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White House Shakeup, Spicer Out, Scaramucci In; Who is the New Communications Director?; Washington Post: Sessions Discussed Campaign With Russian Ambassador; Protesters Call for Minneapolis Mayor to Resign; U.S. To Ban Americans From Traveling to North Korea. Aired 6- 7a ET

Aired July 22, 2017 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kislyak is reporting conversations that he is said to have had with now U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If these reports are corroborated and they can be corroborated by the intelligence community, they are very damaging to Jeff Sessions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The threat of the subpoena, the threat of the public hearing was enough to kind of bring Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and their lawyers, to the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to thank personally Sean Spicer, not only on behalf of myself, the president, the administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just think it was in the best interest of our Communications Department, of our press organization to not have too many cooks in the kitchen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like the team -- let me rephrase that, I love the team. I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Welcome to your weekend. A seismic shake up six months in. The White House pushing the forward this morning after embattled Press Secretary Sean Spicer's really sudden departure.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Spicer resigning from his post after the president named a new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, a finance senior, a Trump loyalist. Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes over as press secretary and Spicer says he wanted to give the new team a clean slate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

I went into the president after we had the discussion earlier with Anthony and Sarah about what the president's desirous were. And I said, sir, I've had the opportunity to think about this.

I think it is in the best interests of this administration and your presidency that I give these two individuals the opportunity to operate without me in the way, so that they have a fresh start.

That I'm not lurking over them, and I think that's in the best interests of the organization, of this administration, and of his presidency.


PAUL: This comes as the administration is facing more storm clouds from the Russia investigation this morning. A new report says Russia's ambassador told his superiors in Moscow, he discussed campaign-related matters with now attorney general, Jeff Sessions, during the 2016 campaign. The details from U.S. intelligence intercepts just ahead.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about this deal to stay out of public scrutiny, at least for now. Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now will speak with a Senate panel in private, likely discussing that secret campaign meeting with the Russian lawyer and others at Trump Tower.

The ranking member of the Judiciary Committee says we will get answers and subpoenas for a public hearing still on the table.

PAUL: First, though, Sean Spicer says that President Trump didn't want him to leave his post as White House press secretary. And despite a rocky 182 days, sources say it was the president naming a new communications director that led Spicer to call it quits. Here's Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): President Trump's high-profile press secretary, Sean Spicer, resigning in protest, objecting to the president's decision to hire New York financier, Anthony Scaramucci, as communications director. Sarah Huckabee Sanders relayed a statement from the president, predicting his former staffer has a bright future ahead.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings.

MURRAY: The new communications director worked closely with Trump on his transition. He's seen as a strong television personality and a fierce defender of Trump at a time when his presidency is under siege.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I was in the oval office with him earlier today and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity. I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history.

MURRAY: And he'll report directly to the president.


MURRAY: In his debut at the podium, Scaramucci defended president's baseless claim that three million votes were cast illegally for Hillary Clinton.

SCARAMUCCI: If the president says it, let me do some more research, but my guess is that there's probably some truth to that.

MURRAY: Scaramucci's hire is welcomed by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner and daughter, Ivanka Trump. But other top officials including chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus objected to the move. Scaramucci downplayed his differences with Priebus.

SCARAMUCCI: We are a little bit like brothers, we'll be rough each other off once in a while.

MURRAY: And insisted a little friction was no problem.

SCARAMUCCI: We serve his interest and so we have a little bit of friction inside the White House as a result of that, that's OK.

MURAY: Spicer was so firmly opposed to the move that he tendered his resignation. He told CNN, I wanted to give the president and the new team a clean slate and tweeted that he will stay on at the White House through August. Scaramucci had only warm words for his predecessor.

SCARAMUCCI: I love the guy and I wish him well, and I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.

MURRAY: From Spicer's first briefing at the White House podium, he adopted a combative tone and played it fast and loose with the facts.

[06:05:06]He turned to faulty statistics to defend the president's inauguration crowd size.

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person, and around the globe.

