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Franklin in Hospice Care; Floods in Pennsylvania; FBI Fires Strzok; Trump Signs Defense Bill without Thanks to McCain; Iran's Supreme Leader Rejects Offer. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:33] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news.

Prayers and well wishes pouring in for the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. A source close to the music legend says she is gravely ill and now in hospice care.

CNN's Ryan Young live in Aretha Franklin's hometown of Detroit with the very latest.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, in hospice care and surrounded by friends and family from what we are told.

But when you speak about Aretha Franklin, you really have an emotional moment when you think about her because she connected with so many people. Her music still touches people across the world.

Looking at this church, this means so much to the people of Detroit because this is where she performed for the first time at 13 as a solo artist. And when you think about the fact that she was nominated for 44 Grammy nominations and, of course, she won 18 of those, her music stretches back so far and so long she not only sung at Dr. Martin Luther King's memorial, but she sung at the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Look at this moment from a few years back when she was singing and the tears in Obama's eyes.


ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN: And I just want to be, I want (INAUDIBLE) you make me feel you make me feel, you make me feel, you make me feel like a natural woman.


YOUNG: Yes, that voice was so special, so powerful.

In fact, we're on a street that's named for her father. Her father, of course, was a civil rights leader in his own right and used to help Dr. King with money issues sometimes.

And you think about how she stretched across generations. Now, you have people around the world who know her name. Just think about this also, the last time she performed was in November. She was at an Elton John fundraiser for AIDS. And that's the last time we know that she's performed. She did have an album that they were talking about coming out with, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen.

John, a lot of people are just trying to think about her and sending prayers her way. In fact, even last night, Beyonce dedicated their concert here to her. So a lot of well wishes heading to Detroit.

BERMAN: Yes, no doubt, wishing her the best, wishing her family the best.

You know the one thing we could all do, just go listen to an album.


YOUNG: Absolutely.

BERMAN: And, you know, I guarantee you, you will be moved and transformed.

HILL: Yes, it's impossible not to be. Good point.

In Pennsylvania, emergency crews rescue over 100 white water rafters from the Lehigh River. The group caught up in a rainstorm, which caused the river to swell. Neighborhoods to the north were also hit hard. You can see some cars submerged in some of this video that we're going to show you. There you see right there.

[06:35:04] CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has your forecast now.

Chad, good morning.


Lots of flooding rainfall from New York down tough Pennsylvania. Also more rainfall into the plains.

Let's get right it to. This weather's brought to you by Purina, your pet, our passion.

Very heavy rainfall overnight. Some spots across parts of -- especially the Finger Lakes between four and six inches and more to come. A flash flood emergency is going on right now near the town of Lodi, New York. Now that's in the Finger Lakes region. But this is the problem, much, much more rainfall to come. In fact, some spots today will pick up an additional six inches of rainfall on top of already saturated ground, not that far south of Syracuse and Rochester. More rain in the Poconos as well.

There's a lot of humidity in the air. There's so much moisture content here. We even have flash flood advisories for parts of the Midwest. Parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, all part of this same storm system. We have two of them, one that will spin in the plains, one that will spin across the northeast. We'll keep watching it for you, John.

BERMAN: Yes, the scientific word for the weather these days, Chad, is gross. It is gross here right now.

MYERS: Yes, absolutely.

BERMAN: Chad Myers, thanks so much.

Peter Strzok now fired by the FBI. His attorney says the FBI had no right to do it. We're going to get perspective from two former agents, next.


[06:40:27] BERMAN: Peter Strzok, the embattled FBI agent under scrutiny for sending anti-Trump text messages, has been fired. His attorney tells CNN the FBI should not have done it.


AITAN GOELMAN, ATTORNEY FOR PETER STRZOK: I guess we think that they had the power but not the right to do it.


GOELMAN: Certainly the deputy director and the director can countermand a decision by OPR, but it doesn't happen very often. And, in this case, it is hard to reach any conclusion other than the decision to reverse OPR's decision was itself motivated, at least largely by politics.

BERMAN: All right, joining us now to talk about this, Josh Campbell, the former FBI supervisory special agent who worked for James Comey, now a CNN law enforcement analyst, and Phil Mudd, a former FBI senior intelligence adviser. He now is a CNN counterterror analyst.

Gentlemen, you both have a lot to say, but if I can, you know, in ten seconds or less, each of you, do you think this was the right decision? Phil Mudd first.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, absolutely right decision. Look, it's a unique circumstance. The deputy director looked at it and I suspect he did what most former FBI officials would have suggested, fire him.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It pains me to agree with Phil, but I would agree. I think that what it is, is signaling to the troops that, look, everyone will be held to the same standard, whether you're rank and file, whether you're a senior leader.

