Return to Transcripts main page


Two Former Intel Chiefs Blast Trump Over Russia Comments; Texas Church Holds First Service Since Massacre; Top U.S. Commander Pulling Out Of Puerto Rico; NYT: NSA Hack "Bigger Than Snowden." Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired November 13, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:31:24] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So you don't see this that often. A former -- a pair of former U.S. Intel chiefs criticized President Trump's comments about Vladimir Putin and Russia's election meddling, suggesting that the president got played by Putin.

Here's their sound.


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: The Russian threat to our democracy and our democratic foundations is real.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy, and our -- and our whole process. And to try to paint it in any other -- any other way is, I think, astounding and, in fact, poses a peril to this country.


CUOMO: This has gotten very messy because that analysis is contradicted by the President of the United States who says that he believes that Putin believes that he wasn't part of the election meddling.

Let's unpack. We have CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd and CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd.

OK, so, Phil Mudd, the president says look, I talked to Putin. He says he didn't do it. Every time I see him he says he didn't do it and I believe that he believes that.

Good enough?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Of course, it's not good enough. We're only talking about half the story here, Chris. We keep talking about the Intel Community as if they're the only ones discussing Russian intervention in the election. As you know, even recently, people from Silicon Valley -- that is,

Facebook and others -- have been in front of Congress, not talking about Putin's involvement but talking about Russian entities buying far more material on Facebook than we knew in the past. And we learned that that Russian-backed material includes calls for violence in the United States.

Here's the deal. As the president swallows the bait from Putin we go in, let's say, in an election cycle in two years and we have the President of the United States saying I trust Putin.

Meanwhile, in two years you're going to have the Intel guys, plus Silicon Valley, coming out and saying we have a democratic process here where the Russians are intervening. When is the President of the United States going to tell the Russians to cut it out?

I think the implications, I'm saying, aren't just the last election, they're the next election.

CUOMO: So the pushback on what Phil Mudd is saying is that supporters of the president will say look, he says he supports the Intelligence Community. Says he supports our community. If they said that they did it, that's fine, they did it.

And why do you guys want everybody to be fighting with Russia all the time? You know, you guys wanted your Russian reset -- the Democrats. I'm just -- you know, we're just trying to have a good relationship with Russia. That's what you people said we were supposed to do.

What do you make of the defense?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Trump politicized the Intelligence Community the other day and I want to clear something up.

U.S. intelligence is not political. Intelligence officers, like Phil Mudd, sign up to serve their country regardless of who the president is and regardless of which party he's from.

By politicizing the Intelligence Community, President Trump is playing Vladimir Putin's game for him because we're more divided as a country.

CUOMO: So you believe that this is the president taking the bait because, you know, his supporters say that's not what this was? It's just Putin's going to say what he says, you know. What do you want the president to do, get in an argument with him right there?

He says let him say what he says. Maybe he means it.

And so, the president's having it both ways. You don't see this as a good end?

VINOGRAD: I think it's clear that President Trump is more influenced by a career foreign intelligence officer, Vladimir Putin, than he is by his own Intelligence Community. And the problem is this casts a lot of doubt on what reports President

Trump is going to pay attention to going forward. A lot of intelligence crosses the president's desk. He can't pick and choose what analysis he supports.

CUOMO: Except Phil Mudd. He'd say yes, of course, I can. I'm going to do exactly that. Sometimes they'll say things and I agree with it, sometimes they won't.

[07:35:00] And I don't like this Russia investigation. It's bad for me and you guys are trying to use it to frame me for having been part of something that I had nothing to do with. So anytime can tamp down the Russia investigation I'm OK with it.

MUDD: Yes. But, I mean, in this case, he can have his cake and eat it, too.

I mean, you can walk into Vladimir Putin -- and as Democrats and Republicans have said, as the Clinton people, and as George Bush -- the second George Bush said, we need a reset. We have a responsibility to work with the Russians -- the president is right -- in places like Iran and places like Syria.

He could also walk in and say I disagreed with President Putin. Be as tough as Putin is, face-to-face.

The Intelligence Community and Silicon Valley have said we had intervention in the election and I've ordered the government to work with California to come up with a plan for the next election.

