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North Korea Working on Missiles; Woodward to Release Book; LeBron James on Trump and New School; Moonves Remains at CBS. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 31, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:58] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A new report in "The Washington Post" says that U.S. spy agencies suspect that North Korea may be working on new advanced missiles despite claims from President Trump that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.

CNN's Will Ripley has reported extensively from North Korea. He joins us live now from Hong Kong with more.

What is the latest, Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, after President Trump and Kim Jong-un agreed in Singapore to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it may be surprising to some to hear that North Korea may now be developing one or two new types of liquid fuel ballistic missiles. This is at a plant in Sanumdong. It's a suburb of Pyongyang. It's a known missile production facility. "The Washington Post" says this is based on satellite imagery and other intelligence.

But, this is the thing, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, while he did sign a vaguely worded statement, he never said he was going to stop missile production. In fact, he said on New Year's Day, he was going to mass produce missiles. This is pretty consistent with what he has publicly said he's going to do.

He also has not agreed yet to give the United States a full accounting of how many ballistic missiles he possesses, how many warheads he possesses. So the U.S. intelligence community says they actually believe that North Korea is keeping business as usual at all of its weapons production facilities. The only exception to that being the dismantlement possibly of the Sohae satellite launch station and the apparent destruction earlier this year of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Other than that, North Korea's nuclear industry continues in force.

So it does raise questions why President Trump tweeted just one day after the summit that there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. That assessment is clearly not shared by the U.S. intelligence community which believes that Kim Jong-un has no intention to denuclearize any time soon and is going to continue developing weapons until he signs some sort of agreement with the United States to do otherwise. And so far he has not done that yet, David.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Will Ripley in Hong Kong this morning trying to get to the bottom of our diplomacy with North Korea.

Back home, the Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to give a $100 million tax cut to the wealthiest Americans without congressional approval. "The Washington Post" reporting this morning that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is working on a plan that would allow capital gains to be adjusted for inflation in order to shield them from taxation. Mnuchin told "The New York Times" his department is looking at its options for pushing the act through if Congress does not. But this pretty unusual move and the use of executive power to change the laws could trigger legal challenges.

CAMEROTA: Legendary Watergate journalist Bob Woodward is back with a new book on the Trump presidency. What it reveals, next.


[06:38:30] CAMEROTA: Legendary Watergate journalist Bob Woodward is about to release his first book on President Trump. It is called "Fear" and it features reporting from dozens of interviews that provide first-hand accounts of life inside the Trump White House.

CNN's special correspondent Jamie Gangel joins us with more.

Jamie, this sounds intriguing.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Donald Trump is about to get the Bob Woodward treatment. About eight months ago, Bob went dark and he really went back to his Watergate roots. He went knocking on doors, White House officials and sources, at night, sometimes unannounced, and dozens of people, people who were first-hand in the room for critical meetings with Trump, talked to him. It was on background, so we don't have one deep throat here, we have dozens of deep throats here. But each person agreed to have the interview recorded. So it is all on the record.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting. But are names used?

GANGEL: Well, we haven't seen the book yet, so I assume -- my understanding is that we will see scenes unfold. So you will see Donald Trump in White House meetings, Situation Room, Air Force One, even the White House residence. So we'll know who the people in the rooms were. Some of the things we'll hear about are Russia, China, North Korea, Middle East, Charlottesville, Virginia.


GANGEL: So it's going to be very wide ranging.

[06:40:03] GREGORY: But what's interesting is that normally Woodward gets cooperation from administration officials because they make a determination he's speaking to so many people, we have to be kind of, you know, orchestrated about how we do this.

GANGEL: Right.

GREGORY: But we also know this White House leaks to such a degree and there's so many competing agendas among those people who have worked for Trump so far who may no longer be there --

GANGEL: Right.

GREGORY: Presumably who he spoke to that he'll going to get a lot of detail.

GANGEL: I think he's getting extraordinary detail. And it's not just the interview. They brought him documents. He said, bring me proof. Bring me paperwork. He has memos. He has files. He has diaries. He has notes. And some of them are handwritten by Trump. So I'm told it's authoritative and well documented.

GREGORY: Well --

CAMEROTA: And do you know what the revelations are or some of them that he might reveal?

GANGEL: I -- I have not seen the -- I have not seen the book yet. I think we're going to hear a lot about national security. I'm told that there is new information about the Russia investigation. But my sense is, this book is 448 pages. I think we're going to see lots of different topics.

GREGORY: Well, it's interesting, too, what we've learned so far about how he went about it, too, is in and of itself an answer to the question of how he'll try to inoculate himself from the Michael Wolff treatment. You know that was -- book was a sensation, got a lot of dirt, but there were also some mistakes, inaccuracies in that book that exposed Michael Wolff and, of course, President Trump went after him hard.

