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Trump Tweets That White House Atty Don McGahn Will be Leaving this Fall. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 30, 2018 - 05:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: Tweet, having not announced his own time table to leave. More now from CNN's Abby Phillip at the White House.

ABBY PHILLIP, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Kaylee, President Trump's announcement that Don McGahn might be leaving in the near future came as a surprise to a lot of people here.

Now, even Republican senators expressed some surprise that President Trump had made this decision, but McGahn was rumored to be expecting to leave the White House shortly after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the president's nominee for the Supreme Court.

McGahn has been at the White House since the very beginning of the Trump administration, but our sources tell us, he's had an estranged relationship with President Trump for over a year now.

In that period of time, McGahn has also become a witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Now President Trump responding to this news that he broke himself over Twitter had nothing but praise for McGahn when we spoke to him at the White House on Wednesday. Listen.




TRUMP: Excellent guy. Yes, Don McGahn's a really good guy. Been with me for a long time. Privately before this he represented me. He's been here now, it will be almost two years and a lot of affection for Don. And he'll be moving on probably the Private Sector, maybe the Private Sector and he'll do very well.

But, he's done an excellent job.


PHILLIP: And President Trump also said that he was not at all concerned about what Don McGahn might have told the Special Counsel in those interviews. But meanwhile, we are also looking to see who the president names as McGahn's replacement.

A top contender, according to our sources, is Emmet Flood, a White House lawyer who was brought in, in part, to deal with a lot of the Russia related inquires coming into this White House.

Now Flood does have an interesting background. He was a former lawyer for President Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings. Dave and Kaylee.

BRIGGS: All right, Abby, thank you. Meanwhile, Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, considering a plan to bolster the rights of college students accused of sexual assault, harassment or rape, that's according to "The New York Times" and "Washington Post."

New rules could have significant reproductions for how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual abuse. The changes would narrow the definition of sexual harassment from quote, "unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature" to "unwelcomed conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive."

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN HOST: The regulations would also reduce a school's liability, but encourage schools to provide victims with more support. An education spokeswoman calls the reports premature and speculative and says the department is still deliberating.

BRIGGS: "The Washington Post" reports, the government is denying some passport renewals to Americans along the border, the basis, a familiar one for President Trump, birth certificates. The Administration accusing hundreds, possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using false birth certificates for decades.

HARTUNG: And in some cases, passport applicants are being jailed and entered into deportation proceedings, or then stuck in Mexico with their passports revoked. The change throws citizenship, for many, into question and suggests another dramatic shift in immigration enforcement.

The State Department tells "The Post" it has not changed policy or practice.

BRIGGS: Later today, the late Senator John McCain will make the flight from Arizona to Washington one last time. But first, a memorial service will be held at a church in Phoenix.

Former Vice President, Joe Biden, will be among those paying tribute. One person who won't be there, McCain's 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin. A source says, Palin was not invited to the McCain memorials.

HARTUNG: Yesterday you saw the hordes of people lined up in triple digit heat to pay their respects on what would have been John McCain's 82nd birthday. We get more on that from CNN's Nick Watt in Phoenix.

NICK WATTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Kaylee, Arizonans have waited for hours in 102 degree heat to file past that flag draped casket and pay their last respects to the man who represented them in Washington for 35 years, first, as a Congressman and then as a Senator. There was, earlier in the day, an intimate ceremony inside the

Capital, for friends, colleagues and family, at which Governor Ducey spoke and he called John McCain, Arizona's favorite adopted son. He also said that when he traveled overseas, the only things that people know about Arizona are the Grand Canyon and John McCain.


DOUG DUCEY, GOVERNOR OF ARIZONA: Imagining Arizona without John McCain is like picturing an Arizona without the Grand Canyon. It's just not natural. Cindy McCain, his widow, his wife of 38 years, was there, dabbing away a tear at one point. And when her husband was described as a fighter, from the podium, she nodded. On her way out, touching the casket and touching her cheek to the casket.

This morning, there will a funeral service at a church here in Phoenix before the Senator's body is flown to Washington, D.C., where he will lie in state at the Capital, then on Saturday there will be a ceremony at the National Cathedral.

John McCain will be buried Sunday in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. And then next week, Governor Ducey says, he may announce who is going to fill Senator McCain's seat.

Back to you.


