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Europe, Iran Trying To Save Nuclear Deal; W.H. Won't Apologize After Aide's Cruel Joke About McCain; Police Called On Black Yale Student Sleeping In Common Area; Starbucks Makes Policy Changes Following Arrests Of Black Men; Iran Preps For "Industrial Scale Enrichment Without Restrictions"; One Dead Hundreds Injured At Gaza Border In Weeks Of Violence; Confusion, Contradiction From Giuliani, Trump's New Mouthpiece; Europe, Iran Trying To Save Nuclear Deal. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired May 12, 2018 - 12:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right. Hello, again, thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We start with growing unrest in the Middle East. Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets, angry with President Trump's decision to pull out of the nuclear deal.

And just today, the commander of the Iranian Army ground force said Israel's security is further threatened by the U.S. decision to withdraw from the nuclear pact. Iran said it plans to restart its nuclear program on a, quote, "industrial scale."

And now, fighting along the Gaza border between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers has spiked in recent days as violence and rhetoric in the Middle East escalate.

CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott is standing by in Jerusalem. We also have senior international correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen live for us in Tehran. Let me begin with you, Frederik. Tensions in the region are at a boiling point. Set the scene for us. What is it like on the ground there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly are at a boiling point. There are many Iranians, Fredricka, who are quite angry at President Trump pulling out of the nuclear agreement and then also, of course, that altercation that apparently took place between Iran and Israel in the Golan Heights and also in Syrian territory.

Even though the Iranians have not acknowledged that they were part of that altercation yet. It's interesting to see some of the things that have happened this week. It was a big week for Iran.

You had the supreme leader who was caught at a book fair apparently reading a copy of "Fire and Fury." And certainly, it was not by accident that he was shown reading that book. He himself was the one who posted that picture. But of course, there was also a lot more serious things going on. The supreme leader lashing out at President Trump after President Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement. Saying President Trump's corpse will be fodder for worms while the Islamic Republic of Iran will still stand.

And you know, it's interesting to see with those two big incidents that took place with Iran, the nuclear agreement and that altercation in the Golan Heights and in Syria, the Iranians really seem to be intertwining those.

I want to read a little more from that Iranian general that you were just talking about. This is a quote, he said, "The treatment of a nuclear deal by Trump will fail to produce the results desired by the Zionists and would rather speed up the annihilation of the usurper regime."

There speaking about the Israelis again. So, anybody who thought that the Iranians were going to backdown in any of this. Certainly, it doesn't seem as though from that kind of language.

At the same time, though, Fredricka, always important to point out, the Iranians certainly are starting a diplomatic push to try and save the nuclear agreement. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, all of this upcoming week, is going to be going to China, Russia, and the European countries to try to save the deal in a forum that would keep it minus the United States.

However, if that doesn't work, as you said, the Iranians are saying they can very quickly ramp up their nuclear program again and then without any restrictions -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And then Fred, it's already been expressed many European nations who do want to stay on board with that deal and hope to resuscitate it despite the U.S. pulling out, right?

PLEITGEN: Yes, absolutely. You know, for Europeans, it really is a very, very difficult situation. The E.U. has said they want the deal to keep up, but the European nations have said that as well. They really seemed to be the most important ones in all of this.

The Iranians are saying, look, what they need to do is stand up to the United States. They need to tell the U.S. our companies are going to be able to do business in Iran and we're going to protect them.

That's pretty hard to do because the U.S. has already threatened that companies that want to do business in Iraq are going to get problems with America. Countries that want to do business with Iran are going to be the same way.

So that would potentially pit European countries against the United States. Would they be willing to go there? Very difficult to say but that certainly seems to be what the Iranians are trying to achieve and that's one of the reasons why the foreign minister is making that trip all of next week -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Frederik Pleitgen in Tehran, thank you so much.

