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Trump Meets With National Security Advisor On North Korea; Trump Urges China To Do More On North Korea; Tillerson Insists Diplomatic Efforts Underway; U.S. And South Korea Agreed To Work Together On North Korea; Trump: Maybe My North Korean Threat Wasn't Tough Enough; Trump Hasn't Given Any Thought to Firing Mueller; Trump "Very Disappointed" in Mitch McConnell; U.S. Diplomates Suffer "Acoustic Attack" in Cuba; Google CEO Cancels Town Hall & Fired Engineer Defends Views; How Tech Devices Monitor Health 24 Hours A Day. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired August 11, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Coming from Donald Trump and North Korea. U.S. president says he may not have been tough enough this week when he promised to respond that fire and fury like the world has never seen. North Korean is warning the U.S. would suffer a shameful defeat and final doom if doesn't stop its military adventure. Our President Trump says he won't discuss military options but he is not ruling out a preemptive strike. CNN's Sara Murray has more.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will tell you this. North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world, OK?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As tensions with North Korea escalate, President Trump says it may be time to up the ante.
TRUMP: Let's see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event of the likes which nobody has seen before on what will happen in North Korea. You'll see. You'll see, and he'll see. He will see. It's not a dare, it's a statement.
MURRAY: After this saber rattling rhetoric earlier this week.
TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
MURRAY: Trump said that statement may have been too timid.
TRUMP: If anything maybe, that statement wasn't tough enough. What they've been doing, and what they've been getting away with is a tragedy, and it can't be allowed.
MURRAY: The president's comment coming as he huddled for the first time this week with Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster at his golf club in New Jersey. The North Korea regime has been bristling at Trump's tough talk, threatening a strike near Guam and hurling insults at the American president -- calling Trump bereft of reasoning.
TRUMP: He has disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific. And with me, he's not getting away with it.
MURRAY: Trump said he would consider diplomatic efforts but offered a pessimistic view of their odds of success.
TRUMP: We are always considering negotiations, but they've been negotiating now for 25 years. Look at Clinton, he folded on the negotiations. He was weak and ineffective. You look at what happened with Bush, you look what happened with Obama.
MURRAY: All while ensuring China to step up its pressure on Pyongyang.
TRUMP: I think China can do a lot more, yes. China can, and I think China will do a lot more.
MURRAY: As Trump continues to serve up fire and fury, his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has taken a different approach -- insisting diplomatic efforts are still underway and offering reassurances to the American people.
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think that the president was just reaffirming is the United States has the capability to fully defend itself of any attack and defend allies, and we will do so. And so, the American people should sleep well at night.
MURRAY: Trump is still insisting, his administration is speaking with one voice.
TRUMP: There are no mixed messages. There are no mixed messages.
MURRAY: Even if he couldn't quite explain the sharp difference in tone between himself and his secretary of state.
TRUMP: I heard the -- I mean, to be honest, General Mattis may have taken a step beyond what I said. There are no mixed messages. And Rex was just stating the view.
MURRAY: Now, the president took an unexpected number of questions from reporters today. And in addition to feeling questions about Iran, about North Korea, about the Russian investigation of the potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia officials, he also offered his first reaction to (INAUDIBLE) to expel hundreds of diplomats from the embassy in Moscow. And in fact, President Trump said, he wanted to thank Putin; he said the U.S. is trying to cut back on a payroll. Obviously, a very different tone Trump is taking with Putin, and when it comes to North Korea. Back to you.
SESAY: Well, thanks to Sara Murray there. We are covering the story like only CNN can. Let's bring in Alexandra Field in Seoul, South Korea; CNN's Sherisse Pham is in Tokyo; and CNN's Phil Black reporting there from Moscow. Welcome to all of you. Alexandra Field, to start with you. A fresh (INAUDIBLE) of heightened rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea, what's been the reaction at where you are?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The war of words is not exactly the kind of dialogue that officials in South Korea were hoping for. They are the ones who've want to try in the peaceful resolution, to ratchet down the tension, and they are the ones who continue to extend offers for dialogue with North Korea. Look, the part of the president's messaging that they might be optimistic about hearing, is the part where he talks about the consideration of negotiations. But he also, at the same time, doesn't rule out the possibility of a preemptive strike.
And it's that kind of talk, we can't say it enough, that does raise concerns on the peninsula where you have an already tensed security situation. And that is because, as we know all too well, if Pyongyang wanted to attack or if they wanted to retaliate for some kind of perceived attack, it is the people who are right here in this country and in this cities would be in the line of fire when it comes to the use of conventional weapons from North Korea. And all analysts seemed to estimate that North Korea would have the capacity to potentially kill thousands of people in the first few hours of conflict before the U.S. military would be able to fully suppress and overwhelm them -- possibilities that people here, really don't even want to entertain.
