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Trump: Military Hitting ISIS "10 Times" Harder after NYC Attack; Trump on Bergdahl: "30 Years Ago He Would Have Been Shot"; Does Trump Have Double Standard on Responding to Attacks. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 4, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Hello on a Saturday. I am Ana Cabrera in New York.
Right now, President Trump is on Air Force One, hours from his big day debut in Asia. President Trump is beginning the longest U.S. presidential trip to Asia in a quarter of a century. The stakes could not be higher.
China's economic strengths front and center and Beijing facing a potential show down with President Trump after he promised during the campaign to crack down on China's trade practices. Another pressing topic, North Korea's brutal regime and its refusal to stop its nuclear program.
Let's get right out to Ryan Nobles in Honolulu. Ryan, the president took off from there, set to touch down today later in Tokyo. But a lot is really riding on that speech he will give in a few days in South Korea. What's on the line there?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Ana. You put it very well. The president will have a number of beatings with leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. Most of those will be behind closed doors. But perhaps the most important event that will take place out in public will be the president's speech to the Korean Assembly, which will take place on Tuesday, that happens to be election day in the United States.
A couple of key races for a governor in Virginia and New Jersey taking place at the same time. It will bell telling of what the president says to that Korean government, the South Korean government, about how the United States plans to handle Kim Jong-un and his regime.
Because there seems to be much different approach from the United States policy and the policy of that new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. President Moon has talked about opening up diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.
He looks forward to a hopeful goal of Korean unification at some point, which is much different than what Donald Trump has talked about. He doesn't believe that it's productive to engage in diplomatic talks with North Korean leaders.
In fact, talking different than his own secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who has said in the past that the United States has open ties to the regime and hopes to find some sort of diplomatic solutions.
So, President Moon as recently as this summer has talked about how he hopes that there is some sort of breakthrough that could take place and he himself would travel to Pyongyang and meet one on one with Kim Jong-un if necessary.
That's much different than the rhetoric that we have seen from President Trump and it will be very interesting to see what message he sends when we speaks directly to those Korean leaders, those South Korean leaders, when he gives that very highly anticipated speech on Tuesday night.
CABRERA: Ryan, I cannot help but admire that background, it is a beautiful day in Honolulu. I know the president departed Hawaii but not before he made an unexpected stop. Tell us about that.
NOBLES: Yes, Ana, the stuff -- the tough draw here. The president had a busy a little more 30 hours here in Hawaii, but he found time to visit with the leaders of the Pacific Command. He also toured the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
But one stop that was not scheduled on his itinerary was a stopover at the Trump International Hotel here in Waikiki Beach. He did not spend the night there last night. He was at the Rich Carlton, but as he and his team were making their way to take off from Hickam Air Force Base on Air Force One, they pulled the motorcade over and the president jumped out and talked with a few of the workers there.
And later, the press secretary, Sarah Sanders told the reporters that are covering the president closely that this was the president saying thanks to those group of people that have been working on this projects that has come to a successful land here for some time.
Now this is not a Trump's owned property. It is part of a franchise agreement with a different owner. But again, Ana, this could open the president up for a bit of criticism. It seems that every time he's away from the White House, he finds some opportunity to visit one of his properties whether it be his golf course in Northern Virginia or his estate in Bedminster.
So, again, the president even on this important trip still finding an opportunity to visit a Trump property.
CABRERA: Ryan Nobles in Honolulu, thank you. Now go to the beach. Have some fun while you're there.
Let's talk more about President Trump's first trip to Asia since taking office. Joining us now CNN's Elise Labott, global affairs correspondent, Balbina Hwang, a former senior adviser at the State Department, and Jamie Metzl, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former national security staffer in the Clinton administration. Elise, to you first, what does President Trump need to accomplish on this trip?
ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think a couple of things, Ana. I think first of all he needs to have a consistent and unified message in his administration. You've seen these mix messages coming from President Trump and his cabinet.
On one hand, President Trump is with a fire and fury, and then you've heard Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talking about diplomatic back channels. So, I think these leaders are really looking particularly on North Korea to have some kind of consistent message and a strategy about the road ahead.
