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BRIAN KAREM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And of course, that was the question I wanted to ask today in the White House briefing room, but Sarah Sanders isn't answering any other questions. So that type of question she certainly didn't want to field. You know, the president has a lot of word to carry on this. It's his words calling her whacky, he emboldens people to do that. And at some point, in time, he needs to take responsibility for these threats.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Like you said, hopefully she's back in D.C. and can get back to work next week. Meantime, Brian, and let me say this is a mistake I have totally made. We have all made on Twitter. But much to do today about president gets on Twitter this morning, wishes his friend. You know, I'm proud to be an American. You know, Lee Greenwood, happy birthday, but --

KAREM: Wrong guy.

BALDWIN: Wrong guy. Wrong guy, whoops.

KAREM: Well, when I finish laughing at that one, I can tell you it's more of the theater that comes out of the White House, you don't need to check. It's a really good example of not checking your facts. Of course, we have all done it, but this is the guy who also tweeted out Covfefe during the middle of the night. So, you have to kind of wonder --

BALDWIN: The mystery word.

KAREM: The mystery word. And you have to kind of wonder couldn't somebody just tell him that, you know, -- I call it Twitter litter. I would love very much if he just put down the Twitter finger and backed away from it quietly. We would all live a lot easier. But he's not going to do it. But happy birthday to the Lee Greenwood that he wished happy birthday to.

BALDWIN: Happy birthday to you. And then lastly CNN Digital put together this fun little mix of the president crush phrases. We all have our crush phrases. And apparently the president's is we'll see.



TRUMP: We'll see.

TRUMP: We'll see how it works out.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens.

TRUMP: Minute to win it. We'll see what happens.

TRUMP: I think I'll get the nomination. We'll see.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens with --

TRUMP: Benghazi is a disaster. But we'll see what happens.

TRUMP: Well, we'll see what --

TRUMP: I would love to win Iowa. We'll see what happens.

TRUMP: Some people in that debate today said, I don't if they'll treat me fair. But we'll see.

TRUMP: You know, we'll see what happens.

TRUMP: So, anyway, so, we'll see what happens with Mark.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens.

TRUMP: Now we are down to three. We'll see what happens.

TRUMP: We'll see. I mean, we have -- he's a very fine man but we're going to make a decision sometime tonight.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.

TRUMP: If they'd like, we'll see if we can get the pipeline built.

TRUMP: So, we'll see what happens.

TRUMP: We'll see.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. As far as sanctions very early to be talking about that.

TRUMP: Great care, great care, believe me, and we'll see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?

TRUMP: We'll see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you considering military actions?

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens.

TRUMP: As far as North Korea is concerned, I think most of you know how I feel. We'll see what happens. TRUMP: So, we'll see what happens with North Korea.

TRUMP: At some point there will be a repeal and replace. But we'll see whether or not that point is now, or will it be shortly.

TRUMP: We have a great group of people. We'll see what happens.


BALDWIN: So, you know, it's funny. Hats off to CNN digital putting out that little thing together. Here's my thing. It's like, all right, if you are asking the president, you know, Mr. President would you like one scoop or two scoops of ice cream? He's like, we'll see, we'll see. That's one thing. But when the question is, Mr. President, will you attack North Korea? And his response is we'll see.

KAREM: Depends on his mood. Depends if he had the coffee, the rice or the cherry pie. And I confess I was personally responsible for having two of those, we'll see what happens.

BALDWIN: Well done. Well done, Brian.

KAREM: But that's just his go to phrase. And the problem with it is I don't think he knows. When he says we'll see what happens, I think he's saying I have no idea. I'll make a decision in 30 seconds and I'll change my mind 30 seconds later. It's part of the theater of the White House. There is a lack of ethical and moral and consciously sober decision making in the White House. And so, I think that's what you run into when the White House itself has no clue what's going to happen.

BALDWIN: Brian Karem, maybe we'll see you next week. We'll see what happens.

KAREM: Good to see you. We'll see what happens.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

KAREM: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: We're going to move on. Just into CNN here, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Niki Haley, she sits down CNN's Elise Labott after wrapping up a trip to Africa. Hear how she responded to speculation she may replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

Also, breaking news involving the ambush in Niger, including how the American teams got split up.


BALDWIN: We're getting some breaking details now about the ambush in Niger that left those four American soldiers killed and how the U.S. team actually ended up separated into two separate groups. Let's go to chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, with some of the details here. How did they separate? JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke,

we are learning that this fire fight was more complex than we knew initially. This one U.S. team splitting into two groups in the midst of the fire fight. One vehicle had been disabled. So, one of these groups continued on foot as this fire fight, this ambush was under way. And this group was attempting a counter attack. They were attempting to outflank the attackers.

And in the midst of this they did manage did manage to kill some 20 ISIS fighters. But we are also learning during the two groups at one point they lost communications between one group and another. And that group that had those four American KIA. That helps explain some of the confusion as they were trying to sort out as this fire fight was ending who was killed, who was missing.

