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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Danger?; Las Vegas Mass Shooting Investigation Ramps Up; Interview With Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy; Interview With Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson; Trump Chief Of Staff Struggling To Manage White House Chaos; Harvey Weinstein Accused Of Sexual Harassment. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired October 8, 2017 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Investigation ramping up. One week since the worst mass shooting in modern American history, investigators are still searching for answers.

KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS UNDERSHERIFF: We do not still have a clear motive. We have looked at everything.

TAPPER: We will have the very latest.

And gun control debate. As the nation remembers those killed and wounded in the Las Vegas massacre...

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our souls are stricken with grief.

TAPPER: ... there is a renewed call for further restrictions on guns.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Congress continues to do nothing mass shooting after mass shooting.

TAPPER: Will this tragedy be the impetus to change the nation's gun laws? We will talk live with Senators Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson.

Plus, is Rexit looming? As rumors of a rift between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swirl around Washington...

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that.

TAPPER: ... President Trump insists there is no drama with his top diplomat.

TRUMP: Total confidence in Rex. I have total confidence.

TAPPER: But are Secretary Tillerson's days numbered?


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is still searching for answers.

This morning, new information about a handwritten note left behind in the Las Vegas shooter's hotel room, a law enforcement source telling CNN that the note contained calculations related to the distance and trajectory from the shooter's 32nd floor window down to the innocent crowd he targeted for slaughter below.

One week after the massacre, authorities are still combing through evidence and leads for any indication of what might have led the shooter to commit such a horrific act.

As investigators search for answers, lawmakers in Washington are now broaching the debate over gun control, this time with some small signs of agreement.

Republicans have expressed openness to a measure that would ban or restrict ownership of bump stocks. Those are the mechanisms used by the Las Vegas shooter to turn his semiautomatic rifles into something more closely resembling an even more rapid-fire fully automatic weapon.

Even the NRA this week endorsed tighter restrictions on the device, though the gun group wants to avoid doing this through any new legislation.

One senator at the center of this debate is Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He represented Newtown in Congress at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. And he is now calling on Congress to -- quote -- "get off its ass and do something" about gun violence in America.

Senator Murphy is joining us now live from Connecticut.

Senator, thanks for joining us.

A growing number of Republican lawmakers say that they're open to regulating or banning bump stocks, the kind of device used by the Las Vegas killer, that, as you know, allows a legal semiautomatic rifle to mimic the rapid discharge of a fully automatic weapon.

Are you willing to advance a clean bump stocks bill, or will you insist on a broader gun control package?

MURPHY: I am willing to move forward the with Republicans on banning these bump stocks that, as you mentioned, subverts legislation that has been long on the books banning automatic weapons.

I think you have to walk before you run. And I do think this is an important moment. The NRA, at least in the time that I have been in Congress, has never been willing to change U.S. gun laws.

I think they see that they were likely going to lose this fight in Congress, and so now they're trying to get it done through administrative action. But this is the first time that the gun lobby has shown willingness to come to the table. And I think that's in part because Americans just simply do not accept

mass shooting after mass shooting happening and Congress doing absolutely nothing.

But this is a fairly small change. And if we really want to have a downward trajectory on the number of mass shootings and the number of gun deaths every single day, you have got to go far beyond just clarifying that people shouldn't have automatic weapons in this country.

TAPPER: The ATF, it has been reported, approved the bump stock during the Obama administration. Was that a mistake?

MURPHY: Well, the -- the underlying language is ambiguous.

And that's what the ATF's conclusion was in 2010. Now, I wish the ATF had banned this technology then. But their point is that, with a statute that is unclear, it is up to Congress to change it.

So, ultimately, I think that we have to have a bill before the House and the Senate that makes it completely clear that, if you own an automatic weapon, if you convert it, a semiautomatic weapon to an automatic weapon, then that is illegal.

And, ultimately, I think it is best done by Congress, rather than through administrative action.

TAPPER: More broadly, there was a Pew survey that recently found that there has been a sharp drop since the year 2000 in overall support for gun control, the philosophical debate about gun control vs. gun rights.


Back in 2000, 66 percent of Americans thought that gun control was more important than the rights of gun owners. Today, only 51 percent of Americans come down on the gun control side, 47 percent on the gun rights side.

But why do you think that is? Why do you think your side is losing the larger philosophical debate on this issue?

MURPHY: Well, I mean, this is one of those questions that comes out differently depending on how you ask it.