MURRAY: Struggled to defend the president's Twitter-happy habit.

SPICER: I'm going to let the tweets speak for itself.

MURRAY: Downplayed an ongoing investigation between potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

SPICER: If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection.

MURRAY: And sparred with the press.

SPICER: Please stop shaking your head again.

MURRAY: As Spicer prepares to depart after just six months on the job, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stepping up to the briefing room podium, leading the first on-camera briefing in nearly a month, as she accepts her new title as White House press secretary.

SANDERS: Thank you.


MURRAY: Now, this briefing room has become a pretty combative place under Sean Spicer's tenure. On Friday, Anthony Scaramucci arrived with his New York swagger and a much softer tone towards the press. Will that hold? Will that be the new style with him as communications director? We will see. Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: Sara, thank you so much.

With me now, CNN political commentator and political anchor of Spectrum News, Errol Lewis, CNN White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, and former assistant chief of staff for communications, Brian Robinson. Good morning to all of you.

I want to start with a little more from Sean Spicer explaining his departure. Let's watch.


SPICER: The president obviously wanted to add to the team more than anything. I just think it was in the best interests of our Communications Department, of our press organization, to not have too many cooks in the kitchen.


BLACKWELL: All right, too many cooks in the kitchen. It's important to point out that all of these cooks have traditionally been in the kitchen, communications director, press secretary, deputy press secretary, these aren't new positions.

Errol, let me start with you. From the president's perspective, what problem does Anthony Scaramucci solve for his White House?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, the reality is, there's only one cook in the kitchen and he's sitting in the oval office. And to the extent that President Trump has insisted on directing down to a minute detail his own communications strategy, bringing in Scaramucci is almost a way of sort of off-loading some of what's going to remain on the president's own plate.

Scaramucci, like Trump, is a brash New Yorker. Scaramucci, like Trump, is largely self-made, or at least portrays himself that way, and can be combative at times, and both of them are relatively new to politics. That's what Donald Trump wants.

BLACKWELL: You know, what we learned is how much affection and affinity Mr. Scaramucci has for the president. Watch a bit of this news conference yesterday.


SCARAMUCCI: The president is a winner, OK? What and we're going to do is we're going to do a lot of winning. I love the mission that the president has. I love the president. I obviously love the country. He's genuinely a wonderful human being.

I love the president and I'm very, very loyal to the president. I love these guys, I respect these guys. I love the president. I love the president. The president is phenomenal with the press. The president is always going to be the president.

I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history. He's done a phenomenal job for the American people. He's the most competitive person I've ever met.

OK, I've seen this guy at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, he's standing in the key and hitting foul shots and swishing them, OK? He sinks three-foot putts.


BLACKWELL: You know, I would expect a new addition to the team to have some deference and some reverence for the president, but that's '90s R&B love, Stephen. Is there any the evidence that he'll be able to solve one of the primary problems of this communication strategy, is getting the president to stay on message?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: You know, Victor, that press appearance yesterday was like many press appearances we've seen in the Trump administration, where the principle seems as much to be performing for the president as he does for the press and the American people.

Now, the question is, and as Scaramucci made the argument there, the problem with the White House is not that it's been through a very rough political patch and it's not really achieved an awful lot, the problem is communicating to voters that it actually has achieved a lot.

So, he seems to regard this as a problem of branding and communication. Critics of the White House would say that one of the biggest problems is the president himself and his behavior and his political method, which is making it more difficult, for example, to get health care passed.

And his use of his Twitter account, for example, and his commentary on the Russia article in "The New York Times" is actually making things worse for his administration.

So, when Scaramucci says he's going to let the president be the president, I think this is probably a very comfortable appointment for President Trump. Whether it solves the political problems facing the White House is another question.

BLACKWELL: Brian, let me come to you. What's the significance of Scaramucci reporting directly to the president and not the chief of staff?

[06:10:05] BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it looks like another loss of power for Reince Priebus and I think that's part of why Sean Spicer wanted to get out. He was going to be demoted yet again.

