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Trump Says If North Korea Keeps Threatening Then Will Meet With Fire; Engineer Out at Google Over Anti-Diversity Memo; Ten Years Later a Boy Reunites with Recovering Father. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICS REPORTER, "THE GUARDIAN": I think that it does contrast what you've heard from those on the foreign policy side of this administration, Nikki Haley, Rex Tillerson, even CIA director Mike Pompeo, all expressing a desire to de-escalate this conflict and pursue some kind of diplomatic resolution with Pyongyang. I think the biggest question will be whether or not the president is willing to listen to the counsel of those around him as he faces this test, this first real test of his leadership, is he going to go on a more aggressive position?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Just makes you wonder how Rex Tillerson, who's been overseas, has been for open dialogue with the foreign minister of North Korea, how this hurts or helps him when the president of the United States says something like this. You mentioned Nikki Haley so let me toss to some sound, Andre, and we'll talk on the other side here. The U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley was on Fox News this morning, asked about an unsubstantiated report, and so they asked her about it and this was her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIKKI HALEY, U.N. AMBASSADOR: I can't talk about anything that's classified, and if that's in the newspaper, that's a shame. It's incredibly dangerous when thing get out into the press like that. You're not only just getting a scoop on something. You're playing with people's lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, she doesn't comment on it, Andre, but then the president of the United States, you know, I don't know if he has on his Twitter retweets, does not equal endorsements, but the president retweeted that very unsubstantiated just only according to sources report, which is total hypocrisy.

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, maybe the president wanted to get a message to North Korea --

BALDWIN: Hang on. Let me just get you to agree with me on that because he is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

BAUER: Well, no, maybe there's a message underlying message that he wants the American people to know or Korea -- North Korea to know. The constitution clearly allows him to do this based on a ruling back in 1988, a majority vote, and so he may have knowledge that he wants to get out there. He may be sending a message that we don't even directly know about and so he has -- it is within his purview, being the president of the United States to do that under article two of the constitution.

BALDWIN: How is that not totally hypocritical? Sabrina.

SIDDIQUI: It certainly is hypocritical.

BALDWIN: You think about what Jeff Sessions was saying on Friday about leakers.

SIDDIQUI: Think about how this White House has aggressively gone after leaks, but that only happens to be leaks that they deem inconvenient for the administration, and the narrative around the Trump White House. I will tell you, this is the kind of behavior that leaves Americans concerned about how the president will respond in a time of crisis. There was actually a recent poll by CBS, 61 percent do not believe or I should say uneasy about how Trump will approach a conflict with North Korea. So, I think, again, it remains a question as to whether or not the people around him can rein him in at a time like this.

BALDWIN: You look at our own CNN poll, Gloria. Go ahead, Andre. Let me hear you.

BAUER: I was going to say, he may not need reining in. For a year now, better than a year, I've watched commentators talk about Donald Trump during a primary, during the general, about his missteps, and sometimes his missteps were the very steps that got him where he wanted to be. This may not be a misstep at all. In fact, it may be very shrewd, shrewd like a fox, he may be sending a message and in fact may curtail some type of behavior. We're not going to know every move the president makes.

BALDWIN: Maybe you're right. But let me point out, Andre, I got to jump in because he has been obsessed with leaks and stopping the leaks, and in this case by retweeting this Fox News story, he endorsed a leak of classified information.

BAUER: But the president --

BALDWIN: Full of anonymous sources. These are all of the things he calls out every day.

BAUER: The president has the purview, at any point in time, to declassify anything without any oversight whatsoever.

BALDWIN: I understand, but do you hear what I'm saying? This is a man who says no to leaks, calls a bunch of people, you know, fake news, don't believe it. Anonymous sources, it's B.S., but yet he's retweeting a Fox News article which is full of this stuff.

[15:35:00] BAUER: I do understand. I respect your viewpoint, but again, I would say that Donald Trump, a lot of times, has taken a tidbit of information and used it to send a specific message to an individual, and he may be doing everything he can in conflict resolution to try to stop this from escalating at a different -- he may be sending a clear message that we don't even know about and I suspect that is what he is doing. That is why he has declassified this information and let the American people know and the North Koreans know as well.

BALDWIN: OK. I think it's a common-sense viewpoint, but I respect you, Andre, I appreciate you being on with me and voicing your own.