There actually is no choice to be made between gun control and gun rights. So, that question is flawed from the outset. I am a Second Amendment supporter. I do not want to take away any gun rights that are held through constitutional protections for gun owners in my state.

But polls also consistently show that 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, including gun owners, including NRA members.

So, people can, A, support gun rights, and, B, support commonsense restrictions to make sure that dangerous people don't get guns and that people don't get dangerous weapons.

There is no inconsistency between the two. And this is really, you know, one of the most unique issues in American politics, where you do have broad agreement on some of these measures, like universal background checks, and you can't get them passed through Congress.

I ultimately don't think democracy allows for that for very long.

TAPPER: You said earlier that you would be willing to allow a clean bill in Congress that bans or regulates bump stocks without having a further -- I'm sorry -- pump stocks -- without allowing -- requiring more, broader gun control to be attached to the bill.

Is universal background checks the next step, though? You said -- you said you would be willing to separate it. Is universal background checks, closing the so-called gun show loophole, requiring background checks for private sales, is that the next step for people in your philosophical camp and Senate?

MURPHY: It should be the next step, in large part because it is the most popularly accepted change. And it has the biggest effect.

What we know is that, in states that have universal background checks, gun crimes are reduced by as much as 40 percent. And, you know, there is this fiction that the gun lobby tries to perpetuate that there are no laws that could stop evildoers from perpetuating the kinds of crimes that we saw in Las Vegas and that we see in Chicago.

And that's simply not true. What we know is that states that have tougher gun laws, that keep criminals from getting guns, that keep those dangerous weapons like AR-15s out of the hands of civilians, have dramatically lower rates of gun violence.

And so we have plenty of data to tell us that, in fact, if you have tougher gun laws, you will have less gun crime. And what we know is that the most important intervention is background checks. It is the intervention supported by the largest number of Americans.

And so, yes, that would be the clear next step. That should be our North Star as we try to figure out how to proceed.

TAPPER: But, with all due respect, Senator, this horrific shooting in Las Vegas, the gentleman passed his background checks. There didn't seem to be any reason to prevent him from purchasing firearms. There were no mental health issues that we have been told about, at least so far, that would have allowed anybody to block him from buying a gun.

I understand the regulation that you're talking about in terms of bump stocks, but what about the fact that, like, none of the laws you seem to be talking about would have necessarily prevented this shooter from shooting; it is just that it might have prevented him from shooting as rapid fire as he did?

MURPHY: Well, I think one of the traps that the gun lobby wants you to get into is being able to only talk about a legislative intervention that would have addressed the last mass shooting. On that day that that shooter turned those guns on civilians in Las

Vegas, 80 people died in other parts of the country. Many of those deaths could have been prevented by background checks. And so we need to recognize that, though these mass shootings are the ones that get all of the attention, there is no other country in the world that has the level of daily mass gun violence that we do.

And we have a responsibility to address all of that as well. Now, laws, I think, potentially would have dramatically changed what happened in Las Vegas.

In Newtown, as you know, we constantly ask ourselves whether Adam Lanza would have walked into that school at all had he not had a tactical weapon that gave him some kind of bizarre, perverted confidence that he could pull off a crime of that magnitude.

And I think you have to ask the same thing about this guy as well. So, yes, maybe getting assault weapons off the street would have simply lowered the number of people who died, but that would have been consolation -- that would be consolation to many of the families' victims who would have their loved ones still alive.

But maybe he would have never walked into that hotel if he only had a pistol, if he didn't have all of these complicated tactical semiautomatic and automatic weapons.


TAPPER: All right, Senator, stand by. We have a lot more to talk about this morning, including explosive new sexual assault allegations against big-time Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

President Trump said he's -- quote -- "not at all surprised."

What should Democrats do with all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars Weinstein donated to the Democratic Party?

That's next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

Here with us is Democratic Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy. He's also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate.

Senator, President Trump is expected to announce next week that he's going to -- or this week, rather, that he's going to decertify the international nuclear deal with Iran.

The president offered a preview of his thinking earlier last week. Take a listen.


TRUMP: The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.



TAPPER: On the issues President Trump raised, he's right. Iran does support exporting terrorism. It does export violence across the Middle East.

Was it a mistake on the part of the Obama administration to not require that Iran stop its support for terrorist groups as part of this deal?

MURPHY: Absolutely not.

