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Reince Priebus Resigns; General John Kelly Takes Over as Chief of Staff; North Korea Claims Entire U.S. Within Strike Range; Russia to Seize U.S. Properties Over Sanctions; Priebus' Turbulent History with President Trump; Venezuela Bans Protests Ahead of Referendum; Did President Trump Endorse Police Brutality?; The Mooch Mirrors His Boss. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 29, 2017 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: -- also a math genius guys, he's pursuing his doctorate at MIT and is going to be taking classes there in the fall. And he said in the past that it really doesn't make much sense for him to play football but he loves it so much he's going to continue to do it. But I guess at this point with all these new studies the cons outweighed the pros.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good for him. Yes, good for him.

SCHOLES: How smart he is with that.

PAUL: Andy, thank you.


SCHOLES: All right.


REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF OF STAFF: The president wanted to go a different direction. I support him in that.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Some brothers are like Cain and Abel. Other brothers can fight with each other and get along.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Why not respond to him?

PRIEBUS: Because I'm not going to because it doesn't honor the president.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will not put up with some of the BS that's been going on in the White House.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Our president is -- he's impulsive, he's deceitful, he's autocratic, he's narcissistic. General Kelly can't fix that with a better organizational chart. JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea launched another

intercontinental ballistic missile making it the second launch this month.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This new nuclear missile flew for about 45 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's concerning obviously we've noticed lately that the North Koreans are way more advanced than we thought they were.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

PAUL: Yet another major shakeup in the White House. This time the chief of staff.

Good morning. Reince Priebus is out. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is in but Priebus says he's still on Team Trump.


PRIEBUS: I said the president has a right to change directions. The president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it's a good time to hit the reset button. I think he was right to hit the reset button and I think that it was something that I think the White House needs. I think it's healthy and I support him in it.


BLACKWELL: Plus, North Korea fires another missile, but Pyongyang claims this one will be able to hit the U.S. mainland striking cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, possibly New York and Boston.

PAUL: And the Russian sanctions bill is on its way to the president's desk. The White House says the president will sign it. Moscow, however, has been quick to fire back ordering U.S. embassy staff cuts in Russia and seizing two embassy facilities.

First though, President Trump's purge of what he calls the D.C. swamp seems to be picking up speed this morning. With Reince Priebus out, he's moving further away from the Washington establishment.

I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones and CNN's Dianne Gallagher.

Athena, want to start with you. What is the latest change mean for the White House?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi. Well, one thing it means is that the so-called Washington establishment wing is seeing its power diminished pretty significantly just in the last couple of weeks. If you look at the resignation of Sean Spicer as press secretary and now the ousting of Reince Priebus. Now Priebus insisted yesterday to our own Wolf Blitzer that after the news broke that he actually tendered his resignation on Thursday privately to the president.

What was interesting is that some of his allies were insisting yesterday that he wasn't going to be going anywhere. That of course is not the case. In the end, his 189-day tenure, just over six months, making him the shortest serving chief of staff in modern presidential history, but as you just played in the open there, Priebus is putting a good face on it.

Here is more of what he had to say to Wolf yesterday.


PRIEBUS: I'm always going to be a Trump fan, I'm on Team Trump, and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people.


JONES: So there you heard him say he's going to be a Trump fan, a Trump Team player and help him achieve his goals and his agenda and that is the big question going forward. This could be an opportunity for the White House to right the ship and to end all of this talk of chaos and turmoil within the White House, but there are a lot of big questions about General John Kelly and how empowered he will be.

Reince Priebus was never empowered to be the sort of traditional chief of staff, the gatekeeper, the controller of access to the president that we've seen most of chief of staff be. Will that change with General Kelly? Will he be empowered to kind of keep some of the various people who are reporting directly to the president, will he change that? Will he be able to be the person that people will have to go through? So that's just one of many, many questions surrounding incoming secretary or incoming chief of staff John Kelly. Back to you.

PAUL: No doubt about it.

Athena Jones, thank you. Appreciate it very much.

BLACKWELL: Well, General John Kelly served as a Marine for many years and previous said that joining the government was, and this is a quote, "the last thing he ever wanted to do."

[07:05:06] So now what changed his mind and how will he fit into the West Wing?

CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher is here to explain. Good morning.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. Yes, like Athena said, we're told that Donald Trump wanted to add some order to the chaos in the White House. What better way to do that than by adding a decorated Marine general?

Now John Kelly has received high marks for his work at Homeland Security so far but, you know, for a man who has expressed reservations about the toxic nature of politics, this new position, this meteoric rise, well, it puts him right in the thick of it.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): It was another major announcement made over Twitter.

BLITZER: We're following breaking news. President Trump just announcing a new White House chief of staff.

GALLAGHER: The president tapping Homeland Security secretary, General John Kelly, to replace Reince Priebus as his new chief of staff.

TRUMP: John Kelly will do a fantastic job.

GALLAGHER: Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general with nearly five decades of military service, has served many roles. The latest Homeland Security chief where he has learned high marks from the president for defending and enforcing the White House immigration policy.

Now earlier in his career Kelly served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His son, Robert Michael Kelly, was killed during combat in Afghanistan in 2010. President Trump and General Kelly visited his son's grave on Memorial Day earlier this year.

Starting Monday, General Kelly enters a new arena, White House politics. The question now is, can General Kelly unite the West Wing where sharp elbows, staff infighting and loose lips have distracted from the president's agenda?

GEN. JOHN KELLY, NEWLY APPOINTED WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: What I never saw on the military side was the level of toxic kind of politics that are associated with what I do now.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He will not put up with some of the BS that's been going on in the White House. I kind of see a picture of him and Mr. Scaramucci together. I think he will melt him with his eyes. He's a Marine. What can I say?


GALLAGHER: Yes. And all of his friends of John Kelly have described him to us as the consummate Marine, commander, his troops, his country and mission.

And the truth there, Victor, that's what's really important. You know, when he issued his statement about being named as the new chief of staff, John Kelly dedicated just one sentence to talking about that. The rest of it was praising the people, the staff at the Department of Homeland Security.

He's coming now into a different part of the administration that has become notorious for whether you want to quote Anthony Scaramucci of front stabbing or back stabbing, but making disparaging comments about one another in public, how John Kelly is going to fit into that or whether he can stop that is going to be the question.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We'll see how he lines up with some of these big personalities we've gotten to know over the last couple of months or in the case of Scaramucci, just a week or so.

Dianne Gallagher for us, thank you so much.

PAUL: So David Fahrenthold, a CNN contributor, reporter for the "Washington Post" is with us now, as well as Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy editor for the "Weekly Standard."

Thank you both so much for being with us. I want to quickly play here some sound from CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, what he had to say about this new appointment. Listen in.


PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: We bring in General McMaster and he's sidelined at the National Security Council. We bring in General Mattis on the transgender issue over the past 42 to 72 hours. You know what the Pentagon told the president? Give us an implementation plan on limiting transgenders in the military? You know what that message is from General Mattis? We ain't doing it.

What happened with General Flynn? A few weeks in after we said he can bring discipline to the White House. He's a general and he was with the president during campaign. He's bounced because he lied to the vice president.

Who are we trying to fool? The president runs an Oval Office and a White House that is unmanageable. Another four-star general ain't going to change it.


PAUL: All right. Very passionate obviously there telling, Jane, about what he thinks. What's your reaction?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, he has a very good point. You can't manage someone who doesn't want to be managed and that's become incredibly clear and, you know, with the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, he came out in his fist press conference and this is -- you know, keep in mind that the announcement that Anthony Scaramucci wasn't even starting until August and he's already coming out of the press conference saying he wants to let Trump be Trump.

And so it's become clear that the president is not interested in being managed and he's not interested in being a more reliable sort of Washington political presence. You know, Reince Priebus was brought in as a sort of establishment hand to keep things steady and to make things a little more Washington like a little more typical.

Well, he utterly failed with that and that's because the president himself didn't want what he was brought Reince on to do. [07:10:03] PAUL: David, what are you hearing from the White House?

Are they welcoming this, meaning the other staff members, the other people in the West Wing?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I only know what I've read in that score. I know some people are happy to have somebody coming in who might sort of produce a little more order in the White House, but I think the White House is not a unitary thing. It's a whole bunch of different factions fighting each other and I think most of them would rather have the chaos because I think the chaos their faction will rise to the top.

Someone like Kelly would be a great -- if he was empowered, if he was allowed to act as other White House chiefs of staff has been in the past, could provide some order and maybe he would serve as the gatekeeper. But I -- I think the point of this White House is no one wants there to be gatekeeper. They all want to be able to walk in and tell the president whatever they want at any time and grab his ear and win that morning, win that day.

So I don't know. I think that if Kelly is able to act as a regular chief of staff it would change how the rest of the White House works. I just don't believe that's going to happen.

PAUL: OK. And that's when you talk about the availability of the president to everybody in the Oval Office. This is -- in the West Wing. This is something that's in the "Washington Post" this morning. It says communications director Scaramucci reports we know directly to President Trump but two people familiar with Kelly's plans said they expect him to try to require most aides to report to him rather than circumventing the chief of staff.

Kelly Jane, they've been in there for six months. There is already some sort of -- despite amongst the chaos some sort of like a territory that has been established with people who can come in and out of the office. How likely is it people -- not only President Trump but other people in that Oval Office and in the West Wing will listen to this chief of staff, that he would have that much power?

TORRANCE: I guess if anybody can make a change like that it's probably going to be someone who is a commander in the Marines but that is a tough job ahead of him. Like you say, it's been six months. If people are used to being able to walk in and out to the Oval Office and talk to the president at will and he has encouraged that himself, how do you change that?

And that is the problem is that the president himself really sets the tone. And so, you know, General Kelly can come in and say that he wants to do this and say that he wants to do that, but if he's undermined by his own boss it's going to be impossible for him to do that. And people are really taking, you know, the tone from the president and when he himself has let people walk in and out it becomes harder for him to change things.

And I think as David mentioned there's been chaos and that has been allowed to reign because Trump enjoys chaos and he actually seems to like having, you know, the people in his White House vie for his attention through the media, through this fighting, and so I find it difficult to believe that General Kelly is going to be able to really put a handle and stop that.

PAUL: David, I want to go back to a tweet that Civilian Trump put out there back in January of 2012. He wrote this, "Three chiefs of staff in less than three years of being president, part of the reason why Barack Obama cannot manage to his agenda."

It's almost as though it's coming back to haunt him because there are several more changes than that in this administration and we're only six months in. Where do they go from here?

FAHRENTHOLD: It's a great question. To me, the really revealing thing is going to be to look at Anthony Scaramucci. OK. He represents basically everything that Kelly does not. Scaramucci represents running the White House as a reality show which you introduce new and progressively less predictable characters to fight with each other on stage. That's all Scaramucci did last week and it seemed like Trump was pleased by it. He didn't -- Scaramucci doesn't advance any policy objectives, he doesn't move Trump any closer to doing the things he wants to do. He just entertains people and primarily entertains Trump by shiving other members of the staff.

If Scaramucci stays on and continues to act like that it shows you that I don't think General Kelly has that much power. And that President Trump has chosen to run the White House more as a reality show, kind of for his own amusement rather than an operations desk to change the way the country works.

PAUL: All right. Wait and seeing here. Kelly Jane Torrance, David Fahrenthold, appreciate both of you being here. Thank you.

TORRANCE: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: All right. A developing story we're following. The Iran Revolutionary Guard is reporting a new incident with the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf. They say a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fired warning flares at Iranian vessels. The USS Nimitz and a second American ship allegedly dispatched a helicopter near an oil and gas platform and approached Iranian ships.

This is the latest in a series of encounters involving the two navies including one on Tuesday and this is video of that one. A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots at armed Iranian patrol boat in the northern end of the Persian Gulf.

CNN has reached out to the U.S. Navy for response to today's incident.

PAUL: A nuclear threat from North Korea. The country claims its missiles can now hit major U.S. cities, all the way to Chicago, they say. How the U.S. is responding now.

[07:15:07] BLACKWELL: Plus, Russia retaliates against the U.S., threatening to kick some Americans out of the country over new sanctions.


BLACKWELL: Nineteen minutes after the hour now. North Korea has now missiles that could hit major U.S. cities. That's the warning from missile experts after the regime's latest test launch. Analysts say a missile from North Korea could possibly strike anywhere from Los Angeles to Chicago.

CNN international correspondent Alexandra Field is live in Seoul, South Korea for us.

And, Alexandra, talk for us this morning about the significance of this new test and the range growth and also the U.S. response.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're talking about rapid developments to this program that has prompted a serious response from both the U.S. and South Korea.

You'll remember, Victor, it was just three weeks ago when the somewhat stunning news was brought forward that North Korea had launched its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

[07:20:04] At the time analysts believe that that was a missile that could hit Alaska. Now the experts are weighing in saying that this test shows advancement beyond that, that this is a missile that could strike major U.S. cities across the country according to some estimates from the West Coast all the way to East Coasts, some experts are saying.

That meant U.S. President Donald Trump had to quickly respond saying that he would take any steps necessary to protect the U.S. homeland. His comments were also followed by comments from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who again pointed a finger at Russia and China calling them the economic enablers of a program that is posing a serious risk to not just regional security but global security.

Now the statement from Tillerson goes on to say this. He says, "The United States seeks the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end to belligerent action by North Korea. As we and others have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea nor abandon our commitment to our allies and partners in the region."

In an effort to send a message to North Korea in the wake of this provocative action, you saw South Korea and the U.S. joining up for live fire exercises overnight. Those exercises included firing missiles into the ocean. Again it's meant to send a message to North Korea, but so far, the message really hasn't been received, Victor. There have been 12 ballistic missile launches conducted by the regime in North Korea just since President Trump took office.

This is a leader of a regime who in just six years has conducted more launches than either his father or his grandfather so he is certainly telling the world that the sanctions that have been levied against North Korea the threats and the warnings that had come from both the region and the U.S. have not been incentive to work toward denuclearization.

This is a leader who is committed to maintaining his weapons and committed to this goal of being able to deploy an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload all the way to the U.S.

South Korea trying to up defenses in the region at this point. The president of South Korea coming out overnight, a statement from the Blue House saying that the South Korean president wants to work with the U.S. to continue to deploy parts of a controversial missile defense system. That is the system that has been objected to by both China and Russia.

So not only, Victor, is this test raising tension in the region but now the response to it also creating some tension here -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: And the U.S. says that diplomatic efforts are preferred but military options are still on the table.

Alexandra Field for us in Seoul, South Korea, thanks so much.

PAUL: Well, after some uncertainty the White House says President Trump will indeed sign the Russia sanctions bill. The proposal penalizes Russia and makes it harder for President Trump to ease those penalties without congressional approval.

Now Russia is already retaliating. It says it will seize U.S. diplomatic properties such as this one and demand that the U.S. remove some diplomatic staff from the country.

CNN international correspondent Clare Sebastian is live in Moscow.

Clare, what are you hearing from that vantage point?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, it's interesting because this is happening seven months after the Obama administration sent out similar messages on Russia. You remember back in December they seized two Russian diplomatic compounds in the U.S. and expelled 35 diplomats. That was over election meddling and for seven months Russia has waited, waiting for any signal from the Trump administration that there will be a real improvement in ties.

It's been negotiating in the last couple of months for the return of those compounds in the U.S. but the real clinching factor in this retaliation was that bill that passed through Congress, that overwhelming majority for new sanctions and the fact that the bill really ties the president's hand from lifting any older sanctions. That was what put Russia in this position.

But the question now is they've essentially leveled the player field is what comes next. There's been a lot of retaliation the Foreign Ministry says it reserves the right to impose new measures should the U.S. continue its anti-Russian course.

Now we don't know what exactly that could look like. In the past when Russia retaliated, these measures have been what it called asymmetric. Back in 2012, for example, after the U.S. put sanctions on Russian individuals suspected of human rights abuses, Russia banned American adoption of Russian children. So sometimes what it does this response isn't necessarily what you expect.

But Russia is making it clear today that it still has plenty of tools in its (INAUDIBLE) should this, what it called anti-Russian course from the U.S. continues.

PAUL: My goodness. All right. Clare Sebastian, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Reince Priebus, former chair of the Republican National Committee, well, he's out. Lost an important ally when the Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned. He too is now out of the Trump White House. So we look at his relationship with the president next.

PAUL: Also, law enforcement criticizing the president's remarks on police violence. One former police chief deeply concerned, he says, about what this means for the future of policing in America.

[07:25:04] His thoughts on the president's words.


PAUL: Welcome back. So grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

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

PAUL: So the war within the White House seems to be continuing. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is out after six months.

BLACKWELL: Secretary John Kelly will leave the Department of Homeland Security to take the job. He'll start on Monday then there will be a meeting of the president's Cabinet. As for Priebus he says he supports the president's decision.


PRIEBUS: I think the president wanted to go a different direction, I support him in that. And like I said a couple of weeks ago I said the president has a right to change directions. The president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it's a good time to hit the reset button.

[07:30:03] I think he was right to hit the reset button and I think that it was something that I think the White House needs. I think it's healthy and I support him in it.

I'm always going to be a Trump fan. I'm on Team Trump and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people.


BLACKWELL: Well, former RNC chairman Reince Priebus lasted only six months as chief of staff. His tenure the shortest of any chief of staff in U.S. history, but his history with the president goes back much further.

CNN's Randi Kaye has that for you.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Their relationship was rocky from the start. During the Republican primary, Donald Trump insisting the vote was rigged and that Reince Priebus should be ashamed of himself because he knew what was going on.

After Trump became the nominee, there was more friction. Trump heard bragging that he could grope women without consent on this leaked "Access Hollywood" tape.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.

KAYE: Priebus had heard enough, pleading with the billionaire to drop out of the race. Priebus then abruptly cancelled all of his Sunday morning television appearances. Trump refused to step down. But despite that the two men seemed to find a way to mend fences.

PRIEBUS: Ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Reince is really a star. And he is the hardest working guy.

KAYE: For months Priebus had the president's back. Like when questions were asked about a potential conflict of interest between President Trump and his businesses.

PRIEBUS: So I can assure you and everyone out there that all of these things will be followed and they will be done properly.

KAYE: Priebus also fending off questions regularly about why the President still hadn't released his tax returns.

PRIEBUS: And President Trump won one of the most historic presidential victories in the history of our country and people are asking me this question are people like you.

KAYE (on camera): But Trump's victory didn't end the drama. Soon after taking office, Priebus found himself unable to contain a laundry list of controversies like the immigration ban rollout, the Russia investigation and the failure of the Senate's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

(Voice-over): Still Priebus kept up a brave face.

PRIEBUS: I'm not in any trouble. I have a great relationship with the president. We talk all the time. In fact, just before coming on this set he gave me a call.

KAYE: Reince Priebus who was never an outsider and always a Republican Party guy lost an important ally when Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned. And now just days later, he too is out of the Trump White House. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BLACKWELL: Well, Priebus and Spicer were only the latest staffers to leave the administration. They join a growing list of those exiting the White House -- Christi.

PAUL: So 10 days after being inaugurated President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend the president's immigration ban. Now she had also raised concerns about National Security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn was forced to resign a few weeks later for misleading the vice president over his dealing with the Russian ambassador.

Less than a month later Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked dozens of U.S. attorneys to resign. All of them agreed apart from Preet Bharara who said Trump had told him he could keep the job after he was elected. He was then fired.

A few weeks later deputy chief of staff Katy Walsh left the White House for another job then fast forward to May, the president fired FBI director James Comey, White House communications director Mike Dubke stepped down, and just this month the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, designed.

Mark Corallo, the spokesman for the legal team defending the president on the Russia investigation, he stepped down. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quit followed by Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short and now Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has been replaced making him the shortest serving chief of staff in White House history.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, President Trump under fire for telling police officers not to worry about injuring suspects during arrest.


TRUMP: And when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a patty wagon, you just see them thrown in rough, I said, please don't be too nice.


BLACKWELL: Now police chiefs across the country are saying now that this is an endorsement of police brutality. We've got one former chief who says that law enforcement should respond and they are speaking up.

PAUL: Also, demonstrators are ignoring a government ban on protests in Venezuela. Ahead of this weekend's controversial election, we're live from Caracas with the latest.


[07:36:59] PAUL: Well, mortgage rates were mixed this week. Here's your look. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Venezuelan authorities have sent more than 370,000 troops across the country to secure preparations for tomorrow's controversial election. The vote could give President Nicolas Maduro sweeping new powers. A ban on protests took effect yesterday.

PAUL: Small clashes, though, continued in Venezuela's capital Caracas where government opponents demonstrated by blocking streets, and you see there what was happening. As of yesterday at least 113 people have died in protests and other incidents linked to this unrest.

CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago is joining us live from Caracas.

Leyla, what is the situation there this morning at this hour?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, we can actually still see the opposition still on the roads this morning.

[07:40:03] Roadblocks still in place as they use this as a way to make a statement speaking out against the vote for tomorrow. This vote that would be for a new constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Now President Maduro has said he is not backing down. He's not backing down to the opposition. He's not backing down to international pressure. The U.S. has already placed sanctions on 13 individuals tied to President Maduro and they have said they will move forward with economic -- swift economic sanctions against the country in the future if they move forward for this vote.

At this point they're just targeting individuals. Colombia has also been added to that list, Mexico, so there is a mounting international pressure supporting the opposition in hoping that President Maduro will back down from this, but on the street, you can see the opposition, which in many cases, Victory and Christi, actually includes children, a young generation that really has not seen a Venezuela back when it was still considered one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

And when they're out on the streets they are saying that this is about freedom. This is about a new country. They do not want a new constitution. They want a new government. But when you go into the areas that are really pro-government backers there, you'll hear them say much of the same. This is about democracy. This is about freedom, but they see a different way of doing it.

They believe this constituent assembly will actually achieve that, but in the last 24 hours since this protest ban that the government has put in place, you really haven't seen much of a change on the streets. They're still very much not backing down and speaking out against the government.

BLACKWELL: It's a very dramatic pictures coming out of Caracas.

Leyla Santiago for us there in Caracas for us. Thank you so much. PAUL: Still to come, President Trump is catching some heat for

telling police officers don't worry about injuring suspects during arrests.


TRUMP: And when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a patty wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don't be too nice.


PAUL: There's a former police chief who says listen, this is a direct endorsement of police brutality. We're going to talk about what this means to law enforcement. Stay close.


[07:46:51] PAUL: Well, some tough and controversial words from the president on how police should handle suspects after an arrest as we look there at the White House.


TRUMP: You see these thugs being thrown into the back of a patty wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don't be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head. You know? The way they put their hand, like don't hit their head and they've just killed somebody. Don't hit their head. I said you can take the hand away. OK?


PAUL: Some chuckles, some cheers there, but the remarks came during a speech that the president made on Long Island yesterday. Speaking specifically about the MS-13 gang violence. And although there were some in agreement, as you heard there, not everybody applauded the comments.

BLACKWELL: Human rights activists and even some law enforcement are denouncing what they call an endorsement of brutality at a time when police are under scrutiny for the use of excessive force.

Joining us now to talk about this, former police chief of DeKalb County, Georgia, Cedric Alexander.

Cedric, good morning to you. I want to read for you what the Suffolk County Police Department immediately put out in its opposition to what the president said.

Here it is. "The Suffolk County Police Department has strict rules and procedures relating to the handling of prisoners and violations of those rules and procedures are treated extremely seriously. As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners."

You say the president's remarks are a direct endorsement of brutality. Explain that.

Cedric, you got us?


BLACKWELL: So you say that the president's comments are a direct endorsement of brutality. Explain for us.

ALEXANDER: Yes, absolutely. Good morning, Victor. Let me say this. Look, the remarks we heard yesterday from the president are very disturbing to all of us in the law enforcement community and across this country. We have been working for years, a large number of years, a great number of years to improve relationships and certainly in the most recent years we have been.

When you have the highest office in the land make a comment to the fact, give inference to the fact that brutality is OK, you're going to find any city leader or police executive anywhere in this country who's going to support that.

I had an opportunity yesterday to speak with International Associations of Chiefs of Police President De Luca and also to the noble president who had now convening in Atlanta, Georgia, and this is certainly a topic of discussion. These professional organizations along with other organizations across this country were really outraged by that remark and certainly we want to make it very clear that police in this country, it is an honorable profession, and a profession in which we operate by laws and policies, but more importantly is that we have a constitution in this nation that we live by. And under that constitution is which we make decisions out there on the street and do the very best job that they can do every day to keep this community safe.

[07:50:04] We know that our men and women across this country face some very unique challenges out there. They put their lives at risk. And all of us support what they do. But none of us are going to support the idea that we should be brutal in any type of way.

Officers have the right to defend themselves. And they will. And I support that. However, we have ways in which we do things. We are a professional organization. We live by our profession. And we have an ethos that we live by. And what we're going to do in this 21st century policing, we're going to continue forward with advances that we have made.

We will continue to make those advances. And we certainly will not circumvent the professionalism of this organization based on such an irresponsible remark.

PAUL: So, Cedric, is there a concern that the president's words may some emboldened an officer who may not have the best of intentions in a situation, such as the president was speaking of?

