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3 Green Berets Killed, 2 Wounded in Niger; Trump Plays Down Tensions With Secretary of State. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 5, 2017 - 16:30   ET


[16:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, there's risk for our forces in Niger.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Green Berets typically operate in a 12-man team, often facing significant danger.

COL. STEVE WARREN (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They'll have only the small arms that they can carry with them.

STARR: French military Super Puma helicopters moved in to provide covering fire as they evacuated the dead and the wounded. French, U.S., and Nigerien forces continued military operations to hunt for the attackers. It happened near the border with Mali, a critical crossroads for terrorist activity.

There are approximately 800 U.S. troops in Niger, first deployed during the Obama administration.

WARREN: They've been there for many years, frankly. And what they're trying to do is help support the Nigerien government and other governments in that region.

STARR: In West Africa, groups like al Qaeda and ISIS are actively trying to increase their own cash flow to fund future attacks. U.S. intelligence agencies believe ISIS is attempting to infiltrate the gold mining industry in Niger to sell on the black market and use smuggling routes north to get easier access to Europe and the West.

GEN. THOMAS WALDHAUSER, COMMANDER, U.S. AFRICA COMMAND: We are working with a multinational joint task force located in the Niger to enable regional cooperation and expand partner capacity to ensure Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa do not further stabilize the region.

STARR: CNN recently visited a new $100 million drone base being built by the U.S. in Niger to better collect intelligence and fight terrorists.


STARR: That facility underscoring the Trump administration's also commitment to keeping troops in West Africa to fight terrorism -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us, thank you so much. He was the creative force behind movies such as "Pulp Fiction", "Gangs

of New York", "Lord of the Rings", many more. But now, "The New York Times" is reporting one of the biggest Hollywood producers ever is facing serious allegations of sexual harassment.

Stay with us.


[16:36:12] TAPPER: And we're back with the politics lead after a somber trip to Las Vegas, President Trump is back on his phone trying to paper over tensions with a top cabinet official by, what else, attacking the media.

CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles filed this report on the president and his secretary of state.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump is doing his best to convince Americans that his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is intact, tweeting, quote, Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign.

The president's assertion comes in the wake of an NBC News report that Tillerson considered stepping down this summer. A claim the secretary of state rejected in a hastily called press conference Wednesday.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain a secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.

NOBLES: The secretary of state did not deny reports he referred to the president as a moron during a visit to the Pentagon this summer.

TILLERSON: I'm going to deal with petty stuff like that.

NOBLES: Though a State Department spokeswoman later said that the secretary never used that language to describe the president.

With tension between the president and Tillerson at an all-time high, Mr. Trump is ramping up his criticism of the media.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was fake news. It was a totally phony story. Total confidence in Rex.

NOBLES: And today, President Trump took his campaign against the press a step further, tweeting, quote, why is the Senate Intel Committee looking into the fake news networks in our country to see why so much of our news is just made up? Fake.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defending the president's statement, arguing the media should be held to a higher standard.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: With the First Amendment, with those freedoms also come responsibilities. And you have a responsibility to tell the truth, to be accurate.

NOBLES: The president's attacks on the media aside, a senior White House advisor admits the friction in the Trump-Tillerson relationship is real, intensified by the pair's public differences on key foreign policy issues like North Korea.

The president continues to approach the North Korean showdown with an aggressive tone. Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis have pushed diplomacy first. The difference in viewpoint led Republican Senator Bob Corker to announce plans to retire at the end of his term to suggest that the cabinet secretaries are the ones keeping the administration on track.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that helped separate our country from chaos. And I support them very much.


NOBLES: And Richard Burr, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today that his committee has no plans to investigate the news media, but he did say reporters should be held accountable. Jake, he was talking about the public holding reporters accountable, not the government. Two very different things.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.

When we come back, journalistic legend Bob Schieffer is here to talk about these issues and much, much more. Stay with us.


[16:43:26] TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead.

There is so much news out there these days, including today at times it might feel like a year's worth of headlines crammed into a week- long cycle. There's no shortage of outlets either, broadcasting, podcasting, tweeting, posting information, 24/7.

Joining me now is legendary CBS newsman Bob Schieffer. He's out with a new book titled "Overload: Finding the Truth in Today's Deluge of News".

It's a great book and we're honored to have you here. Thanks so much for being here, Bob. I appreciate it.


TAPPER: I want to get to your book in a second. But first of all, I want to get your reaction to this tweet from the president, quote, why isn't the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into our country to see why so much of our news is just made up. Fake.

Now speaking of made up and fake, according to "The Washington Post" fact checker, President Trump has made 1,145 false or misleading claims in his first 232 days in office.

But you heard Sarah Sanders talking about how with the First Amendment comes great responsibility for us.

What about for the president?

SCHIEFFER: I'll put our record up against his. I mean, I really do. And I say that with respect.

But, you know, Jake, one of the reasons that Donald Trump got elected was the way he ran his campaign and whether he knew it or not, he was employing this old strategy that Lynton Crosby, who is an Australian political consultant, came up with the answer for this, and it was called the dead cat theory. And his theory was, no matter what the conversation is, if you're having a dinner party, if you throw a dead cat in the middle of the table, people are immediately going to start talking about the dead cat. We saw this time and again during the campaign. The narration, the conversation would be going in one direction and he'd get on the radio or tweet out early in the morning, throw another cat on the table, and here we are, they're talking about it for the rest of the day. So I kind of look at this as kind of maybe one more dead cat thrown on the table.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Yes, but it also, you would agree, I'm sure, and you talk about it in your book, there is a clear effort to discredit the media, let's talk about the Tillerson-Trump story. NBC reported, they broke the story, that Tillerson in a private meeting at the Pentagon called President Trump a moron. CNN and I know CBS as well also matched that and also reported that President Trump knew about it shortly after it happened. Major Garrett at your network broke that and Kaitlan Collins at CNN and yet he's out there calling it fake news, but White House and administration sources are giving this to us.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, I felt -- I almost felt sorry for Secretary Tillerson. I mean that presentation he made yesterday when he called that news conference, it was more like at hostage tape than it was like something we would normally get from a Secretary of State. I mean, let's stop and think about this. The Secretary of State calls a news conference to announce that he is loyal to the President.


SCHIEFFER: I mean, I don't understand how he could have any credibility left. You know, when word gets around that the President doesn't like you, that the President doesn't trust you, that he has no confidence in you, and that is the word all over Washington, you're hearing that, I'm hearing that, we're all hearing that, there's no question about that. How can he have any credibility and deal with foreign governments in an effective way? Then they're not going to pay any attention to him. I thought it was interesting, the Washington Post, and their story today, and they (INAUDIBLE) numbering the sources, they said 19 sources in and out of government had told them that Mr. Tillerson is a short timer.

TAPPER: Yes. President Trump playing the role of Consoler in Chief twice this week. Puerto Rico, he did that, many locals were offended as you know by him throwing the roles of paper towels into the crowd. Then have been a very different kind of tone when he went to Las Vegas, praised the first responders, a very somber, emotional tone. And in many ways, it's tough to reconcile the two different Trumps.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, one day, Glenn Thrush who's a reporter for the New York Times that I quote in this book, in several places, I asked him one day, the President had done something or other, and I said what does this pretend for the future? And he said you know, the one thing I've learned, he said you can't say what happened today will have any impact on what happened yesterday, he -- or what is going to happen tomorrow. He said we talk about the 24/7 news cycle, but he said in Trump's mind, it's a 15-minute news cycle. And said, what he says in this 15 minutes don't make any bets that that's going to have anything to do with what he's going to say in the next 15 minutes or in the previous 15 minutes. I think Glenn Thrush is pretty smart guy.

TAPPER: He is a smart guy. Let's talk about your book. There's been an explosion of fake news, especially after Vegas. But before that, in the last few years, inaccurate information, let's define, fake news, inaccurate information and made up stories. You refer to it in your book as a clear and present danger. You write, "It is easier and faster to make up stories than it is to correct them. And as we learned during the campaign, once a story, true or false, becomes public, it is all but impossible to remove it from the national dialogue." What's the lesson for the media in what you're saying there?

SCHIEFFER: Well, the lesson is that we have to remember that when the invention of the printing press came along, it changed everything, but it took a while for it to settle in across Europe. This stuff happens now with the now that everybody who has a phone is a publisher. It goes around the world and back, you know, in a matter of seconds. And we have to recognize where we are here. We're losing newspapers, 126 newspapers have folded in last 12 years. One reporter in three now lives in Washington, New York, or Los Angeles.


SCHIEFFER: In big parts of the country, there's no access to accurate information from the traditional sources. 67 percent of us now are getting a lot of our news from Facebook. That's a great thing. That's a -- it's a wondrous things what Facebook can do, but we have to remember that things that appear on Facebook don't go through the same vetting process that things go through when they're printed by the New York Times and the Washington Post or broadcast on CNN or CBS. Some of this stuff is just wrong.

