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Former First Lady Barbara Bush Is In Failing Health At The Age Of 92; President Donald Trump is Calling Comey, slippery and not smart; The President's long time personal attorney Michael Cohen is due in federal court tomorrow for a hearing; French President Emanuel Macron convinced President Trump not to leave Syria; Protests outside of Philly's Starbucks. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 15, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Bush family sources say the former first lady is at home in Houston being cared for there, keeping with her wishes to stay home instead of a hospital.
CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel has spent considerable time with the Bush family, the former President and Mrs. Bush.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So Ana, the family has told us that she is in failing health. She has been suffering for the last year or two from COPD and from congestive heart failure. If you have seen her in person, she is frequently on oxygen, almost all the time.
And I think what a lot of people don't know is people have been very aware that her husband, former President Bush suffers from Parkinson's. And we have seen him in a wheelchair for quite some time. But what people don't know is that her health has been so frail. She has been in and out of hospitals quite a few times in the last year. Most recently on Good Friday, she went in. She was having some trouble breathing. So I think that what we are seeing now is the family really wanting to let everybody know the state of her health.
There's one thing, Ana, Barbara Bush doesn't like a fuss about her. She likes her privacy. If she was here, she would be saying, Jamie, why are you talking about this on TV? But they wanted to let everybody know and really to say thank you to everyone for all their prayers and their support, Ana.
CABRERA: I know you have spent quite of a time with Mrs. Bush. You have spoken to her at length. How do you think this decision of hers near the end of her life to stay home instead of the hospital speaks of the kind of woman she is?
GANGEL: So I think it's kind of classic Barbara Bush. You know, her family has a nickname for her, they call her the enforcer. And I'm told that after her last hospital stay which was about 10 days, she was very anxious to get home. In fact she got all dress and was ready to go and the doctor said not yet, and she was not happy about that. So I think that she has been dealing with these health issues for quite some time. And this is the way she wants to handle it at this time and no one is going say no to Barbara Bush, Ana. CABRERA: Tell me a little bit about your experiences with the larger
Bush family, how they handle adversity, how they handle loss, how they are likely handling this period when their matriarch is not at her strongest?
GANGEL: Right. They are remarkable family in handling this. I will say this. Three of her children, Dora, Marvin and Neil are with her now. Her two other sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, have been visiting these past week and have been in and out so they are all around her. And of course, her husband, former President Bush is there with her. And I am told it is a very challenging time.
You know, they have been married for 73 years. And he wrote in his book, we are two people, but we are one. They are very, very close. But I can't imagine. It is not an easy time for them.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Jamie Gangel.
Now in the past few minutes, we received a statement from the White House, the White House spokeswoman saying the President's and the first lady's prayers are with all of the Bush family during this time.
Other people speaking for the President this weekend insists that he is focused on foreign policy, and not former FBI director James Comey. But focus or not, the President he did go online earlier today to sling a new nickname at the man he fired last year. Calling Comey, slippery and not smart.
Comey is about to begin a new media tour to promote his memoirs which is partly a reflection of his short time as FBI director under President Donald Trump.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House for us.
Boris, later tonight, James Comey gives his first and lengthy of many interviews to support his book and the President is already slamming it as being full of lies.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the President going on the defensive, through his preferred method, going on twitter this morning, launching a barrage of attacks against his former FBI director, as James Comey kicks off this media tour to promote his book, "a higher loyalty," in which we should know he says that President Trump is not tethered to the truth. The President obviously taking offense to that and some of the other pieces that we have seen not only of James Comey's interview, but his book as well. The President at one point suggesting that James Comey should be imprisoned for a number of acts that Comey - rather what the President has taken exception to.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about that in one of the Sunday morning talk shows. She would not go as far as President Trump. She simply stated that the department of justice should be looking into any kind of illegal activity anywhere pertaining to James Comey. I did want to single out one of the President's tweets, though,
because he has suggest something that is now drawing all of scrutiny.
The President, writing in in part quote "Comey was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win and he wanted a job. Slime ball."
The President there referring to part of Comey's book in which he talks about his mindset before he announced that the FBI would be reopening an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails just days before the 2016 election. It appears that the President is suggesting that Comey made this decision to curry favor with Clinton for a job.
