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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Spicer Quits Over Hiring of New Communications Director; Sessions Discussed Trump Campaign with Russian Ambassador; Can President Trump Pardon Himself?; Trump Voters Weigh In After Six Months; Minneapolis Police Chief Resigns After 911 Shooting; Police Seek Charges Against Teens who Laughed at Drowning Man. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired July 22, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:00] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN BLEACHER REPORT: Away from. It's going to be interesting to see how this unfolds.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, no doubt about it. Thank you, Andy. Appreciate it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kislyak is reporting on conversations that he is said to have had with now US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If these reports are corroborated, and they can be corroborated by the intelligence committee, 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.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: I want to thank personally Sean Spicer not only on behalf of myself, the president, the administration.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: I just think it was in the best interest of our communication department, of our press organization to not have too many cooks in the kitchen.
SCARAMUCCI: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
PAUL: We are always so grateful to have you with us on Saturday mornings here. So, as you just heard there, Spicer is out, Scaramucci is in and Sessions is under new scrutiny.
The White House pushing forward this morning after the press secretary called the quits.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And Sean Spicer is revealing more about why he resigned from his post just minutes after the president named a new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
Financier and a Trump loyalist becoming the newest White House hire as sources say that Spicer was adamantly opposed to the move, but last night said he just wanted to give the new team a clean slate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: The president, obviously, wanted to add to the team more than anything. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: This is coming as the administration is facing more problems from the Russia investigation this morning. President just tweeted, in fact, slamming "The Washington Post" over a new report that cites leaked US intelligence intercepts.
They say Russia's ambassador told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters with now Attorney General Jeff sessions during the 2016 campaign.
BLACKWELL: Plus, striking a deal and staying out of the public for now at least, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort will speak with the Senate panel behind closed doors and it's likely discussing that secret campaign meeting with the Russian lawyer and others at Trump Towers during the campaign.
The ranking member of the judiciary committee says that we will get answers and subpoenas for public hearing are still on the table.
We have our team of reporters and political analysts here to break all this down this morning. Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House with more on this huge shakeup. Let's start with Jeremy.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. Good morning, guys. The White House is still very much reeling this morning after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suddenly resigned yesterday following the appointments of new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.
Several White House officials telling me that they were shocked by the sudden resignation that Spicer was apparently resigning in protest over Scaramucci's hire.
Scaramucci went into the Oval Office yesterday at 10 AM and he was offered the communications director position. He promptly accepted that role. And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quickly rushed into the Oval Office, spoke with the president, objecting essentially to Scaramucci's hire, and then quickly tendered his resignation despite the president asking him to stay on.
Now, the White House is, of course, a little bit in disarray and there are these divisions of these different camps within the White House that are showing once again.
We are understanding that Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, both of them allegedly objected to this hiring of Anthony's Scaramucci for communications director, wanting to take things in a very different direction from where Scaramucci may take things.
However, the White House is putting on a brave face. Last night, we saw Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, both of them saying that they think Scaramucci will do a good job. Reince Priebus saying that he will work closely with Anthony Scaramucci.
But still, very much remains to be seen as far as how this communication shop will approach things differently under Anthony Scaramucci. What's clear is that the controversies are not going away.
We saw just yesterday this report from "The Washington Post" concerning Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That is something that Scaramucci is soon going to have to handle the response to as he comes into this role on August 15.
BLACKWELL: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thanks so much.
PAUL: Let's bring in Stephen Collinson now. Stephen, I know that you write this morning on CNN.com "Spicer's exit will not lift White House siege as walls close in."
In other words, you're saying, Spicer is going to leave, he's not taking the problems with him. But explain to us more about what you mean.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, this White House is beset by multiple and multiplying problems. We've got the Russia investigation which has its multiple problems now, coming towards the White House, members of the president's own family.
[07:05:11] You've got the president's own diminished political standing. He's got the lowest approval ratings of any president at the equivalent stage of his administration.
And there's the trouble in passing the healthcare bill, which is basically being a roadblock to the rest of the president's agenda on Capitol Hill.
