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CNN NEWSROOM

Killer Shot Guard Six Minutes Before Firing On Concertgoers; Sheriff: Killer Had An Escape Plan; How Trump's Tax Plan Could Backfire On Wall Street; Trump, Corker Feud Raising GOP Agenda Concerns; Wildfires Kill at Least 11 in California; Trump-Tillerson Lunch. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired October 10, 2017 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Deadly wildfires sweeping parts of California. Right now, at least 11 people have died. Officials fear that number will rise.

More than 100 people across California reported missing. That's according to a Sonoma County official. There are 17 active wildfires that are burning right now. You see them on your screen. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. It is one of the worst fire storms in the state's history.

Let's go straight to our Miguel Marquez. He is live in Santa Rosa, where the neighborhood, Miguel, is unrecognizable. You obviously are wearing a protective mask. We see the flames behind you. What can you tell us?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the wind has just changed direction a little bit now, so it's really blowing that smoke right back on us.

I want to show you where we are. This is what is left of a Hilton Sonoma wine country resort. It is completely leveled. Many, many areas of Santa Rosa, California, and around Sonoma valley, Sonoma County, are the same.

Eleven dead. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office believes that that may go up because they had so many calls overnight of people missing. Thousands of people left their homes within minutes -- only minutes to spare because this fire was moving so fast. Two hospitals were also evacuated. Some 1,500 structures in Sonoma alone destroyed.

One neighborhood, Coffee Park, the before pictures, a quaint, lovely little California neighborhood. The after, just a hell storm. The fire just whipped right through there, completely leveling that neighborhood.

One hundred and twenty thousand plus acres burning across California right now. In Anaheim, south of Los Angeles, hundreds of miles from where we are, another fire kicked up there. The winds blowing it up the hills here. Several houses destroyed. Several thousand more in danger of being destroyed there. The only good news, if there is any good news in any of this, is that

the weather is starting to cooperate. The winds are dying down. The temperature is going down. And that humidity is going up. That may allow firefighters to get on top of this, get the upper hand and start fighting the fire head on.

But, right now, this fire is so widespread, there is so much damage out there, they are having to go back to places that they have been fighting before just to keep them from flaring back up.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Wow. Miguel, thank you for your reporting. Thank you for being there, your entire team. Obviously it's a risky situation. We appreciate you bring us the updates. Keep us posted.

All right, to politics now, to the White House, where a bitter back and forth between President Trump and a top Republican senator doesn't look like it's going to be over anytime soon. One administration official tells CNN, the president is, quote, not finished with Bob Corker, even as members of his inner circle are split on whether it is a smart strategy to attack a fellow Republican he needs.

And a different showdown could be on tap today as the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and the president have their first publically scheduled event since reports that Tillerson called Trump a moron. Something, I should note, Tillerson never outright denied.

Let's go to the White House. Joe Johns is there.

The president, this morning, taking to Twitter to make his feelings known about Bob Corker again.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right, Poppy. This is the latest volley in this back and forth with Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that goes all the way back to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, after the president responded to the violence there involving white nationalists and neo-Nazis. All the way through last weekend, where there was a back and forth between the president and Senator Corker.

And now this today. This tweet this morning reads, failing "New York Times" set little Bob Corker up by recording his conversation was made to look like a fool, and that's what I'm dealing with.

Of course, that term little Bob Corker is reminiscent of the campaign last year when the president referred to another member of the United States as little. That would be Marco Rubio.

The significance of all this, Poppy, as you said at the top, we've been told the president is not through with Corker. In some ways, that is an attempt by the administration and the president's allies to show strength. Also an implicit threat, if you will, not to mess with the president. Even though the president, obviously, has had a real difficultly on Capitol Hill, partially because of his confrontational relationship with members of Congress, as well as his low approval ratings. But every indication this morning that the back and forth with the president and Bob Corker is going to continue.

Meanwhile, another front this afternoon. The president is expected to sit down and have lunch with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. As far as we know, that will be the first time these two men have met since reports surfaced that Tillerson referred to the president as a moron.

[09:05:09] The president actually responded in some degree to that situation in an interview with Forbes Online that was just published today. In the interview, and the article that was written connected with it, the president both suggested the claim that Tillerson called him a moron wasn't true, but also attacks Tillerson just in case it was true. I'll read that to you. The quote is, I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.

Also in that article, the president was asked about his comment that Tillerson was wasting his time on North Korea, and he said, in his view, he wasn't undermining Tillerson.

Back to you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Joe Johns, a lot going on at the White House, and it's just past 9:00 a.m. Thank you for the reporting.

Joining me now, three people with extraordinarily high IQs, David Swerdlick, CNN political commentator, Perry Bacon Jr., senior writer for FiveThirtyEight, and new to CNN, Lauren Fox, CNN congressional reporter.

