Return to Transcripts main page
3D Guns Plans Go on Sale at Midnight Amid Backlash; States Sue Trump Administration over 3D Gun Printing; WAPO: North Korea Working on New Missiles; Trump & Administration Out of Sync on Iran Approach; H.R. Head at FEMA Resigns Amid Sexual Allegations; Paul Manafort Trial Begins Soon. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired July 31, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] ADAM SMITH, POLITICAL EDITOR, TAMPA BAY TIMES: Whether it's turning away from family values or cozying up to Putin or free trade, you know, the base, including people that have been stalwart Republicans for decades, they seem to be standing with Trump every step no matter what he does.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Adam Smith, in Tampa. Thank you, Adam, so much. We'll look for the president down there in just a little while.
Meantime, they are untraceable, undetectable, and starting tomorrow, you could download and print a firearm at home. The president tweeted out that he may have some concerns. So let's talk to the Connecticut attorney general who is one of several states suing to stop this.
And after his face-to-face historic meeting with Kim Jong-Un, the president has maintained that the North is not a nuclear threat. But according to some new reporting, including satellite images, they are proving otherwise. So is this a breach of the handshake deal between these two? We'll discuss that ahead.
[14:35:03] BALDWIN: They are being called unstoppable, untraceable and a, quote, "downloadable death." And tonight, the American public will get the chance to download plans for 3D plastic guns. I'm going to explain how these actually work in just a moment.
But first, lawmakers are sounding the alarm. Several attorneys general now suing the Trump administration.
Even the president says he's concerned and says these guns don't make much sense. The problem is, it's his administration that has opened this door. This effort was originally put on hold by a lawsuit during the Obama administration, but the Trump administration gave the green light to the sale of these so-called Ghost Guns.
First, here is Tom Foreman explaining how this even works.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the center of the controversy is Defense Distributed, a nonprofit in Texas, that's been fighting the State Department for several years over the firm's desire to release the gun plans, insisting this is a free- speech case. These are merely instructions to build something.
Cody Wilson, who leads the company, has described himself as a crypto anarchist on a mission.
CODY WILSON, DIRECTOR, DEENSE DISTRIBUTED: Giving you the ability to make something to military specification but like affordably.
FOREMAN: Kind of. A Ghost Gunner machine from Defense Distributed, a 3D printer specifically designed to make gun components at home, costs well over $1,000, beyond the range of some casual buyers. But --
NICK SUPLINA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY: The price point here is not prohibitive for those who right now have an interest in undetectable and, at times, untraceable firearms.
BALDWIN: So let's go to straight to Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, one of a number of top state officials suing the federal government, trying to block this, arguing that it makes cheap weapons available to terrorists and criminals.
So, Mr. Attorney General, welcome.
GEORGE JEPSEN, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good to be on your show. Sorry about the circumstances.
BALDWIN: No. Let's dive in right now about what the president tweeted and I want to read it for you, "I'm looking into 3D guns being sold to the public. Already talked to the NRA. Doesn't seem to make much sense."
Now, as I just pointed out, despite the president's tweet, it was his administration that cleared the way for tonight's deadline. Mr. Jepsen, how do you interpret Trump's tweet?
JEPSEN: It's scarcely believable. In fact, it's laughable. There's no way that Secretary of State Pompeo would have allowed this to happen under his watch unless he has explicit or encouragement from the president. I just don't buy it at all.
BALDWIN: So why would the president say that?
JEPSEN: I -- I'm frequently confused by what President Trump says. And asking me to explain much of what he says is beyond my capacity.
BALDWIN: Well, what do you think are the gravest consequences of printing these guns?
JEPSEN: Well, this is incredibly alarming and disturbing. To me, the most dangerous thing is that people who want to bring these -- have these guns, will be able to get past security, whether it is airport security, so the risk of a hijacked plane goes up. The political events where there's frequently security. You would be able to slip past with a gun and perhaps assassinate a public figure. Terrorists will want them. Criminals will want them. And no good can come of it.
BALDWIN: The New York A.G. would agree with you. She's Barbara Underwood. She put it this way, "It is simply crazy to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3D printed guns at the touch of a button. Yet, that's exactly what the Trump administration is allowing."
The Obama administration fought the company who makes the guns for years and now again this green light, the Trump administration used American taxpayer dollars to actually pay this company back in its legal fees.
I know you are fighting this, sir, but why do you think you can stop them now?