Now we should note, Clinton herself has acknowledged that Comey's announcement likely hurt her chances to become President. So at the very least, it is questionable that the President would suggest this. Albeit, knowing that Comey was in the fourth year of a 10-year term as FBI director. So it's not certain what job the President was referring to that Comey was apparently aspiring to.
Further, Ana, we should note that we have not gotten any confirmation from the White House that the President will be watching this interview tonight. They have not really confirmed when there have been other controversial interviews aired before suggest with the Anderson Cooper and Stormy Daniels just a couple of weeks ago. Though, it is clear that the President has been aware through perhaps other names of what Comey has been saying, Ana.
[19:06:46] CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House, thank you.
Let's get to our panel. Lots to talk about. Joining us today, Ryan Williams, former spokesman for governors Mitt Romney and John Sununu. Also with us, CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza and Washington correspondent for the "New York" magazine, Olivia Nuzzi.
So Ryan Williams, I want to start with you and your reaction to this tweet storm. Is this part of a larger strategy, do you think? Or is this just the President just maybe anxious, perhaps afraid of what Comey's going to say?
RYAN WILLIAMS, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR GOVERNORS MITT ROMNEY AND JOHN SUNUNU: I think it's just an emotional reaction. We saw this with the Michal Wolff book a few weeks back. The President just flies off the handle when these books come out. I don't think it's helping him. He would be best served to just focus on his day job, be president, focus on Syria, on other things and not give this book any more attention. Because all he is really doing is selling more books and more calling attention to the accusations and the lines that Comey's put out there in the excerpts. So it is not helping him. But this is what he does. It's not a strategy. You see his own staff not wanting to go as far as the President has done calling for Comey to be arrested and put in jail. It's just the President acting emotionally.
CABRERA: Which we see from time to time on twitter, at least. Olivia, do you see the logic in this idea from Trump that Comey
handled the Clinton investigation the way he did because he was hoping to have a job under what he assumed was going to be the next President?
OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: So I don't know if I see logic as you or I might understand it. But I could see how the President might suspect that. But you know, to Ryan Williams' point about "Fire and Fury," and this is just being an emotional reaction. I think there's some part of the President that perversely want this book that have to do with him to do well. I think he, if they did not see, that he might view him as an offensive kind of assessment of his popularity.
NUZZI: I think that he likes the "fire and fury" on some level, with such a popular look and will similarly like this.
CABRERA: Comey says in his book, he announced he was reopening the investigation because he in fact was paying attention to the polls and he thought that Hillary Clinton would be considered an illegitimate President if she was elected and this information came out later.
I want to listen to Chris Christie who you know has been an ally of this president addressing this issue today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: When I worked for Jim, if I said to him 11 days before an election that I was going to release information that could potentially affect the election and one of the things that influenced me was polling, he would have fired me. He would have fired me on the spot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ryan Lizza, do Democrats have maybe even more of a reason to be upset with James Comey than President Trump?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Chris Christie is someone who previously has called Comey a man of integrity and really praised him. The context of what Comey did in the 2016 election is really important. He was operating in an environment where Loretta Lynch had this controversial meeting with Bill Clinton. He was operating in an environment where President Obama had said a couple of things about the Clinton investigation. And he was concerned that if Hillary Clinton had won the election and he had not disclosed that they had reopened this investigation, that he said repeatedly had been closed, that it would have been scandalous, or if the information about Anthony Weiner's laptop, remember that's what the information was about. If it would have leaked, he would have been accused of not revealing it.
So I think he was in a very, very difficult position making the right decision. I think it was defensible at the time. But as Christie points out, the fact that he has now reveal that the polling weighed on him, he thought Hillary was going to win, and that is why he bought in that sort of helped pushed him to do this, probably the most controversial thing we have heard that in this book so far. Because you never ever want the FBI director to be influenced by election polls.
I think the hardest part for Democrats in this is, even if he believed it was just - if it would justify for him to disclose this in election, Donald Trump was also under investigation by the FBI and he didn't tell the American people that.
I mean, as a journalist, I want to know if one of the candidates I'm covering if an FBI investigation has been reopen. I think that's important information for the public to have before you go to the polls.
[19:11:02] CABRERA: Yes.
LIZZA: But if the other guy is also under investigation and you don't reveal that, that to me is unforgivable.