We've (inaudible) from seeing him every day, from him being the most famous communications director/press secretary in the history of the job, even more so than Nixon and Bill Clinton, who also went through a lot of scandal.

And you saw less and less of him, and you can tell his role was being diminished and it looked like Reince Priebus's role is being diminished, as well, as more and more direct contact with the president for other staff. That's not normal.

You know, there's one person who's supposed to be the gatekeeper for the president, and that is the chief of staff, and everything is supposed to go through him because it is a management job to allow the president to think big thoughts -- and have the space to make decisions.

And for the chief of staff to sort of handle and be the conduit to the staff from the president. So, this is a changing of the roles, but it's also reflective of the fact that this is the Trump White House. Everything is about him and it is different than any other White House that we've ever seen.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about one of those differences. You know, I heard a lot of people on air afterward, talking about how smooth this was. I was listening to it in my car. So, I wasn't watching it. I was just listening to the exchanges.

What I heard was a lot of love for the president, but no answers on specifics, because he hadn't spoken with the White House counsel. He hadn't spoken with the national security adviser, some of these things he hadn't discussed with the president. Was this rollout rushed?

ROBINSON: Well, it was rushed. It appears that this was all done within the last 24 hours of that news conference that it sort of came into being and was carried out, which is pretty typical of how the Trump operation operates.

You know, he makes an issue and they roll and they figure out the facts and how it's going to work later after the fact. I think in this case, Trump wants somebody who's a performer and you could see yesterday that Anthony Scaramucci is a performer.

He looked very comfortable in front of the cameras. He looked very comfortable with the give and take and seemed to do it with a smirk and a smile that suggests he's in on the joke, I think which is part of how you have to do this job.

Sean Spicer is somebody I knew when we both worked on the Hill. I was in many meetings with him. He is a passionate partisan and when you saw him on camera, though, he looked defensive and he looked nervous. And I think that performance art and his lack of that is what Trump didn't like so much --

BLACKWELL: This is certainly --

ROBINSON: -- that's not what he said.

BLACKWELL: Certainly a different approach. Errol, let me come back to you. We heard from Sara Murray there that Reince Priebus was against this pick, Steve Bannon was against this pick. We saw Sean Spicer resign because of the pick. What is it about Scaramucci that made them so reluctant to be onboard with the president's choice?

LOUIS: Just at a professional level, this is a job this man has never done, right? This is about the hardest version of this job that you can undertake in the entire country. So, they run the risk. The White House now runs the risk.

And I think some of this pushback was an attempt to sort of warn the president about this. But you've got somebody who can fall flat on his face in front of one of the hungriest and most aggressive press corpses you're going to find anywhere. That alone should be reason for pause.

The reality is, yes, he is slick, he is comfortable in front of the camera, he knows how to brand, and make money. None of those are requirements for doing this job. This is a strategic job, when it's done properly.

And here again, you know, the reality is if he's going to simply be a mouthpiece and expected to get out every day and say exactly what Donald Trump wants him to say, including, I love you, Donald Trump, that's one thing.

If you want somebody who's going to provide some strategic guidance and insight and work with the press to try to bring forward the information about this very complex government that the public needs and deserves to hear, he may not be the guy for that job.

BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis and Stephen Collinson, stick around with us. Brian Robinson, thanks for being with us this morning. We have so much to talk about this morning -- Christi.

PAUL: Including this, a new report from "The Washington Post" could cause some serious problems for the White House. Allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked about the Trump campaign with the Russian ambassador. Breaking down the new details for you.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the Minneapolis police chief resigns, days after a deadly police shooting, but protesters say that is not nearly enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you ask the mayor of Minneapolis to resign!


PAUL: And in a few months, Hawaii will begin using an attack warning siren. Something that hasn't been heard since the cold war. Why the state is going on alert against North Korea?



PAUL: Another twist in the Russia investigation is looming over the White House this morning. The Russian ambassador to the United States reportedly told his kremlin bosses that he discussed campaign-related matters with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 campaign.

