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Niger Attack Fuels Debate Over Military Authorization; Two Women Stranded At Sea For Five Months Rescued By U.S. Navy; Astros Top Dodgers 13-12 In Game Five Thriller; Source: Paul Manafort To Turn Himself In Today. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired October 30, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:12] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: There's still so many questions about that deadly ambush in Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers, and the extent of U.S. military operations in Africa.
CNN's David McKenzie is live for us in Niger with more. David, what you have learned?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Yes, you know, there is this sense that the questions are still swirling around this ambush that happened in October pretty close to where I'm standing right now.
And later today, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State will be on Capitol Hill where they may face more tough questions on this ambush and on the issue of the use of military force and the authorization of that force.
You know, since 9/11 -- just a few days after 9/11, the president of the U.S. has been given broad powers in the fight against terrorism in the homeland and, of course, abroad.
Now that debate predated this ambush but it's certainly come into sharper focus because of the questions around this ambush and the questions from some legislators about the forces of the U.S. in Africa. Some 6,000 troops in Africa all across the continent, 800 here in Niger on an advise and assist mission. But there have been accusations of mission creep by some lawmakers and it could be a fiery open debate in that session.
Right now, the investigators are still trying to piece together what happened here in Niger but many answers are still to come -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, David. Thank you very much for being on the ground for us and for all of that reporting.
Joining us now is Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland. He serves on the House Foreign Relations Committee that will hold today's hearing. Senator, thank you very much for being here.
So what do you want to hear --
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD), MEMBER FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Alisyn, it's good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: -- today from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis?
[07:35:05] CARDIN: Well, there will be a great deal of interest as to the specific episode in Niger. We want to know what went wrong and what happened.
But I think the basic point we're going to want to find out is under what authority are we -- do we have military presence in Northern Africa? What is the legal authority?
We know that in 2001, Congress passed an authorization for the use of military force in regards to what happened in Afghanistan -- the attack against our country. It's hard to believe that that authorization is relevant to what's happening today in Northern Africa. Certainly, Congress did not intend that.
So we're going to be looking at the congressional authority for our troops. What is our mission? What are we doing there? What is the end game there?
CARDIN: And certainly, we will ask specific questions about what happened in this episode.
CAMEROTA: Do you believe, as David McKenzie just said, that this is -- that Niger is mission creep?
CARDIN: I would suggest that Niger was not contemplated when Congress passed the 2001 authorization against the Taliban and what was happening in Afghanistan. We've seen a mission creep over the last 17 years.
The question, of course, is what is our strategy against ISIS? What is our game plan, how are we going to bring this to an end, and what type of military force does the president need? Congress should update that authorization and be pretty specific about it.
CAMEROTA: So why hasn't Congress done that in the past 16 years?
CARDIN: I think, quite frankly, every administration says look, we can use this 2001, there's no restrictions. Why should we go back to Congress and get a more specific authorization?
And then when Congress tries to pass something it's difficult for us to do it without the support of the administration. There are those who want to give broad authority to the White House; there are others who want to make it much more restrictive, and we have not been able to come together.
CAMEROTA: And so, how do you gauge where you are today? Do you think that there's the appetite and, you know, spine in Congress to say we're fighting terrorists in far-flung places around the globe? Clearly, President Trump talks about that all the time, so I think that you'd have, you know, acceptance from the White House.
Do you think that this can be done now?
CARDIN: Well, let me make it clear. I think Congress wants to give the president the tools he needs to fight terrorists wherever they may be. Also understand that the Trump administration has specifically asked Congress not to change the 2001 authorization. They're satisfied.
CAMEROTA: And why is that? I mean, why --
CARDIN: So we're going to have to do this on our own.
CAMEROTA: But why would the White House be satisfied?
CARDIN: Because this -- it's been a -- because it's been interpreted by the Bush administration, the Obama administration, and now, the Trump administration as giving broad powers to the president to use force whenever the president wants to against terrorists. Even though it was passed in response to the 9/11 attack against our country it's been used in a much broader sense by administrations.