CABRERA: And there is a question about, is this a double standard that it has been addressed all along.
But Ryan Williams, there's more to these tweets this morning from the President, who also talks about that infamous Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting. And he says quote "why can't we find out what happened on the back of the tarmac in the back of the plane with wild Bill and Lynch, no golf and grandkids talk? Give us all a break."
The President said this while also asking people to believe nothing nefarious happened during his meeting with Comey or the Trump tower meeting with Russians or any of the multiple other meetings since campaign officials had with Russians that they initially didn't disclose.
WILLIAMS: Yes. It seems a little bit inconsistent. And of course, that Comey - the Loretta Lynch meeting led to the recusal of the attorney general. It was like Comey got the case to begin with and lit it and didn't have the justice department, the attorney general involved.
It doesn't really make any sense, the President is, as I mentioned, he is just putting out whatever thought comes to his mind. I don't know if they are all that logical at this point. But I anticipate he will do more of this. I think after the interview tonight, you will see more in the morning when he wakes up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning to respond. And I think he will do it throughout the week. He put out I think dozens during the Michael Wolf book rollout so I would expect the same from this book.
CABRERA: We are just getting a look at some new FEC filings released today that show one-fifth of the money President Trump's reelection campaign has spent this year has gone to legal fees. Approximately $835,000 in all. Olivia, what does this tell you about the strain this is all putting
on the White House, particularly with aides and other advisors perhaps who don't have a reelection campaign?
NUZZI: Right. Well, I mean, by my count there were nine different entities that received payments for legal counseling for the campaign in this FEC report. And there is, if you look at the numbers from the last quarterly report in to this one, there's like a sharp uptick in what some of these law firms are receiving from the campaign.
I think it's a sign that they are under distress there. And that, you know, they have a lot of reason to be concern there. A lot of people with legal exposure. But as you said, there are a lot of people who do not have a campaign that could help them in that investigation.
NUZZI: Exactly. And there are a lot of people who have been involved in the Russia investigation, who have testified before Congress, who are having trouble paying those legal bills and do not know if they are going to receive help from the President, and do not know if they are going to be in debt forever trying to figure out how to pay off these bills.
So I think there are a lot of very stressed people. Most of all, the President, you know, in this news cycle trying to figure out how they are going to deal with their legal exposure.
CABRERA: And apparently, the President now feeling even more pressure with this new investigation, at least about an investigation that we just learned about in to Michael Cohen here at the southern district of New York. The attorney office that did this raid with the FBI on Michael Cohen's office, his hotel, his cell phones earlier this week, Ryan Lizza. And now we are hearing from Trump confidants that they are more concerned about the President's vulnerability and the rest of the president with that probe versus the Mueller investigation.
LIZZA: I mean, all Presidents are under enormous pressure all the time, right. Just comes with the job. And most of the time you don't actually see, you don't have a lot of insight into what they are thinking. This President is under as much pressure as any President has been under, given what's going in Syria and North Korea. And the fact that his personal lawyer, who holds all his - the President's secrets, his family's secrets and now the FBI has access to all of that, given what's going on in the Russia investigation where - since we are getting closer and closer to the President.
And what's so bizarre about our current politics is that we see in -- and add to that the Comey book, very rare for FBI director to come out a year later with a sort of tell-all and that highly critical. And with this president, we are seeing in real time him reacting and reacting in a really emotional, frankly unstable way with these tweets. And it cannot be a -- that is not an optimal environment for a President to be making life and death decisions.
[19:15:22] NUZZI: But it is kind of difficult to know if this is a sign of him being under stress, right, because his demeanor on twitter is not very different now under these various investigations, and with his personal lawyer being embroiled in with a raid.
CABRERA: You are right.
NUZZI: Since it was 2012 or 2013, right. And when he had comparatively no stresses. So I don't know if I really think what he says on twitter freaking out about this or that or Comey or Michael Cohen is really a sign about how he feels personally. I think today, as in 2013, 2014, 2015, we don't really have great window into his emotional state.
CABRERA: Ryan Williams, are Republicans more concerned by the Cohen probe versus Mueller?
