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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
"Washington Post": Trump Dictated Son's Misleading Statement On Meeting With Russian Lawyer; "Washington Post" Defends Latest Reporting; Pence: Trump Will Sign Sanctions Bill "Soon"; Opposition Figures In Venezuela Are Back Behind Bars; Malta PM: Two Years Not Long Enough; Special CNN Program Explores "Why Trump Won" Aired 3-4p ET
Aired August 1, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani live from CNN London. Thanks for joining us this hour. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
A new chief of staff in the White House with an old headache for the American president. A fresh revelation in the Russia investigation, we'll
get to that in a moment. Right now, this is the east room of the White House.
We're waiting for Donald Trump, the American president. He's meeting this hour with small business owners to talk about creating jobs in America.
We'll monitor any developments from that.
But today's top story, the "Washington Post" reporting President Trump personally dictated his son's initial misleading statement about a meeting
with a Russian lawyer despite repeated denials from the president's attorney and the White House.
We have been in the last hour been updated by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She has confirmed that the president in
fact had input in the statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had. This
is all discussion frankly of no consequence. There was no follow up. It was disclosed to the proper parties, which is how the "New York Times"
found out about it to begin with.
The Democrats want to continue to use this as a PR stunt and they are doing everything they can to keep this story alive and in the papers every single
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That was Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Of course, she's saying the president weighed in. You heard it there, but the president's own lawyers
have said he didn't have anything to do with the drafting of that statement that initially suggested that the meeting was simply about a Russian
When after the fact e-mails from Donald Trump Jr. released by the president's eldest son himself revealed the fact that this was about
opposition research on Hillary Clinton.
Let's get the latest from Washington. Josh Rogin is a CNN political analyst and columnist for the "Washington Post," and also joining us is
CNN's Dan Merica. So, Dan, I want to start with you.
And Sarah Huckabee Sanders had very well-prepared facts and figures and statements about all the stories that she was asked about in the briefing
room. She comes out today and said and confirms, yes, the president did weigh in on that statement about Don Jr.'s meeting with that lawyer.
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Yes, she weighed in by saying yes, he did. He did weigh in on that statement, which directly contradicted what
President Trump's lawyer said after the meeting was first revealed.
So, what you now have is the White House saying, yes, in fact, he did weigh in after the president's lawyer said he had no involvement at all. Sarah
Huckabee Sanders did take some issue with the word dictation or dictate that the "Washington Post" used saying that the president did not dictate a
But what I was -- what really struck me in all of this is how it gets to the fact that President Donald Trump went against the advice of his aides
and advisors and lawyers and actually worked on this statement with his son.
It gets to this idea that President Trump thinks he is his best spokesperson. He is his best political adviser and that his gut instincts
will get him out of anything. We've seen this throughout the campaign where he has gone against the advice he's getting in from experts because
he thinks he can figure it all out.
That again happened in this situation it seems on that flight from Hamburg, Germany back to the United States. It could get him in trouble, land him
in legal trouble with the special counsel.
GORANI: Yes, because Josh Rogin, the initial statement was misleading at best, all right, it suggested that the meeting had nothing to do with the
campaign or campaign issues. That this was about a Russian adoption program. Of course, later it was revealed that wasn't the case at all.
With Sarah Huckabee Sanders essentially making this admission in the briefing room. What impact will it have on the White House's sort of
management of this Russia investigative question that's been hanging over the White House from day one?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's just a continuation, another in a long line of instances showing that the White House doesn't really have a
strategy to deal with the continuing revelations about this investigation.
[15:05:12] Now this will add to the list of things that all the investigators will have to look into. It represents another attempt by the
White House to obfuscate what really happened and how they dealt with it.
You know, there is also a total error in what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. You know, she said that Donald Trump Jr. released the e-mails when in fact
he released only after "The New York Times" already had them, was about to publish them.
So, their entire narrative which is that there is nothing to see here is contradicted by their actions. You know, when the president of the United
States is scrambling on a plane to work out his son's statement.
And that shows a level of awareness that this meeting was a problem and their activities to shape the narrative throughout in the meeting show that
they have not figured out exactly how they want to deal with it.
GORANI: Josh, it's going to lead to inevitably to questions about what President Trump knew about this meeting, right, when it happened shortly
after it happened and not simply learning about it as he said many months later when it was reported.
ROGIN: That's exactly right. Now, you know, in the end, this meeting may not prove to be evidence of any actual collusion. But what it is, is
evidence of the Trump team trying to collude with the Russians.
And if that in of itself is a subject of the investigation. Also, we know that the investigators are looking into members of the Trump team on
allegation of obstruction and if they were trying -- if this was part of an attempt to obstruct the investigator's ability to get to the bottom of this
meeting and that in of itself can become a subject of the investigation.