[15:40:00] In fact, you may remember that the first reports back to the White House were of multiple U.S. forces missing, four missing. Though that was quickly updated to be three killed and one missing. So, the key here, this was a complex fire fight, and in the midst of it these U.S. forces were trying to fight back. They split up into two groups. One though they had lost their vehicle, they continued on foot. They tried to out flank their attackers. In the midst of this they managed to take out their attackers, some 20 it is estimated. But again, adding as I said to that they lost communication in the midst of this as well.

BALDWIN: So, we don't know why they lost communication, that's still unclear.

SCIUTTO: It's not clear yet. But keep in mind in a fire fight there is a lot of ways that could happen. One vehicle was disabled. Could be that the radio in the vehicle was destroyed. Also, possible they were carrying their communications equipment that is destroyed on their person, a bullet, a grenade, et cetera. That's not clear at this point, how it was lost. But the fact that it was lost adding to go the confusion here as one group tried to keep track of the other group of Americans involved in this ambush.

BALDWIN: Jim Sciutto with the scoop here on this just tragic story out of Niger. Thanks, you so much, Jim. We appreciate that.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, she is wrapping up a three-nation tour. She is in Africa. Traveling with her is CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott, who just had some moments specifically with the ambassador. And so, Elise is with us live there in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tell us what Ambassador Haley shared with you.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, it's been an incredible week here with Nikki Haley. We've traveled to some parts of Africa that we really haven't traveled before. Ambassador Haley went to Ethiopia to South Sudan to really get a look at the refugee crisis and the conflict there. And then we've been throughout Democratic Republic of Congo. Yesterday visiting displaced people who are stuck in a camp, can't leave because there's violence surrounding them.

And Nikki Haley said she came here to Africa to get a firsthand look at how these nations of conflict, with instability, with humanitarian disaster, can become a breeding ground, if you will, for terrorist groups. And in fact, she's trying to come here to prevent the next situation where we found in Niger where U.S. serviceman was killed in a country like that is threatening the United States. Take a listen to secretary -- excuse me to Ambassador Nikki Haley.


LABOTT: You know, you said -- you made the argument that why Africa is important to Americans. But you have to solve these problems before they erupt. Because we could be looking at the next conflict zone that is going to turn into a safe haven for terrorists. And we have seen that happen in other places like Syria and Somalia.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: You know, it's so important that everybody not just talk about the Middle East and how we have to be careful of the Middle East. You know, you see the actions that the administration is taking in the Middle East is all because we want to deal with the situation there. So, we don't have to deal with it in the United States.

It is the same thing for Africa. We have to deal with the situation here on the ground so that we are not dealing with it in the United States. What you have to look at is these African countries and all countries, if they take care of their people, if they respect the voices of their people, then you get true democracy. If they don't listen to the voices of their people, conflict will erupt. Extremism will happen. And the United States will have to deal with it. This is all about making sure we don't get to that point.


LABOTT: And Nikki Haley said that if the U.S. doesn't do more to help solve these conflicts, these kids, hundreds of thousands affected by the conflict will grow into adults with no future resenting the U.S. for not doing more. That's the very kind of person that ISIS and other extremists are looking to recruit -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, you mention all these countries and how substantive this trip is for her, and I know you slipped, she's not the secretary, but, Elise, there has been speculation that perhaps this --

LABOTT: Not yet.

BALDWIN: -- this could be an audition for Nikki Haley to become the next Secretary of State. What are your thoughts on that? What are you hearing?

LABOTT: Well, look, I mean, look, she's really doing the kind of work that is the provident of the Secretary of State. Sitting down, head to head with world leaders, with African dictators, and giving them the kind of lay down the law of the United States. But if you remember back when we met with Nikki Haley in July, she told us that the President Trump offered her the job and she said no, I don't think I have enough foreign policy experience. I said, look, there is a lot of rumors that Secretary Tillerson is not happy in the job. Would you take it if offered now? And she said I don't want it. I don't want to move to Washington. I don't like the drama.

[15:45:06] And I'm very happy doing what I'm doing in New York. And I have to say, Brooke, it's a good gig for her, because she gets to act as one of the top diplomats for the U.S. But isn't kind of under the thumb of the president in Washington where cabinet members are subject to a lot of drama, a lot of distraction. And you know, the presidential very eagle eye.

BALDWIN: Glad you asked her. It's an important question. It's on the minds of so many. Elise Labott, excellent, excellent reporting there out of Africa. We can't wait to see your full interview with Ambassador Nikki Haley on "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer, tonight here on CNN. Thank you so much for the preview.

Coming up next here the release of the secrets of JFK files. Touching on everything from Marilyn Monroe, to the question about whether Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA agent. Stay with me.


BALDWIN: Instead of a conclusion to the conspiracy theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy the nation really got a cliff hanger. One of the questions being asked after the decades old document dump was, was Lee Harvey Oswald a CIA spy. President Trump tweeted this after U.S. spy chiefs convinced him to hold back on releasing hundreds of JFK files.

The president tweeted, JFK files our being carefully released in the end there will be great transparency. It is my hope to get just about everything to the public.