The president is right that there are all sorts of other misbehaviors of Iran in the region. But what we came to the conclusion -- we came to the conclusion that those behaviors would be much more dangerous if Iran was a nuclear weapons country.

And so we made a decision to take away from Iran a path to a nuclear weapon. And the reality is, the president is about to impose on himself and this country a dramatic self-inflicted wound, because by pulling out of this agreement, Iran will go back on to a path to develop a nuclear weapon.

The other partners that were with us on sanctions over the last decade will not reimpose them. And Iran will look like the victim in this situation. They will get everything they want. They will be able to restart their nuclear program. They will continue to get sanctions relief, and they will look like the aggrieved party.

And it is just absolute fantasy to think that this president is going to be able to get them back to the negotiating table, when they ultimately will get everything that they want if we were going to -- if we ended up violating this agreement.

TAPPER: Let's turn to Harvey Weinstein. He's the Oscar-winning producer and major Democratic donor who took a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company this week after it was revealed in "The New York Times" that he has quietly settled at least eight sexual harassment complaints over three decades.

A variety of Democratic senators are returning contributions from him. You have not gotten any contributions from him, I should note.

But a variety of Democrats are returning them or giving them to charity.

But the Democratic National Committee, the DSCC, the Senate arm, and the DCCC, the congressional arm, the House arm, are not giving all the Weinstein money back.

Do you think that all of that Weinstein money -- we're talking here about more than $400,000 -- needs to be returned or donated to charity by all of the arms of the Democratic Party?

MURPHY: Yes, I think that probably makes sense.

I mean, this is a pretty bad guy who did some really awful things. And, you know, if people need for that money to be returned in order to make it clear that the entities that received them want nothing to do with him and his behavior, then it is probably a smart move.

But let's be honest. We take tens of thousands of contributions. I don't require a background check for -- to contribute to my campaign. And so there are probably lots of people with unsavory backgrounds and pasts who have given to both Democrats and Republicans.

But this was a high-profile individual who did some truly awful things, and people that took money from him should probably give it back.

TAPPER: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on thin ice this week, according to sources in the administration, after we all learned that he referred to President Trump in a private meeting as a moron.

By all accounts, Tillerson is pushing for President Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement. He's been trying to de-escalate tensions with North Korea. He is seen by many in the foreign policy community as a moderating force.

If Tillerson were to step down, are you worried about who might come next as secretary of state?

MURPHY: I am worried.

And I think whoever would replace Secretary Tillerson would be in a no-win situation. The fact of the matter is, we have two different foreign policies in this country right now, which is catastrophic for us.

We have one foreign policy that comes from the State Department and the Department of Defense. And then we have another foreign policy that comes from the president's Twitter feed.

The president was undermining Secretary of State Tillerson at the exact moment that he was in China trying to negotiate with the Chinese to get tougher on the North Koreans and their nuclear weapons program.

And so there is no way that you're going to unwind these big foreign policy crises if nobody knows whether the secretary of state speaks for the president.

And I have a feeling that whoever replaces Tillerson would suffer the same problem, that President Trump would never give them the authority to ultimately try to speak on their own.

Yes, if you have been accused of calling the president a moron, you should probably clarify that you didn't do it. But, at the same time, this problem is not going away, so long as the president has, you know, his own foreign policy through social media. TAPPER: Do you think Tillerson should resign?

MURPHY: Again, I don't think that that solves the problem.

I think the president should stop undermining the people in his administration. I think he should stop doing hurtful things to the country's national security, like telling the North Koreans that there is no diplomatic path for them to give up nuclear weapons.

I have big disagreements with Secretary Tillerson. I don't think he's been a good secretary of state. But I'm not sure that there is anyone that can succeed in that position, given the just absolutely catastrophic dysfunction of this White House.


TAPPER: All right, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

MURPHY: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: President Trump issuing a cryptic warning about the calm before the storm. What could the ominous comments mean?

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee will be here to weigh in next.

Stay with us.



TRUMP: You guys know what this represents? Well, maybe it's the calm before the storm.

QUESTION: What's the storm?

TRUMP: It could be the calm before the storm.

QUESTION: What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: You will find out.


TAPPER: "The calm before the storm," a cryptic and possibly ominous message from President Trump that the White House has yet to clarify.

On Saturday, President Trump put out a new warning to North Korea, tweeting -- quote -- "Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid. Hasn't worked. Agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work" -- unquote.