So, whether or not President Trump knew about the meeting then, he's involved in it now, and that's not going to go away.
GORANI: All right. And the president, Dan Merica, once again tweeting about fake news. It's a regular occurrence, but this is happening after
the publication of this "Washington Post" piece.
Now one of the authors of the report had this to say about the White House's dismissal of the content of the reporting on this -- the drafting
of the statement. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HAMBURGER, REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": What you may not know is that we actually sent multiple detailed questions to Mr. Sekulow asking him to
respond in some detail. Instead what we got is the rather broad denial. I understand others at the White House and the White House team may already
have described our story as fake news. We have multiple sources and are confident in our reporting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And -- the "Washington Post" reporter there, Tom Hamburger, basically referring to the -- one of the lawyers of the president, Tom
Sekulow, who has denied that the president dictated the statement, Dan?
MERICA: Yes. He said it was total misinformation and the president has said multiple times (inaudible) about CNN or the "Washington Post" that
this is total fake news, a total fabrication, the biggest witch-hunt in political history.
You know, you got to pin him down at some point and say what is the witch- hunt? Is it the Senate investigations? Is it the House investigations? Is it the special counsel?
You really can't get an answer out of the White House on that topic because they don't really have one. They don't have one to describe why the
president thinks this is a witch-hunt when Republicans are going along with these investigations as well.
And on the point that he sent detailed questions to the lawyers. The statement last night was the typical non-denial, denial. It's not denying
the story or the facts in the story, but it's saying that it's misstated or misinformation.
He didn't say the story was untrue. He just kind of obfuscated and muddied the waters a bit.
GORANI: And Josh, I would ask you about the sanctions bill there that was overwhelmingly passed on Capitol Hill. It's sitting increasing sanctions
against North Korea, Iran, and Russia. It's sitting on President Trump's desk. He hasn't signed it.
His vice president, Mike Pence, is currently in that part of the world. He was in one of the Baltic states. He's in Georgia today. He's been asked
repeatedly about when or if even the president will sign this bill.
And we put together a few -- many answers to that same question over the course of the last few days. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And in a further sign of our commitment very soon, President Trump will sign legislation to
strengthen and codify the United States sanctions against Russia.
The president made it very clear that very soon he will sign the sanctions.
In a sign of our commitment, very soon President Trump will sign legislation to strengthen and codify the United States sanctions against
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. When you hear soon that tells you what? I mean, because it's still sitting there and the clock is ticking, Josh.
ROGIN: That's right. Well, just minutes ago, in his first ever state foreign press conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also commented
on the Russia sanctions bill.
[15:10:01] He said that neither he nor the president was happy about the legislation, but that they've accepted it and that he expects the president
to sign it. So that matches in a way what Vice President Pence said in Europe in the sense that we all expect the president to sign it reluctantly
Now if he doesn't sign it or if he were to veto it, it would still become law. It has overwhelming congressional support. So, these sanctions will
go forward and then the president and the secretary of state will have to mitigate the effect of those sanctions on the U.S. relationship with
Nevertheless, the sort of lack of comment by the president on the expulsion of 755 diplomats and staff from Russia and the lack of his any clear
position on the U.S.-Russia relationship leaves a lot of incoherence and confusion about what the U.S. is really doing with respect to Russia.
GORANI: Josh Rogin at the "Washington Post," thanks very much. Dan Merica in Washington, thanks to both of you.
Turning our attention now to Venezuela, the government there moving swiftly to take down its opponents after a controversial election handed the
president even more power.
Two leading opposition figures are back behind bars. The Supreme Court says it revoked house arrest for Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma after
intelligence officials told the court the men were trying to flee.
The U.S. ambassador to the United States says the jailing of the two men shows President Nicholas Maduro's, quote, "regime has lost all legitimacy."
Leyla Santiago joins me now from Caracas with an update on what's happened since Sunday's election. And we saw some dramatic video as well of
authorities in Venezuela taking into custody one of the opposition leaders there.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala. And now it's a big wait and see, wait and see what is next with the constituent assembly and what is
next with the opposition.
Now we know that opposition leaders are urging protesters to continue to fight, to not back down from this government. In the meantime, the
government of Venezuela is working to establish the legitimacy of this election and the constituent assembly that will be in place very soon.
The government has said that it will gather on Thursday and as soon as it gathers, it will have the power to begin rewriting the Constitution and
could give President Maduro even more power.
Now a lot of people have been very critical of this move saying that this is the road to dictatorship. Several countries have said that they are not
seeing this is as a legitimate election.