WILLIAMS: Yes. I think we are all concerned about 2018 and what, you know, where we are headed politically. The President continues to throw out distractions. This book - his him focusing on the book is a distraction from talking about Republican accomplishments like the tax bill, you know. We really can't talk about any other issue than whatever it is the President is tweeting. So it is difficult. Makes it already difficult political climate more difficult for Republicans. So that is unfortunate that he is not really helping us focus on issues.
CABRERA: We heard the president was pissed, that is the quote from his advisors after the raid on Cohen's offices.
Olivia, you, I know you had some exclusive access to Hope Hicks just before she left and there was all this discussion about what was going to happen with the President when she left, because in many ways, she kind of kept him stable to some degree, according to our reporting, there were concerns that the President would unravel. Have we seen a shift at all? What are you hearing?
NUZZI: I mean, look. If the President was rattled before Hope Hicks left, then I think we are all in a lot more trouble than we even thought that we were in this country. I think don't think that there is really been a time where he has been what, you could reasonably call stable by previous (INAUDIBLE) of the president' mood.
But I do think that a week like this week would have been a great time to have a communications director in place to strategize about different messaging and response that they could have at least from the podium when it comes to James Comey's book, and what we will learn from that book when it comes out and hiss interview this evening.
But at the same time, Donald Trump, as somebody said on this show earlier, he acts as his own communications director. He acts as his own attorney. There is only so much that you can really internally to kind of get him on course.
CABRERA: I have to think -- I just look at you Ryan and think of talking about communications directors, that infamous interview with Anthony Scaramucci that ended his days as communications director.
LIZZA: Yes. That mean that goes to show that even if they had a new communications director, maybe they might not be that effective or choose the right people.
But I guess I disagree a little bit about what you are saying is you don't think that there are these buffers inside the White House then suddenly gone. That Trump's just being Trump the way he is. I think he had a series of people around him that did restrain some of his more worrying impulses.
LIZZA: And that Hope was one of them, at the secretary of state, McMaster, at the NSC. I feel like there were, you know, for Trump at least, there were these moderating influences. And you know, it's a little bit like the hulk breaking the chains up. Even Kelly is -- was chief of staff, had some controls, a lot of the reporting is those controls are now gone. So if you feel like we are in a period now where there's a little bit more of an unrestrained Trump.
CABRERA: I have to say and I have to wrap this up. But I did speak with Republican lawmaker Charlie Dent earlier, asked him, is he worried about what the President might do after Comey's interview tonight? And he admitted, there's that, like there is just as level of being, you know, uncertainty what the President's next actions will be, because of his tendencies to act impulsively.
Thank you all for joining us in that discussion.
LIZZA: Thank, Ana.
CABRERA: Olivia Nuzzi, Ryan Williams and Ryan Lizza as well. I appreciate it, guys.
President Trump's personal lawyer due in federal court tomorrow. Lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels says his client will be there too. We will preview that, still ahead in the NEWSROOM. Don't go away.
[19:23:40] CABRERA: The President's long time personal attorney Michael Cohen is due in federal court tomorrow for a hearing. And guess who else will be there? Porn star Stormy Daniels. Her lawyer says she is planning to be in court but isn't going to offer testimony. Tomorrow's hearing sense from those recent FBI raids on Cohen's home and offices, his hotel room. Daniels and Cohen, of course, are in a legal battle related to her claims in an alleged affairs with Trump and some hush money. She was paid by Cohen.
Now the White House says Trump denies having an affair. He himself has said he knew nothing of that payment.
Let's talk about it over with Jack Quinn, former White House counsel during the Clinton administration. Jack, thank you so much for being here this weekend. Stormy Daniels
attorney Michael Avenatti says Cohen will likely be indicted. His prediction in the next 90 days. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: It is intended to send the message that this is a very, very serious matter for her and she want to make sure that the American people know that she is behind efforts to bring to light as much information and documents as possible. She also wants to ensure that she is heard and that she is represented at the hearing. It has nothing to do with getting in his head at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Jack, how do you see this playing out for Michael Cohen?
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL DURING THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Not well. You know, I'm not prepared to say he is going to be indicted at a particular point in time. But the aggressive nature of the raid and the fact that the U.S. attorneys' office and the southern district of New York has indicated that it's investigating serious crimes involving Mr. Cohen and that they were concerned that evidence might be destroyed and that was the need for urgency in executing the raid, really suggests that he is in deep water and under a very dark shadow, which it's going to be hard for him to escape. Now we of course in the middle of an investigation, and so one can't be certain what the outcome of it will be, but it looks very bad for him.