This is according to the "Washington Post," based on information intercepted by U.S. spy agencies. Sessions has repeatedly said he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials.


ADAM ENTOUS, REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": It's important for people to keep in mind, this, again, is Kislyak's version of events. Sessions, as you just showed very clearly, has sort of changed his accounts as we've gone through the months, from basically saying there were no meetings initially, to the meetings weren't about the campaign, to the meetings were not about collusion or coordination.

So, you know, again, either he doesn't recall, clearly, what they are, and maybe shouldn't have said what he said initially, or he is not telling us the full account.


[06:20:09] PAUL: A Department of Justice spokesperson responded to the story in a statement saying, in part, the attorney general stands by his testimony from just last month, before the Senate Intelligence Committee when he specifically addressed this and said he never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election.

Rejoining us here, CNN White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News, Errol Louis. Thank you both so much for sticking around.

Errol, this is all according, of course, to the Russian ambassador's account of the meetings. How much credence does the White House, do intel agencies here, put into what Kislyak says?

LOUIS: Yes, it's an interesting question, Christi, because there is the possibility that Kislyak was lying to his own boss, right? Sort of saying, I got some really great information here, and just was maybe goofing off a little on the job.

The other possibility, though, to keep in mind, is that, you know, maybe he pried information out of Sessions that Sessions was not aware he was delivering. In the nature of the spy business, maybe a small piece of information helped the Russians figure out something that they wanted to know.

And I guess the third possibility is that, you know, none of this really amounted to very much, but that they were, in fact, talking about the campaign, maybe Sessions didn't recall it, didn't assign it very much importance, but the reality is, we now have yet another version of information that really should have been disclosed up- front.

PAUL: And let's listen here, together, to what Jeff Sessions said back in March, just to be specific.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me be clear. I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.


PAUL: So, you heard there how the story's changed. That's what he said, this Department of Justice note says he didn't talk about interference in the campaign. This language is important, is it not, Stephen?

COLLINSON: Yes, and it seems that that statement leaves some room for interpretation, and sort of a little bit of a get-out clause there for the attorney general. But with the added caveat, as Errol said, we don't know exactly what happened in this meeting and we're hearing Kislyak's version of events.

I think this is a big political problem for Jeff Sessions. He was already on thin ice with the Congress for not being completely forthcoming with details of his meetings with the Russians.

That was one of the reasons, as well as his involvement in the Trump campaign, why he was forced to recuse himself from oversight of what was then the FBI's investigation into Russian election interference and now it's a special counsel investigation.

And just this week, we've seen him come under fire from his own boss, President Trump, which has further made his position difficult. The president said that if he'd known Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself, he wouldn't have picked him in the first place.

So, you know, I think it gets to a point fairly soon when Jeff Session's political viability as attorney general and as a member of the Trump cabinet is going to come into question.

PAUL: That was my next question to you, Errol, how safe is -- how stable is Attorney General Jeff Session's job right now? LOUIS: Well, look, the president all but publicly asked him to resign the other day. We shouldn't sugar coat that at all. Frankly, the clear message from the president that he kind of wishes he had not named Jeff Sessions as attorney general raises the really uncomfortable proposition that maybe Kislyak, whether he's telling the truth or not, is trying to sort of damage Jeff Sessions and maybe speed his departure from the Department of Justice, which is something we now know the president has been actively and publicly considering.

PAUL: All righty, but if Russia -- let's talk about Russia real quickly here, in the sense that there is, you know, all this information that they were interfering and that they want to instill confusion in the American people. So if Russia did want President Trump to be in office, some might look at this and say, well, why would they allow this to leak, Stephen?

COLLINSON: Right. We don't have a real fix on exactly why the Russians wanted to interfere in this election. The conclusion of the intelligence agencies in the report before the end of the Obama administration is that they started this out as an exercise to interfere and sew confusion about U.S. democracy within the United States and also without the United States.