All right. Now to CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labbot in Jerusalem. So, Elise, you know, your analysis, the controversial new embassy in Jerusalem set to open on Monday. Could the region be at its breaking point? Also tying in with that kind of opening of an embassy?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, then you also have, Fred, the beginning of Ramadan starting early this week, and Nachba Day for the Palestinians, the day following. There's been a lot of tensions in Gaza on Friday after Friday prayers.

[12:05:11] Several hundred injured as rioters were against that border wall with Israel. One was shot dead. That brings the total to 50 in recent weeks. So, there's been a lot of, you know, escalation of tensions and I think it's all coming to a head around the same time.

So, certainly there is a concern on Monday with the controversial opening of the embassy, that there will be more protesters trying to breach that wall against the Gaza/Israel crossing.

And then you also have the Iran deal and the escalations with -- between Israel and the Iranians. I think Israel really see also right now this opportunity to go against Iran. This is the first time in recent history, last week, that the two have traded direct fire.

I think Israel sees Iran as kind of weakened since President Trump pulled out of the Iran deal and certainly the Iranians don't want to show that they're weakened. And so, you have all of this kind of toxic mix of tensions going on right now leading up to Monday and that controversial embassy.

I think Israeli officials are very concerned. But at the same point, they have a lot of support from the united states, not just against Iran, but with this embassy opening, and they have, you know, warming relations with the Arabs who really see Iran as the big threat. It's really a new Middle East now, Fred, in a lot of ways. I think Israel's feeling this new confidence.

WHITFIELD: How much concern is there for this potential escalation between Israel and Iran?

LABOTT: I think the way the U.S. and Israel see it is Iran does not want to escalate. They do, as you said, Fred, want to get that Iran deal staying on track. But they're certainly not going to back down against Israel.

If Israel continues to go after Iranian targets in Syria, they've been very concerned for years now, but that concern has been growing about Iranian military installations in Syria. Is Iran going to respond? And this will be this tit-for-tat.

I don't think anybody expects a major escalation, it will kind of stay on that level, but it is expected to be a kind of slow burn for some time. As I said, I think Israel sees Iran kind of weakened right now and definitely wants to take advantage of that opportunity. WHITFIELD: All right, Elise Labott, thank you so much, and Fred Pleitgen, as well, appreciate it.

Still ahead, chaos and confusion today from Trump's personal attorney and mouth piece, Rudy Giuliani, who says he was forced to walk back comments about Trump's involvement in the AT&T/Time Warner merger.



WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The back and forth between Trump's outspoken lawyer and mouthpiece, Rudy Giuliani, and the White House escalating today to chaos and confusion. This morning, Giuliani once again backtracking on his comments that directly contradicted the White House, this time on the AT&T and Time Warner merger.

Time Warner is the parent company of CNN. Giuliani originally saying on Friday Trump personally denied the deal. The White House jumping into damage control mode this morning, saying not the case. Then one hour later, Giuliani scrambling to clarify his original comments.

CNN's Abby Phillip is joining us live now from the White House. So, Abby, what's going on?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, once again, the president's personal lawyer is attempting to defend him, but might actually be creating more problems for him in the long run. Rudy Giuliani was trying to say that President Trump wasn't unduly influenced by his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who had been paid by AT&T to help them lobby for this Time Warner merger.

But instead what he did was suggest that President Trump put his thumb on the scale against the AT&T/Time Warner merger by denying that merger. He gave an interview with "The Huffington Post" in which he said this, "whatever lobbying was done, it didn't reach the president. He did drain the swamp. The president denied the merger."

But then this morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN in response to some questions about how to square all of this, she said that the president did no such thing, that the Department of Justice was the one who approved the merger.

And about an hour after that statement came out from the White House this morning, Rudy Giuliani himself clarified his remarks. He told CNN's Dana Bash that he spoke to the president or the president clarified that he did not intervene in the Time Warner merger issue.

Now, all of this being said, President Trump has been very clear about how he's felt about this merger from the beginning. Time Warner is the parent company of CNN, who the president has been in a war of words with since the presidential campaign, and this is what he said back in 2006 about what he would do if he were president about this merger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: AT&T is buying Time Warner and, thus, CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration.