Here to discuss that and much, much more is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Republican Senator of Wisconsin Ron Johnson.

Senator, always good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Good morning, Jake.

TAPPER: Is that your view? There is only one way to solve the North Korean problem, and it is not the path pursued by previous presidents, which includes diplomacy and sanctions?

JOHNSON: Well, what's -- you know, what 's been tried in the past hasn't worked. I mean, that's obvious.

And I think, from my standpoint, the only thing that will work is get China fully engaged, use all of their influence, I think eventually probably regime change, because, you know, Kim Jong-un is all about maintaining his power. And he just thinks a nuclear program, nuclear weapons, combined with intercontinental ballistic missiles, will guarantee that.


JOHNSON: So, obviously, there is no -- there is no -- there is no viable military option. It would be horrific.

And I don't think anybody wants to contemplate that. So, we have to -- we must get China recognizing that they have got to get fully engaged. It's not in their best interest either to have Kim Jong-un with these types of weapons destabilizing the South Pacific.

TAPPER: So, just to clarify...

JOHNSON: South Asia.

TAPPER: Just to clarify, regime change, but not through military means, regime change through diplomatic means and China?

JOHNSON: That's certainly what I would like to see, yes.


I want to turn to the horrible massacre in Vegas, the question of what to do about the sale and possession of bump stock equipment. These are the devices used by the Las Vegas shooter. It basically allows somebody to take a semiautomatic weapon and essentially convert it into an automatic weapon.

You said this week that you would support a bill banning bump stocks from purchase. The NRA says they don't want a new law. They just want this done through ATF regulation.

Would you be willing, theoretically, to vote against the NRA on this by voting to legally, legislatively ban bump stocks? JOHNSON: Well, again, automatic weapons are illegal. Converting

another weapon into an automatic weapon is illegal.

Most of us -- I certainly never even heard of a bump stock until this tragedy. So, I -- you know, however that gets fixed, I would probably support.

TAPPER: But it doesn't matter to -- it matters to you that it is legislative over just regulation, or...

JOHNSON: I mean, it is interesting the Obama ATF apparently ruled that these were not illegal.

So, I mean, that -- we really need to take a look at it. So, I don't -- I don't know how it is all going to come down, whether it's going to be through regulation or whether it's going to be a very specific bill.

TAPPER: The Republican Party's latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare obviously collapsed two weeks ago. Your bill, the Graham- Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill, was not able to get...

JOHNSON: Just ran out of time. I wouldn't say collapsed. I think it's still alive and well, but we just have -- we need more time.

TAPPER: But President Trump just reached out to Democrats.

He tweeted: "I called Chuck Schumer" -- that's the Democratic leader of the Senate -- "yesterday to see if the Dems want to do great health care bill. Obamacare is badly broken. Big premiums. Who knows?"

Does that concern you at all that Senator Schumer is now talking to the president about this?

JOHNSON: No, because we have these premiums that have doubled nationally.

I mean, think about it, Jake. Just four years ago, premiums were half of where they were nationally on the individual market. So, it is the faulty architecture of Obamacare. I have actually been suggesting since last May that we should fund the CSRs, because the alternative is higher premiums.

TAPPER: Tell people what CSRs are.

JOHNSON: Oh, the cost-sharing reductions, which is money paid into the insurance companies.

The problem is, if we don't do that, insurance premiums will increase, and they will get the insurance -- the insurance companies will get their money either way through the advance premium tax credits.

TAPPER: Either through the government or through charging more.

JOHNSON: And people that are working hard that can't afford Obamacare policies in the individual market get further priced out of the insurance market.

So, I understand it is a legitimate point of view not to put money into these faulty markets, these collapsing markets. But I just kind of take a look at the reality of the situation.

Now, we should get something in return for that. From my standpoint, let everybody buy a catastrophic plan, these short-term, limited- duration plans. Obama -- they were 364 days. Now they're 90. Let's at least return to 364 days. I would like to have them for a full year.

There are things we can do, but let's make HSAs more usable as well. So, there are a number of things that I would certainly agree to. I have been talking about funding CSRs since May.

So, if people really want to do a deal, they are going to have to come through a Republican House and Republican Senate. I have been talking to House members to try and get what we would require to fund what we all believe are collapsing markets under Obamacare.

TAPPER: You just got back from Puerto Rico. You were part of a bipartisan group, five senators, I think you said six members of the House, that traveled to the U.S. commonwealth on Saturday.