I don't understand why we don't have a simple approach that says call out Putin, and at the same time, say we need a way forward in Syria. Why is that so hard?

CUOMO: But do you really think that the president's getting played by Putin or you just think he likes what he's saying because of how --

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: -- he feels? You think he's getting played or it just works to his advantage --

MUDD: No, he's getting --

CUOMO: -- so he allows it?

MUDD: Well, both. I mean, we've seen this happen just this week in the Philippines. We have a country -- that is the Philippines -- that is engaged in thousands of extrajudicial killings.

What does the president say? They rolled out a red carpet for me. They treated me well.

Putin has treated him well.

This is about Trump branding, saying I'm a great president -- other powers respect me -- instead of looking at this and saying whether my brand looks good or not, I have a responsibility to represent America. That's what he's not doing.

CUOMO: All right. Let's put up the tweet about Kim Jong Un that came up this weekend. This is getting a lot of handwringing from people in Washington, D.C.

The president tweeting after the Kim Jong Un leader of North Korea made a joke about his age or insulted him. He said, "I'd never call him short and fat."

All right, so he obviously gets going -- and I talk to my kids about this all the time, Sam. You know, when you say the thing that you say you're not going to say, now I have to punish you.

But why is this such a big deal? Why isn't this just Trump being Trump and his Twitter persona which is obviously, something that his base voted for?

VINOGRAD: I'm not surprised by this latest mean girl tweet off of Kim Jong Un. This is Trump reverting to bad behavior.

Going into this trip we know he wanted Russia and China to do more to squeeze North Korea. He actually laid out the specific steps he wanted to see when he was in Seoul. We haven't seen any new announcements.

The problem is our North Korea policy took a major blow when President Trump when to China. Trump threatened China on the campaign trail. He said he was going to make them pay for raping our country. He didn't follow through on any of those threats.

So if you're Kim Jong Un, you have no reason to think that President Trump is actually serious about his threat to totally destroy North Korea if they don't denuclearize, meaning that Kim has no incentive to change his behavior.

CUOMO: Samantha Vinograd, Philip Mudd, thank you very much. Appreciate you both -- Poppy.

MUDD: Thank you.


The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas now a living memorial to the victims of the mass shooting. We're going to take you inside of that church, ahead.


[07:42:20] HARLOW: The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas is holding its first service since the mass shooting there where 25 people and an unborn child were killed. The church, itself, is now turned into a memorial.

Our Kaylee Hartung is there with more. Kaylee, what can you tell us? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, 26 chairs now sit inside First Baptist Church, each placed where one of the victim's bodies was found. As you walk among the chairs you see the names of each victim hand-painted in gold lettering.

You realize this is where Joann Ward threw her body on top of her children in an effort to protect them. You see where Karla Holcombe had a vantage point overlooking the sanctuary as the terror unfolded. Her chair, the one chair on the altar. There's a red rose in each chair -- a pink rose in honor of the unborn baby Holcombe.

You hear an audio recording playing, a prayer recited or a scripture read. Those are voices of the victims from their participation in past services.

When this congregation and hundreds of others gathered together to worship yesterday morning in a tent on a baseball field about a half mile from here, Pastor Frank Pomeroy asked for strength in the fight against evil. And he said he wanted the doors of this church opened so that anybody who walked through them knew that the people who died here lived their life for the lord.

Chris, next Sunday, that congregation will gather on the grounds of First Baptist Church to worship.

CUOMO: Kaylee, it's good to have you on the ground there.

You know, one of the aspects of this that was unique, other than the venue, that we'd never seen a church be used as a target of death this way here in the United States. The impact on that community -- it's such a small group that this many people being killed and shot and affected affects that whole community in a way that we've never seen before.

So we will keep an eye on Sutherland Springs and see how they deal with this, cope, and move forward.

Kaylee, thank you very much.

So, it's been seven weeks since Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico is not back, OK? Much of that population is still in survival mode without power.

There's all this stuff online that everything's back to normal now. That's a lie. Clean drinking water is hard to come by. Power has not been restored in a lot of that country.

That top commander of the United States says that this U.S. territory, OK -- remember, there are Americans there -- it's time to start pulling out. The relief effort is transitioning from crisis mode to recovery. That's going to mean less resources.