A pleasure to have you in the family and here as well.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Thank you.

HARLOW: So let's start with you.

A new tweet just moments ago from the president. I don't know if it's liddle Bob Corker or little Bob Corker, but it's spelled l-i-d-d-l-e. Little Bob Corker set up by "The New York Times." He said by recording this conversation he was made to sound a fool. That's what I'm dealing with.

Talk to me about the strategy here because he needs Corker. He needs him for a lot of reasons, as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations, to approve appointments, for key diplomatic posts. He needs him on tax reform.

FOX: Absolutely.

HARLOW: What's the thinking?

FOX: Well, I think what's happening is the president is frustrated with Bob Corker because he's read comments from Bob Corker criticizing the president. And there is no strategy in terms of trying to get Bob Corker to vote for tax reform or trying to make sure that his confirmation smooth sailing -- sails smoothly through the Senate. But I think one of the things we have to be watching for here is that

Bob Corker's probably not going to stop either. He's not seeking re- election. And he's not afraid. He's going to go through and keep speaking his mind when it comes to the president.

HARLOW: White House chief -- former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, although he seems very much involved, Perry, in White House strategy right now, even from the outside, back to running Breitbart, he is weighing in and he says, look, Corker, no way he should have gone there. He should resign. Let's listen to what Bannon said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, CEO, BREITBART: McConnell and Corker and the entire click establishment globalist click on Capitol Hill have to go. If Bob Corker has any honor, any decency, he should resign immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: I don't think that's going to happen, Perry, but --

PERRY BACON JR., SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: In fact, Bob Corker says, hey, the opposite. He's saying he's going to use this time he has left -- time in Washington left to say everything he wants to say.

I think the broader issue though is that Bob Corker saying something not -- it's not a personal attack from Bob Corker, I don't think. He's saying that the staff is saving us from chaos. He's talking about -- he is, I think, legitimately worried that Trump is unstable, dangerous and might led us into war with North Korea or something like that. I think that Corker is talking about a much more substantive issue than just like he's mean to Donald Trump.

HARLOW: I get that. I get that. But, you know, this is the same Bob Corker, David Swerdlick, just to push back, which when the president was saying these things off the cuff, yes, he wasn't president yet, but he was saying some pretty wild things campaigning, and Bob Corker stood next to him and campaigned with him and now it's a totally different tune.

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Yes, Bob Corker is speaking truth to power now, but it's much easier, as Lauren pointed out, that he's announced that he's not running for re-election.

I agree with Perry that he's not saying this as a personal insult and a different, more conventional politician than President Trump might take this as tough love, right? But, instead, because President Trump is so focused on his poll numbers, on his approval, on his perception in the press, he's taking it as a personal attack.

HARLOW: Here's how another outgoing Republican congressman, Charlie Dent, sees it. He just spoke to MSNBC last night. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We have these conversations all the time. And we -- we have to do better. And I think more of my colleagues should speak up. They say things privately they don't say publicly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: OK, he says they should speak up. It's easier to do on your way out, as we know.

FOX: Absolutely.

HARLOW: But, Lauren, to you, when you look at the polling, and this is what a White House official pointed out, you know, to CNN, and some of the sources that we have there, the president's numbers in polling are higher than congressional Republican's numbers in polling. So the White House feels pretty secure in this. And it does put Republicans in Congress in a more uneasy situation being vocal about these feelings, even if they share them, right?

FOX: Absolutely. And I think one of the things that we might see from Donald Trump is, if Congress cannot get anything done, then 2020 might become a referendum on Congress.

HARLOW: Well, 2018.

FOX: Why don't -- why don't we replace some of these folks. Why don't we just go ahead and have primaries against them? And I think that we will continue to see this moving forward. I don't think that this is going to stop.

HARLOW: Not if Steve Bannon has anything to do with it.

FOX: Absolutely.

HARLOW: He's talking to big money donors. Dana Bash is going to join us later to talk about what he is trying to do to totally flip things on the Republican side in Congress.

[09:10:05] What about the lunch today, Perry. To be a fly on the wall with Secretary Mattis -- Defense Secretary Mattis, who has publically disagreed with the president, for example, on the Iran deal. He said to Congress, it's a better idea for U.S. security to stay in this. The president wants out. And Secretary of State Tillerson, after the moron comment.

BACON: You know, I don't think this lunch will be that dramatic, for one reason is that my understanding is that Trump already knew that he -- that Tillerson did not like him and had called him some names and that before. It just came out publicly last week. So my sense is that the key issue here is though on Iran, on North Korea. Tillerson, Mattis, McMaster, General Kelly to some extent, don't see foreign policy the same way that the president does.

