Return to Transcripts main page


Frustrated Trump Itching to Attend Campaign Rallies; 3D Plans to Download and Print Guns at Home Available Tonight at Midnight; 3D Printable Gun Creator Says Fight Is Access to Information; Prosecutors Paint Manafort As Shrewd Liar and Mastermind; Watergate Reporter Writes Book on Trump Called "Fear"

Aired July 31, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: On the table, we know that -- I was talking to a Tampa politics reporter last hour about the rally that the president is attending tonight in support of this gubernatorial candidate. We know from our own reporting that the president is itching to participate in more rallies because he thinks he's a little nervous that this whole Mueller investigation is chipping away his legitimacy as president. And he's even nervous, Gloria, and you tell me more about what you know, he's nervous that the Democrats could take back the House.

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. He's nervous. He looks at poll numbers. He reads the stuff that says, what, 39 Republicans have retired. I'm not sure that's exactly accurate, but upwards of 30. He understands that in moderate suburban Republican districts where a lot of the people have left, that Republican candidates are vulnerable.

So, he wants to use his muscle. He also wants to get out of Washington. You know, it gets his energy from the crowds, we know that. He did that during the campaign. And he wants to start doing that again. And shifting the focus, of course, from the Mueller investigation, which I might add, he focuses himself on every morning in his tweets. But leaving that aside, he would like to shift the focus to what he has done for the country, tax cuts, et cetera, economy in great shape, and start sending that message out rather than letting the Mueller investigation occupy the airwaves.

And he does contribute to it, but, of course, we have the Manafort trial going on now. And that is another distraction. And I think he's also worried about what Mueller's going to do, his legal team is trying to get some answers from Mueller about the president's testimony, et cetera. And they have radio silence. So, we don't know if we are at an infliction point in their negotiations with Mueller or not or how long this is going to go on.

BALDWIN: I do think it's fascinating as we look at Marine One and presumably the president about to hop off it and head on to Air Force One. Just these -- these candidates, for example, the gubernatorial candidate who has embraced him with open arms, and you have seen -- here he is. You have seen the ad, right, it seems to behoove some of the Republicans, I'm just curious, when it comes to the general election if the open arm embrace will help or hurt these men and women.

BORGER: Right. It's hard to know. A state like Florida is such a varied state. It depends do Hispanic voters coming out, do African- American voters come out, do Democrats come out, do liberals come out? So, we really don't know. But for now, the president really seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to anointing candidates and then they move up in the polls in Republican primaries. And that's -- that's really the key here. And turnout in midterm elections is, of course, always the key to everything. Who is going to turn out? Will it be Democrats? Will it be Republicans?

BALDWIN: Off to Tampa he goes. Gloria Borger, thank you.


BALDWIN: Hours from now, Americans will be able to download the plans for a 3D printed gun. The president tweeted that he's concerned as lawmakers are sounding the alarm. CNN kicks to the self-described crypto-anarchist who created the blueprints.


BALDWIN: At midnight tonight, it will be legal for you to make your own gun. At home, the click of a mouse, and without a background check. This includes assault-style rifles like the AR-15. Even the president saying today that he is concerned and says these guns don't make much sense. Here's the issue, his administration helped to open the door. And now attorneys general from eight states and Washington DC are working to stop the designs from being available online. They are suing the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas nonprofit to publish the downloadable blueprints. And the group is called Defense Distributed. And CNN money senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall just interviewed the company's founder, Cody Wilson. And obviously he has been fighting this for years. And has won.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's what he said to me. I've already won this. You have all the states pushing back and trying to stop this. But he said, you know, just moments ago to me, over a thousand people have downloaded the blueprints online. We're talking semiautomatic rifle, ar-15 blueprints, that enable people to actually have access to this. And he said, it's not about the second amendment, but this is about the first amendment. He's always been someone who has taken a pretty extreme view of free speech and looking at this and kind of pushing the boundaries. So, take a listen to what he said, Brooke. You have more than 20 states trying to block you from making these directions available online. So, what do you expect to happen?


CODY WILSON, DESIGNER OF 3D BLUEPRINT FOR DOWNLOADING PRINTING GUNS AT HOME: I expect I will win. We have already published the file. So, I don't know how they can get me to stop publishing the files.

SEGALL: President Trump is looking into the 3D plastic guns. So, this doesn't seem to make sense. What is your response to the president?