HILL: There's also the -- I mean you can't ignore the PR aspect of this, right? The president jumped on it right away. We saw it on Twitter. None of that's surprising. Phil, how much of that, though, may have played into this decision

because the FBI is getting beaten up as we know, oftentimes specifically from this commander in chief. How much could that have figured in?

MUDD: I think you can have it both ways. That is, you can look at this and say the FBI must have responded to pressure. I don't quite see it that way. You have a unique circumstance. When the people who are responsible for recommending disciplinary measures look at circumstances, they look at precedent. If you get a DUI, for example, there's a lot of precedent in the FBI about what you do with that agent. There's not going to be a lot of precedent about what to do with a high profile political case and what we've seen in this circumstance. So I think that the people recommending discipline probably didn't have a lot of precedent and to shut down here the deputy director said, I disagree, I'm going to -- I'm going to fire him. And, again, I think it was the right move.

BERMAN: And, Josh, where do the president's statements, which happened very quickly after this news broke, where do you think that that now plays in? Let me just read you one of the tweets. Just fired Agent Strzok, formally of the FBI, was in charge of the crooked Hillary sham investigation, total fraud, should be properly redone.

Of course he lacks a hyphen between just and fired there. Makes it seem like he just fired Peter Strzok, which I don't think he's saying there. But how do those statements play going forward?

CAMPBELL: So I don't think the president actually influenced the decision of leaders in the FBI who made this very tough call. But I think what the president is doing, whether he knows it or not, is actually providing fodder for Peter Strzok. Every one of those states is now going to be catalogued as potential evidence in a lawsuit by Peter Strzok to be able to say, look, how could you -- I expected -- how could I have been expected to get a fair trial here. The deck was stacked against me. The commander in chief, the number one chief leader of the executive branch who oversees the FBI has been out on a, you know, a tirade against me. How could we have expected his subordinate employees to give me a fair shake? I think every time the president tweets, Mr. Strozk's lawyer are getting those and they're getting ready for their case.

HILL: What do you think are the chances are for a case like that, Phil?

MUDD: Boy, I -- if -- I don't know about a civil case. But if the question is whether the defense attorney can get FBI people in front of a jury to say, I think this was a wrong decision, you're going to, I suspect, have a long time finding people like me or Josh to stand in front of a jury and say, I think they made a mistake. I think it's going to be tough.

BERMAN: Well, I have heard people say that one of the things they are concerned about is that agents, anyone, has the right to express their political beliefs in a private way, A. And, B, the fact that this person that Peter Strzok has been under attack so publicly by the president of the United States, which is unprecedented, that they feel that that is inappropriate. So inappropriate, they will say, Josh, that Strzok is worthy of defending. That's an argument I've heard.

CAMPBELL: I see the point. I think there are two things at play here, two things that can both be true at the same time. I think this has been highly politicized by the president, by Republicans in the House of Representatives. You know, Chairman Goodlatte, Congressman Gowdy, I mean they've politicized this to the hilt if you think back on that hearing where Peter Strzok was sitting there in front of them and they were disgracefully basically, you know, going through his career and trying to, you know, put him -- basically put him on trial right in front of the American people. That is true.

But I think it's also true that he made mistakes, talking about Peter Strzok. If you look at the decisions that were made and you look at some of these text messages, this is not something that we expect of a leader. And when you're in a leadership position, you're held to a higher standard. He should have known that.

[06:45:10] And there's another issue at play here, and Phil knows this very well, you know, former CIA, is that, you know, Peter Strzok was in a very senior position within the counterintelligence division. He was, by nature of his position, a target of foreign counterintelligence, you know, hostile foreign intelligence services. So to be able to open himself up to all this potential scrutiny, to engage in this, you know, extramarital affair and discussing these relationships, it's just a series of bad decisions. It's not something -- those decisions you want in the person who's sitting in that seat.

HILL: Phil, what's the overall impact of Peter Strzok's firing? Is it -- is it actually that great?

MUDD: Well, I think there's an impact publicly. I mean one of the big successes, if you want to call it that, of the president is to take an institution that's highly respected by the American people, that is the FBI, and to persuade the American people that the FBI has stacked the deck against the president. Peter Strzok gave the president a gift in that effort. But, overall, if you ask the American people, if they see criminal activity, for example, white collar crime, who do you call? I think the American people are still, despite all this that the president has done, still going to say call the FBI, I trust them.

BERMAN: Guys, I'm going to change focus, if I can, because you both have served the country for a long time in your professional careers. So too has John McCain, the ailing senator who's back in Arizona right now. Of course, he was a navy flier. He was a POW for a long time.

And there's a Defense Authorization Act that was just signed into law by the president of the United States yesterday in a big, grand ceremony, where he managed to thank a whole lot of people by name, sign the bill into law and never once say the name John McCain or thank him.

Phil, let me ask you, what did you make of that?

