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Trump Unplugged; ISIS Endgame; Nuclear Summit Collapse Aired 6- 7a ET

Aired March 3, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:14]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump said that he was going off script and he certainly did that.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of a sudden they are trying to take you out with (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He needed this.

TRUMP: The attorney general says I'm going to recuse myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a performer and he knows he needs to perform like everything is fine.

TRUMP: We are going to go into his finances. We are going to check his deals. We are going to check -- these people are sick.

BEN STILLER AS MICHAEL COHEN: I'm here today to tell you that Mr. Trump is a racist. Wow. I thought that would be a bigger reaction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Live from Washington, I'm Victor Blackwell.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dianne Gallagher in for Christi Paul. We want to welcome you to your NEW DAY.

BLACKWELL: And we start this morning with the president is doing what he obviously enjoys feeding off the energy of his base trying to regain traction after week of really bad headlines for the White House.

GALLAGHER: Yes. President Trump delivered the longest speech of his presidency, speaking to supporters and conservative activist at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC. No topic at all was off the table and the president took shots at, well, just about everybody.

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood joins us now to try and break down this more than two-hour speech. Good morning, Sarah. This was a wild one, even by President Trump's standards. SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. And good morning, Dianne and Victor.

President Trump emerging from that week of setbacks from Michael Cohen's congressional testimony and to the collapse of North Korea negotiations in Vietnam. The president was clearly venting his frustrations.

It was a speech that was reminiscent of his earlier campaign appearances that were really off the cuff where he would just sort of discard his prepared remarks. And it struck a familiar tone of grievance, blaming the media, Never Trump Republicans, Democrats for not giving his administration credit for what he saw as successes.

He spent an extensive part of his speech going after special counsel Robert Mueller, going after his former attorney general area Jeff Sessions and even attacking congressional Democrats for planning to investigate his business ties claiming they are only doing so because Mueller, according to Trump, is not going to find evidence of collusion in his forthcoming report. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions and they leave people for a long time that shouldn't be there and, all of a sudden, they are trying to take you out with (EXPLETIVE DELETED), OK? (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

Robert Mueller never received a vote and neither did the person that appointed him and as you know the attorney general says, I'm going to recuse myself. And I said, why the hell didn't he tell me that before I put him in? If you tell a joke, if you're sarcastic, if you're having fun with the audience, if you're in live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena and if you say something like, Russia, please! If you can, get us Hillary Clinton's emails! Please, Russia, please! Please! Get us the emails! Please!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: As you can see there, President Trump feeding off the energy from a very enthusiastic crowd. This was his third appearance at CPAC since taking office. Some people trace the launch of his political career back to the speech that he delivered at CPAC in 2011 so this is an event that has long been very friendly to President Trump and what we saw there was just Trump really in his element -- Dianne and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thanks so much.

GALLAGHER: OK. Joining us now to discuss Siraj Hashmi, commentary writer and editor for "The Washington Examiner," and Daniel Lippman, reporter and co-author of "Politico's" "Playbook."

Good morning, gentlemen. OK. Look, longest speech of the presidency, it felt almost like 2016. Trump is, obviously, in full campaign mode here. But I kind of want to focus on something else because (INAUDIBLE) in the introduction said that when the president needs to recharge, he turns to his base. CPAC is where he made his first political speech.

[06:05:00]

Is the president using this, this two-hour plus speech, to kind of recover from a bruising week of losses?

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": More like a bruising couple of months. I mean, we had the longest government shutdown of U.S. history, in addition to the fact that Trump declaring a national emergency to build a border wall now coming into question with respect to the House Democrats and House voting to reject that and a number of Republicans, as well, coming to basically block them through a resolution.