[19:25:46] CABRERA: Jack, you have said that the litigation Cohen filed to prevent the prosecutors from accessing the private material could backfire, how so?
QUINN: I definitely think this will backfire. First of all, you know, they went into the court indicating that they wanted to protect private records. Private records doesn't have any legal meaning. The only thing they can protect are privileged materials.
The U.S. attorneys' office indicates that in earlier searches of Mr. Cohen's materials they came up with exactly no records that qualified for attorney-client privilege. Now according to Mr. Avenatti who was quoting the U.S. attorney's office, the raid may have yielded thousands if not millions of records, who knows how many. But the suggestion that there has not been a single attorney-client document yielded or uncovered so far is really worrisome. And that's what's going to be under great discussion in court tomorrow.
As you well know, the judge has indicated that she wants to hear from Mr. Cohen and his attorneys as to who his clients are, what the nature of the relationship is that he has with them and what kinds of records he might have.
Attorney-client privilege only exists in connection with communicating or seeking legal advice. It doesn't have to do with business advice. It doesn't have to do with PR advice. It doesn't have to do with all the great many things that we all know Mr. Cohen has been involved in for President Trump.
CABRERA: Well, there are apparently thousands and thousands of documents. And as you point out, they are going to address what the client, you know, attorney-client privilege is and who his clients are. But we are told, according to the prosecutor that Cohen has told at least one witness, that President Trump or then, you know, prior to being President, private Donald Trump was his only client.
QUINN: Right. And, you know, so that's his only client, the question is, were the communications he had with them, the kind of communications in which legal advice was sought and whether he provided that legal advice in the context of those communications. Everyone has for months and months, ever since he has been a public figure, has talked about how his portfolio for Mr. Trump really was expansive, and covered a great many things not including practicing law.
CABRERA: Do you think that President Trump could get pulled into this?
QUINN: He is in it. An attorney showed up in court on Friday representing his interests. He certainly has a fair interest in this. Because if he is in fact the client of an attorney, and if he has in fact been seeking legal advice from that attorney, and receiving it, those communications are privileged and he has every right in the world to show up and vindicate those interests.
But in the course of bringing this into court, you know, Mr. Cohen has really opened Pandora's Box. He is -- there are a host of issues that he has now raised, including frankly, the fact that in connection with the matter for which Ms. Daniels is showing up in court, that there was no contract.
You know, the President was on air force one the other day and when asked by a reporter in connection with this controversy, whether he knew about that payment, he said no. His lack of knowledge of this arrangement with Ms. Daniels suggests that there was in fact no contract, no binding relationship between them.
So, you know, I frankly think that Mr. Cohen has stumbled into a real thicket here from which it's going to be hard for him to escape. But, look, the contractual issue is minor compared to the fact that he now has the United States attorney in the southern district of New York undertaking a serious and aggressive criminal investigation of his activities.
Where that will lead, who knows? But if I were he or his one client, I would be very concerned and I wouldn't be spending much time worrying about James Comey's book tour.
[19:30:30] CABRERA: I wonder also, given that this is a separate investigation from Robert Mueller's probe, could they end up connected at some point?
QUINN: I'm somewhat doubtful of that. We are really speculating here. But, look, this referral to the southern district was made by deputy attorney general Rosenstein. He presumably in making that referral, came to a conclusion that what was at issue in the investigation of Mr. Cohen, was not at the core of Mr. Mueller's mandate, namely, whether or not there was any interference in the election on the part of Russians, and a connection between that interference and the Trump campaign.
It's hard to see how these things will become connected again. Connected down the road. So I kind of doubt it. I am really curious about the fact that among the materials sought by the southern district of New York, where materials relating to the Access Hollywood tape. I have been scratching my head about that all day, how that might connect. And the only thing I come up with, is that the Access Hollywood tape has, you know, meaning for all of these investigations as far as I'm concerned only in that it was just, what, 27 minutes, or 57 minutes after that Access Hollywood tape was released that WikiLeaks released this treasure trove of emails and, you know, that begins to connect up with the investigation of Russia's involvement in the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. Which by the way, it's mighty interesting that despite the fact that Mr. Mueller has brought indictments in connection with Russia's interference in the social media campaign, he has still not brought indictments with the hacking of Democratic Party, mails.