But those of us in Congress believe this is a misuse of authorization and that we should have a specific authorization for two reasons. One, it's Congress' responsibility.
And secondly, it would show the world that we're united -- Congress and the president -- in the use of our military to find terrorists and take out terrorists. That we are together as to the strategy. Right now, that's not clear to the international community.
CAMEROTA: OK, next issue while I have you. What are your concerns about the tax plan that is expected to be presented this week?
CARDIN: I think my major concern -- two major concerns.
One, it blows a hole in the deficit. To me, that's irresponsible for us to have a tax cut that's going to add to the deficit of this country.
Secondly, I don't believe it's fair. It's not going to help middle- income families. The wealthy are the ones who get most of the breaks and it will put up a direct assault against Medicare and Medicaid, and programs that are important to middle-income families.
So I think it's basically aimed at helping wealthy people, throws a hole in our deficit, and there's a much better way of doing this.
CAMEROTA: So what if -- there's been a few details that have come out. What if the state and local tax deductions were to go away and what if 401(k)s were somehow to be tampered with, then would this be able to move forward?
CARDIN: Well, as you point out, there's going to be an attack on the deduction for state and local taxes. That's double taxation of taxing people on the taxes they've already paid. It is against federalism and it hurts middle-income families. So many families in Maryland and around the country use that deduction.
On the 401(k) it's a timing issue, but it also affects people's ability to save now for their retirement security.
So they mess around with either state and local tax deductions or 401(k)s. I can tell you there's going to be bipartisan opposition to those provisions.
They should -- we shouldn't mess around with the 401(k)s and the state and local tax deductions. As a matter of principle it should be maintained.
CAMEROTA: So then, what do you think the fate of this tax plan is?
[07:40:00] CARDIN: Well, we'll see on Wednesday when it's released in the House. What I think -- we're all hoping is that we'll have a real, open process. Democrats and Republicans working together to try to fix our tax code.
We need tax reform but tax reform needs to be focused on middle-income families. It needs to be deficit-neutral. We don't want to add to the deficit.
There are things that we can do together to improve this tax code but the way we're heading in just helping the wealthy at the cost of middle-income families is something that I hope does not happen.
CAMEROTA: Senator Ben Cardin, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.
CARDIN: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Chris --
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A very different story for you, coming up. What a story of survival.
Two women at sea for five months. Can you imagine that? They are back on dry land.
A harrowing story that led to an amazing rescue on CNN, next.
CUOMO: Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey apologizing to fellow actor Anthony Rapp. Why? Anthony Rapp accuses Spacey of making a sexual advance on him when he was 14 years old. Spacey was 26.
Spacey posting a statement on Twitter saying he was horrified by the allegation but did not recall the encounter. He added, quote, "If I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."
[07:45:03] Spacey then revealed the answer to a question he has dodged throughout his career, saying "I have had relationships with both women and men. I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior."
CAMEROTA: So, powerful people take sexual advantage of less powerful people. That's what we've learned in the past few weeks.
And we're going to be having a conversation about that in terms of all of this conversation of sexual harassment, where we are today, and if anything's changing, at the end of our show.
CUOMO: This is a different type of allegation than others in the past because the kid was 14 --
CAMEROTA: Fourteen, yes.
CUOMO: -- at the time. So --
CUOMO: -- a little bit of --
CAMEROTA: Yes, there's a few things different about this, yes.
CUOMO: -- a different nature and Spacey isn't talking about a power dynamic, he's talking about a drunken one.
CUOMO: Also, that's another fact. It may make it distinguishable but the rationale is only as good as its proof.
CAMEROTA: All right. We will talk to our panel about all of this.
Meanwhile, you have to hear this story. Two women stranded at sea for five months on a storm-battered sailboat are back on solid ground this morning. They were rescued by a U.S. Navy ship 900 miles off of Japan.