[01:05:20] But look, you've not seen acceleration when it comes to action by any means; this is very much an acceleration in ratcheting up of rhetoric. So, those are words alone right now that certainly, everyone in the region is hanging closely on the words that the president will say. Officials here in South Korea have not talked about the tone that he's taken in recent days; this incredibly bellicose rhetoric, these very fiery threats, and said they've generally just come to the U.S.'s defense that they stand with the ally. Threatening Pyongyang and warning Pyongyang, that further provocation would result in a military response from South Korea.
And that is, they say because if Pyongyang is threatening the U.S., precisely with that threat to launch a missile toward Guam, they see that as a challenge to the U.S. and South Korea alliance. So, they're standing together after the president filled all those questions. There was a phone call between the National Security Adviser of South Korea and at the U.S., they apparently spend some time talking to each other and came to this conclusion that the two are working together step by step here, Isha.
SESAY: Alexandra Field, there in Seoul. Thank you. Let's go to Sherisse Pham, she is in Tokyo. Sherisse, given the North's continuous threat, and the fact that we know there are any missiles that were taunting Guam, according to Pyongyang, would fly over Japan. How much support is there in Tokyo for a U.S. preemptive strike?
SHERISSE PHAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in Tokyo there is -- they are very concerned but they're calm here. There is support for the U.S. to continue to have all options on the table. The Japanese government has said, this is the U.S.'s stance, and we support that. Is there a public support for U.S. preemptive strike? That is unclear. The government is silent today because it's a national holiday. But you can bet that they are talking behind scenes about whether or not it's time to reassess to beef up the self-defense security forces here.
Right now, there is a ballistic missile defense in place in Tokyo. But right now, it doesn't cover the entire region. And there was an annual white paper, released earlier this year, that's an annual paper released by the Ministry of Defense. And if you read through that White Paper, you can see that that defense system to cover the entire region of Japan would not be in place until 2021. And so, any sort of discussion of beefing up the defense system so that if the North Korean rocket or North Korean missile passes over the land of Japan. And Japan would be able to take it out with the missile defense system, that always gets the public a little concerned here, Isha.
SESAY: All right. Sherisse, I appreciate that perspective. Phil Black, to you there in Moscow, only China and Russia are viewed to have any level of significance, leverage over North Korea. What is Moscow's view of this escalating war of words?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isha, Russia's really not getting involved in this sort of language and these sorts of exchanges at this stage. In fact, clearly, they don't. There's a rule: Russia or Moscow does not do diplomacy this way. It doesn't believe in heated colorful language. It doesn't believe in threats. And all of that is especially true when it comes to the North Korea issue. Russia's view -- and it's being pretty consistent for a very long time now, and that is that threats, this colorful heated language, these exchanges, they don't help anyone, and they do not help the situation. Russia believes there is no military solution to this problem. The only thing, inevitably, that all sides can do is sit down and talk about it, and have dialogue, and try to negotiate a settlement that ultimately satisfies all.
Now, obviously, that's not, sort of, easy to achieve, and they're not suggesting that it will be, but they're simply that to talk in this way really risk an escalation into a situation that they and they believe no other party really wants to see. So, the Russian view is that North Korea should not have nuclear weapons. But at the same time, they appear to express some sympathy for North Korea in the sense that they believe that North Korea was essentially motivated by a fear for its own survival, which to a significant extent is exacerbated by the military actions of South Korea and the United States -- they're posturing their exercises. So, ultimately, Russia wants North Korea to stop the missile tests, stop the development. And at the same time, it says the United States should its exercises with South Korea. And in that, then can create an environment of much more constructive atmosphere where everyone can sit down and try and solve it out, Isha.
SESAY: Phil Black, there. We appreciate it. Our thanks to all three of you: Alexandra Field there in Seoul, South Korea; Sherisse Pham in Tokyo, Japan; and Phil Black in Moscow, thank you.
Now, North Korea's long-range technology has advanced much faster than western analyst thought possible. It does not mean, however, that Kim Jong-un has achieved the weapons he needs to threaten the U.S. With us to share his expertise on North Korea's missile program is David Schmerler, he's a Research Associate with James Martin Center for Non- Proliferation Studies in Monterey, California. Thank you so much for being with us.
[01:10:28] Now, President Trump's threat of fire and fury in the phase of continued North Korean threats, did not please some people on Thursday -- did please some people, I should say. And on Thursday, he doubled down with this new warning, saying that maybe those threats weren't strong enough. I mean, where do you stand on the rhetoric from the U.S. president at this point in time? What do you think it accomplishes?
DAVID SCHMERLER, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE WITH JAMES MARTIN CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES: I don't think this rhetoric accomplishes anything productive. It's rather destabilizing, actually.