CABRERA: Which just goes to show how many more he may have that we just don't know about so far.
QUINN: And that is right at the heart of the overall investigation. Right at the heart.
CABRERA: Jack Quinn, thank you so much for your time. Great to have you on.
QUINN: Anytime. Thank you.
CABRERA: Just ahead, less than two weeks after saying the U.S. was ready to get out of Syria, the U.S. President Trump is firmly back in. And today, one U.S. ally is taking credit for convincing him to stay there.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:37:34] CABRERA: President Trump has repeatedly declared he will not be telegraphing military move. After a widely reported desire to leave Syria in six months, the President has apparently been convinced to keep U.S. troops in the war torn country.
CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is joining us now.
Elise, you reported President Trump was irritated when his top military brass told him that withdrawing too quickly from Syria would be unwise. Of course, that was prior to the military strike against Syria following the chemical weapons attack. Who now have now convinced him to stay in Syria? ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, we are
talking about the French President Emanuel Macron. You know, this is one of the leaders that President has become very tight with. Obviously, France launched the military strike along with the U.S. and Britain. And now French president Macron is saying that in addition to convincing President Trump to keep this very narrowly focus on the chemical weapons not to escalate the crisis with Russia, just as his military advisors did. President Macron is also telling a French television network that he convinced President Trump to stay the course in Syria just after saying about a week ago, he wanted U.S. troops out. Take a look into President Macron earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Ten days ago President Trump said the U.S. will is to disengage from Syria. We convinced him that it was necessary to stay. And I believe that on the diplomatic front, beyond what went on, these three strikes which are one part, but for me it is not the most important of what is going on in Syria.
Please be assured that we have convinced him that we had to stay on in the long-term term. The second thing is that we convinced him that we have to limit these strike needs to chemical weapons even though there had been only a tick uproar by way of tweets which you may have been aware of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: Now obviously, President Trump doesn't like anyone saying that they convinced him to do anything. I think what President Macron was trying to say, Ana, is that he is letting the President know that how important it is to stay in Syria, not create a vacuum where ISIS could return or give the floor to the ground to Iran or Russia and that the French and the U.S. allies will stay in Syria along with them. You know, President Trump is looking for other countries to share more of the burden.
CABRERA: It's so interesting to see how the relationship between Macron and President Trump has evolved over the last year or so.
Elise Labott, thank you for that reporting.
President Trump meantime has dropped bombs, but what else does he need to do to keep pressure on Syria's President. Just ahead, we will dig deeper with our national security analyst live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:44:35] CABRERA: U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley says new sanctions against Russia will be coming tomorrow in response to Moscow's report of the Assad regime in Syria. Haley offered no details. Still not clear how Russia might respond. This comes just two days after the U.S., France and Britain launched a coordinated strike on targets in Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack. And that brings us to your weekend presidential brief. A segment we
bring you every Sunday night highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the President will need when he wakes up tomorrow.
And here to bring it to you, CNN national security analyst and former national Security Council Sam Vinograd. She spent two years helping prep for the Presidents daily brief in the Obama administration.
So Sam, we don't know if President Trump is watching. But if he is, what does the President need to know?
[19:45:25] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think the first thing that he will be focused on is whether in fact our mission in Syria was accomplished. He tweeted about this hours after it happened.
Let's assess it across four metrics. The first is did we in fact respond to Assad's attack in Duma? I judge that this part of the mission was a success. We identified targets. We destroyed them. And so that part of the mission was successful.
Second, did we hold Assad responsible for his action in Duma in his using chemical weapons? I think we failed on this. Assad, since the strikes, has continued to deny regime involvement in the attacks. Russia has continued to deny Syria was involved in any way. We saw this theater at the U.N. Security Council yesterday. So this part of the mission failed.
Third, did we deter chemical weapons used? I think this is unknowable. We don't know if these costs, these strikes were so unbearable to the regime that they won't use DW again. That's something that only time will tell.
And finally Ana, we have talked about the White House to get Trump not to congratulate Putin. I think this time they tried to get him not to escalate tensions with Russia. So we went from do not congratulate to do not escalate with this particular strike.