BRIGGS: All right. Nick Watt, thank you. It didn't take long for the Florida governors race to get ugly. Just hours after progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum became the state's first black candidate for governor. His Republican opponent, Trump backed candidate Ron DeSantis said this on Fox.


RON DESANTIS, (R) NOMINEE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Let's build off the success we've had on Governor Scott. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN HOST: The DeSantis campaign quickly explained he was referring to Florida not making the wrong decision. And to characterize it as anything else is absurd. DeSantis then went back on Fox trying to clean up his mess.


DESANTIS: It had zero to do with race. I believe people should be judged based on their ability and character regardless of race. But it's because of that that I know that socialism won't work in Florida. It's not good for any race, color, or creed.


HARTUNG: Gillum, for his part responded to his rival's remarks with this.


ANDREW GILLUM, (D) NOMINEE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Donald Trump, this is a page from his playbook. I think he was clear about what he meant. He understood the dog whistle that he was blowing. And I understand that he intends to speak to a particular part of the base to insight them. But the truth is that I think there are a majority of us who disagree with that brand of politics.


HARTUNG: Earlier, Gillum told Fox News' Shepard Smith is that he's not going to get down in the gutter with DeSantis and Trump.

BRIGGS: Two weeks ahead of their own primary, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and rival Cynthia Nixon facing off in a very contentious debate.



ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: My opponent - my opponent lives in the world of fiction, I live in the world of fact. The subway system...


NIXON: (INAUDIBLE) has been controlled by the state since 1965.

CUOMO: Excuse me, can you - can you stop interrupting? Can you stop interrupting?

NIXON: Can you stop lying?

CUOMO: Yes, as soon as you do.


BRIGGS: Civil. The two sparring over their visions for the state from how to fix New York City's failing subways to healthcare. When asked about greater aspirations and of whispers of a possible run for the White House, Cuomo said this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you promise to serve four more years as governor if reelected?

CUOMO: The only caveat is the - is if god strikes my dead otherwise I will serve four years as governor of New York.



HARTUNG: No surprise, Nixon immediately fired back, reminding viewers (INAUDIBLE) when he said America was never that great.


NIXON: Donald Trump did tweet at you about whether or not America was great and you backed down pretty quickly. You stood up to him about as well as he stands up to Putin. When it comes to opposing Donald Trump in New York State, we already have a corrupt corporate Republican in the White House. We don't need a corrupt corporate Democrat in Albany as his main opposition.


HARTUNG: The winner of this primary faces Republican, Justice County executive, Mark Molinaro.

BRIGGS: President Trump stands by his administration's response to Hurricane Maria a day after the official death toll in Puerto Rico was raised by the thousands. On Tuesday, the island's governor formally raised the death toll from 64 to nearly 3,000. The storm left much of Puerto Rico without power for weeks. Despite all of that, here's what the President had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico. We're still helping Puerto Rico. The people of Puerto Rico are great people.

They worked very hard, but Puerto Rico, I would say, would - was, by far, the most difficult of the group. And, you know, right now, FEMA and all of the people that worked so hard there, they were very brave and they have done some job. But Puerto Rico had a lot of difficulties before it got hit.


BRIGGS: The mayor of San Juan telling CNN Wednesday, the administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect. And the real problem is they're still not ready for hurricane season, Kaylee, as they said - as the mayor said yesterday, most of the hospitals still don't have backup generators. They are far from ready should another one hit this season.

HARTUNG: Well, thankfully, (INAUDIBLE) say that hurricane activity in the Pacific really might change the trajectory of hurricane season in the Atlantic.


HARTUNG: We'll see. Well, incompetent prosecutors, a New Mexico judge says that's why he had to let alleged child abusers from a filthy New Mexico compound go free.



BRIGGS: Five thirteen Eastern time. The U.S. and Canada racing to rework NAFTA by Friday, but both are optimistic they'll meet that tight deadline.


TRUMP: I think Canada very much wants to make the deal and I think it's going to be, obviously, very good for Canada if they do and I think it's probably not going to be good at all if they don't and they want to be a part of the deal and we gave till Friday and I think we're probably on track.


BRIGGS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also thinks it's possible, but with one caveat.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: We recognize that there is a possibility of getting there by Friday, but it is only a possibility, because it will hinge on whether or not there is ultimately a good deal for Canada, a good deal for Canadians. I've said from the very beginning, no NAFTA deal is better than a bad NAFTA deal.


BRIGGS: Canada rejoined NAFTA talks after months on the sidelines. That will allow the U.S. and Mexico time to work out their own issues, mainly over auto manufacturing. U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement Monday, now all three countries have until Friday to rewrite NAFTA.

There are still a few sticking points between the U.S. and Canada, like NAFTA's existing system for resolving disputes. Canada wants to preserve it, the U.S. wants to eliminate it, or Canada's (inaudible) the Trump Administration wants more access, Canada wants to protect it's domestic industry.

In a stunning move, child abuse charges were dismissed against three of five adults who lived at a decrepit New Mexico compound with 11 kids and where a child was found dead.

The reason, a judge said the suspects did not have a preliminary hearing in the 10 day timeframe required by New Mexico. The Taos County District Court Judge, Jeff McElroy called out prosecutors for being incompetent.


Taos County District Court Judge McElroy called out prosecutors for being incompetent. He said he finds it disturbing the D.A. would put the court in that

kind of situation. No comment from the prosecutors. Two other defendants were arraigned on felony charges in connection with the death of the three year old boy.

HARTUNG: A former Texas police officer Roy Oliver is sentenced to 15 years in prison for the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager. It comes a day after he was convicted of murder for fatally shooting 15 year old Jordan Edwards as he left a house party last year.

The family of Jordan Edwards said they would have liked to see a greater sentence, but they respect the guilty verdict. Oliver's defense plans to appeal the verdict and the sentence.

BRIGGS: Florida police say an Uber driver was justified to shoot and kill a man who stormed toward his car. In this dash cam video, you can see a pickup truck cut off the Uber. The man identified as Jason Boek apparently thought his girlfriend was in the Uber heading home after the two got into a fight over text, when this happened.



JASON BOEK, UBER ATTACKER: You know I got a pistol? Want me to (inaudible) shoot you?

PASSENGER: Oh my god.

WESTLAKE: Oh my god.

BOEK: (Inaudible).


HARTUNG: Boek did say he had a pistol, but was holding what authorities say was a cel phone. The Uber driver, Robert Westlake, is a licensed security guard who holds a concealed weapons permit.

GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY SHERIFF: And at the end of the day, the message is clear. Don't mess with an Uber driver. You have the right to protect yourself. This is a classic stand your ground case.

HARTUNG: The Sherriff's Office says Westlake is cooperating and as it turns out, Boek's girlfriend was not in the Uber. She called the car for a friend.

BRIGGS: A remarkable rescue in Wisconsin. An 11 year old boy was sucked into a flooded storm sewer Tuesday night. Police say the boy was playing with friends in a flooded drainage ditch when he disappeared under the water. Somehow an eagle-eyed firefighter saw the boy's fingers pop through an opening in a manhole cover.


AMOS MIKKELSON, HARRISON FIRE RESCUE: We had people in wetsuits and water rescue suits walking the ponds, walking the ditches. We do believe that there was air trapped in that manhole cover area. I'm not exactly sure by what miracle he was able to find that.


BRIGGS: The boy was lifted to safety and is now back home with his family. That is remarkable.

HARTUNG: A miracle, absolutely.


HARTUNG: I can't imagine seeing those fingers pop up from a manhole cover.

BRIGGS: Speaking of remarkable, you were at the Open yesterday. How hot was it?

HARTUNG: It was brutal. You thought the seat might burn through your skin as you sat down. You had to make a choice, did you put your back against the seat...

BRIGGS: Brutal heat.

HARTUNG: ...or your legs. Yes, it was (INAUDIBLE).

BRIGGS: I'd de-cloth.

HARTUNG: Well, you know, men at the U.S. Open, as a result of that heat, especially, they're changing their shirts all of the time, but a female player does it and she gets a penalty, Andy Scholes with the Bleacher Report next.



BRIGGS: U.S. Open officials feeling the heat, not because of the sweltering temps though, at Flushing Meadows.

HARTUNG: And they are sweltering. Andy Scholes has more in this mornings Bleacher Report. Good morning Andy.



HARTUNG: What happens if the Democrats win the House and threaten the democrat with impeachment? A new report says, the president's allies are worried he won't be ready to protect himself. Now his legal team is looking for some help.


HARTUNG: The president's legal team reportedly looking for help to handle possible impeachment proceedings. The Chief White House Council out the door as soon as next month.



CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS: ... has been controlled by the state since ...