Return to Transcripts main page


White House Says Trump Retweets Trying to Elevate Conversation on Terror; Late-Night Taking on Politics and Beyond?; Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 1, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:33:17] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We are following breaking news. Eight dead, 40 more injured after Taliban militants stormed a training school in northern Pakistan. Police say the attackers came on a rickshaw wearing burqas to disguise themselves as women. They say all three attackers were killed. The TPP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: December is off to a mild start for much of the country. Enjoy it while you can, though. A bitter cold snap is on the way.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is here with your forecast.

Chad, good morning.


CUOMO: You had me until one thing. The tone was there, the numbers, the graphics all on point. But when you said here comes the purple, it doesn't work for me. I'm not scared of purple. That was it. Now I have false sense of confidence so it's not going to be as bad as you say.

Chad Myers, have a great weekend. Appreciate it.


[06:35:05] CUOMO: All right. The State Department warning the White House about President Trump's anti-Muslin tweets. Are the president's tweets putting Americans at risk overseas? We're going to ask General Michael Hayden. He is the former director of the CIA and the NSA next.


CUOMO: The White House was warned by the State Department that President Trump's retweets of vial anti-Muslin videos could spark protests at U.S. embassies overseas. But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has a very different take on the effect of the president's actions. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [06:40:03] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I think what he's done is to elevate the conversation to talk about a real issue and a real threat. That's extreme violence and extreme terrorism, something that we know to be very real and something the president feels strongly about, talking about, and bringing up to making sure it is an issue every single day. But we're looking at the best ways to protect Americans.


CUOMO: You know, elevating the conversation. Let's ask General Michael Hayden, CNN national security analyst and former CIA and NSA director.

Help me with this, General, because, you know, she said it with a straight face. But how can it not be a joke? What did it elevate except arguably the threat level to embassies?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, the word elevate jumps out of that sentence like an alarm bell. It didn't elevate anything in the normal English meaning of the word elevate.

Jake, three or four things happened because of that. Number one, once again, we've seen the president governing, and here I mean this with respect. We have seen the president govern with what looks to the world like an exposed id without any ego or super ego trying to correct or discipline --

CUOMO: And end up understanding of Freudian personality.

HAYDEN: Well, but I mean, it does seem to be that way. With no respect. And now we have to conclude, Jake, a consistent pattern of no respect for the traditional balance of the office. Now for an American, to me, that's the big news. Now there's other stuff. All right? And number two, it will add to the pile of grievances that some Muslims will latch onto to motivate themselves to do harm against the United States.

CUOMO: That doesn't resonate with the American audience. When experts like yourself make the point that when you say this type of incendiary stuff you fuel their propaganda.

HAYDEN: You do.

CUOMO: People don't seem to care about that. They're like, I don't care if we make them angry. They're trying to kill us.

HAYDEN: Well, actually it's more complicated than that. And thanks for the opportunity for another 30 or 45 seconds to explain it. All right.

CUOMO: Please.

HAYDEN: There is a civil war within Islam. The center of gravity of this world, Jake, is not yet them versus us. The center of gravity in this world right now is them versus them. That's why over 95 percent of the deaths in this war are Muslim on Muslim. But when we live this story over here that it's about them versus us, we animate the group over here who wants that to be the story here. They hate us. They all hate us. Don't let them into the country.

When we say that, we grab the narrative of the small group within Islam who does want this to be a war between civilizations because they'll need the war within Muslim civilization.

CUOMO: And it allows the president to grab onto a relatively small group here in the United States that does have Islam phobia.

I want to go pivot to another topic about what was discovered by the "New York Times" in terms of the president's influence on lawmakers in the Russia investigation. But I can't help but think that you're playing some type of intel community psy-ops game on me by calling me Jake. Do you know how angry Jake Tapper gets when you confuse me --

HAYDEN: Did I say Jake?

CUOMO: Like two or three times.

HAYDEN: Oh my gosh.

CUOMO: And I think you're waiting for me to break but I won't break, General. I want you to know. But somewhere Jake Tapper is on the StairMaster right now and he's very unhappy. Because he's got much better hair. All right.

HAYDEN: Hey, Chris, I'm very sorry.

CUOMO: No, no. You're always welcome here, General.

HAYDEN: Thank you. OK, Tom.

CUOMO: So I've been called much worse. The -- forget what LaVar Ball called me. So when you look at what the "New York Times" is reporting, is it wrong for the president of the United States to call lawmakers and say, I don't like what you're investigating. I think there is nothing to it. I hope you wrap it up really soon.

HAYDEN: You know, I'll watch very carefully your spot. You know, if it had been kind of encapsulated cabin in the walk by, the drive by. You know we need to get this thing behind us, we need to get on to governing. If that had been the case, fine. No harm. But this appears to have been something about which the president was obsessing, about which he could not prevent himself from talking to other officials.

I do think that other members of the other political branch felt pressure because of what the president was saying. And you realize, you realize, Chris, in this story line about this time the president wasn't just calling on Congress. He was calling the director of National Intelligence and calling the director of the National Security Agency. And in both instances trying to get them to come out publicly and say there's nothing here in the Russian investigation. Now part of this could be inexperience. All right, fine. We could be

on that after a couple of weeks, one would hope. Second could be the character of the president. He's used to bullying people here in Manhattan and having his way. And part of this could be, he really fears there's there there, and he doesn't want the investigation to get there.

CUOMO: Or he really hates it because he thinks there's nothing there but it takes him to the same point in terms of questionable influence.

[06:45:05] HAYDEN: You know, I used to be in that place, too. And you're not to talk about this and I said we'll probably end up in an unsatisfactory place irresolute at the end. But the longer this goes on the more things to look at, the more you see has happened, the less comfortable I am with that conclusion.

CUOMO: What does your gut tell you? Is Rex Tillerson in for the long haul?

HAYDEN: No. No, no. I think -- I think we are now -- we're closed to --

CUOMO: One year or what?

HAYDEN: We're close to Festivus.


HAYDEN: Yes. This is the airing of grievances, all right? And this is public shaming of the secretary of state before he leaves. And if the scenario plays out with Mike Pompeo coming over and perhaps Senator Cotton going up to CIA, not judging on the quality of the people whom I know who I think are actually quite talented, if that's the way it ends up, Chris, we will have a body of men around the president in the power ministries who think more like and who speak more like the president than we do today.

CUOMO: General Michael Hayden, thank you very much.

HAYDEN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure. Always a pleasure -- Erica.

HILL: All right, thank you.

Senate nominee Roy Moore facing a new challenger. Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Their very public feud on Twitter next.


[06:50:32] HILL: Jimmy Kimmel taking on Alabama's GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore in a Twitter feud after the comedian sent a writer to interrupt a Moore campaign event. Well, Moore, perhaps not surprisingly, didn't appreciate the gag and tweeted to Kimmel, "If you want to mock our Christian values come down here to Alabama and do it man-to-man." Kimmel then firing back. "Sounds great, Roy. Let me know when you get some Christian values and I'll be there."

CUOMO: Hashtag burn.

HILL: Yes. Moore then saying, "Jimmy, we'll save you a seat on the front pew." Kimmel, though --

CUOMO: Hashtag on the comeback.

HILL: Yes. Yes. And hashtag there's more. Kimmel with the last word. "OK, Roy, but I'm leaving my daughters at home. PS, wear that cute little leather vest."

So there's that.

Here to discuss CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, CNN media analyst Bill Carter.

Yes, hashtag discuss on that one.


HILL: It is fascinating to go see where we are at now and this is the conversation we're having not just on Twitter but just in general. This is what we've got. We've got a comedian and a Senate candidate going at it. State of affairs. I mean, how do you even --

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, look, nothing should surprise us now.

HILL: This is an excellent point.

CARTER: It's really -- and Kimmel obviously has been out there in the political realm now since the episode with the health care act.

HILL: With his son, yes.

CARTER: So he -- you know, he took the opportunity -- he has sent Tony Barbieri, his writer, to these various events and almost always gotten a pretty good rise. You know. And usually it's been like Paris Hilton or somebody else like that that he's dealt with. But he did a lot with Trump. He had them on lots of Trump rallies and he wears the T-shirt and people would surround him. And the guy is very good at trolling people. He's very, very good at it.

CUOMO: He suggested a charity fistfight.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Does this mean that Kimmel will really go to Alabama? I presume he actually will.

CARTER: Well, he would.

STELTER: Head down there next week.

CARTER: He would. But I'm not sure that would hurt Roy Moore. I mean, if you think about Alabama is the place that invented the outside agitator as the enemy, the other thing, and Jimmy, he starting fooling around, saying, yes, it sounds like he wants to fight, like man-to-man. And, you know, he's 20 years younger. But, you know, one thing I'll say about Roy Moore is he was like a kickboxer.


CARTER: So I don't know if that's the best idea.

STELTER: All right.

CUOMO: But also, just, Brian, the nature of the dialogue. You know, I'm as much a caveman as anybody. But the idea that you have Jimmy, yes, I'll come down there, and let's fight and let's give the money to charity. My charity would be the women who accused you of sexual, you know, attacks.


STELTER: Moore is actually responding. I mean, Moore won't debate his actual Democratic opponent Doug Jones but he is interested it seems in responding to Jimmy Kimmel.


CUOMO: Because of what he's saying --

STELTER: It almost it's a proxy fight.

CUOMO: Probably helps him.

Jimmy's weakest salvo last night was in the cover up of no, it's not about being anti-Alabama. He said we sent Reese Witherspoon down there to do a movie about you. We being Hollywood.

CARTER: Right.

CUOMO: You know, net, net, he loses on that because people do believe this is about culture, and this is about attacking the south and attacking what Roy Moore represents as a Christian. Did Kimmel help himself there?

STELTER: Well, I certainly think when you see this kind of Twitter spat, this is so far from the policy conversation that we might all want to see in a Senate race. Then again, this race has not been about policy.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: Few are.


HILL: You took the words right out of my mouth on that one.

CARTER: You don't take on a comic line for line. That's a mistake. That is going in the tigers without a chair and whip. He then will tear you apart. You do not go back and forth whipping with a comedian.

STELTER: Interesting.

CARTER: That's not going to work.

HILL: Late-night is, as we know, we've been talking about, you've been talking about a lot, Brian, late night really fired up, obviously. But not just when it comes to politics. Seth Meyers is taking on Matt Lauer last night. Of course in his own house. Take a listen.


SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": And you thought the most disgusting thing at the Sochi Olympics was Bob Costa's pink eye. Well, move over, pink eye. There's a new grosser sheriff in town.

He loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office, "(EXPLETIVE DELETED), marry or kill," in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he'd most like to sleep with.

Well, I don't know who you said you'd marry in those conversations but I did know you killed your career and you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) yourself.


CARTER: Wow. Well --

HILL: I mean --

STELTER: Remember that when the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, some of these late-night comics caused a lot of heat.

HILL: Yes.

STELTER: For not talking and quickly and not being forceful enough, serious enough in their comedy.


STELTER: This is obviously among other things Seth Meyers showing that he is independent and he's not just because he's with NBC is he going to go easy on this scandal.


[06:55:03] STELTER: And, you know, I think he actually made some fair points in his show.

CUOMO: And, look, I mean, there's -- you know, there's a big slow ball coming over the middle of the plate. And Seth Meyers knocked it out.

STELTER: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: The larger question, I'd love your take on this, Bill, is what is the point of the reporting? If it is to call out ugly behavior by boldface names, and expose them, certainly a job of the media, OK. But if the job is change, doesn't it have to get a lot deeper than just firing a Matt Lauer?

HILL: Great question.

CUOMO: You know, just as one example.

CARTER: I think it does. I think it's very hard at this point to say where this is going and what the comprehensive result is going to be. But the awareness is raised. Certainly tremendously to the height that it's never been raised at. You would think at some point that's going to have impact across the board. I do think the media is a place where they have at least faced it sort of frankly and come out and said we're not going to, you know --

HILL: Unlike Washington.

CARTER: Unlike Washington.

CUOMO: And the guy from "Variety," well, they have elections of elections, right?

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: And we have people --


CUOMO: The guy from "Variety" on the show yesterday saying his co- anchors knew about this stuff.


CUOMO: And then management knew about this stuff. What stuff? What did they know and when, those are important questions.

HILL: That -- and that's the awareness with management I think that we're going to need to see more of.

Guys, thank you both.

STELTER: Thanks.

CUOMO: Senate Republicans hitting a roadblock with the tax bill. It must be a big block because it's going to cost a trillion dollars. What can they do to get this plan passed? We have the latest next.