But what is important to look at is that with respect to North Korea, he actually did the country a favor and walking away from a bad deal. I mean, the best thing that he could have done was walk away with no deal instead of a bad one. And with respect to his comments about Warmbier and Michael Cohen testimony, sure, those are things that are going to probably hurt him in the long run, but, yes, the CPAC speech that -- this is him in his element and he really does, I would say he does recharge with his base (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: Yes. To go on for more than two hours half the nominees for best picture were not as long as that speech yesterday. Daniel, let me come to you on a specific here with his criticisms of Jeff Sessions. I mean, that is so 2018. Jeff Sessions is even the attorney general anymore. He has a new attorney general, Bill Barr. Why is he still going back accusing and criticizing Jeff Sessions? There is a new guy in charge.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER AND CO-AUTHOR OF PLAYBOOK, POLITICO: Yes. He is nursing these old wounds that he is never going to get over. You know, 20 years from now, if he is still alive, he's going to be criticizing Jeff Sessions. And I think he sees Sessions refusal to recuse himself as at the core of his problems in Washington that there will would be no Mueller investigation if Jeff Sessions was still attorney general and interfering in the investigation.

Let's think about it. His criticism of Sessions is ridiculous because would we want an attorney general who is a top surrogate for the president overseeing an investigation into the president? This is something that FOX News would be going crazy over if the same thing happened in the Obama presidency.

BLACKWELL: You're saying "we" which would be I guess the we of the country.

LIPPMAN: Yes.

BLACKWELL: The question is what does he want? He likely would.

LIPPMAN: Yes. I think Trump doesn't really have a full understanding of all the rules and regulations involving recusing yourself and sometimes he doesn't know -- he didn't expect to be elected president in the first place, that's according to all of the reporting. And so he thought this would be a great marketing opportunity. That's what Michael Cohen said this week.

GALLAGHER: Look. So we talked about Jeff Sessions, mocking Jeff Sessions, southern accent, whether or not people in his base many of whom have southern accents take offense of that, but he took a lot of shots at his own too Jerome Powell. He made some comments about Mattis you mentioned this being 2018 all over again somewhat being 2016. This was focus on Democrats but a lot of this was taking some shots at his own including talking about tariffs and this national declaration of emergency.

HASHMI: It's one of those things with President Trump that if they are not in line with his agenda, they are fair game.

GALLAGHER: But this was at CPAC. This wasn't just some --

HASHMI: It doesn't matter. I mean, only -- I mean, rewind back to 2016. He cancelled his CPAC speech and Ted Cruz ended up winning straw poll then. He was -- you know, Trump was, by and large, the most hated figure at CPAC in 2016. So to see this unifying force behind Trump in 2019, you know, the last couple of years is sort of been (ph) dead (ph) but, you know, every time Trump speaks, everybody wants to be there. This idea that CPAC, you know, they wanted to reduce reliance on government, Trump hasn't really done a whole lot to reduce the size of government. The tariff war -- the trade war I should say has, obviously, kind of offset the net benefit of the tax cut and jobs act. So, you know, there are a number of things that he wants to hit on but, you know, come the 2020 election, these are things he's going to have to come back and say that he actually delivered on.

GALLAGHER: Does that then mean seeing this reaction to Trump at CPAC waiting there two-hour plus speech, have we finally seen the finish of the Republican Party becoming the Trump party?

HASHMI: Here is the thing. And this relies heavily on his campaign message of building the wall. The wall isn't built. I mean, many of Trump loyalists who are actually holding the Trump administration's feet to the fire will acknowledge that the wall has not been built. Come 2020, they are going to have -- they're going to have to, you know, demand answers from Trump, why isn't the wall built? And it's fracturing his base and that is the big thing here.

Hillary Clinton wouldn't have won -- Hillary Clinton would have won in 2016 or Democrats would have won in 2016 if Hillary Clinton was not on the ticket.

LIPPMAN: And also, you know, he hasn't done enough to broaden his base. If all he does is focus on the anti-socialism message and what you heard yesterday at CPAC, you're not going to win over suburban moms or other people who are -- who didn't like Hillary Clinton, didn't really like Trump, but they wanted a fresh start and so, you know, he has basically just focused on his base the last couple of years and that is not enough to win re-election in 2020. [06:10:25]

And so that is going to be an interesting question to watch. Does he and his political advisers try to get some of those persuadables, those moderates or are those people turned off by the last couple of years in Washington and, you know, want to basically turn the page?