MUDD: Are you kidding me? Let me get this straight. So the president has insulted everybody from former presidents Bush and Obama, Rex Tillerson, Jeb Bush, Carley Fiorina. The guy's got the temperament of a second grader. My mom would have washed my mouth out with soap and we sit there and say it's OK if he does it because he's been doing it for 72 years. You can't even spend ten seconds to thank a guy who's on his deathbed. Really? That's what we have to go tell a kid is what is presidential? Unbelievable, John. It mean it just pisses me off.


CAMPBELL: Yes, I will say, I'm somewhat biased as a Navy guy. But, you know, when the history books are written and folks think about what is synonymous with national security, I think the name John McCain will be associated with that if you think about a person who has served his, you know, entire career and entire life protecting this nation, he is someone that we'll long think about as someone who dedicated his life to public service.

BERMAN: Well, his name is now on that law.

HILL: It is.

And we should point out, even though the president didn't say anything, didn't thank him, he did certainly get a lot of thanks, not just yesterday, obviously, but a lot yesterday on social media and even on this network as well.

BERMAN: Guys, thanks very much.

CAMPBELL: Thanks. Have a great day.

HILL: Iran's supreme leader lashing out at the U.S. and his own president. We have a live report from Tehran, next.


[06:51:52] HILL: Iran's supreme leader is rejecting President Trump's offer to sit down for talks and blaming his own country's president for even trying to restart nuclear negotiations.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Tehran for us this morning with more.

Nick, good morning.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erica, you join me in a Teheran very much in the grip of a slow burning economic crisis here, accentuated by those sanctions you mentioned, hitting the automotive industry, hitting foreign exchange. The local currency here having crashed in its value against the dollar.

But it is interesting to hear Ayatollah Khamanei, the supreme leader who ranks above the country's president, weigh into this economic and international issue, too, as you said, rejecting fully the idea of negotiations, but also the idea of war, saying there will be no negotiations, no war. That Iran has never started a war in the past. But also very clearly saying that the red lines around the nuclear

deal that was negotiated three years ago weren't necessarily respected. Some are seeing that as a veiled criticism of the country's president here too. But also pointing out the fact that there's inconsistency in the American position.

Now, you've heard Donald Trump talk about talks with no conditions, but also Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, lists 12 things he'd like to see Iran do before talks are possible. He is quite clear that there will be no talks in this current state.

The question is, where does the country move forward to next here? This economic crisis is not easy. You can feel it on the streets here certainly. And there's another way the sanctions are due to kick in, round about when the midterms happen in early November, and that will hit the oil sector. That's going to hit the economy here significantly harder here, too.

The real issue is, is there some sort of political change here potentially in the offing the way Ayatollah Khamanei stepped forward and suggested he was able to control the suggest in that speech yesterday makes many think there's no imminent change happening. And also, you have to remember, the American hope that somehow increased pressure will suddenly see Iran's government swing to a more liberal pro-western direction, perhaps a little farfetched. The hard liners here making their potential influence here felt certainly more prominently on the stage here.

Back to you, John.

BERMAN: All right, Nick Paton Walsh for us in Teheran. Great to have you there, Nick. Thanks so much.

President Trump versus Omarosa. Yes, it certainly makes for a reality show. But also its own late night comedy special. Wait until you hear what the comics had to say about it overnight.

Stay with us.


[06:58:3] BERMAN: So, the late night comics, they had a field day with the Omarosa/President Trump feud. Here's just some of it. Your late night laughs.



TREVOR NOAH, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": Omarosa, how can you say that about the president, three years after we all said that about the president?

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": This is huge. This is huge. John, finally -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big move. We didn't know.

COLBERT: Finally. We didn't know. Finally we have proof.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't know.

COLBERT: That the guy who refused to rent to black tenants said that a Nazi clan rally had some fine people and called Africa a (EXPLETIVE DELETED), is a racist.

JIMMY FALLON, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Trump's campaign tried to keep Omarosa quiet by offering her $180,000 in hush money. When Stormy Daniels heard that, she was like, oh my God, what did she have to do for the extra $50,000. Holy moly.

COLBERT: I saw him put a note in his mouth. Since Trump was ever the germophobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive. Well, the hunt for Trump's tax returns just got way grosser.


BERMAN: Presented without comment for your viewing pleasure.

HILL: My smile doesn't count as a comment, just for the record.


HILL: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


OMAROSA MANAGIULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: No one would believe me if I didn't have that recording.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What concerns me is how widespread that practice is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His job is to serve the American people, it's not to serve yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What Omarosa is doing is not funny. This is pretty serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Horowitz went out of his way to say there's no evidence that clouded the information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a great counterintelligence agent across the board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bureau had to send a message that there was going to be a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have detectives and agents devoted solely to this case. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there is genuinely a logical way home for


[07:00:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you and I miss you and everybody wants you to come home.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill here with me this morning.