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Pentagon Releases Niger Video; Senate Committee on Russian Election Meddling; Trump on North Korea Summit; Rockets Respond with Win; Britain on U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem; U.K. Reaffirms Commitment to Iran Deal; Markle Joins British Royal Family. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired May 17, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:38] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The Pentagon has released new video of the deadly ambush in Niger last fall in which four U.S. soldiers were killed. This video provides new insight into what went wrong.
CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with details.
What have we learned, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
This 23-minute video was not shown to the media last week when there was a press conference about all of it. CNN got it yesterday.
Some of the things in it will just show you how desperately these men fought to save each other. Sergeant LaDavid Johnson, you'll remember, his body was not recovered for 48 hours. Now we see the video overhead from a drone overhead as 48 hours after he is killed, Nigerian forces, local forces, locate him under a thorn tree and they retrieve his body. We want you to know that LaDavid Johnson's family has seen this video. They are aware of it. They retrieved his body 48 hours later. That is just one element that we're seeing visually for the first time.
We know that HELOs came in hours later to try and retrieve the survivors. But in the meantime, one of the American troops had to get out into a clearing and he waves an American flag overhead to try and signal that they are all friendlies. This is a group of survivors who fled trying to get into a swampy area, trying to get away from the firefight. Those -- that group was so convinced that they were about to die at the hands of these ISIS fighters. We now know that they wrote messages to their loved ones on their personal devices, believing that they would not live to see them. This is an indication of just how desperate this firefight was.
The investigation is done, but the military still has to determine if anyone will be held accountable for a mission gone so terribly wrong.
CUOMO: And, Barbara, you've been very rigorous from the beginning, telling us, we have to wait. This has to be investigated. Circumstances are often cloudy in these situations. But it is mindful -- we have to be mindful where we started, that they were on a routine mission, they were ambushed, nobody knew that anything could go wrong here, to where we are right now where there are tons of questions about why they were there, whether they were the right outfit to do it and what happened.
So, we have to stay on it. You're doing it better than anyone. Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, so, the Singapore summit, that's supposed to be the big meeting between the man on your screen and the other man on your screen. But, with Kim Jong-un saying he may pull out, this sudden change in tone, what does it mean for the fate of the future? The former CIA and NSA head, Michael Hayden, said he can read the tea leaves, next.
[06:38:17] CUOMO: The Senate Intelligence Committee leaders are backing the intelligence community's findings that Russia did try to interfere in the 2016 election. They concluded the Russians wanted to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Now, this, of course, breaks with the political spin from the Republican side and that House Intelligence Committee report.
Joining us now to discuss what the truth is and what the impact should be of the same, CNN national security analyst Michael Hayden. He is the author of "The Assault on Intelligence," which is out in bookstores now and is a must read to understand the context of the concerns about truth and its application to government.
General, always a pleasure, sir.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: Let me give you a couple excerpts of this statement.
CUOMO: You've, of course, read them before the audience's edification.
There is no doubt -- this is Senator Richard Burr, OK -- no doubt Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 election.
That's something President Trump denies.
This is now Mark Warner, the Democrat on the Senate Intelligence -- the vice chair of that committee. The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, ordered by Putin himself for the purpose of helping Trump and hurting Clinton.
Do you agree with those assessments, sir?
HAYDEN: Oh, absolutely. And those have been the standing assessments of the intelligence community for a while, approaching a year and a half now. And I found it very impressive, Chris, that they waited yesterday until they brought in Jim Clapper, the former DNI, Mike Rogers, head of NSA, John Brennan, former director of CIA, and they questioned those three people before they went final with their assessment. I view it to be a complete validation of what the intelligence community has been saying all along and it was bipartisan. That's a refreshing aspect of this.
[06:40:11] CUOMO: And the Republican went just as far as the Democrat.
CUOMO: And the reason that this is even relevant is the president of the United States says that is a lie. That this is manufactured to undermine him by political enemies and they exist on both sides of the aisle. That's his way of explaining away bipartisanship, at least on the Senate side --there's none on the House side -- and that this is a witch hunt. Do you now believe that these statements removes any chance of truth in those statements by the president?
HAYDEN: Oh, look, the reality is what was pointed out yesterday by Senators Burr and Warner. That's a truth. The Russians did this. These were their purposes.
Now, over here, you may have some people in America trying to use that reality for their own political ends. But as president, President Trump has got to separate his personal feelings about this from the strategic threat that is being mounted over here and he has as yet been unable to do that.