Personally, I've always felt that was a deal that's not good for the country. I think your pricing's going to go up. I don't think it's a good deal for the country. But I'm not going to get involved. It's litigation.


PHILLIP: So, the president and the White House has been claiming that he was not going to get involved in litigation, not going to get involved in this decision by his Department of Justice to try to prevent this merger from going forward. But Giuliani's comments really called into question what the truth is here.

Right now, we just have two versions of this. We have the president's lawyer walking back his original statements and the White House trying to insist, again, that the president didn't get involved, he didn't try to stop this merger, whether because of a vendetta against CNN or for any other reason.

WHITFIELD: All right, Abby Phillip at the White House, thanks so much. We'll check back with you.

[12:15:07] All right. Let's bring in the panel now. Michael Zeldin is a CNN legal analyst who served as Robert Mueller's special assistant at the Justice Department. Jeremy Herb is a CNN politics reporter and Brian Stelter is CNN senior media correspondent and host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." Good to see you all.

All right. So, Brian, here we go again, you know, the White House trying to clean up a Rudy Giuliani statement and then Rudy Giuliani himself tries to offer some real clarity. What's going on here? Is there a real distinction between what Rudy Giuliani is saying, what the president might be thinking and the use of the media in which to send this message or provoke a little confusion?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right, Rudy either accidentally told the truth, meaning he accidentally revealed that this was Trump's doing all along, or he just totally mangled the facts and, once again, made a mess for his client. I mean, either way, it's a problem.

And that's why Giuliani is, this morning, telling Dana Bash, no, no, the president didn't interfere. The context for this is there's been a political cloud over this deal since the day it was announced as Abby just mentioned. The day the deal was announced, then Candidate Trump said he was opposed to it.

Ever since then there have been questions from AT&T executives who are based in Dallas about whether the president was somehow, you know, secretly intervening, using his hidden hand to try to stop the deal.

Most of these kinds of deals in the past where you have like a big wireless company, distributor, buying a content company, including CNN, most of those have been approved in the past. The fact the government designed to sue to block this deal was always curious.

We've all heard the denials of the president's involvement. The government has always insisted this was done because it was in the best interest of consumers to block the deal. Now you have Giuliani saying the opposite. It's another example of a Giuliani gaffe or maybe he's telling the truth, maybe he's revealing what really happened.

WHITFIELD: So, Michael, you know, this case in the hands of the federal judge right now. So, what would it mean, Michael, if what Giuliani first said is true? That, you know, the president, you know, denied the deal, even though the White House is now trying to clean it up and Giuliani had this statement? What if the president what directly involved with, you know, putting his thumb on the scale so to speak?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it would be inappropriate. It would be subjective involvement in the case that makes it selective involvement in the case. I think what we'll see is how do the AT&T attorneys react to this.

Remember, at the outset of this case, they wanted discovery of any communications between the Department of Justice and the White House about that deal. Judge Leon said that they hadn't met the threshold to warrant that discovery.

It will be interesting to see whether Dan Pechecheli (ph), the lawyer for AT&T/Time Warner moves to the court to say this now entitles us to discovery in what Judge Leon says about it. If the lawyer leaves it be and thinks this was just Giuliani making another mistake, then it will just proceed to judgment and Judge Leon will make a decision before June 12.

If they move to reopen the discovery and stay the final decision, we'll know that they believe that there's some truth that underlies Giuliani's misstatements. Personally, I believe it probably was more of a misstatement than a truthful statement, but I do know one thing, if the president doesn't make a decision soon to take Giuliani off his legal and PR case, he's making a grave mistake.

WHITFIELD: And so, Michael, real quick, this, you know, revelation in conjunction with AT&T admitting $600,000 paid to personal attorney, you know, of Donald Trump Michael Cohen, how does all of that, you know, potentially jeopardize that AT&T deal?