In Europe and the western world, to try to sort of damage the concept of western democracy and to make Russian -- the Russian political system look better as a result. So, we don't really know the full motivations.

But if the main thrust of this operation, this Russian intelligence push, was to damage American democracy, to set American politicians and voters against themselves, it's worked pretty well.

[06:25:14] PAUL: All righty. Well, we appreciate it so much. Thank you so much, gentleman, for being here. Errol louis and Stephen Collinson.

BLACKWELL: All right, Sean Spicer is on his way out of the White House and Anthony Scaramucci is in. Next, what we've learned about the new communications director at the center of this new shake up.

PAUL: And nearly a week after a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a woman who called 911 for help, investigators are still trying to decipher what happened here. Now they're hoping a passing bicyclist may offer some clues that the officer himself isn't sharing.


[06:30:04] PAUL: It's always good to see you on a Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

"The Washington Post" is reporting that Russia's ambassador told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters with Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, during the 2016 campaign. PAUL: Meanwhile, there is a shakeup in the White House communications

staff. Sean Spicer out, Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci is in. Spicer said the president wanted him to stay but he chose to leave.

The president tweeted last night, "Sean Spicer is a wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the fake news media, but his future is bright."

Now Spicer was asked on FOX News how he felt about the being the butt of "SNL" jokes and the focal point of so many contentious briefings.


SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The questions and the issues that are of concern to everyday Americans are not nearly what they are for the folks, the pack mentality that exists here in the briefing room here at the White House.

There were a couple of parts of it that were funny, but there's a little bit -- there's a lot about it that was over the line. It wasn't just -- it wasn't funny. It was stupid or silly or malicious. But there are some skits that I have seen on late-night television that I had to crack up at.


BLACKWELL: All right. For the latest on this shakeup, let's go now to the White House and CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond.

Jeremy, big moves. We'll wait to see what the ramifications are.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. Well, the White House this morning is still reeling from the massive staff shakeup that happened yesterday. It was all set off by the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a longtime Trump campaign fund- raiser and trusted adviser to the president. When the president appointed him as communications director, moments after what we're understanding is that Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary as of yesterday, rushed into the Oval Office and told the president that he objected to the appointment of Scaramucci and tendered his resignation.

Now what we're hearing is that the president insisted and asked that Sean Spicer remain on in the position, but Spicer declined, saying that he wanted to resign. Sean Spicer later saying what he wanted to do was give the administration a clean slate as they begin this new communications department.

White House press secretary -- or deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is now the White House press secretary, working with Anthony Scaramucci, the communications director. So that is the new team. And we saw this team in action a little bit just yesterday when Anthony Scaramucci and Sarah Sanders took to the briefing room together. Anthony Scaramucci fielding questions, dozens of questions really,

from reporters yesterday in the briefing. And the side that we saw of him yesterday, at least, was somebody who was very different from what we've seen from Sean Spicer. We saw somebody who was much more genial, much more trying to charm the press in front of him rather than engage in this hand-to-hand combat.

However, what is clear from Scaramucci's past TV appearances is that we might get a little bit of both. He is, obviously, a New York financier, somebody who cut his teeth on Wall Street. So clearly not someone adverse to that kind of hand-to-hand combat. Clearly, however, White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, who left that position yesterday, he will remain on at the White House for the next couple of weeks to ease with that transition.

But as you saw in that FOX News clip, clearly, Sean is not yet abandoning those combative techniques when it comes to addressing questions of the White House Press Corps.

BLACKWELL: So, Jeremy, what more do we know about Scaramucci's relationship with some of those in the White House who were reportedly against his selection? The chief of staff Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon?

DIAMOND: Absolutely. Well, what we've heard from several White House officials is that Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, as well as Sean Spicer, were all very much opposed to Scaramucci's appointment as communications director. But the problem is that they weren't looped in until pretty much the last minute when it came to knowing that Scaramucci was about to be picked communications director.

