Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Interview with Representative Mark Sanford; Body Cam Video Allegedly Shows Officers Planting Drugs; Interview with Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 2, 2017 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Even this morning the president of Mexico calling President Trump's credibility into question, denying that they ever had a phone call that President Trump just said on Monday that they did have.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Joining us to talk about this, Republican Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Congressman, let me walk you through what happened here. The president in a Cabinet meeting out loud was talking about immigration and the borders. And he said even the president of Mexico called me and talked about their southern border.

Well, in a statement just out today, the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, said, you know, no. I did not call the president. The official statement says that Mexico has not been in recent communication via telephone with President Donald Trump. President Trump said they had a phone call. The president of Mexico says there was no phone call. Your reaction?

REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm as clueless as you are. You got two people saying different things. I'll let you and I guess the large audience figure out what was what. I don't know. I wasn't privy to either conversation.

HARLOW: OK. Does it give you pause that this is even a question?

SANFORD: Certainly. Certainly. I think that's the bigger issue you are probably raising, which is, you know, the president has said a lot of strange things, at times things that weren't accurate. Certainly in the campaign. And I think that that begs to this larger issue of trust and that's something that I think a lot of people in this country are struggling with.

BERMAN: Are you struggling with it? Do you trust the things that the president says given this controversy? Given what just happened with this lawyer who said that he didn't weigh in on statement from Donald Trump Junior and now the White House makes it clear that he did? Do you trust the president of the United States, Congressman?

SANFORD: You know, I guess it's trust but verify. I mean, that was Ronald Reagan's term. And I think that for all of us as policy makers, you know, any statement, whether it's in the president or anybody else that we deal with in the supply chain of legislation, it's important to trust but ultimately to verify these facts.

HARLOW: But Ronald Reagan --

SANFORD: And I think that's what --

HARLOW: But Ronald Reagan was --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He was talking about the Soviet Union, which is considered the evil empire.

HARLOW: Exactly.

BERMAN: Are you suggesting that President Trump is the evil empire?

SANFORD: No, I'm not.

BERMAN: Do you trust the president of the United States as much as he trusted the Soviet Union?

SANFORD: No. Again, I'm not -- I'm only saying that what I said a moment ago, which is with every piece of policy out there, I try and trust but verify. And I think that it's incumbent upon any of us whether we're voters or whether we're office holders to do the same.

HARLOW: So you said a few striking things. Let's go through them. You told NPR, "I think people are feeling a little bit freer to say respectfully we disagree with you here." You have been outspoken against a lot of the president's policies and actions and words from the get-go. Jeff Flake comes out this week with this Politico column saying your entire party needs to speak up more. Did something change? Is this a tipping point?

SANFORD: It may well be. We don't know. I think that -- you know, everybody gives a new president something of a honeymoon period and I think that that honeymoon period is coming to a close. I think there will be more robust discussion and debate on different themes or ideas that the president brings out.

BERMAN: Right.

SANFORD: I, you know, questioned the budget, you know, the 3 percent growth rate assumption which I thought was very optimistic.

BERMAN: Congressman --

SANFORD: If you're wrong on that economic assumption, you're looking at a $3 trillion hole. So I think we are -- I'm sorry?

BERMAN: I don't mean to cut in but we do have some breaking news that I do want to get your take on.

SANFORD: OK.

BERMAN: We are just getting word that President Trump has signed the sanctions bill on Russia. That is the bill overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives and also the Senate. We just got word that the president has now signed this sanctions bill.

You are with us. Your reaction?

SANFORD: I think it fits very well to what we're talking about, increasingly Congress is going to assert itself. And that's what it did with that sanctions bill was to tie the president's hands in his ability to unilaterally negotiate with Russia.

That's a new development that you probably wouldn't have seen 100 or 200 days ago. It's absolutely the case now.

HARLOW: So you're saying the president's own actions are what caused him to face this? It's not that you think Congress would have been so supportive of tying the president's hands on Russia 100 days ago but for his actions and the way he has handled himself?

SANFORD: Yes, I think it's a combination of things. I think it's the ending of the honeymoon period where there's going to be more robust debate. I think it's some of the president's own actions that has brought this about.

And it's interesting. You know, it was Carl Simon who wrote a fascinating piece a number of weeks ago talking about how Trump may do more to advance Article 2 powers within the Congress than any other president in recent history.

[10:35:04] Typically what's happened is Congress has been something of a lapdog, whether it's a Republican or Democratic president, to whatever it is that the president proposes. But his point was, given some of what the president has done, you'll see an increasingly assertive Congress in saying we agree here but we happen to disagree over here in ways that we haven't seen in past presidencies.

BERMAN: All right. Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina, with us for the breaking news this morning. Thank you so much for rolling with the punches here.

SANFORD: Take care. Pleasure.

HARLOW: All right. Let's go to the White House. Kaitlan Collins is here.

