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Possible Joint U.S.-Russia Strikes on Militants; Trump, Clinton Spar Over Foreign Policy; Clinton Calls Trump Supporter "Deplorables"; Global Fury Over N. Korea's 5th Nuke Test; Mike Pence Releases 10 Years of Tax Returns; Gary Johnson on Aleppo Gaffe: I Should've Known; Russian Troops Staging War Games in Crimea. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 10, 2016 - 07:00   ET


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: More and more of a reality television show.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She could walk into this arena right now, shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching, and she wouldn't be prosecuted.


[07:00:06] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Less than 60 days from the election. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, ramping up a war of words attacking each other and now their opponents' supporters.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. and Russia partner on a cease- fire deal in Syria. The goal, to give these countries a clear path to target ISIS and other terror groups there.

PAUL: Fanatically reckless. Unacceptable. A grave threat. That's what some world leaders are calling North Korea's claim that it successfully tested a nuclear warhead.


PAUL: Well, good morning to you on a Saturday. We're always grateful for your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

And we're starting this morning with potentially ground-breaking deal on U.S. and Russian cooperation in Syria. Both sides now working together to try to end the conflict there, which could, if successful, help battle ISIS in the country.

Now, the agreement comes after months of talks, and at a time when U.S./Russian relations are a bit contentious.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Today, the United States and Russia are announcing a plan, which we hope will reduce violence, ease suffering, and resume movement towards a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria. Working together, Russia and the United States and our teams have devised what we think is a more prescriptive and far-reaching approach than we have been able to put together to date.


PAUL: This, of course, is Donald Trump, who is trying to dial back praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin after being slammed for calling him a, quote, "stronger leader" than President Obama.


TRUMP: She talks about me, oh, Donald Trump likes Putin. And Putin likes Trump. Honestly, I don't know the gentleman. But you know what? He's been nice to me. If he's nice to me -- if we got along with Russia, that wouldn't be so bad.


PAUL: Now, earlier this week, Tim Kaine attacked Trump for what he calls his bizarre fascination with strong men like Putin, North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

In the meantime, Donald Trump is back at his focus of slamming Hillary Clinton for using a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state. Clinton, meanwhile, hammering Trump for praising Russian President Putin.

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta kind of walks us through what's happened.


TRUMP: That it was -- I thought it was very important, very revealing in many ways.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Declaring victory after his national security forum with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump walked into an education event in Cleveland and sounded like he was in a school yard brawl, hammering the former secretary of state's e-mail scandal.

TRUMP: Every time she talks about the subject, it's different. She's got get her act together. This is yet more evidence that Clinton is unfit to be your commander-in-chief.


ACOSTA: But Clinton is swinging right back, slamming Trump's praise of Russia's Vladimir Putin.

TRUMP: If he says great things about me I'm going to say great things about hill. The man has very strong control over a country.

ACOSTA: She blasted Trump's remarks Putin is more effective than President Obama as unpatriotic.

CLINTON: It is scary. It is dangerous. It actually suggests he will let Putin do what Putin wants, and even make excuses for him.

ACOSTA: The back and forth went all day long. Clinton aimed at Trump's comments on how the Obama administration has treated the U.S. military.

TRUMP: I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble.

CLINTON: We saw more evidence that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be commander-in-chief. He trash talked American, saying they've been, quote, "reduced to rubble".

ACOSTA: On this comment Trump made about the intelligence briefings he receives as a candidate --

TRUMP: In almost every instance, and I could tell I have pretty good with the body language, I could tell, they were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.

ACOSTA: Democrats say it's more proof Trump isn't fit to receive those briefings in the first place.

CLINTON: I think what he said was totally inappropriate and undisciplined. I would never comment on any aspect of an intelligence briefing that I received.

ACOSTA: In hitting Clinton's decision to support the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Trump once again tried to make the case he opposed that war from the start. Even noting media reports have rated that claim false.

TRUMP: I opposed going in, and I did oppose it. Despite the media saying, no, yes, no.