News started to leak of that on Thursday night. And the president had only, as of yet, been looping in Jared Kushner and Ivanka trump, his son-in-law and daughter, who both supported the appointment of Scaramucci. Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus were looped in that night, objected to the pick, but he was picked nonetheless the next morning.

BLACKWELL: All right. Moved very quickly.

Jeremy Diamond for us at the White House, thank you.

PAUL: So you just heard a little bit there about new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. We know that he says he loves the president, that he's very loyal to him, but that was not always the case, as we've heard. And the two still hold different views on some of the major issues.

So to walk us through that, CNN correspondent, Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before he was with Donald Trump --

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world, and perhaps in history, if you think about it.

FOREMAN: Anthony Scaramucci was against him.

SCARAMUCCI: He's a hack politician.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're in trouble now.

SCARAMUCCI: Probably going to make Elizabeth Warren his vice presidential nominee with comments like that. It's anti-American. It's very, very divisive.

[06:35:07] FOREMAN: New York Republican, wealthy Wall Street insider, at 53 years old, the Mooch, as he's known, has been playing it rough and tumble politics for a while. In 2012, raising money for Mitt Romney. In 2016, pushing the candidacies of Scott Walker and then Jeb Bush, while steadily trying to derail the Trump train.

SCARAMUCCI: And you know what, the politicians don't want to go at Trump because he's got a big mouth and he's afraid he's going to light them up on FOX News and all these other places. But I'm not a politician. Bring it, Donald.

FOREMAN: But that was then. Now --

SCARAMUCCI: I should have never said that about him. So, Mr. President, if you're listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that.

FOREMAN: Nonetheless, Scaramucci has made statements at odds with Republican orthodoxy and President Trump. For example, Trump campaigned on strong support for gun rights.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In fact, I have a license to carry in New York. Can you believe that? Nobody knows that.

FOREMAN: Scaramucci, "The USA has 5 percent of the world's population but 50 percent of the world's guns. Enough is enough. It's just common sense. Apply more controls."

On climate change, Trump --

TRUMP: I think it's a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money.

FOREMAN: Scaramucci. "The fact that many people still believe climate change is a hoax is disheartening." And on globalization, Trump --

TRUMP: This wave of globalization has wiped out totally, totally our middle class.

FOREMAN: And Scaramucci, "Trying to fight globalization is counterproductive." But again that's how it was. Now?

SCARAMUCCI: The White House is on track and we're actually I think doing a really good job. FOREMAN (on camera): Still earlier this year, Scaramucci called

members of Congress jackasses, suggesting as much as he's ready to bow down to this president, he's ready to throw down for him, too.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Thank you, Tom.

Well, days after a police officer shot and killed a woman who called 911 for help in Minneapolis, the city's police chief stepping down now. Protesters say another top official needs to follow.

BLACKWELL: Plus Americans will soon be banned from traveling to North Korea. Why U.S. officials say it's just too dangerous.


[06:41:23] BLACKWELL: All right. This morning, we've been discussing "The Washington Post" report that Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that he had two conversations with then senator, now attorney general, Jeff Sessions, about campaign matters. That reported by "The Washington Post," according to intelligence community intercepts.

PAUL: And now the president is tweeting about that very article just a couple of minutes ago. He said, "A new intelligence leak from the Amazon-Washington Post, this time against AG Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks like Comey's must stop."

So addressing the leaks obviously. Not so much addressing the content of the article itself. But again the president is up, he is tweeting, and that is his conversation thus far this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We'll talk more about this throughout the program.

Less than a week after a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a woman who called 911 for help, the city's police chief is stepping down.

PAUL: Yes. Some say this isn't enough, though. Protesters jeered as Mayor Betsy Hodges tried to announce the chief's replacement.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want you as our mayor of Minneapolis anymore. We're asking that you take your staff with you. We don't want you to appoint anybody anymore. Your leadership has been very ineffective and if you don't remove yourself, we're going to put somebody in place to remove you. We do not want you --


PAUL: Now the mayor says she has no plans to step down.