GANGEL: Right.

GREGORY: But, of course, Woodward's used to that.

GANGEL: Michael Wolff took some literary license with it.


GANGEL: Bob Woodward does not -- you know, he's a meticulous fact checker. I think that recording these interviews was one way. Having the documentation was another.

I just want to also say, the title of the book, "Fear," it comes from Donald Trump himself. The last interview Bob Woodward and Robert Costa did was in March, 2016. And Trump said to them, real power is I don't even want to use the word, fear. So that's where it comes from.

CAMEROTA: That's really telling.

GREGORY: And it's coming out September 11th, right?

CAMEROTA: Coming out on September 11th.

GREGORY: So in the run-up to the -- the run-up to the midterm elections is now essentially.

GANGEL: Right before the mids.

GREGORY: But, yes.

CAMEROTA: But also, I mean, obviously, that date carries such an ominous feeling for all of us and the title is called "Fear." And so we are starting to get the impression of, I guess, what Bob Woodward's -- the gist of it is.

GANGEL: Bob was thinking about writing a book for quite some time. He hadn't made up his mind. My sense is he wouldn't have written this if he didn't think he had something big.

CAMEROTA: Jamie, fascinating preview.

GANGEL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much for all that reporting.

GREGORY: Thanks, Jamie.

We've been talking a lot about LeBron James over the last couple of days.

CAMEROTA: We have?

GREGORY: Yes. Mostly me, speaking to myself. He's getting political in some of his comments what he's saying about President Trump and how he is using sports. A CNN exclusive interview coming up next.


[06:47:05] GREGORY: In an exclusive interview with CNN's Don Lemon, LeBron James says President Trump is using sports to divide the country.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

Hey, Andy.


This "Bleacher Report" is brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

At the opening of his new I promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, LeBron said he would never sit across from President Trump and have a conversation with him. One of the reasons is because he thinks the president uses sports to divide the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER (ph): He's dividing us. And what I noticed over the last few months, that he's kind of used sports to kind of divide us. And not -- and that's something that I can't relate to because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white. You know, and I'm -- and I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got an opportunity to learn about me and we became very good friends. And I was like, oh, wow, this is all because of sports. And sports has never been something that divides people. It's always been something that brings someone together.


SCHOLES: Now, LeBron also giving CNN a tour of his new public school for at risk kids. The inaugural class is comprised of third and fourth graders and the school will continue to expand year by year until it's grades 1 through 8 by 2022. Images of LeBron can be seen all over the school. One of the coolest parts is the lobby that has 114 pairs of LeBron's game-worn shoes on display.

And LeBron has also arranged for college tuition at Akron University for every single kid who graduates from his school and completes his I Promise program, guys. And LeBron says he wants to change thousands of kids' lives with this school.

GREGORY: He can do it. He can do it. Good for him.

CAMEROTA: And apparently that interview with Don was just great. They got lots of information and bonded and it was really a must-see moment. I recommend it.

Meanwhile, Les Moonves is still on the job despite misconduct allegations. One of his network's biggest stars, though, is calling him out publicly. We'll explain all of that, next.


[06:53:21] CAMEROTA: So CBS CEO Les Moonves remains at the helm of his network this morning as the company now investigates sexual misconduct allegations against him. CBS' board of directors is in the process of picking an outside counsel, they say, to handle this investigation.

So joining us now are Bill Carter, CNN media analyst and author of "The War for Late Night," and Hadas Gold, CNN politics, media and business reporter.

Great to have both of you.

So, Bill --


CAMEROTA: Is the thinking that while this investigation unfolds, which could take a long time --


CAMEROTA: Les -- business as usual proceeds and he stays in place?

CARTER: For -- well, I think you see how important he is to CBS. I mean he is the center of the universe at that company, more than anybody else. And, frankly, they owe a lot to him. He has driven that stock price to the moon.

So the board has always been incredibly supportive of him. They were supportive of him in this whole Viacom thing. They're friendly to him. And it's a unique situation. He doesn't really answer to anybody. If you think about the other situations where there have been guys in the middle of this, there's been some authority above them where they've said, we can't have this. We can't have this kind of situation going on. Except -- unless the board really steps in, no one tells Les Moonves what to do. And he is a fighter. I can see him digging in now and saying, this was 15, 20 years ago and I -- and I -- some --

CAMEROTA: No. No, I mean there is a 2006 allegation.

CARTER: OK, 12 years ago.


CARTER: And he's going to say, these are decades old.


CARTER: That will be the word he uses. And unless something changes to change that narrative, I think he'll stand by that and he'll fight for it because the company -- a lot of the company will support him (ph). The shareholders voted. They'd keep him in. They've made a fortune with that guy.