[07:05:01] But I was opposed to the war from the beginning. Long after my interview with Howard Stern.

ACOSTA: Trump did indeed tell Howard Stern he was in favor of the war.

HOWARD STERN: Are you for invading Iraq?

TRUMP: Yeah, I guess so.

ACOSTA: Trump is now pointing to another interview he gave to FOX News in early 2003, when he said, "I think the Iraqi situation is a problem and the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned."

TRUMP: I didn't have access to all of the intelligence information that she did, and everybody else did.

ACOSTA: But in 2006, Trump gave Clinton a pass on that intelligence, telling "The New York Times", "Don't forget that decision was based on lies given to her. She's very smart and has a major chance to be our next president." Clinton is instead focusing on Trump's plans for Iraq now, namely, his position for dealing with ISIS.

CLINTON: He says his plan is still a secret, but the truth is, he simply doesn't have one.

ACOSTA (on camera): There is one area of defense Trump can work on as a candidate that is his campaign war chest. An official tells CNN that Trump raised $90 million in August. That's a lot less than Hillary Clinton raised last month but enough to fire back at all those damaging ads she's running all over the country.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Philadelphia.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter. And Paris Dennard, a Republican political commentator and Donald Trump supporter.

Good morning to both of you.



BLACKWELL: So, we've got Boris Epshteyn, who is a senior adviser to the campaign coming up a little later. We'll get the official response from the Trump campaign on this deal announced overnight between the U.S. and Russia on what to do in Syria.

But, Paris, I want to come to you and get from your perspective, the skepticism has been in the past that these cease-fire deals don't last, because all parties aren't involved. Do you think this time, this is different?

DENNARD: You know what, Victor, I don't pretend to be a foreign policy expert, but what I will tell you from a political perspective, the attacks that Mr. Trump has been receiving for his what I call it, political diplomacy towards Russia and in particular, the Russian president, is proof positive that when you have diplomatic relations that are positive, it is a good thing for our country. It's a good thing for the world.

And so his relationship with Putin, his relationship with the Mexican president are positive things, and when you have a good relationship like this, you can have deals. And I believe Donald Trump is going to be the one that can have even better deals for our country.

BLACKWELL: What relationship? Because Donald Trump has been on both sides of the fence on whether he has a relationship with Putin, whether he met him or did not meet him and says he has met him and has met him on different dates and times. So, when you say relationship with Putin what specifically are you talking about? DENNARD: Relationship, I mean through t media and through the words

and messaging he uses as it relates to that country. What does the signal that you send to the American people? What is the signal you send to the world as you talk about world leaders? And so, in so much that his relationship is based upon his media interactions with him and his public statements, that is what I'm referring to.

BLACKWELL: So, Maria, let me come to you. I mean, this deal that was hammered out overnight, why is it a bad thing that Donald Trump has positive things to say about Mr. Putin, especially when the secretary of state and their foreign secretary are working together to try to hammer out this deal in Syria?

CARDONA: Having serious diplomacy and trying to hammer out a deal to bring peace to the Middle East is very different from the very strange, bizarre obsession man crush that Donald Trump has with Vladimir Putin, and frankly vice versa. That Vladimir Putin apparently has to Donald Trump.

And it really does not indicate at all and, in fact, the opposite, of confidence that the American people should have in somebody like Donald Trump, because he not only praises a strong man dictator who oppresses his people, who kills a journalist who opposed him, who suppresses the media, and who essentially is completely the opposite of what we value in America, but he has also praised Bashar al Assad, who has praised Saddam Hussein. He praised Kim Jong-un.

So, this to me is an indication of somebody who has no clue what a diplomatic relationship should be that actually gets us to real deals, and underscores that he is temperamentally unfit, wholly unqualified and completely unprepared to be our commander-in-chief.

BLACKWELL: You bring up Kim Jong-un there and I want to turn to North Korea with the minute we have left before we go to break and come back to you.

Paris, I want you to listen to what Donald Trump said about potentially allowing South Korea to defend itself maybe with nuclear weapons and also speaking about Japan. Let's watch.