I think the core question here is, how long can the president have a national security scene that disagrees with him on issues? This can't -- this seems untenable where the staff is publically trying to push him back and where senators are saying the staff is saving us from chaos. That's not something Donald Trump I'm sure -- Donald Trump reads the news. I don't think he enjoys being the -- you know, being ascribed like, you know, sort of child-like manner where he has to be taken care of by his staff.

HARLOW: And, David, you know, this matters for the American people. This matters for the world because Secretary Tillerson is the top American diplomat who needs to be taken seriously by every other diplomat and world leader on these key issues of Iran, of North Korea. And when the president is saying in tweets not long ago, save your energy, you know, Rex Tillerson, I can deal -- we can deal with North Korea, and also then questioning his own IQ in this new interview with "Forbes." What does that do to Tillerson's ability to do his job?

SWERDLICK: It makes it very difficult for him to do his job because world leaders will tell you, and diplomats will tell you that one thing that the secretary of state has to have is the perception among other world leaders that he speaks for the president and there's no daylight between his view and the president's view.

HARLOW: But he doesn't.

SWERDLICK: No, and he doesn't have that view. So now you have a situation where world leaders are able to take what he says with a grain of salt and then continue to wonder, I wonder what President Trump really thinks or I wonder what the United States policy really is, not just what Secretary Tillerson just told me.

HARLOW: One -- we know that the president is open to making deals with Democrats, Lauren. He called Chuck Schumer in the past few days something I don't think Steve Bannon would like very much, but he did it, right?

FOX: Right.

HARLOW: And, look, Americans, we all want bipartisanship. So on the surface that's a good thing.

But I'm confused at the strategy because then the president tweets this morning, the problem with agreeing to a policy on immigration is that Democrats don't want secure borders. They don't care about the safety of the USA, OK. Those are the president's words. And then in the "Forbes" interview he says, I'm very able to make deals with Democrats if I have to. Is he if he says they don't care about the security of this country?

FOX: Well, look, he sat down with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. He had allegedly made a deal back then. Then the White House said, no, he didn't make a deal.

HARLOW: On DACA.

FOX: He didn't agree on DACA. And now, moving forward, he's talked to some other Republicans. They're probably saying, we can't agree to what Chuck Schumer would want here. And so now the president is stuck in the middle.

And what is clear to me is this is a president who maybe isn't clear about what policy he wants. Members of Capitol Hill are asking him, Republicans, send us up a list of your demands. That's what he did on Sunday night.

HARLOW: And they did. And they did.

FOX: And I think now the question is going to be whether or not Democrats are going to be able to move some of those demands more to the middle, more to what they were trying to negotiate before.

HARLOW: You know, Perry, I mean, in all fairness, I had a Democratic congressman on yesterday, I had Democrats on my panel, none of them gave me a clear answer on where Democrats will give on this, on immigration, on getting the DACA deal they want. Is there some (ph) incumbent on Democrats, too, to say, all right, here's where we will move.

BACON: Probably on negotiations, probably just better talk to Donald Trump and his staff then us. You know, I don't understand them not doing that. I do think in this case -- in this case, the president said there was some kind of deal -- or the Democrats said early on.

But this list on Sunday on DACA and their immigration request fells to me like, what should happen on negotiation. Like, you know, Trump has (INAUDIBLE) his request. I assume the Democrats privately will say, here's what we can take, here's what we can't take. I'm not surprised Democrats aren't in public saying, we'll support more border security funding. But I think ultimately they may agree that if the deal is here.

HARLOW: Is this the dealmaker president with Democrats or does he just like to say that?

SWERDLICK: No. And I think he's using a deal making tactic, or an opening offer, tactic, that might work in the private sector but doesn't work here. He's actually making it easy for Democrats to essentially reject his offer or to remain noncommittal. If he came out and said, OK, how about e-verify and how about 10,000 more border agents, Democrats would have to come back to you, Poppy, and answer that question. But when he throws out this laundry list, they can basically say, well, no, this is a nonstarter.

HARLOW: (INAUDIBLE).

SWERDLICK: Yes. Right.

HARLOW: It would be nice if -- it would be nice if they do, though. It would be refreshing.

SWERDLICK: Yes.

HARLOW: Thank you both -- thank you, all three of you, very much. Nice to have you here.

BACON: Thank you.

FOX: Thank you.

[09:15:00] HARLOW: A stunning timeline change from what we're learning about the Las Vegas massacre. The killer's first victim, that security guard shot six minutes before he unleashed those bullets on the crowd. Why? Answers to that ahead.

Also, the president launches new attacks on the NFL over kneeling during the national anthem. His latest tactic hits the league on taxes.