In some senses, Mr. Scaramucci's appointment is a strong pick. It clearly makes the present comfortable in some ways with his brash New York persona. He's a bit of an alter ego of the present and he'll be a strong performer for the administration on television.
The question is, does it help with the two constituencies that the president needs to improve his standing with most on Capitol Hill. Is Mr. Scaramucci, who has no experience as a communications director in politics, going to be able to chart a strategy that will sell the administration's policies on Capitol Hill.
And although I think he'll be very popular with Donald Trump's base voters, simply because of the similarities the he has with the president, is he going to be someone that can broaden the administration's support, improve the president's - improve approval rating to make it that much more easier for him to enact his agenda.
PAUL: All right. Stephen Collinson, appreciate the input this morning.
BLACKWELL: All right. So, with the growing list of challenges for this president in Washington there in the White House, the president is going to turn to the military today and go a few miles away to Virginia to give remarks at the commissioning of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.
CNN Boris Sanchez is live there in Norfolk. What are you watching for from the president today?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Victor. Yes, this is the convergence of two of the themed weeks that the White House expected to roll out this month. It's only made in America week. It's now also American heroes week.
And this is the perfect event to highlight both. There was a huge banner as we walked into USS Gerald Ford that said made in America. And this is truly an impressive piece of American military might.
It took eight years to develop and build $13 billion price tag. It's 1,100 feet long. Maximum operational capacity with minimum crew.
Despite the impressiveness of this ship, when the president gets here later today and gives his remarks at about 10 o'clock, that is likely not going to be the focus of conversation for the White House.
In light of everything that is happening around this presidency, he is likely to mention the resignation of former press secretary Sean Spicer. He did tweet about it just a few hours ago, saying that Sean Spicer is a great person who's been treated unfairly by the press.
He is also likely to mention someone who professed his love for the president several times yesterday, Anthony Scaramucci.
What you likely won't hear the president mention is anything having to do with his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the revelations from "The Washington Post" that there are now reportedly some inconsistencies with, what the intelligence community says, were his contacts between Sessions and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador and his testimony before Congress.
You likely will also not hear the president mention anything about his testimony - or rather his son's likely upcoming testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee or Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner's upcoming meetings with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Though, as you know, Victor, when the president is in front of cameras and in front of the media, he's likely to go off the cuff and he may likely stir some controversy again later today when he speaks on the USS Gerald Ford. Victor?
BLACKWELL: Yes. There's a good chance he'll go off the script, and we'll see if that happens. Boris Sanchez for us there in Norfolk, Virginia.
Let's turn to this new report from "The Washington Post." It could cause really major problems with this White House.
PAUL: Yes. Allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked about the Trump campaign with the Russian ambassador. We're breaking down the new details for you this morning.
BLACKWELL: Also, nearly a week after a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a woman who called 911 for help, investigators are still trying to figure out what happened. And now, they hope that a person on a bike who was just passing by may have some clues that the officer himself has not shared.
PAUL: And this is a tough one to stomach. A group of Florida teenagers stood by and watched a man drown. Shooting video and laughing rather than doing something to help him or even call anybody to help. Now, police do want to bring charges against them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like something should be done to them. I don't care whether it's probation or something. It just needs to be an eye opener. Let them learn, you know.
If they could sit there and watch somebody die in front of their eyes, well, imagine what they are going to do when they get older.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:13:55] PAUL: Well, 13 minutes past the hour right now.
President Trump is reaching - reacting rather to the latest twist in the Russia investigation. Just a few minutes ago, he posted this on Twitter.
" A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!" Now, the report he's talking about, 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM ENTOUS, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": He told them what he thought they discussed, which was campaign issues. In other words, what the relationship would be like between a future Trump presidency and the Russian government, the kind of thing that Kislyak was under orders by his boss, Putin, to try to get information about.
Kislyak was doing exactly his job, which is basically meeting with people in the Trump campaign, trying to get information about how that campaign would actually deliver on some of its rhetoric during the campaign if it was elected. And so, that way, Putin can make a decision about what he thinks of this relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:15:00] PAUL: Now, a Department of Justice spokesperson says, "the Attorney General stands by his testimony from just last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee when he specifically addressed this and said that 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."