JEPSEN: Well, what is most extraordinary is that the lawsuit enjoining Defense Distributed from downloading the blueprints was won by the federal government. And the Supreme Court would not grant -- so the Trump administration, up until now, has been doing the right thing. And they had won this case. And with this secret backroom deal, they handed that victory to Defense Unlimited (sic). So it's -- that's a very disturbing aspect about this. Yes, time is short for us. We have a very short line. We haven't heard whether a hearing has been scheduled out in Washington State. We hope there will be a hearing, but if not, the judge can make a decision in granting a restraining order, simply as we say it on the paper, so just reading the arguments that are written down. But we hope that there will be a hearing and then a decision.
BALDWIN: This Defense Distributive owner, Cody Wilson, his argument is that the State Department has been violating his First Amendment rights to free speech and the Second Amendment right to bear arms. And he was just interviewed by a colleague of mine. And she asked him
the question, don't you think this will lead to more deaths? And his answer was, "Is democracy dangerous or not?"
[14:40:22] JEPSEN: He's wrong. His side lost in court. The trial court found on behalf of the government. The appellate court found on behalf of the government. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case. So he's wrong about the violations of law. The only violation of law is what's going on now. And we, as state attorneys general, are taking it upon ourselves to try to get this last-ditch effort to stop it.
BALDWIN: Last quick question, because we have not heard much from the NRA. What is their role in this since this doesn't actually impact their bottom line?
JEPSEN: It's tough for me to say where their role would be. I'm sorry, I don't have a better answer, but it's difficult to understand what their role would be.
BALDWIN: George Jepsen, Connecticut attorney general, sir, thank you so much.
JEPSEN: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Just in, we are now hearing from prosecutors on whether they will pursue charges against CBS CEO Leslie Moonves involving harassment allegations against him.
And stunning testimony today. One ICE official compared detention centers for separated children to summer camp. And another official says he warned before the separations that they would cause harm to kids.
[14:46:06] BALDWIN: U.S. spy satellites just captured images appearing to show North Korea building new missiles. That's according to the "Washington Post." Officials familiar with the intelligence say work is under way on one or possibly two intercontinental ballistic missiles. This is happening as denuclearization talks continue with the United States. And now it raises serious questions about the president's post-summit declaration that, quote, "There's no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."
So Aaron David Miller is with me, CNN global affairs analyst.
Welcome back, sir.
You know, out of the gate here, it appears the North Koreans have not made any real moves to start this disarmament process. And I was reading something you wrote that, "It's time for the Trump administration to learn to live with a nuclear North Korea." Why?
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I don't think we have to love the North Korean bomb, Brooke, but we'll have to get used to the reality we have to live with it. Because even under the most ideal circumstance, Kim Jong-Un is not going down to zero warheads. And any sense on the part of the administration that comprehensible, irreversible, verifiable disarmament, is somehow an objective for here on planet earth I think it wrong. Over time, if we provide sufficient incentives, the North Koreans may be willing to cap and restrain some of the more egregious capacities. But the idea again of figuring that Kim is going to give up his nukes ain't going to happen.
One last point.
MILLER: We got to not lose sight of the goal. The goal is to reduce the prospects of war on the Korean peninsula between South Korea and North Korea and reduce the prospects of war between the United States and North Korea. You probably could accomplish that with a peace treaty between the North and the South and a functional relationship and roll back of a large part of Kim's program. And if you could do that, then what's a few nukes, frankly, among frenemies. BALDWIN: Thus, your point, and one of the reasons I love you quoting
the stones in this article saying, well, you can't always get what you want but you can get what you need, in this case, peace and security on the Korean peninsula.
Let me ask you about Iran. Because, at the same time, Trump suggested he would meet with Iran without preconditions, whenever they want, which is a short departure from the threats against the regime last week. You have the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, reiterating the laundry list of preconditions for said talks. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe in meeting. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don't know that they're ready yet. They're having a hard time right now.
No preconditions, no. They want to meet, I'll meet. Any time they want.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their maligned behavior, can agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he's prepared to sit down and have a conversation with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And here is Iran's response today that, "Trump's offer to negotiate with Iran contradicts his actions." And Rouhani called the U.S. pulling out of the Iran Iran-nuclear deal is illegal. Why does Trump think they would want to sit down with him?