TRUMP: So, North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that.

[07:10:02] I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would, in fact, be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea?

INTERVIEWER: With nukes?

TRUMP: Including with nukes, yes. Including with nukes.

INTERVIEWER: And the South Korea, with nukes?

TRUMP: South Korea is right next door. Just so you understand.

INTERVIEWER: But that's --

TRUMP: South Korea -- excuse me, excuse me.

INTERVIEWER: -- you're going to have a nuclear arms race on the Korean peninsula.

TRUMP: You already have it, Chris.


BLACKWELL: From your perspective is that a realistic option considering what we saw this week with this test of nuclear weapons here and their effort to miniaturize the weapons, to allow South Korea to obtain nuclear weapons? Is that still on the table?

DENNARD: First of all, you know, Mr. Trump is not the president of the United States yet, and so to the things he's saying right now or proposals, ideas, things that you put on the table to consider.

BLACKWELL: That's every candidate who runs. These are just proposals since they don't --

DENNARD: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: But that's what you run on, proposals. So to try to reduce the impact of it -- I don't see that argument holds up.

DENNARD: You run on your proposals and then when you get in office you govern and you make the decisions base upon all of the intelligence and the advice and consent from your generals. And so, what I think you see Mr. Trump doing is being open and being honest with the American people about putting, leaving nothing off the table to defend our country and to make America great again. He's going to do it and he's going to be a strong leader and he knows how to negotiate and he knows how to listen when necessary to make things happen on a positive nature.

And the thing is, we've had Secretary of State Clinton who is, by all means, a foreign policy expert and you can't name one positive thing that she did in her tenure as secretary of state and when you look at the handling of Benghazi, it's deplorable how she handled that situation.

BLACKWELL: All right. I just my point I didn't get an answer to my question about nuclear South Korea is still on the table.

CARDONA: Of course you didn't.

BLACKWELL: But we've got to take a break.

Maria, we're going to start with you after the break. We'll be right back.


BLACKWELL: All right. Back with me, Hillary Clinton supporter Maria Cardona and Donald Trump supporter Paris Dennard. Good to have both of you staying with us with the second block.

I want to turn to something Hillary Clinton said at a fund-raiser last night about Donald Trump supporters. Watch and then we'll talk.


CLINTON: To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables, right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic. You name it, and unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let me come to you, Maria. First, just being grossly generalistic seems like it could be troublesome for a candidate, and some compared this to Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment four years ago.

Do you think this was appropriate or even accurate, what Hillary Clinton said last night at that fund-raiser?

CARDONA: Well, I think certainly in is accurate what she said about Donald Trump mainstreaming a hate movement and having in -- and having given way too much influence into his own campaign, people who represent what we've been calling the alt-right movement. She gave a whole speech on this.

So, you know, so the particulars of what she said are not incorrect. There are white supremacists who support Trump. There are absolutely xenophobic people who support Donald Trump, and he has mainstreamed that into his own campaign. Bringing on advisers that represent those movements, and, you know, Steve Bannon. You have Ann Coulter. You have Joe Arpaio. You have Steve King, who are definitely people who can be connected wit those kinds of movements, with those kinds of sentiments.

BLACKWELL: Maria, let me introduce this, because whatever Hillary Clinton just said last night about people who hate gays or hate black people or Jews or Muslims, what we learned from this Quinnipiac poll that came out is that what really unifies them is their this dislike of Hillary Clinton. Look at this number. While she says half of his supporters dislike those groups, it shows nearly two-thirds of the people voting for Donald Trump aren't voting because of some demographic. They're voting because they don't like her?

CARDONA: That doesn't surprise me. Hillary Clinton has been a mobilizing factor for far right extremists in the Republican party ever since she became first lady of the United States. There was a whole industry, a cottage industry that was created simply to bring her down. She has been a target of that kind of movement for the last 40 years.

So, that is not in any way, shape or form surprising to me. But, again what she said was actually -- was very correct, and I think what she's trying to underscore is -- DENNARD: Wow. That's terrible.