Let's talk about credibility. Gloria, to you. We keep thinking about this number, this is a new CNN poll, 75 percent of Americans don't believe a word coming out of the White House. Well, let's take it a step further because his support among some of his core, fiercest Trump supporters, that's also down. Non-educated whites and Republicans who strongly approve of Trump are both down since February. So, they're having issues with his own credibility.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, you know, I think they are. When you hear about phone calls the president says happened, whether it's with a leader in Mexico or the Boy Scouts, and it turns out that the phone calls never happened, you know, you can't really blame it on the media all the time. Also, I would say that a lot of his supporters are not seeing the results that they want, and while he is popular among Republicans, and he still has approval with his base of support, we do see it eroding. And that is -- and we see his leadership numbers eroding. That is why, when you -- you know, to bring this back to North Korea, when you are -- we are clearly at an inflection point here, one way or another.

And people look to a president in times like these to tell them the truth and to make sober, level-headed decisions about what the next steps are, he has a great team around him, people believe, and so you have to believe they're going to do the right thing. But he is also the spokesman for his administration on these kinds of issues, directly to the American public. And this is where credibility gap, which is now a chasm, comes in, because at this time, people need to believe their president.

BALDWIN: Right. Right. Right. People are looking to the president on that. People are also looking to the president on something that I know you feel very passionately about. I didn't want to let you go without asking about this mosque incident over the weekend in Minnesota, this bombing. The governor is calling it an act of terrorism. On average, nine mosques have been targeted every month. But in this case, over the weekend in Minnesota, there's been nothing from the president, no tweet, no comment, and that angers you.

SIDDIQUI: Well, I think that what you hear from members of the Muslin community is frustration that they have not heard anything out of the White House with respect to this bombing or other hate crimes that have been on the rise over the last few years, not just against Muslins but also other people of color. This mirrors the response by the administration to the threats that were made against the Jewish community centers. It took a very long time for the president to go out and condemn those threats. He also, when there was a shooting of an Indian man in Kansas, it took them a long time to address that incident as well. When it comes to minorities that feel like they've been made targets due in part to the rhetoric from the president and his association with the alt-right. It seems like there's this hesitation in terms of actually going out of his way to condemn and disavow these actions.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. Gloria, thank you, and Andre, thank you as well.

Coming up next, more on this heated rhetoric from the president. North Korea will be met with fire and fury if it threatens the U.S. again. That's from the president just moments ago. We'll be right back.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Right now, President Trump has been meeting with his health and human services secretary, Tom Price, at his New Jersey golf club on the issue of the nation's opioid crisis. He has been facing pressure to declare it a national emergency and CNN's Poppy Harlow saw firsthand how it is ripping families apart.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMES FULLER, RECOVERING HEROIN ADDICT: I've missed you so much. Ain't a day went by man. It's been a long time. Ten years.

KALIB SWAFFORD, SON OF JAMES FULLER: Yep.

FULLER: Ten years.

SWAFFORD: Yes.

FULLER: I'm sorry.

SWAFFORD: It's fine. It's fine.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Twelve-year-old Kalib just saw his biological father for the first time in a decade.

FULLER: I just want you to know, I've changed for the better. I done a 360 in my life.

SWAFFORD: Yes.

HARLOW: He knows more than any child should ever have to about the grip of heroin. It ripped his dad away from him.

FULLER: You were going through so much when you was that age, man. I didn't have no means to get you to where you guys needed to be. I didn't.

SWAFFORD: Yes. I understand.

FULLER: So, I let you guys just stay where you was. I knew you were well took care of.

HARLOW: Is it a crisis in this community?

CINDI SWAFFORD, FOSTER PARENT: Oh, I think so. The addiction to it and the hold that it has on people makes it really hard to get off of it.

HARLOW: But the kindness of strangers has saved Kalib. He's being raised by Cindi and Jesse, who took him and his brother in as foster children a decade ago. And then adopted them both.

CINDI SWAFFORD: It's a lot to cope with, Khalib, at 12 years old.

KALIB SWAFFORD: It's just been a lot better than I would have done with my other parents.

HARLOW: The most recent data show 50 percent of the children in Ohio's foster care system are there because of their parents' drug use, and more than half of those are because of an opioid addiction.

[15:45:00] Of the 15 foster children Cindi and Jesse have taken in, 13 are because of their parents' drug addiction.

CINDI SWAFFORD: I'm confident that if we opened another bed in our home, it would be filled with another baby with an opiate issue.

HARLOW: That's a sad reality.