Sarah Westwood, White House Correspondent for the "Washington Examiner", with us now, as well as former White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, Richard Painter. We thank you both for being here.
Sarah, I wanted to start with you. All of this, of course, is according to the Russian ambassador's account of the meetings per US intel. How do we know this is accurate? Is it going to be another Kislyak's word against Sessions, a he said, he said?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDING, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": What seems to be the only way we would know what was in a meeting between these two people ultimately if they were the only ones present for this conversation, then they would be the only ones who would be able to characterize it.
Now, we already have several descriptions of this meeting on the record from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In his testimony, it's important to remember that he hedged just about everything he said with the possibility that he didn't remember fully every single conversation that he might have had with Russians during the campaign.
He's a pretty smart legal guy. He knew that protected himself from further disclosures like this one.
But at the end of the day, this goes back to the credibility problem that the administration does have. And it's trouble for the administration because Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the outset of Trump's presidency was considered one of the most credible and trustworthy figures.
And that has slowly become not the case as these Russia meetings have come to light and as the president himself has hurled criticism at his attorney general.
PAUL: OK. So, Richard, what do you make of the shifting stories we hear from Sessions?
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, the attorney general's statement or the Justice Department statement that you just read considerably narrowed the scope of his denial here to simply say that he did not discuss with the Russians interference with the campaign.
That is half of the story with the Russians. The other half of the story of the Russians is what they wanted in return for interference with the campaign, which was a change in United States' policy toward Russia, including the sanctions.
Attorney General Sessions had repeatedly, including under oath, denied that he had any conversations with the Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign. And now, they are changing the story and narrowing this to focus only on conversations about interference with elections.
I think that statement that you just read is an acknowledgment by the Department of Justice that what the Attorney General said under oath before was not true because he did under oath deny any communications with the Russians about - on behalf of the Trump campaign, and that is a lie if this intelligence is true.
Now, the other thing we're concerned about is it was selectively leaked by the Trump administration in order to get Attorney General Sessions fired because then he can put Rachel Brand or someone else in there and get them to harass Mueller and then eventually fire Mueller.
This is a situation that is getting worse and worse every day and I continue to be very distressed. The Congress does not want to launch an aggressive investigation of what happened with respect to Russia and the obstruction of justice that's involved here. This is a very serious problem.
PAUL: Sarah, the president is tweeting this morning about these kinds of leaks, saying that essentially they have to stop. Where are the leaks coming from? What do we know about how all of this is drip by drip coming to the surface?
WESTWOOD: Well, that's what's troubled the Trump administration for so long, is that they clearly have no idea where these leaks are coming from.
They have consistently expressed an interest in stopping them. I think if they had the ability to track down who the leakers were within the intelligence community, they would've done so already. Keep in mind that there are a number of former US officials who are quoted in "The Washington Post" story. So, clearly, this is coming from some Obama administration folks who just are remembering what they read in this intercepted intelligence report back from when they were in the administration.
But I will say to Richard's point, we have no idea who leaks this or why. The only people who know are the sources and the reporters. So, there's been some speculation that maybe the Trump administration leaks this in an effort to further weaken Attorney General Jeff Sessions' position.
That's certainly one possibility. The timing of it is interesting. But we have really nothing but speculation that that is the case.
PAUL: I want to move on real quickly here to something else that's in "The Post" in the last 24 hours here about special counsel Mueller and his investigation because you just referred to this, Richard.
[07:20:12] The president has asked, according to "The Post", what his pardoning powers are, asking about pardoning powers for his aides, for his family, for himself. And we had some reaction on that from Rep. Ruben Gallego late last night. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: I've not been as quick to call for impeachment. But if you're going to start issuing pardons to basically obstruct justice and cover-up whatever is being covered up, I think that clearly the only solution we have to keep the executive in check is to start impeachment proceedings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Richard, any indication as to why, though, he is asking for or having conversations about his pardon powers?
PAINTER: Well, I think the facts that show why he is doing that we've seen over the past six months - this is getting worse and worse - the Russia investigation and other scandals of the administration.