There is mounting pressure across the world, really, and the opposition is hoping that they count on that to continue their fight. In the meantime,
you know, we haven't seen the protest that we typically do here today.
And so, one has to wonder, you know, are protesters afraid to come out? Are they waiting for another day? We are still waiting to get a better
idea of how the opposition will move forward given that two of their big names, two of the leaders were taken in the middle of the night from their
One of them in pajamas at that time and making for some very dramatic video that we've seen in social media.
GORANI: Right. And we are seeing some of that video on our screen there. Leyla Santiago in Caracas, thanks very much. We'll get back to Leyla soon.
Still to come this evening, an extraordinary prediction from a European head of state. He thinks Brexit won't happen despite a referendum result
and months of uncertainty. Prime minister of Malta tells me he thinks the U.K. won't leave the E.U. That conversation is up next.
And away from the halls of power, a stunning number of people say they'd be happy to lose their jobs or see a family member out of work if it means
leaving the E.U. We look at why next.
GORANI: Brexit negotiations maybe in full swing, but my next guest thinks they all might lead to nothing. Until last month, Malta held the rotating
presidency of the Council of the European Union.
So, the Maltese prime minister has had a front row seat on all those talks. He told me other E.U. leaders share his view that Brexit might not happen.
I began by asking him why he thinks Britain could end up staying in the union after all.
JOSEPH MUSCAT, PRIME MINISTER OF MALTA: I think that everyone is realizing that this is a tremendously complex task. This is the first time that a
country is -- a large country is actively looking at divorcing from a block it belongs to.
I believe that the British people essentially put forward a legitimate concern when they voted to leave the European Union and they were given the
answer by means of Brexit, but they were not given a solution.
And I do believe that many people are realizing that and seeing the lack of progress in talks until now, I'm starting to doubt that definitely the two-
year period will be matched --
GORANI: So do you think that it won't happen in two years or that it won't happen at all?
MUSCAT: For the first time I believe that it might not happen yet because it's getting too complicated and to say the truth, I think more people are
realizing that this is the wrong way to go.
GORANI: Now you're seeing signs you said that you don't believe it might not happen, what are those signs?
MUSCAT: Well, the signs are that the British side is well prepared. I'm not one of those who thinks that the Brits are not prepared. I think they
are well prepared. The European side is much, much better prepared.
And the level of detail is astonishing. It's a level of detail that -- to get into each and every chapter within this 24-month period. I think it is
practically impossible if we go through the motions in the way things are being done right now, if we maintain the tempo that is being maintained
And I do sense a feeling amongst the British public that, you know, they are starting to get sick and toss for the first time. But that's up to the
Brits to decide what I think I can safely say is that from the European side, if our British friends have second thoughts, I think we would all be
delighted to have them stay in.
GORANI: Now as I mentioned, and you're saying this again in this interview that you believe Brexit might not happen at all. Is this a sentiment
shared by any other European leaders you've spoken with?
MUSCAT: Well, there are some who think in the same manner that I think and others are less optimistic, but I do think that I'm not alone in having
this point of view.
GORANI: You're talking about other European leaders in the block?
GORANI: Can you name any?
MUSCAT: I think that's when we'll discuss the whole -- no, I can't obviously.
GORANI: I didn't think you could. But you're saying there is some doubt now emerging amongst leaders, officials in Europe that perhaps this has
become so complicated and that Brits might realize it's become so complicated that they could reconsider their decision?
MUSCAT: Yes. And I think -- may I add that it's not getting complicated from the European side. I think the Europeans are quite aware of the
complications that exist. I think that it is for the first time that from the British side that there is a clear awareness that this is much more
complicated than putting a stop sign to migrants from Eastern Europe coming to your country.
[15:20:04] This is much more complicated than just saying we don't agree with the common (inaudible) of policy. These are all legitimate issues
that we need to address as the European Union. But exiting the European Union does not solve this issue.
GORANI: Malta just ended its rotating presidency of the Council of the E.U., so you've been in on many meetings, you said in this interview you
believed British negotiators are prepared, but that the E.U. is much better prepared. Can you give an example? Explain what that means exactly.
MUSCAT: Well, I realized that when Mitchel Barnier (ph), our chief negotiator showed me a huge file with all the details of how many cats and
dogs cross from (inaudible) to Dover every year.
And what are the complications that arise from Brexit on simply having (inaudible) passport, you know, because there's also the issue of freedom
of movement of animals, let alone people.
The level of detail from the European side such that it was then that I realized, you know, we are very well prepared.