[15:40:00] WILSON: I don't sell 3D guns, so the president will understand that in time.

SEGALL: Are you worried the government will reverse this decision?

WILSON: Like I told you, the plans are uploaded. It's public information now. It's irrevocable. No one can take it back.

SEGALL: The democratization of guns online giving people the ability to 3D print their own guns would make it feasible for felons, minors, mentally ill access to firearms. Are you worried about the repercussions?

WILSON: No. I don't believe access to information is tremendously negative or a bad thing. People can use information for bad things, but this is not a justification to things to what, stop us from speaking?

SEGALL: How would you keep a minor from 3D printing of gun when you have the democratization of these plans online that would make it readily available for folks to do this in the click of a button?

WILSON: I'm sorry. Do public libraries perform background checks on people before they read books? It's not how speech and publication work. If it's illegal to make a gun in this country, it's illegal to make a gun, all right, you're violating the law. But that doesn't mean that that possibility prevents people from being able to legally share and really access this information. It doesn't work that way.

SEGALL: The case of the 25-year-old man who went on a shooting spree in Santa Monica with a homemade AR-15 killing 5 people are. You worried the implications of democratizing this type of information will lead to similar types of deaths?

WILSON: I guess the question is then connected to the word you use, democracy. Is democracy dangerous or not? Can the people be trusted or not?

SEGALL: You are a provocateur. You like to push limits. Do you think felons, minors, mentally-ill folks who are able to click and download and print, do you think they can be trusted or should there be more government oversight over what you're doing?

WILSON: No, I definitely don't think there should be more government oversight. I believe people can publish this information. I know they can legally under the first amendment. Now if the question is a moral question like was it right? Should you do it? Again, my answer is yes, I believe that I should. I believe in what I'm doing. When I am called a provocateur, that somehow takes away the seriousness of what I do. Like I'm only doing it for a stunt or something. No, I believe in what I'm doing.

SEGALL: What does the world look like to you in the next decade with some of the technology that you push forward? WILSON: If people have like an internet resource of some type of

encyclopedic scope, it should allow more innovation in the space as well. I know it upsets everyone, Chuck Schumer is out there with a bill today saying no, guns should be the way they have always been, and we have to prevent them from becoming new.

SEGALL: What is your response to him?

WILSON: That's a depressing world to live in, there is less to hope for when things have to be frozen and managed. And I don't know, I find it profoundly unromantic.

SEGALL: A lot of people think it's depressing to live in a world where you think about a lot of people who shouldn't have access to handguns being able to readily have the ability to make them from home.

WILSON: That might depress them but excites and inspires the imagination of many other people. And unfortunately, we have the law on our side.


SEGALL: This is a big deal. The implications of this can't be ignored. That's why you see so many people beginning to talk about this. And a little about Cody Wilson, I interviewed him last September because he had a website called Hatreon, a play off Patreon, which is a crowdfunding site.

And he was giving access to folks like neo-Nazis and all different types of people who have been kicked off the platforms like Facebook and Twitter and giving them access to raise money for their speech. So, he's always pushing the limit. And you see he's unforgiving about this. This has been a battle he's been waging from 2013. So, the settlement was very, very big for him. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple of days.

BALDWIN: I talked to the Connecticut attorney general last hour who is joining a number of states vehemently opposed to everything this man just said. But again, at midnight tonight, midnight tonight, Laurie, thank you for sharing that side of it.

So, we'll talk about the mechanics of this. How exactly is a 3D firearm made? So, with me now is Terry Wohlers. He is a 3D printing expert. We'll push the legality and politics aside. Simply, how easy is it to get a 3D printer and how much does it cost?

TERRY WOHLERS, 3D PRINTING EXPERT: Well, you can buy a 3D printer now for under $300. So, it's available to virtually anyone. And it's reasonably easy to unpack and set up. But to build good products and parts with it is not so easy. And my biggest fear is that you have an explosion going on when you fire a round out of a gun. And you need to have a material that can contain that explosion. So that -- they are simply unsafe in my view.

BALDWIN: So, what is the material? Is it a plastic? [15:45:00] WOHLERS: Well, these 3D printers can print in many

materials, but plastic is the by far most common. And so that was the intent when Cody Wilson published the plans, the files that you can download and then build a 3D printed gun. So, the difficulty is that there are so many -- there are thousands of different types of 3D printers and countless numbers of potential users all of which have been different levels of skills. Not push button, it's not just push a button to create a good quality, in this case, a gun, that would safely fire a round.