CINDI SWAFFORD: It is. Yes. It's hard to hold a baby as they're withdrawing from heroin.

JESSE SWAFFORD: I hate to say it this way but we kind of clean up a little bit of the mess. So, I mean, we need more people to help clean up the messes with us.

HARLOW: Kalib decided that even after so many years, he wanted to see his birth father, James, who says he's been clean from heroin for the past 18 months.

KALIB SWAFFORD: It's his choice if he wants to go back on them, but I feel I can help in some way to motivate him to not use it again.

HARLOW: What do you think when you hear Kalib say that at 12 years old, he wants to be part of what helps his dad stay off of heroin?

CINDI SWAFFORD: I mean, it's scary, because that's a big responsibility for a 12-year-old. And I also have a different understanding of the pull to heroin for these moms and dads, and I'm sure there's a part of him that really does want to stay clean for him. There's also a part of me that knows that it doesn't always work that way.

HARLOW: James says he was addicted to heroin for more than a decade. It cost him his family, his job, and even his home. But today, sober, he gets to see his son for the first time in ten years.

How you feeling?

FULLER: Emotional. Nervous. It's been a long time.

HARLOW: Of course, you've thought about all that the heroin took away from you.

FULLER: Yes. Yes. It took my whole life from me.

HARLOW: All your children

FULLER: All of them. All my children, my job at one time. I was homeless out here for three years, you know, not knowing where my next meal was coming from, you know, I was out here shoplifting to support my habit. It got bad. Many, many jail stays. You have to hit bottom. You have to. Or you're just not going to get help. It took me, you know, almost dying, not even being here, to do it.

KALIB SWAFFORD: I'm glad you're feeling better so I can see you.

FULLER: Much better. So, what do you like to do?

KALIB SWAFFORD: Well, I like to -- well, I really like -- my favorite subject in school is science.

FULLER: Really?

KALIB SWAFFORD: Uh-huh.

FULLER: That's cool. Always caught my interest. I mean, I'm just telling you, I've never stopped thinking about you. Never. Never. Even when I was out there messed up. I thought that would be my motivation to quit, to stop. But it just wasn't enough.

KALIB SWAFFORD: I'm glad now that you are able to be clean.

FULLER: Yes. Yes. No desire.

HARLOW: As he went to bed that night, Kalib told his mom that was the best day of his life. A day of hope after heroin. CNN, Dayton, Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: So, Poppy is back with us today. Just to think of a dad, and it sounds like his wife, they were both hooked on heroin. She still is. And he says to his kid, who he hasn't seen in ten years, so what do you like?

HARLOW: I mean, what else do you say? The children were taken, Kalib and his brother, from their parents when they were two years old and thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. Thank goodness for Cindi and Jesse, who have taken them in and 15 years, most of them from parents addicted to opioids and other drugs. Now we see what happens. Right? Now he's been sober for 18 months because he almost died from an overdose.

Can he stay sober, Brooke? Can he rebuild somewhat of a relationship with his son and his other children? Maybe. We'll see. But I was just blown away that this 12-year-old, not only wanted to see him again after all that, but said, I want to help be the reason to keep him clean.

[15:50:00] You've got 50 percent of the kids in Ohio's foster system, they're there because their parents are on drugs and more than half of those are because of heroin and that's why a lot of people look at this and say these are the invisible victims. These are the other victims of this crisis.

BALDWIN: No, thank you for reporting on it. And we know that as we speak, the president's in a room with Tom Price, HHS secretary, and a number of other people. He talked so much about it on the trail, addressing the epidemic. I was talking to a mom last hour who lost her son, William, who was 19, from this, from an overdose. And I'm just glad the administration's addressing it.

HARLOW: Me too. We'll see if they declare it a national emergency. That would mean a lot more funding.

BALDWIN: Agree. Thank you so much. Check out our reporting, go to CNN.com/hooked.

Back to our breaking news today. Intel sources believe North Korea has this nuclear warhead, enough to fit on a ballistic missile, ICBM. We'll be right back.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The Google software engineer behind this controversial 10- page memo is out. Gone after blasting diversity and women in the workplace. A source at Google tells CNN he's no longer listed in an on-line directory. Multiple outlets have flat out said he's fired. He said women are less suited for tech jobs than men for a host of biological and psychological reasons. Then defends his comments as just a differing viewpoint counter to progressive news.