Here's Ryan Young from Minneapolis with more.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An explosive night in Minneapolis. Mayor Betsy Hodges trying to talk about her changing the police chief, a position that she believes needs new leadership, but protesters weren't hearing that. In fact, they made their way into the locked city hall, made their way into the news conference, and then took it over.

(Voice-over): When Justine Ruszczyk was shot and killed, the police chief here Janee Harteau was not in town. In fact, she didn't come back from vacation for four days. And that was too much for the city to handle. There's been a lot of conversation about what's been going on for days in terms of that. In fact she was posting vacation pictures and that had many people in the city calling for change.

(On camera): In fact city council members believe they have more control over city departments and not the police department. This afternoon, the mayor said she asked the police chief to step down.


MAYOR BETSY HODGES, MINNEAPOLIS: As far as we have come, Chief Harteau is not in a position to lead us further. Both the chief and I concluded, we need new leadership at MPD.


YOUNG: Despite all the drama at city hall, we learned that the state investigators were able to talk to the man riding a bicycle nearby just after the shooting happened. In fact, he witnessed officers trying to help Justine Ruszczyk in that alleyway. Police have now been able to identify him. They haven't told us who that man is just yet.

As investigators still work on this case, they tell us there may be some more updates later on, but what we do know is Mohamed Noor, the officer involved in this case, and his attorney have still yet to talk to investigators.

Ryan Young, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


BLACKWELL: Well, you can scratch one country off your travel list because you will soon be banned from traveling to North Korea. The U.S. government says that it's not safe for Americans. That's happening as authorities in Hawaii are preparing an emergency plan to deal with nuclear threats.


[06:48:39] BLACKWELL: New this morning, the president is responding to a new report that says Russia's ambassador told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters with now Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

PAUL: The president just tweeted, quote, "A new intelligence leak from the Amazon 'Washington Post,' this time against AG Jeff Sessions, these illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop," unquote.

In the meantime, also in Washington, Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigning from his post after the president named new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.

BLACKWELL: And Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, will not testify publicly. They reached an agreement to speak with the Senate panel in private, likely to discuss that secret campaign meeting with the Russian lawyer and others at Trump Tower during the campaign.

PAUL: Listen to what's going on in Hawaii this morning. It's developing an emergency plan, just in case, of a nuclear attack by -- for it by North Korea.

BLACKWELL: Hawaiian authorities say the risk is very low, but amidst this ongoing missile test series by Pyongyang, they want to be ready.

PAUL: It's estimated a North Korean missile could reach Hawaii just 20 minutes after launch. And in that case, a siren would sound, TV announcements would instruct people to get inside, to stay inside, and stay tuned.

BLACKWELL: Let's stay with North Korea because starting next month, Americans will be banned from traveling to that country.

[06:50:05] And this comes just weeks after the death of American student, Otto Warmbier, who was held captive in the country for more than a year.

PAUL: It also comes as North Korea revamps a travel Web site, hoping to attract foreign visitors.

Here's CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surfers charging exuberantly into the water. Sandy white beaches with enticing waves. Bike tours in the countryside.

This isn't a travel ad for Costa Rica. These scenes are in North Korea, featured on a Web site designed to lure tourists to the secretive country. The site says the tourist industry is, quote, "developing afresh under the wise leadership of supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Korea is interested in normalizing its appearance internationally and encouraging people to come there, as though it's your lovely East Asian, Southeast Asian beach that you'll want to go surfing at. However that's so far from the truth. TODD: Now the Trump administration is countering the North Korean

message, announcing it will ban Americans from traveling to North Korea, starting in late August. Americans wanting to travel there will need special permission from the U.S. government.

The State Department says it's doing this because of mounting concerns over the risk of Americans getting imprisoned by Kim's regime. The announcement comes a little more than a month after the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was arrested last year in Pyongyang for stealing a political poster and detained for 17 months. He was returned to the U.S. in a vegetative state. North Korea blamed it on botulism. He died just days later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to protect our own U.S. citizens and sometimes we have to protect our own citizens from themselves. This nonsense must stop.

