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NEW DAY SUNDAY
U.S. Conducts Anti-Missile Defense System Test; Trump: China Does "Nothing" to Stop Nuclear North Korea; 4 Arrested in Alleged Plot to Bring Down Airplane; Interview with Congressman John Delaney of Maryland; Trump Prods Republicans to Start Over on Health Care; Scaramucci's Wild First Week as Communications Director. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired July 30, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people believe that President Trump could slide Attorney General Jeff Sessions over to Homeland Security to replace new chief of staff John Kelly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump remains unhappy with Jeff Sessions as attorney general and Jeff Sessions isn't planning to go anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A major joint counterterrorism operation to disrupt a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They believe a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane was, quote, Islamic inspired.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Venezuela is hours away from a vote that could further undermine the country's democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government banned protests but that didn't stop some demonstrators and every day people out on the street and using improvised explosives to make these make-shift bombs.
CALLER: I have a boa constrictor stuck to my, to my face!
911 OPERATOR: Ma'am, you have a what?
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news this hour. The U.S. just conducted an anti-missile defense system test from Alaska. The terminal high altitude area defense, or THAAD system as it's known, shot down a medium range target ballistic missile over the Pacific.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, this video is from another THAAD test that happened just a couple of weeks ago. Today's test was the 15th successful test for that weapons system.
All this as North Korea sends this warning to the U.S., if Washington continues to cling to strong sanctions, as they call them, they will respond with what they call firm action after President Trump blasted China over Pyongyang's latest missile test.
And on the same day, two U.S. B-1 bombers flew over the Korean peninsula in a show of force.
PAUL: Also, just hours after President Trump's tweets, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a massive military display, look at this. China isn't the only country flexing its military muscles today, we should point out. Russia is showing off his fire power as well, holding its annual navy day show.
BLACKWELL: First, let's go to CNN's Will Ripley in Beijing.
Will, tell us more about North Korea's latest threat to the U.S.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor.
There are so many fast moving developments in this part of the world. I want to read you more of what North Korea said in their threat to the United States. Quote: The U.S. needs to stop with its delusion of trying to harm us by clearly understanding the strategic status of the DPRK which soared up as the world's nuclear and missile power, and our military and people's strong will to revenge our enemies to destruction.
Ominous words from a country that has just tested an ICBM that analysts believe could have the potential to strike up and down the U.S. West Coast, Los Angeles, Seattle and further east, towards Denver, Chicago and by early next year, possibly a weapon that could strike New York and Washington.
Now, this successful test of the THAAD missile defense system is certainly going to irritate China, which considers that missile defense system which components of which are rolling into South Korea right now in response to the North Korean missile test as a direct threat to their own national security here in Beijing.
We don't have an official response from China yet but we'll keep monitoring that here in the Chinese capital. They will not responding, however, though, to that tweet storm by President Trump. Those tweets accusing China of doing nothing to solve North Korea and even implying that there may be trade consequences as a result.
This is a dramatic shift from the language that President Trump has been using. These tweets in praise of China and its president, Xi Jinping, and this statement just a couple of weeks ago in France.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Well, he is a friend of mine. I have great respect for him. We have gotten to know each other very well. A great leader. He's a very talented man. I think he's a very good man. He loves China. I can tell you he loves China. He wants to do what is right for China.
We've asked him for some assistance with respect to North Korea. Probably he could do a little bit more but we will find out. (END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: During the overnight hours in the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping did give a speech, that was hours after President Trump's tweets, again not acknowledging them whatsoever, also not mentioning North Korea directly but he did say that it's important for China to grow its military. The people's liberation army which is marking 90th anniversary, Xi Jinping presiding over a massive military parade in inner Mongolia, at a training site that includes mock-ups of potential targets, including the presidential palace in Taiwan and even U.S. military assets, mock-ups of those in this region as well in preparation of any possible scenario.