CNN's Ivan Watson spoke to the women. He joins us live from Okinawa. How is this possible, Ivan?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty incredible and, I mean, the scenes when they arrived on shore here at a U.S. naval base in Okinawa aboard the USS Ashland were of jubilation, euphoria, and incredible gratitude to the sailors who rescued them.
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, they say they departed aboard a 50- foot sailboat from Hawaii on May third for what was supposed to be an 18-day journey to Tahiti. Instead, they were battered by storms which they say damaged the mast of the boat, and messed up the motor, and screwed up their telecommunications and satellite phones.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER APPEL, STRANDED AT SEA FOR FIVE MONTHS: We had no VHF -- no range on it. No weather comm; no SSB, single-sideband. We didn't have our ham radio and our radio telephone inside the boat was not working. And also, our Iridium sat phone was not working.
WATSON: How is it possible that all of these different communications devices malfunctioned?
APPEL: They are dependent on the antennae.
TASHA FUIAVA, STRANDED AT SEA FOR FIVE MONTHS: Yes.
APPEL: And when the antennae went out, everything went out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: So, check this out. The sailboat drifted for more than five months, they say, until a GPS coordinate that was provided to the U.S. Navy from a Taiwanese fishing boat marked them at nearly 3,000 miles away from Hawaii.
They say they survived from large stockpiles of food, from a water desalination kit unit, and the love of their two dogs, Zeus and Valentine, who I can report are incredibly healthy and friendly.
After this incredible ordeal they're now here safe in Okinawa and trying to figure out where to go next since that boat was their home and they had to abandon it when they left on board that U.S. warship -- Chris.
CUOMO: That's an interesting point you make. You know, I guess intuitively, we think they couldn't wait to get off that boat, but if it's all you've known for five months -- but boy, can't wait for that book and movie and raft of interviews that go along with both. What a story of survival.
Ivan, thank you for securing those interviews. What an amazing tale. Thank you, my friend.
Wow, five months. Can you imagine?
Anyway, almost as long as this World Series game that we're going to tell you about now. It was one of the longest games ever. You have the Astros now one win away from their first title ever.
Andy Scholes -- hey, you look pretty good, buddy. It doesn't matter how much you sleep, huh?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Oh yes, you know, Chris, when the Astros are in the World Series you don't get much sleep if you're a big fan like myself. But I'll tell you what, completely worth it to stay up and watch what was just an amazing game.
You know, game two was epic. Last night's game five just as good, if not better. The range of emotions both of these fan bases went through in this one, it was just incredible.
Both teams trading haymakers all game long. The lead went back and forth, back and forth, and maybe there is something to that whole juiced ball theory, as well. Eight home runs last night, five different Astros going yard which was a World Series record.
Now, L.A. was down to their final strike and this one in the ninth inning when Chris Taylor came through with a game-tying single up the middle. A clutch hit from him. We go to extra innings.
Then in the bottom of tenth, Alex Bregman was your hero for the Astros. He singles off Kenley Jansen. Derek Fisher sliding into home to score the game-winning run for the Strohs. Thirteen to 12 was your final.
The Astros now lead the series three games to two. They can win their first-ever World Series tomorrow night as the series shifts back to L.A. for game six -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Very exciting, Andy. Thanks so much.
SCHOLES: All right. So, Puerto Rico is trying to scrap a $300 million contract with a company that was supposed to help them restore their power.
[07:50:05] Will Puerto Rico's governor fire the head of the island's power authority over this? What will he do? The governor joins us live, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: We do have important breaking news for you right now.
CNN has learned that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will surrender today in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
As you know, we've been talking about this this morning. There was great speculation about who might be charged and now, CNN has this reporting.
CNN's Evan Perez joins us with all of the breaking details. What have you learned, Evan?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, later today we expect that this indictment is going to be unsealed in federal court here in Washington. But, Paul Manafort is planning to turn himself in to the FBI for processing and then for the court proceedings to take place later today.
[07:55:11] Again, later this morning we expect that Paul Manafort will turn himself in to the FBI and we'll learn more about the charges. At this point, we do not know the charges. They're still under seal as we previously reported.