And, look, Kaitlan, some important context, right? This thing, because Congress is in session, would have become law anyway, even if he hadn't signed it. But there was question about why the delay. So it's happened.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. This bill was sent to President Trump on Friday. And he's been noticeably silent about it but we have confirmed with the White House that Donald Trump has signed this Russia sanctions bill. But you're right, if he had decided not to sign it, Congress would have been able to overrule this veto anyway. So it still would have happened. But you're right, we have confirmed that Trump has signed this Russia sanctions bill.

BERMAN: Very interesting. We just heard from Congressman Mark Sanford.

And Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.

You know, Mark Sanford pointing out that this bill is a sign that Congress, you know, is going to assert itself for various reasons. Number one, there might be a trust issue with the president of the United States. Number two, the honeymoon period is over. And number three, just flat-out disagreements there.

So very significant. Also significant, by the way, the president signed this without much fanfare. Right? We don't see a picture.

HARLOW: No cameras.

BERMAN: Of him signing it. There's no statement along with the signing.

HARLOW: Co-equal branches of government at play today.

All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you.

Ahead for us, another claim that Baltimore police officers may have planted evidence. This is the second time in a month that this is happening. What's the police department saying and the community reaction? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:41:14] BERMAN: All right. New questions about the Baltimore Police Department this morning. According to the city's Public Defender's Office, new video from police body cameras that appears to show that officers planted drug evidence inside a suspect's car.

HARLOW: All right. Context here matters because this comes about a week after the state's attorney general dismissed 34 cases involving officers linked to a similar video that surfaced a month ago. The Baltimore Police Department now conducting a full-scale internal investigation.

Our correspondent Sara Ganim has more on this. What more can you tell us?

SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me be clear up front about something. CNN has not been able to actually view this full video. We haven't independently verified this. What we've seen are edited clips that have been posted online, elsewhere, and we know from the Public Defender's Office what they say they've seen on the tape which they say is suspicious.

They say that throughout this tape, multiple officers that are at the scene are turning off and turning on their body camera footage. And they say that it shows that multiple officers are working together to manufacture evidence. You can see they say at the beginning, you can hear the officers talking about how there will be consequences if they don't find something in this vehicle. Then later on you see them searching the front of the vehicle.

And then the Public Defender's Office says you see on the tape later on they find drugs in the same area where they had been searching before. And they say that this is evidence that the drugs were planted. Right?

This was flagged. And two officers are under internal review. They're not suspended. The charges in this case were dropped. And the City Attorney's Office said it does have questions about this. But they also said this.

"Before we blanketly characterize their behavior as deceptive and/or a credibility issue we referred the matter to the Internal Affairs Division of the Baltimore Police Department."

Now as you said, Poppy, context here matters because this is the second time in a matter of weeks that we've heard allegations like this. Video from back January was recently released that showed an officer putting a baggy full of drugs into a can, burying it with debris and then walking away, appearing to come back and finding the drugs. That officer was suspended. And more than 30 cases were dropped because of that video, which was released.

But that's a different case. But it's raised questions about the overall credibility of the department. The city attorney in Baltimore, Maryland, Mosby, she talked about this. I want to show you what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE STATE'S ATTORNEY: In the review process, we not only evaluate the merits of each individual case, but we have attempted to identify alternative ways to prove those cases where there's an independent corroborative evidence. And where these officers are material and necessary witnesses, we are dismissing those cases which rely exclusively on the credibility of these officers.

Earlier this week, it was brought to my attention that an additional video raised concerns for one of our prosecutors and further review of the matter we subsequently referred the matter to the Internal Affairs Division of the Baltimore Police Department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GANIM: Now the Baltimore City police chief has issued a warning to officers. And he has said this, "Do not recreate recovery of evidence if body cameras are not on." In addition to that, he's also telling them that they should turn their body cameras on at the beginning of a call and not turn them off until the incident is over.

BERMAN: A heck of a warning to make.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: Do not recreate anything.

HARLOW: Ever.

BERMAN: All right. Sara Ganim, thanks so much. Very curious story there.

All right. She flew 89 combat missions over Afghanistan. Now a former fighter pilot has a new mission. She wants to take on Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:48:56] HARLOW: A retired fighter pilot in Kentucky announced that she is running for Congress. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. AMY MCGRATH (D), CANDIDATE IN KENTUCKY 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: I'm Amy McGrath. And I love our country. I spent 20 years as a U.S. Marine, flew 89 combat missions bombing al Qaeda and the Taliban. I was the first woman Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat.

Now I'm running for Congress against Andy Barr in my home state of Kentucky. He's Mitch McConnell's handpicked congressman who said he would vote enthusiastically to take health care away from over a quarter million Kentuckians.

This is my new mission. To take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they are disposable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath was the first female Marine to fly an F-18 jet in a combat mission. Now she is campaigning for that seat in Kentucky, now held by Republican Congressman Andy Barr.

And that ad you just saw getting a whole lot of attention from people on both sides of the aisle who note it's a well done ad.

Colonel Amy McGrath joins us live this morning.

Colonel, thanks so much for being with us. Heck of an ad. Heck of a biography there. But you know, Donald Trump won Kentucky by, what, 30 points? The Republican incumbent Andy Barr, he just won his race by 20 points. So this won't be easy.