And one way to have that off is to start pardoning the people who otherwise might roll on other people and then eventually endanger the president. But that strategy certainly ought to be met with very, very stiff resistance from Congress.
The president cannot pardon himself. I wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post" yesterday with Laurence Tribe and Norman Eisen discussing that. There is no example anywhere in human history where I've been able to find a king or anyone else pardoning themselves and having it be effective.
Even the Pope goes and says confession to another priest. You do not pardon yourself. There's just no precedent for that. I don't think the founders would intend that the president of the United States could be a judge in his own case. And that's what a pardon is. It's the president acting as a judge of equity to relieve defendants, those who've been convicted of criminal offenses of the harshness of the criminal justice system. And the president cannot be a judge in his own case. He cannot pardon himself.
PAUL: Alrighty. Richard Painter and Sarah Westwood, so grateful to have both of you here this morning. Thank you.
WESTWOOD: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Just beyond six months into the Trump administration, we check in with several supporters who voted for him. Next, we'll hear why most of them still back him and what they say needs to change.
[07:25:56] PAUL: Twenty-six minutes past the hour on Saturday morning. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you.
The president already up, fighting back against the latest Russia reporting. This from "The Washington Post" that Russia's ambassador told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters with Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. It happened during the 2016 election race.
And the president tweeting this morning and here it is, the illegal leaks must stop.
PAUL: In the meantime, there is a shakeup in the White House communications staff. Sean Spicer is out. Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci is in. Spicer says the president wanted him to stay, but he chose to go.
He was asked on "Fox News" how he felt about being the butt of all those SNL jokes and the focal point of so many contentious briefings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: The questions and the issues that are of concern to every day Americans are not nearly what they are for the folks, the pack mentality that exists 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 of it that was over the line. It wasn't funny. It was stupid or silly or malicious. But there are some skits that I've seen on late-night television that I had to crack up at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: We're now six months into the Trump era. And the president's approval ratings continue to hover at historic lows. BLACKWELL: Yes. But a lot of his supporters are still strongly committed to the president. Others not so much. Here's CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Izzy's Diner in Palm Bay, Florida is in the heart of Trump country. The president won big here in Brevard County, helping him win statewide by less than a percentage point.
A half-year into his presidency, we came for breakfast to talk to seven Donald Trump voters. First question for all of you. We start with Izzy, the owner of this fine restaurant. How would you describe his presidency in one sentence?
IZZY DEARMAS, TRUMP VOTER: I think he's doing well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's doing an outstanding job. I just wish more people would get behind what he's doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's done well. If people would just all work with him and not always against him, I think we would make some progress.
MARGE SCHREMPF, INDEPENDENT TRUMP VOTER: I feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole. It's been a disaster.
TUCHMAN: Marge Schrempf is an independent who voted for Trump and who is now not pleased about her decision to do so.
SCHREMPF: I think his presidency right now is worse than what I saw with Nixon and Watergate. It is the most disastrous presidency in my lifetime.
TUCHMAN: The rest of our table are registered Republicans who are pleased with their vote.
DEARMAS: We can't speak without getting ripped apart. If you just leave him alone, let him do his job, he's a hell of a businessman, let him run the business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like Vietnam. He is being stopped before - every time he gets to this line, he's being stopped. Where is him bringing together Republicans and Democrats and working his deal with them. Where is it? And right there, he's golfing.
[07:30:02] TUCHMAN: The six others at this stable say there's an organized effort to undermine the president. And there is passion here about the Russia investigation.
DEARMAS: It's BS.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): What's BS about it? DEARMAS: All of it. All of it. It's just made up news. I think it's all BS.
TUCHMAN: And regarding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russians -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opposition research is part of the political game, is it not? It's my understanding -
TUCHMAN: Are you bothered by the fact that it was cited as Russian government opposition -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As opposed to what, Ukrainian government, which is what - that's what the Democrats did.
TUCHMAN: (INAUDIBLE) by someone in the United States who had the opposition research. So, is anyone bothered by that? Raise your hand if you're bothered by that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really.
TUCHMAN: Nothing bother anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not illegal either.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't say it was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's been done for years. I think it's been done a lot.
TUCHMAN: By the Russian government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the United States government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every president is interfering with other -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other elections.
TUCHMAN: But you guys (INAUDIBLE).
(voice-over): And the Republicans here don't blame Donald Trump for the healthcare bill failure, although -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he could use a few more people, myself, to help him design that bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think our politicians today care about our country.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): You think that's why the healthcare bill has failed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do.
TUCHMAN: But do you think Donald Trump does care? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he really, really does.
SCHREMPF: It's not the Democrats that are stopping him with healthcare. He stood on platform after platform after platform saying, I can bring these people together, I can do it, I alone can do it. What happened?
TUCHMAN: What would you say to Donald Trump if he was sitting at this table?
SCHREMPF: I would tell him to stop tweeting. Get on with business. Get off that social media. That's what I would tell him.
PAUL: Want to talk about breaking news we're following news we're following. A coalition airstrike is being blamed for the deaths of 16 police officers in Afghanistan. This is an attack that happened in Helmand Province overnight.
A government spokesman says US-supported forces were targeting militants in the area, but the friendly Afghan forces were gathered in a compound when that airstrike hit.
BLACKWELL: We'll continue to follow that throughout the morning. During the campaign, even after entering the White House, the president promised to improve the lives of minorities.
Now that we're six months in, what progress has he made?
PAUL: Also, the Minneapolis police chief resigns days after a deadly policy shooting. Protesters say, you know what, that's not enough for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not want you as the mayor of Minneapolis (INAUDIBLE) you to resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:37:02] BLACKWELL: As the NAACP begins their annual convention this weekend, President Trump will not be there. He declined their invitation. The group responded with this statement.
"During his campaign, President Trump asked what do you have to lose. Well, this is the second time President Trump has refused an offer to speak at our annual convention. We get the message loud and clear."
Well, now that we're six months into his presidency, what concrete progress has been made to reach out to minority communities? Joining us to discuss Bruce LeVell, executive director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, Chris Lu former co-chair the White House Asian American Initiative, and April Ryan, CNN political analyst, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and author of The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America. We're now adding a fourth to that when the edition comes out.
April, Bruce and Chris, good morning to you. I want to start with the president on election night. This is the context of this conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help, so that we can work together and unify our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right. Bruce, first to you, specifically with the NAACP, should the president have accepted the invitation, should he speak to the NAACP convention?
BRUCE LEVELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION FOR TRUMP: Well, thanks for having me too here.
One thing I can say - I can't speak for the president's schedule. It's fast paced. It's going - it changes any second. Just to elaborate on something like this, I think it would be - for me, if I were having an organization, if I wanted someone to attend my - speak at my organization, I would at least be nice to them or not to mock the president when he had his pastors come pray and lay hands on him and call it theological hypocrisy and mock him that way.
And to have a leader of the NAACP out of North Carolina come out and say such incendiary remarks on behalf of NAACP, who wants to know come to an organization when you're not really welcome.
BLACKWELL: But this would not be the first president who has been criticized by the NAACP or another group and then going to speak to that group. That would be part of the reason one would go and have that conversation, would it not?
LEVELL: This is not a traditional president, though, Victor. He doesn't just go just because Reagan did it or President Clinton did it or any of the other presidents. He's not going to keep the same old playbook.
So, I think the president spoke very loudly as it relates to reaching out to all Americans based on our economy now. We're at 4 percent unemployment. The economy is moving very well. It's got a historically low -
BLACKWELL: And that could be a message that he would serve. We're going to play a bit of Reagan's address in 1981 in his first six months as president when he went to speak with NAACP convention in Denver. But, April, let me come to you. That statement that we heard or I just read from the NAACP, the message loud and clear. From your understanding, what is that message?
[07:40:08] APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: It's the deafening sounds of silence. That's what the message is.
And I want to go back to your last guest. When you say that the economy is good, you're thinking overall economy.
For the African-American community, the unemployment rate - and for the black and brown community in this nation, the unemployment rate is normally twice as high as the overall rate. So, let's focus in on that. Let's target him on that.
The African-American community has the highest numbers of negatives in almost every category. This president and any other president is president of all America.
I'm going to say this. I remember, for the last 20 years, Bill Clinton attended the NAACP convention. George W. Bush, he and the late Julian Bond at the time, were going back and forth with the tension of words. But George W. Bush came to that convention twice.
Then you had Barack Obama who came. And also administration officials from each administration.
And then you also had as candidates Mitt Romney come. You had John McCain come -
BLACKWELL: Which would, I guess, support the point that some of these other candidates have been criticized by this group, but still at least they had the conversation.
Let me bring in Chris into this conversation, April and Bruce, because you were one of the members of the president's advisory council on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. You were one of several who resigned earlier in the administration. What specifically led you to the resignation and have you seen any changes over the last several months?
CHRIS LU, FORMER CO-CHAIR, WHITE HOUSE ASIAN AMERICAN INITIATIVE: Well, look, this is not just about outreach to the minority communities. It's about policies.
What I find notable last week is that the president went to speak to his voting fraud commission and repeated a patently false allegation about the amount of voting rights in this country, at the same time that Republican states are stripping away voting rights from people of color or that this week the Senate is going to vote on a piece of legislation that's going to take away healthcare from millions of people with color.
So, this is incredible to me, the lack of outreach, the inability to explain his policies. But I think what is more destructive is what he's doing not only to poor communities, people of color, to women, LGBT communities.
BLACKWELL: Yes. April, let me come to you. Omarosa Manigault is the communications director for The Office of Public Liaison there in the White House. What is she doing to reach out to these groups? She described the position herself as bringing the people who want to be part of the policy into the conversation.
RYAN: Well, I think that from what I hear, she's bringing people in, she's talking to people, but we have yet to see a lot of the results. We saw what happened in February, the listening session. We saw the presidents of HBCUs come in. And then they had a photo op.
I understand she's involved in some kind of way. And this HBCU conference, it's happening. This annual White House Department of education conference is happening in September.
But this is really a black eye for this administration, whether they know it or not. The NAACP extended the invitation in January. And it got a decline, what is it, this week when I asked the question, after hearing from Hillary Shelton of the Washington office of the NAACP.
And then not only that, and I'm going to give you something else, it's interesting. This is a very big week for black organizations and conventions. The National Urban League is also having its convention and they chose not to invite this president.
And just for context, they did not invite then president Barack Obama in 2009, his first year as well, but they said they don't want politicians right now. They want to focus in on moving forward because of the obstacles and they're looking at the economics of it all. They're in St. Louis right now. And they've chosen not to invite. And that speaks volumes as well.
BLACKWELL: Bruce, I want to play for you, as I mentioned. Ronald Reagan, 1981, it was June 21 there in Denver. Here's what he said then. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of the inner cities will be represented by this administration every bit as much as the citizens of Flagstaff, Arizona, Ithaca, New York or Dixon, Illinois where I grew up.
Anyone who becomes president realizes he must represent all the people of the land, not just those of a home state or a particular party, nor can he be just president of those who voted for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, Bruce, there may be some who question if Reagan lived up to that ideal, but do you believe that Donald Trump, the president now, is living up to that ideal of not being just the president of the people who voted for him.
LEVELL: Well, of course, he is, Victor. And here's the other thing too. In answer to April Ryan's unemployment on black Americans, let me tell you something. Teens between age of 16 and 19 have the lowest, lowest unemployment since the year 2000.
[07:45:04] RYAN: Let's talk about adults.
LEVELL: Excuse me.
RYAN: No, you excuse me. Let's talk about adults, people who run the house.
BLACKWELL: Let him finish. Go ahead, Bruce.
LEVELL: And the other gentleman here on the panel, he talks about how it's going to hurt - the Affordable Healthcare Act. Sir, the Affordable Healthcare Act is about to explode and blowup.
And I'm a business owner myself. I have employees. My rates went up as much as 40% since this travesty was put on the American people. And also, it went up 20 percent in the last year.
BLACKWELL: Bruce, I think what you mentioned was the Affordable Care Act, you were talking about. The Affordable Healthcare Act is the Republican's plan they are pushing through the Senate. And I hear your point.
I want to get Chris back in one more time. Do you believe that some of these relationships that we've heard that are at least strained, Chris, can be repaired?
LU: Well, they can be repaired, but this is going to require the president taking a different attitude. And he hasn't shown that willingness to reach across the aisle, to reach across the different groups that disagree with him.
There's nothing that he's done in the last six months that's shown any desire to bring this nation together, to live up to the promises of his campaign.
BLACKWELL: All right. Chris Lu, Bruce LeVell, April Ryan, thank you all. We'll be right back.
[07:52:07] PAUL: Well, nearly a week after Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a woman who called 911 for help, the city's police chief is stepping down now.
BLACKWELL: But some there say that is not enough. Protesters jeered as Mayor Betsy Hodges tried to announce the chief's replacement at a press conference last night. This is some of the video here.
Our Ryan Young was there and joins us now with more from Minneapolis. Really contentious exchanges there. What are we hearing from both sides?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, guys. We were standing right in the middle of this new conference when everyone walked in and they were protesting, making their voices heard.
I can tell you the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk has really sent a ripple effect through this entire community. They were asking for the mayor to step down.
When you watch this video, you hear the passion in their voice, as you could understand. But they said they wanted more than the police chief to step down because they believe this is a systematic problem here in the city.
Listen to some of these protesters as they let their voices be heard last night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want you as our mayor of Minneapolis anymore. We ask you that you take your stab 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 if just (ph) to remove you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Look, the mayor is in the middle of a reelection campaign. She says she's not stepping down. So, she says she's here to stay. But we know the investigation into this case continues. Look, it's only been a week since the shooting, but people here say they want more information.
What's not helping in this situation is the officer who opened fire, Mohammed Noor, still hasn't talked to investigators yet, and that has a lot of people in the city upset because they would like to know why he opened fire. Guys?
PAUL: Alrighty. Bryan Young, we want to thank you so much. We appreciate the update.
BLACKWELL: Well, police in Florida want charges filed against a group of teenagers who stood by and laughed as a man drowned right in front of them.
These are five young men we're talking about who actually shot video as this man - you see him in the pond there - was dying. They were laughing. They were taunting him.
PAUL: Well, now the Coco chief of police wants the teens charged with not reporting a death to the medical examiner. Nick Valencia has more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the water. You are going to die.
VALENCIA (voice-over): A blatant disregard for human life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not going to help your (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shouldn't have got in.
VALENCIA: A group of Florida teens taunt a drowning man while filming his final moments from afar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ain't nobody is going to help you (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Shouldn't have gotten in there.
VALENCIA: In the two-minute long video clip, the five teen boys between the ages of 14 and 16 can be heard laughing as the man struggles to stay afloat in a pond in Coco, Florida. Rather than call for help, the teens recorded the incident on cell phone, chuckling while they watched the man die. They say this when the man goes under water and doesn't resurface.
[07:55:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
VALENCIA: The State of Florida currently does not have a law where a citizen is obligated to render aid for anyone in distress or call for help. Both Coco police and the state attorney's office say they are frustrated that no one can be held accountable in this incident.
"We are deeply saddened and shocked at both the manner in which Mr. Dunn lost his life and the actions of the witnesses to this tragedy. We can find no moral justification for either the behavior of the persons heard on the Recording or the deliberate decision not to render aid to Mr. Dunn."
Police say the victim, 31-year-old Jamel Dunn got into an argument with his mom and possibly his fiancee the afternoon of July 9th. Ten minutes after the fight was over, police say Dunn scaled a fence surrounding a pond near his family's home and walked into the water.
His family reported him missing three days later. The teens stayed quiet about what they saw, so police didn't know where to look. Dunn's body wasn't discovered until five days after his death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like something should be done.
VALENCIA: The victim's sister posted the video of the drowning on Facebook. In a Facebook Live post, she questioned teens' humanity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could sit there and watch somebody die in front of their eyes. Well, imagine what they are going to do when they get older.
Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.