SESAY: Well, the destabilizing you say. I mean, the North Korea regime received the threat on Tuesday, you know, the red line, if you will, drawn by the president. And it immediately crossed-over it by announcing that those plans, amid all the supposedly attack on Guam. They say that they would use four intercontinental ballistic missiles. I just want to ask you, first of all, do you think they have the capability to actually meet that target?
SCHMERLER: Well, they have tested earlier on this year. I believe it was in March, the Hwasong-12, in which the ranges were estimated to surpass the distance from any location -- North Korea to Guam. So, I think it is something that they could technically do. But I think the one point that we need to focus on is that the North Korea since say they're going to attack Guam. It might be a fine line. This would definitely be the most provocative missile test they've ever done. But what the North Korean's did say was that they're going to test the missile up to Guam.
SESAY: OK, noted -- targeting the waters off the coast of Guam. The hope now is that the president's rhetoric, the president's warnings will -- you know, calls Kim Jong-un to rethink this. But let me ask you this: can Kim Jong-un reverse course without losing face domestically?
SCHMERLER: I'm not quite sure. That's a great question. I think at this point though, the best course forward with the (INAUDIBLE) of the president is to stop issuing the ultimatums and threats against North Korea, and try to establish some type of line of communication with the North Koreans. This is going to be solved. It's going to be solved through communication, not through talking past each other with threats.
SESAY: You know, this week, we learned according to the Washington Post, said that it seems a U.S. intelligence assessment that North Korea can now fit a miniaturized nuclear war head on a missile. The question appears to be having mastered the technological know-how that would enable the missile to reenter the Earth atmosphere intact. Given the rate of progress they have been making so far, how long do you think it would take them to achieve that capability?
SCHMERLER: I just said. But estimates are fairly hard to make in the open source. Of course, the government has a clatter of tools to make a better assessment on it. But it's something that they have been testing with their last ICBM test, and possibly the Hwasong-12.
SESAY: OK. David Schmerler, joining us there from Monterey; we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
We'll take a quick break here. President Trump has been accused of (INAUDIBLE) with North Korea. But he, especially his Washington allies said the brink as well. Plus, the people of Aleppo return as the city slowly comes to life. We'll tell you who the residents are thanking for the improvement.
[01:15:59] SESAY: Well, the fight to drive ISIS out of Raqqa, Syria could take months. That's according the Syrian Kurdish commander directing the offensive. It is about half of the old city has been cleared so far. The troops are advancing carefully as they face snipers, car bombs, and booby traps. The U.S.-backed forces first took parts of Raqqa in June, they've regained control of surrounding towns and villages trying to cut off ISIS fighters from the north, east, and west.
Now to Aleppo, which remains in ruins nine months after the Syrian regime retook the city. Some businesses are reopening as the overall cleanup effort moves slowly. Our Frederik Pleitgen has more from inside the city.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was one of the most brutal battles of the Syria conflict. When Syrian government forces backfire Russia, launched their final assault on rebel-held areas in Aleppo taking the back of the opposition.
Nine months later, much of Syria's second-largest city still lay in ruins, but life is starting to emerge once again. Thousands have returned to former battle zone neighborhood, many relying on aid donations to get by. We came to this neighborhood just as residents were rushing to get (INAUDIBLE). "Most people who returned are in bad need of almost everything," the local head of this NGO says. "Many come back and find that their homes are reduced to just walls and ceilings. We help them as much as we can."
Some stores are also re-opening and market vendors coming back. This area was once held by rebels; some who fled, fear reprisals if they return. But all the people we met were vocal supporters of the government and its Russian backers. "The Russians are our friends," this man says. "They are honest with us like we are honest with them. Bashar al-Assad and the Russians are one." Amid this massive destruction, the tiny efforts at reconstruction appear almost like a drop in the bucket. But inside the bombed and burned ruins, Aleppo's industry is starting to spring back to life.
We came across this textile shop, where they repaired the machines and are manufacturing clothes once again. "When the people who fled see that business is coming back, they'll return and we'll together to make Aleppo as great as it used to be and even better," this shift leader says. Aleppo's historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, much of it now reduced to rubble. Some of the fiercest battles revolt around the highest point of the city -- the ancient Citadel.
The ancient Citadel was one of the main battle grounds here in Aleppo. And like so many parts of this city, repairing the damage will be a monumental task. We climbed to the highest point of the Citadel, getting a stunning view of all of Aleppo -- one of the oldest cities in the world, badly damaged but now with a change to stand up once again. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Aleppo, Syria.
SESAY: Well, let's get more on this now with Barak Barfi in Gaziantep, Turkey. He's a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation and joins us live via Skype. Barak, good to have you with us. We just saw the situation in Aleppo in that report from our own Fred Pleitgen. I know you want to see the situation; you were there in October. What's your view of the situation on the ground right now?