MILLER: I have no idea. And I think that's part of the problem. I mean, I think I mentioned to you before, this is the first president here in American history that's managed to be unable to defines American national interests that is somehow untethered from his own vanity, his own political interests and his own needs. As a consequence, you have tweets and comments. This one, in the company of the Italian prime minister, which are unhinged from any comprehensive strategy. If I believed we had a strategy on Iran, even if it involved pressure, but it was designed to actually return to the negotiating table, reaffirm the existing nuclear agreement, or even negotiate another one, this would be good. We should be talking to the Iranians if only to eliminate the prospects of tripping or triggering a provocative unnecessary war. But these sorts of statements, frankly, undermine our credibility. They are not attached to any strategy. And they confuse allies and adversaries.
[14:50:28] BALDWIN: Not to mention the president seems out of sync with his own secretary of state on the whole precondition thing.
Aaron David Miller, thank you so much.
MILLER: Thank you, Brooke. BALDWIN: And coming up, shocking allegations against the former head
of H.R. at FEMA. He is accused of trading jobs for sex. So we'll talk to the woman who broke the story wide open.
Also breaking this hour, a jury has been seated in the first federal trial for former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, the first high-profile test for the special counsel, Robert Mueller. We'll take you just outside the courtroom, coming up.
[14:55:28] BALDWIN: Disturbing allegations surfacing from FEMA against the former head of Human Resources. This new report accuses Corey Coleman of trading sex for jobs at the agency and demoting women who turn down his advances. The accusations do not stop there. Investigators allege when they approached Coleman for an interview, he resigned.
The "Washington Post" Lisa Rein is the reporter who brought this story to light. She's with me from Washington.
And, Lisa, of all people, the head of H.R.
LISA REIN, STAFF REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: I know, isn't that the greatest irony? Well, Brooke, what is disturbing about this story is, as Brock Long, the Trump appointee who now runs FEMA, told me yesterday, this is really only the tip of the iceberg. So Mr. Coleman was having sex with a number of subordinates. And when they pushed back and decided they didn't want to be in relationship with him anymore, he demoted one, chased one out of the agency, and promised the other that he would promote her if she stayed.
It's actually worse than that, because he was, we are told, hiring women who he met on match.com and perhaps other sites who he met in bars, hiring them so they could be sort of, kind of pimped out for some of the men that he was also hiring who, it turns out, were his friends and many of his fraternity brothers.
BALDWIN: And not only that, let me just take your reporting a step further. In reading further into your piece, not only did he hire the women for the men to enjoy, but he transferred these women, according to the investigators, to other cities, other locations, so other men could enjoy them as well.
REIN: Right. And this is -- I do want to make clear, so FEMA is doing an internal investigation. They have been investigating this on Brock Long's watch for seven months. And he says that they have a much more to go. They have interviewed 73 witnesses who are both former and current employees, and they have sworn statements from about 95 people. And they are continuing to understand what went on with this very strange twist on what we know to be sexual harassment in the "Me Too" movement.
BALDWIN: The quote from Brock Long, let me read it: "The biggest problem I may solve here could be the eradication of this cancer. How many complaints were not heard? I've got to make sure we have a safe working environment for our employees."
But, Lisa, what about this guy, Coleman? Any luck getting in touch with him? Has he said anything?
REIN: Right. Unfortunately, we tried, have tried and continue to try to reach him. We went to his house in Washington, we tried cell phone numbers that had been discarded and given to other people. We tried a home number. We haven't reached him.
If you're out there, Mr. Coleman, if you have a lawyer, please get in touch with us. We really would like to try and -- we're trying some of his fraternity brothers now. So we really don't know. He resigned just about five weeks ago before he could be interviewed as part of this investigation.
BALDWIN: Lisa Rein, keep digging. Thank you so much, with the "Washington Post." What a story. Thanks.
REIN: Thanks, Brooke.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BALDWIN: We continue on. You're watching CNN on this tuesday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
Here's what is breaking right now. There are 12 jurors who will decide the fate of Paul Manafort and they are now all seated in what is the first high-profile test stemming from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Opening statements are set to begin shortly for President Trump's former campaign chairman. Manafort is accused of hiding millions of dollars in income for lobbying work done on behalf of pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.
So, Shimon Prokupecz, is all over this for us, our crime and justice reporter, walking us through the case against Manafort.
So, Shimon, let's start with the tax fraud charges.
[14:59:40] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. These are charges stemming from the work that Paul Manafort did for pro-Russian Ukrainian officials. This is political work. He's essentially accused of taking this money, parking it in offshore accounts and not paying taxes on it. Now prosecutors say he never reported the money that he put in the offshore accounts, didn't pay taxes on the millions he made. He then lied on tax forms essentially, didn't report the income, didn't report that he had money being held in overseas accounts.