BALDWIN: Terry, I was watching one of these videos earlier today to understand how this works. So, by the time all the different pieces, the plastic pieces of the gun, you put them together, but it's still not a fully functioning gun. How easy is it to put those mechanisms in place to actually get it to fire a bullet?

WOHLERS: Well, that's the problem. You might be able -- you might be able to successfully fire one round, but even then, I have see a gun fire and it simply exploded. The whole gun did. And so, my -- as I said, my biggest fear is it could injure the person firing or someone around them. And so, it's just not safe.

BALDWIN: Have you seen an uptick in sales of 3D printers?

WOHLERS: Oh, Yes. We have seen dramatic growth over the years. But for industrial applications mostly, for automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical-type parts and a range of others.

BALDWIN: Terry Wohlers, thank you.

WOHLERS: You're welcome.

Breaking news in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. We will take you live outside that courthouse to hear what is being said in the opening statements happening now, next.


BALDWIN: We're just now getting first details out of the trial of Paul Manafort. Opening statements have just begun in Alexandria, Virginia. Let's go back to Joe Johns outside that federal doubt house. So, Joe, talk to me about how the prosecutor is painting Manafort?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, opening statements are so important of course as you know. As prosecutors and defense try to mold this case and explain their theory of the case to the jury. The theory here for prosecutors is to describe Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, for Donald Trump, as a shrewd liar who orchestrated a global scheme they called it to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars.

So, it is also clear from the prosecution's opening statements that they do intend as we expected to really hit hard on Paul Manafort's extravagant lifestyle. So much has been written about his homes in the Hamptons, in Palm Beach, in Arlington, Virginia. And so, they will clearly hit on that as well. Also making the point more than once that they call Paul Manafort a liar and say he is one person in the courtroom who essentially did not believe the law applied to him.

BALDWIN: This trial the first big test for the special counsel here, Robert Mueller. Six men, six women on that jury. Joe Johns, thank you. Coming up next, the legendary reporter who helped break the Watergate scandal writes a book about the life inside the Trump White House. The title, you see it there, "Fear." Details on how Bob Woodward got access to top officials in Washington.


BALDWIN: A Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter known for breaking the Watergate scandal wide open is about to release a new become on Trump administration, and the title and cover, "Fear," are already making headlines six week before its release date. Woodward interviewed dozens of White House sources and is calling it an unprecedented look at the harrowing life inside the White House. And Jamie Gangel is the one who has the scoop, our CNN special correspondent who talked to people familiar with the book. First things first, "Fear." What is that about?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: That is actually a Donald Trump quote. In March of 2016, Woodward interviewed Trump and Trump said, let me get it right, "real power is I don't even want to use the word, fear." So, power and fear and Bob heard that and that is where the title came from.

BALDWIN: What makes these interviews so unique?

GANGEL: So, Bob is going back to his roots is my understanding. This is like Watergate. He interviewed dozens of officials and White House sources. He went to their homes at night unannounced. Everything was recorded. Don't be confused, they are on deep background. This is not one deep throat, this is dozens of deep throats. But they all agreed to have every interview recorded. And they give you a first hand look at meetings with Trump in the Situation Room, in the Oval Office, Air Force One, everyone the White House residence. So, I'm told you will really get a picture of debates that are sometimes explosive and decision making as it happened.

BALDWIN: That is documented.

[16:00:00] GANGEL: Correct.

BALDWIN: What about where do you think the biggest piece of news will come from?

GANGEL: So, I think there are two things. He is not just relying on interviews. These people gave him documents. Memos, notes, diaries, files including in Donald Trump's own hand. Handwritten notes by the president. So, I think there is going to be news there. I also think we'll see news on the national security front and I'm told there is part of the book about what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. So, I think we'll see a peek behind the scenes that is very revealing about what according to these sources president Trump was saying about these things.

BALDWIN: And quickly the release date is not for another --

GANGEL: Six weeks. Very soon, September 11th. And right before the midterm elections.

BALDWIN: Jamie, thank you so much. Appreciate it. And thank you so much for being with me here. I'm Brooke Baldwin in New York. Let's go to Washington, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.