BARAK BARFI, RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION (via Skype): Well, the situation is very, very bad. Much of the eastern part of the city has been destroyed. Some of the industrial section such as (INAUDIBLE) has taken damage, and also, as Fred said, the old city which is the UNESCO World Heritage site, a lot of it has been destroyed. So, it's going to be very hard to rebuild that city.
SESAY: I mean, speaking to -- Fred spoke to some of those people in that report; they seem to express optimism for the future. Are they right to be optimistic?
[01:20:07] BARFI: I think that might be misplaced for several reasons. First of all, Syria's not a very wealthy country, so it cannot internally and (INAUDIBLE) generate the funds necessary for reconstruction. Secondly, Aleppo is the second city of Syria, and there's a big competition between Damascus and Aleppo -- Damascus being the capital. So, we would imagine that most of the reconstruction funds will be going to Damascus instead of Aleppo because Aleppo rebelled while Damascus really didn't. So, there's a lot of internal fight there as well.
SESAY: So, those who are returning, as you speak to Syrians, what's striving them to go back?
BARFI: People here in Turkey, at least, they're so poor, they don't have jobs, they don't feel welcome here. They can't get the residency permits renewed in -- living the shadows of society here. So, many of them simply just want to go home. And a lot of people here are from the poor levels of society, so they're from the rural areas of Aleppo. So, they think that they can go back and (INAUDIBLE) themselves fairly quickly into the agricultural sector of society.
SESAY: I mean, in the absence of the necessary funding going to Aleppo's rebuilding its recovery, you know, to go back to what you suggested. In the event of that happening, I mean, what does the future look like for Aleppo and these people who are going back? BARFI: Well, what we think will happen is what happened in the wake of the collapses of Soviet Union in Russia in the 1990's, where oligarchs swept in and bought state assets that fire crisis. The government of -- Syria is a country. Like I said, doesn't have much capital so it's going to look at to outside sources -- to the private sector, to rebuild. And that means, give up everything that the state has at very low prices: land, factories. And of course, Shia Militias that have sacrificed blood and toil for the government, and they're going to want their payback in kind down the road. So, they're also going to want state lands and to enrich themselves for the sacrifices they made.
SESAY: I mean, Barak, as I pointed out right at the beginning of the conversation, you have been to Syria, you've been to Aleppo, and you were there recently. As we look at the picture of the old city that has been destroyed, it was UNESCO World Heritage site, I mean, what does the world lose if places like the old city are never rebuilt?
BARFI: The old city of Aleppo was one of the most beautiful (INAUDIBLE) that we had in the Middle East. The Citadel, a beautiful location site from Valag -- last great local leader, I think, in the 11th century that built that. We're losing culture. We're losing our international culture the way that the west connects with the east with outside culture on the stand when they were at their (INAUDIBLE) when they led the world. It's very hard for some of us to understand that. So, when we lose places like Aleppo, when Tadmor or Palmyra is just utterly destroyed and these temples are gone, we lose our connection the past and what these societies offered us back then.
SESAY: Very well said. Barak Barfi, with the New America Foundation, joining us there from Turkey; we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
BARFI: Thanks for having me.
SESAY: Now in Northern England, 18 people were convicted this week in a child sex assault case, in well, the nearly 300 victims. The network targeted vulnerable girls and women in Newcastle. Our Nina dos Santos reports, Newcastle isn't the only U.K. city scarred by this problem.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Isha. While modern day slavery seems just far more prevalent across the U.K. than people had suspected before. That is the stark message coming from a report issued by the National Crime Agency which says, that there are 300 policing operations that are currently active on this subject in almost every major town and city across the British aisle. With tens of thousands of people, potentially having been victims to these crimes, many of them women who've been trafficked into the United Kingdom, and then exploited for sex, often sold -- and that sexual services' sold via Internet. And in some cases, some of these victims were also forced to launder the proceeds of this elicit activity by their own bank accounts. The news comes just one day after a series of convictions in the Northeast of England when a major child grooming gang was convicted. These are the faces of one of the U.K.'s largest child sex rings -- 17
men and one woman. Together, they targeted vulnerable girls in the northeastern city of Newcastle. The women, some as young as 14, were picked from care homes or on the streets. They were plagued with drugs and alcohol and passed around at parties to be raped multiple times by multiple people.
STEVE ASHMAN, CHIEF CONSTABLE OF NORTHUMBRIA POLICE: From the outset, this has been about doing what is right, and placing victims at the heart of the investigation.
[01:25:11] SANTOS: The abuse went on for three years until two of the 278 potential victims raised the alarm. That sparked an investigation which led to 461 arrests, and one which controversially also saw the police pay a non-child rapist of $13,000 for information.