And more Hollywood stars speak out against Harvey Weinstein on sexual harassment, but one person we have not heard from, former presidential candidate and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who gained a lot in fundraising from Weinstein. Will she condemn his actions, ahead?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: We are hearing stunning new details about the horrific Las Vegas massacre. Police now revealing a major shift in the shooting timeline. Investigators say the gunman shot and injured a security guard a full six minutes before he turned his weapon on thousands of concertgoers at the music festival 32 floors below. Now police previously had said the security guard approached his room as the shooting was underway diverting attention.

Let's get more details from our Scott McLean. He is live in Las Vegas. Do we know why the shift, and really the significance of it as they pursue this investigation?

[09:20:08] SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy. So, Clark County sheriff, Joe Lombardo, calls this is a minute change to the timeline. It's about 15 minutes roughly, but that 15 minutes makes a very big difference.

Originally, the theory was that Jesus Campos, the security guard at the Mandalay Bay Hotel arrived on the 32nd floor and was shot by the suspect after he had already fired down at the crowd for about 10 minutes, and that Campos' presence there seemed to distract him from firing down.

Well, that is no longer the case. It's still true that Campos was responding to a call of an open door or an alarm on an open door, but he was shot by the suspect a full six minutes now according to police before the shooting down at the concert venue started. So why did the suspect actually stop firing? That is now still an open question -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Police also are now more and more confident, Scott, that there was an escape plan. They thought perhaps there was and there was a lot of ammunition, guns in his car, but why are they so sure now that there was an escape plan?

MCLEAN: Yes. So, we will likely never know for sure, Poppy, but the sheriff said yesterday that this idea of an escape plan is still very much possible for a couple reasons. First, we know the suspect tried to fire at large fuel tanks at the McCarron Airport here in Las Vegas, which is adjacent to the concert venue.

We also know that he had personal protective wear in his room, and his car was filled with explosives and ammunition, and so the idea is the suspect may believe he could create so much chaos down at the ground that maybe police would not pay much attention to the hotel itself and he could go downstairs and leave. That's a theory we will never know for sure.

HARLOW: Scott McLean, we appreciate you staying there and staying on this story, on the victims and survivors. Everyone wants answers here. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Ahead for us, back to politics, the president needs Republicans to pass his agenda, so why does he keep attacking them? We will talk about the strategy next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:26:52]

HARLOW: Welcome back. We are moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street and Wall Street is very excited about President Trump's plans to cut corporate taxes, but could it back fire on investors?

Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is here before the bell. Why?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Poppy, that is the intriguing headline on CNN Money this morning, how Trump's tax plan could back fire on Wall Street. Let's look at the bull market.

From 2009, you can see what is happening in stocks. A big rally as the economy has recovered, as jobs have started to come back, and the housing market starting to comeback. Look at the very last part of that rally.

Much of that is on a pro-business sentiment from this president and the promise of corporate tax cuts and corporate tax reform. That is what this Trump bump has been. But the question is if you have tax cuts and not tax reform and it adds to the deficit and not paid for to the tune of trillions over 10 and 20 years, what does that do for interest rates?

It jacks up the interest rates, which makes them a little more attractive than say, the stock market, which may be getting a little bubbly compared with fundamentals and then suddenly you have a reckoning on Wall Street.

That is just where it's being positive in that story on CNN Money this morning and really starting to get some attention. We are talking about unfunded tax cuts instead of real tax reform.

Now we don't know where we are quite yet in the tax debate. It is still ongoing, of course, and a moving target. It will be the tax writers in Congress who will finally decide what it looks like.

But you have had such a big rally and such high hopes for corporate tax cuts to really juice corporate profits even more that there's a lot riding on this. A look at the stock market today and it looks like things could pop a little bit.

We had 63 record highs for the Dow since the president was elected, 63, and this morning things are looking higher in part because we are heading into corporate earnings season, Poppy, you will see big, big profits for some companies and probably the most likely the baking sector -- Poppy.

HARLOW: And it helps confidence and it can boost hiring, but there half of Americans who don't have a penny in the market --

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: So, remember, Christine Romans, thank you so much. We will watch the opening bell in a minute and a half.

Meantime, the president's tax plan, just one of his agenda points that he wants desperately to get passed. As long as the number of Republican he attacks continues to grow, is it going to hurt him on that and many other fronts?

Joining us now, former Republican senator of New Hampshire, Judd Gregg. Nice to have you.

JUDD GREGG (R), FORMER SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: So, he does need Bob Corker, right, case in point, for things like tax reform and getting that through, for getting comprehensive tax reform through. He needs him as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to get some key diplomatic posts appointed, et cetera.

He just tweeted again attacking him again, as our Jeff Zeleny reported, the White House and the president said he's not done with Corker, and clearly, he is not because he called him a fool this morning on Twitter. What is the strategy? Does it make sense to you?

GREGG: Not really, but that's the president's style. He's taken on probably 10 Republican senators already, including the speaker, Leader McConnell, and John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake.