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Trump Deletes Anti-Semitic Tweet; 200 Killed in Baghdad Bombing; Rio Olympics just Weeks Away. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 4, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:45] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump facing a backlash this morning for tweeting an anti-Semitic image before taking it down. This is a look at the original tweet. It shows a picture of Hillary Clinton with the Star of David and the message, "most corrupt candidate ever," over $100 bills there. The graphic appears to have originated on a Twitter account, then a message board that traffics occasionally in anti-Semitic imagery. So, how did Donald Trump find it? How did he use it? Why did he use it?

Here to give us some insight is Michael Caputo. He's a former advisor to the Trump campaign.

Michael, thanks so much for being with us.

You worked for the campaign, so take us inside. How does an image like this end up on Donald Trump's Twitter account?

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, the whole idea that somehow Donald Trump is up late at night trolling these crazy, outrageous sights looking for images like this, or that anybody on his staff is somehow a member of a site where they can get images from the all right, as they call it. That's all just poppycock, absolutely.

I mean the real - the reality here is, you know, Donald Trump controls his own Twitter feed for much of the day. During the business day, there's a team of people who work on his Twitter feed, who find these images - who create these images, who create these great videos of people that have been really rallying around for months and months and they tweet these things out. They're careful about it. The guys who do it are family men who are - who are, you know, moderate Republican types, who would never be looking around in these areas, poking around, looking for these images. This was just a mistake, an unforced error, and, you know, Twitter's a cruel mistress.

BERMAN: Someone - something, though, had to actively find this, Michael, right? I mean it's not like this was floating out there. It had been posted on a message board that traffics in this kind of stuff, had been put out by a Twitter account again that puts out some anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi-ish racist type of stuff. So someone saw it, someone cut and pasted, someone said, hey, this is a great thing for Donald Trump's Twitter. So, who? CAPUTO: Well, I think that this is - listen, 70 percent of America

agrees with Donald Trump, that the political correctness that's going around out there is a real problem in this country.

BERMAN: This isn't political correctness. I'm sorry, but, Michael, this isn't political correctness. This is an image which people look at and it's very clearly anti-Semitic with the Star of David over $100 bills and the word corrupt there.

CAPUTO: Very clearly? I don't think you're correct. I don't think it's very clearly anti-Semitic at all. I think that, first of all, it was a mistake. It shouldn't have been - it shouldn't have been snatched up and used in the Twitter feed at all. I mean - and you make mistakes when you're - when you're - when you're using Twitter as a political tool in a way that nobody ever has before. Donald Trump is breaking news ground with Twitter, using it instead of paying millions of dollars for negative ads against his opponent. And when you're riding the edge of the line like that -

BERMAN: You're saying he's using it that - using it - using it -

CAPUTO: You're going to find some things. Go ahead.

BERMAN: Using it denotes, you know, a deliberate activity, right? Using it. He uses it. he knows what he's doing with it, which is why people are asking questions.

Now, Michael, something specific to you here. I keep asking who did this. There's been no apology. We haven't heard if anyone in the campaign has been reprimanded for this or suffered repercussions. You lost your job over a tweet. You know, you separated from the Trump campaign over a tweet when Corey Lewandowski was let go. There it is right there. That's from "The Wizard of Oz." That's the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East, for people who don't know, you know, the iconic refi of "The Wizard of Oz." So why does someone lose their job over a "Wizard of Oz" tweet but not something that's anti-Semitic.

CAPUTO: Well, I've apologized to the Wicked Witch of the East. I think it's - that was very clear. I mean really what I did is, I resigned because I did not serve my candidate well. I tweeted into the storm of the release of Corey Lewandowski as campaign manager, and as a communications person, that's malpractice. It's an unforced error that was my fault and only mine. And as a professional, it was my - my duty to tender my resignation.

What happened with this tweet is very different. I mean their - no one was - there was no intent to insult. No one was insulted by this. This is really - in my opinion, this is a bunch of hand ringing done by people who absolutely understand that Hillary Clinton must, must label Donald Trump some kind of a bigot in order to win this election. It's baked into Hillary Clinton, Clinton's campaign plan.

BERMAN: The Clinton campaign - the Clinton campaign hasn't said anything as far as I know about this tweet so far.

[08:35:06] CAPUTO: Why would she? BERMAN: People like the Anti-Defamation League have said this tweet is something that concerns them. There have been a lot of people who have looked at this who've said it concerns them. Again, you know, I just asked you, you said you tweeted into a storm. It was an unforced error when you tweeted out the Wicked Witch of the East, so you resigned. Should someone resign whoever found this image?

CAPUTO: I don't think so.

BERMAN: You don't think so?