ASHMAN: To some of us, the thought of the police engaging that such of person and paying them for information may appear morally repugnant. However, he proved that he was in the position whereby he could and did alert police to situations which allow them to prevent offending.
SANTOS: Child protection agency says that is no excuse.
JON BROWN, HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT AND IMPACT, NSPCC: He was cut loose, and was sent out there into these communities to network with these known or these potential offenders, and potentially, who have contact with vulnerable of children.
SANTOS: Newcastle isn't the only British city to have been scarred by sex gangs; from Rochdale to Rotherham, Oxford, and Aylesbury, and other towns across the country. A dozen networks have preyed upon underage White women in similar ways.
PAT RICHIE, CEO AND DIRECTOR, NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL: What's happened to Newcastle isn't unique, it's happened in lots of places across the country. And if you're not finding it, then you're not looking hard enough, in my experience.
SANTOS: As in previous cases, many of the perpetrators were of South Asian or Middle Eastern ethnicity, prompting one Muslim Newcastle counselor to warn "against casting blame on entire communities." These convictions were part of a wider probe which continues and has already secured more than 300 years of sentences. The 18 in question will be handed their judgments next month.
Isha, well, as more of these cases come into life, and more convictions being secure, authorities have also launched a major advertising campaign to make people in the communities aware of the signs of potential exploitation and also trafficking not just the police. Back to you, Isha.
SESAY: Our thank to Nina dos Santos there. Just ahead, U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on dealing with North Korea; more on the latest get-tough warning. Plus, Google was ready to talk about sexism and diversity at the company after a controversial memo went viral. Ahead, why the CEO canceled the scheduled town hall meeting?
[01:30:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
The headlines this hour.
SESAY: Returning to the feud between the U.S. and North Korea, so far, it's been an extremely heated war of words. Much of the world is hoping is goes no further than that. But reality is no one is quite such right now. There have been some warnings of drastic action from both sides. North Korea has laid out a plan to hit the American territory of Guam. And Mr. Trump responded that any such action would be at their peril.
Let's bring in now former L.A. councilwoman, Wendy Greuel, and CNN political commentator, John Phillips.
Thank you to you both for joining me for round two.
I want to pick up on North Korea. The president also saying on Thursday, as he took questions from reporters, that there are no mixed messages coming out of this administration. The point has been made that there is a difference in tone from the president and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Wendy, to you first.
He says there's no mixed messaging, but the marked difference in tone is noteworthy. Do you believe this is an administration that has a fully coherent, on-the-same-page plan for North Korea?
WENDY GREUEL, FORMER L.A. CITY COUNCILWOMAN: I think that's the concern of the American people and a lot of our elected officials in Congress about what is the plan and strategy. Is this just a good- cop/bad-cop kind of exchange and that they really are working in tandem on a diplomatic effort as well as a strong, we're tough, America, position as well? I think it's unclear. And because the president, when he initially made his comment off-the-cuff, it didn't seem like it was a planned strategy. This is a serious issue for this country, this world. We think there should be a plan and strategy that people are aware of.
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we've struck our head in the sand up until this point, so I think it's high time that we start using language that is rough.
SESAY: When you say the U.S. stuck their hands in the sand, what do you mean? They've been pushing sanctions at the U.N. There have been multiple -
PHILLIPS: Strategies that haven't worked. We've had administration after administration that's kicked the can down the road. And now North Korea has the ability to shoot these missiles that could potentially get to American cities, Honolulu or San Francisco or Los Angeles or Seattle. This is no longer an abstract international issue. This is a local issue for those of us that live on the west coast. I think Kim Jong-Un knew exactly what Trump meant when he got up there and gave those harsh words. I think it's high time someone from that position did that to him because he's caused so many problems and he's pushed the world to the point where we're at right now that to have the American position to be as clear and forceful as it has been, I think is a good thing.
SESAY: Has it been clear and forceful? He drew a line on Tuesday, which North Korea promptly jumped over.
PHILLIPS: I think all of this needs to be put in the context of what happened in Syria and what happened in Afghanistan when Donald Trump bombed each of those countries. People know this guy doesn't play around. That's in the back of Kim Jong-Un's head as he does his strategic planning.
SESAY: All right. Let's move on and talk about the special counsel investigation because, as we said, there was a lot discussed in those comments by the president on Thursday when he took those questions from reporters.
Wendy, the president was asked about the possibility of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigation. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't given it any thought. I've been reading about it from you people. You say, oh, I'm just going to dismiss him. No, I'm not dismissing anybody. I mean, I want them to get on with the task. But I also want the Senate and the House to come out with their findings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Wendy, the president says I haven't given it any thought, which directly contradicts press reporting out there.
SESAY: So can Mueller stop looking over his shoulder now?