GREGORY: The stock has taken a hit, though, we've noticed in the last couple of days.

CARTER: Now because of the threat to him.



[06:55:02] GREGORY: Hadas, it's interesting, one of the things that I'm noticing in this, there is an interest now on the part of the companies to have more process before they want to take action. And it's important to note that the board here is hiring outside counsel because a board will always do that. They'll always have outside counsel because of their potential legal exposure if they were to face a wrongful termination suit say by Les Moonves, if they took that action.

But introducing more process here, because the defense from him at this point appears to be, look, somebody's trying to criminalize, so to speak, a pass --

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Right. GREGORY: An advance that I made that was probably wrong, not speaking to the power differential and the harassment aspect of that, if that was, in fact, present. But these are a couple of new wrinkles to how these kinds of allegations are playing out in terms to the response to them.

GOLD: It definitely is. And it's interesting to see, as Bill noted, the response from the board of directors to this, just going to show Les Moonves' power. And if you think about another CBS huge figure just a few months ago, Charlie Rose, and how quickly he was dealt with because, as Bill noted, he was answering to somebody. He was the face of the network. And now with all of this Viacom battle over whether Viacom can remerge with CBS, that's having a huge impact into this. And Les Moonves is such an important figure in this network.

But I have to note, just because something happened more than a decade ago doesn't mean that it's still not wrong. If you robbed a bank ten years ago, that's still a crime whether or not it was ten years ago or yesterday. And that is something that CBS now has to deal with, especially in this whole Me Too movement. Would the public be OK with somebody leading CBS who was accused of all of these -- all of this misconduct? Some of which he has sort of admitted to, as you noted, as just sort of a pass. But that's not what we accept anymore.


CAMEROTA: So now, of course, their aid (ph) is up to some of the stars of CBS who have chosen to speak out or not speak out, including his wife, Julie Chen, who is a well-known television host. So here's how -- I mean can you imagine how awkward and painful it must be, but here's her statement yesterday.


JULIE CHEN, WIFE OF LES MOONVES: Some of you may be aware of that's been going on in my life for the last few days. I issued the one and only statement I will ever make on this topic on Twitter. And I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever.


CAMEROTA: What do you think, Hadas, was there any better way to handle it?

GOLD: I mean it's such a difficult position for any spouse of somebody accused of wrong doing. And I think it would be -- some people were wondering whether she would somehow leave her show, leave the network, and I think that would be awful for a wife of somebody who was accused of wrongdoing to be somehow punished because of something their spouse did. But it is a really -- a really hard position for anybody to be in when their family member, when their spouse is accused of something because, as we've seen on a lot of these cases, there's a lot of gray area. Somebody can be really wonderful to a lot of employees in one sense and really promote women and in another sense do some awful things.

GREGORY: You know, on the other hand, you have Stephen Colbert --


GREGORY: Who is a big star for CBS, also speaking out about this last night.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": I don't know what's going to happen, but I do believe in accountability. And not just for politicians you disagree with. Everybody believes in accountability until it's their guy. And, make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy. He hired me to sit in this chair. He stood behind this show while we were struggling to find our voice. He gave us the time and the resources to succeed. And he has stood by us when people were mad at me. And I like working for him. But accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody, whether it's the leader of a network or the leader of the free world.


GREGORY: So, I don't know anybody who would disagree with that.

CARTER: Well, there's -- yes.

GREGORY: The question is, what does accountability look like in this instance?

CARTER: Yes. Exactly. And I think Colbert is a very brave guy. He's going to take a stand. That's what he does. I would be surprised if he did anything else. And that was well done.

But it comes down to, what then is the decision? How does -- how does it -- who makes this call? I mean the accountability can be Stephen Colbert saying this is wrong and the Me Too movement saying this is wrong, but is it -- does that actually affect change? I don't -- I don't think it does in this case. I think the board either finds something that the counsel finds and it's legitimate and it's not a crime exactly they have to find, I guess, because it just has to be unacceptable behavior. Really unacceptable behavior.

CAMEROTA: But they've also bought themselves time.

CARTER: They have.

CAMEROTA: I mean this could be a year for an investigation.

CARTER: Yes. And a lot can happen in a year.


CAMEROTA: For sure.

OK. Bill, Hadas, thank you both very much.

GREGORY: Thank you both. CAMEROTA: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For our, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is absolutely no collusion.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: My client didn't do it. And even if he did it, it's not a crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a political cage match. This isn't about criminal law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would assume Donald Trump knew about this meeting.

TRUMP: No preconditions. No. If they want to meet, I'll meet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes, then the president said that he's prepared to sit down.

[07:00:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he thinks he can pull off a meeting with the supreme leader of Iran without any prior discussions, good luck.