ZELDIN: Well, I'm not so sure that that jeopardizes it. But, again, it depends on what is the truth. Remember, AT&T and Michael Cohen said that this was not for lobbying, but this was, rather, you know, just AT&T sitting at the foot of the oracle to hear wisdom.

The president's counsel, Giuliani, yesterday said that the lobbying by Michael Cohen didn't work. So, he's contradicting Cohen as well, saying Cohen was actually lobbying, which means that Cohen didn't register as a lobbyist and he's thrown Cohen under the bus again. Which is a place where you don't want Cohen to be if he has incriminating information about the president on a going forward basis, as the prosecutors continue to work through his Southern District of New York case.

[12:20:00] WHITFIELD: So, then Jeremy, I mean, there are a lot of moving parts here. But then to the relationship between the president, his personal attorney, you know, Rudy Giuliani, you know, now it's unclear what the attorney relationship is with the Michael Cohen and Mr. Trump.

But then Rudy Giuliani is serving as a mouth piece, but then there seems to be an omission of facts, if you listen to what the president's recent comments were is, you know, he's new, he's still trying to get the statements, the facts all together.

So, what is going on with this relationship? Why should this continue on, especially after Rudy Giuliani is no longer with the law firm, really in the camp of Donald Trump?

JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, that's right, and I think there are many in the White House who would like to see this relationship end, would like to see the president move on from his attorney because since Giuliani has joined the president's legal team, it's been a constant state of kind of statements and then restatements and clarifying statements.

We had $130,000 Stormy Daniels payment. We had the North Korean prisoners. He was out way ahead on when those -- the prisoners were going to be returned to the United States. And so, I think the decision, though, it's Trump's decision. It's not up to anyone at the White House.

I think it's going to be when the president decides or if the president decides that Giuliani is no longer serving his case. CNN reported this week the president has been flustered by the negative coverage surrounding Giuliani. But I think until we see him off the air, not talking to reporters, you know, he's still going to be there.

WHITFIELD: Brian, doesn't that always seem to be the pattern? Something gets out or someone's working on behalf of the president, not in the White House, but perhaps, you know, elsewhere, privately like this, Rudy Giuliani. Everyone expresses an opinion about it and then suddenly the president is reportedly fuming about it.

I mean, isn't Rudy Giuliani perhaps speaking the consciousness of the president? Isn't that his role? How do you see this pattern playing out publicly and then suddenly there's a separation?

STELTER: Yes. I mean, I think that's the question. Is he channeling the president in a more honest transparent way than some of his aides? All of this comes from the top. It's a tone set from the top. A tone of chaos and contradiction and confusion, where White House aides have to clean up various messes. Ultimately, that's on the boss.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Brian Stelter, Jeremy Herb, Michael Zeldin, thanks so much.

All right. Meantime, the president pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal, sparking clashes across the Middle East. Now Iran says it's ready to restart its nuclear program if the deal collapses. So, what does this mean for American allies?



WHITFIELD: The world is watching as the Middle East reacts to President Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal with protests, escalating rhetoric and violence. Here with more on the unfolding situation, Fawaz Gerges, the author of "ISIS, A History." Good to see you.

First, how much did Trump's exit from the Iran deal in your view influence the tensions that we're seeing right now unfold in the Middle East?

FAWAZ GERGES, AUTHOR, "ISIS, A HISTORY": There is no doubt in my mind that there is a causal relationship between the current escalate between Israel and Iran and Syria and the president's decision. In fact, I would argue there is a real danger that the current escalation between Iran and Israel could easily expand into all-out regionwide conflict between Israel and Iran, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Israel and even the United States.

WHITFIELD: How do you see that potentially being ignited? What would be, you know -- I guess, yes, what would be the impetus of that kind of escalation?

GERGES: Let me give viewers an example. In six months, American sanctions will be kicking in, major -- I mean really severe sanctions against Iran. I think in six months my take on it, Iran will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal because Iranian leaders now are playing for time. They still have six months.

