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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Pentagon Confirms North Korea Missile Was An ICBM; Senate Rejects Slimmed Down Obamacare Repeal; U.K. Government Wants Transition Period After Break With E.U.; Charlie Gard Dies A Week Before His First Birthday; White House Faces Chaos and Disappointment; Scaramucci's First Week Come Under Scrutiny; Building Solutions from Plastic Waste. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired July 28, 2017 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We begin with breaking news this hour, just hours ago, North Korea launched
another missile and we're getting more alarming news about that.
We now know what kind of missile Pyongyang launched in the last few hours. The Pentagon says it was an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile.
It did so on July 4th and again today.
American officials say it traveled about 1,000 kilometers before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. You are looking at a map of that area now.
We have this story covered from every angle. Standing by in Seoul is Alexandra Field. Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon. We have Joseph
Cirincione as well, the president of Global Security Foundation Ploughshares Fund in Washington this hour.
Let's go to the South Korean capital first. Alexandra Field, first of all, what are South Korean officials saying about this test?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, they've had to react right away. It's been just three weeks since North Korea launched
an ICBM that they said was capable of reaching the United States.
Now they have launched another missile that's believed to be an ICBM. It has meant high-level government meetings happening in the middle of the
night here in South Korea.
The president of South Korea convening a meeting at the National Security Council to discuss the latest security threat. Another provocation and a
serious one at that from North Korea.
South Korean officials are saying they consider this ICBM to be more advanced than the one that was tested just three weeks ago, and that is,
they say, because it had a greater range. What's the response going to be from South Korea?
Well, we know that they have already been in talks with officials in the U.S. We are learning from the president's office that we could be seeing
more joint ballistic missile exercises from U.S. and South Korean forces.
The blue house here in South Korea also saying that there could be a further discussion of the deployment of additional parts of a controversial
missile defense system that's only currently partially deployed here in South Korea.
Condemnations have been coming in from the E.U., from Japan. This is a missile that landed in the waters off of Japan. So, certainly there was
also a high-level government meeting that was convened in the overnight hours here
And you have heard condemnations from the Japanese. South Korean officials saying once more that they are calling for strong sanctions against North
Korea. This is the common refrain that you hear after these ballistic missile launches.
This one happened in the middle of the night, Hala. That's a bit unusual. Usually we see these in the very early morning hours. What is not unusual,
however, is the fact that South Korea, the U.S., Japan, they were all expecting that we could see this launch.
In fact, U.S. intelligence had been saying for days or weeks that they were expecting this launch could happen. They have seen signs of preparation.
This also comes just about a day after Armistice Day which marks the end of the Korean war, at
least the fighting in the Korean war.
And that's typically the kind of time around which we might see North Korea take on these provocative measures. So, almost on cue this happened --
GORANI: And Alexandra, the 12th missile test this year. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, what are U.S. officials saying because it appears this
missile is more sophisticated. It traveled higher. It traveled farther.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are looking at that. That's part of the assessment going on, once they determined it was another
intercontinental ballistic missile. That's the kind of missile that could carry someday a nuclear warhead that could attack the United States.
A big international security problem, a big challenge for President Trump about how to deal with all of this. So, now the technical analysis goes
on. If it actually did fly for up to 45 minutes, that's a longer period of time than the July 4th test.
If it flew for 45 minutes, it would have gone higher, further. All of that to be assessed. Does it all add up? All of those changes, does that add
up to a more advanced ICBM?
It's a very technical question that we don't have an answer to yet. The U.S. intelligence community looking at all of this. And if the past is any
indicator, what we might see in the coming hours or days is some kind of show of force of the
U.S. and the South Koreans, something to demonstrate on their own terms that they also have military capability -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks very much. Alexandra Field in Seoul.
Let's get some expert analysis. I want to bring in Joe Cirincione). So, Joe, first of all, is this, from everything you've learned over the last
few hours, a much more sophisticated missile than the one that was launched on July 4th?
JOE CIRINCIONE, PRESIDENT, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: There is a very active and expert nongovernment network out there analyzing this data. And many of us
believe that this is the same missile we saw July 4th, except this time they really opened up the engine.
[15:05:09] So, whereas that had a capability demonstrated of about 6,000 kilometers, this one looks like with a full engine going all out, it looks
like it could have a range of about 10,000 kilometers.
That's the difference between able to hit Alaska and being able to hit Los Angeles. This looks like a missile that the Hosong 14 that's probably
capable of hitting the west coast of the United States, the middle of the United States and
even beginning to touch the east coast, a very capable missile and probably its second successful test.
GORANI: Right. And so, these are close neighbors that we're seeing on the map there, Japan, obviously, South Korea. The big question is, can they
turn this missile into a nuclear weapon?
CIRINCIONE: Almost certainly. Now normally a nation takes a number of tests before they are confident and can actually operationally deploy such
a missile. And the first step is what you just see, being able to test its range, its engine, its capability.
Our ICBMs fly for about 30 minutes to cross the ocean. This one flew for 45 minutes. This is a serious weapon. But there's not the other building
blocks yet. Can they shrink a nuclear warhead to put it on there? Probably, but we don't know for sure.