Thirty-six people there dead as a result of the storm, 44 percent of Puerto Ricans still without water, 88 percent not on the electrical grid.

From what you saw on the ground there, do you agree that people who are complaining there are just -- quote -- "politically motivated ingrates"?


Listen, this was a massive hurricane, three in a row. I was relieved to see the devastation wasn't what I was expecting. I had seen pictures of St. Martin's. It gets a little bit described that way.

Seventy percent, more than 70 percent of grocery stores and gasoline stations are open. There is no rationing anymore in terms of gasoline. I saw all kinds of cars on the road. You got 34 percent of the roads open.


But if you take a look at the -- you know, from -- we were up in the air. Probably saw 25 to 30 -- 33 percent of the island. I will say 90 -- more than 90 percent of the roads are clear, but just have choke points with some of these trees down.

So, a lot of the buildings are -- most of the buildings, the vast majority of the buildings are intact. Some have been totally devastated. But there is a lot of the structure there.

Here is the main problem, the electrical grid.


JOHNSON: Now, it was -- it was weak to begin with.

That's why there are so many generators which are being used now to open up hospitals and...

TAPPER: It's why they were there already.

JOHNSON: So, I think the number one priority of the federal government now is, we have got to repair that electrical grid, get that -- hold -- don't hold -- no hold barred -- no-holds-barred.

We have got to stand up the electrical grid as quickly as possible. And then I think the greatest thing we could do for Puerto Rico is, if we are going to spend resources, stand up a resilient electrical grid that will actually satisfy the needs of their economy.

TAPPER: You bring this all up, and you don't talk about Puerto Rico's debt. You don't talk about the other things that President Trump brings up.

But, apparently, you just want -- these are American citizens, and you want them taken care of.

JOHNSON: Well, look, the debt is a problem because those are private bondholders. So, I -- unless we do a complete bailout, I would suggest we be better off spending American tax dollars -- taxpayer dollars standing up a resilient grid that will satisfy the needs of the economy.

If we don't get the electrical system going, you will start seeing just an ever-increasing crisis in terms of the economy.

Businesses can't start up. People can't work. They can't pay to keep the economy going.

So, to me, beyond anything else, the number one priority is, we have got to reestablish that electrical grid.

TAPPER: Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, it's always good to see you, sir.

Thanks for joining me.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

TAPPER: After the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, Republicans are now signaling they may be open to a modest gun control measure. Will Congress come together and take action? That story is next.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We all know and believe that fully auto weapons are illegal. And so is this a big gap that needs to be closed and if so how to close it?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I do think there would be bipartisan support coming together to pass a bill to make it illegal to sell those.


TAPPER: Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi in an apparent rare moment of agreement there. Let's talk about it with our panel.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, you're a big gun rights proponent, when you were in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. Where do you think bump stocks are going? Are they about to be banned?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I got to tell you, I never heard of a bump stock until this took place.


SANTORUM: Yes. Well, I'm against fully automatic weapons being available, and obviously if this turns somebody into something a fully automatic weapon, it should be regulated. I mean, you're not -- it is illegal to try to modify a weapon to make it fully automatic. And if this is effectively what it does, it should be -- it should be banned and regulated.

GRANHOLM: Ding, ding, ding. We actually have agreement here.

SANTORUM: I think you'll find the NRA and most gun owners in the same position which is, you know, we don't need fully automatic weapons.

There are laws in place. The Obama administration did not enforce that law when the bump stocks came to light in 2010, they probably should have.

I mean, the Obama administration is very easily ignores the law on things like DACA, which is, against the law, and says we're give -- we're going to -- we're going to -- we're going to ignore the law but here's where there's a 50/50 chance where it is unclear --

GRANHOLM: We had a moment.


SANTORUM: -- it's unclear --


SANTORUM: -- whether we can regulate and they don't in an administration that says they're against gun violence, which is sort of amazing (ph). GRANHOLM: I think there should be a statute rather than an interpretation by the ATF (ph). That's what I read and that's what you're saying. Yes.

SANTORUM: We should -- we should --


SANTORUM: -- have a statute that says that fully automatic weapons or anything that makes things fully automatic are illegal and they should enforce that.

GRANHOLM: Good. Do you think that --

TAPPER: Mary Katharine --

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you'll not see a ton of pushback on this. The NRA has already advocated putting in as part of a regulatory structure. I think that's possible and legal likely under the ATF and firearms regulation structure.