[17:05:13] I think he also really needs to show up that support with China and he's been building the relationship with President Xi. I think now he needs to secure that support going forward.
CABRERA: Now, do you know what kind of test is this for the president?
BALBINA HWANG, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, I think the consistency are a little over stated. I actually do not think that President Moon and President Trump's policies are all that different. They are not focused on the same thing.
In other words, for President Trump, the main issue is the nuclear. He himself has actually been inconsistent in the sense that earlier on he talked about meeting with Kim Jong-un. That he would have no problems.
And so, he has not necessarily ruled out diplomacy and what's more important is that U.S. policy itself, the entire administration has stated that diplomacy still must be attempted first. Moon Jae-in also has insisted that denuclearization also has to occur. The problem right now is that North Korea is not willing to engage.
CABRERA: So, North Korea obviously one of the big topics but then China and Japan and there are other dynamics in play when we are talking about the economy. Jaime, you have said that there needs to be a broader regional strategy laid out by this administration, why is that so important?
JAIME METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: What we are seeing is chaos from this administration. We are seeing chaos in the United States where nobody knows who's in charge. We are seeing a huge amount of inconsistency where Tillerson and Mattis say one thing and the president tweets something else.
And we are seeing a level of fear in Asia, not -- I mean, certainly there is fear of Kim Jong-un and the North Koreans, but there is a far level of fear everyone among our closest allies of the inconsistency of this administration.
The United States has been the foundation of peace, security, and stability in Asia for the last 70 years since the end of the Second World War. President Trump and this administration are in many ways taking a hatchet to that role.
And that's why there is a great level of fear if President Trump against everything that he's done, against his records, is able to go and act like the president of the United States, and deliver a consistent message and reassure our allies. That will be great.
But if we see the same President Trump on this trip as we see in the United States, I fear he's going to make a bad situation even worst.
CABRERA: And yet, could the president have leverage if these regional players don't know exactly what his strategy is?
METZL: You know, people say that, the madman theory, it certainly did not work for President Nixon during the Vietnam War unless to say that that was a strategy then the United States would need to do things like shore up our relationships with our allies.
But this madman theory of saying we may do something bad to North Korea, we are also using the same approach with Australia and with Japan and South Korea. So, those leaders are going to breathe a sigh of relief when President Trump leaves and nothing terrible happens. That's really is unfortunate for the United States for allies and for the world.
CABRERA: Elise, it is interesting because the president has been working to develop relationships with other leaders of other countries. We saw his meeting with the president of China and Japanese prime minister and the president at Mar-a-Lago.
I mean, he's had numerous calls with them and other members of the region including Moon in South Korea. How does that set the stage for what might be accomplished?
LABOTT: Well, I think, you know, you have a variety of relationships there, Ana. I think that Prime Minister Abe, his first visit, is really that closest relationship. He was one of the first leaders to come visit President Trump in Washington.
They bonded, and they bonded over golf. They'll be playing golf in Japan. I think that's going to ease him into that trip. It was intended that way. He also has developed a relationship with President Xi of China.
But he also had a lot of tough messages for China and not just North Korea but on trade and the economy with President Duterte. I think it's a little bit better. I think the one relationship that's really a little bit tense is the relationship with President Moon of South Korea.
They have a very differing approach towards North Korea. I think President Moon wants to improve the relationship with North Korea and take a little bit less of a tough tactic while obviously de- nuclearization important.
I think their tactics are very difficult and I do think that some of the pressure campaign by President Trump is working. Officials saying the North Koreans are starting to feel it. It is, you know, it remains to be seen whether President Trump can calibrate it in the right way.
You only have leverage on this type of pressure if you have something that the North Korean wants and that's some kind of diplomacy. I think look, the U.S. does not want to go to war. It does want to get the North Koreans on the table. But so far, we have not seen anything from North Korea.
[17:10:07] CABRERA: Balbina, nothing happens in a vacuum and this obviously has been a huge week when it comes to the Russia investigation back here at home. How does that play during this trip abroad? What's the impact?