GREUEL: Absolutely, not. I think a lot of people -- and this is , I believe, the hand of his new chief of staff, who is saying we have to just move off that issue. He has a lot of support. Mueller has a lot of support in Congress. And the public believe they want to see the truth of this. I think Trump has finally realized he cannot fire him without there being a huge battle, a huge fight, and discrediting him and the rest of his administration.
SESAY: John, is it the work of John Kelly? Is that why now --
[01:35:11] PHILLIPS: Oh, he could be the angel on his shoulder. You never know.
He said he's not going to fire him. I take him at his word. But, look, I think Mueller should stick to the task at hand, which is to investigate whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. If he starts to veer off course and he starts to look at finances or financial deals that happened 10 years ago in the construction world, I think he's taking his eyes off the prize. I think Trump is right to throw him brush-back pitches every so often.
SESAY: All right. Speaking of looking over one's shoulder, yes, the president does appear to have a bull's eye on the back of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. He has been trolling this man for a number of days, made a number of public statements. He said this on Thursday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm very disappointed in Mitch. But if he gets these bills passed, I'll be very happy with him. I'll be the first to admit it. But honestly, repeal and replace of Obamacare should have taken place and it should have been on my desk virtually the first week I was there or the first day I was there. I've been hearing about it for seven years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: John, is that a winning strategy to take on the most important on Capitol Hill, the person you need to get your agenda through?
PHILLIPS: He should be trolled. They have run how many different national campaigns on repealing Obamacare. And they voted for it and they got the votes when there wasn't a president that would sign it. They finally have a president that will sign it and, suddenly, the votes aren't there.
John McCain, OK, he's a contrarian and I understand he leaves the reservation all the time. And Susan Collins comes from a liberal state. I get that. But how can you not pressure Lisa Murkowski into voting from this? She comes from a political machine in Alaska. Give her money for a moose sanctuary, and if that doesn't work, punish her somehow.
GREUEL: They tried that. They were going to try that
PHILLIPS: Well, do more. That should be a vote that we can flip.
SESAY: Well, Wendy, isn't the point that -- the question people are asking is, does the president understand that getting things done on Capitol Hill comes down to trust and goodwill. And that by doing something like this, it kind of erodes that. GREUEL: I don't think he understands that. What he does understand is when there is success, he takes credit for it. When there's failure, he blames someone else. There he was in the Rose Garden after the House passed a repeal of Obamacare and was celebrating it. But I don't think lifting that many fingers to help on the Senate side. I'm not someone who wants to defend McConnell, but I think when you look at this, it does take a process. It's not just a dictatorship where you say I want this to happen. You could also say of President Trump, you've been thinking about this for seven years to repeal it, where was your plan initially and where did you get the votes to make it happen. I think you're finding is Congress is having to deal with a lot of things Trump created. When you look at the White House, it's kind of White House Survivor. Who is going to survive there? That is making it chaotic. That is taking away, I think, the work of Congress for having all of these deflections.
SESAY: We are out of time but I do want to --
-- what you're going to say.
On "Time" magazine's new cover, which features none other than John Kelly.
Can we put this up?
There is it. The headline is "Trump's last best hope."
John, you know this is a president who does not appreciate sharing the spotlight. When Steve Bannon got his cover, it wasn't all --
SESAY: -- and roses in the White House. So does this spell trouble?
PHILLIPS. Yes. I think "Time" magazine is trying to put a horse's head in his bed with that cover. But I don't think it's going to work this time. I think John Kelly is there to stay.
SESAY: You think they -- what do you think? They say he -- the headline there, "Trump's last best hope?"
I mean, it's easy to say, but that's the question after the comments on North Korea this week that were off-the-cuff. I mean, he has his work cut out for him.
GREUEL: He has his work cut out for him. I think you are seeing some of the effects of John Kelly being able to control the White House. We'll see if that actually works. I think the question will be whether or not John Kelly gets frustrated and says this is enough for me, I'm not staying, my reputation will be ruined if these kinds of things continue to happen.
SESAY: We'll watch it closely.
Wendy Greuel, John Phillips, always a pleasure.
GREUEL: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: thank you.
[01:40:33] SESAY: Thank you.
All right, quick break here. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the U.S. investigates a possible acoustic attack on its diplomates in Cuba. What kind of device might have been behind such an attack.
Plus, his viral memo sparked a conversation about diversity and sexism in tech companies. Ahead, what a former Google employee is saying right now.
SESAY: Well, it sounds like something out of a spy movie. Employees at the U.S. embassy in Cuba may have been attacked with a sophisticated device that used sound. A U.S. official says Cuba is cooperating and the FBI will be let onto the island to investigate. Canada also says one of its diplomates had usual symptoms.
For more, here's our Patrick Oppmann in Havana.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. State Department is alleging that two of its diplomates who were stationed in Havana, Cuba, suffered, quote, "an acoustic attack" and were required to return to the U.S. and receive medical attention. That attack took place in 2016. In May of 2017, the U.S. government complaining to the Cuban government said they would require two Cuban diplomats working in the U.S. to return to the island, essentially kicking them out of the country in retaliation.