GORANI: But we are hearing from some officials, your counterpart in Luxemburg, for instance, the prime minister there is saying the divorce
bill as its called could be up to 54 billion pounds for the U.K. Others are saying perhaps close to 100 billion pounds. Can you put a figure on
MUSCAT: Well, I won't speculate. I've seen different calculations, but the fact is that the issue is the methodology. How you will be calculating
goal? This is what you're going to put into this bill and I stressed it's not the bill which the Brits need to foot because they are leaving.
These are the obligations that the United Kingdom as each and every one of us has entered into as a member of the European Union and that it has to
GORANI: But we are talking tens of billions, though, you would agree with that?
MUSCAT: Yes, yes. Definitely, definitely. I think it goes without saying. I think the spirit in which what I said and what other colleagues
are saying right now needs to be taken is that none of us is all too happy with the U.K. leaving.
Actually, we are very sad to all of this. What I do hope that happens is that there is leadership within the United Kingdom saying, look, guys,
let's take stock of the situation and let us see at any point in time now or when these negotiations maybe come to an end.
We go back to the people and ask them whether they are satisfied, sure that this is the direction they want to go into. I think that's legitimate --
GORANI: So a second referendum is essentially what you think should happen.
MUSCAT: Yes. I wouldn't say a second referendum on the same question because the people have already asked that first question whether they want
to leave the European Union or not? Maybe they have second thoughts since then.
What I think is pretty legitimate as saying that once there are negotiations or once there is progress, people are asked, are you satisfied
that this is the way we should leave the European Union or should we reconsider? I think that's quite legitimate and (inaudible).
GORANI: Joseph Muscat is the prime minister of Malta. He says that for the first time in few days ago, it occurred to him Brexit may never happen.
But if you thought warning about the sheer cost of Brexit would put some leave voters off, think again. Here's a new poll and it is eye popping,
three out of five Brexit supporters say that seeing Britain going through significant economic damage would be a price worth paying to leave the E.U.
according to a new poll by Hugo.
Which also says and this is the figure that really struck me most, 39 percent of Brexiters would be willing to lose their own job or see a family
member lose theirs in order to exit the E.U. That's four out of 10 people.
Until recently numbers like that might have seemed unbelievable to many in the U.K., but once again it's a sign of how the political rule books are
being ripped to shreds on both sides of the Atlantic.
CNN is exploring the U.S. perspective on that on a new Fareed Zakaria documentary called "Why Trump Won?" Take a look.
GORANI: All right, really look forward to this one. Fareed Zakaria is the host of that special as I mentioned. He joins us now from New York. "Why
Trump Won" is the title of this documentary so why did Trump win?
[15:25:05] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "WHY TRUMP WON": I think Donald Trump tapped into -- the first part is he's a great performer and has the ability
to like a great salesman figure out what his audience wants.
And he tapped into an enormous resentment that was more cultural and class oriented than economic about the direction of the country. It's very
similar to the issues that Brexit voters cared about.
The sense that their country was changing beyond recognition. The sense that a group of over educated urban elites were running the country and
looked down on them. We found that the more you look into it, it was those culture and class issues that were at the core of Trump support.
And they explained the reason that his supporters are staying with him and it explains the reason why Brexit voters continue to have no regrets.
GORANI: And after six months and you know, you look at the White House, the firing, the personnel changes, the instability, the Russia
investigation, all of it, and you think from the outside looking in, this has got to erode at some point, his support, but it's not.
And how do you -- I mean, you touched on it, but how do you explain that it doesn't seemed to be still at around 36 to 40 percent approval rating.
That it's having what appears to be zero impact?
ZAKARIA: So if you think about it in terms of I was describing, you have this group of older white rural less educated voters who believed that the
world has been profoundly against them and that they want somebody who can -- who gets it, who speaks to their anger, resentment, sense of rebellion
Those are the kind of class rebellion as it were against the urban educated elite. So, if you found in Donald Trump your man, it's almost like you are
backing a sports team.
When the sports team is losing, you don't stop supporting it. You actually double down. That is the ultimate act of loyalty to support that team even
when it's losing. I think that's in many ways the way that these people view it.
Another way to think about it is can you imagine one of those voters I was just describing is (inaudible), you know, looking at some piece of
evidence, some fact and saying, darn it, you're right.
I was wrong about Donald Trump and the "New York Times" was right. It's not going to happen.
GORANI: It's the same with Brexit. I mean, it has to be said, many people -- we're speaking to one of the European prime minister saying I think
Brits are starting to realize that this is going to be complicated and costly.
And then you see a poll like the Hugo poll that indicates that four out of 10 are happy to even lose their own jobs if it means exiting the E.U. So,
perhaps what the European leaders are hoping doesn't match the reality of what Brexiters are prepared to put up with.