Kennedy biographer, Larry Tye, his back with me now. He's the author of "Bobby Kennedy, the Making of a Liberal Icon." And so, Larry, you know, when you and I were chatting this time yesterday you were cautiously optimistic what we would learn in the release of these documents and now more than 2800 records were released. What stands out to you as the most significant thing?

LARRY TYE, AUTHOR, "BOBBY KENNEDY, THE MAKING OF A LIBERAL ICON": What stands out to me is the crazy rumors and tips that everybody was getting. Do we want to believe that the Soviet Union was in mourning? Which is one set of files that the FBI was getting. Do we want to believe that Oswald was working with the KGB? Which is what we might judge from some of the tips that the FBI got in terms of Oswald making calls to the Soviet embassy and talking to a KGB agent in Mexico.

Do we want to believe that the as the Soviets apparently believed, that LBJ was behind the assassination? Any conspiracy theory you want there was a document that would substantiate it. All that we were missing was any real proven answers on what happened. And I think that the sad news in all of this is that all of the people who could really tell us are dead. Either they are dead a year, like Fidel Castro or they're dead 35 years like Jimmy Hoffa. But I think that may be the documents that were withheld and that we might get to see within the next 180 days will clarify things, but this spawned all kinds of interesting stories and no real proof.

BALDWIN: That call, right, that the CIA director which you alluded to, which you hear it cutting short before he answers the vital question did Lee Harvey Oswald have any connection to the CIA. What's your interpretation of that?

TYE: My interpretation of all of this is that the FBI and the CIA were getting extraordinary reports every five minutes. I think they were probably getting a report that never quite checked out. And I think that -- to me the most interesting thing maybe in all of this is J Edgar Hoover's reaction after Jack Ruby was killed. Which was what he seemed more worried about than getting to the bottom of who actually the assassin was, was what the reaction of the American public was going to be.

And he worried that the Dallas police had ignored his warnings to them that somebody might try to kill Lee Harvey Oswald and he understood with Oswald dead, the public would never believe the simple story that Oswald was the assassin. And he worried what this would do to American foreign policy. He worried what it would do it the confidence of the American public in accepting LBJ as the next president. And I think this behind the scenes stuff is what we know was really going on. What was going on in terms of assassination itself, we may never know now.

BALDWIN: Larry Tye, thank you.

Coming up next here on CNN, see what happened in court as Tiger Woods showed up for his DUI case.

But first, this week's CNN hero involving forgotten sports equipment.


[15:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of kids learn the important of work ethic on the sports field.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go. Good job. Do it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sports were the most important part of my childhood. I thought it was a given to kids to play sports. But so many kids can't afford to play sports. There's millions of dollars of sports equipment that is not being put to use. That is either being thrown away or wasting away in garages. I thought, why don't we create a food bank for sports equipment.


BALDWIN: Learn more about our "CNN HEROES," go to

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: As millions battled hurricane Harvey, one of Houston's finest is battling a battle all his own, here's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police officer, Norbert Ramon headed to the only state he could get to, lake patrol, right on Lake Houston.

NORBERT RAMON, POLICE OFFICER, LAKE HUSTON: It seemed like an apocalypse, I mean, it was unreal.

ELAM: With flood waters engulfing neighborhoods, lake patrol took to its boats skirting trees and bridges and sunken cars to whisk people to safety.

RAMON: They wanted to bring everything with them. You can only tell them to bring so much.

ELAM: Working 12-hour shifts, officer Ramon was in and out of water helping to rescue people.

RAMON: You know, what sticks in my head is those children. I mean, you see different emotions.

ELAM (on camera): How many people do you think you helped rescue?

RAMON: I don't know, 200, 300 easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He Never showed no signs of having anything wrong with him.

ELAM (voice-over): What's wrong with officer Ramon is stage 4 colon cancer which has spread to his liver and lungs. Diagnosed in March of 2016, Ramon gets chemotherapy every two weeks. A constant reminder of his battle.

RAMON: I'm out there in the street and I've got to leave half a day to go out and do that and just -- I'm with these guys, they keep me up, you know.

ALVIN STEELMAN, POLICE OFFICER: My respect level for him is beyond explanation.

ELAM: teamed up for boat rescues Alvin Steelman had no clue about Ramon's health crisis until after the water receded.

STEELMAN: He's not looking for sympathy. He just wants to be part of the team. And he was. He did everything everyone else did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For three days of his life, he was in a world where he didn't have to think about it. He was really happy helping people.

ELAM: In fact, Ramon was in no pain.

CINDY RAMON, OFFICER RAMON'S WIFE: He's a police officer first and then it's cancer.

ELAM: His wife of 13 years, however, was concerned. He sent her this picture while on the murky water to let her know he was all right.

CINDY RAMON: I was worried about him because energy wise, I didn't know how it would affect him. But at the same token, I knew there was nothing I could say or do to hold him back.

RAMON: I wanted to do it going do it right, like I really didn't have it.

ELAM: A man rescuing others from the brink while in a battle for his own life. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Houston.


BALDWIN: Officer Ramon, thank you so much for all that you do. I am Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me. Have a wonderful weekend. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.