I think if you did it by statute obviously it would more hard to overturn. I think you probably would have bipartisan agreement on that. Here is I think where it gets politically sticky for Democrats is that their base is going to ask them to go much further and to be very loud about going much further.

So even if the actual bill is a very narrowly tailored thing that actually is pertinent to this particular crime and shooting, there's going to be loud -- a lot of loud signaling about other things they want to do, which I do not think will go well for them with American voters.

TAPPER: And how about that? Because we heard Democratic Senator Chris Murphy who is one of the strongest gun control supporters in Congress and he said he would be OK, just with a narrow piece of legislation, you have to walk before you can run.

But the Democratic base -- I mean, Mary Katharine is right, they're going to want much, much more.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISER, MOVEON.ORG: But I don't think it is just the Democratic base. I think there is a majority of Americans who want this to stop, these mass shootings that are happening. Just think about it, there's a statistic out there that said there have been 521 mass shootings in 477 days and that's since the Orlando shooting.

We have an epidemic on our hands. Eleven thousand people have died had year alone from just guns. Twenty-three thousand people have had injuries from guns.

So we really need to -- this is America. We have to figure out how do we get to the solution but it can't be just a regulatory thing. It needs to be law. GRANHOLM: But -- yes. Can I just say that, I mean, I think we have to think about this, the way -- the reason why Congress' approval rating is so low because this is a common sense thing. So here we have 30,000 people every year killed in car accidents and 33,000 by guns.

In cars --

TAPPER: About two thirds of those -- just to clarify, about two thirds of those are suicides.


TAPPER: Which is not to take away from the tragedy, but --

GRANHOLM: Absolutely. Absolutely. But all I'm saying is that we decide in order to drive a car that you have to have a child car seat, that you have to go which certain speed limit, nobody is talking about confiscating cars. All we're saying is let us put some reasonable restrictions on it.


We know who drives cars. We don't allow people who have -- you know, who are out of their mind to be driving cars. Why would we not put some reasonable restrictions on like 90 percent of Americans want?

HAM: OK. Two parts of this discussion that are characteristic that are actually gun control discussion.

One, wanting to stop gun deaths and then also, like, agreeing with the left solution for that, those two things, they're miles apart. Which is why Americans push back on gun control because they don't actually believe, A, the people don't want to go further, and B, that it will actually work to fix gun control.

JEAN-PIERRE: I disagree with that -- no.


JEAN-PIERRE: That's not --

SANTORUM: -- discussion about violence in the television, the video games, there is a mountain of evidence out there, psychological evidence, about what we're doing to our young people with these video games, these violent video games and you never hear the left trying to go after Hollywood or the gaming market.


SANTORUM: It is never involved in this discussion. OK.

Where is your solution? Here we are. Where is your solution?

JEAN-PIERRE: But here's the thing as Senator Murphy mentioned --


SANTORUM: -- reaction is always gun control. It is never about the violence we have in our society, it is never about what Hollywood, you know, contribution to that.

GRANHOLM: We have all the means to kill people. That's the problem.

JEAN-PIERRE: I was going to say there was a point that Senator Murphy made that the states that have had strict gun control laws, that there has been a drastic drop. So it does -- there is something there that when you do put it into law it works (ph) -- no it is true. There is data that proves that.

GRANHOLM: Look there's absolutely (INAUDIBLE). I mean, (INAUDIBLE) there's 125 million people, they don't have any restrictions on any of this other stuff, but they don't allow the level of guns, they have one gun death in 2015.


GRANHOLM: Hundred and twenty-five million people.

SANTORUM: The states that have the --

GRANHOLM: Well, we are exceptional. That's true. They are exceptionally dangerous.

SANTORUM: -- the strictest gun control laws -- the cities that have the strictest gun control laws have some of the worst crime. So the idea that we're going to apply something in Norway to what happens in America is just apples and oranges.

TAPPER: Mary Katharine --

HAM: One -- there was an assault weapons ban statewide in Connecticut at the time of Newtown which I think is important to point out when you're talking about these things are a panacea, they're not. In fact he got -- hold on --


GRANHOLM: But the whole point is you need a national law because they go state to state. They're legally travelling.

HAM: And then the other thing is the idea that there are no sensible regulations already in place, this idea that we're just sort of a blank slate on guns is just total nonsense. And --

GRANHOLM: You think people on the no fly list should have access to guns?