So, clearly, things are ratcheting up here and China showing off its latest stealth fighters and its own nuclear capable ICBMs. All of this, of course, on the heels of North Korea testing its second and analysts say most advanced intercontinental ballistic they have ever had, this is really an unprecedented level, an unprecedented threat from North Korea.
[07:05:02] And you see all of these different countries in the region and the United States as well scrambling to figure out their own responses.
BLACKWELL: Will Ripley, watching all of it for us from Beijing -- well, thank you.
PAUL: President Trump slamming China on Twitter as well.
Here's what he wrote: I'm very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do nothing for us with North Korea. Just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem.
Errol Louis is with us, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and CNN politics reporter, Tom LoBianco.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
Tom, first to you. What do you make of what is happening there with the THAAD missile system and how could that rattle China? Where do we go from here?
TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, it's clear that we know that the U.S. government knows and understands here, right, that they need to do something. There is a flyover yesterday after the missile test by North Korea that they coordinated with Japan. So, there has been a response.
You know, when you put that against the backdrop of what Trump is saying in public here with these tweets, it's -- it's interesting, right? The bigger problem and the bigger concern I think domestically is whether or not Trump understands the depths of this problem. You know, on the one hand, the actions and the reactions flyover and missile testing all point to kind of the automated response of, you know, strong government. But when he put out tweets like that, you know, saying he is going to rely on China for this, it's surprising, and you really can't rely on China, to be frank.
PAUL: Earlier this year, the president had said he would be willing to talk or to meet with Kim Jong-un under the right circumstances which would be a very bold move, obviously. But is diplomatic dialogue even realistic at this point based on what we are hearing from North Korea this morning and from President Trump, Errol?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there has not been a question of diplomacy at all. I think the president is quite wrong to suggest that this could easily be solved by China. Not like they pick up the phone and call Kim Jong-un and say, hey, you know, drop all of your weapons and the entire reason for your regime to exist and subject yourself to the same kind of process that led to Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi losing their regimes, their power and their lives. It's simply not going to happen, nor is diplomacy going to take us down that path either.
What we got to see and what we have yet to see is some kind of international effort where it's not simply the United States blaming China for not, quote, easily solving this but five-party nations, all of the nuclear powers getting together, that there is sort of a world community as expressed through either the U.N. or some other body, bringing sort of a concerted effort to try and surround this regime, contain this regime. Perhaps undermine this regime just through information by working with defectors, by talking about human rights and sort of the universal values that even North Koreans might be interested in if they could just get the information.
Something like that is much more likely to succeed than the saber rattling and sort of sending planes to fly next to a dictatorship.
PAUL: We have pictures here of China and the military might that they are showing off this morning. I'm wondering, first of all, Tom, about the timing of that, but also when we hear the statement from North Korea on they call themselves new world power for its military might, and they use the word delusional.
I mean, what do you make of what is coming out of North Korea and this display coming out of China simultaneously?
LOBIANCO: Well, I mean, it's clear that North Korea is testing Trump here. They are testing a new player, new global player, and they are trying to see how he is going to handle this.
And, you know, when you put this in context here, this goes back to why you have to have some stability within the White House, no matter, you know, if you're Democrat or Republican, whichever administration you are. This goes back to why this continued chaos inside the cabinet, inside the White House has been such a problem for them because, you know, Kim Jong-un is not going to wait and see if, you know, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon get together and, you know, are friend at the end of the day, whether Jared or Ivanka gets behind either one of them. He doesn't care about that. So, it's a constant reminder when you're the president of the United
States, the world does not wait to see what you're going to do. You have a constant crisis and disastrous tossed at your doorstep and you've got to be ready for these things.
[07:10:00] PAUL: All righty. Tom LoBianco and Errol Louis, always grateful to have your thoughts with us today. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Well, there is heightened security at Australia's airports this morning after police say they have stopped a terrorist plot to bring down a plane. Four people have been arrested in overnight raids in Sydney. And investigators say they found suspicious devices during those searches.
CNN international correspondent Anna Coren joins us live now from the Sydney airport.