BLACKWELL: But is the expectation that if you keep that base, that what? Thirty-five percent or so. And vilify the Democrat enough that will get you close enough?

LIPPMAN: But there is a lot of, you know, Democrats who, you know, they didn't show up in 2016 --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

LIPPMAN: -- and a lot of independents, they couldn't stand Hillary Clinton and so, basically, you know, she was the most hated Democratic nominee in recent history. So if there is a Kamala Harris, how many people across the country are like, you know, they wake up every morning and they're like, I hate Kamala? That's not --

BLACKWELL: Yes. They don't know enough about her.

(CROSSTALK)

HASHMI: And just to piggyback on. I mean, people thought Hillary had it in the bag so if they hated Hillary they weren't going to go up, show up to vote, they won't repeat that mistake in 2020.

BLACKWELL: Before we go. Let's talk about Michael Cohen here. We expected he would be the headline of the last week but he likely will be the one of the next week. "The Washington Post" is reporting overnight that lawmakers are now exploring possible pardon talks with Cohen between the White House and Cohen. Cohen has said publicly that he has not requested and would not accept the pardon from this White House. But "The Post" reports that privately with House intel lawmakers want to know about potential talks.

What would those talks mean for this equation that we are seeing? What would potential talks between the White House and Cohen change this conversation? How will they change it?

LIPPMAN: It would -- it would -- they would be looking at behind the scenes what is Trump doing that he is not talking about? And who is he offering pardons to and does that constitute obstruction of justice? If you're trying to preemptively pardon people without them getting convicted and also, you know, there was a time when Michael Cohen said he would take a bullet for Trump and Trump said, stay strong, Michael.

So those periods of time when he -- before he flipped, prosecutors and, you know, congressional investigators, they are going to look at was that an abuse of power by the president?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Will those take a bullet for the president days are gone, those are well gone.

GALLAGHER: Clearly. All right. Siraj Hashmi and Daniel Lippman, thank you both so much for joining us.

HASHMI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Today on "STATE OF THE UNION" as President Trump former fixer Michael Cohen as we discussed take aim with shocking criminal accusations the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warne joins Jake Tapper to discuss Democrats' next move. That's on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning at 9:00 right here on CNN.

GALLAGHER: And a fierce battle playing out in eastern Syria right now as U.S.-backed forces try to finally end the tyranny of ISIS. CNN will come to you live from near those front lines.

BLACKWELL: Also a protest in Sacramento after the announcement the two police officers who killed an unarmed black man will not face charges. We have to show you this heartbreaking reaction from his family coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:17:42]

(VIDEO PLAYING)

GALLAGHER: Massive explosions there lighting up the night sky in eastern Syria. That as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces close in on ISIS' last enclave.

BLACKWELL: President Trump told CPAC yesterday that today -- now this is a quote -- "Today or tomorrow we will have 100 percent of the caliphate defeated."

CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is live from eastern Syria. Ben, first, tell us what is happening on the ground there now.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor and Dianne. Basically, this is the last encampment occupied by ISIS. We are about three-quarters of a mile away from it and it is only about a half mile square. And as you saw from that video last night, we have seen the same sort of thing happening today.

That area has been pounded by coalition aircraft, by mortars, by artillery, just constant. And what we have seen on several occasions, actually, is that it appears that something has hit several munitions depots which has caused huge explosions behind us.

About 20 minutes ago, there were -- there were air strikes on that area as well. Now what is interesting is we have been able to see through telephoto lenses, actually people walking among some of the tents back there. And as you might be able to see, it's mostly tents. There's a few buildings in the background, but mostly tents and it's not at all clear how many people, how many fighter, how many civilians are still left inside.

What we have seen is in the last month as many as 15,000 people leaving not just the encampment, but the town we are in now. But the estimates have always been low and the Syrian Democratic Forces persistently surprised at how many people, how many fighters are still left inside.