But I was struck by that sound bite from the younger Donald Trump, soft- spoken, it's not all about naked ambition, and you have to be kind and nice to each other. Then he turns into Candidate Trump. What did happen? What
did you uncover?
ZAKARIA: I think what you realized is that he's come a long way. He's a great performer and he experienced a level of fame and celebrity that very
few private citizens ever do.
Because he'd became first a very famous real estate developer, a brander, a marketer, then he had that show the "Celebrity Apprentice" -- "Apprentice"
and then the "Celebrity Apprentice" for 14 seasons.
And there were points at which that show was really quite big not as big as Trump ever made it out to be, but those (inaudible) where 25 million, 30
million people were watching that show.
That's you know -- that sort of -- we forget politics is in sense a ghetto that largest celebrity culture is so big and so vast that it transformed
him I think and had made him realize I can do anything and it made him also begin to see as he went around the country.
As I say he's a good salesman. He can tell what people want. He began to realize people really wanted a non-politician. So as Donald Trump is
rising, one of the things we find, the approval ratings of politicians are declining.
And the point at which Donald Trump gets elected, the public's faith in politicians hits a 50-year low. So, like every great performer, he got his
GORANI: All right, Fareed Zakaria, look forward to the documentary and thanks very much joining us.
And for all of you at home and watching anywhere you are, you don't want to miss Fareed's special program, "Why Trump Won." It premiers here on CNN
International at 9 p.m. New York Time.
Coming up next on THE WORL RIGHT NOW, the very brief, very brief White House career of Anthony Scaramucci. What led to his down fall and who
might end up taking the job? Stay with us.
[15:32:21] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: The star rose very quickly and it flamed out almost just as it passed. I'm talking about the now former
White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
He was out of that job Monday after about 10 days. Here's a look at some of his most colorful moments in the White House.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The president is a winner, OK. And what we're going to do is we're going to do
a lot of winning.
I love the mission of the president has. I love the president. I obviously love the country. He is genuinely a wonderful human being.
As you know from the Italian expression, the fish stinks from the head down. But I can't tell you two fish that don't stink. If Reince wants to
explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that. If you want to talk about the staff we had to have (INAUDIBLE), we have had differences.
When I said, we are brothers from the podium that's because we're rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel.
I have no idea what's going on with the chlorine-rinsed French chicken and so even to pretend and make something up to you, I'm just not going to do
that, OK. But if you want to interview me in a week or two, I'll figure out what's going with chlorine-rinsed chicken. I bet you have a clever
answer for that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think we're going to get trades deal with the U.S.?
SCARAMUCCI: A 100%. You know I love the United Kingdom.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, that last bit from Scaramucci is slightly touching interview with the BBC reporter about a trade deal between the U.K. and the U.S.
Let's look at how the White House Communications Department moves on from here. Dylan Byers joins me now from Los Angeles.
So, first of all we have a new Chief of Staff, obviously, General John Kelly. How are things going to change within him in-charge of the White
House staff because Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the new press secretary has said, everyone reports to Kelly.
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: That's right. And General Kelly's placement as chief of staff is extremely important in terms of gaining out
how the administration moves forward. That includes sort of every branch on what's going on in the West Wing, but it certainly includes the
Right now, there is not a chief of communications in place. For the time being that person is effectively General Kelly. He is the one calling the
Obviously, there's a lot of speculation about who he'll put in that position, who will be his sort of deputy in terms of coming up with the
communication strategy to the degree that you can have a communication strategy in the Trump or White House. So, a lot of names are being there
that we're starting just as you and I are speaking starting to get some new names.
One name that's been thrown out there is Bill Shine, a former executive at Fox News. The sources we have spoken to in the White House say that he was
under consideration when Scaramucci was in charge for a post with the White House for that brief 11-day period because the two men are close. Both men
are also close with Sean Hannity of Fox News.
[15:35:08] Now that's Scaramucci is out, that's no longer in the cards. One White House source telling me Shine is not real. Another one telling
me that any effort to bring Shine into the White House is now dead.
So we're moving on to other names. Obviously, General Kelly has his own experience, he has his own people. He's worked with one person he could be
looking at, it's someone from DHS who he's worked with in the past. So we'll just have to wait and see.
But the bigger question here for the White House is goes back to, can you have a communication strategy with a president of the United States like
Donald Trump, who's tweeting out whatever he's watching television. That's really a tall order for General Kelly.
GORANI: Exactly. And that leads me to my next question because will the new chief of staff, a military man, a man used from the chain of command to
being respected and whose authority is not usually questioned. Can he stop the president from expressing himself really on Twitter?
Just today -- so this was after obviously John Kelly became chief of staff, the president tweeted, quote, only the fake news media and Trump enemies
want me to stop using social media. A 110 million people only way for me to get the truth out.