And, Anna, what can you tell us about the plan and how they found this plane.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, the government has described this as an elaborate credible conspiracy to blow up an Australian plane and kill innocent civilians. Now, it certainly had intelligence and security agents scrambling in this country but they certainly managed to foil this terror plot to blow up a passenger plane.
Raids were conducted last night on five properties across Sydney. Four men have been arrested. Those men have not yet been charged. Under Australia terrorism laws, they can be held up to a week without being charged. So, police, obviously, working to gather that vital evidence.
We know that this is an ongoing police operation, that if could last for days. And we also are learning that suspicious devices have been found at several of these locations. Now, obviously, because it involves a plane, security has been beefed up in airports across the country -- international, as well as domestic. We know that police presence is being beefed up and additional screening as far as baggage is concerned.
We spoke to some of the passengers here and while not deterred from traveling, they are certainly feeling on alert. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anxious to be on this because I have traveled a lot, you know? I was in Europe when the bombings were happening and everything. So this is quite scary it's happening here in Australia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are doing a damn good job here, so we should feel confident to go. So I am. So I am, I'm going. If I go down, God bless me!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Yes, there is really a feeling here that terrorism happens overseas, not here in Australia. So, this terror plot is a real wake- up call for this country. But in saying that, the government has said that this is the 13th significant foiled terror plot and because this involves airports and planes, there is a feeling that this is a far more sophisticated plot and could have connections to overseas terror networks.
Now, I should add that since 2014, there has been a sharp increase in the number of home-grown terror cells and terrorists, so police certainly on heightened alert and as I say, that operation will be continuing for the next few days -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right. Anna Coren for us there at the Sydney airport, thank you so much.
PAUL: Still to come, could Attorney General Jeff Sessions be moved to the Department of Homeland Security? Well, Senator Lindsey Graham, he has some thoughts on that.
BLACKWELL: Also coming up, irresponsible and wrong. That's what some are calling recent comments from the president. And that's not just coming from Democrats. It's also from some police officers too. Hear why.
PAUL: And we're just six months into the Trump administration. The first Democrat has officially entered the 2020 presidential race. Introducing Maryland's John Delaney. He's with us next.
[07:17:36] PAUL: Take a look at the White House there. Beautiful morning after one heck of a week.
BLACKWELL: Yes. It's going to be the first week for General John Kelly, headed there tomorrow for his first day as White House chief of staff. He is leaving a vacancy over at homeland security and now, there's a report now that department staffers are discussing the possibility that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could fill the void at DHS, a move that some Republicans are calling a bad idea.
Senator Lindsey Graham on Twitter said this: A.G. Jeff Sessions has a good ring to it. DHS Secretary Jeff Sessions doesn't sound right, doesn't feel right. Bad idea.
PAUL: Recently, the president has publicly expressed his frustration with Attorney General Sessions, stemming from Sessions decision to recuse himself in the Russia investigation. Now, last week, Jeff Sessions doubled down he made the right decision on that recusal.
And after Senate Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare last week, the president is saying the battle is not over. President is lashing out at Republicans in a tweet saying this: Unless the Republican senators are total quitters, repeal and replace is not dead. Demand another vote before voting on any other bill.
BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Democrats are urging Republicans to move on from this debate. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi encouraged GOP leaders to start working with Democrats in a bipartisan way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Now, we have to improve and update the Affordable Care Act. We want to do so in a bipartisan way. That will only happen with your continued involvement.
So, let's appreciate those who voted right. When I say right, not only correctly but did the right thing for the American people. Let's appreciate them. Let's thank them but let's keep the heat on for the others that we need to draw over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right. We're six months into the Trump administration and now, a Maryland Democrat says he is ready to run for president against Donald Trump in 2020. Yes, these start earlier and earlier every cycle.
Congressman John Delaney told "The Washington Post" this: Just like the guy in Tiananmen Square when he stood in front of the tank didn't really quite know how he was going to beat the tank, I understand running for president is a huge challenge. But, you know, I'm ready for it.
Well, let's see if he is ready for this discussion.
[07:20:01] He is with us now.