[10:50:04] Why isn't the Democratic message resonating in Kentucky's Sixth District?

MCGRATH: Well, the Sixth District of Kentucky is a very interesting district that has Lexington City in the middle surrounded by the rural areas. So as you said, it did go for Trump in the rural areas. But, you know, the people around here in Kentucky they -- when I talk to them, they really vote for the person, not the party. And I think that's what everybody I know cares about. They really care about who are you. Are you a person of character? Are you going to fight for me?

HARLOW: What's your take on the president?

MCGRATH: Well, you know, I -- when it comes to Donald Trump, I really believe that he has at least surrounded himself with my fellow Marines, General Mattis and General Kelly. I believe in them. I believe in their discipline. And I understand why voters voted for Donald Trump. I get that.

But I'm running -- I'm not running against Donald Trump. I'm really focused on running in the Sixth District of Kentucky for this congressional race. I'm running for Congress.

BERMAN: So you're not running against Donald Trump. You said the people in your district vote for more the person than the party. So how is Amy McGrath different than the Democratic Party nationally?

MCGRATH: Well, I don't know that I'm different than the Democratic Party national. I'm just an American who fought for her country for 20, 24 years. And I still want to make a difference. I want to go out there and be a public servant. And I think we need more people who are actually public servants, who actually want to run for political office for the right reasons and really do the work of the people. That's why I'm here.

HARLOW: So the Democratic Party is increasingly, and not, you know, wholesale, but increasingly some are leaning more and more toward the single payer health plan. We just had Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois on who said that's better than fixing Obamacare, despite the cost. Do you agree? And if so, are you willing to raise taxes to pay for it?

MCGRATH: Well, I understand that. I understand that point of view. Here is what I believe. I do believe health care is a right. I do believe it is a right for every American. Just like schools were a right 100 years ago when we decided public schools was something that's every American should be able to do.

HARLOW: I'm asking you -- I just want an answer. Is single payer better than Obamacare and would you raise taxes for it?

MCGRATH: I think healthcare is a right.

HARLOW: That's not an answer.

MCGRATH: I believe single-payer is -- well, I mean, with regard to Obamacare, here's what I would say. I do not think Obamacare is failing. I think it can be fixed. And let's try to fix it. Let's try do it in the right way. Let's try to put some effort into this, some bipartisan effort, and come together as a country first. And if it can't be fixed, then, yes, health care is a right. And we need to fix that problem. That's my number one issue.

BERMAN: North Korea, a lot of concern right there. You of course served for a long time in the military. Would you support any kind of pre-emptive military action against the North Korean regime? MCGRATH: Not at this time. We don't need to do that. Do you realize

the destruction that would take place if we did that? It would not be a good thing right now.

BERMAN: All right, Colonel Amy McGrath, great to have you with us. Thank you so much. You know, good luck as you begin this long, long journey into politics.

HARLOW: And of course we both thank you for your service to this country.

MCGRATH: Well, thank you for having me on. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right. We are following a lot of breaking news this morning. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, he just signed the bill, new sanctions on Russia. We will hear from the president within the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:58:12] BERMAN: So if you went to bed early last night, you missed one of the most amazing catches you will ever seen. I mean ever. There is no hyperbole here at all.

HARLOW: At all.

BERMAN: Seriously.

Coy Wire has this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's an incredible, incredible catch indeed. Hi, John and Poppy. Trending number one on BleacherReport.com this morning because as John mentioned, catch of the year. Unless Superman gets signed by a team, Austin Jackson, my goodness. Look at this.

The 30-year-old Indians outfielder robbed Red Sox's Hanley Ramirez of a homerun at Fenway Park. And look at this thing. Flipping over the wall of the bullpen there. One handed. Somehow keeping his eyes on this thing and not losing control of it. Even Ramirez can't believe it.

Now this is a guy, they even didn't know if he was going to make the roster during spring training. This is his fifth team. He is coming off a knee surgery he had last year. But in the end the Red Sox would get the win.

John Berman loves that. They won 12-10 in the bottom of the ninth off a walk-off homerun with two outs. But Austin Jackson, you the man.

Beyonce may be crazy in love with the Houston Rockets. Queen Bey's from Houston and she's reportedly considering buying an ownership stake in the team. The Rockets are expected to sell for $2 billion according to Forbes. And the NBA rules that owners have to have at least a 1 percent stake in a team. So Beyonce would have to come up with $20 million at least. But according to Forbes, also, she's worth $350 million. So we'll see

if this thing comes to fruition.

All right. This one is for you, Mr. Berman. A wax figure of Tom Brady unveiled at a Boston museum. Now I'm not sure this thing looks like the five-time Super Bowl quarterback. Picture tweeted out by a reporter in Boston. Brings to light a couple other questionable images from the past.

But, John, I wanted to show you, of course you remember the courtroom sketch from deflategate, well, we wanted to show you that wax figure, John, because you can now say for the first time in your life, you are better looking than Tom Brady.