Now, first, before I ask you about his tweeting, what is this 110 million people because Scaramucci also cited that number? Where is he getting that
BYERS: You know, your guess is as good as mine. You know -- I think if you look at what Trump's base of support actually is what you're looking at
is about 35% to 38% of the electorate. How he gets that number I think is anyone's guess.
But look, just looking at that tweet itself, what you're seeing is that there's no way General Kelly is going to be (INAUDIBLE) in the president
The question is, can he let President Trump be President Trump sort of over in a silo. And can he take care of running the day-to-day West Wing
operations, and can he do it in such a way that he actually influences the president to sort of get onboard with his thinking, get onboard with that
strategy. Maybe not be quite so prolific on Twitter.
And look, well, that's a challenge, well, that is a tall order. It's also true that this president has a sort of obsession with military members, you
know, military veterans. He really admires those guys. He really admires military leaders.
He likes surrounding himself of those guys, and he often defers his judgment to those guys. So, there is a chance here that Kelly might be
able to stabilize the ship, at least for a short period of time.
GORANI: I'm going to asked you about this one. Now, this is a story for our international viewers that I'm going to sort of put in context. It's
about the explosive lawsuit of a Fox News contributor who says -- who claim that Fox News and the White House got together to put out a fake story
about the murder of a Democratic staffer named Seth Rich.
Tell us about this. We heard from Sarah Huckabee Sanders who completely deny that the White House had anything to do with it. Tell us more about
this and why it's significant.
BYERS: Sure, and without dragging our viewers too far through the weeds here. What was basically an issue is, did the White House worked with Fox
News and the wealthy Republican donor to sort of put forward a baseless conspiracy theory that would attract attention away from some of the
questions surrounding Donald Trump's campaign ties to Russia. That is what is alleged in this lawsuit from a former Fox News employee.
He says that his colleague along with this Republican donor fabricated quotes to sort of push the Seth Rich story out into the open, let it, you
know, drive the narrative drive and drive the airwaves, distracted attention away from the Russia story. If the White House was involved with
this, if the president knew about it, if even senior members of his administration knew about it. It would be one of the many bombshells that
we've seen come out over the last six months.
For the time being, you know, the defendants are saying, you know, it was a joke, there's nothing to see here, the story has no merit. So we'll just
have to wait and see how the lawsuit pans out.
GORANI: Yes. And Fox News retracted that story, that the staffer somehow communicated e-mails to an outside source.
Thanks very much Dylan Byers. So can John Kelly stir the ship through these very choppy waters?
CNN Political Commentator Mary Katharine Ham is with me now from New York. She is a senior writer for The Federalist and co-wrote the book, "The End
of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)". It's out in
Mary, thanks for being with us.
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you. Well, thank you for having me.
Well, you're welcome. When you see what's happening coming from this Trump White House, I mean, here we are, we're seeing it internationally on CNN,
obviously worldwide. And many people say this looks like complete chaos. This looks like an administration that's not in control. This looks like
administration that's obviously trying to escape and block an investigation into possible collusion with Russian agents during the campaign.
As a conservative, what would you tell these people?
[15:40:02] HAM: I think it is chaos. And I think that if you look at Trump's entire career, he is very comfortable in that sort of environment
and that's why his campaign look like that, that's why his business is look like that, that's why he does looks like that.
His management style is this bizarre petting of (INAUDIBLE) against each other and it will continue to look like that. The question is whether he
will continue to operate that way. The question is whether General John Kelly will allow it and whether Trump is willing to listen to John Kelly.
GORANI: Will he be because this morning, the day after officially swearing him in he's already tweeting about the fake news media again.
HAM: Look, I don't think you're going to get him to stop tweeting, period. There's a possibility that you can like put a lid on it. John Kelly is a
former Marine general so I'm sure he is up at four in the morning before Donald Trump starts tweeting even. So that's helpful
But like what we've seen as far as that the White House has run the chief of staff, not the other way around. I think if Kelly is not allowed to
have some leeway and it's clear he already does have some power and leeway by getting rid of Scaramucci. I don't think he will stick around if he
does not have that because he's not a man who is going to be run.
And from what I know of General John Kelly which is quite a bit. I worked with him in military spaces and within military spouses and families before
and he's man who's a Marine. It's going to be a different situation.
GORANI: What about the Republican Party because little by little we're seeing some senior and maybe not always so-senior members of the Republican
establishment saying listen, Donald Trump's presidency is damaging us. It's damaging our brand. He's out of control.