These indictments have been approved by the grand jury last week, on Friday, and we had expected that today -- at least today we'd see some court action, perhaps the indictments being unsealed, and the arrest being made. So now, we now know that he is planning to turn himself in to the FBI.
Now, we also are told that there may be at least one other indictment that will be unsealed later today. We're trying to work to figure out what that is about and we'll tell you more when we find out, Alisyn.
CUOMO: All right. So, Evan, now "The New York Times" is reporting that Mr. Gates, a former business associate of Manafort, Rick Gates, may also be part of what we see in activity today.
So let's give people a little bit of context of --
CUOMO: -- why it would be Manafort. The biggest indication we've seen from the special counsel so far was the knock and bust at his house --
CUOMO: -- that the FBI did right after -- the timing significant -- right after Manafort had gone in and met with the special counsel's team.
What was the reporting on why those two events happened the way they did?
PEREZ: Well, what happened was, you know, the -- Manafort's lawyers really thought that they could have some kind of an arrangement, they could talk to the special counsel's team.
And so, they were kind of taken by surprise when in late July the FBI showed up at his home before dawn with guns drawn. He and his wife were still in bed when they were woken up by the federal agents, and they were searched in bed for weapons. And then, they proceeded to do a couple hours of searching, taking away financial records, tax records.
And what -- the indication that they had, Chris, was that the investigation involved tax crimes, financial crimes going back -- all the way back to 2006. This is what they were -- the investigation -- the scope of this investigation had become.
And in particular, they seemed to be interested in the tax year 2010. Twenty eleven would be the year that you would file those taxes and we know that he filed his -- he asked for an extension and ended up filing his taxes late.
So that brings us to October and that's one reason why we've been watching for some action on Manafort this month because the statute of limitations runs out on any possible charge regarding tax year 2010 -- that runs out this month. So it's not surprising to me that they brought these charges today, certainly before the end of this month because the prosecutors will want to make sure that they'll be able to get these charges on file.
And then they continue their investigation even after they've made these first initial charges. Good case --
CAMEROTA: That's interesting.
CAMEROTA: I mean, all that new information is interesting. Tomorrow is the end of the month --
CAMEROTA: -- so obviously, they had to act with alacrity here.
And what you're saying -- what I think you're suggesting is that this is about his previous work in Ukraine --
CAMEROTA: -- more than what may or may not have happened in the 2016 campaign?
CUOMO: Well, hold on. But, Evan, just to provide the context, it's about his tax returns.
CAMEROTA: Yes, Manafort's.
CUOMO: And, you know, so you're going to have to look at with Manafort where they're seeing the money come from. Ukraine could be part of it but not all of it.
CUOMO: This is a very open-ended category for them in terms of what they can pursue now and later.
PEREZ: Right, exactly. That's exactly right, Chris.
This is, you know -- look, you have to look at this event today as possibly a down payment on a much bigger story. This is -- the way prosecutors work is, you know, they -- especially if they're facing some kind of deadline.
You can file charges and then do a superseding indictment and add additional chargers. We know that they're doing a whole scale -- wholesale review of everything Manafort has done going back to, you know, over a decade. So we don't know what else they've been able to unearth.
And certainly, the indictment has not even been unsealed yet so we don't know what else they're charging -- whether it has anything to do with the 2016 election, we don't know that yet, be we --
CUOMO: But you mention Gates, another name that "The New York Times" is bringing up in terms of he may also be involved in the activity we see today. Who is he, how does he fit in?
PEREZ: Rick Gates worked with Manafort on the Ukraine -- on this Ukraine project, which is they were trying to help the ruling -- the then-ruling party in Ukraine with various lobbying activities here in the United States, in Europe, for instance. And so, they had hired a couple of lobbying firms here in Washington.
The question has been whether or not these men were supposed to register as foreign agents because they were doing this work for the former ruling party in Ukraine. They did not initially do that.
They have now corrected that.