Congressman John Delaney of Maryland, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Sir, good morning to you.
REP. JOHN DELANEY (D), MARYLAND: Good morning, Victor.
BLACKWELL: You are pushing this line just closer and closer and closer to the previous election. Tell us first, most important question, why do you want to be president?
DELANEY: Well, I want to be president, Victor, because I don't think we are having the most important conversation we need to be having as a country which is about the future. I think the world is changing very rapidly, technology, automation and global interconnections. These are incredibly powerful forces. They're changing our economy. They're changing the nature of work. We need to think differently about our resources and our security threats.
And I think so much of our debate in politics is backward looking where we are relitigating the past and fighting about things we have been fighting about for decades. And I'd like a more future-focused orientation to the presidential debate and to our leadership and so that's one reason.
The second reason and maybe the most obvious reason is politics is broken. And I do think we need to rise up above what's happened in our political system so that we can actually get things done for the American people. And we need to come together.
DELANEY: So, those are my two reasons.
BLACKWELL: OK. So, before you get to a general election if you win the primary, you've got to get through a Democratic primary in a time when Democrats are so passionately opposed to the agenda of this president.
BLACKWELL: That the resistance is the leading edge of the Democratic Party.
BLACKWELL: You are described by many a moderate Democrat. How do you win the primaries as a moderate Democrat in this environment?
DELANEY: Well, I certainly think of myself as a progressive in terms of where my instincts are and values are, which really comes from my background, which is kind of infused with a social justice orientation to the world. But I do see bipartisan solutions. I was ranked one of the most bipartisan members of the Congress.
And because of my background in business, I started two companies prior to running for office. They became publicly traded companies. I think I'm the only CEO of a public company serving in the Congress.
I do think about market-based solutions and how government and the private sector can work together to achieve those goals. My instincts are clearly progressive and I think most Democrats are in the same place in terms of the kind of things they want to achieve in the world.
Look at this health care debate, right? Every Democrat I know serving in the Congress wants every American to have health care. We think it's a fundamental right. There is a great discussion to have about the best way to get there.
But if you contrast that to where the Republican Party is and where the president is, they do not only -- they don't think every American has health care, they want to take health care away from tens of millions of people. So, that's kind of how I think about that. I actually think the divisions aren't as deep in the Democratic Party as people think. I think the ways we may go about achieving some of our goals, that's where the really important discussion needs to be happening. BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about another element of policy.
BLACKWELL: It's the big story this morning. North Korea.
BLACKWELL: The president has said that Obama's -- President Obama's approach of strategic patience is over. We have seen that what I call his approach to strategic impatience is not working. What's your approach to dealing with North Korea?
DELANEY: Well, obviously, this is the most significant threat facing our country right now in terms of potential direct military threat based on what they are doing. As you know, North Korea has been called the land of bad options and it's true because the options in terms of what we do there are limited.
I think the right approach is kind of twofold. One, I do agree with the sanctions that we passed in the Congress this week. I do think we are going to have to move towards more sanctions, secondary sanctions targeting companies that do business with North Korea. We have to build a broader global coalition to do that.
BLACKWELL: Specifically in China?
DELANEY: Yes. I mean, at the end of the day, China is providing with North Korea with most of the staples they need for their economy. But I think we need kind of a broader global coalition to do that. We had a lot of success there with Iran and the same thing happens with sanctions. But we have to remember that sanctions take a while to work, right? It really takes a while to get these things in place.
BLACKWELL: Yes. But do we have a while?
DELANEY: A while, that's the thing.
DELANEY: Two other things. We had a very successful missile test last night, as you know. And we have had them recently. I think the United States missile defense capabilities are very strong but I do think we need more investments there. If you think about the next generation of technologies that are coming down the line, I think we need to be realistic and get ourselves to the point where we have a missile defense capability that is really foolproof.
And the final thing we need to do is we do --
BLACKWELL: Very quickly.
DELANEY: OK, go ahead.
BLACKWELL: So, you know, I hear what you're saying there. My question is, is any of that new? These are things both President Obama and now we're hearing President Trump try. But I want to get your opinion on one more thing before we let you go because we have some time constraints this morning.
BLACKWELL: One of your House Democratic colleagues tweeted out something about the new White House chief of staff who is starting in the morning. This from Congresswoman Barbara Lee who posted this: By putting General John Kelly in charge, President Trump is militarizing the White House and putting our executive branch in the hands of an extremist.
[07:25:04] Do you agree?
DELANEY: No (ph). Listen, I think General Kelly has served our country well. I was supportive of him in his position at Homeland Security.
I think the problem, you know, with the White House and this is the irony of it all, because the president came in and supposedly as a business leader and, in reality, he was really a business promoter. And I can't imagine a White House that has been more poorly managed than what we have in front of us and I think that's the thing people aren't talking about. No one runs an organization like this where people are kind of switched around, kind of for political or personal whims that people have.
BLACKWELL: We will see if the new -- the new White House chief of staff is able to put that in order.
But just so we are clear on this. You do not agree with the assessment of Congresswoman Barbara Lee?
DELANEY: Well, if her assessment that she's very concern how the White House is being run --
BLACKWELL: Let me be -- let me be sure here. She says that the president is militarizing the White House and putting our executive branch in the hands of an extremist. This seems like a simple yes or no, Congressman. Do you agree with her?
DELANEY: Yes, I do not think that General Kelly is an extremist.
BLACKWELL: All right. Congressman John Delaney, first candidate in the race for 2020 -- thank you so much.
PAUL: Some police are protesting the president, saying that he is sending the wrong message about how they treat suspects. Some though asking, is he being taken seriously?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know? The way you put their hand -- like, don't hit their head and they have just killed somebody. Don't hit their head. I said you can take the hand away, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:30:53] PAUL: So glad to have you with us. Thirty minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
Breaking news this morning, the U.S. conducted an anti-missile defense system test from Alaska. This is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, most people called it the THAAD system. It shot down a medium-ranged target ballistic missile over the Pacific.
PAUL: And this is coming as North Korea warned this morning the U.S. that they will respond with, quote, firm action if Washington claims to, quote, strong sanctions. And after President Trump blasted China over Pyongyang's latest missile test. Now, on the same day, two B-1 bombers flew over the Korean peninsula in a show of force.
BLACKWELL: Plus, just hour after President Trump's tweets, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a massive military display and Russian President Vladimir Putin attended his own display of military strength during his country's annual navy day show. This was in St. Petersburg.
PAUL: President Trump called himself the law and order candidate. That label maybe a bit tarnished after growing backlash by multiple police groups here. They say his comments on Friday seemed to give a green light to police brutality. One city leader called it, quote, disgusting.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon. You 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 you put their hand like this. Like, don't hit their head and they have just killed somebody. Don't hit their head. I said you can take the hand away, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Now, I want to let you hear what the police in the president's hometown, New York, are saying. Quote: To suggest that police officers apply any standard in the uses of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public, unquote.
Now, there are other police groups, including police unions, who are defending the president saying, listen, he was just joking. BLACKWELL: All right. Defending police, one of the items we talked
about this week. Jam-packed news this week from the White House, arguably one of the biggest weeks for the president and this party I guess we call it a failure here to repeal and replace Obamacare.
And while GOP leaders in the Senate say it's time to move on, the president tweeted this: Unless the Republican senators are total quitters, repeal and replace is not dead. Demand another vote before voting on any other bill.
Let's talk about this now. A. Scott Bolden, who used to be chairman of the Washington D.C. Democratic Party, with us, and Republican strategist Brian Robinson, who was assistant chief of staff for communications for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
Good morning to both of you.
BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good morning.
A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON DC DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: All right. So, simple question. Is repeal and replace dead?
ROBINSON: No, it's not dead. Let's not forget that President Obama campaigned on Obamacare in 2008. It wasn't until March of 2010 that it passed the House for the final time. So, that was a year later. So, we're still well within that time frame.
BLACKWELL: For the final time, but there were incremental steps toward passage on the way. It didn't die in the Senate before it got passed into 2010 for the final time.
ROBINSON: There were a lot of hang-ups and a lot of really dubious deals, the Cornhusker kick bank and Gatorade for Florida, and for other states like that special deals along the way, but it has passed the House. It has made some progress.
There is talk, of course, of having a bipartisan deal. Maybe they have to do that. I just don't know how it's going to work when Democrats have no incentive to work with the Trump administration or Senate Republicans. They just want to stop anything.
You saw the celebration on their side when McCain voted no early in the morning this week. They don't want anything to pass. So, the hopes of bipartisan bill aren't good.
This is on McConnell, on his shoulders, but I think he can still get something through. He has to get one more vote. That's not that far off.
[07:35:01] BLACKWELL: All right. So, to you. He says that Democrats don't want anything to pass. From your perspective?
BOLDEN: That's simply not true. If you're not invited to the table to be a part of the discussion, how can you be blamed for not contributing to repealing and replacing Obamacare?
The fact of the matter is the bill is not -- those are bad bills. Obamacare is imperfect. The Democrats have said let's repair it. The Republicans have said, no, we're not going to repair it. We're going to keep our promises to the American people but what promises are they keeping? Only 12 percent of the American people like whatever five or six health care bills that the Senate Republicans are trying to pass, they are keeping promises to themselves and their wealthy donors and that's why we don't have a deal.
ROBINSON: That's -- that is the problem, is that what the American people have been told about the Republican plans is that all of these people are going to lose their health insurance, 20-something million --
BLACKWELL: That's what the Congressional Budget Office has said about the plan.
ROBINSON: Those people are going to get different insurance. They're going to be able to go out and buy different insurance. They're not going to be necessarily without insurance. Now, some people in the Medicaid expansive population, yes, they will. But the --
ROBINSON: The American people -- they will be uninsured.
ROBINSON: What the American aren't told is what we are doing now is unsustainable, that this is borrowed money, that there's not the tax revenue to cover these expenses. We don't talk about the fiscal recklessness of what we're doing right now. That's never discussed.
BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you this question, if all of what you said is true, why couldn't the Republicans with the votes that they had, with their majorities in both houses get it passed?
ROBINSON: Well, I'd say, it came down to one vote in the Senate, and this is someone who President Trump mocked during the campaign.
BLACKWELL: So, you I think it's personal?
ROBINSON: I think it very well be personal. I mean, how do you not take it personally when somebody makes fun of you for being a POW? I mean, that is pretty serious.
BOLDEN: Let's say it's personal, what difference does it make? This is a huge embarrassment to the Republican Party and those who follow the Republicans. There are five or six bills. This was skinny repeal.
This skinny repeal was take away the personal and employment mandate. The vein of the Republican existence and it still failed. This is a Republican party who is at war with itself and before they take on health care or infrastructure or tax repeal, they got to fix what is wrong internally.
BLACKWELL: Let me move on to the moves that are happening within the administration. John Kelly, secretary of DHS, moving to the White House to chief of staff. A report from "Politico", the department staffers are talking about the possibility that A.G. Jeff Sessions will be moved over to DHS.
Now, we have heard over the last week that Republicans say if the president fires Jeff Session, that will hurt his connection with his base because he was -- Jeff Sessions held all of these views when the president was a Democrat, right? So, if Jeff Sessions moves over to DHS, does that hurt the president? He keeps, you know, a position in the cabinet but he doesn't get that stain of having fired the man.
ROBINSON: I don't think that moving Jeff Session is an option.
ROBINSON: We've had the leading senators who do the confirmation hearings say we don't want this. Senator Grassley who chairs the judiciary committee has said we're not doing another A.G. confirmation hearing this year. I don't have time for it and that would be a terrible move.
And let's not forget that Attorney General Sessions had a really rough confirmation hearing. He's called a racist. They dragged up all this stuff in the 1980s. He doesn't want to go through that again. It's not fair to him. I mean, Donald Trump has accomplished the impossible this week.