HAM: I think it's -- actually the no fly list in many cases has been shown to have people on it who have nothing to do with any of those --


GRANHOLM: OK. So that's not my question. Do you think -- OK --


HAM: Do you think that their -- do you think that their liberty is important?

GRANHOLM: I absolutely. And I --


GRANHOLM: -- liberty of the people who were on -- at that concert is very important, their freedom. Fifty-eight people are dead. They don't have any freedom.


SANTORUM: -- fly list. He wasn't under the fly list.

GRANHOLM: What about them? No.

But I'm not -- one law is not going to fix every problem. You guys can't do that trick of saying, oh, well that --


SANTORUM: -- all these laws --


SANTORUM: -- impose on people's freedoms who are -- there is $120 million --


GRANHOLM: I want the freedom to live. Those people wanted the freedom to live --


GRANHOLM: -- enjoy a concert.

SANTORUM: -- less than 1,000s of one percent, maybe even less than that commit any crimes with guns.

GRANHOLM: Three percent of them own half of the guns. Three percent of those 300 million guns that are ---

TAPPER: Governor, with all due respect, and I said this to Chris Murphy, this shooter in Las Vegas was on nobody's radar.

JEAN-PIERRE: Right, right.

TAPPER: He was on nobody's radar. He had no criminal record. He had no -- he had not been litigated as mental -- having mental problems.

GRANHOLM: That's the point, Jake. I mean, Jake, the point is, the bump stock thing might have affected this. A background check might solve it for another particular either mass shooting or regular shooting.

SANTORUM: But it didn't --


HAM: Or background check.

GRANHOLM: No. But I'm saying -- that's what I'm saying. One law is not going to fix the whole problem. And you can't --

SANTORUM: So why --


SANTORUM: -- focusing on guns and not focus on all the other things like --


GRANHOLM: We are. We want to focus --

SANTORUM: -- violence.

GRANHOLM: OK. That's exactly what we're talking about.


GRANHOLM: That's exactly what we're talking about.

HAM: The other thing we've been talking about actually.

JEAN-PIERRE: No, I was going to say, we're the ones who are talking about mental health and then we get pushed back when we do talk about these things.

Look, you have to do something. Just because this one particular horrible person who took 58 souls a week ago, one law wouldn't have worked for him, you still have to do something because it is going to continue.

HAM: OK, so one thing, I do think the bump stock thing is something and actually --

JEAN-PIERRE: I do agree with you. I totally agree with you.

HAM: -- actually unlike many proposals after (INAUDIBLE) is pertinent to this particular crime. So I think it is both morally and logically defensible.

And, gee, I wonder why people think you want to go further when you guys both said many times over, one law is not enough. We got to need -- we need a bunch of laws.

TAPPER: We will take a quick break. We're going to keep going here. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on thin ice according to many administration officials after a week of mounting tension with President Trump. Will the secretary of state be able to keep his job after reportedly calling President Trump a -- quote -- "moron"? That story is next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you address the main headline of the story, that you called the president a moron?

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I won't deal with petty stuff like that.

I mean, this is -- this is what I don't understand about Washington. Again, I'm not from this place. But the places I come from we don't deal with that kind of petty nonsense.


TAPPER: No offense to the secretary, but calling your boss a moron is a pretty big deal anywhere you live.

Steve Schmidt, a former McCain adviser tweeted, "When you're forced to deny that you called the President a moron in a news conference there is a 100 percent chance you called him a moron."

Senator Santorum, can this relationship be saved between Tillerson and Trump?

SANTORUM: You know, Donald Trump is an interesting character. I mean, I always find that the people that are closest to the president, the people that he really has invested his time and energy and guys like Jeff Sessions, he gets much more offended when they offend him, when they do things that he doesn't like than people that he's not close to.


And he actually tolerates people that are not close to him or he doesn't really have that kind of relationship much better than he does people that he has that kind of trust with. So I would say in an odd way the fact that he and Rex are not buddies and that Tillerson is not in the inner circle probably allows him to survive much more than if someone who was close to him had done this.

TAPPER: Governor, are you worried about who comes next if Tillerson steps down that it might be a John Bolton type or somebody who is more conservative --

SANTORUM: That would be awesome?

TAPPER: I know the senator would love (ph) it.

GRANHOLM: Oh my, God.