HWANG: Well, I would like to go back to something initially that Jaime said, which I think is critical. The point is that this trip is about so much more than just North Korea. It is actually a much broader issue about our entire strategy towards Asia and the entire foundation.
The foundation is not just on security issues and the alliances but also economic relationships and frankly speaking, I think actually the biggest concerns in the speech in South Korea is going to be if President Trump targets the core of the (inaudible), which he has shown that he's very displeased with.
And I think that is actually something that South Koreans are just as much, if perhaps not more interested in. So, I don't think we should put too much emphasis on this particular performance.
What's more important is if he comes out and the U.S. show a much broader understanding that all of these relationships together is not a matter of bilateral relationships. You know one with Japan and one with China and South Korea.
But an understanding that we have to work with all our allies, and frankly speaking, I think we are under estimating the strengths of our allies and our alliance relationships. That has gotten us a very long way for the last 60 years.
CABRERA: Jaime, we have like 30 seconds. I want to give you the final spot here. As Balbina points out, this is a long trip. So, there'll be multiple stops, multiple speeches, multiple interactions, what's the one thing you will be watching?
METZL: Again, it is whether President Trump can rise to this occasion and be the president of the United States and the leader of the free world. We have seen so little evidence of that. Our Asian allies and allies around the world are crying out for American leadership because their security and instability depends on it.
If we can go a short way towards acting like the president of Republicans and Democrats, that the world is relying on that. We'll breathe a sigh of relief. If he continues of his erratic behavior, as we've seen in the past, we'll be trapped in him all along the way. Just really worried about what this means for the United States, Asia, and the world.
CABRERA: We heard his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, say earlier this week that they are not trying to restrain him in terms of the rhetoric that he's said in the past. Elise Labott, Balbina Hwang, and Jaime Metzl, thank you all for your thoughts and insights.
Now as Trump is en route to Asia, today, the Mueller investigation is moving closer to the west wing. There are new questions after a former Trump adviser tells CNN that multiple members of the campaign knew about his trip to Russia during the campaign. We'll have the details, next.
CABRERA: President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have repeatedly denied anyone on the Trump campaign talked to or met with Russian officials during the campaign, but court documents unsealed this week proved that's not the case.
Here is CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president remains defiant amid mounting evidence that he knew about his campaign adviser's connections to Russia.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There was no collusion. There was no nothing.
SCHNEIDER: In February of this year, he pleaded total ignorance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I told you General Flynn obviously was dealing so that's one person, but he was dealing as he should have been.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, nobody that I know of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you are not aware of any contact during the course of the election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a rouse. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with knows. Now Manafort has totally denied it.
SCHNEIDER: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates remained under house arrests. The indictment against them was unsealed Monday for money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents. Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stemmed from their work as lobbyist for a pro-Russian-Ukrainian political party. It was not explicitly related to their works during the campaign.
And now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also coming under increasing fire for answers he gave at several hearings over the past year.
SENATOR AL FRANKEN (D-MN), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You don't believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians, is that what you're saying?
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I did not and I'm not aware of anyone else that did. And I don't believe it happened.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL), HOUSE INTELLIGENGE COMMITTEE: I think it is not that he has a problem with the truth. I think it is easier to say that he's perjured himself at least three times.
SCHNEIDER: The accusations from Democrats come after revelations from former campaign foreign policy advisers, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Carter Page telling CNN that he told congressional investigators he mentioned to Sessions the trip he plans to take to Russia at the height of campaign.
And in a March 2016 meeting where Papadopoulos sat in between then- Candidate Trump and Jeff Sessions, court documents show Papadopoulos told the group he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-Candidate Trump and President Putin.
Campaign adviser, J.D. Gordon, sitting next to Papadopoulos tells CNN Donald Trump heard him out, but then Senator Sessions, who was a top campaign surrogate, shot down the idea of a meeting with Putin, a source tells CNN.
This is a video of Papadopoulos speaking at an event unrelated to the campaign in 2016. President Trump has downplayed his role calling him a low-level volunteer and a liar. But Papadopoulos' disclosures to the FBI as part of his guilty plea for lying about his contacts with Russians during the campaign are already affecting the administration.