According to Bloomberg News, he is now, quote, exploring all legal remedies. Let's bring in two ladies to discuss this, Liz Plank, senior correspondent and producer for Vox.com and Mary Ham, senior writer for "The Federalist" and author of "End of Discussion." You say the outrage has gone too far. Does that mean you don't think he should have been fired?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I actually quibble a little bit with the characterization of this piece of writing that I don't think was either anti-diversity or a screed. That doesn't mean that I agree with all of it. I think he invokes biology in parts that I did not like. In an effort to say we should examine our history and what in aggregate are genders are motivated by, and what they're not and how that could be a factor in the gender inequality we have in this industry. That's not the same as saying women are unfit for tech jobs. It was sort of mounted in this rather mild and dispassionate way, and here is my concern.

As you may have noted, I enjoy disagreeing with people, I relish people who disagree with me. I like living them, I like being friends with them, I even married one of them. I think it's what makes American life rich, and I think when we get to the point where something is a rather mild passionate disagreement within an organization which by the way offered a forum for having such disagreements rises to this level of a national story in economic disadvantage for the person who presented this argument. Then we are not a society that is celebrating free speech or that has discussions to get to actual issues and solve problems.

Mainstream folks writing in mainstream publications verified Twitter accounts saying, they would like to beat the [bleep] out of this person for saying it. We should round up all the people who agree with it and fire them also. This is totalitarian impulses and I'm not on board with that.

BALDWIN: Whew. That's where you are, and I appreciate that viewpoint. Liz, where are you on all of this? Do you agree or disagree?

LIZ PLANK, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT AND PRODUCER FOR VOX.COM: This employee was an at-will employee. Google can choose to fire them as they please. I think you respect that. It is important in American society that we respect employers' decisions to do that. What this manifesto did and the conversation that sort of ensued is an important one. And the disagreement, I think, is great, and Brooke, why I'm happy you're talking about this issue and bringing light to it. For Google, this is bad. It drew attention to the fact that Google has a serious problem with diversity. I find it ironic that a search engine company that can help me find a pizza has such trouble finding women of color to fill their positions. Seven out of 10 employees at Google are men. That is not representative of society. Only 2 percent of their employees are African-Americans. And if you look at other cities like Washington, 10 percent of their workers are African- Americans. People say it's a pipeline issue --

BALDWIN: But do you agree -- like Mary Katharine, I think, was essentially saying America is great for all these various opinions, diversification of thought. That was maybe wrong for Google despite the fact that maybe we don't all agree with what this guy said, he is allowed to say it. Do you think he's allowed to say it where he's saying women shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer and he should be fired for it. Liz?

[16:00:00] PLANK: I find it interesting that he felt comfortable that he feels comfortable sharing it. It was interesting when stuff came out of the culture at Uber that was -- enabled systemic sexual harassment, and I think there are sort of things a lot of men felt like they could say and do were not appropriate. I do wonder what kind of culture exists at Google that made a white man, who is in a senior position, engineer at one of the most -- one of the biggest tech companies in the world feel threatened by a few diversity programs. And then want to share that and write 10 pages about it and have it leaked in the way that it had and think that there would be no consequences.

BALDWIN: Isn't a piece of this, Mary Katharine, this is directed at you. This software engineer had hiring power. He could impact the empowerment of women. This is a guy who is basically saying I don't like women around computers -- HAM: I often disagree with you in a very jovial way and I just

totally disagree with the characterization is that's what he's saying. That's why I disagree with the reaction to this. If it were what you were saying, I would be more on board with Liz's point of view. We're saying, look, this is a valuable conversation to have, and I agree. One of the things this person was bringing to the table is perhaps part of diversity is ideological diversity as well. Ironically, and nobody seems to recognize the blinding irony of this, he was saying one of the problems with Google is we're in this ideological insular bubble that people like me don't want to bring our ideas to the forefront, and then it was leaked to punish him and he was fired for it having been leaked.

BALDWIN: How should Google then, Mary Katharine, have handled it instead of saying, we don't agree, you're out?

HAM: More speech is better. When you get to the point where you're essentially saying you will be economically punished for something that's not really, really out of bounds, which I don't think this memo was, then we're not having a discussion and we're not celebrating free speech. That doesn't mean government is cutting down on it, but I think there are ways we can approach it that are really important. Suck it up or we'll have a disagreement.

BALDWIN: I'm all for it.

HAM: It wasn't that the manifesto was offensive, it wasn't true. He didn't do his homework. Tech used to be a woman-dominated field in the '40s, and women were pushed out of that field. There is a whole movie about that.