Now, the Cuban official I spoke to has denied this attack took place. They said the Cuban government has denied to the State Department that they were involved in any kind of harassment campaign against U.S. diplomats in Havana.
In June, President Trump said he would take a much tougher line on the Cuban government and hold them responsible for their human rights abused. Certainly, this latest plot only threatens to worsen already strained U.S./Cuba ties.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
SESAY: Well, for more on what exactly an acoustic attack device might be, Jacob Ward joins me from Oakland, California. He's a science and technology journalist and a former editor-in-chief of "Popular Science."
Jacob, thank you so much for joining us. So if this was an attack, how might it have been launched?
JACOB WARD, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY JOURALIST & FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, POPULAR SCIENCE: Thanks for having me, Isha.
It is certainly a technological feasible thing, it has for the better part of a century, to basically fire a sound that's outside of the range of human hearing, a sound you would not consciously absorb or hear, but could sort of do you damage. If you hit someone hard enough with something either very high or very low, it is possible to do that. And there are many devices that can do it. So technically, it is feasible some sort of device could have done this.
SESAY: You say there are many devices, what kind of thing are we talking about? Does it look like a radio? What are we talking about?
WARD: Yes. There's a wide range of them. The American military, the Russian military, China military have all developed forms of this. It could be anything from a Russian device that's about a size of a baseball that can put out little bursts, all the way up to something that would be truck-mounted. It would certainly be no problem to build something roughly the size of a box with enough power behind it to pump out either an ultrasonic sound, which is much higher than we can hear, or an infrasonic sound, which is much lower, the deepest base you've ever heard go by in a car, but vastly lower than that. Pump it out and really move the liquid inside the ear and do damage to somebody.
[01:45:09] SESAY: How long would it take. I don't know if you can answer this. Do we know historically from studies how long it would take before an individual would start feel the symptoms or the impact of something like this?
WARD: That's a great question. The truth is, it's not been well studies. It's tough to hit somebody with sound and cause hearing loss. Nobody is going to do that in a laboratory setting. But beginning in World War II, Nazi Germany had the idea that you could, with a big, big burst of sound, maybe knock an airplane out of the air. If you hit somebody with something like 120 decibels, very, very loud, louder than a jet plane, that is enough to cause actual damage and pain. People will clap their hands over their ears, fall over, beg you to stop. That's the kind of instantaneous pain it would be. Doing that to somebody outside of their normal hearing range, again, very, very high or very, very low, could cause them pain without them really being aware of what it is. At lower decibels, when you turn down a sound, certainly, military research has shown that it can cause people anxiety, create senses of depression, despair, all kinds of things. And if you turn it down lower than that, so it's still loud but not consciously registering in your hearing, you can induce, still, a certain amount of damage. If you hit somebody over multiple days, weeks and months with that kind of sound -- and who knows why one would want to do this --
WARD: -- but if you did this over time, you could certainly damage their hearing permanently in the long run.
SESAY: That was going to be my final question, why would someone want to do something like this. It's very strange. It's like coming out of a very strange sci-fi novel.
Jacob Ward, thank you --
WARD: Isha --
SESAY: Go ahead.
WARD: The other thing that I would point out is the other reason one could do this or the effect it could have is it would disable recording devices. If you have a recording device, a small little speaker - a small little microphone picking up sounds in the room and you hit it with something like that, that could disable that. So that's just -- obviously we don't know what this actually was, but certainly that could have been the effect of something like this on a recording device.
SESAY: Absolutely fascinating.
Jacob Ward, thank you so much. Some great insight there. Really appreciate it. Thank you.
WARD: Thanks, Isha.
SESAY: Now Google's CEO canceled a town hall panel meeting moments before it was supposed to start Thursday. The company is dealing with the aftermath of a controversial essay. CEO said he canceled the meeting because some of the attendees' identities were leaked online and they face possible harassment and threats. It's all the fallout from that 10-age manifesto by James Damore, the former Google engineer, who claimed that women lagged behind men in the tech industry because they are less assertive and more neurotic. Google fired Damore saying part of his memo violated company policy. He defended his views during an interview with "Bloomberg" TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES DAMORE, ENGINEER FIRED BY GOOGLE: It's hard to regret it just because I do believe that I'm trying to make Google and the world in general a better place by not confining us to our ideological echo chambers where only one kind of story can be heard and is totally intolerant to other viewpoints and even scientific evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Joining me now is psychology expert and StoryTech co-founder, Lori Schwartz.
Lori, good to see you once again.