BLACKWELL: If he'll simply move him through the recess, though, he wouldn't have to go through confirmation, would he?
ROBINSON: Well, you're hearing people -- you're hearing senators say that's a no go too. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a Republican, a staunch conservative Republican saying, we're not going to stand for a recess appointment. So, there is going to be some really tough resistance in the Senate and, right now, what the president needs to be doing is not picking fights over confirmations with the Senate. We need to be filling the Department of State vacancies, all of these vacancies in the other departments that have been empty, and getting Obamacare repealed.
BOLDEN: If he is bad as an A.G., according to Trump, he is going to be bad at DHS.
BLACKWELL: But he won't have been recused from the Russian investigation over DHS.
BOLDEN: Well, that's true and what I was going to get to.
BOLDEN: Good segue. This is not about Sessions' competence. It is about moving him and putting someone in as A.G. who, one, won't recuse himself, who, two, may fire Mueller and if he doesn't, he will carry Trump's water on this. The danger for Donald Trump on this is you got an independent investigation going on of Russian collusion.
And I got to tell you, as a former prosecutor, any move he makes, whether he fires Sessions, moves Sessions, or does anything is being watched by Mueller and I got to tell you, it's another fact in the trail towards obstruction of justice. It's not dispositive, but it is a fact because you combine his tweets with what he does with Sessions, and you got another problem and another issue for Mueller to investigate.
BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see if the president goes back to Twitter to continue to criticize the attorney general and what he does over at the Department of Homeland Security.
[07:40:02] BOLDEN: It's dumb. He should stop doing it.
BLACKWELL: Brian, Scott --
ROBINSON: I was thrilled to see him talking about Obamacare this morning. That is fantastic. That is progress.
BOLDEN: I wouldn't be tweeting, because it's dumb for him, it's good for Democrats.
BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it there. Thank you both.
BOLDEN: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Make sure to watch "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" today. Republican Senator Susan Collins who voted against the health care bill, repeal, that skinny repeal. She's on the show. Jake will also talk with Senator Bernie Sanders.
"STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER", today at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
PAUL: All righty. Thank you, gentlemen.
It was a chaotic week in Washington and it was the first week on the job for the president's new communications director. What we are still learning about Anthony Scaramucci.
And you know what? Al Gore is back on the big screen, highlighting what he calls the greatest threat we face as a nation. We're talking to the directors of his new film.
PAUL: Forty-four minutes past the hour.
Insults, threats, profanity laced rants. Welcome to Sunday! The president's new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, he had a pretty wild first week.
[07:45:03] BLACKWELL: Yes, it's been a rough couple of days. Let's take a look what CNN's host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter.
Brian, good morning to you.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, a lot happened this week. Spicer out, Priebus out, undoubtedly a rough week for the White House, Scaramucci in. How would you grade this press operation and some of these decisions to shift the team?
STELTER: Yes, one of the most difficult weeks in the Trump's administration's six and a half months so far. And I remember, I don't know about you guys, I remember in school, the report cards I would get as a kid, the grade I feared most was when the teacher would write needs improvement. You know, not even a letter grade but needs improvement.
I think that's where we are with the communications job one week of Scaramucci and Sanders leading the way. There were a lot of self- inflicted news. The interview with Ryan Lizza of "The New Yorker" being the most prominent example. You know, Ryan said yesterday that he actually tape-recorded the interview where Scaramucci went on that expletive-filled rant and labeled it insane Scaramucci interview.
Here's what Ryan said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: I got off the phone and I needed to talk to someone about it because he was, frankly, the most insane conversation I had ever had with a government official. I downloaded the recordings from my recorder into my computer and I haven't told anyone this, but I named it insane Scaramucci interview, because it was just so completely unlike any on the record conversation I had had with a spokesman for the White House in 20 years of covering Washington. And so -- I knew how newsworthy it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELER: It's notable Scaramucci said on Twitter after all of this that he made a mistake trusting Lizza and it won't happen again. I think it's notable, Christi and Victor, that this weekend, this morning on the Sunday morning political talk shows, we're not seeing Scaramucci. We're barely seeing any Trump officials at all.
The White House is sort of letting this this week -- this weekend go. Maybe hitting reset tomorrow when John Kelly takes over as chief of staff. But for the most part, on all of the shows today, we're not going to be hearing from Scaramucci or Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Perhaps they know it's better to try to start fresh tomorrow.
PAUL: All righty. Brian Stelter, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
And, you know, Brian is just getting started. You could see him on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. That's right here on CNN. Thanks, Brian.
BLACKWELL: Al Gore versus Donald Trump. The former vice president is not running for office. He has his eyes set on bigger stake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: It is right to save humanity! It is wrong to pollute this earth! It is right to give hope to the future generation!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:52:00] PAUL: I don't know if you can believe this phone call an Ohio woman made to 911 after a boa constrictor wrapped itself around her neck and bit her face. Now, the operator, as you can imagine, was stunned when she answered the call. But she was able to dispatch fire fighters and paramedics to the woman's home. Listen to what she heard.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: So, the boa constrictor has a hold of your nose?
911 OPERATOR: Can you pry its jaw open if you pinch its jaw?
CALLER: No, I'm trying. There's blood everywhere.
911 OPERATOR: OK, and it won't, and its jaw won't open?
911 OPERATOR: OK, how big of a snake are we talking, ma'am?
CALLER: He's like 5 1/2 feet.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL: Firefighters said they had to kill the snake to save the woman. She is expected to recover, I'm happy to tell you.
BLACKWELL: Al Gore has a new film out and is taking on President Donald Trump. This film, "An Inconvenient" sequel, the former vice president travels the world to explore the challenges created by climate change and how communities are responding.
PAUL: I sat down with the directors of the film to talk about what they hope to accomplish with this and how the current political climate is affecting the earth's climate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BONNI CHEN, DIRECTOR: Well, you know, I think there was a real -- it was initially extremely devastating, of course, when President Trump pulled out of the Paris accord after all the incredible work that went into that and all the countries that signed on to do this good work together. But there was an unintended consequence, which was that after he pulled, there's fear that maybe other countries would follow suit, but exactly the reverse happened, and countries around the world doubled down on their efforts and recommitted to what they committed to in Paris.
And here in the United States, on the local and state level, mayors and governors, one by one, started to stand up and say they wanted to continue to do the good work we promised to do in Paris. So, in fact, there was a groundswell of positive energy in response to Trump's pullout.
PAUL: Yes. "The New Republic" has an article that's headlined the troubling return of Al Gore. And it reads, not everyone on the left is celebrating Gore's re-emergence and for some reasons that sometimes contradict each other. Some worry he's too polarizing a figure and therefore could paralyze progress on climate change.
So, to Jon, I ask you, is Vice President Gore the right person to lead this movement?
JON SHENK, DIRECTOR: We -- you know, I think viewers will see an Al Gore in this film that's really different than who they've seen before. He's a post-political figure right now. You know, he has moved beyond the politics of the past and he really has focused on solving the climate crisis.
And the amazing thing now is that we have these sustainable energy options that are as cheap if not cheaper than fossil fuels in many parts of the world and he's focused on communicating what the problem is, how far we've gotten with the climate crisis and what the solutions are.
You see him in the film, meeting with this conservative Republican mayor in Georgetown, Texas, in the heart of oil country, reaching over party lines, because Al Gore realizes, along with much of the country, that this is no longer a political issue.
[07:55:01] This is something that we, as Americans, need to deal with. And the good news is, there's options.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: You can see the full interview on CNN.com later on today, by the way. Hear more from Al Gore himself this Tuesday night as well. A CNN town hall event on the climate crisis, Tuesday at 9:00 p.m., right here on CNN.
So, take a nice deep breath as you begin your Sunday and we hope you make some great memories today.
BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" starts after a break.