CAPUTO: No, I don't think so at all. This was an inadvertent error. It was an unforced error, like mine was, but it was inadvertent. This is a geometric shape. Understand that there - not everybody is out there wringing their hands over this like the people in the media, the people on the left, the supporters of Hillary Clinton who are hidden in organizations that are out there crying about this. This is an - this is a political movement to try to shame Donald Trump in the wake of Hillary Clinton being interrogated in a criminal investigation over the July 4th weekend and her husband having a really inappropriate meeting with the woman who's going to decide whether or not his wife is going to be indicted. This is what this is all about. This is just a tweet. This is political correctness gone crazy and pretty soon you're going to have to -

BERMAN: It is, it's just a tweet. It's just a tweet. Michael, it's just a tweet when there have been other tweets that were drawn into question. It's just a tweet when Donald Trump had the exchange with Jake Tapper over the KKK and David Duke. People see a pattern here. So it's not something that happened in a vacuum. You do at least acknowledge that?

CAPUTO: I understand that, but this - this pattern that you're seeing is being created by those people who need to bake this bigotry into the Donald Trump candidate model. It's absolutely what's going on. Donald Trump absolutely disavowed the KKK. He didn't do it enough or didn't do it loud enough or didn't do it out of the left side of his mouth like everybody wanted him to, but that's all about the political correctness that America is suffering from. And 70 percent of Americans agree with Donald Trump that this political correctness, this hand wringing that's going on over a geometric shape and a tweet is really out of hand.

BERMAN: Geometric shape. It's the Star of David over $100 bills. This is not geometry we're talking about here, it's imagery, which is significant to a lot of people, Michael, and it's hurtful to a lot of people.

But I do want to take at least a minute to play veepstakes with you.

CAPUTO: Uh-huh.

BERMAN: Let's put up the current graphic of the various people, you know, under consideration. Names being leaked, names being floated right now. They include many people, most recently, Joni Ernst of Iowa, a senator there, and Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, who played golf or met with Donald Trump at a golf course this weekend. What do you think of Mike Pence? Let's start with him. What do you think he would bring to the ticket?

CAPUTO: First of all, it's important for me to tell you that I was not involved in those conversations. That's very high level stuff in the Trump campaign, above my pay grade. The veepstakes, people like Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort are the ones that are helping Mr. Trump to make these selections. But I -

BERMAN: I just want to know what you think Mike Pence would bring to the ticket. I just - I just think why - why - even -

CAPUTO: I think Mike - I'm a Mike Pence guy. I'm a Mike - I'm a Mike Pence guy. First of all, he puts away some of the problems that we have with the conservatives in the party who were - who fear that Donald Trump is too moderate or rudderless on certain policy issues. He's very likeable. People across the country involved in Republican politics who found him to be a very personable man. In addition, he's got no question as - as a leader of the Republican conference in the House before he left the United States Congress, he brings the law making ability, the ability to work the House and work the Senate that Donald Trump doesn't bring as a man who doesn't come from a career in politics.

BERMAN: Michael Caputo, Mike Pence guy, former advisor to the Trump campaign, thanks for being with us this morning.

CAPUTO: Thank you, John. Happy Independence Day.

BERMAN: All right, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, three major terror attacks around the globe in less than a week. Why all three are thought to be the work of ISIS, next.


[08:42:34] CAMEROTA: Two hundred people killed in a truck bombing in Baghdad. This is the third attack at the hands of ISIS in a very bloody week around the world. How are attacks on the rise of their caliphates' territory is shrinking. CNN contributor Michael Weiss is here. He is the co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror," and senior editor of "The Daily Beast."

Michael, thanks so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: Just one week. I mean just in the space of one week -


CAMEROTA: It's amazing to think of the carnage. So let's start with the worst one. And this is what has just happened this weekend in Baghdad.

WEISS: Uh-huh.

CAMEROTA: They think now the death toll went up today. It's really sickening to think about 200 people in this one truck bombing.


CAMEROTA: The aftermath is, obviously, as grizzly as it could ever possibly be. But explain the ideology that thinks it's OK to kill dozens of innocent children in this attack.

WEISS: Not just dozens of innocent children, but Shiites. So, Baghdad is always a bit of an outlier when you look at the global sweep of ISIS because this happens all the time. You know, we're paying attention to it now because it's occurred in a series of grizzly event around the world. It's the end of Ramadan. The founder of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was a genocidal maniac who declared war on all Shia. He considers the Shia to be illegitimate or essentially subhuman. Not - worse than Jews and Christians and so on.

What ISIS is doing from a strategic point of view too, Iraq is a Shiite majority country, how do you get Sunnis to join the fold of ISIS given how barbaric they are. You attack Shia hoping that Shia will themselves radicalize. You brutalize the Shia. They join militias. The militias go and they do ethnic cleansing. They conduct bugrams (ph) against Sunnis. That forces Sunnis into the ISIS fold.