[07:45:00] Let's bring in Leyla Santiago, live from San Juan with a CNN exclusive.

And again, in the context, this is part of America. These are American citizens. It's still crisis mode there. The criticism will be why would you remove any assets at a time that so much is still needed.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm going to be more exact with you, Chris. It is 3.4 million American citizens that will watch today as the three-star general leaves the island.

He is aware of what you are saying. He knows much of this island still doesn't have power, still doesn't have clean water. And yet, as we were with him in his last 24 hour on this island, he is standing by his decision to leave.


SANTIAGO (voice-over): This isn't the island he saw when he arrived. General Jeffrey Buchanan arrived a week after Hurricane Maria to lead the military's relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Are you ready to leave?

LT. GEN. JEFFREY BUCHANAN, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY NORTH (FIFTH ARMY): Yes, I think that we're in the right place to transition.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): On his last day here he visits the town of Maricao. Still no power here and one of the largest employers said it's struggling. Conditions are forcing employees to leave.


SANTIAGO: Buchanan still cannot deliver the news he'd like to bring to troubled towns.

BUCHANAN: What I know is this area's going to be down for a little while for electricity.

SANTIAGO: As he visits the town's distribution center, practicing his Spanish along the way --

BUCHANAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SANTIAGO: -- many watching from a distance are grateful but concerned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language spoken).

SANTIAGO (on camera): He wishes that he would stay a little bit longer so that he could see all the municipalities and, as he describes, it, what they're suffering still to this day.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): They need more help, he tells me.

It's not just Buchanan leaving, it's equipment also leaving. What was once 72 helicopters for relief, now 38. By the end of the week, 14. All part of the military moving into recovery mode. SANTIAGO (on camera): What do you tell the people, including even family members of your own troops who don't have power --


SANTIAGO: -- who don't have water. What do you tell them as you say goodbye?

BUCHANAN: Yes. I -- you know, I think that, you know, we've got to -- we've got to work through the system. In the meantime, you know, one concern that I have is resiliency for the next emergency.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): He acknowledges the work here isn't over. Proof can be found in the very notes taken on his last day.

BUCHANAN: So, we need three water pumps, we need three generators.

SANTIAGO (on camera): But many people, with your departure, fear that they will be left alone.

BUCHANAN: Absolutely not.

So we're -- you know, the military is not leaving Puerto Rico. We still have about 2,500 Army Reservists on active duty here. We've got about 5,000 National Guard troops from both Puerto Rico and other places.

And, FEMA, who's been in charge of the effort from the federal perspective, is here for the long haul.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Now, Buchanan believes Puerto Rico must shift into a new phase without him on the island.


SANTIAGO: And, you know, I asked him one other key question. I say will -- I said will you be leaving here with any regrets?

He said, of course, they made mistakes. They learned from them along the way but he doesn't regret trying them. If he has a regret, it's that he could not save more lives -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Leyla, thank you for that reporting and for all of the time you and your team have spent there. She's been there since before this storm hit.

All right. NSA secrets now being used against the agency following a hack described as more serious than the Edward Snowden leak. This is big.

One of "The New York Times" reporters who broke the story explains the fallout, next.


[07:53:34] CUOMO: A civil war is brewing between the NFL and its owners, OK? So those who own these teams now are creating a controversy.

There's a potential contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell. That's in the mix here.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." You brought us the potential suit by the Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones. What's the latest?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, I'll tell you what, Chris.

Roger Goodell's contract is up after next season and according to ESPN, he's asking to make nearly $50 million a year and have a private jet for life in his new contract. Now, that $50 million would be a raise from the roughly $30 million a year that Goodell makes right now.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told "Profootballtalk" however, that that ESPN report is not true. The only truth to the story is that the league's owners on the compensation committee will be holding a conference call today to discuss Goodell's extension.

Now, Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, as you just said Chris, has been opposed to Goodell receiving an extension, even reportedly threatening to sue the league. But, "Profootballtalk" is reporting that some league owners have actually discussed the possibility of removing Jones as the owner of the Cowboys.

Now you might be saying how is that possible? The NFL and its bylaws say an owner could be removed for conduct detrimental to the league. However, removing Jones would likely take years of litigation.

But it was a rough weekend for Jerry Jones all around, as his Cowboys got beat down by the Falcons 27-7 -- Poppy.

