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CNN NEWSROOM

Mattis: Putin "Tried Again to Muck Around" with U.S. Elections; Michelle Obama Hs Some Real Talk for Women & Meghan Markle; Bruce Springsteen: Trump Will Win Again in 2020; Kansas City Chiefs Cut Player after Violent Video Surfaces; The Special Friendship Between Sully the Service Dog and George H.W. Bush. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 3, 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] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Also, no formal meeting with President Putin of Russia.

But listen to Defense Secretary James Mattis, just this weekend, saying Russia is not done meddling in U.S. elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: There's no doubt the relationship has worsened. He tried again to muck around in our elections this last month. And we are seeing a continued effort along those lines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Evan, why hasn't Russia been deterred?

EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, they haven't been deterred because the U.S. government has not given them reason to be deterred. And that's saying something. Here we are, two years after the 2016 election, and still we have not taken action that is sufficient to set the Russians back, to push their posture back. Instead, they continue to be aggressive. They continue to be to try to divide Americans, turn Americans against each other, continue their hacking operations. They continue to behave aggressively around Ukraine. This is a regime, the Putin regime, that has not learned any lessons that would keep them from engaging in these activities.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: What about all the sanctions, though, that have been imposed?

MCMULLIN: They're not enough. I mean, simply. And this is the thing about sanctions. They're dialable, as we say. You can dial them up, you can dial them back. And the simple reality is, in my view, that we have to continue to dial them up until the behavior stops. And president -- or James Mattis, Secretary Mattis talked about his commitment to defending the country against these attacks. And I believe that he is truly committed. He's an honorable American and servant of the country. But the reality is that he can only do so much without the commander-in-chief's support, especially when you get into the deterrence category. On a defensive level, sure, there are things in the cyber world that you can do to defend. Maybe we're acting offensively, as well. I hope we are. But also, I think what we need to do is dial up sanctions. And until we do that, we're not going to see a change in Russian aggression.

CABRERA: Evan McMullin, always good to have you with us. Thank you.

MCMULLIN: Thank you.

Former first lady, Michelle Obama, has a new best-selling book of the year. And she seems to be getting pretty comfortable out there on her book tour. Her strong and salty words about the push for working women to lean in. Plus, some advice to royalty.

And later, does the NFL need better advice on how to handle players accused of abuse? We'll talk about this just-released video and the league's response to violence against women.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:36:39] CABRERA: Oh, how the Internet loves it when a prominent woman uses a curse word in public. Take the case of former first lady, Michelle Obama. It happened Saturday night in Brooklyn in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,000 people. Mrs. Obama did not mince words when discussing the philosophy that women can have it all. Quoting her here: "That whole 'so you can have it all,' nope, not at the same time. That's a lie. That's not always enough to lean in, because that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) doesn't work all the time."

Obama quickly apologized. She said she forgot where she was for a moment.

I want to bring in CNN White House reporter, Kate Bennett, and talk more about this.

Kate, just first your reaction to this very candid moment with Mrs. Obama?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's exactly what this book tour, is, right? This is candid moments with Michelle Obama. There's something about her authenticity and realness that I think sort of give her a pass in terms of what's expected of a former first lady of the United States. We always felt like we knew Michelle Obama, that she was sort of relatable in a sense. So I think that's probably why this is sort of we're talking about this with smiles on her faces, and not in some ways that it was derogatory. It wasn't completely, you know, off the script that she would say something like this. And I think that's really what was drawn many people, and obviously many readers to her and her new memoir.

CABRERA: Michelle Obama also offers some advice to a fellow first lady of sorts, Meghan Markle, the new duchess of Sussex. The latest British version of "Good Housekeeping," you can see Mrs. Obama on the cover. She said, quote, "So my biggest piece of advice would be to take some time and don't be in a hurry to do anything. I spent the first few months in the White House mainly worrying about my daughters, making sure they were off to a good start at school and making new friends before I launched into more of my ambitious work. I think it's OK, it's good even to do that."

Kate, she acknowledges that they were both kind of thrust into the spotlight and says to take her time adjusting. What's the significance of this?

BENNETT: I think Michelle. Obama was very much the uber trailblazer in terms of the newness and freshness of like the presidency, or for Meghan Markle, the monarchy, where there's something that you feel a brighter spotlight on you, in a way. And I think what she wanted to say was, hey, take your time, slow down. This quote did, though, remind me of Melania Trump. She got a lot of flak for it, but she stayed in New York, didn't move to the White House for about six months, because she was wanted to make sure that Barron Trump, her own son, adjusted OK and he finished his school year. So certainly, I think Michelle Obama is doing -- I would imagine Meghan Markle looks to her, and as do others, she's sort of giving her blessing saying, you know, don't feel that outward pressure. Try to think more about what's going to make you happy. There's no time stamp for this. There's no directions, there's no instruction book. This isn't role, this public role isn't something that is always defined. Maybe make it your own. And I think that is probably good advice for the duchess of Sussex at this point.

CABRERA: Separate topic here, Bruce Springsteen, no fan of President Trump, but he thinks Donald Trump is going to win again in 2020. What exactly did he tell the "Sunday Times?"

[14:39:50] BENNETT: You know, this is interesting to me. He did this lengthy interview. And Bruce Springsteen, who as you say, is a prominent Democrat and not a fan of President Trump's, he is concerned that the Democratic bench of presidential candidates for 2020 just doesn't have someone who can stand up to the president's bluster and I guess sort of combat his bombastic way of campaigning. And I think we all can remember 2016, that campaign very clearly, 2015, even, when we noticed right away that the president, the now president has a real habit of name calling and sort of bullying and talking in a way, talking over people. It really is a singular, you know, way of campaigning. And I think Springsteen here has a point that the 2020 candidates, with the exception possibly of Joe Biden, who's kind of a mud slinger himself, but we don't know if he's going to run, might have trouble finding somebody who can really sort of go toe to toe in that way that we got used to seeing Donald Trump campaign. And that could be an interesting factor for Democrats when they're looking for a candidate on 2020.

CABRERA: There's a piece on CNN.com right now that talks about how swear words among politicians have gone way up during the Trump presidency, going full circle there. Your points about the president talking unlike other presidents and effectively doing so when it comes to getting voters to the polls.

Kate Bennett, thank you so much.

BENNETT: Thank you. CABRERA: Up next, an NFL star says, "I deserve forgiveness." Newly released video shows him shoving and then kicking a woman last February. That player now without a team, but just how long will that last? We'll discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:45:53] CABRERA: One of the NFL's top running backs, Kareem Hunt, is now speaking out after TMZ posted this video that shows him pushing and then eventually kicking that woman back in February. The Kansas City Chiefs cut Hunt from their roster soon after this video surfaced. Hunt is now apologizing to his team and to the public in an interview with ESPN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREEM HUNT, RUNNING BACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Honestly, I just want to let the world know, you know, how sorry I am for my actions and, you know, it's been a tough time for me. And I'm extremely embarrassed because of that video. I made a poor decision and I'm willing to take full responsibility of any actions that come, you know, from this point on. I'm asking for forgiveness and I definitely believe I deserve forgiveness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: One big question remains, what did the NFL know about this incident when it happened, again, back in February.

Joining me now to talk more about this, Nancy Armour. She is a sports columnist with "USA Today."

Nancy, good to see you.

How was TMZ able to get their hands on this hotel tape, but not one of the most powerful sports organizations, the NFL.

NANCY ARMOUR, SPORTS COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: That's a really good question. And unfortunately, this is not the first time that we've seen the NFL come up with or be unable to come up with videos or documentation of, funnily enough, abuse or violence against women. And you know, it's -- there are ways to do it. Yes, TMZ probably paid money for the video, but the NFL, as you said, is the most powerful organization. There should have been a way to get this video, or at least get some other kind of corroboration on this incident.

CABRERA: Listen to what else Hunt had to say to ESPN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: The Chiefs are right. And I didn't tell them everything. And you know, I don't, you know, I don't blame them for anything. And my actions caused this. I lied to them. I lied to them. So they said -- they pretty much said, you know, we love you, everybody cares about you, and, just, you know, we got to let you go. We all care about you. It was a tough conversation. (END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Has the NFL ever questioned you about this incident?

HUNT: No, they have not.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Did they ever ask you to talk about that incident?

HUNT: No, they have not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So, Hunt admits to lying to the Chiefs about this incident, but he says he had not been questioned about it by the league. Why didn't they question him? That just seems like due diligence.

ARMOUR: To me, that's inexcusable. Because you have this incident that they clearly were investigating and have been investigating. The NFL put out a statement yesterday saying that. And you also had an incident where Hunt was involved in an altercation at a man at a casino. You've got him with two incidents of questionable behavior. Why is the NFL not on the phone with him or hauling him into their offices in New York to talk to Roger Goodell? That, it's yet another example of the NFL seemingly just not wanting to know the dirty details.

CABRERA: What can the NFL do to show they care about domestic violence? Because think about what they did to investigate Deflategate. For weeks, they invested so much time.

ARMOUR: Exactly.

CABRERA: Also, not to mention, how to deal with confronting the kneeling controversy.

ARMOUR: Exactly! And, you know, this is not the first time the NFL has had to confront this. We are four years after ray rice. And yet it still can't get it right. I don't know. You know, every time I think that the NFL has taken the right steps, then they go and do something like this that it makes you wonder, do they really care? Do they really want to know about these incidents, or do they just hope that they get brushed under the rug and that nobody actually finds out about them? And unfortunately, I don't have a good answer for that question, because it's always more of the same with them.

CABRERA: You know, following the release of that video, Kareem Hunt says he deserves forgiveness. Do you think he'll play again in the league?

[14:50:08] ARMOUR: He led the league in rushing last year, and that seems to be the thing. If he's somebody who can produce, there will always be a home for him. I don't think he's going to be claimed on waivers right away, similar to what we saw with Reuben Foster last week, just because of the outrage. But, yes, once this investigation is done, I'm certain that he'll play again. You know, Ezekiel Elliott is still playing. James Winston is still playing. So, yes, there will always be a home as long as he can produce.

CABRERA: Nancy Armour, thanks for your take. We appreciate your perspective.

We are monitoring the arrival of President George H.W. Bush's casket to the nation's capital. These are live images at the runway of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where, in the next half hour or so, Air Force One will be touching down. The historic flight is now being called Special Air Mission 41. We will take you there when the plane lands.

And the picture that broke hearts all around the world, Sully the service dog, not leaving his post. An inside look at the short but special friendship between the pup and the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:55:43] CABRERA: Special Air Mission 41 is currently flying the casket of President George H.W. Bush to the nation's capital. And aboard that plane are family and friends, including one very special companion, Sully, Bush's yellow Labrador service dog, taking one last flight with his best friend.

This was a picture tweeted out of Sully keeping watch over the owner's casket, along with the caption, "Mission Completed."

After this last flight with the former president, Sully will then travel to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he will help other veterans.

Joining us now is president and CEO of Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs, John Miller, who worked alongside the training team during the placement of Sully.

John, thanks for spending time with us.

How did Sully come to work with the former president?

JOHN MILLER, CEO, GUIDE DOG FOUNDATION & AMERICA'S VETDOGS: Well, thank you, Ana. And Sully is just one of America's most popular dogs at the moment.

CABRERA: Yes.

MILLER: And we heard from, you know, the president's team through our connections and our programs at Walter Reed and determined that Sully would be a good fit for the Bushes and in particular President George H.W. Bush.

CABRERA: We understand Sully can perform two-page's worth of commands, including answering the phone, fetching items. What kind of training do these dogs go through?

MILLER: The training is pretty comprehensive. You know, we have a network of prison programs where our service dogs are raised through. They do that for a number of months and then ultimately they come back to tour campus here in New York where they go through some intensive training with our trainers for items such as retrieval, or resting its head, in this case, the president's lap.

CABRERA: Sully was always by his side, even had his own Instagram handle. Sully and the former president, they must have had a very strong bond. Can you speak to that?

MILLER: Sure. Right from the very beginning, the first day there, the president welcomed Sully with open arms. The entire family was very gracious. And by all accounts, they had a great relationship together. It was an instant bond. And really culminated with that photo that we saw last night come out with Sully in front of the casket. Really symbolic of the relationship that they had.

CABRERA: When we talk about him being chosen as a fit or a match with former President George H.W. Bush, what made him specifically the right match?

MILLER: Well, Sully, you know, had the right temperament, had the right skill set that we were looking to have for the president up at the time. They were going up to Kennebunkport, so our staff were going up there to make sure that Sully had the right skills and right temperament. The Bushes are famous for having dogs and being great dog lovers so we had to make sure that the dog could acclimate with the other family dogs as well. And by all accounts, Sully was a great success there.

CABRERA: It was a beautiful friendship.

John Miller, thanks for taking the time with us.

MILLER: Thank you.

CABRERA: David Valdez served as White House photographer during the Bush administration. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID VALDEZ, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: Watching him over the years and knowing his history, of all the things that he did, it seemed like the most important thing to him was his family, his faith, and his friends. And everything else was gravy. But as president, he was in awe of the institution of the presidency, the whole idea of the presidency and showed respect for it, even though he was president. But as we travel around the world, every once in a while, he would just hit me with his elbow and say, can you believe this, us two guys from Texas here doing this? So he was very humble and a caring, compassionate person.

One of my favorite photos is them, George and Barbara Bush, in bed with their grandchildren. And that photo, it was originally going to be shot by "Life" magazine.

CABRERA: There it is. VALDEZ: The president - the president didn't want that to happen.

They asked me if I would do it. I talked to Barbara Bush and it was her suggestion to come over at 6:00 in the morning and just see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: See the love amongst that family.

We go now to Washington, D.C., for special coverage of the state funeral of President George H.W. Bush.