So according to James Damore, his motives for writing the memo was philanthropic. It was to make the world a better place. To that, you say what? LORI SCHWARTZ, PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT & CO-FOUNDER, STORYTECH: I say you don't put down 50 percent of the population of the world in order to make it a better place. Women may be more emotional. We may be prone to being more interested in relationships, which was one of his points. But another well-known engineer at Google, a former engineer, wrote a whole list of things about why his memo was wrong. And one of the points is, if you are finishing a project, doing engineering, you actually need to be able to work with other people.
SESAY: So liking people is a good thing?
SCHWARTZ: Liking people is a good thing. Working with people is a good thing. The truth is companies that have a mixed board of women and men together, do better. That's been proven. I think he's a little (INAUDIBLE).
SESAY: OK, yes. He makes the charge, and I think it's noteworthy, and it's yet to be proven, but he said that he circulated this memo internally a months ago and there was no uproar until it was leaked. Does that sound credible to you, because that's point to a kind of hypocrisy on the party of Google right now.
SCHWARTZ: I think they are straddling a dangerous place of being a culture that supposedly you can say anything, have free speech, bring ideas to the table but, at the same time, if you say too much, if you say the wrong thing, or if you put down women and create an environment of harassment, then you're in trouble. And the truth is companies, corporations are allowed to mandate what's inappropriate. It's not free speech in companies. It's free speech in government but not in companies. So it's a challenge. So I don't know if it was there a month before. But the truth is, it did get out, it did cause an uproar, and it is symptomatic of this challenge that Google and many companies are struggling with in Silicon Valley, which is, we're cool, we have great cultures, but yet why are women only 20 percent of the popular here.
[01:50:50] SESAY: What is it going to change that? Google is already being investigated by the Department of Justice. There was such outrage with this memo.
SESAY: -- but the women aren't there. Why is it going to take to change that?
SCHWARTZ: I think there's two pieces to this. One, it's definitely going to have to come from leadership. Leadership is going to have to make a concerted effort to get more women into the system. That means they're actually going to have to think about that and put programs in place. And the other issue is a much larger cultural one. That should do with changing how we perceive women in tech and business. And seeing more women in media. Even something as basic as in Hollywood, having more movies and stories about women, so that as young girls grow up they want those roles. That's just an absolutely fact. If you ever hear about Gina Davis Institute, there's a ton of research that shows when you put female characters in movies in leadership roles, more young girls want those roles. So if we culturally start to tell stories about women in these roles, we'll see a shift in young girls and women wanting to go into those types of jobs. Then you have leadership and cultures changing because of that.
SESAY: Lori Schwartz has hope for more stories featuring powerful women.
SESAY: So we can drive out all the cray-cray people.
SCHWARTZ: That's right.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you.
SESAY: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the fitness craze goes ultra-high tech. We'll show you a galaxy where gadgets monitor everything from sleep to electrocardiograms.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. Health conscious consumers now have a wide array of gadgets and devices they can wear to monitor their vital signs all around the clock.
Our own Samuel Burke shows up what it is like to be enveloped by this technology nonstop.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All right, I've got to get up. We'll see what this thing does about my sleep.
I haven't even gotten to work yet and I've already logged 10,000 steps.
BURKE: I'm tracking everything about me with these wearables this week, from my exercise to my relaxation or lack thereof and down to the nitty-gritty of my vital signs.
[01:55:05] BURKE: Here are the directions.
BURKE: OK. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BURKE: I've been trying to use these wearables at home every day, which is actually where I'm most relaxed.
COMPUTER VOICE: Sit down. Thank you.
BURKE: Now I just finished at CNN Espanol and I'm about to get back to CNN in English. And this is really my most stressful time of day, so I'm going to try to do one of the relaxation sessions. Let me turn it on. I have to do that first. I'm going to do a five-minute deep session.
BURKE: I don't think I need a wearable to tell me that I'm absolutely tired.
And I have the mother of all wearables, chest beat wearable. It measures all types of things going on in your body, starting with your temperature, a thermometer, or you can stick your finger in here and it will tell you your pulse. It also works as an ECG, an electrocardiogram.
So this is how the wearable technology goes in telling me today that I really didn't think I ever needed and don't know if I'll need it until I'm a senior citizen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Survive and thriving.
BURKE: How should I use the data that I'm getting? I've got tons of it now. So what do I do with it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think you should use that to improve your lifestyle, if necessary. I don't think it's something you would be u sing to try and diagnose yourself or to take to a physician, unless, of course, you came up with something that was really abnormal.
BURKE: Hello. I had a low reading.
BURKE: Samuel Burke, CNN, London.
SESAY: Looks too much for me.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM L.A., live from Los Angeles. Don't forget to connect with us on Twitter at CNNnewsroomla for highlights and clips from our show. I'm Isha Sesay. I'll be back with more news right after this.
[02:00:00] SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM, life from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour.