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Six Police Officers Shot In Florida, Pennsylvania; Bannon Returns To Breitbart After Turbulent White House Run; Billionaire Carl Icahn Steps Down As Trump Adviser; John Kelly Might Not Be Down Cutting White House Staff; German Maganize "Der Spiegel" Links Trump To KKK; President And First Lady, Skipping Kennedy Center Honors; Boston Free Speech Rally And Counter Demonstrations Start 12:00 P.M. ET; Boston Beefs Up Security For "Free Speech" Rally. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired August 19, 2017 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: If you think they're going to give you your country back without a fight you are sadly mistaken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the president himself that failed America. He's failed the United States in terms of moral leadership.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, these statues of civil war generals installed here, they became touch stones of terror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those statues, represent the honor, and the courage, and the bravery of the Confederate soldier. Those soldiers were not fighting to perpetuate the institution of slavery.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY weekend, with Victor Blackwell and Christie Paul.

CHRISTIE PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Always so grateful to have your company. Listen, we're going to get to politics in just a moment, but we do have breaking news we need to get to you this morning. Six police officers have been shot in three separate incidents; two in Florida, one in Pennsylvania.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: In Kissimmee, Florida, one officer is dead, a second one is in critical condition. This is a possible ambush according to police. Two officers were shot just north of Jacksonville. In a third incident that was also in Pennsylvania, state troopers were shot there.

PAUL: CNN Digital Correspondent, Dan Lieberman, is with us now. Dan, tell us more about what we're learning about these, these incidents and not related, we wouldn't think, but certainly unusual for us to be reporting something like this all at once overnight.

DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Right now, we have no information that these shootings are related, but we know that there are three that happened; two in Florida and one in Pennsylvania. One of them just outside Orlando in Kissimmee. Two officers responded to a 9-1-1 call in what may have been an ambush situation. The officers were surprised and they weren't able to return fire. One of the officers died and the other is critically injured. Here's what the police there are saying.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It breaks my heart to have to come speak to you tonight about another senseless tragedy, one that's resulted in the death of one of our police officers, and the -- a grave critical situation of another. This evening Sergeant Sam Howard, a ten-year veteran of the Kissimmee Police Department and Officer Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran --


LIEBERMAN: Police arrested three people following that shooting and they're searching for a fourth person. And in Jacksonville, Florida, two officers were shot when they responded to an attempted suicide call when they encountered a man with a high-powered rifle, and exchanged gunfire there, guys. The officers were hit and injured. The suspect also was shot and died after being taken to a local hospital. The police in Jacksonville had this to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time that an officer is injured in the line of duty, it's tough and this case is even tougher. I mean, these were serious injuries and these were people that we work with day in, day out and they are sworn -- they have a commitment to the community. And tonight, they held fast to that commitment, and like I said, they knew as they were approaching that house the seriousness of this and didn't flinch.


LIEBERMAN: And that's just Florida. And then in Pennsylvania, another police shooting in South Western P.A. in fair chance, just a bit south of Pittsburgh. Two state troopers were shot there last night as well near a grocery store. Their conditions are unknown but the officers were taken to the hospital. And President Trump and Florida Governor Rick Scott, they're reacting to the Florida shooting on Twitter. The president saying, "My thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee police and their loved ones, we are with you." And Florida Governor Rick Scott saying, "We're heartbroken to hear the loss of Kissimmee Police Officer Matthew Baxter, praying for a quick recovery for the officer in critical condition." Guys and they haven't even had the chance to respond yet to the other shootings that have happened.

PAUL: All right. Dan Lieberman, thank you so much for updating us and walking us through that.

LIEBERMAN: You got it. PAUL: All right. To politics now, fired White House Chief

Strategist, Steve Bannon, back at his old stomping grounds this morning -- to, and says he's dusting off what he calls his weapons and is going to war for President Trump.

BLACKWELL: Bannon's dismissal is the latest high-profile departure from the White House. And this morning, add Carl Icahn to the list. The billionaire investor was the president's special advisor on regulatory reform but he says he's stepping down because he didn't want partisan bickering about his role to cloud the administration.

PAUL: The treasury secretary may be feeling some heat as well, Steve Mnuchin's former Yale classmate, urging him to resign after President Trump's response to the events in Charlottesville.

BLACKWELL: So, what these latest departures mean for the Trump White House moving forward? Let's go now to CNN White House Correspondent, Athena Jones. Athena, good morning to you, and the departure of a chief strategist may not necessarily equal a change in strategy?

[07:05:08] ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor. That's exactly right. That's the big question is: what impact will Steve Bannon's departure have on the functioning of the White House and the policy coming out of the White House? When it comes to functioning, we could see, perhaps, a more effective, more efficient West Wing. This is one of the key goals of a new Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who came in to impose a sense of order on a rather chaotic staffing situation in the West Wing. But Steve Bannon's departure doesn't change the president.

So much has been made of this chief strategist role. He's been painted as this sort of genius master mind who helped save the campaign late in the game. Remember, he didn't join the campaign -- candidate Trump's campaign -- until around this time last year. And so, this idea that maybe Steve Bannon was influencing the president's world view when it comes to some of these nationalists and populist issues isn't exactly accurate. The fact is, they had a kind of mind meld, but we saw the president himself come out at his announcement bashing Mexican immigrants and talking about -- later on talking about a Muslim ban all before Steve Bannon was really part of the team.

The big question that a lot of folks are asking is what kind of impact will Steve Bannon have outside of the White House? We know he came from Breitbart News. He's now back at Breitbart News. We're told he led the editorial meeting last night. And he has said that he wants to go to war on behalf of the president, on behalf of those sort of nationalist populist policies that Steve Bannon himself has pushed. But this could also mean, as he has indicated, that Breitbart could go to war with some of Steve Bannon's professed enemies in the West Wing like Economic Advisor Gary Cohn, or National Security Advisor's H.R. McMaster and Dina Powell as his deputy.

And as you mentioned, Victor, this is just the latest of several recent departures. I believe we had that pretty fascinating picture -- we can put up on the screen -- of various parts of the president's inner circle who have left from formal National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who departed after just 20-something days on the job, and then more -- back in February. Then more recently, Press Secretary, Sean Spicer; Reince Priebus, who was the Chief of Staff, both leaving in July. Now, Steve Bannon departing in August. Certainly, a lot of churn in the West Wing. The hope is, certainly, among John Kelly and people who want to see the West Wing function better is that this will lead to a better functioning, West Wing.

BLACKWELL: All right. Athena Jones, for us this morning. Thank you so much. Well, hundreds of neo-Nazis, expected to rally in Berlin, Germany today. They'll be met by hundreds of counter-protesters who are also planning to demonstrate.

PAUL: The neo-Nazi rally is marking the anniversary of the death of Rudolph Hess, Adolf Hitler's Deputy, who killed himself in prison 30 years ago. You're looking at live pictures there of some of the protesters, some of the people involved in that rally. We'll continue to watch it for you.

BLACKWELL: Up next, his interview with Steve Bannon made the president furious. So, was it the last straw, was the interview even a factor considering that the reporting is that this has been in the works for some time? We'll get a reaction for the man who spoke with Bannon days before he was out of the White House.

[07:08:30] PAUL: Also, want to see what's happening in Boston this morning. They're getting ready for a free speech rally there today. Hundreds of extra police are out trying to make sure that what happens in Boston is very different than what happened last week in Charlottesville.


BLACKWELL: The German magazine, Der Spiegel, has become the latest publication now to link the president to the KKK. Look at its cover. The title in English translates to "The True Face of Donald Trump." The magazine calls the president a racist and a hate preacher. Now, this is just the fourth -- I should say, the fourth publication now to link the president to White Supremacy. The New Yorker, The Economist, Time, all published covers with a similar theme this week.

PAUK: We're going to continue this conversation with CNN Politics Reporter, Eugene Scott; and Journalist, Robert Kuttner. Robert, thank you so much for being with us. Eugene, of course, to you as well. Robert, I do want to start with you. You had the, possibly last interview -- the last person to interview Steve Bannon as he was Chief Strategist on Tuesday. And I understand, you had some questions about whether you believe he was actually fired on August 7th. What is your trepidation in believing that?

ROBERT KUTTNER, JOURNALIST AND WRITER: Well, I trust the New York Times reporting on this; Maggie Haberman is a truth reporter as you know. And if she says that he submitted a letter of resignation on August 7th, I'm sure that's true. Then, you really wonder whether Steve Bannon is a little bit delusional because he telephones me two weeks later and invites me to come to the White House. First, he wanted me to come to the White House immediately, then he

wanted me to come to the White House after Labor Day. And we had a whole conversation whose premise was that Bannon is increasingly in charge, that he's trying to get control of trade policy, wants my advice, wants -- treating me like I'm an old soul mate, because I have also criticized trade policy even though I agree with Steve Bannon on virtually nothing else.