Yes. I mean, I think that Tillerson is probably not going to last beyond the end of the month honestly because I just don't see it. I don't see how he can do his job as secretary of state in the world because the world has seen this now.

And so how do you entrust that he is speaking for the president especially when you know fundamentally he disagrees with the president on Iran, on North Korea, on trade, on whatever. But, yes, I totally worry about who would be coming next because with what the president has been tweeting lately especially yesterday's tweet which, you know, had the specter of war --

TAPPER: That there's only one solution to North Korea.

GRANHOLM: Absolutely. There's only one solution and it's not a diplomatic solution. So you put someone in who doesn't even like diplomacy like John Bolton -- and yes, it's terrifying.

TAPPER: So CNN reported this weekend President Trump was so furious at Tillerson apparently consulting his intelligence that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was forced to navigate between the two. And Kelly suggested at one point to President Trump in a very nuance way that if Tillerson were to leave, either on his own or with President Trump forcing him out, Kelly's own ability to do his job could be at risk.

President Trump was asked about this and had this to say. Listen --


TRUMP: John Kelly is one of the best people I've ever worked with. He's doing an incredible job. And he told me for the last two months he loves it more than anything he has ever done.

He is a military man but he loves doing this more, which is chief of staff, more than anything he has ever done. He is doing a great job. He will be here, in my opinion, for the entire seven remaining years.


TAPPER: That's President Trump being asked about Chief of Staff Kelly, not specifically about the CNN story -- just about tensions.

First of all this is Kelly's favorite job ever. Second of all he's going to be here for seven years.

HAM: Well, I would believe that General Kelly enjoys the challenge and wrangling this as a challenge. And I do think -- look, there's not a lot of people who have learned to do this dance with Trump outside of his immediate family. And I think that's a problem you're going to continue to run into.

With the Tillerson story for instance -- look, the story became public. He had to go on T.V. to make that statement because I think that Trump requires that you make those amends in public, on T.V. But then we heard reporting that Trump was upset that he was on T.V. too much.

But there is this fine line to walk both on policy and in personality and this visibility question and it's a really hard thing to do in this workplace, which makes it very hard to do your job. And I think it will for the next person too. But maybe it's a job (INAUDIBLE). I don't know.

JEAN-PIERRE: I think John Kelly has like the mission impossible. He's trying to control someone who doesn't want to be controlled. And let's not forget Donald Trump has burned through his senior staff, during the campaign and now in the administration. So he has an impossible task at hand and just in general chief of staffs do not stay very long.

So I can't imagine him lasting for seven years especially under someone who just doesn't really want to be controlled.

TAPPER: I want to change the subject quickly to Harvey Weinstein. President Trump was asked about Harvey Weinstein, that's obviously the movie mogul who according to "The New York Times" has been sexually harassing women for decades. There were eight out of court settlements he paid.

The president was asked about his behavior and also about how it compares to the "Access Hollywood" tape. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I have known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Were Harvey Weinstein's sanctions inappropriate?

TRUMP: Well, he says they were inappropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: A year ago, a video that came out that had you --

TRUMP: That's locker room -- that's locker room.


TAPPER: RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel sees (ph) on the Weinstein revelations to go after Hillary Clinton.

She tweeted, "Who's side is Hillary Clinton on Harvey Weinstein's or his victims?"

Governor --

GRANHOLM: Ridiculous. This is ridiculous.

Let's just talk about what the president just said. I mean, it takes one to know one. Let's just say.

This guy -- this is the president which -- it is somewhat ironic that the Republicans are ginning up all of this stuff about Harvey Weinstein when the president himself has been accused of sexual harassment or sexual abuse 15 times. So -- you know, including lawsuits. So come on.


HAM: Yes. The bottom line is these powerful guys are part of the same gross complex.

GRANHOLM: Including the president.

HAM: And it is problematic. And you can just say it's problematic -- that's what I'm saying.


HAM: It is problematic and you can just say that without it actually being (INAUDIBLE) that. And I do think -- like there is this open question about who speaks out about it and when. And like people who were close with him should speak out about it.

GRANHOLM: Yes. I agree with you on that. And I think it speaks to why we should have more women in position of power. Amen to that.


TAPPER: Hey, we got a mostly woman panel here.

GRANHOLM: I appreciate that. Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks one and all for being here.

Today marks one week since that horrific shooting in Las Vegas. Before we go today we want to take a moment to remember the 58 innocent lives who were lost last Sunday.