Now you mentioned President Trump's comments yesterday that in his words perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow this operation will come to an end. Well, we have been speaking with the people who really know what is going on. The commander on this rooftop with the Syrian Democratic Forces. He says maybe four or five more days before this battle finally comes to an end and with it, the state that called itself Islamic.

[06:20:09]

Victor, Dianne?

GALLAGHER: And, Ben, you know, obviously, four or five more days we're looking at potentially here but what happens then? I mean, ISIS has not necessarily been eradicated. It's just this Islamic state as they so called it is now -- has now fallen?

WEDEMAN: Yes. The territory will no longer exist. The pseudo state that was ISIS. But what continues to exist and what we have experienced firsthand is that many of the people who have left this area who we spoke to from various parts of the world from Canada, Indonesia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and elsewhere, Bosnia, have all said -- told us they remain firm in their belief in the idea of the caliphate and the idea of an Islamic state.

This despite everything they have been through. And this is one of the concerns that people are leaving here, still convinced that the state that failed them is somehow a viable entity. Not only that, there is the problem of ISIS, which began as a terrorist insurgency simply going back to a terrorist insurgency in this part of Syria and areas controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, we have seen a variety of hit and run attacks, suicide car bombings that continue to wreak havoc in areas that, at least in theory, have been liberated from ISIS -- Victor, Dianne.

GALLAGHER: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Ben, thank you so much. Stay safe, Ben.

When we come back, the president is facing more backlash over his comments about an American student who was returned from North Korea nearly brain-dead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:26:11]

BLACKWELL: Coming up on 26 minutes after the hour now. In a largely unscripted speech at CPAC that lasted more than two hours, President Trump went after congressional Democrats for the new investigations being launched into his finances and his dealings.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Which he claims is only being looked into because Democrats have yet to find any collusion in the Russia investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They don't have anything with Russia. There is no collusion. So now they go and morph into let's inspect every deal he has ever done.

We are going to go into his finances. We are going to check his deals. We are going to check -- these people are sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Yes. Some other key issues the president hit on? He mocked the Green New Deal. He vowed to protect free speech on college campuses with an executive order and he took some jabs at the 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now to discuss opinion columnist for "The Hill" is Brent Budowsky, and 2020 advisory board member for President Trump Tony Shaffer. Thank you for joining us both of you.

Brent, first I want you to start by responding to what you heard from the president there, "these people are sick."

BRENT BUDOWSKY, FORMER DEMOCRATIC AIDE: Well, when I heard president spent two hours insulting just about everybody in the world I thought of what Jack Nicholson said in "Chinatown" which is, that is just a wind from a duck's ass.

It was extraordinary. It was not presidential. He had a lot of free time on his hands. And I would say we're going to be watching tonight the Bush special on CNN which I look forward to. And when Bush 41 was vice president under Reagan and then president, he would never and Reagan would never in a million years talk about love letters from Kim Jong-un, say that Otto Warmbier is a wonderful, wonderful person.

He believes Kim Jong-un didn't have anything to do with his brutal sadistic murder and he also Reagan and Bush would not in a million years ever go to Helsinki and say that he believes the former KGB boss who's running Russia attacking America that he believes them more than he believes the men and women of American intelligence who are defending America. I thought it was horrible.

ANTHONY SHAFFER, TRUMP 2020 ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER: Look, I -- President Trump laid out what he believes to be the issues which he has to address. I don't believe for a minute that he thinks that Warmbier was not killed by the North Korea. He is saying Un himself did not know. Big difference.

And so when he talks about these sorts of things he lays out his case for what's wrong and yesterday I didn't see anything more than President Trump being President Trump. He is not like any other president. He laid out to his base what the issues are.

And I do agree completely regarding the Russia issue. They keep moving the goalpost. I looked at this over and over as a national security adviser and expert and there is absolutely no evidence that Trump campaign or President Trump colluded. So in absence of any evidence of that, they continue now to say, oh, we want to look at this, we want to look at that, and all the issues relating to that.

BLACKWELL: You don't have all of the evidence that Mueller's investigative team has. When you say you are looking at things, you don't have subpoena power. You don't have all that they have, right?