So, either they asked for his resignation to keep in their pocket as a way of maybe keeping him on good behavior, or they decided that he would leave at an appropriate time, date to be determined, but you know, both things can't be true. On the one hand, he resigned on -- or submitted a letter of resignation on August 7th. And then secondly, assumed he's going to be charged after Labor Day. And there were several other crazily contradictory things in that conversation.

[07:15:17] PAUL: Such as?

KUTTNER: Well, obviously, he's trying to have it both ways on White Nationalism and racism. So, you know, after we talked about trade, I moved the conversation in the direction of how come you have to get in bed with neo-Nazis in order to have a tougher trade policy with China? The two things don't necessarily go together. And he began by saying, you know, these people are a bunch of cooks, and they're fringe people, and we don't take it that seriously.

And then, he couldn't resist himself that he moved the conversation in the direction of how clever he was by turning these people into kind of a group of shock troops for the Trump administration on behalf of economic nationalism. And of course, that bleeds over into White Nationalism. And he kept saying, you know, I love it when the Democrats talk about race because then we plug the Democrats. So, here's the takeaway it seems to me: he is obviously the architect of this policy of using that base as shock troops and stoking up that base.

He views Trump as a means to an end. The end is White Nationalism and Economic Nationalism, and he's happy to do it at the White House if that works, and if it's more convenient for him to do it back at Breitbart that's good too. I think the balancing act that Bannon faces that could backfire, the same way his conversation with me backfired, is, on the one hand, you have Breitbart kicking Trump for being a sellout. On the other hand, you have Bannon back as chairman of Breitbart posing as the guy who's going to save Trump from his enemies and save Trump from himself, and it's awfully hard to see how he pulls that act off.

I mean, clearly, he would like to continue to be part of Trump's kitchen cabinet. Trump is famous for calling people in the middle of the night. I'm sure Bannon hopes that he and Trump will continue to strategize. He can do this more candidly when he's not under the discipline of John Kelly. But how far can Breitbart go in kicking Trump for being a closet Democrat or for abandoning the agenda or, go ahead.

PAUL: Right. I'm sorry, I just wanted to get to Eugene here, Robert. So, Eugene, he brings up a good point. Is there any sense of whether Bannon may be stronger outside the White House than he was in?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, absolutely. We recall those of us covering the campaign in these early months of the administration. Steve Bannon and people like him constantly ran into roadblocks with more Establishment Republicans in the White House or Republicans that they just didn't think were actually Republicans or even people that they call Democrats. And so, there wasn't just the Trump train in the White House. There was the Bannon train. And there were clearly people who weren't on the Bannon train. What we know at Breitbart is everyone is on the Bannon train. And so, the reality is that he likely will be able to be more aggressive and move more quickly in putting forward his ideas and bringing them to national attention outside of the White House than he perhaps was when working in the oval office.

PAUL: Eugene, I want to get your reaction to a statement that we're just getting from the White House here in the last few minutes, regarding the Kennedy center honors. Of course, they say that this honors the careers and achievements of artists who've helped shaped cultural life in the United States, and here's what we're hearing today from the White House. They say, "The president and first lady have decided not to participate in this year's activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction. First Lady, Melania Trump, along with her husband, President Donald J. Trump, extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year's award receipts for their many accomplishments." Eugene, your reaction to this news that the first lady and the president will not be participating in the awards this year?

SCOTT: I think, to me, this is a continuation of people realizing that being closely affiliated with this White House is not only bad for business, it's bad for the arts, but it's a risky move for them in terms of what they want out of their long-term careers. We've seen business people step down, and we've seen artist step down and be criticized because they were viewed as being in the same space or being supportive of this president and his agenda. And I think what's really interesting is whether or not the president and his team will take note of that and do any type of pivoting as they realize that their significant pockets of America that they are losing when they lose artists, the business community, and other individuals.

[07:20:01] PAUL: Robert, did you get any sense from Steve Bannon when you talked to him about how powerful Jared Kushner is in the White House?

KUTTNER: No. It didn't come up. I mean, he -- at least, even though he thought he might have been not talking for quotation, even though he never said that I think even Bannon is not so reckless as to trash Jared Kushner to a journalist. I want to make one other point. Ultimately, what did end Steve Bannon was that he was getting too much visibility. And one thing that infuriates Donald Trump, we know this time and time again is to be upstaged by his staff. He will not put up with that.