We saw a limited set of targets. We saw the language after the attacks, very carefully calibrated saying that this was only to counter CW. And so, I think that was successful tensions did not boil over with Russia yet, at least not yet. So overall I would say the mission was semi accomplished.
CABRERA: And in addition to Syria, we are all securing up for potential meeting between the president and Kim-Jong-un. So North Korea is another complex issue, obviously. How do you see that factoring into the President's schedule this week?
VINOGRAD: He has a lot on his plate. And he is actually hosting Prime Minister Abe of Japan at Mara-a-Lago on Tuesday evening. These two guys have had kind of a bromance over the past couple of months since Trump came into office. They met several times. They had several phone calls. And Prime Minister Abe is coming into this myth that wanting it to be a success. He will have some private policy differences with the President over North Korea and trade, but publicly, I think he will want to show a united front.
On North Korea, he is very worried about this Trump- Kim meeting. And the fact that this meeting may signal that United States can be pressure against North Korea too early. I think he is happy that John Bolton is there as a hawk to keep the pressure on. And on trade, Prime Minister Abe was very upset that President Trump he did exempt Japan from these recent steel and aluminum tariffs. The administration exempted several other allies. So I think he wants some kind of private assurance that Japan could get exemption.
And finally, Ana, you and both know the President has a mix record on alliances. He criticizes Mexico. He criticizes NATO. So the most importantly component of this meeting is going to be whether the President can say, and Abe can say, allies can have difference privately, but when push comes to shove, our alliances are strong and we are united together.
CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, always appreciate your take.
VINOGRAD: Thank you.
CABRERA: And still ahead here in the NEWSROOM --.
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CABRERA: Protests outside of Philly's Starbucks. Outrage growing after the arrests of two black men, what Starbucks and police are now saying live when we come back.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:53:11] CABRERA: Video of a controversial arrest at a Starbucks in Philadelphia is now sparking outrage and protests. Here's a look at what happened.
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CABRERA: This cell phone video captures the moment police officers handcuff two black men apparently because they refuse to leave the Starbucks. The men say they were simply waiting for friends and doing nothing wrong. This incident has now led to accusations of racial profiling by Starbucks and the police. And now people are protesting. This was the scene earlier today at that same Starbucks. These protesters are part of the group black lives matter.
I want to bring in CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval joining us now.
So Polo, tell us more about what happened.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is important to point out to, Ana, that even before some of these protests happened today, Starbucks has certainly been apologizing almost repeatedly. According to them, it was the actions of some of their employees that led to these arrests. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Employees at this Philadelphia Starbucks had asked two men to leave the location before this viral video was shot according to police. The men refused to do so. The employees called officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they get called for? Because they are two black guys sitting here meeting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they do? What did they do?
SANDOVAL: The men were arrested and taken away without incident. Melissa Depino (ph) who originally tweeted the footage wrote, the police were called because these men hadn't ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend that showed up who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. The men were eventually released after Starbucks chose not to follow trespassing charges against them.
The coffee company lately tweeted, we regret that our practices and training led to the reprehensible outcome in our Philadelphia store.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also wrote to customers promising a face to face apology with the two men and also a review of the company's practices.
In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenny says the apology quote "is not enough." Saying the incident appears to exemplify what discrimination looks like in 2018.
Police commissioner Richard Ross standing by his officers responds posting this message on Facebook.
[19:55:19] RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: The police did not just happen upon this event. They did not just walk into Starbucks to get coffee. They were called there for a service and that service had to do with a disturbance that had to do with trespassing.
SANDOVAL: Commissioner Ross maintaining these officers followed policy and legal standing to make the arrests.
SANDOVAL: So at this point, the Philadelphia police department, Ana, definitely standing behind their officers. Starbucks, obviously, is going to be a big key here, key focal point on what they will do next. Not only what we just discussed in the meeting with these two individuals between the CEO and these two gentlemen but also there will be further training some of their partners, some of their employees so that they can more carefully decide when police assistance is need in these kinds of situations. CABRERA: Yes. There are so many questions that I have about what led
up to the police being called, like what was the interaction between the employees and the individuals --.
SANDOVAL: They will be key from them eventually.
CABRERA: Right. And the individuals you mentioned having an attorney now.
Polo Sandoval, thank you for bringing us the story. Stay with us. We are back in a moment.