ALEXANDER: Well, you know, the greatest majority of officers in this country go out there every day.

PAUL: Absolutely.

ALEXANDER: Even right there in Suffolk County. And first, let me note I want to applaud Suffolk County leadership for making reference to the statement on yesterday and stating we do not support brutality. That is not the way we conduct ourselves in Suffolk County Police Department. I want to applaud the man.

But the officer who may -- out there who may go off the rail, here's what I would say to he or she. I would not pay attention to that remark or in any kind of way you feel that you're going to be supportive because you have laws in your city and in your state and in our government. And we don't want to make ourselves in any kind of way put ourselves in a position that you enact someone's or you violate someone's civil rights and you find yourself in trouble.


BLACKWELL: Cedric, I want --

ALEXANDER: Look, we --

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you one thing, we're running out of time here.

ALEXANDER: Go ahead.

BLACKWELL: But I want you to respond to what we saw because after the president said that there were applause and cheers from the officers standing behind him. So when we heard from the management of the department that we don't do this, the officers standing there were applauding the president's suggestion.

ALEXANDER: Yes. And you know, we all saw that optic. And certainly that is very concerning for us. And here's what I will say to those officers who were cheering that along. I would suggest very strongly that you do not buy into that because in no kind of way -- I'm quite sure your department or any other department across this country is going to support the idea of brutality.

I'm quite sure the majority of men and women that were cheering and in that room that day, I want their faith that they go out every day and do a fantastic job. And I'm quite sure they do. But the message that it sent was certainly not one that we feel good about it.


ALEXANDER: But I would believe that the men and women there who were there in that auditorium, when that speech were made, would conduct themselves professionally. And I would hope that they have a history that certainly suggests that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Cedric Alexander, thanks for being with us this morning.

ALEXANDER: Thank you for having me, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. ALEXANDER: Thank you.

PAUL: We'll be right back.


[07:57:33] PAUL: The new White House communications director, new on the job, of course, but Anthony Scaramucci has certainly made an impact.

BLACKWELL: Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anthony Scaramucci won't have to scrounge for a nickname.




MOOS: Stephen Colbert said it 13 times.

COLBERT: The Mooch. The Mooch.

MOOS: In a nine-minute segment about the new White House communications director.

COLBERT: The Mooch is ready to smooch.

MOOS: Smooch the president's behind.

SCARAMUCCI: I love the president. I love the president. I love the guy. I love the president.

MOOS: Let us count the ways.

SCARAMUCCI: In the way I know and the way I love him.

MOOS (on camera): But Scaramucci isn't saving all his love for the president. He's got love left over.

(Voice-over): For Sean Spicer.

SCARAMUCCI: And I love the guy.

MOOS: For other White House staffers.

SCARAMUCCI: I love the hair and makeup person that we had.

MOOS: Tweeted one critic, "Is there anyone, anywhere, or anything you do not love?"

(On camera): Next thing you know he'll say he loves the fandango.

(Voice-over): Actually, Scaramouche is a clown character in Italian theater and the Fandango is a Spanish dance, not yet danced at the White House. Scaramucci may not be a bohemian, but he rhapsodizes about love.

SCARAMUCCI: I love the president.

MOOS: He even uses the same line as the president.

SCARAMUCCI: We're going to win so much, Chris.

TRUMP: We're going to get tired of winning.

SCARAMUCCI: You're actually going to get tired of winning.

TRUMP: You're going to get tired of winning.

SCARAMUCCI: We're going to win so much.

TRUMP: You're going to get so sick and tired of winning.

MOOS: And they don't just talk the same. The Mooch himself re- tweeted this bit from "The Daily Show." Even when he merely likes someone, his feelings grow as he speaks.

SCARAMUCCI: I like the team. Let me rephrase that. I love the team.

MOOS: Anthony Scaramucci is the very Barry White of the White House. Right down to blowing the press a kiss.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.



REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF OF STAFF: The president wanted to go a different direction. I support him in that.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Some brothers are like Cain and Abel. Other brothers can fight with each other and get along.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Why not respond to him?

PRIEBUS: Because I'm not going to because it doesn't honor the president.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will not put up with some of the BS that's been going on in the White House.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Our president is -- he's impulsive, he's deceitful, he's autocratic, he's narcissistic. General Kelly can't fix that with a better organizational chart.