And so, the really intriguing question is: if Bannon thinks he's bigger than Trump and his movement is bigger than Trump and Breitbart is bigger than Trump, that's going to get under Trump's skin and that raises the other intriguing question of whether -- which direction that pushes Trump in. Does it push Trump in the direction of continuing to double down on the White Nationalist, neo-Nazi alliance, which is the direction he's been going since Charlottesville or does he get tired of this and does he decide that his future lies with an alliance with ordinary far-right people, namely the Republican Party?

PAUL: And with all these people have that left thus far, a lot of people -- viewers wondering what is the president capable of getting done? Is he too isolated at this point to implement his policies? Eugene, Robert, we so appreciate both of your voices here. Thank you.

SCOTT: Thank you.

KUTTNER: Thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Be sure to watch on Monday night for a CNN special event after the Senate failed to pass a bill on health care, what will House Speaker, Paul Ryan, say as he faces his Wisconsin voters? Don't miss our live town hall -- moderated by Jake Tapper, Monday night at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

PAUL: You know, it was just about this time last week, a couple hours, give or take, that we were watching what was happening in Charlottesville start to unfold. Boston is now the city that is wondering what will happen during a free speech rally there in just a few hours. Authorities concerned that White Supremacists and counter protesters could clash again. We'll take you there.

BLACKWELL: Plus, a massive search this morning for the suspect in the Barcelona terror attack, we're going to take you to Spain after the break.


[07:26:48] PAUL: 26 minutes past the hour. Thank you for being with us on Saturday. I'm Christie Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville a week ago today, there are some serious concerns about Boston and what will happen there. That's where our so-called, we shouldn't just -- we shouldn't say so-called, it is a free speech rally; people come and speak freely, and that's actually the name of it. And there will also be a counter protest, not a far away. CNN Correspondent, Polo Sandoval, joins us now. Polo, what are the preparations there after the country watched what happened in Charlottesville?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, a higher level of security, Victor. That's what we heard from officials. As for what we're seeing right now, I think the front page of this morning's Boston Globe best describes it. We're currently seeing the calm before the rally, that's because things are relatively quiet right now. But that is expected to change in a few hours as up to 100 demonstrators, according to organizers, are expected to make their way here to Boston Common for this so-called free speech rally. Organizers have invited "traditionalist, conservatives, Donald Trump

supporters, and in their own words, anyone who enjoys the freedom of speech." The concern is that that could be seen as an open invitation for extremist groups, neo-Nazi groups, for example, a White Supremacist. So as a result, local officials here are fairly concerned. In fact, they are recommending that parents not bring their children anywhere near Boston Common, which is a place that's usually bustling with family activity on a Saturday afternoon. Today though, a very different kind of activity that has officials concerned as you're about to hear from Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh.


MARTY WALSH, MAYOR OF BOSTON: I don't want them here. Let me be clear, I do not want them here. If I could've not had them here without a permit, I actually would not have given them a permit if I didn't have to give them a permit. We don't need that type of rhetoric going on in Boston Common. We've come too far.


SANDOVAL: Guys, there is a counter protest that's also being organized. In fact, that's expected to be a little larger than what we are going to see here at Boston Common. That group, however, is expected to march about two miles to this location, and that's where the concern is for authorities. They're going to make sure that both sides don't necessarily mix here and stay on opposite ends, so as to not create an intense situation.

As for what officials are doing to try to keep everybody safe here today, you may be able to make out some of those concrete barriers at the entrance of Boston Common. Those weren't yesterday, those are in place to try to keep any vehicles from making their way into the crowd, obviously something we saw a week ago today. People here, officials here, the city of Boston, hoping to prevent anything like that from happening, Victor. But as we heard from the mayor, they are looking forward to this thing being done with. Of course, this is not what they would like to see on a Saturday afternoon here in the heart of the city.

BLACKWELL: And what time is this scheduled to start, Polo?

SANDOVAL: Things are expected to kick off about noon. This is when the organizers are expected to begin this event. In fact, that's what the permit states. They only have two hours to be able to hold their demonstration and that's when we expect those counter-protesters to arrive here too, Victor, so we'll keep it a very close eye. But at this point, nobody has necessarily shown up, at least, not quite yet but it is early.

BLACKWELL: Well, we do remember, the Charlottesville event was scheduled to start at the noon, but the violence started in the 10:00 hour. So, we will watch that certainly. Polo Sandoval, for us in Boston. Thanks so much.

[07:30:09] PAUL: And we'll show you what we're in Berlin, Germany. Neo-Nazis rallying there --