SHAFFER: We are in Washington and if they had anything it would have been leaking a long time ago. Again, based on what we have seen. The Cohen, it was I think, very symbolic by watching (ph) in the swamp. This guy turns on the president, lays out what he knows, and yet, there's not a thing relating to collusion which is the central premise of the entire investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

GALLAGHER: I just want to -- because that has struck me that in the -- in sort of the campaign to then discredit everything that was said by Cohen to the panel under oath, the only thing anyone seems to be focused on is the fact that Cohen did not implicate him, the president in Russia.

[06:30:12]

Why is everything else wrong or untrue or he turned on him, and the only thing that anybody lashed on to that might be true that would he wouldn't implicate the president? How can both be accurate? How could he be a liar?

SHAFFER: Well, first of, I think Cohen lied a lot and the only thing he wanted to go with was regarding truthless (ph) a baseline that can be verified. Any good liar is going to lay out a baseline that shows truth and then he goes from there.

GALLAGHER: But how -- who gets to determine what that baseline is? Why is the only thing that --

(CROSSTALK)

SHAFFER: I think Lanny Davis -- Lanny Davis gets to determine that because Lanny apparently prompted the whole thing. The lies which I'm taking about relate to things which are provably false. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan now are asking now for investigations of what I think is provably false.

Regarding the whole Russia thing, there is where I agree with you I think Mueller has everything -- anything Cohen has, Mueller now has. And that is where I think there is a complete lack of issues relating to the Russia narrative. He said flat out under oath there is no direct causal link. Everything else.

And even Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked how do we prove what you just told us?

BLACKWELL: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

SHAFFER: And there was no answer.

BLACKWELL: I think -- I find it quite rich for -- you're on 2020 advisory board to talk about things that are provably false when the "The Washington Post" fact checker has this president having made more than 8,700 statements that are either misleading or false and they go through the work of proving them being false.

Let me -- you brought Otto Warmbier.

SHAFFER: Sure.

BLACKWELL: And we plan to talk about this.

SHAFFER: Sure.

BLACKWELL: I want to talk about what the president said. Let's first play what the president said about Otto Warmbier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Otto Warmbier, who's parents I gotten to know, who's incredible. And I'm in such a horrible position, because in one way I have to negotiate, and in the other way, I love Mr. And Mrs. Warmbier. And I love Otto. And it's a very, very delicate balance.

He was a special young man and to see what happened was so bad, was so bad. And a lot of what I do with respect to North Korea and any success that we hopefully, have, and we have had a lot -- we are given no credit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The president here says, you know, I love Otto, I love his family, but I am negotiating I believe what Kim is saying. It sounds a like there will be hell to pay for the death of Jamal Khashoggi but we're trying to work out this deal with the Saudis so I also believe what Mohammed bin Salman says. A continuation of signing with the strong men over the values of the U.S. when it comes to these individuals.

SHAFFER: I take exception of that. I believe President Obama reached out and dealt with Raul Castro in very similar circumstances with North Korea.

BLACKWELL: Can you answer this question about President Trump specifically? SHAFFER: Absolutely. President Trump has to do some very difficult things regarding negotiations, regarding the Saudis. We know clearly now after he, President Trump, said we need to know everything that happened in detail. We now know that the Saudis were responsible. That's been announced.

Regarding North Korea I've worked in North Korea since 1992, Jim Woolsey, my friend Jim Woolsey was director of CIA. I understand how the North Koreans do things. The North Korea regime and Un are brutal. With that said I don't believe for a minute that Un ordered Warmbier to be assassinated or killed.

That I believe based on all the intelligence I have Warmbier was interrogated to the point of where he had so much sodium pentothal that burned his brain. Terrible. Horrible. Not acceptable.

With that said President Trump has to negotiate something larger. There is the nuclear weapons. There's the whole idea of ending the war between North and South Korea. So these are the things -- this is the balancing act he has to do.

