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Trump Begins Asia Trip Amid North Korean Tensions; Trump Looks for Putin Help with North Korea; Police: Texas Church Shooting Sent Threatening Text Messages to Mother-in-Law; Russian Layer's New Claim about Trump Jr Meeting. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired November 6, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:31:56] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
North Korea says it is watching Donald Trump very closely as the president of the United States begins his tour of Asia that will take him and the first lady across five countries in 12 days and skirt the nation that is threatening the U.S. with nuclear war. While the trip is being billed as a chance to strengthen ties with Asian allies, it is also being viewed as a vehicle for President Trump to deliver a stark message about U.S. military capability to an audience of one in Pyongyang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not stand for that. The era of strategic patience is over. Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong, but look what's happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With me now, David Sanger, CNN political and national security analyst.
So, David Sanger, I know you know this part of the world very well, and so let's just get right to this interview over the weekend with the president where he said he would be willing to sit down with the North Korean dictator. He was asked about it and let me tell you exactly what President Trump said. He said he would certainly be open to doing that. He said I would sit with anybody I feel. I don't think it's strength or weakness. I don't think it's a bad thing. Would that be in the U.S.' best interests?
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It would depend on how well it was set up. The president had varying views on this. In an interview last year, he told me pretty much the same thing. At other points, he has said that negotiating with Kim Jong-Un is useless and he chastised the secretary of state for suggesting, in fact, that there should be negotiations.
I think the answer to the question, though, is you wouldn't want to put any president especially one who has not dealt with the North Koreans before in this situation unless you had a pretty good idea of where that negotiation was going to come out. So, for example, there is a proposal round which neither the U.S. nor North Korea has signed on to, to have what they called a freeze for freeze. They had the nuclear testing and we freeze our exercises in the pacific. It's got some real down sides including enshrining North Korea's current capability which is pretty fearsome, but you'd want to know exactly where they were going to end up.
BALDWIN: I was just on the "USS Ronald Reagan" two weeks ago and we know they're watching that very, very carefully.
Let me ask you about Putin. A possible sideline meeting with Vladimir Putin. President Trump is expected to try to get his help in confronting North Korea, a friend to Russia. This has been unsuccessful in the past. What does the president need to say to get Putin to get on that side?
SANGER: Brooke, Putin's role in all of this has been pretty fascinating because until now the Russians have pretty much been sideline players on North Korea. The assumption has been that it's China that's got all of the influence. But at this point, the Chinese and North Koreans are not getting along very well. And we have seen Putin suggest that he would open up some oil trade with North Korea and he would open up new Internet connections because right now North Korea is run all through China. That would suggest that the Russians see a moment of American and perhaps Chinese weakness here and think that they could become North Korea's new friend. Maybe it is only to cause us a little bit more trouble in the region. So I think the president's first message is going to have to be tread very carefully on this because if Russia is found to be aiding North Korea it would be another point of contention between the U.S.-Russia, something that the president, of course, has not been talking very much about.
[14:36:05] BALDWIN: I hope we can talk many more times through this big Asia trip,
David Sanger, thank you so much as always. Love having your voice on the show.
SANGER: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
Let's get you back to Texas to our breaking news there. Sutherland Springs, police say the man who killed 26 people sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law who attended that church. Coming up, we'll talk to pastors, both of whom were in services at the time of the shooting. Stand by.
[14:40:41] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: John Berman here in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Today, the pastor of the First Baptist Church, behind me, broke down as he spoke about the horror that his family and the entire community is dealing with right now. He said, "we've had a long night with the children and grandbabies we have left." The pastor's 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, among those killed. Later, the pastor said he was leaning on his faith now more than ever.
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FRANK POMEROY, PASTOR, SUTHERLAND SPRINGS BAPTIST CHURCH: What you don't understand you lean into the Lord and I would submit this to everyone. My family is here, and you guys there, whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding. I don't understand, but I know my God does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Joining me now, the pastors of two neighboring churches, Pastor Lee Rios, of Emerge Ministry, and Pastor Paul Buford, from River Oaks Church.
Pastor Paul, thanks so much for being with us.