CARDONA: -- is that we need to understand that this mainstreaming and normalization of hatred and vitriol is not connected to what real American values stand for.

BLACKWELL: Let me now go to Paris. Paris, your response to what the former secretary said?

DENNARD: Victor, it was inappropriate, prepared remarks. This was on purpose and it was something that think she owes the 14 million Americans who voted for Mr. Trump an apology by saying that people like myself could be considered racist, sexist, et cetera.

This is not what we need in this campaign right now. We need to be focused on solutions and policy, not calling people names, and potentially -- look, if she becomes the president of the United States out of some crazy fluke, she is going to have to learn how to tell these people, you know what? I consider half of you racist, sexist. When you're president you're the president of all people. And you have got to have the right temperament and the right judgment, and the character, to say, you know, you may disagree with me but I'm not going to call you names.


CARDONA: You should tell your own candidate that, Paris.

BLACKWELL: We have just a couple of seconds.

CARDONA: Who started by denigrating a whole slew of people.

BLACKWELL: I want to play something Donald Trump said yesterday. Let's play that.


TRUMP: She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching, right smack in the middle of the heart, and she wouldn't be prosecuted.


BLACKWELL: Why does Donald Trump return this analogy of shooting people in public?

DENNARD: I believe what Mr. Trump was saying is, that the rules don't seem to apply to Secretary Clinton. Colin Kaepernick said when he was asked in the locker room, he said, if any other American did what she did with their e-mails they'd be in jail right now and I think that's the sentiment that they can do whatever they want and there's a separate set of laws that apply to Secretary Clinton and she should not be above the law.

And so, he made the same analogy, my supporters support me so strongly that -- [07:20:04] BLACKWELL: He could shoot somebody and not lose votes.

But it seems worrisome that we continue to go back to this gun violence --

DENNARD: We should elevate the conversation.

CARDONA: It is worrisome.

DENNARD: And Maria should renounce what Hillary Clinton said about to over 14 million calling them racist --


CARDONA: I think what this underscores is the sort of desperation coming out of --

DENNARD: The Clinton campaign. Absolutely desperation.


CARDONA: The Trump campaign -- coming out of the Trump campaign because they cannot see past the fact that the FBI decided not to move forward with action on Hillary Clinton's e-mails, and like Comey said, it wasn't even a contest. It was not even a contest --

BLACKWELL: We have to wrap it up. We'll talk more about this morning. Maria, Paris, thank you very much.

DENNARD: Eight percent black vote. She owes us an apology.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. This Sunday, tune in for an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton. We'll be talking about her thoughts on 9/11, terror, national security as well. That's "STATE OF THE UNION", 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, Kim Jong-un claims North Korea successfully tested a nuclear warhead, one that some officials are saying -- it was about the size of a bomb that Hiroshima. So where do we go from here?


[07:25:00] PAUL: Twenty-four minutes past hour.

And so many people talking about North Korea's bombshell claim here that it successfully detonated a nuclear device. This is North Korea's fifth nuclear bomb test and it's most powerful yet we should point out. One U.S. official telling CNN, Kim Jong-un's regime is on a, quote, "no kidding, very rapid program" for producing a very deliverable nuclear weapon that can threaten the United States.

Here's CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The equivalent of at least 10,000 tons of TNT detonated deep underground. That's the explosive power of Kim Jong-un's latest nuclear bomb test according to South Korean officials.

DAVID ALBRIGHT, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: The North Korean detonation is similar in size to the bomb detonated over Hiroshima.

TODD: The South Koreans say this is twice as powerful as North Korea's last nuclear test in January.

Now in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo, officials are calling this a new level of threat from Kim. One U.S. official telling CNN the North Koreans' capability is, quote, "very troubling."

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": This is an inherently dangerous situation. The White House is so concerned that they're talking about extended deterrence, which means if they launch against us or our allies, we will launch against them.

TODD: The North Koreans claim they were testing a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on ballistic missiles or rockets. A key question now, who's under the most imminent threat.

ALBRIGHT: We accessed that North Korea has the ability to put nuclear weapons on shorter range Nodong missiles that could hit Japan and South Korea.

TODD: Weapons expert say the North Koreans likely can fit a warhead onto an intercontinental ballistic missile which could hit the U.S. But they say they haven't yet tested the capability of those missiles to re-enter the atmosphere from space. So, it's not clear if they'd work.

The fear of one analyst, that Kim's regime will do a live test of a nuclear weapon on one of their missiles. The U.S. and its allies might know it's a test and it could trigger a war.

(on camera): Is that a possibility?

ALBRIGHT: They could in a more realistic scenario use it as a way to fire a warning shot, if they felt they were going to be invaded.

TODD (voice-over): Experts say North Korea likely got between 13 and 20 nuclear bombs and they're on their way to having 50 or more by 2020. With this threat, another frightening assessment of the man who has those weapons at his disposal. It comes from his main rival in the South.

PARK GEUN-HYE, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I think the mental condition of Kim Jong-un is out of control.

CHANG: What makes Kim Jong-un really threatening is that he may have a weak grip on power. Recently, there have been a number of high- level defections and a restarting of the executions of senior officials. That means that there's turmoil in Pyongyang.

TODD (on camera): The White House is promising, quote, "serious consequences" for Kim Jong-un because of this test, but President Obama's options are limited. Sanctions have had virtually no effect on Kim's behavior. A first military strike is very unlikely. A cyber attack, possibly, but North Korea is not very well-connected to the Internet and the many of its cyber warriors are actually in China.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Well, Republican vice president candidate Mike Pence has released his tax returns, which, of course, renews the question, will Donald Trump follow suit?

Also, Gary Johnson -- it was an embarrassing mistake when asked a question about the conflict in Syria. How much is it going to affect his campaign for president? Two of his most prominent supporters have something to say about that. They're weighing in with us, next.


[07:30:34] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, mortgage rates up slightly this week. Here's your look.


PAUL: You know, 7:30 still feels early today for some reason.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Because it is still early. We're the only people up in suit and ties and dresses and -- at 7:30 in the morning.

PAUL: On a Saturday.

Y'all are sitting there enjoying your coffee and we're happy you are and happy you're spending some time with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good of you to turn on the television and spend some time with us. Let's start with a war of words.

PAUL: Just when you think it couldn't get nor caustic what else could happen between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Of course, we're talking about.

BLACKWELL: Well, they each made some pretty interesting comments in the last 12 to 24 hours.

Let's start with Donald Trump returning to an analogy of shooting someone without consequence. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She could walk into this arena right now, and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching right smack in the middle of the heart, and she wouldn't be prosecuted.


BLACKWELL: And then Hillary Clinton goes after the people who are supporting Donald Trump.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?


BLACKWELL: All right. We'll talk about those comments in just a moment, but let's talk about the Clinton campaign hitting Donald Trump for not releasing his tax returns.

Well, now, half the GOP has released theirs. Only two people. So that means vice president nominee Mike Pence released his tax returns going back ten years. And they show how Pence and his wife made a little more than $100,000 in 2015. It's $113,000, about, paying an effective tax rate of 8 percent.

Now, tax attorneys say that's normal rate for that income bracket. The question now that many asked for months, will Donald Trump release his returns before the election?

From Washington, we've got CNN correspondent Scott McLean. First, I don't know if there are big headlines coming out of Pence' tax returns but that question still lingers?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Well, Mike Pence's taxes, Victor, seem pretty ordinary, which is what people seemed to expect, as you pointed out. Mike Pence and his wife Karen last year earned just over $113,000, which is actually the lowest amount that they brought in in the past decade. Also a fairly modest income when you compare to say, people like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Now, the Pences paid an effective tax rate about 8 percent, thanks to a handful of deductions for things like his daughter's education, and for charitable giving. The Pences gave nearly $9,000 to charity last year. But as you point out, Mike Pence's decision to release his tax returns is only drawing more attention to the fact that Donald Trump has yet to release his, because they're under IRS audit.

[07:35:05] Now, the Clinton campaign has tried to make this a liability for Donald Trump, but as recently as Tuesday he says, it's no big deal.


TRUMP: Nobody cares about it except some of the folks in the media. Nobody cares about it. Just so you understand, I'm under audit, routine audit. When the audit's complete, I'll release my returns. I don't know when there's gong to be, but when the audit is complete, I'll release my returns. I have no problem with it. It doesn't matter.


MCLEAN: Now, Donald Trump may think it's no big deal, but a new poll from Monmouth University taken just shows more than half of Americans think he's not releasing his tax returns because he has something to hide. Now, the Clinton campaign put out a statement yesterday saying that Trump is hiding behind fake excuses, but the Trump campaign, again, stressing yesterday that Donald Trump does plan on releasing his taxes as soon as that IRS audit is complete, but whether or not that will be before the election is really the big question here, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Scott McLean watching it for us from Washington, thank you so much, Scott.

All right. Here's something you probably wouldn't expect. Senator Elizabeth Warren seemingly given Donald Trump credit for being on to something here. She sat down with Jake Tapper and they spoke about Trump and the November election.

And then she went on to make a clear where she splits with Trump on issues. Watch this.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The way I see this is that Donald Trump has tapped into something that's real. There's a lot of anger.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Something that you talk about all the time.

WARREN: And I was just going to say.


WARREN: It's real, because the game is rigged against hard-working people, the game is rigged against young people, the game is rigged against a lot of people who have done their dead-level best, worked hard played by the rules and just see any chance of economic security way outside their reach. And he's tapped into how angry people feel about that, rightly angry.

The problem is, Donald Trump's so-called solution just heads us in the wrong direction.


BLACKWELL: Catch of rest of that interview tomorrow on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". That's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

PAUL: It hasn't been a particularly strong week for libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, but he owned up to a flub about a question regarding Syria. The question is, has it affected his support? We're going to talk to some people who are planning, or were planning to vote for him. We'll see what they think now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, I take complete responsibility. I'm running for president of the United States. Look, I should have known what he was talking about.



[07:41:13] PAUL: Well, a third-party candidate seeing a little fallout, perhaps, from what could effect his presidential run and it comes to this -- Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson making, it was a bit of an embarrassing gaffe on national television regarding the war in Syria. Later, he owned up to it, saying this was my mistake and he did so right here on CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?



JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aleppo is in Syria. It's the epicenter of the refugee crisis.

JOHNSON: OK, got it. Got it.

I'm very aware of the policy and going on the show yesterday thinking Aleppo was an acronym and, hey, I take complete responsibility. I'm running for the president of the United States. Look, I should have known what he was talking about.


PAUL: All righty. So, let's talk about the potential of what this could mean.

Derrell Day, libertarian talk show host with us, and Ron Hart, a libertarian commentator.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for waking up early.

So, Ron, I understand that you say it was a gotcha question. But this is a man running for the president of the United States. Syria has been in the news so much.

How was it a gotcha question?

RON HART, LIBERTARIAN COMMENTATOR: I just felt like it was a -- ask the average person, Aleppo, what it is. I thought it was the fifth Marx Brothers. I don't know what it was. I do news daily. I write a column at a daily newspaper.

So, it's a humanitarian problem. I think it was a bit of a gotcha question. It was arrogant, I think condescending on the part of the media to do it. The next guy on was an Obama ambassador to Iraq who didn't know it either and the "New York Times" had to fact-check it twice, and they got the Google right there shortly there after. It was a messy issue, no doubt about it.

PAUL: Some people would push back and just say, but this guy's running for president.

HART: So is Obama.

PAUL: Maybe generally we shouldn't know, but he should.

HART: Obama said he's been in 57 states. That's not a disqualifier for him.

PAUL: All righty. Derrell, get to you, and pull a quote here, too, from and let's read it here, if we can put it up here.

It says, "Can we be real? A lot of people criticizing Johnson," and this is getting to your point, Ron, "criticizing Johnson didn't understand what Aleppo is either. Former U.S. Ambassador Chris Hill said it was the capital of ISIS. 'New York Times" called it a stronghold for ISIS, and corrected itself saying Aleppo was the capital of Syria all of which is wrong." Damascus is the capital, of course.

Is it indicative at all, Derrell, of the complexity of what's happening, and what people are paying attention to in this election? Are people really paying attention to Syria or is it coming down to the economy?

DERRELL DAY, LIBERTARIAN TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think the economy's probably going to be number one on everyone mind. We also figured, I'm not really a libertarian, more in the deplorable party, we found out.

PAUL: Yes, I asked Derrell, are you comfortable letting us know who you're voting for. You are a libertarian, as you just said?

DAY: I'm actually a registered Republican but I interview people every day like you do, and in the interview process, I side with Ron on this. A little bit of a gotcha question, I think, because as an interviewer when you ask someone a question, and you know that they're not quite connecting with it, I believe that the interviewer should have said, in regards to Syria --

PAUL: Right.

DAY: Just to keep the interview going.

PAUL: Right. When talking about the condescending, you're talking about the, "are you kidding me?"

HART: And we libertarians aren't interventionists. We like to know the names of the countries we're bombing. I mean, there should be a policy. Either the Iraq ambassador or "The New York Times", et cetera, at least have a policy or doctrine, let's at least understand where we're going, you know?

[07:45:05] PAUL: As a radio show host, though, are your viewers talking about this? Is this going to change voters for Gary Johnson if they had planned to do so before?

DAY: I don't think so because I believe Gary Johnson supporters are much like Hillary Clinton supporters and there's not a lot you can do at this point to lose that support. You're either in there or you're out.

You know, this election is unlike anyone we've had in a long time. The people are Camps are there to ay. You won't see in the very last days of the campaign any change or crossover in my opinion, because most people are pretty well set who they're going to vote for.

PAUL: You know, Ron, it's interesting. We don't often see politicians owning it --

HART: Right.

PAUL: -- the way that Gary Johnson did.

HART: It's refreshing to see that. You know, usually they know it, they go forward with it, and maybe even evade it if they have to.

So, yes. I like the idea he stepped back, said he didn't understand Syria. He just didn't understand Aleppo. A cavalcade of mistakes about the media who didn't understand it as well. Minor issue, as far as I'm concerned.

You know, we need to know the names of the country we invade. We have right now 15 years of interventionalism. We've got 15 years of doing that, $2 trillion. We haven't done anything as a country, from the Bay of Pigs through Vietnam, through Iran, changing the shah in Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan.

So, we have not -- if we win one, we'll be 1-0.

PAUL: So, let me ask you both, and Derrell, let's start with you. Do you believe that, I mean, they're getting close. That the -- most solid poll I've seen on Johnson has been at 13 percent. He needs to reach that 15 percent threshold to get to the debate.

Do you believe they can do it after this? And how confident are you in his debate skills? DAY: It's hard to say, because I believe it could go either way.

There may be some support he may lose, but some people may say, you know, this was a gotcha question. This was a question that everybody knows about Syria, but no one knows about Aleppo, until we had that horrific picture of the little boy put in the back of the ambulance. I think a lot of people then might have said, hey, Aleppo. I'm aware of that.

I don't think it's going to be up or down, and I certainly don't believe it's a disqualifier. I'm a member of the deplorable party. I don't think -- I think the disqualifiers are found in the Constitution. Age and natural birth, and everything else is up to the voters.

PAUL: All right. We appreciate you both being here so much. Ron, Derrell, thank you for taking the time.


BLACKWELL: Thank you, Christi.

Russia showing force in Crimea. Why their military is staging war games in this tense region. We'll examine that in a moment.


[07:51:20] PAUL: Well, at least four tornadoes tearing across Illinois. And we have the pictures to show you what they left behind.

Look at this, this poor man is trying to get through a window as a whole wall is toppled over.

BLACKWELL: Other photos show the tornado touching down. Look at this, you can see the debris there in the air as it levels homes there.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the severe weather center.

Tornadoes really are not rare this time of the year, but four in one day there.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, again, it's not peak season, but it's also not necessarily the -- where we see absolutely none.

So here's a look at what we had yesterday. Six hail reports, five tornadoes. One in Texas, the other four were in Illinois.

So, let's take a look at kind of the setup in place that we had from yesterday. Now, here's a map of Illinois. Where you see Champaign, everything north of that, we had very cold air, and everything some of that, we had warm air and where the two of them met is where we ended with those tornadoes from yesterday. That's the typical setup. Where you get that cold air and that warm air together mixing that help create. So, what we look for on the radar is the hook shape. And that kind of

tells us where the tornado is going to be. And what you get oftentimes, we already talk about that cold air and warm air. The warm air rises, so it gets pick up the updrafts. But we also have cold air sinking down to the ground. That kind of gives it that spinning nature. At the bottom, you're going to get what we refer to a the debris cloud. You can even see that in some of the ages that you were showing.

But again as you mentioned, too, it's the time of year. You know, we typically think of may and June as the peak when we get more tornadoes. But we're now into the phase when things should be going back down. It's not zero but also not the peak time of year when you would see those storms.

Really the reason why we had severe weather yesterday was because it's been so hot. We have been talking about the record hot temperatures the last couple of days and that had a huge impact.

One thing to note, guys, is at least we are not where we were the same time last year. So at least a slight improvement, although the year is not over yet.

PAUL: All righty. Allison Chinchar, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Russia, while working on this peace deal for Syria, is reminding the world of its military power in Crimea, staging a series of war games near the border with Ukraine. Now, you remember Russia annexed Crimea two years ago in violation of international law.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen watched the games unfold.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Moscow putting on a huge show of force. War games from land, air and sea. In Crimea, the territory Russia annexed from Ukraine a little over two years ago.

(on camera): The Russians are sending a very clear message with the complex military drills. Their forces are here in Crimea ready to fight any time.

(voice-over): The maneuvers are called Kavkas 2016 and take place not only in Crimea but in Russia's entire southern military district right on the border with Ukraine.

The drills involve more than 12,000 soldiers, dozens of fighter jets flying mock dogfight missions hitting land and sea targets and land forces in an amphibious assault.

Still, the defense ministry spokesman insists it is not a provocation.

"This is not at all a provocation," he says. "I want to stress that this is a planned event. We announced these drills last November. The troops have been preparing for a long time." But they come at a time of heightened tensions with the U.S. and NATO over the annexation of Crimea and other issues.

[07:55:06] The Russian air force intercepted a U.S. P8 naval aircraft in the region just as drills were getting underway. And only three weeks ago, Russia accused Ukraine of trying to smuggle operatives into Crimea for sabotage operations, a claim Kiev denies.

The Kavkas military drills will likely cause more unease in Ukraine and Eastern European NATO member states. Russia's military chief of staff says the initial assessment is that they went smoothly.

"We need to fully analyze everything," he says, "but these drills were very beneficial to the southern military district and for the troops from other districts involved as well."

With Russia and the West at odds over Syria and Ukraine, Moscow is continuing to advance and refine its armed forces for all the world to see.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, at the Opuk military base in Crimea.


PAUL: And the U.S. Navy unveiling its $3 billion stealth warship. The USS Sumwalt embargoed on its first voyage this week -- embarked I should say -- leaving port in Maine. The futuristic ship is more than 600 feet long. The angular design helps it avoid radar detection. It's gun systems can fire up to 63 miles.

So, at the top of the hour, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, more caustic terminology come from them. A lot of people are wondering if either presidential candidate went too far this time.



CLINTON: You can put half of Trump supporters into the basket of what I call deplorables.

TRUMP: Her tenure has brought us only war and destruction and death.

REPORTER: The equivalent of at least 10,000 tons of TNT.