CUOMO: Quick question. If Mueller, at the end of the day, and I know you know very well that one year is nothing for a federal investigation of this type just based on historical precedent. People can Google. They'll see one year is nothing. If he does not find proof of criminal activity and coordination and conspiracy by people close to the president, will that be seen as a failure?
HAYDEN: Well, I would not view it as a failure because I think Director Mueller's responsibility is to see if, based on this truth here, which we've already agreed on, the Russians were doing this, did they get any unlawful assistance or cooperation from Americans? And if you want somebody calling balls and strikes on this, it's Bob Mueller. So I am prepared to embrace whatever conclusions Director Mueller comes up with because, Chris, as you can tell, this is a very exhaustive investigation.
CUOMO: And it's also going to be highly politicized and the findings will really be viewed through that lens. And we already know that's going to happen. And it's certainly going to be unfortunate.
All right, let me ask you about North Korea.
HAYDEN: Right. CUOMO: It looked like all the momentum was positive. People kept saying, be careful, be careful, be careful. And then, sure enough, Kim Jong-un says, I don't like those military exercises between the south and the U.S., even though there's nothing unusual about them. Maybe we're not going to do this. Are you surprised by this move? What does it mean in context?
HAYDEN: No, not surprised at all. Absolutely predictable. I'd have been shocked if something like this didn't happen.
Now, at the moment, I think this is tactical on the part of Kim. He's looking for a negotiating advantage. It's not a strategic rejection of the meeting. And, frankly, Chris, I think the White House response to date has been just about right, which is hardly any response at all. Just let it lie there and we'll see what happens.
CUOMO: And in terms of why this needs to happen, because I keep getting competing thoughts, which is, the chance anything real comes out of this is very little. The North Koreans don't make promises. And, when they do, they don't keep them. And then on the other side it's, no, no, everything's different this time. You're definitely going to have an end to the armistice. Real peace. And it's going to be anchored in an understanding of denuclearization that looks a lot like the Iran deal. Which do you think is more likely?
HAYDEN: If we get to that optimistic scenario you just described, Chris, it's at the end of a process that begins with this summit. It is not in the summit itself. And so my hope is that the summit goes well enough, people agree in principle on that long arc that you described. But it's going to be a long time before the North Koreans are chopping up any nuclear weapons or missiles.
CUOMO: Fair point. There will be a lot of hype around the summit itself. You see it as a beginning, not an end.
CUOMO: Thank you, general.
HAYDEN: And that's the optimistic view.
CUOMO: I got you. Well, optimism should be a better thing than it is today. Let's give hope a chance.
Thank you very much, general. Appreciate it, as always.
CAMEROTA: OK, so what is the state of the relationship between the U.S. and longtime ally, the U.K. After some of President Trump's moves on the international stage, that is a question now. The British ambassador to the U.S. is here ahead on that and, of course, a royal wedding update.
[06:48:32] CUOMO: Houston, we have a series. The Rockets respond with a dominating game two performance to even the series with the reigning NBA champion Warriors.
Lindsay Czarniak has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
People were writing them off --
LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: They were.
CUOMO: Saying they're good but they're not good enough.
CZARNIAK: And people were saying, must win. And, honestly, this is a huge deal. And they did it. The Rockets knew that they had to do something drastically different because of how bad they lost game one. And they knew if they lost the second game in Houston, it would have been extremely difficult to fight the Warriors off when this series shifts to their home court.
This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
The Rockets essentially gave the Warriors a taste of their own medicine. That's how you describe it. They changed the tempo from the start, striking early and fast, and it paid off. They were simply more aggressive than Golden State. The Rocket's Chris Paul -- I mean, check this out, playing with such confidence. The crossover move on Steph Curry, that just doesn't happen. PJ Tucker scoring 22 points. He had five three-pointers. The Rockets had five players who finished in double figures, three who had at least 22 points. Rockets Head Coach Mike D'Antoni had confidence in his team's style of play all along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE D'ANTONI, ROCKETS HEAD COACH: We're very comfortable about who we are. And we can beat anybody, anywhere, at any time playing the way we play.
JAMES HARDEN, HOUSTON ROCKETS: We focus on what we're supposed to do. We don't -- we worry about who we're playing against. It's not about a chess match or what they're doing, it's about us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CZARNIAK: So James Harden and company making the series a lot more interesting all of a sudden. Game three is Sunday and it could go either way.
[06:50:06] CAMEROTA: There you go.
Lindsay, thank you very much.
CZARNIAK: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: OK, so an American is about to become a royal. Britain's U.S. ambassador is going to join us to preview the royal wedding, among other things. Meghan Markle just released a statement about her father. We will bring it to you next.