And now we see that the Russians are meddling in it, and there's no question they're doing it in an effort to destabilize and destroy the credibility of the press. You cannot have, Jake, in a democracy, as we have it unless citizens have access to independently gathered information that they can compare to the government's version of events. And that's what we do. That's what the founders -- that's the assignment they gave us. And when people try to undermine that, they're undermining one of the foundations of our democracy. [16:50:25] TAPPER: The book is Overload, Finding the Truth in Today's Deluge of News. He is a hero of mine. It's always a pleasure to talk to you and to see you, Bob. Thank you so much, Bob Schieffer.

SCHIEFFER: You're doing a great job. Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, one -- he's one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He's behind movies such as the Silver Linings Playbook, Good Will Hunting, Bad Santa, so much more. But now the New York Times is reporting that Harvey Weinstein is being accused of sexual harassment by women in Hollywood including Actress Ashley Judd over the course of decades. That's next, stay with us.


[16:55:00] TAPPER: Welcome back. Turning to our "POP CULTURE LEAD" today, he is very powerful in Hollywood, a heavyweight, but now Producer Harvey Weinstein is facing multiple sexual harassment accusations that span 30 years ago according to the New York Times. The Times reporting that the Miramax Co-Founder has reached eight settlements with various accusers. One of the biggest names speaking out, Actress Ashley Judd who according to the New York Times said she was sent to Weinstein's hotel room years ago where he offered her a massage or to watch him shower.

In a statement to the Times, Weinstein said in part, "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot pain and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know, I have a long way to go." He also said he was taking a leave of absence. Joining me now is CEO and Founder of the entertainment news site, The Wrap, Sharon Waxman. Sharon, thanks so much for joining us. These accusations span over his career. I guess it's an open secret in Hollywood. How did he get away with it for so long?

SHARON WAXMAN, CEO, THE WRAP: Well, I think Hollywood has had a very permissive culture for a long time. Harvey Weinstein has been a very powerful figure for a long time and I think a lot of money was paid to make it go away. But you are right, it has been an open secret in Hollywood far long time.

TAPPER: What do we know about the other women accusing him?

WAXMAN: Well, I think the one that's most remarkable is this woman Lauren Collins who wrote this memo. I will point out first of all that I have known Harvey for a very long time. I consider him somebody we cover, but also a friend, but at the same time in the way that things kind of work in this business, I also did an investigative story for the New York Times about ten years ago when I covered Hollywood for them. And the story basically got killed. But it was many of the same kinds of things that I discovered in my reporting in Rome, in London, and it ended up being turning a different way and a lot of pressure was applied to not let that story appear.

And you know, a lot of -- a lot of money had been paid over the years and there are nondisclosure agreements with the women who are involved. So we don't really know a lot of the details. But when you have an employer, former employee who goes on the record and writes a memo and says, this happened to me, or this happened to my colleagues and this is not something that's acceptable, that's a much more substantive accusation. The other thing that's going on is that the culture has changed. And the culture is not as accepting, except I guess in the case of our President who got elected despite going on audio and saying that he grabs women's private parts, but in general, I would say the culture does not accept this kind of behavior anymore and women are much more emboldened to speak out whereas they were afraid to in the past.

TAPPER: This is obviously a man who presented himself as a progressive champion of women, not the first progressive to be accused of not walking the talk when it came to respect for women, but really a glaring hypocrisy.

WAXMAN: Well, I think he's going to get that from all sides. And I think that people are complicated and Harvey Weinstein is as complicated as a lot of people. He has veracious appetites across many categories, business and apparently this one as well. And, you know, he has a beautiful and wonderful wife in Georgina Chapman who's not only gorgeous but accomplished businesswoman on her own. So it's complicated. I think that him owning up to it, finally, and taking a leave of absence and saying, recognizing, I need to fix my behavior is significant.

TAPPER: Yes but while he's owning up to it to a degree, he also has attorneys and your site is now reporting that his lawyers are preparing a lawsuit against the Times over their story. What can you tell us --

WAXMAN: I can't -- yes, well that's Charles Harder who took down Gawker because he has a problem with the first amendment and generally Harvey Weinstein has -- is very vocally in favor of the first amendment. I'm not sure -- I am not a lawyer, but I don't know how you sue when he's actually admitted in his apology that I behaved badly and I'm going to go get help for it. So I'm not sure what they're going to sue them over and I doubt that goes anywhere.

TAPPER: All right, Sharon Waxman, thank you so much. Always good to have you on the show. Good to see you.

WAXMAN: Yes, thanks.

TAPPER: Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. That is it for THE LEAD today. I'm Jake Tapper, I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, get away plan. Police believe the Las Vegas gunman planned to survive and slaughter -- survive the slaughter and then escape. He had 50 pounds of explosives in his car along with 1,600 bullets. What was in the note he left at the scene of his crime?