CAMEROTA: But, of course, Sunnis were killed in this as well.

WEISS: They - but they don't care, you see. Sunnis are all expendable for the greater goal of reestablishing the caliphate and propagating the ISIS ideology. Sunnis are considered also to be a prostate or illegitimate if they do not subscribe to the ISIS version of Islam.

CAMEROTA: So children, women, Sunnis, it doesn't matter, it's all -

WEISS: Yes, look, people are cannon fodder. Again, it's about the totalitarian ideology of ISIS and being subsumed under it.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about what you see here in the Dhaka Bangladesh attack.


CAMEROTA: Seven attackers. They held about three dozen people hostage in a bakery. Anything about that, the fact that there were seven attackers into one cafe bakery, is that a different strategy than usual?

WEISS: No, not really. It means that seven guys could get their act together to actually mount a coordinated campaign. I don't see this as ISIS directed. I see this as more ISIS inspired. There's a local franchise in Bangladesh that has declared allegiance to ISIS. There's another one, they've declared allegiance to al Qaeda.

[08:45:10] If the reports that I've read are to be believed, they separated the victims according to nationality. So those from Bangladesh were taken to one side and foreigners were just summarily murdered and shot and then butchered with machetes essentially. There's also some reports that, you know, those who could recite the Koran were spared. These - and, again, the background of these guys, very well educated. They come from a wealthy sort of middle class background. They're not impoverished. They're not, you know, peasants who decided to join ISIS.

CAMEROTA: Right, different than the profile that we used to think of has changed.

WEISS: Yes, although hat profile, I think, is a bit fallacious, yes.


So the week - the horrible week started, of course, at the airport in Istanbul. Still no claim of responsibility there.

WEISS: No, but that's characteristic for ISIS when it comes to Turkey. This is a very classic foreign operations model, to my mind. You've got attackers from the former Soviet Union, Russia or Dagestan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan. The ringleader, Ahmed Chataev, is a very well- known Chechen recruiter for ISIS. In fact, we reported in "The Daily Beast," he was once an informant to the Georgian government because they were using him to try and track their own Islamist insurgency. This came from Raqqa. This was ISIS central command saying, let's commit an attack.

CAMEROTA: And that raises the next question, does it matter that they are losing ground in Iraq?

WEISS: Let's put it this way, it matter to them in the sense that, yes, as they lose territory, they lose the ability to enrich themselves, because territory equals people, people equals money. They - most of their money, most of their economy, runs from taxation. To you and me and to the U.S. electorate, it won't matter, and, in fact, it may be worst because we're seeing an escalation in attacks against western targets as a direct result of their shrinking caliphate.

CAMEROTA: Michael Weiss, thank you for explaining it. We always appreciate getting your expertise.

WEISS: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being with us on this special edition.

Let's get over to John.

BERMAN: All right, thanks, Alisyn.

The Rio Olympics now just weeks away. Coming up, we're going to look how Team USA is shaping up, the new stars, the familiar faces, a guy name Michael Phelps might do something good at the Olympics, I'm told.


[08:50:51] BERMAN: Aiming for gold. And we'll settle for nothing less. We're just weeks away now from the Olympic games in Rio. Team USA is taking shape. Want to bring in "USA Today" columnist and CNN Sports analyst Christine Brennan and CNN Sports anchor Andy Scholes.

Christine Brennan, Michael Phelps going to his 76th consecutive Olympic games. Will there ever be an Olympics, Christine Brennan, where Michael Phelps does no go?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY" COLUMNIST: Great question, John, he certainly - this is his fifth in a row, going back to 2000 where he was just a 15-year-old kid. He's now the veteran of the team. At 31, he qualified in three individual events, probably one relay as well - well, one relay for sure, maybe another. He is not necessarily the guy who's going to win the most gold medals, and that guy could be a woman, Katie Ledecky. Very likely Katie Ledecky will win the most golds in swimming for the U.S., not Michael Phelps. But Phelps, Ledecky, they're both back and I think because we're in a cultapersonality (ph) world where we want to know these athletes, whether it's whatever sport it is, John, I think because it's Phelps, everyone knows him and that's why everyone's going to be so fascinated to see how he does as the grand old man in the pool at 31.

CAMEROTA: Yes, he really has let himself go, I must say from looking at the video -

BERMAN: Yes, said no one ever about Michael Phelps.

CAMEROTA: Of his abdominal muscles.

Andy, how is this even possible? How is Michael - I mean is Michael bionic or something?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I don't know. He's - we're not 100 percent sure he's human, are we? I mean it's unbelievable what this guy's been able to do in the pool his entire career. And like Christine said, I mean he first went to the Olympics when he was 15 years old. And to dominate one single sport the way he has for 16 years, it's just remarkable. And if you think about it, you know, Ryan Lochte, without Phelps, would have arguably been the greatest U.S. men's swimmer of all time with 11 medals. But because of Phelps, he's not. But you can also put that the other way, I think, without Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps might not be the greatest swimmer of all time because he's really pushed Phelps to be the best he could be. And we saw that just this weekend when Phelps and Lochte were going head to head in that 200 individual medley. Lochte was winning down the stretch, but Phelps, in the final moments, pulled ahead to win the final - his final race on U.S. soil. So it's going to be so awesome to watch these two go at it one final time in Rio because, more than likely, I have to say more than likely, this is the final time for Phelps because, who knows, at 35 he still might be the best men's swimmer.

CAMEROTA: Don't count them out.

BERMAN: Actually, I hadn't been paying attention to swimming and I saw both those swimmers, you know, in the papers over the weekend and I'm like, really, they're both still doing it? CAMEROTA: Is this an old paper?

SCHOLES: Still there.

BERMAN: Christine Brennan, so those are the old guys. Let's talk about some of the fresh faces, Christine. In women's gymnastics, we're talking about some people who are going to sort of burst onto the Olympic scene this time.

BRENNAN: Absolutely. And it's got to start, John, with Simone Biles. Actually, I was just looking this up. She and Katie Ledecky, the swimmer I just mentioned, are three-days apart in age.


BRENNAN: And they could be the two U.S. stars, breakout stars without a doubt at these Olympics, 19 years old, both of them born within three days in March of 1997. John, just a couple of years younger than you. And, you know, I think the bottom line is that Biles is Mary Lou Retton combined with Nastia Liukin, combined with every other name you can think of. She has already won three straight world championships, four straight national titles. Not only should she win the all-around, and should the U.S. women win the team competition, but then Simone Biles could go on and win several of the events, the vault and the beam and et cetera and be the most decorated women's gymnastics champion ever at any Olympic games, certainly for the U.S.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

BRENNAN: And as we know, the U.S. just loves gymnastics. So you're going to see a lot of her in the next few weeks.

CAMEROTA: Gymnastics is so much fun to watch. Just incredible feats that they do.

Anything we should look for, for men's gymnastics, Andy?

SCHOLES: You know what, the team got solidified over the weekend. You know, they've selected five guys, many of them with good stories. I've been paying much more attention to the women's gymnastics, as most people I think tend to do when the Olympics start to roll around.

CAMEROTA: That's true.

SCHOLES: And I wanted to say one thing about Simone Biles. You know, she lives in Houston, so I'm obviously a fan. And she made a - a pick for the Texans in the draft. But, you know, Bela Karolyi, you know, the legendary coach, he's calling her the best he's ever seen in his life. So when a guy like that says something about a gymnast, you know that she's going to be someone to look out for.

BERMAN: Indeed. And just talking about what Christine is talking about, how many medals she could win in the different events, that would be virtually unprecedented.

Andy Scholes, let's talk about sprinting right now, the 100 meter dash, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, you know, the reigning universal galactic champion, hurt his leg.

[08:55:10] SCHOLES: Yes.

BERMAN: You know, he pulled a hammy.

SCHOLES: Hammy, yes.

BERMAN: Will he be fit for the games and how does this get in the way of his qualifying?

SCHOLES: Well, so, the rules in Jamaica are, you know, you - it's not strict the three top guys go to the Olympics. There are injury exceptions. And that's what Bolt's going for now. He's got that pulled hamstring. He's got about three weeks to get that thing right because July 22nd he's going to have to run and show that he is fit to race in the Olympics. So he's got three weeks to get it right. Everyone, of course, wants to see the fastest man in the world give it another go at the Olympics, except for maybe Justin Gatlin, the United States sprinter who's 34 years old. This is likely his last shot at gold at the Olympics. So, you know, everyone wants to see Bolt except for maybe Justin Gatlin because he's the guy, you know, they've been - he's - Bolt and Gatlin have been the nemesises over the years. So that - we'll wait and see what happens with Bolt. Hammies are tricky. You never know when they're going to heal.

CAMEROTA: You know that.

BERMAN: Oh, boy, do I ever.

CAMEROTA: Andy, Christine, thank you so much. Great to see both of you.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for spending part of your holiday with me.

BERMAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you here.

BERMAN: It's been great. It's been fireworks in the morning.


BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to see you tomorrow.

Thanks so much to all of you for spending part of your holiday with us. And let's take another live look at Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. It's a beautiful morning here for our 4th of July. Happy 4th, everyone. "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello picks up right after this quick break.