They want basically European companies to speed up the major contracts they have signed with Iran. But after six months, it seems to me that European companies will be subject to American sanctions.

If Iran pulls out of the deal after six months, you're going to have major escalation because Iran is going to go back to enriching uranium which you might have military escalation not only between Israel and Iran but between Israel and the United States as well. This is a scenario whereby this particular conflict can become a trigger for a regionwide conflict.

WHITFIELD: So, you don't see other nations who are part of the deal as having leverage enough or they don't offer enough incentive for Iran to say, OK, we're just going to continue to honor this agreement even though the U.S. is no longer part of it?

GERGES: That's exactly what the European powers are doing and Russia and China. Yesterday, the German Chancellor Merkel made it very clear that even though the European powers would like to savage the deal, once American sanctions kick in, European companies will be subject to basically punitive measures by the United States.

If you're a European company, you realize you don't want to be subject to American punitive measure because most of your investment is in the U.S., not with Iran itself. So, the reality is even though the great powers, the five great powers that signed deal with the United States would like to to salvage the deal, it's doubtful, it's very much doubtful whether the deal could be salvaged because the logic behind the deal, economic benefits for freezing the Iranian nuclear project, is now really at stake.


WHITFIELD: So then this is where it promotes a little confusion. Because if you've got the President of the United States who's now saying there will be, and I'm quoting now, very severe consequences at Iran restarts nuclear program, how is it the U.S. can be threatening like this when it's just pulled out of the deal? And what do you see as what he means by very severe consequences in your view?

GERGES: And that's exactly what I mean. That the United States is threatening not only to impose severe sanctions on Iran, but also translation to take military actions against Iran if Iran restarts its nuclear project. Given the fact that the European companies, the European nations cannot really salvage the deal in particular because they would be subject to American sanctions after six months. You have a scenario whereby this particular conflict we're talking about could easily escalate into really a global conflict.

I mean, the reality is at the end of the day, the reality at the end of the day is that President Trump pulls out the trigger first and then asks questions after. No one is saying that Iranian leaders are angels. They're not angels. But the question is, why not stay in the deal and then really try to work with the European allies and Russia and China in order to exert pressure on Iran to change its behavior in the region and basically put an end to its ballistic missiles.

WHITFIELD: All right, Professor Fawaz Gerges, thank you so much. Bottom line, we get your message no matter which angle you come from. It is the same potential bottom line. All right, appreciate it.

GERGES: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, quoting right now, he's dying anyway. That crass comment coming from a White House aide about Senator John McCain, drawing outrage, something most would easily condemn and apologize. So why is the White House refusing to do those things?


[12:36:47] WHITFIELD: Hi, welcome back. The White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney weighing in on the controversy over White House Aide Kelly Sadler's so-called joke about John McCain. Sadler was responding to McCain's opposition to Trump's pick for the CIA Director, Gina Haspel, saying, quote, he's dying anyway. Here's Mulvaney this morning.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF THE MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: I think the remarks are awful. But let's look at this in context. That was said in a private meeting inside the White House. It's not like -- you might say something really nasty about me off the air and it really doesn't have that much impact. You come on air and say it officially, now, that's a problem.

This was a private meeting inside the White House. It was a joke. It was a badly considered joke. An awful joke. That she said fell flattered. I get all that. But really this is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really think that's right, proper?

MULVANEY: I don't, I honestly don't. You have to have some freedom to speak in a private meeting to speak candidly. We've all said things in private, especially in smaller groups that we worked with, that we would never say publicly. I think she's handled it appropriately.


WHITFIELD: All right. Here to discuss, Democratic Strategist Howard Franklin and Republican Strategist Robert Cahaly. All right, good to see you both.

Robert, so Mick Mulvaney said, you know what, it was in private. So is that the distinction. It's OK to say something like this in private. No apology needed?