Did it survive re-entry? Did the re-entry vehicle survive the vibration and heat and stress --
GORANI: Because it fell into the Sea of Japan. That we know. We believe that it flew at 3,700 kilometers high. You're saying this was a successful
test. The big question is, did it survive re-entry when it went back down?
CIRINCIONE: Right. So, NGOs, nongovernment people don't know that, but we're almost certainly able to intercept their telemetry so our
intelligence services will know that. And North Korea will now probably need another three, four, five tests perhaps of this in various
They also have other ICBMs they showed off in parades that we don't think they've tested yet. But we're getting very close, a year or two, before
they have a reliable, probably operationally deployable missile that could hit most of
the United States with a thermal nuclear warhead.
The longer we wait to negotiate a solution, the less they'll be willing to give up and the more we'll have to pay for it.
HOWELL: So what are the options then for countries worried about North Korea's nuclear and missile capability?
CIRINCIONE: Well, we know sanctions don't work. They've been going ahead without the sanctions, the kind of military maneuvers you saw, the bluster
we do after a test doesn't work. They keep going.
We know trying to get -- try to get China to solve it doesn't work. They'll put on more pressure but here's where the Chinese, the Russians and
now the South Koreans are telling us.
Couple the sanctions with a negotiated solution. Put more sanctions on to pressure North Korea to the table, but then make a deal to freeze the
program. That's our best shot. There is no military option.
GORANI: There have been attempts at that in the past, right?
GORANI: The strategy worked temporarily but not in the longer term.
CIRINCIONE: But in good part, that's because we broke the deal. We walked away in 2003 from the deal that froze their plutonium program for a good
eight years. We walked away from the missile test deal.
Yes, there were difficulties on both sides, but we are the ones who abandoned it and pulled the plug. The North Korean became convinced they
couldn't trust us. They've been racing ever since. It's time to try it.
It's not a sure fire. They were difficult negotiating, but it's far better than any other solution, and there is no military option. This is not
Syria. You strike North Korea, they strike back.
GORANI: Right. It's not like the military option is working in Syria either. What should the Trump administration do?
CIRINCIONE: Well, during --
GORANI: Talk directly to the leadership in North Korea?
CIRINCIONE: Not quite, but during the campaign, Donald Trump said, sure, he'd be willing to talk to Kim Jong-un. Of course, he'd be willing to do
that. Well, now is the time for the great dealmaker to make a deal.
In fact, this is something that Kim Jong-un craves, prestige, to be seen as an equal to the president of the United States. He'd be willing to give up
a lot for that. Let's see how much.
This is the time for the president of the United States to try to pull himself out of the morass he's got domestically and try to assert himself
as the great negotiator, the man who can make a deal with the man nobody else could make a deal
This is the test for the president of the United States if he's willing to take the chance.
GORANI: While he was at an event in Long Island, he didn't bring it up. We'll see if he makes comments on it later today. Joe Cirincione,
thanks very much. Always a pleasure.
CIRINCIONE: My pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
GORANI: Thank you. This latest missile launch is another blow to President Trump after an especially rough week, although it is a crisis, a
real one that he must deal with at some point.
[15:10:00] Let's get into all of this with our CNN political director, David Chalian and "Washington Post" political reporter, Amber Phillips.
David, first of all, we haven't heard from the White House or the president yet on this missile test?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: No. We've not heard from the White House yet on this. We have seen how they've reacted to past missile tests,
and we will be on the lookout to see if any of the rhetoric is different.
But as you know, the White House strategy dealing with North Korea on this has
been China needs to do more. That's basically to sum up where they are from a policy standpoint right now.
GORANI: Yes, but that policy hasn't really produced any desired effect, has it, David, because we're seeing yet another ICBM test today, just three
weeks after the one that North Korea conducted July 4th.
CHALIAN: Exactly right, Hala. They said the era of strategic patience is over, and yet we haven't seen, as you said, since we see it's not working,
what is the next phase of this? We have not yet seen that.
GORANI: All right, Amber Phillips, let's talk a little bit obviously about this incredibly rough, dramatic week for president Trump and his staff at
the White House, the Scaramucci/Priebus feud. The eye-popping conversation that Scaramucci had on the phone with Ryan Lizza and that we were able to
read the transcript of in the "New Yorker" and other things.
How is the White House going to deal with this because it's giving the impression that it's complete chaos in there?
AMBER PHILLIPS, POLITICAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": It's also giving the impression that the senior level officials in the White House just
don't care. Before this incredibly vulgar, shocking interview with "New York Magazine" and Scaramucci came out, which came out hours before
Republicans were about to kill President Trump's health care plan, you know, Scaramucci called in to CNN to have a debate about his boss, Chief of
Staff Reince Priebus.
And he indicated and told our White House reporters Trump encouraged him to call in. You know, he said OK'ed it. Go bash Reince. Sure. Talk about
leaks. Sure, do it.
It feels like the White House has reached a whole new level of chaos and for whatever reason, perhaps the president wants to go in that direction.
You know, six months in, things haven't been working out for him the other way.
HOWELL: But David Chalian, obviously the establishment, the inside the beltway, pundits, journalists all say they're appalled at the language, at
the behavior, but maybe, just maybe, the president wants this.
CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, that would not surprise me. I think that -- I don't know that he wants all this attention on his communications director
necessarily, but if the president had a problem with this, he knows how to make that
known. I mean, he could easily make that known and they would not at all - -
GORANI: He would just tweet about it.
CHALIAN: He might or he would least indicate to his press secretary that she can brush back Scaramucci for a bit. That was not the case at all.
So, in the absence of that, this is seen as acceptable behavior.
GORANI: Speaking of the president making his displeasure known, obviously, we've all week followed his tweets directed squarely at his Attorney
General Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions did admit that it was hurtful to hear from the president.
He was one of his earliest supporters during the campaign. What's going to happen there because it doesn't appear as though Jeff Sessions is going
PHILLIPS: Yes, that's right. Jeff Sessions said, I'm not going to quit. The president has to kick me out. So, we have this battle line being
drawn. This tug-of-war. It seems like from the past couple of weeks since the president has been publicly berating his attorney general.
The goal has been to push him out, but not be the one responsible for it. You know, the last time the president fired someone in the Justice
Department, his FBI director, it earned him an obstruction of justice investigation from the FBI.
Jeff Sessions has not taken the hit and so, we have this battle line and the ball is in the president's court right now on whether to pull the
trigger on firing his attorney general.
GORANI: And Sessions has the support of some top-level Republicans in Washington and Capitol Hill. Let's talk about the health care legislation,
it failed. Three Republican senators voted against, including the most high profile of those three, John McCain.
Now this is the third attempt for Donald Trump with his effort -- his legislative effort to repeal Obamacare. It's failed once again. What's
going to happen now?
CHALIAN: Well, it is a spectacular failure in terms of not just for the president but for the Republican Party overall. For seven years this has
been the organizing principle that the Republican party has put forth and that no matter how
many Republican rallies and speeches from candidates you were to attend in the last seven years it was this promise to repeal and replace Obamacare
that was fundamental and they've failed to do so.
So now we'll see. It looks like the Republicans in Congress are teeing up tax reform. The White House is eager to move to the next thing, but Paul
[15:15:06] GORANI: So, what, health care reform -- the health care legislation is off the table?
CHALIAN: No, I mean, Donald Trump said today this event in New York, he said we're going to do this. We're going to get it done. The path forward
it's not clear because they have proven this week beyond any reasonable doubt they can't get to 50 votes among themselves, among Republicans to
actually pass a bill out of the Senate.
So now the option is either to try to go back to the drawing board and work this through regular order. Perhaps try a bipartisan solution and do it
much more incrementally. That seems unlikely the way that the relationship is between
Democrats and the Trump administration. So, Mitch McConnell right now has not yet painted a path forward.
GORANI: Amber, lastly for our international viewers, let's put this in perspective. It's been a chaotic week. The communications director is
openly feuding with the chief of staff. We have legislative failures, the Jeff Sessions drama. Is this really hurting Donald Trump's popularity at
PHILLIPS: Well, his popularity is one of the lowest of any president in the modern era at this point in a president's presidency. So, the answer
would suggest, yes. You know, his popularity --
GORANI: It hasn't gone down. I mean, with his base it's remained at pretty much stable levels, hasn't it?
PHILLIPS: Right. With his base, which is about a quarter to maybe 30 percent of the population, but there was like a 10 percent, you know,
section of the Republican Party that voted for Trump. Maybe didn't like him but really would have liked to see higher tax cuts for them.
Obamacare repealed. Haven't seen that yet and sort of peeled back. So right now, Donald Trump is focusing on and quite frankly catering to an
almost everything he says and does publicly to that quarter of his base and nothing beyond that.
And I think that when you put in perspective the fact that he can't follow through on one of his top campaign promises is not his top campaign
promise, of repealing Obamacare, he risks eroding that even further. I think this was
a really damaging week for his presidency.
GORANI: Is that, David, lastly, what that transgender tweet was about, that announcement that caught so many at the Pentagon off guard that after
consulting with top generals, he didn't believe transgender servicemen and women
should serve in the military, red meat for his base?
CHALIAN: Certainly red meat for a part of his base if the social conservative Christian and Evangelical part of his base. There had been
some pressure to get something done on that. But quite frankly, even Republicans on Capitol
Hill were surprised.
As you noted, the military in his own administration at the Pentagon were surprised and they don't have instructions on how to implement it. That
was part of this larger piece we were saying.
the tweet about transgender policy, the health care failure, Sessions, the Boy Scouts having to put out a statement regretting the president was
there. This week revealed the Trump presidency to be entirely dysfunctional at the moment, and
that is what is a huge problem for Donald Trump.
Forget Russia. That wasn't even front and center this week. Just the actual task of running a White House and west wing and implementing and
executing agenda, he has not yet proven capable of doing.
PHILLIPS: Can I another thing on Russia?
GORANI: Go ahead, Amber, yes.
PHILLIPS: Congress passed by a veto-proof majority sanctions on Russia. It was really a signal to the president that they don't trust him to get
tough on Russia. So, even something that wasn't front and center on the news agenda here was bad news for President Trump.
GORANI: Right. And Russia is retaliating by asking the U.S. to reduce its embassy staff by September. Thanks very much to both of you. David
Chalian, Amber Phillips, always a pleasure having you on.
A lot more to come this evening, he long and winding road to Brexit. Why you might not notice a major difference immediately after the breakup, if
GORANI: The Israeli military says it shot and killed a Palestinian man who tried to stab Israeli soldiers. It happened near a block of Israeli
settlements in the West Bank close to Bethlehem.
Now it's unclear if this was connected in any way to tension surrounding the old city of Jerusalem over the last two weeks. Friday prayers at a
sensitive holy site otherwise passed off relatively peacefully with just a few demonstrations.
The Israeli police added extra security and imposed age restrictions on worshippers allowed into the holy site. Later, this angered many of the
Palestinians obviously. Later they lifted the age restriction following the end of prayer.
GORANI: To Brexit now and what looks like separation anxiety at Downing Street. The chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, wants a
transition period to soften the blow to the economy when the U.K. finally breaks up with the E.U. in
Hammond says trade with the E.U. during the transition would look much the same as it does right now. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIP HAMMOND, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Transitional period would have to be finished by the time we get to the date set for the next
general election, June 2022. Now it might be a shorter period.
It depends on the technical requirements to put in place customs and immigration arrangements and so on. And, of course, this is all subject to
negotiation with the European Union.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: A lot of uncertainty and unknowns there. It's a long way, though, from the very hard definitive breakup after two years that Prime Minister
Theresa May talked about in the past, right?
Let's go straight to Bianca Nobilo at 10 Downing Street. We're talking about a transitional period of up to three years which means five years
from the day Article 50 was triggered.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN LONDON: That's right. And it's very difficult to tell what a transitional deal would really involve at this point because there's
so many unknowns. But certainly, what Philip Hammond, the chancellor is after is a two-phase Brexit, one where there will be three years of
So, bringing the U.K. and the E.U. from their current relationship to their future one and then a complete Brexit in 2022 before the next general
GORANI: Yes, but what about, for instance, freedom of movement? How about the E.U. citizens. Does that mean that for five years at least after
Article 50 nothing fundamentally changes rather than two?
NOBILO: All these questions are still to be determined and as the chancellor said just then, it's all subject to what the E.U. has to say.
The Home secretary over here came out earlier this week and said that free movement would aim to be stopped after 2019.
But it's all still very much up in the air. In fact, the whole idea of Brexit is still up in the air. The prime minister of Malta said today that
he was increasingly encouraged that Brexit may not even happen.
And he's an important figure because Malta has held the E.U. Council presidency until last month. So, certainly, that's going to unsettle
people who think these long transitions and lengthy discussions might lead to Brexit not even
happening after all.
GORANI: Is there any talk in London, in the U.K., among politicians of any party that they, too, believe perhaps that Brexit might not happen at all?
NOBILO: Yes, that's right. In fact, MPs across all the major parties in the U.K. have expressed concerns or encouragement that maybe Brexit won't
happen. There's a big movement too for the second referendum.
So whatever deal is decided upon between the E.U and the U.K. that then the people in the U.K. could have another chance to vote on whether or not they
want to go ahead with that type of Brexit.
[15:25:05] GORANI: Well, interesting times. Bianca Nobilo, thanks very much at 10 Downing Street.
Staying in the U.K., a sad note now, the family of Charlie Gard, the British baby at the center of a legal battle over his medical care, says
their beautiful boy has died. Charlie was just a week away from his 1st birthday and he died a
day after a judge ordered his life support be withdrawn. Erin McLaughlin has the story.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Charlie Gard's parents had hoped their son would live to see his 1st birthday. But on Monday, Charlie's parents
gave a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking statement revealing that was not meant to be.
CHRIS GARD, CHARLIE'S FATHER: We've decided that it's no longer in Charlie's best interest to pursue treatment, and we will let our son go and
be with the angels.
MCLAUGHLIN: Time, they said, had become their enemy. Protracted legal battle meant the window of opportunity to treat Charlie had closed.
GARD: We now know had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.
MCLAUGLIN: Charlie's parents had been fighting the courts and the Great Woman Street Hospital, which said he had irreparable brain damage caused by
an extremely rare and experts say terminal genetic disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.
Charlie, unable to move his arms or legs or breath on his own was suffering with no hope of recovery. The court said in June, siding with the
hospital, saying it was in Charlie's best interest to allow him to die.
But his parents felt they had a sliver of hope. A chance for experimental treatment in the U.S. that might offer a small improvement of Charlie's
quality of life. So, they vowed to fight on.
CONNIE YALES, CHARLIE'S MOTHER: He's our son. He's our flesh and blood. It should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life.
MCLAUGLIN: They had hoped for a miracle. Their fight gained allies in world leaders with tweets from Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald
Trump. Experts flew from the U.S. to the U.K. to conduct tests on Charlie's brain function.
Leading up to what many believed to be a final showdown in court once again this week pitting the hospital's view against loving parents willing to do
anything for their son. But instead, the latest scans revealed there was no longer
any chance of recovery.
A devastating outcome that led Charlie's parents to wonder about what might have been.
GARD: Charlie has been left with his illness to deteriorate devastatingly to the point of no return. We will have to live with what-ifs, which will
haunt us for the rest of our lives.
MCLAUGLIN: At the end of a long and public fight over Charlie, his parents shared one last goodbye to their baby boy before retreating from public
view to spend their last moments with their dying son.
GARD: To Charlie we say, mommy and daddy, we love you so much. We always have and always will and we are so sorry we couldn't save you. Sweet
dreams, baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy. We love you.
GORANI: Such a sad story. Of course, the parents going through such a sad and heartbreaking time for them. And this story of Charlie Gard, Baby
Charlie Gard made news all around the world. It even got reaction from Pope Francis.
Again, today the pontiff has reacted on Twitter. In English, he posted this, I entrust little Charlie to the father and pray for his parents and
all those who loved him. That is a message in English published on the pontiff's Twitter account.
We'll be right back. Stay with CNN.
[15:31:02] GORANI: An intercontinental ballistic missile more advanced than any before it for North Korea, that's what South Korea is saying this
hour. It's the second missile launch this month for Pyongyang. You'll remember, back on July 4th, Kim Jong-un said the test was an Independence
Day gift for America.
We know that it flew for about 45 minutes. It travelled about a thousand kilometers. It landed in the Sea of Japan not far from the Japanese coast,
so it has all of North Korea's neighbors worried.
The news of this more advanced missile will no doubt spark renewed concern, not just in that part of the world but obviously around the globe. It goes
further. It travels further. Could it reach the United States, Alaska for instance, or even further that?
As you'll note, China is North Korea's biggest trading partner and the U.S. wants Beijing to ratchet up the pressure on Pyongyang. CNN's Will Ripley
is in the Chinese capital now and he joins us live.
I know it's late. You don't official reaction. But based on what we've heard from China before, what is likely to be their approach now because
Pyongyang is testing these missiles fast and furious. It was only three weeks ago that they tested an ICBM. What will happen next?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Beijing, as you've said, it's still very early in the morning. But when we hear from
the government in the coming hours, the response has usually been that they condemn the launch by North Korea but they also point to the United States
and South Korea which continue to engage in joint military exercises, which those countries say are vital due to their security partnership, but that
North Korea considers an imminent threat, a dress rehearsal for an invasion and justification for developing these kinds of weapons.
And it's -- this particular missile, Hala, analysts are saying had it been launched at a normal trajectory, given its altitude and given the length
that it travelled, it could have gone much further, possibly hitting Seattle or Los Angeles, Denver, Colorado in the United States, maybe even
towards Chicago and getting towards the East Coast.
This is something that hasn't been seen before, this level of technology from North Korea. And I was in the country just last month. We saw
Chinese goods on store shelves.
We were travelling around the mountainous region where this missile was launched from. An official said they're not really worried about sanctions
given the fact that their economy in North Korea grew by about four percent last year, despite round after round of sanctions designed to stop this
missile program. That's, in large part, due to their trade relationship with China.
Will Beijing change what they have been for the -- more than a decade, trading with North Korea, allowing this to continue because they want to
keep North Korea as a strategic buffer against U.S.-allied South Korea? That, we just don't know. But we're certainly going to be asking those
questions here in Beijing later today.
GORANI: All right. Look forward to your reporting. Thanks very much, Will Ripley in Beijing.
The latest missile launch is the icing on a very bitter cake for the White House this week. It's been rough.
No accomplishments for President Donald Trump to trumpet about on Twitter. His new communications director is creating chaos inside the West Wing,
launching a vulgar rant against Mr. Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
And then there's the latest failed attempt to repeal ObamaCare. A signature campaign promise from the President collapsed again in the
Senate. Three Republicans, including John McCain, voted down the so-called skinny repeal plan in the early hours of the morning.
Let's get into all of this with my next guest, Julian Zelizer. He's a CNN political analyst and history professor at Princeton University. Julian
joins me now from New York.
Let me first ask you because this was really the most explosive item this week on the long list of Trump related news items. Scaramucci, that
interview with "The New Yorker," the two interviews he gave my colleague, Chris Cuomo, on "NEW DAY" on CNN. Is it really chaos or is it just the way
it appears from the outside?
[15:34:59] JULIAN ZELIZER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: No, I think it is chaos and dysfunction. I think it
is exactly what it appears to be.
And when you have a communications director have an interview like this or a series of interviews using this kind of language, making those kinds of
accusations, right as the Senate is trying to pass a health care that is probably the most important thing the Republicans have done, that's the
definition of dysfunction and chaos.