The junior senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, for instance, wrote a piece in Politico. He said the Republican Party essentially is in denial. He
appeared on CNN have this to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Yes, I'm concern that the type of policies going forward protectionism, isolationism are really not conservative
values. And I am concerned about where the party goes if we embrace those kind of principles. But also being a conservative mean something in terms
of demeanor and comportment.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. So, apology that was on MSNBC. Being a conservative mean something just Flake says in terms of demeanor and comportment.
What's your reaction to that?
HAM: Yes, I'm with Jeff Flake on that particular sentiment. And one of my least favorite things about Trump White House is how he treats people
especially when they're being let go like a Priebus aura or him sort of tweeting about Jeff Sessions without actually confronting the man or Comey
I think there's a level of professionalism that it's not being hit here. And I've been somebody who's been worried about Trump policies since he
started running because many of them are not conservative. But the issue is that the GOP is a party that improbably won the American presidency
while it was in the middle of a giant divorce, a giant, fairly, ugly divorce.
They're trying to patch it up a little bit as soon as he was elected, but the rift remains between the more populist wing and the establishment and
sort of more conservative movement types. That rift remains. And the question is, whether two can co-parents America successfully for the next 3
1/2 years. And I think we're seeing --
GORANI: Well, can they co-exist? These are -- I mean efficiently -- Donald Trump came in and executed a hostile takeover of the entire party
and the party has been out takes stock and figure out its strategy going forward, doesn't it.
HAM: Well, I think -- and I think you've see a bit of that in Congress for instance with the Russia sanctions bill. That's something that perhaps
Trump is not super excited about. Not even because of the Russia story but because they took some of the presidential powers out of that when they
said that to him. But that was an overwhelming vote from Congress, where many Republican said look, we are Russia hoax before you came along and we
will remain Russia hoax. And so they send it to his desk because it's yet to sign it.
So, I think there's science along the way that they are standing up at various points. But it is always going to be this awkward dance, I think.
GORANI: Mary Katherine Ham, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
GORANI: Coming up next. In Turkey, victims' families lash out the suspects in last year's coup attempt. We'll take it at the courtroom.
Hundreds and 100 of people are on trial. And one of the largest post-coup trials in Turkey. Ben Wedeman is live for us.
[15:46:27] GORANI: The Turkish government of President Erdogan is putting on a show of strength as nearly 500 defendants go on trial for the last
year -- for last year's unsuccessful coup attempt. Security forces paraded the suspects to a courtroom built especially for the massive trial.
Demonstrators, some of them family members of those killed in the failed coup throw rocks and (INAUDIBLE) at the suspects.
Ben Wedeman joins us from Istanbul with details on this first day of the trial. Ben?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there are 486 people Hala on the list of defendants but only 461 appeared in court. Some of
them are being tried in absentia. And of course, the most important defendant is Fethullah Gulen, the leader of -- that the Turkish government
accuses him of being behind this attempted coup d'etat that took place on the evening of July 15th of last year, in which 249 of people were killed.
Now, some of those accused are accused for instance of murder, of attempted assassination of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of violating their
constitution, of attempting to overthrow the Turkish state. And some of them are facing sentences up to life imprisonment without parole.
And of course, as mentioned, the people outside the court, some of them were calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty which was abolished
here in Turkey back in 2004.
Now, it's expected that this case, this trial is going to go on at least for a month given the number of people who are on trial. In fact, today's
session was really just to go down the list of defendants and identified them.
So, this is going to go on for quite some time. It's important to underscore however, that the defendant in this case, unlike, for instance,
the other case we were covering last week of Turkish journalists, they do not have a lot of sympathizers or supporters. Many Turks, even those who
aren't particularly enthusiastic about the Turkish president do not support these people because they did try to pull off a military coup. Hala?
GORANI: Yes. And who are they, by and large these defendants? What (INAUDIBLE) do they come from, what's their background?
WEDEMAN: Well, in addition of course to Fethullah Gulen who is really the number one defendant, there is for instance the former head of the Air
Force, there are senior generals and other military officers and there are the pilots of F-16s that were used by the two leaders, to for instance,
bomb the roads, bridges and bombings three times the Turkish Parliament.
As I said, 249 people were killed in addition to about 30 of the members of the coup plot itself. So it's a long list of people. It's not altogether
clear -- some of the more obscured names on the list whether they were simply -- the government cast a wide net and they had arrested as many as
people as possible but they do have a fair amount of video evidence and intercepted communications. So it does appear that the coup leaders
themselves the case is fairly solid against them. Hala?
[15:50 02] GORANI: Ben Wedeman in Istanbul. Thanks for a much for the latest. Quick break, we'll be right back
GORANI: Well, if you love sea turtles and the sea shells, a local conservation expert is teaching others to care for these creatures so
they'll stay in the ecosystem for many generations to come. Take a look.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VANESSA JIDO, LOCAL CONSERVATION EXPERT: My name is Vanessa Jido (ph), I'm monitoring nesting hawksbill turtles in the south Mahe, Seychelles. And
I'm doing this because, one, I love these animals. They're simple beautiful. But more importantly, these animals are critically endangered
in the world and they deserve to be protected.
It's always been in me. The environment has been calling me, I would say for some time. I can remember my -- like my first fighting or encountering
a turtle for the first time. I was blown away.
You know, I quickly realize that, yes, this is the job for me. This is what I want to do.
Sadly, sea turtles seem to have quite a lot of threats out there. We have poachers, ocean debris as well on the beach which sometimes can put off the
turtle from coming up if she keeps bumping into a lot of rubbish.
Sea turtles and sea shells are protected under the laws since 1994. And nobody is allowed to hunt, kill or being possession of sea turtle meat.
Even the hatchlings are protected as well, the nest. But the issue is that the (INAUDIBLE) are still consuming the turtle meat. So it's very
important to try and protect, preserve, conserve these species.
We do have nests like the turtle lays the eggs. We make sure we monitor the nests as well to make sure that the little hatchlings make it out alive
and safely into the sea and starting another life cycle.
Every living organism I think has its roles in the environment. In the marine environment, the hawksbill turtles we need them. They consume the
sponges amongst corals. And the other organisms, the other fish they depend on the corals to have their habitat and so on.
We don't want to have all the animals, all the wild life going to extinction. One person can make a difference. It's not just about us the
People have kids. I have kids and I would want them to grow up maybe doing the same job that I'm doing.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, now turning back to Washington and as if there wasn't enough growing on in the White House. We're now learning that an e-mail
prankster in the U.K. tricked some senior American officials.
In one exchange, the man post as the former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. He e-mailed the then Director of Communications Anthony
Scaramucci. The fake Priebus says in part, "At no stage have you acted in a way that's even remotely classy. General Kelly will do a fine job".
Well, to that the real Scaramucci replied, "You know what you did. We all do. Even today, but rest assured we were prepared. A man will apologize."
[15:30:08] Well, it was a fake Preibus but a real Scaramucci. Samuel Burke is here with even more e-mail pranks.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is all a fishing attack. Its one of the most common ways that people might e-mail
you pretending to be somebody that you know, and then maybe they'll send you a link and you'll click it, and then you'll type in your password, and
then they have your password and they can get in to your e-mail.
Now it doesn't look like anybody click any links. Like you said this was a prankster, but I was actually struck by the lack of sophistication here.
Usually, someone would be pretending to be me e-mailing you and it would say, Samuel Burke at cnn.co instead of dot com and you'll be fooled by
that. These guys only use @mail.com. So it didn't even look like @whitehouse.go instead of dot gov., let's say.
And he even got to one of the top people for cyber security in the White House, in the United States, Tom Bossert. He pretended to be Jared Kushner
and sent him this exchange. Incredible to think that this is one of the people in charge of cyber security.
So the fake Jared Kushner says to Tom Bossert, the Homeland Security adviser, " Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soiree towards the end of
August. It would be great if you could make it, I promise food of at least comparible quality to that which we ate in Iraq. Should be a great
GORANI: So that's a fake Kushner?
BURKE: That's a fake Kushner. And then Tom Bossert replies to the fake Kushner who's of course this e-mail prankster (INAUDIBLE). "Thanks, Jared.
With a promise like that, I can't refuse. Also, if you ever need it, my personal e-mail is", of course, we're not going to share that on CNN.
But think about that, not only did this guy have the government e-mail. He also now has the e-mail address of his personal e-mail. I mean, think back
to John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign. This is exactly how whoever did that got into Hillary Clinton.
GORANI: But just to be clear. So the person who pranks the cyber security official just used basically firstname.lastname@example.org?
BURKE: Exactly. I mean, this is really low level sophistication attack, usually even lower level sophistication. Now, I mean, probably a lot of
people are wondering how do you protect yourself from this. And the White House tells CNN that they take this very seriously, they are going to
But really one of the things you do if you're in on organization like the White House is you make it, so your inbox only receives e-mail from the
BURKE: And then a separate box has a filter and gets all the outside e- mail that way. Also, it turn on two factor authentication. I'm on in (INAUDIBLE) show a lot and talk about this, but I don't think that she had
done it into (INAUDIBLE).
GORANI: Yes. I --
BURKE: Do it.
GORANI: I did it today. Thanks very much, Samuel. Certainly I'd secured my mailbox a little more.
Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. See you tomorrow. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is next.