ROBERT CAHALY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, thank you for being here. First of all, when you look at any situation like this, you're dealing with a few different factors. One, the fact that we need to have a White House that's allowed to have conversations that are confidential. But at the same time, we can certainly reflect on the taste of the individual who said it. It's rude and unacceptable comment, no matter when it's said or how it's said.

WHITFIELD: And perhaps it's underscored because there has already been a pattern of the way in which the President has made references to John McCain, whether it's because of the, you know, the down, you know, Obamacare vote, whether it was back on the campaign trail, disparaging comments about, you know, him being a POW, and so perhaps that's largely why this is so stunning to so many, that that kind of point of view is consistent with the President's spoken behavior, you know, about John McCain.

CAHALY: Well, I certainly think that if you saw constantly everything that we witnessed, the President's comments that are outside the normal politics, if they were -- every meeting was overwhelmed with those kind of comments, we'd have more than an occasional story about that.

WHITFIELD: So, OK, there's no apology, is that what I'm hearing from you?

CAHALY: Apology from the person who said it?

WHITFIELD: From the White House?

CAHALY: The White House is -- She wasn't speaking for the White House.



FRANKLIN: I mean, you could fill a book with all of the disparaging and disrespectful things that President Donald Trump has said just in the pursuit of the White House in the last year, year and a half that he's actually occupied the seat. I think it's incredible that this sort of thing has taken over the news cycle unfortunately and I think it really is just the tone that this President has set since he declared himself a president or a presidential candidate almost two years ago.

WHITFIELD: So is -- under I guess normal circumstances, if you want to call it that, you know, would this be grounds for firing, you know, that a statement like this, something so callous would be said about, you know, an American hero --

FRANKLIN: Exactly, who --

[12:40:14] WHITFIELD: A lawmaker, you know, coming from the White House?

FRANKLIN: I think so.

WHITFIELD: Where there's a message of morality that should always be sent from the White House?

FRANKLIN: I think absolutely grounds for dismissal. I mean, President Trump already holds the record for the fastest political honeymoon ever, the lowest poll numbers initially for a White House. It almost makes since that he'd be the first to sink to this level of depravity and lack of stability from the White House in allowing his staff, even leading his staff to make these sorts of remarks. I mean, I don't think there's an excuse for it whatsoever.

WHITFIELD: All right.

CAHALY: So that is --

WHITFIELD: OK, go ahead.

CAHALY: -- a little bit much is that you're leaving your staff for this. This was not something said officially by a White House spokesman, and I think you see it --

WHITFIELD: Well, it's from a White House aide. CAHALY: A White House aide --

WHITFIELD: And it's in an environment, does it mean that an environment has been created so that there is a comfort level in which to speak in this tone and the comfort level being set by the person who resides in that White House, the President, that's really the question.

CAHALY: But you were talking about the White House making an apology in it. It would seem --

WHITFIELD: Because it is a reflection of the White House, isn't it, the staff and what is said?

CAHALY: Are we going to hold every White House to the scrutiny of what is said behind closed doors? I mean, isn't that a Pandora's box? I mean, there's been a lot of things said over the years that don't get out. I mean --

FRANKLIN: Only when they get out I think is when --

CAHALY: OK, so fair enough. So --


CAHALY: So if it's leaked, then (INAUDIBLE) it's worth talking about.

WHITFIELD: So that's Kelly Sadler. There's another Kelly, we're talking about the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly. Take a listen to something he said recently to NPR in this interview.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people. But they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States. They're overwhelmingly rural people. And the countries they come from fourth, fifth, sixth grade educations are kind of the norm.


WHITFIELD: All right, so this isn't a new thought from John Kelly, you know, back in February, The Washington Post reported that Kelly said some immigrants eligible for DACA who didn't apply for legal protection were either too afraid or, I'm quoting now, too lazy to get off their As, does this language like that overshadow whatever point that he is trying to make, Howard?

FRANKLIN: Absolutely. And we're shutters the point is trying to make them more to the point, he was sold to this as this military man who is going to come into the White House and still ordering discipline with White House into shape, you know, help the President avoid some missteps. And, in fact, he's the one in this case making the gaffe himself and actually obscuring the message making that the White House should otherwise be focused on. I mean, really what this says is that the word's message discipline have no place in this White House, even from the Chief of Staff.


CAHALY: Well, first of all, I don't think what he said is consistent with the philosophy that you've seemed to outline. I mean, nothing about the assimilation process would require all these steps. I mean, most of America was built by people who fit the description of what the Chief of Staff was speaking. He was extremely out of turn to say that. And that is taking away from what has been a better message.

WHITFIELD: Is that at all representative, his point of view, is that at all representative of the message from the White House?

CAHALY: Doesn't seem to be. It seems to be his perspective.

FRANKLIN: What is the message from the White House?

WHITFIELD: OK. We'll leave it there. Robert and Howard, thank you, appreciate it.

All right, golfing, boy, that's a turn, isn't it? Renting an Airbnb, taking a nap, all grounds for police intervention in cases all across the country? Black Americans being racially profiled while committing everyday activities. We'll discuss that straight ahead.


[12:48:18] WHITFIELD: It's becoming all too familiar, suspicions rise over a seemingly harmless act or no act at all. Then police are summoned, outrage follows what's happening all across the country with one common thread, race.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to go back to (INAUDIBLE) writing my paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have your I.D. on you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, can we see it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a police called for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, let me open my apartment for you so you can see that I belong here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we see your I.D. now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just explained to you. We have a police called for you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just said that if you prove that I live here, you would leave.


WHITFIELD: All right, this exchange playing out on Facebook live, showing a black Yale University graduate student, you hear a voice in front of by campus police. The 911 call came after a white student saw Lolade Siyonbola napping in the dorm's common area and suspected that she didn't belong there, couldn't have been a student there. So the white student identified as Sarah Braasch called police.

A second African-American graduate student says Braasch also called officers on him earlier this year. Well, is just one of several incidents recorded and viewed by millions in the last few weeks where black Americans doing ordinary things are viewed as a threat and end up facing law enforcement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really walked out the house and I saw the lady like through the bushes, I said, she's going to call the police. You guys are amazing. You're so, so quick. It's so quick.


WHITFIELD: Near San Bernardino, California, three black guests at an Airbnb were detained 20 to 45 minutes after a neighbor called 911.

[12:50:03] Police say the neighbor called because the guests didn't wave or smile at her as they were leaving. The group traveling also included a white woman. The 911 caller reportedly didn't mention her, making reference to only the black people.

In Dover Township, Pennsylvania, a group of African-American women say the grand view golf club called police twice because they were, quote, golfing too slow. The co-owner says the women weren't meeting the time guidelines, delaying tee times for other golfers. And then there is the infamous Starbucks incident in Philadelphia last month where two black men waiting on a colleague were led out of the business in handcuffs. The coffee chain closed thousands of stores for a day to educate employees about racial bias.

All right, joining me right now to discuss all of this is Karen Attiah, Global Opinion Editor for The Washington Post. Karen, good to see you. You wrote a piece for The Washington Post titled, "Calling the police on black people isn't a Starbucks problem. It's an America problem." Where you argue, and I'm quoting now, "black people in America can be physically eliminated at any time, in any place, for little reason."

So these videos, you know, help reveal what's been going on for a very long time. Or in your view, is it highlighting a potential increase in racial profiling?

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINION EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, like I said in the piece, this is something that has been going on for a long time. I think when you see these videos, when you see these black people who are sometimes literally doing nothing other than napping or wanting to use the restroom at Starbucks, it just reminds us of -- I mean, back after even slavery when black people were literally lynched for doing something as innocent as taking 75 cents or, you know, looking at a white woman improperly.

So this is an American problem. This is an American historical problem. And even just looking at the Yale students' video, the fact that she was asked to produce papers, to produce an I.D., saying that she didn't belong there, even though she had apartment keys. It just smacks, again, of the segregation era of even apartheid when black people were expected to carry I.D.s to prove that we belong in these spaces.

And so I think, again, what's knew about it all, is that we have cell phones, we have social media, the speed at which we see it happening is new, but this problem of white people using the police, using force to remove black people from public spaces is as American as baseball and apple pie.

WHITFIELD: And it says something not just about the person who is making the call, but also about the interaction once, in these cases, that we're seeing how law enforcement is even handling the situation.

ATTIAH: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think a lot of these videos, it's in some cases, I mean, when the police -- I mean, thank goodness these cases didn't end in assault or violence. Of course, we've seen some videos of, say, Waffle House, where a teen who dropped his sister off for prom was choked on the sidewalk. But as far as people asking, well, yes, the police are there to do a job, they respond to calls, but, again, do they need to detain people?

In the case of the Yale student, do they need to -- when she said she literally lived in the dorm, did they need to detain her further for 40 minutes, so it does still call into question police training and judgment. But, again, it still starts with that one call.

WHITFIELD: So then shortly after the Starbucks arrest of the two black men, you know, in Philadelphia, another video surface of a black man claiming that he was denied access to a Starbucks bathroom while a white man, in his view, was able to be given entry. And Starbucks is now changing its policy around bathrooms. It initially only allowed customers to use the bathrooms, but now is allowing anyone to do so, so that everyone can feel comfortable. In your view of the case of Starbucks and its response, is it setting an example on being more inclusive, sending a message to help, perhaps, change the view, the instinct, of some people when they see black people, they automatically assume trouble?

ATTIAH: Right. I mean, again, it's a step in the positive direction. I think, frankly, to a certain extent, again, Starbucks has a brand to protect. I mean, Starbucks literally promotes itself as a place where people can come and gather and enjoy a cup of coffee if they want to. So they need to protect that. But what I would really be curious to know is if they changed their

policies for the managers. Are there more consequences, for instance, for managers who decide to escalate situations beyond what they need to to resolve something with a customer. So, for instance, are there -- is there a risk of suspension, is there a risk of firing if managers are calling the police for really stupid reasons. That's what I would like to know.

[12:55:11] WHITFIELD: So Karen, you know, the women at the Airbnb, so they were detained up, you know, upwards of 45 minutes. But they were on "New Day" this morning specifically questioning police protocol, just as you were talking about and this was their take this morning.


KELLY FYFFE-MARSHALL, POLICE DETAINED HER AS SHE WAS LEAVING AIRBNB: We felt like we were going to be able to go, but the sergeant came, and so once the sergeant came, the mood and the energy changed completely. He didn't believe anything we were saying. He didn't believe the Airbnb app that we'd shown. He didn't believe the landlord that we had called and the picture we were shown.

They called the landlord and got a DMV picture and they showed it to us and we all agreed, yes, that's her, and the sergeant said, of course they would say that. And so at that point, it just felt like we were -- yes, everything was against us.


WHITFIELD: Karen, what do you think?

ATTIAH: Yes, absolutely. Again, once you call the police, the situation is out of your control, right? And so then of course you're dealing with police officers who are, again, we know in this country that we need police reform, police training, de-escalation training. But again this is what people need to keep in mind, when they call the police on black people for doing nothing. It is out of your control once you involve the police force.

WHITFIELD: Karen Attiah, thank you so much.

ATTIAH: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: We've got so much more straight ahead in the Newsroom and it all starts right after this.


WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone and thanks again for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we start with the back and forth between Trump's outspoken lawyer and mouth piece Rudy Giuliani and the White House escalating today to chaos and confusion. Moments ago, Giuliani once again backtracking on his comments that directly contradict the White House. This time, on the AT&T and Time Warner merger. Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.

Giuliani originally saying on Friday Trump personally denied the deal. The White House jumping in to damage control mode this morning, saying not the case. Then one hour later, Giuliani scrambling to clarify his original comment.

CNN's Boris Sanchez live for us now at the White House. So Boris what's going on?