HARLOW: OK, keep us posted.


[07:55:00] HARLOW: Big contract numbers. Thank you very much, Andy.

The NSA trying to get to the bottom of a major hack by a mysterious group called the "Shadow Brokers." This is on the front page of "The New York Times" this morning and it reveals these hackers were able to deeply infiltrate America's most secretive intelligence agency, leaking many of the NSA's most important tools.

David Sanger is with us. He co-authored the story, part of a very important team to do so, and he joins us now. He's also a CNN political and national security analyst.

Thank you for being here to boil this down because it's a long article, very in-depth. A lot of investigation went into it. This, though, is, according to and your colleagues, bigger than Snowden.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That's right, Poppy. As my colleagues Scott Shane and Nicole Perlroth and I started digging into this story we were trying to answer, essentially, one big question.

How could a group, since August of 2016 -- right in the middle of the presidential election -- been able every month to come out and offer for sale samples of what clearly was code used inside the National Security Agency to break into foreign computer systems?

And the reason it's bigger than Snowden is that Snowden revealed the code names and some of the descriptions of programs the NSA did around the world, and that scrapped many of them and forced them to go do many other things.

What the "Shadow Brokers," as they've called themselves, are putting out on the market is the actual source code itself.


SANGER: So if you are an adversary state you look at this and you can go into your computers and say is the NSA inside my system.

HARLOW: So, David, near the end of the article is one of the most important nuggets as to the who -- who is it believed to be? What nations, say, behind this operation? And you indicate that a number of U.S. officials have a very strong belief that this is tied to Russia.

SANGER: That's right. Now, that does not necessarily mean that Russia was the first one to hack into these systems. And you can imagine that the NSA and, particularly, the unit that got hacked here which used to be called the Tailored Access Operations unit -- they're basically the special forces of the NSA -- they preserve their stuff pretty close.

So a lot of people believe there had to be an insider or several insiders and maybe, still is an insider in the system that was bringing the data out. But they also believe that the Russians ultimately got that, whether they got it because the people on -- the insiders were working for them or simply put the stuff in a place the Russians could access.

HARLOW: And that's what makes the president's comments over the weekend about, you know, believing Putin over our U.S. Intelligence Agency all the more vexing. I mean, trying to clean it up the next day but still, putting -- you know, putting the two on par.

Former CIA director Leon Panetta called this incredibly damaging to our intelligence and our cyber capabilities.

What does this do, big picture, to not only the NSA's ability but the U.S. ability of U.S. intelligence to work with our allies on the most -- you know, the most imminent dangers our country is facing on this front?

SANGER: Well, the first thing is it makes allies less confident about sharing their own most sensitive data with us because we're clearly having trouble protecting our own codes.

Second, it raises the question has the United States' drive to develop cyberweapons on which the U.S. has spent billions and billions of dollars, mostly during the Bush and Obama administrations, actually come at the expense of thinking as hard about how you protect that stuff because remember, what happened to these weapons.

In two cases, the Petya attack that happened in Ukraine and you'll remember the big attack on the British health system. These were the Russians and the North Koreans taking American code and turning it into weapons that they then used to do attacks on other countries.

So those countries are going to begin to think why is it that the United States is developing weapons for the use of its own defense and its allies and they're being used against us?

The analogy, Poppy, is it's a little bit like we lost control of parts of our Tomahawk missiles --


SANGER: -- and then discovered that parts of them were being shot back at the U.S. and its allies.

HARLOW: It's an important analogy but a scary one.

David Sanger, thank you for the reporting. We appreciate it.

We're following a lot of news. Let's get right to it.


ROY MOORE (R-AL), SENATE CANDIDATE: There are investigations going on. There will be revelations about this article.

CUOMO: Roy Moore threatening to sue "The Washington Post" over accusations of sexual misconduct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Moore has to do more explaining. Having said that, he has not been proven guilty.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: This is really a matter as to whether he ought to be the standard-bearer of the Republican Party. I just think he shouldn't be.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sarah Sanders telling reporters human rights briefly came up. A spokesman for Duterte saying otherwise.

HARLOW: President Trump exchanging insults with Kim Jong Un but saying it'd be nice if they were friends.