GALLAGHER: You don't believe -- you don't believe that Kim Jong-un would have been aware? It's an American -- it's an American prisoner. You don't think that -- you believe the president does not believe that he would have been aware that Kim Jong-un --

SHAFFER: You have to be very clear on the answer to that. With all due respect, he didn't say that Un wasn't aware of Warmbier. He said he was unaware of how Warmbier died. That's a very different -- big difference.

I'm sure Un understood that he had an American -- under as a prisoner. I don't think necessarily he knew everything that was going on regarding their abuse. Torturing people to death it's a bad thing and I think he had some very incompetent people. I'd like to know what happened to the people Un what he -- if he did something to the people who tortured Warmbier to death. That's a good question to ask.

BUDOWSKY: Let me address that. I have to agree with what you just said but the half I disagree with. Otto Warmbier was a high profile American detainee at a time when the North Korea and American relations were on an ice edge. There is no way that the dictator of North Korea was not informed of what was happening. He was tortured in a North Korean prison by people pursuing the policy of a North Korean butcher.

[06:35:04]

He was murdered by tactics that are regularly used. Everyone knows that. What President Trump should have said out of decency and patriotism and honor is that it was an act -- in front of Kim.

It was a crime. It was an outrage. It was sadistic. It was wrong. It was immoral. It was evil and not exonerate him.

Not say he -- I don't know one person I've ever met from the day I was born until today that used the words, I trust Kim Jong-un. That is absurd.

And finally, quickly, when Bush was president and Reagan was president -- I was working for Democratic leaders working with them on some things -- one thing that Ronald Reagan knew and George Bush knew and Jack Kennedy knew, the way to negotiate with bad guys is not coddle them and praise them and make excuses for them. They see that as weakness and they pounce.

Reagan had no fear calling the Russians the evil empire and he was right about it but that's how you got nuclear arms control in the end. That's how we ended the Cold War. When we do the CNN show tonight about the Bushes I'm sure -- sooner or later I think that is going to be there.

But you don't ever say Vladimir Putin attacking America is right and American intelligence is wrong. You don't ever say that Kim Jong-un is right and that he didn't do it. That is an abomination no American president in the history of our country would have done that.

I will pray for Otto Warmbier in heaven. I will pray for his family and I will pray that American leadership is better than what we just saw yesterday and in this whole situation. It is an outrage and that is not the way to negotiate. We saw what happens which is nothing when we coddle bad guys.

BLACKWELL: Now, the president, yesterday, said that there are members of Congress who hate our country.

SHAFFER: Right.

BLACKWELL: Hate our country.

SHAFFER: Mm-hmm.

BLACKWELL: Is that what you believe? And what is the basis for that?

SHAFFER: Well, you have people who are essentially making comments that are essentially against the constitution, against the rights of all Americans. Then, yes, fundamentally those comments are anti- American and I believe anti every value we have --

BLACKWELL: So you're going forward (ph) to say that there are anti- American members of Congress?

GALLAGHER: Like what comment in specific?

SHAFFER: We have had -- we have had a number of members talk about Israeli Americans, Jewish Americans in a very obtuse and insulting way.

BLACKWELL: We also have a president who tweeted out the Star of David with a pile of cash during the campaign.

GALLAGHER: Yes, the president has similar gapes. If we will --

(CROSSTALK) SHAFFER: I'm only -- I'm ask you -- you're asking a question about --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: You're also on the campaign advisory.

SHAFFER: Right. I am.

BLACKWELL: So if you're going to criticize comments from Congress, which is fair --

SHAFFER: Right.

BLACKWELL: -- then we should have you answer for the president's tweets during the campaign about Hillary Clinton and the Star of David on a pile of cash.

SHAFFER: Well, there's no doubt --

BLACKWELL: Does that equal hating our country?

SHAFFER: No. It actually emphasizes who Hillary Clinton was taking money from. That was the point of the tweet. What --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: OK. So -- OK. So, wait now. Wait let's stop here because the explanation was at the time that that was a sheriff's badge.

GALLAGHER: Yes.

BLACKWELL: So you're telling me that was a Star of David.

(CROSSTALK)

SHAFFER: No. I have to go back and look at the tweet.