I understand both of you were in services when the shooting here happened.
And Pastor Paul, you were telling me that you had first responders inside your church.
PAUL BUFORD, PASTOR, RIVER OAKS CHURCH: Yes.
BERMAN: Who didn't walk.
BUFORD: They immediately left to go deal with the situation and see what it was that they could do. So -- just took off out of the church service. We calmly did that as the church to say, you need to go, go. And the rest of us, the best thick that we can do is to stay put. Stay out of the way and stay safe.
BERMAN: Pastor Lee, I was talking to you both in commercial beforehand, and I asked you did you know anyone inside here, did you lose any friends, and the answer is, yes, of course.
LEE RIOS, PASTOR, EMERGE MINISTRY: Absolutely. Absolutely. We're a tight community. We all minister together. We've all had youth gatherings together so that church came to this church and we've come together a lot and we've seen kids grow. I mean, we come and get our tacos here. It's a tight community.
BERMAN: Now part of your family in this community is gone?
RIOS: Yes, sir.
BERMAN: How do you deal with that?
RIOS: You rely on the source. The source is the Lord. It's Jesus Christ. And that's the message that we are wanting to get out is the love that's being poured out in the midst of this tragedy. There is so much love coming from all over. And the response, the first responders, the EMS, you guys, everybody showing so much love. That's the message. That's how we change the world is by sharing his love.
BERMAN: You told me you've never seen so much love.
RIOS: No, I have not. I have not. Sorry, in the midst of that and the pain.
RIOS: In the midst of the pain there's beauty in it because you can tell there's people who don't know, but they're feeling the pain of those that lost.
BERMAN: This community hurts.
RIOS: Yes, sir.
BERMAN: This community absolutely hurts.
And Pastor Paul, one of the things I've seen the videos from the past weeks from the services here, you know, happiness is the Lord in last week's sermon. They don't lock their doors at this church. They open their doors. They want people to come in which makes it that much more painful when someone comes in for such evil reasons.
BUFORD: Exactly. The thing we need to look at and we need to understand is evil didn't win anything yesterday.
BUFORD: Evil lost whatever it was that it was looking for. Now surely, we have pain and we have sorrow and we have people that we've lost friends and family members, but we stand on our faith knowing that what the word of God says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord --
BUFORD: -- in heaven. So we know in an instant they were in the arms of their savior and they were in the presence of him. So that's what we have to stand on and that's the only way to get through this. You can't get through it with our own spiritual strength. You have to get through it with your spiritual strength that you have in the higher power that God the creator is in charge.
BERMAN: We heard from the Pomeroys, who lost their daughter.
BERMAN: They're concerned they've lost their church. They don't know if the building can be salvaged and they don't know if the congregation can be brought back together. What's your view of that?
RIOS: It's funny that you would ask. I had a vision of that. Being that that church is such a central point of this community. Anybody can see it when they drive by. I envision that in the future we will see it brighter and bigger. You will see children and families coming and remembering and rejoicing in the times they had with those loved ones that were lost.
BERMAN: What are you going to preach this Sunday?
BUFORD: What am I going to preach this Sunday? Jesus, what --
[14:45:13] BERMAN: That wasn't a trick question.
BUFORD: It's a standard answer, generally, but what I'm going to deliver and what I'm going to be there to say is just exactly what I said a little while ago. Evil didn't triumph in any of this. The big question is, why does a good God allow bad things to happen.
RIOS: Come on.
BUFORD: And the thing is we believe we're made in the image of God, is one of the greatest attributes that God has that he's given us is choice. And we're supposed to be here learning how to make good choices. And people make bad choices and evil has its way sometimes in what's going on. But look around. We have 360 million people in the United States that didn't do something like this yesterday that were in churches, probably with their family, working, helping other people, and that's the thing that we want to focus on, is that that's the good of this country. And I promise you there will be -- we'll have evil here. But the Bible says that we overcome evil with good. And I believe firmly that we have way more good people in this world than we have bad people.
BERMAN: You guys, you gentlemen, Pastor Paul and Pastor Lee, you're part of the good. And I know this community is depending on you and you will deliver.
Thanks so much for being with us.
RIOS: Can I share one thing?
I do have a message? And I do want to say this. This has nothing to do with politics. This has nothing to do with gun control. This has to do with humanity and heart. This has to do with love. It's how we respond. If we respond and make it this or that, then we've given a foothold. We have to respond out of love. We have to respond out of love even forgiving the person that did this because they have a loss as well. It's about forgiveness.
BERMAN: Pastor Lee Rios, Pastor Paul Buford, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it.
BALDWIN: Pastors, and John Berman, thank you so much there in Texas. We'll come back to you.
We've got other news, though on this Monday afternoon, including this Russian lawyer, who was at that Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr, Donald Trump Jr, shedding some light into what exactly happened and what Don Jr said he could do if his father were to be elected.
Also ahead, five fractured ribs and a lung injury. U.S. Senator Rand Paul now dealing with much more serious injuries than first thought after he was attacked at his own home back in Kentucky. What we know and about the Senator's ties to his attacker.
[14:52:06] BALDWIN: New revelations today about what was discussed in that now-infamous campaign meeting at Trump Tower two summers ago. In an interview with "Bloomberg News," the Russian attorney that met with Donald Trump Jr says he asked for dirt on Hillary Clinton and asked to re-examine an Obama-era law against Russia if his father were to be elected.
We have our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, joining us now.
This is the first time that this Russian attorney has actually come out and revealed these details about what was discussed at this Trump Tower meeting. What is she saying exactly?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, until now what we knew mostly was from the e-mails which were pretty explicit in terms of how this meeting was set up and by explicit, I mean that it was set up based on the notion of the Trump officials, Don Jr in particular getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. Now according to this Russian lawyer what she said in a two and a half-hour interview with Bloomberg was that what she was -- was -- trying to deliver was information about taxes that a major Clinton donor had evaded and potentially how that benefited politically the Clinton campaign and the Democrats, but the question is what was the evidence and apparently, she didn't have it. Let me show you a couple of key quotes from this interview.
First of all, on the notion of what Don Jr and the Trump campaign if he became president could do -- let's read that one first because this is based on what I was just talking about. "She said that he asked -- he, Don Jr, this money, the ziffs, the donor, got from Russia, do you have any financial documents showing that this money went to Clinton's campaign?" The answer that she gave was no. And according to the lawyer the meeting kind of ended then, which kind of matches up with what we've heard from Don Jr, in that it was a small meeting.
But there's something else here and that is what the lawyer said that she wanted and what the Trump people said ended up being the majority of the meeting was about what is called the Magnitsky Act, which are sanctions put on Russians, and it has to do with the way an American was treated in Russia. But at the end of the day, this is a major, major issue and something that wrangles everything from Vladimir Putin on down.
So as part of the conversation she asked, if Donald Trump became president, this is something they could do away with, do away with these sanctions. And what he said, according to the Russian lawyer, "Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it."
So it doesn't look like a flat quid pro quo. It looks like he could have been saying, OK, let's see what we can do. But I think that the fact that we learned these two new things, according to her, is not only interesting to us, but makes what she has to potentially tell more interesting to the special counsel, who she said she'd be happy to talk to, and Senate and House investigators who have been in touch with her trying to get her to answer questions, and she said she wants to do it in public.
Maybe after this we will see a public hearing from her, which would be extraordinary.
[14:55:32] BALDWIN: It would be. And put yourself in Bob Mueller's shoes, all right, who do I listen to, what do I value more, this woman or Don Jr?
We will talk to a lawyer about that next hour.
But, Dana Bash, you outlined it perfectly. Thank you very much.
Coming up here, we will take you back to Texas to the mass shooting at the Sutherland Springs Church. We are learning about the heroes who jumped into action. One of them, we talked to his cousin, was barefoot, heard the shots himself, grabbed his own gun and ran towards the church.
Also we have new information in this investigation. CNN confirming that the suspect's grandmother-in-law was at the service and was killed yesterday morning. Chilling details about what the suspect was wearing and who police say he texted before the attack.
You're watching CNN's special live coverage.