GORANI: Yes. And the health care bill, by the way, that was a third attempt. It was a failure and this time we saw, probably, the highest
profile senator in America, John McCain vote against.
ZELIZER: Sure. This was a blow to Senator McConnell, to the entire Republican Party, and obviously to President Trump. There are no
legislative accomplishments going into August.
Time is ticking. Soon legislators will be thinking about the midterm. And I think there are many Republicans who are unhappy with how the
administration handled this. And Senator McCain was clearly sending the message to the President. He remembers all the comments he's made about
him, and he was not happy with the way this process unfolded.
GORANI: And we are hearing that Senator McCain, by the way, has gone back to Arizona to begin treatment for his brain cancer that was diagnosed and
that was found when they removed a blood clot above his eye.
I guess the question is, with Republicans, is do they feel -- we know they are unhappy. We know the establishment feels like Donald Trump's
communication style and his tweeting is unbecoming. But do they feel vulnerable? Do they feel that he could be hurting their electoral chances
come the midterms?
ZELIZER: I think they do. I think it started to change in the last couple of weeks. Until now, they haven't. I think they've been pretty confident
that they were in a good position and they could, in some way, survive our Republican president and do OK in the midterms.
But I think a series of events from the Scaramucci interview to the threats against Jeff Sessions to the failure of this major legislative initiative,
which is a failure, is starting to worry, and that's why you hear more Republicans saying things. And the vote itself is a message that they are
And remember, before the final vote, the other measures had already gone done to defeat with even worse numbers. So I do think Republicans are
starting to think about what's the implication of the Trump presidency to the Republican Party.
GORANI: So, fine, so they're starting to think that more and more. So what's the impact? What happens next? How will things change?
ZELIZER: Well, the most direct impact is that he has trouble with the next initiatives that he tries to push, meaning it's harder to get that
Republican support on the Hill, which he needs. And the second is just more vocal criticism that you'll be hearing in the conservative media, in
other parts of the media, from Republicans rather than Democrats.
That said, he can recover. He's going to try to push a tax cut bill, which is one of the favorite issues for the Republican Party. So we'll see if he
can handle this differently than he handled health care.
GORANI: Right. And you mentioned Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, and that public bashing over Twitter of Jeff Sessions.
He even said, at a news conference, he was disappointed in his Attorney General. Some said, perhaps, he was hoping that he would just step down.
They wouldn't have to fire him. He's not doing that.
Jeff Sessions spoke to Fox News and was asked for his reaction to this week's developments. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: It's kind of hurtful, but the President of the United States is a strong leader. I
serve at the pleasure of the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SESSIONS: It is -- if he wants to make a change, he can certainly do so, and I would be glad to yield in that circumstance. No doubt about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: What do you make of that, Julian?
ZELIZER: Well, that --
GORANI: I mean, he was absolutely -- I mean he was bashed relentlessly and shamed, and his reaction is, you know, kind of -- I mean, it's not the most
passionate way to react, I guess. He said it hurt a bit, but I serve at the pleasure of the President.
ZELIZER: Look, the reaction is in some ways why many Republicans are surprised and upset that this is who the President is going after.
Sessions has been one of the most loyal supporters of Donald Trump as candidate and as President Trump. And he has also, you know, carried
forward with some of his most important policies so far on immigration and law enforcement.
So the fact he isn't more angry in public isn't surprising, but what it is surprising is the way President Trump is intimidating him and going after
him and really, it seems, trying to get him to step down.
GORANI: Is it unprecedented, historically speaking --
ZELIZER: I can't --
GORANI: -- a President acting this way toward his Attorney General?
ZELIZER: Yes. I can't think of another example like this. Privately, there's all kinds of moments when a President leans on a cabinet official,
but not this kind of public attack day after day. This is another example of unprecedented with the Trump administration.
[15:40:08] GORANI: And lastly, is this going to permanently change the way the U.S. presidency is viewed, the way a U.S. president acts inside the
White House and represents the country, do you think?
ZELIZER: Well, I never say permanently. Things change. And, you know, future presidents can, in some ways, repair some of the damage that's been
done, but there is a lot of damage.
And I think the bar has been lowered about what a President can say and do. And so it's going to be on the next few presidents to show this is not
what's acceptable or these are not the new norms of Washington. Otherwise, this will be the status quo.
GORANI: Julian Zelizer, thanks very much for joining us.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
GORANI: We appreciate it. We'll have much more on the chaos inside the West Wing. What is it like to be a communications director for a
politician? Well, I have two women who know a thing or two about that joining me next.
GORANI: Let's return now to the bitter infighting inside the White House, much of it sparked by the President, by the President's brand new
communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
Earlier this week, Scaramucci called journalist Ryan Lizza to rant about senior advisers in the White House, and he was asked by Anderson Cooper
what the conversation was like. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to read part of what Scaramucci said to you, quote, Reince is a blanking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac, he
said. He channeled Priebus as you spoke, oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the blanking thing and see if I can blank block these people the
way I blank blocked Scaramucci for six months.
Didn't Scaramucci say that they were actually dear friends just last week at the press briefing?
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: He did. He said there was no friction between them and they fight like brothers. But at
the end of the day, they are brothers. And over the course of the last week, I think Anthony Scaramucci has become increasingly convinced that
every negative story about him somehow Reince Priebus was behind.
And when he got out of that dinner with Trump and Sean Hannity from Fox News, he saw either my tweet or other people asking him about the dinner.
And I think he got a little angry and sort of wanted to know who leaked that to me and called me. And the first part of the conversation I had
with him was just about who leaked it, who leaked it, him trying to get me to tell him that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, believe it or not, that's not the only unusual headline to feature the White House communications boss this week. In fact, it's hard
to believe Scaramucci has only been in the job for seven days.
Let's unpack things with two of our political commentators. Alice Stewart is a Republican strategist and former communications director for Ted Cruz.
She's in New York. Symone Sanders is a former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders and joins us from Washington.
[15:45:09] Alice Stewart, I never thought in my journalistic career I would say blank, blank, blank, blank, blank so many times while I anchor. What's
You were communications director for Ted Cruz. When you read that account, Ryan Lizza's account of his phone call with Scaramucci, what went through
ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I was aghast. Look, I've been on five presidential campaigns in -- as communications director or press
And first of all, I wouldn't even talk like that to begin with. But if I did, I would expect to be fired on the spot and not even unpack my boxes in
my office because it's just not something that should happen.
Look, rule number one of a communications director is to tell the story, not to be the story. And that's what happens when you bring someone into a
position that has zero experience in that position. They don't understand.
And this job, White House communications director, is not one that has on- the-job training. You go there knowing that you have to be disciplined. You have to be on message. And if not, you're sitting there for 48 hours
talking about yourself in a pissing contest with the chief of staff, instead of what can we do to further health care? What can we do to fight
And that is an unfortunate turnaround when we have a position -- in a really key position in the White House.
GORANI: And, Symone Sanders, if you'd spoken like this to a reporter and that interview, that phone call, was transcribed in "The New Yorker" and
other magazines, would you have gotten fired?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I definitely would have been shown the door and wouldn't even have time to grab my bags. And that would
have been appropriate because what Anthony Scaramucci did was absolutely inappropriate.
SANDERS: Look, he was so concerned about Reince Priebus and not enough concern about communications plan for a win and if this bill, this health
care that was just on the bill, failed or passed. So, look, I think Scaramucci's days are numbered as a communications director, probably not
GORANI: Oh, you think so? Because he has the --
SANDERS: I think they're numbered --
GORANI: Why do you think?
SANDERS: I think they're numbered as a comms director but not necessarily in the Trump administration. Look, I think he's clearly angling for a
different job, wink, wink, Reince. And I definitely think Donald Trump likes Scaramucci.
He likes his style. He's super street, extra, like, rough and tough, and Wall Street, New York. And that's what Donald Trump likes, so I don't
think he'll be getting rid of him. But you cannot continue to operate this way as a communications director because that's just too distracting.
GORANI: And, Alice, I mean, there's obviously conflict. Obviously, Priebus and Scaramucci are having issues. There's a major feud between
them. How do you solve conflicts in a team like this?
STEWART: Well, the difficulty is we have a president who not only tolerates this kind of infighting but he often fuels it. And right now,
today, the two of are on Air Force One flying with the President. And, you know, everyone expects the President to tell them to hug it out, but it
doesn't happen like that.
Look, they have had tension for quite some time, and -- long-standing tension. And for it to come bubbling out in such a public way, it's
unfortunate. But they really do need to sit down and have a private conversation about this.
Everyone, as we say, has their lane. Reince has the chief of staff lane, and Scaramucci has the communications director lane. And they need to
figure out how they can co-exist because, at the end of the day, they work for the President. They also work for the office of the presidency and for
the American people. And if they continue to be the story, it's not productive for anyone.
GORANI: And, Symone, do you think people would have reacted differently if the person who had spoken to Ryan Lizza this way was a woman or a minority?
SANDERS: Oh, my goodness, absolutely. You know, you had Republican members of Congress coming out defending the way that Anthony Scaramucci
spoke, talking about, well, you know what, he always uses brash language. If that's a woman, particularly as a woman of color, I would have uttered
even half of those words, I don't thinks folk would have been as kind.
And this just goes to show that double standards still exist and biases still exist both in the media and in the political world. We still have
some work to do, absolutely.
GORANI: Do you agree, Alice?
STEWART: I think -- look, I think there are a lot of Republican conservatives --
GORANI: I mean, if a woman had used the c-word or the other c-word he used, the f-word, the f-bomb dropping at left, right, and center, do you
think she would've been forgiven as easily by some politicians?
STEWART: I think there probably would've been a heck of a lot more dog piles if a female has said this. But this the bar that we've set in the
Trump administration, and it's unfortunate because what's going to happen next? What's going to be the next four-letter word that is acceptable to
be talking about on television? And it's unfortunate.
Look, I think there needs to be a lot more personal discipline in the White House with regard to this kind of language. It reminds me back in 2011
when Italy's Prime Minister, Berlusconi, called into a live television show and refuted some of the things that were being said, and he was called
vulgar and rude.
You know, it's one thing to be the leader. But when your top comms person is the one doing this, it causes a terrible distraction. And I think it's
important for everyone to get together and realize, we're working for the American people.
[15:50:03] We need to add a little decorum to the discussion. And it would be certainly much better for everyone because little kids are watching.
STEWART: And I think it's important for us to set a good example.
GORANI: And --
SANDERS: Hala, it couldn't be said enough.
SANDERS: The bar is low for this administration. Low.
GORANI: Yes. And, Alice, just one question about leaks because Alex Conant, who's the former communications director for Marco Rubio, wrote a
piece in "Politico" today about the reason behind these leaks. And that is, in his opinion, that it's not a cohesive group of people within the
White House staff, not just in the communications wing but elsewhere. That there's not enough loyalty towards the President. Do you agree with that,
that this is a symptom of a certain kind of dysfunction?
STEWART: I think Alex's piece is spot on. I encourage folks that are interested in this to read it. It's a really good piece.
And it talks about leaks are often caused by lack of unity and lack of loyalty. And when you're in business environment, everyone is united by a
profit. In a political environment you're invited, you're united, and you want to prosper for a common purpose.
But unfortunately, it seems as though we're having a lot of people that are self-promoters and people that aren't loyal. And people have a different
agenda, and they want to curry favor with either their boss or with the media and they go out and engage in leaks. But I think the way they're
going about trying to plug the leaks is only going to make more.
When you make a public pronouncement that you're -- everyone's going to be fired if we continue to have leaks, that's not going to change. You need
to bring together the team, get united in purpose and principle.
STEWART: And that will get people together for all the right reasons, and it will -- that will go a long way to plugging the leaks.
STEWART: As opposed to public lynching in the media.
GORANI: That he would fire them was nicest thing he said about them, by the way. Symone, did you have issues with leaks?
SANDERS: You know what, I think every campaign has some -- every campaign and even offices often have issues with leaks. We did, and you know what?
We got folks in the room and said, look, we're team players. And when you're on a team, you don't leak to the media. So if you have you'd like
to say, if you have something you don't like that's going on, come to us. Let's have a conversation about it.
And that's the kind of conversations I've always had on all the campaigns that I've been on. That's the kind of leadership that has been exhibited
on those campaigns and in those team environments. And clearly, this administration has not fostered that type of team player atmosphere.
I will say, some of the leaks we've seen coming out of the administration were not -- I think were leaks of folks of trying to save the republic.
You know, there are some things that we would not know, some very damning things that have gone on with individuals associated with the Trump
campaign and this Trump administration. We would not know if someone had not told a reporter.
SANDERS: And so I think there is a very fine line to draw here. And I just want this White House to get it together, start talking about the
I'd love to have had a robust conversation. And I think Scaramucci should be out there talking about health care, talking about how we need to come
together on both sides, Democrats and Republicans, but unfortunately, we're talking about his potty mouth.
GORANI: All right. Symone Sanders, Alice Stewart, thanks to both of you. Great having you on the program.
STEWART: Thank you, Hala.
SANDERS: Thank you, Hala.
GORANI: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Living on a tropical island might sound like paradise to some people, but many beaches are inundated with plastic waste. Now, one man
has a solution to this crisis.
[15:55:14] ROBERT BEZEAU, CREATOR AND OWNER, PLASTIC BOTTLE VILLAGE: My name is Robert Bezeau, and I live on this beautiful island of Bocas del
Toro, Panama. I'm here working to try to find solution to the invasion of the plastic bottle.
Planet Earth went through Stone Age, Ice Age, and now going through plastic age.
We receive here about a hundred thousand per year. If each visitor drink two, three drinks per day, that's 1 to 1.5 million bottle per year, so we
are left with two option. Reduce or reuse. The decision was to reuse, and to show people how to reuse a plastic bottle to build homes.
The benefit of using plastic bottle to build houses, number one, is the insulation. Each bottle is like a bubble of air. And number two,
eliminate the plastic.
TEXT: Virtually every piece of plastic ever made still exists today.
BEZEAU: In your lifetime, you will consume between 10 and 14,000 bottles. So if you live inside a house that contain that numbers of bottle, you will
eliminate your plastic footprint. And you will become plastic neutral.
Why is a plastic bottle round? Why can't the bottle be shaped for something that would be useful in the future? Why no bricks?
If it had square shoulders and it had a hole at the bottom, that means that the cap could enter in the back of the next one type. And you can plug the
bottle one behind the other one, make rows like bricks.
TEXT: Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Source: Clean Air Council.
BEZEAU: There is seven type of plastic that exist. This is a number, very to identify because PET plastic is transparent.
Look at the number two. Look, crystalized, broken in little pieces. In the sea, this will fool the fish. They think it's algae and they will eat
that type of plastic. So if fish eat plastic, human eat plastic also.
My dream would be to have enough plastic bottle village to pick up all the bottle that are near the sea and on the beaches and everywhere.
GORANI: This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.