You're telling me something I'm saying -- I'm answering your question. I'd have to go back and look at the exact tweet to comment on that tweet. What I'm saying is --

GALLAGHER: There's --

BLACKWELL: You just commented on it and you said it was explanation who Hillary Clinton was taking money --

(CROSSTALK)

GALLAGHER: And there's the anti-Semitic implication with the money --

SHAFFER: Hillary Clinton was taking money from a number of groups (INAUDIBLE) continue to emphasize.

BLACKWELL: But the Star of David is the symbol of the Jewish religion. So you're saying that he tweed out, because Hillary Clinton was taking money from Jews?

SHAFFER: I'd have to go back and look at the exact tweet. I don't even know exactly what tweet you're talking about. You're saying the Jewish tweet --

GALLAGHER: I was going to say -- do you want me to --

SHAFFER: Yes. If you want to show it to me, we can talk about it.

BLACKWELL: Let's do that.

SHAFFER: What I'm saying is that during the campaign, the president emphasized on a number of instances where money was coming from going to Hillary Clinton's campaign. So my understanding is when these things happen, the president was trying to draw attention to something specifically relating to his message at the time.

BLACKWELL: Here is the tweet.

SHAFFER: OK. OK. And? It's like -- the comment it's the most corrupt candidate ever.

BLACKWELL: Now, the explanation from the campaign was that in -- I'll tweet this out.

GALLAGHER: Yes.

SHAFFER: Yes.

BLACKWELL: That this was a sheriff's badge. You're telling me or at least what you said was --

SHAFFER: No, I didn't understand. I thought you told me it had something to do with the Jewish reference.

BLACKWELL: This is the Star of David.

SHAFFER: That is your opinion.

BLACKWELL: No, that is exactly what the shape is.

BUDOWSKY: Yes. Victor, can I make a quick point?

BLACKWELL: Yes.

BUDOWSKY: I'll be real quick. When anyone says, including the president, that any Democrat hates America, he is telling a bald-faced lie for which he should be ashamed and for the man who just kissed Vladimir Putin saying he trusts the man attacking America more than the people defending America from this attack that is one of the most shameful and despicable lies that I can remember in the history of the American presidency. We love our country and we don't need lectures from Vladimir Putin's candidate.

BLACKWELL: All right. We have got to wrap it there. Brent Budowsky, Anthony Shaffer, thank you both for being with us. [06:40:00]

GALLAGHER: All right. Coming up next, heartbreak for the family of a Sacramento man who was shot and killed by police. Why Sacramento's district attorney says she will not be filing charges against those officers.

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BLACKWELL: We are hearing heartbreaking and frustration -- frustrating comments from the family of an unarmed man who was killed by Sacramento police. Now let me take you back because in March of last year two police officers shot and killed Stephon Clark in his grandmother's backyard.

GALLAGHER: So now the state's district attorney is laying out why no charges are going to be filed in that shooting. Dan Simon explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Dianne, we are here in Sacramento watching to see how the community reacts to the district attorney's decision.

[06:45:05]

You can see some protesters have gathered here at the Sacramento police department. For the most part, things have been peaceful. At one time, we did some protesters burn some police flags.

But, obviously, this is a shooting that reeled the Sacramento community here. Here you have this 22-year-old African-American male Stephon Clark who police believed was breaking into cars. Ultimately they followed him into his grandmother's backyard. And as you see in the police body camera video, police believed that he was only holding a gun, but there was no gun. In the end, it was just a cell phone.

Now, the question for the D.A. was, did the officers' actions amount to a crime. And this is what she had to say.

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ANNE MARIE SCHUBERT, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SACRAMENTO COUNTY: So, when we look at all of these facts and circumstances, we look at all of it, everything. We ask our question that we started out with again and that question is, was a crime committed?

There is no question that a human being died. But when we look at the facts and the law and we follow our ethical responsibilities, the answer to that question is no. And, as a result, we will not charge these officers with any criminal liability related to the shooting death and the use of force on Stephon Clark.

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SIMON: While the D.A.'s decision seemingly puts an end to the formal investigation, we should note that the Clark family has filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Sacramento, so this will continue in the legal arena at least for some time. In the meantime, we're going to continue to watch what happens in the hours and days ahead.

Obviously, when this first happened a year ago, you had a whole wave of protests. At one point, you actually had protesters shut down the Sacramento Kings basketball arena. Will we see a repeat of something like that in the days ahead? Victor and Diane?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. Dan, thanks so much.

Shortly after the district attorney's announcement, Stephon Clark's fiancee spoke about the D.A.'s decision.

GALLAGHER: And this is tough. At times she was wiping away tears. She said that her heart has been broken for a second time now.

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SALENA MANNI, STEPHON CLARK'S FIANCEE: On March 18th, 2018, Stephon Clark, my fiance and father of my two sons, Aiden and Ciaro, was shot to death by police officers -- by two Sacramento police officers. And my family's world was turned upside down. Today, the D.A. announced that the officers who shot my unarmed fiance won't face any charges.

(CRYING)

Continuing the shameful legacy of officers killing black men without consequences and breaking my family's hearts again. It's about the officers who murdered him, murdered him because he had a cell phone in his hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. That is right, Salena.

MANNI: And now, he'll never come back to us!

(END VIDEO CLIP)'

GALLAGHER: The California attorney general's office has said that it will also conducting an independent investigation.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. is going to be hit by another blast of winter weather. From Colorado to Maine. Our Allison Chinchar has the forecast when we come back.

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[06:52:59]

GALLAGHER: So winter is not done yet. It feels like it is never going to end. Arctic blast is going to filter into the eastern U.S. now. BLACKWELL: More than 80 million people are under winter weather alerts from Colorado to Maine. With us now is CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.

Allison, you have just been good news weekend after weekend with the snow and cold temperatures. What do you have for us this morning?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Especially at the end of the show is my job to bring in the good news. Yes. We do have some snow and some kids are probably very excited about this. Snowing right now in places like Kansas City as well as St. Louis. We also have some thunderstorms across portions of the southeast. It's those thunderstorms that are actually going to intensify as we continue throughout the day and we do have the potential for some severe storms today.

Your best areas are going to be in the yellow and the orange colored portions so that includes places like Atlanta, Mobile, New Orleans, even Savannah, Georgia. Damaging winds and tornadoes are going to be the main threat with those. On the northern fringe of this storm, you have winter weather alerts again it stretch from Colorado all the way up to Maine. And a lot of snow in between.

The only good news is this is a very fast moving storm. This is going to make it from Colorado all the way to New York in less than 24 hours. By the afternoon you're going to start to see that snow pushing to places like Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.

By tonight, now we start to see that snow encroaching places like New York, Boston, and even into Portland, Maine. Here you can see again some of that heavy snow but it's the cold air on the back side of this that is really going to linger for a lot of places. In fact, 75 percent of the U.S. population is going to expect to have temperatures below freezing at some point this week.

And you can see that big blast of arctic air really start to surge back down. So take for example a couple of cities. Let's start with Chicago, for example. Look at how cold it's going to get once we get to say Monday and Tuesday. You're looking at a high temperature, Victor and Dianne, only in the teens.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bundle up.

GALLAGHER: That is not what anybody wants to hear.

[06:55:01]

All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

We want to thank all of you for starting your morning with us today.

BLACKWELL: And we have much more ahead in the next hour of your NEW DAY. It starts after a quick break.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to introduce you to my family. The fact is, I would be nothing without them.

Our four sons, our daughter, Doro, my own Barbara Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's hard to imagine any family that have been more significant to American politics.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can hear you and the people who knock these buildings down will hear all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bush Family going back generations believe in public service and helping their fellow man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People referred to the Bush Family as a dynasty. That's what it is, and that's what it was.

W. BUSH: I'm running for president of the United States, there is no turning back and I intend to be the next president of the United States.

H.W. BUSH: That's my boy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "THE BUSH YEARS" tonight at 9:00 on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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