SCHNEIDER: And we have learned that the start of the trial in the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates case won't happen until May 7th, 2018 at the earliest because of the judge's schedule. Prosecutors say it will take at least three weeks for them to lay out their case.
[17:20:06] That means the case will push into the summer keeping Russia in the spotlight as the midterm congressional races heat up. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
CABRERA: In light of these new revelations, at least one Democratic senator has gone so far as to accuse Sessions of perjury. Here's Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUIGLEY: I think it's not that he has a problem with the truth. I think it's easier to say that he has perjured himself at least three times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's talk. Joining us, CNN legal analyst, Michael Zeldin. He is a former federal prosecutor who worked closely with Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his time with the DOJ. So, Michael, from a legal perspective, is it possible Sessions perjured himself?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think so. I think that he gave an answer, which may have not been completely responsive to the question he was asked, but under the Supreme Court's decisions on perjury, you have specific questions and specific sort of lying answers.
I think there is too much wiggle room here to support a perjury, conviction or indictment. I think it is worthy of re-questioning the attorney general and find out really what's going on here because his answers have been a bit all over the place over the multiple times that he's testified under oath.
CABRERA: I mean, let's say Sessions suddenly remember these conversations. We know Carter Page now admits he actually did meet with Russian officials when he was in Moscow in 2016, and that he actually told at least one campaign official about this. How much of this do you think has to do with George Papadopoulos' guilty plea earlier this week?
ZELDIN: So, George Papadopoulos' guilty plea should inform anyone who has been interviewed to think through all of that, which they said to make sure that it is 100 percent correct as material matters.
And if it isn't, they should be contacting through their lawyers the Special Counsel's Office to ask them to have an opportunity to correct the record. For those who haven't been interviewed, Papadopoulos' indictment or guilty plea should inform them when they speak to Mueller, they have to be 100 percent truthful.
And there are some important interviews coming up. Hope Hicks is coming up. Kushner's communications director is coming up. Deputy White House Counsel, so they're moving closer to the bullseye of the Trump administration and all these people could have legal jeopardy irrespective of whether there was collusion or not. If they lie, it's a separate crime and that's what Papadopoulos' case shows us.
CABRERA: You brought up Jared Kushner, which I was going to ask about as well because we have now learned Mueller had been asking White House officials about Kushner's role in firing James Comey. We are also told Kushner has handed over some documents to Mueller's team voluntarily. Does that indicate to you that Mueller is looking into obstruction of justice or what does that tell you?
ZELDIN: Well, I think it is pretty clear that Mueller is looking into obstruction of justice by the president. I don't think he's looking into obstruction of justice necessarily by Kushner, but I think he wants to know the nature of communications between the president and Kushner.
Did Kushner advise him or what did the president tell Kushner and what was the intention of the president when he did what he did, firing of Comey and interfering with the Flynn investigation by having Rogers and Coats intervene with the FBI as well.
So, I think it is really more that Kushner is a witness than he is a target of Mueller's obstruction investigation.
CABRERA: Michael Zeldin, thank you as always.
ZELDIN: My pleasure.
CABRERA: Coming up, the president says the U.S. military hit ISIS back 10 times harder in response to the doomed New York terror attack. The Pentagon says that's not the case. We'll discuss next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: President Trump talking tough on terror this week after the terrorist attack in New York since 9/11. Eight people died. Before departing on his 13-day tour of Asia, Trump claimed the U.S. military is hitting ISIS much harder after a man police say was motivated by the group drove a truck down the bike lane and killing eight people in Lower Manhattan. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, when we have an animal doing an attack like he did the other day on the west side of Manhattan, we are hitting them 10 times harder. They claimed him as a soldier. Good luck. Every time they hit us, we know it is ISIS, and we hit them like you folks won't believe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: But Pentagon record showed that uptick in U.S. military hit on ISIS in the days following the attack is not happening. There has been no change according to the Pentagon.
CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen, is joining us now. Peter, regardless of what's actually happening on the ground, the president is sending a very tough message, may that help or hurt in fighting these terrorists?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I mean, you know, messages are not missiles, are they? We have seen a very consistent campaign against ISIS that began under President Obama. Just to give you an idea around the scale in July of 2016, a senior U.S. military official said 4,500 soldiers of ISIS have been killed. About a year later, another senior U.S. military official said that between 60,000 and 70,000 have been killed. The bulk of ISIS fighters, by the Pentagon's own account, were killed under Obama, which it is not surprising. Because he was in office for longer under the rise of ISIS. President Trump has only been in office since the end of January. The campaign has remained largely the same. The plan to take over Mosul, for instance, which is the main city in Iraq, began long before Trump got into office. And the actual military operation began in October 2016. It is sort of a silly discussion to some degree. At the end of the day, the U.S. military and the intelligence community has been focused on ISIS very, very strongly since August 2014, when Jim Foley was beheaded by ISIS, when the campaign against them really began.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: When we talk about the evolution, right now, we are seeing ISIS on the outs in Iraq and Syria. At the same time, there was this successful terror attack that was at least inspired by ISIS here on New York soil. What does it tell you how the threat is evolving?
BERGEN: Well, unfortunately, we have seen 15 of these jihadist terrorist attack since 2014, almost all inspired by ISIS, and they've killed 142 people, including the eight that was killed in Manhattan last week. This is a very easy kind of tactic to use, so it does not require any training or buying explosives or chemicals or buying weapons, the kind of things that the attracts law enforcement attention. We have seen these attacks in Berlin and Barcelona and London and Paris and in the streets of Manhattan. And unfortunately, we are going the see more of them. As the John Miller, the deputy commissioner of New York police department, says, the perpetrator of Manhattan terrorist attack followed the ISIS play book literally to the letter, the way he conducted the attack, how he claimed credit for the attack, the fact he had knives that he did not use. He was planning to knife people after the vehicle attack was completed.
CABRERA: Let me ask you about Bowe Bergdahl. The curious case of Bowe Bergdahl. And the commander-in-chief talking this week. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban after deserting his post back in 2009.
Listen to what then-Candidate Trump said about Bergdahl on the campaign trail
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Bergdahl, who was a traitor.
TRUMP: He's a traitor, a no-good traitor.
TRUMP: Who should have been executed.
TRUMP: We get -- we get Sergeant Bergdahl and they get five of the biggest killers that they wanted, more than any people for years. They have been trying to get these killers and they're all now back on the battle field. And we got Bergdahl. And yesterday, I heard he probably won't serve any time. And 30 years ago, he would have been shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So this week, an Army judge gave Bergdahl a dishonorable discharge and he has to pay $1,000 per month of his salary for the next 10 months, he lost rank, but he did not get any prison time. The prosecution asked for 14 years. How much of what we heard from the president may have impacted the decisions in this case, do you think?
BERGEN: The judge said he would take into account President Trump's words on the campaign trail, and then he kind of -- President Trump referred back to these comments. And you know, in the military, it is a big deal, the commander-in-chief being the overall commander of the U.S. military. The judge weighed these comments in the mitigation part of the sentencing. I don't think they were the essential part of his reasoning. Clearly the fact that Bowe Bergdahl has spent five years confined in a cage and tortured and beaten and had some kind of personality disorder, those are things the judge considers in his sentencing. President Trump's own words, in this case, that was not the intention of the president but that was a possible outcome.
CABRERA: Peter Bergen, as always, appreciate the conversation. Thank you for joining us.
BERGEN: Thank you.
[17:35:03] CABRERA: As President Trump talks about hitting ISIS back 10 times harder, following the New York terror attack and calling an end of the visa program, he remains largely quiet on other attacks. One of my next guest says the president has a double standard when responding to these attacks. His argument, next.
Next, Anthony Bourdain visited Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria ripped across the island. On this week's "PARTS UNKNOWN," he delves into Puerto Rico's complex patchwork, its weak economy, diverse culture and sensational cuisine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN (voice-over): Puerto Rico, you think you know it, maybe you grew up around Puerto Rican culture like I did in New York City. It's incredible. Incredible music, incredible food. Lovely people.
(on camera): I've been drinking a fair amount of this lately.
But Puerto Rico itself, it's sort of the dilemma. (voice-over): Is it a state? Is it a country? Is it a commonwealth?
Is it a colony?
(on camera): What is Puerto Rico? It's not a state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an unincorporated territory.
BOURDAIN: Unincorporated territory?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you know, what's that.
BOURDAIN: What is that?
(voice-over): Nobody can really give you a straight answer on where they're going. Where are they going? What will happen to this beautiful place?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Make sure you watch "PARTS UNKNOWN" tomorrow night at 9:00, here on CNN.
[17:41:07] CABRERA: President Trump responds to Monday's attack in New York City sharply contrasts with his response to last month's mass shooting in Las Vegas. After 58 people shot dead one month ago, President Trump says it was not the right time to discuss potential policy changes like tougher gun laws. Hours after the New York City attack, President Trump started tweeting out calls for policy changes to the U.S. immigration system, like his push to eliminate the diversity lottery visa program and stepping up extreme vetting for potential immigrants.
Let's talk it over with our political commentators, Ben Ferguson, conservative radio host, and Dean Obeidallah, a liberal radio host and contributor to "The Daily Beast."
Ben, how do you explain the difference of the president's responses.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One, you are dealing with a terrorist organization declaring war of the United States of America. Talking policies and taking the war to them is normal to do that after the attack. We see that individuals radicalized by is. You have to look at immigration policy that's an ongoing conversation in this country. He talked about this not just since he's been president but while he's on the campaign trails. These two things are consistent. This is a war with is, they declared war on the United States of America and innocent people around the world, we know this is our enemy and it is a group that wants to kill us. You have to respond quickly when things like this happen.
Dean, how do you see it? DEAN OBIEDALLAH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I see slightly different
to be honest with you. If the goal is saving American lives, well, 30 would be killed by gun violence. There's no discussions by anything at all that try to reduce the law of life of gun violence. We are at war with ISIS. We had four terror attack that lost American lives. I wrote about it in the "Daily Beast." Three involving white supremacists and one involving a Muslim. Only with the Muslim man did Donald Trump called for the death penalty. So the reality is we have a vastly different response in both policies and tone. I don't think it will make it safer. That's my biggest issue.
CABRERA: Ben, the president's words have been different. Let me point it out.
CABRERA: Remember, after Las Vegas, he says the gunman must have had the wires crossed. He talked about hitting ISIS 10 times higher or calling for the death penalty. He did not say anything like that for the suspect in Charlottesville connected to the white supremacist rally.
FERGUSON: They're not pledging allegiance to a terrorist organization that's declare war on the United States of America. You are dealing with domestic issue. You had different men and different reasoning or different reasons why they were doing something. We don't know if they were espousing a certain hatred or bigotry, for example, in Vegas. It is a completely different set of issues. You have this guy saying that the did this for ISIS. He was yelling "Allahu Akbar," out of his car and making this about ISIS. He requested an ISIS flag to be flown in his hospital room. It is clearly about ISIS, so it is a separate circumstance compared to others where each person had their own issues and reasoning. You have people following out those attacks.
CABRERA: Is white supremacy a threat to America?
FERGUSON: I think that there is some in the right supremacists that are a threat to this country. Let's be clear, not every person is racist. Every person says they are a member of ISIS clearly states their goal is to go out. Not everyone went out there with the intent to run over people. One person did.
[17:45:25] FERGUSON: Yes, you can be a racist but not a terrorist.
CABRERA: Finish your thought. Dean, go ahead.
OBEIDALLAH: When I say there are three other white supremacists, I was not counting Las Vegas. Jeremy Christian in Portland, James Jackson in New York and the man in Charlottesville. Donald Trump never said these three words, white supremacist terrorism. He must say that. He could not carry ISIS without saying radical terrorism. How do we counter it without saying it and dedicating resources? His grants, he got $400,000 to a program which is dedicated from combatting people from joining. I want Americans safe because Muslims is irrelevant to this conversation. It is about you want to save lives? Let's treat them all and commit the resources and the tone the same way to both.
CABRERA: Ben, I will give you one last word here.
FERGUSON: Yes, I have no problem with the president coming out and talking tough of a terrorist organization that killed innocent men and women and children specifically around the world. I also have no problem with you saying that we need to be very tough on white supremacists that's becoming killer. When ISIS attacks, it is simple for the president to come out and say the terrorist organization declaring war on us, we are going to go after them. That's absolutely normal business for the president to be tossed in his tone and immediately after someone asking --
OBEIDALLAH: Ben, I cannot get pass the fact that -- I don't know if there should be -- the people in Charlottesville were wondering around with their torches saying, "Jews will not replace us."
CABRERA: We are talking about rhetoric and the message that sends.
FERGUSON: Lets also be clear, when you join ISIS, you are joining ISIS to go out and be a murderer. If you are a racist or white supremacist, it's doesn't mean you're going to be a terrorist. Words are something --
FERGUSON: Let me finish this point. You have one individual who committed a heinous crime in Charlottesville. In my opinion, deserves for the death penalty. When ISIS tells people to go around the world to attack around the world, including children and women, and there are terrorist group that's declared war on us, you should expect the president being very strong towards the entire group.
CABRERA: Dean, last word. We got to go.
OBEIDALLAH: White supremacists are as violent as ISIS people. They have been radicalized. We have to stop them. We have to be committed to stop the violence in the future. We have to stop them and use the resources of the federal government to do that. CABRERA: Thank you very much, Dean Obeidallah and Ben Ferguson. We
appreciate you both.
CABRERA: We'll be right back.
[17:52:58] CABRERA: The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan has sadly claimed another American life. A U.S. servicemember died today from wounds suffered during operations in Logar Province. The NATO-led coalition announced the death but didn't provide details. In a statement, the military offered its deepest condolences to the servicemember's family.
It appears that Saudi Arabia is retaliating for a missile fired at its capital city of Riyadh. Airstrikes are targeting Yemen's capital of Sanaa. Iran-backed Houthi rebels took credit for firing a missile today at Saudi Arabia's international airport. Now Saudi officials say they intercepted that missile. Saudi Arabia is part of an ongoing proxy war in Yemen against Iran, which it says is arming the Houthi rebels.
One a light note, you get an extra hour of sleep tonight. Daylight Savings Time ends tonight. So don't forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed. The extra hour officially begins at 2:00 a.m. That's when you set the clock back. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep. Unless, of course, you're a parent of young kids who don't know the difference and still wake up like a rooster.
CNN is proud to announce the top-10 CNN Heroes of 2017. Each honoree will receive a cash prize and a shot at the top prize of CNN Hero of the Year, and that includes an additional $100,000 for their cause. You get to help decide who that person will be.
Here's Anderson Cooper to explain.
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[17:54:34] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, A.C. 360: Now that we have announced top-10 CNN Heroes of 2017, it is time to show you how you can decide who should be CNN Hero of the Year and receive $100,000 to help them continue their work. Go to CNNhero.com and you can learn more about each hero. And when you are ready, click on "vote." Log in using either your e-mail address or Facebook account and choose your favorite. Then confirm your selection, and you are all set. You can vote on Facebook messenger. You can vote 10 times a day per method through December 12th. through December 12th. Rally your friends and share your votes on social media.
My friend and co-host, Kelly Ripa, will join me to reveal the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year for 2017 live during our 11th annual "CNN Heroes, An Allstar Tribute," Sunday, December 17th.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Vote at CNNheroes.com to help decide who should be our CNN Hero of the Year. All 10 will be honor in our "CNN Heroes, an All- Star Tribute," but only one will be named CNN Hero of the Year. Join Anderson Cooper and special guest, co-host, Kelly Ripa, live, Sunday, December 17th. It's going to be an extraordinary night.
Thank you for joining me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I'll see you back here in one hour live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
"SMERCONISH" is next.