CAMEROTA: As we get ready to watch the royal wedding this weekend, what is the state of the long friendship between Britain and the U.S.? Recent decisions by President Trump seem to have put the relationship on the rocks.
Plus, we have a big royal wedding update for you.
So let's bring in British ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch.
Ambassador, great to have you here.
SIR KIM DARROCH, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Thank you for inviting me.
CAMEROTA: OK, so before we get to the royal wedding update, and there is a big one, there's a statement by Meghan Markle. But, first, I want to just talk to you about the big international news.
As you know, President Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It opened. Britain was not in favor of that move. In fact, it was one of 128 countries that voted for a U.N. resolution to condemn that move. But Israel is quite happy about this.
[06:55:15] So how are the Brits -- how is Britain feeling about this today?
DARROCH: Well, our view is that the status of Jerusalem should be settled as part of negotiations on a two-state solution. So that's the position we have always taken and will continue to take.
On the events of the last 24, 48 hours, we would always stand up for Israel's rights to defend its borders. But the loss of life in Gaza was a tragedy. The number of injuries was appalling. And as the prime minister said in her comments yesterday, we will be urging Israel to exercise more restraint. And all these live rounds of ammunition are really concerning.
CAMEROTA: So when you heard U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley say that they had exercised restraint, you disagree?
DARROCH: Not sufficiently in our view, but that's what the prime minister said.
CAMEROTA: And do you draw a direct line between the move of the embassy and the closeness of our -- at least 60 deaths of Palestinians. Because, as you know, the Trump administration blames Hamas for that. They are the ones they say perpetrate the violence.
DARROCH: Yes. They -- there is fault on both sides. And there is -- there are -- there are suggestions that there were extreme (ph) settlements (ph) encouraging the demonstrations. But fundamentally our position is, as I've said, that we would like Israel to exercise more restraint in its response to them.
CAMEROTA: Iran. The Iran nuclear deal. About 10 days ago you believed that you were making progress on keeping President Trump in the deal, keeping the U.S. in the deal. What happened?
DARROCH: Well, we were negotiating alongside our French and German colleagues with this administration, with a State Department delegation, on ways of addressing the issues that concern the president about this deal, concerns that we share about enforcing the inspection regime, about the ballistic missile program and about the sunset clauses. We thought we were making progress on that. We thought a solution was possible. But the foreign secretary was over here a few days ago. It was clear that what -- a decision had been taken for the U.S. to withdrawal, which we -- which we find disappointing.
CAMEROTA: But beyond the disappointment, what do you think the upshot of this withdrawal is?
DARROCH: Well, we have said that as long as Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, with the Iran nuclear deal, we will continue to support it and to be part of it, the three European countries. So the key, first of all, is, will Iran stay in compliance with it? If it does, we will continue to live up to our obligations under it.
But, of course we share the concerns of this administration about this missile program, about Iran's regional activities in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen. And we are looking to work with this administration on ways of addressing those issues, while sticking with the JCPOA.
CAMEROTA: OK, we have a big wedding update for our viewers.
As you know, there's been, you know, some high drama with Meghan Markle's family and whether or not her father would be going to the wedding, whether or not his health would allow it. So here's the statement that has just came out from Meghan Markle herself.
Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and I hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.
So, tell us what this means in Britain. Not this statement, but just what this wedding means, the fact that he's marrying an American, the fact that he's marrying a divorced, biracial accomplished woman who had such a successful career. What does all of this mean in Britain?
DARROCH: I think we are thrilled about this in the U.K. We obviously sorry about Megan's father and we wish him a rapid and complete recovery.
But the wedding is a great event that has captured the imagination (ph) of the British people. And as ambassador to the United States, I think it's simply wonderful that Prince Harry, who's a hugely popular figure both here and in the U.K., is marrying an American. I have to say, Meghan has done a quite brilliant job in her public appearances so far since the wedding was announced. So it's a -- it's a great occasion.
CAMEROTA: Have you gotten your information?
DARROCH: You know, I think it's stuck in the post. So we're going to compensate by having a party down in D.C. for 800 of the embassy's closest friends to celebrate.
CAMEROTA: Sounds great.
[07:00:00] DARROCH: We think so.
CAMEROTA: Actually, that sounds really fun.
Ambassador Darroch, thank you very much for being here.
DARROCH: Thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.
CAMEROTA: All right, so tomorrow I will be live from Windsor to preview the royal wedding here on NEW DAY. And then on Saturday we will be live for Prince Harry