TODD: Analysts say tourists account for a small part of North Korea's economy and American tourists make up a tiny fraction of that, but they say the money tourists do bring in is valuable foreign currency that goes into the pockets of Kim and his cronies, and helps pay for their missiles and nuclear warheads.

That's why, with images of a gleaming capital, elaborate festivals, delightful food, and rugged mountains, North Korea's tourism office is still begging people to sign up for tours.

One American tourist even saw a party on a beach and shared his video with us. When CNN visits North Korea government minders show off ski resorts, amusement parks, even a dolphin area.

North Korea has just re-launched this Web site under a new domain even in the wake of the Warmbier case.

(On camera): Is this just tone deafness on their part or do they not care?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're interested in getting the attention of the United States, and suggesting that they're a normal country that anyone can go to visit and that will be frustrating and irritating to people the world over who understand that it's anything but true.

TODD: Most of the tour operators we reached out to didn't tell us exactly what they think of this travel ban, but one of them, the general manager of Koryo Tours, said while he finds it understandable, he also says it's disappointing. He says these tourists promote people-to-people interaction between Americans and North Koreans, and taking that away, he says, is un-American.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Brian, thank you.

Shifting gears here, the British Open, one of the most challenging tournaments in golf, not just because of the course, Andy Scholes.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi, you know, the weather may be cold and rainy, but Jordan Spieth weathering the storm. Can he bring home his first claret jug? We'll have highlights coming up in this morning's "Bleacher Report."


[06:57:44] BLACKWELL: They are the best golfers in the worst conditions at the British Open this year.

PAUL: Andy Scholes is here to talk about it. He's not playing.

SCHOLES: Yes, not playing. And sometimes I'm glad I'm not playing out in those conditions. It's just not pleasant sometimes at the British Open. And --

PAUL: It's fun. Shows what you're made of.

SCHOLES: Jordan Spieth still able to navigate through those tough conditions. And I'll tell you what, you know, two years ago, he finished first, first, fourth and second at golf's four majors. At that point, you know, we all thought he was going to rule the world of golf for a very long time but since then he hasn't been able to recapture that magic, but maybe this is the weekend he gets back out on top.

Spieth able to play well in the trying conditions at the Open championship in round two. Wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour. There were times where a play was actually stopped due to heavy rain. Spieth building a two-shot lead heading into today's third round. He's going to tee off at 10:55 Eastern this morning.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, in contention for his fifth major title. He's just five strokes off the lead. Rory credits his caddie's pep talk for saving his tournament chances after a disastrous start. Midway through the first round, Rory's caddie told him, you're Rory McIlroy, what the -- are you doing?


RORY MCILROY: He does do it quite often. It's just whether it penetrates my head is a different thing. But he does. I mean, he's great. He tries to keep me as positive as he possibly can. And sometimes I get down on myself. And we've been together for nine years now, I guess. So he knows me pretty well. And he knows what to say out there and what not to say. You know, he definitely said the right thing yesterday when I needed it.


SCHOLES: All right, the entire landscape of the NBA could be changing if Kyrie Irving gets his way. According to ESPN, Kyrie has requested to be traded from the Cavs because he does not want to play second fiddle to LeBron James anymore. The 25-year-old all-star wants to be the star on his own team. Now

LeBron was reportedly blindsided and disappointed when he heard of Kyrie's trade request. The Cavs with Kyrie and LeBron have gone to the three straight NBA Finals. And get this, one of Kyrie's preferred destinations, the New York Knicks. Now he also according to the report would be open to the Spurs or Heat or Timberwolves.

But guys, man, this was just shocking yesterday in the NBA. Most people want to be traded to LeBron's team to play with him.

PAUL: Yes. Yes.

SCHOLES: Not away from him. It should be interesting to see how this unfolds.

PAUL: Yes, no doubt about it. Thank you, Andy.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Andy.

PAUL: Appreciate it.