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Democratic Contenders Woo Voters At South Carolina Convention; John Bolton: Do Not Mistake U.S. Prudence For Weakness; President Trump Delays ICE Immigration Raids For Two Weeks; Iran Commander: U.S. Should Act Responsibly To Protect Lives Of American Forces In Region. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 23, 2019 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:27] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's make Iran great again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are multiple things we can do with -- attacking Iran without launching a strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim Jong-un has received a letter from president Trump.

TRUMP: He wrote me letters. They're great letters. We fell in love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-two of the 23 Democratic candidates for president testing their strength with black voters.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIATE: We will not beat Donald Trump by fighting him using his tactics on his turf, on his terms.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a president who promoted hate and division, encourages white supremacy.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The most dangerous president in American history.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because we're not going back. We're not going back.



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to be with you this Sunday.

2020 Democratic candidates head to South Florida this week for their first debate.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the presidential hopefuls in South Carolina yesterday making their pitch to voters, trying to stand out in a really crowded field.

CNN's Arlette Saenz was there.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Nearly the entire Democratic primary field descended here on South Carolina. All but one of the 23 Democratic presidential candidates was here pitching their message to voters. You had Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about the need for structural change, saying the time for small ideas is over. And Senator Kamala Harris was trying to sell her experience as a prosecutor, saying she's the best person to prosecute the case against president Trump. Take a listen to what she had to say.

HARRIS: Let me tell you, we need somebody on our stage when it comes time for that general election who knows how to recognize a rap sheet when they see it and prosecute the case. So, let's read that rap sheet, shall we? He asked black Americans, he said, what do you have to lose? We know civil investigations are down, hate crimes are up. We have a lot to lose.

Let's look at that rap sheet where he told working people that he would help them but instead passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations of this country. Said he would help the farmers but passed what I call the Trump trade tax, Trump trade policy by tweet, and now, we've got farmers who have soybeans rotting in bins and autoworkers who may be out of a job by the end of the year. Let's look at that rap sheet where he said he would give everyone health care but still trying to rip health care away from anyone and turn back the clock on Obamacare.

Let's talk about looking at that rap sheet where he has embraced dictators like Kim Jong-un and Putin and taken their word over the word of the American intelligence community. Let's prosecute the case.

SAENZ: Now, the candidates were keenly aware of the optics of this weekend, whether it was trying to sell their messages or trying to have a show of force. You had Beto O'Rourke bring up a bunch of supporters on stage, kind of making this into his own town hall. He was the only candidate to bring the supporters up on stage.

And later in the day, you had Cory Booker and Joe Biden speaking back to back after a week of tension between the two of them over the former vice president's comments working with segregation senators decades ago. That issue is still lingering over this Democratic primary.

Now, after all the candidates appeared here in South Carolina, the attention turns to Miami this week where they will participate in the first presidential debates.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, Columbia, South Carolina.


BLACKWELL: With us now, Maria Cardona, Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator. And Rochelle Ritchie, former press secretary for the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Lades, welcome back.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you.

Maria, let me start with you. Senator Harris is increasingly leaning on at least the narrative of that work as a prosecutor. Do you think that's a good idea?

CARDONA: I do think it's a good idea. Frankly, this past weekend her speech was terrific. I think it's the best I've seen her so far. And she's gotten a lot of accolades for it.

I think what she's doing is using her experience as a prosecutor to make her case that she is the best one to prosecute the case against Trump. I thought it was a very smart way to do it.

[07:05:00] The whole rap sheet riff I think was very creative and brilliant in terms of using her own experience and her own background which, frankly, has been a bit of a source of criticism from some on the left, but I think it will be a huge -- a huge -- great thing for her in the general election. And I think that is what she is trying to position herself, as somebody who can really take it to Trump during the general election. That's what Democrats are looking for.

BLACKWELL: Now, Rochelle, once they get to the general election, it may be a good idea, but you know as the former spokeswoman for a prosecutor that every case in that office, every potential assistant D.A. screw-up could be, if you're making the center of your campaign, I'm the prosecutor, then all those prosecutions get a heightened level of attention.

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR HOUSE DEMOCRATS: Exactly. And that's the risk she's running because, you know, Trump could actually dig into her files to see what kind of case is she prosecuted? We already know Kamala Harris has come under scrutiny because she was a prosecutor and did not support certain criminal justice reforms.

I will say, however, that I do agree with Maria that it was good for her to lay out her career as a prosecutor in a different way. She focused more on those white-collar crimes and looked at Donald Trump and laid out concrete examples of how he has broken the law, if you will.

But here's the deal. Donald Trump has not been charged with anything. I think a lot of people are at the point where they don't want to necessarily see him prosecuted on the stage. They want someone that's going to focus more on the policies, as we've seen with other candidates.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about -- let's do a hybrid here. The policies of criminal justice, if we take your segue off there and turn to Joe Biden and what he talked about, changes he would offer to the criminal justice system. Watch.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No more mandatory minimums, period, and private prisons which we did in our bill, period. Fund my drug court so about $1 billion a year. No one should be going to jail because they are addicted. They should be going into rehabilitation, not to jail.


BLACKWELL: He's getting a lot of amens from the crowd there, but, of course, there is still the legacy of that 1994 crime bill. It's been a point of contention between the vice president and other Democrats running. Is that a significant vulnerability for Biden?

CARDONA: Well, I think it will certainly be an issue he's going to have to continue to talk about, as will other Democrats that are running that will be on this stage in the upcoming debates. For example, Bernie Sanders also voted for the crime bill. These will be issues that everyone who was there and voted for it are going to have to answer.

But, again, I think what Biden did was similar to what Kamala Harris did, he presented what he has done and his vision for the future in a different way. What I like about what the Democratic candidates are doing is they are focused on the things in their past or the things in their record that people have criticized.

They are laying it out in terms of making it a positive and focus on their vision for the future because, frankly, when you're going up against somebody like Trump in terms of criminal justice, when you have a president who is still not apologize for him going after the Central Park Five, for example, and who has a huge, as Kamala Harris would call it, rap sheet, in terms of racist policies, bigoted policies, xenophobic policies, I think all of these Democrats are going to shine.

BLACKWELL: You know, you bring up the Central Park Five, the president, most people know, took out full page ad calling to bring back the death penalty. On the topic of the death penalty, I think there's a bit of confusion, as it relates to Vice President Biden, Rochelle. I want to play something he said in 1992, this was defending a bill he'd offered a year before, in the lead up to actually the '94 bill, but this was the '91 crime bill, and accusations that it was weak.

And then something he said just this month in New Hampshire. So, this listen to '92 and then June of this year. Watch.

(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP) BIDEN: The death penalty, it provides 53 death penalty offenses, weak as can be, you know. We'd do everything but hang people for jaywalking in this bill.

By the way, congratulations to y'all ending the penalty.


BLACKWELL: So, in '92, he's bragging about doing everything but hanging people for jaywalking and defending his bill by saying 53 death penalty offenses and now congratulate. Where does the vice president stand on the death penalty? Do you know?

RITCHIE: No. You now, I honestly think that Joe Biden has sort of flip-flopped on a number of issues. We saw him flipped on the Hyde Amendment. At first, he was for it, then he wasn't for it.

[07:10:03] So, I think that, you know, candidates have an opportunity to evolve but he flip-flopped so much, if you look at his history, and then you look at where he is today now, you wonder, you know, he is the real Joe Biden and what is he really supporting and what he's going to stand behind. I would say that Joe Biden needs to stick to whatever it is, you know, whatever his truth is. I don't think he needs to flip-flop on these issues, if he support the Hyde Amendment, support the Hyde Amendment. If you don't, don't.

But I think that these sort of issues, death or abortion, are going to be the deciding factor for people in 2020.

BLACKWELL: Maria, here to this moment that would highlight heading into South Carolina, his comments about working with segregationist and what Senator Booker said in response. Listen to Senator Booker when asked about what this now means, this conflict over. They had to bury the hatchet. Watch.



BOOKER: There is no hatchet. I have a lot of respect and gratitude for the vice president and I want folks to know that I've got nothing to apologize for when it comes to speaking truth to power and he's a powerful person, former vice president, and I hope that our candor with each other will always help to make each other better servants of the people.


BLACKWELL: Again, we saw the vice president get a lot of applause in the room there in South Carolina. Was this week enough to damage that strong lead with non-white voters?

CARDONA: Well, we're going to see, right? And I think that you're going to see also another opportunity for all the Democrats to lay out their vision and to -- whether it's to criticize others on the stage, but in a civil way, or to try to break out movement, that is going to come up and you're going to have several opportunities for all the Democrats to do it.

But you know what, Victor, I want to underscore something for viewers in terms of what I saw the Democratic candidates do this weekend, is that they all focus on their records, they all focus on their vision for the future, they talk about where they want to take the country, they talk about their contrast against President Trump, and how they would be better leaders for the future for all Americans.


BLACKWELL: But that's this stage of the campaign, right? They're not on stage yet for the debates. They're not out to the point where they're going to draw those contrasts.

CARDONA: But what you didn't see them is go after each other in a personal way, and I don't think you're going, I hope you're not going to see that on the debate stage either.

RITCHIE: They have though.

CARDONA: We're going to talk about policies. We're not going to talk about height or hand size.

BLACKWELL: It's still early. Rochelle, you want to get in there.

RITCHIE: Yes, they certainly have though. And honestly, with Cory Booker, I feel like he's sort of used this Biden situation to sort of push himself forward and try to find a way to capitalize on it because he's not doing that great in the polls. And so, this is what I don't want to see. I don't want to see this, where we start to eat our own and then we propel Trump forward because we're too busy fighting amongst ourselves.

CARDONA: I couldn't agree more.

RITCHIE: Yes, I will say they need to stay away from that and jus focus on getting Trump out of office.

BLACKWELL: I got a minute left. I want to hear from Senator Sanders here. Play it, control room.


SANDERS: All of us are considered to be existential threats because we are sick and tired of the status quo, and we want real change in this country. And we are an existential threat because we have the guts to take on the insurance industry and pass a Medicare-for-All, single-payer health care.


BLACKWELL: A popular message, Maria, but is he still the preferred messenger? Look at these polls from Monmouth. He's done six since April, Elizabeth Warren up nine. She signed on to his Medicare-for- All bill, as others have in the Senate. Any evidence that she's siphoning that support from Sanders specifically? CARDONA: Yes, I think she might be because I think what you're seeing is that she's talking about all of the very popular policies that Bernie Sanders has been talking about, but she's doing it in a way that is bringing in more people. I think the way sometimes that Bernie Sanders talks about his policies and how he defines himself as a Democratic socialist, it does turn people off.

I mean, let's just be real here, it really does. And it turns people off in the general election, I think it has turned some people off in the Democratic primary. So, what you're seeing what Warren is doing is that she's capitalizing on all of the progressive policies that Bernie Sanders has pushed forward, but she's doing it in a way that actually is much more inclusive, both of the Democratic primaries, as well as the general election.

BLACKWELL: Maria Cardona --

RITCHIE: Yes, she simplifies her message a lot and people are able to actually understand what she is saying.

BLACKELL: All right. Maria Cardona, Rochelle Ritchie, looking forward to these debates that are coming in a couple of days. Thank you both.

CARDONA: Thank you, Victor.

RITCHIE: Thank you.

PAUL: Strong warning to Iran from national security adviser John Bolton, in the wake of the president's aborted military strike. What he said.

And President Trump temporarily stopping ICE raids on undocumented immigrants.

[07:15:03] We'll talk about that.

Plus, as we approach the 50 anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, we're going to tell you about the only woman was in the launch control during takeoff.


BLACKWELL: There's a tense standoff with Iran this morning. National security advisor John Bolton warned that Iran should, quote, not mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness, and that military action is not off the table.

PAUL: Now, all of this follows the president's last minute decision on Friday to call off the strike against Iran after they shut down a U.S. drone.

We have team coverage on this, this morning.

CNN White House Reporter, Sarah Westwood in Washington.

BLACKWELL: And CNN Correspondent Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem, where U.S. national security adviser John Bolton was speaking.

First, we go to Oren.

How are those comments being received there?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a hard-line comment against Iran, especially from national security adviser John Bolton, himself a hardliner against Iran, would go over very well with another hardliner against Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This joint statement before their meeting started exactly where you would expect it, both praising the strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and praising President Donald Trump for moving in that direction and strengthening it further still.

Then it transitioned to Iran, with Netanyahu railing against not only the Iran nuclear deal, what he sees as a serious of aggressive actions in the past months years by Iran against not only Israel but other countries in the region. What Netanyahu didn't talk about was Trump's decision to call off a retaliatory strike against Iran. But there, Bolton picked up saying that should not be confused with weakness on the part of the United States.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East. As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go. By far, the best in the world.

Sanctions are biting. And more are added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons, not against the USA, and not against the world.


LIEBERMANN: Bolton quoted President Trump saying he called off the strike at this time. He stressed those words, essentially implying an open-ended threat saying military action is not off the table depending on how Iran responds to upcoming sanctions. He has details are coming tomorrow and how all of this all plays out at a very tense time.

But it's worth remembering, this wasn't Bolton's original reason to be here. Yes, he was here to talk about Iran but mostly Iran and Syria with counterparts. This meeting takes on added significance with all of the developments in the region. Victor and Christi, of course, it's important to remember, of those three nations, U.S., Israel and Russia, Russia is much more on Iran's side and will determine perhaps how this meeting goes and what comes out of it.

PAUL: Yes, important point to make there.

Oren Liebermann, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to Sarah Westwood at the White House. The president said, Sarah, that he believes additional sanctions would

bring Iran to the table, but they have no interest in negotiating. What's his strategy now?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, you see President Trump moving from -- pushing towards a military response to Iran's downing of a U.S. drone to an economic response. He wants to punish Iran economically by imposing more sanctions. Even President Trump acknowledged yesterday, though, that it's hard to believe that more sanctions could be effective given just how many sanctions Iran is already facing. The Trump administration has been ratcheting those up since Trump took office.

President Trump took some shots at his predecessor's nuclear deal. He has long been very critical of the Obama nuclear deal and yet suggested he wants to take a similar approach, which is to use the economic pressure of sanctions to drive Iran to the bargaining table, some deal that results in Iran giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons. President Trump suggested Iran could unlock economic prosperity if they were to abandon its nuclear pursuits. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again, become a prosperous nation. We'll call it, let's make Iran great again. Does that make sense? Make Iran great again. It's OK with me.


WESTWOOD: This is similar to the argument that President Trump has used in his approach to North Korea, which is suggesting if North Korea gave up its nuclear arsenal, they too could achieve economic prosperity. President Trump initially said that he had imposed sanctions against Iran on Thursday night. That's not true, though. He said those sanctions will go into effect on Monday.

The president currently is at Camp David, meeting with aides and advisers. He said he will be discussing Iran while in Camp David, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you. Really appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Well, the pen pals, they are reportedly at it again. North Korea state media says Dictator Kim Jong-un has received an excellent letter from President Trump.

PAUL: We haven't received confirmation from the White House that President Trump did, indeed, send the letter. According to North Korean state media, Kim Jong-un said he appreciated the, quote, extraordinary courage of President Trump.

BLACKWELL: Now, this is not the first mysterious letter to be exchanged between the leaders. Earlier this month, President Trump told reporters about a beautiful letter. First excellence, now beautiful one he received from Kim. But according to sources, the letter lacked substance and did not have any details on a way forward on the stalled denuclearization talks.

Later this morning, Vice President Mike Pence, Congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and presidential candidate Julian Castro are guests on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER." You can watch it at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: President Trump is stepping on the brakes when it comes to ICE deportations, at least temporarily. A report says, though, that children held at border detention facilities are living in appalling conditions. We'll explain what we're hearing.


[07:28:01] PAUL: Well, President Trump is putting plans to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants on hold for the moment. Here's his tweet. He said: At the request of Democrats, I've delayed the illegal immigration removal process for two weeks to see if Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border. If not, deportations start.

BLACKWELL: Undocumented families and activists, they are relieved and some of them are speaking with CNN's Paul Vercammen.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, here in Los Angeles, right at the top, Mayor Eric Garcetti had called these threatened sweeps inhumane. So, when they were called off, there was a sense of relief and also a lot of cynicism, that's because a lot of activist groups for the immigrants have long said they believe that Donald Trump uses all these threatened sweeps as mere political grandstanding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen this from the Trump administration since the day he announced him running, his campaign in 2016. He's been doing this to feed the trolls, to feed his supporters, to let them know he's doing something about the quote/unquote, immigration problem. It's just part of his M.O., even into his presidency.

VERCAMMEN: Although the sweeps were called off, the immigrant activists here had already set in motion a series of measures that they thought would help these immigrants. Among them, free legal counseling. They were setting up what they would call the sanctuary network where people could go to churches or homes.

And this, the red cards they got the word out in a myriad of locations that immigrants should know under their Fifth Amendment rights they have the right to remain silent so they wouldn't have to talk to an ICE officer. And they also made it clear, under the Fourth Amendment they did not have to allow anyone into their home, this would be an ICE agent, who basically did not have a search warrant signed with their name on it.

So, they were prepared. [07:30:01] And they say this means they will be prepared here in the

future if there are any more threatened ICE sweeps.

Now back to you.


PAUL: Paul, thank you so much.

Immigration Attorney, Jessica Stern with us now.

Jessica, so good to see you.

The mayor of Los Angeles makes a valid point there about the people that ICE would have arrested. Let's listen to this.


MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: These aren't just random people. These aren't individual people. These are often the parents of U.S. citizen children. We are pro-family here in Los Angeles and in cities across the country. That's why we don't believe in not only dividing American people but dividing families.


PAUL: So, help us understand what's going on with family separations specifically in these so-called, I guess they're called kangaroo courts.

JESSICA STERN, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It is absolutely a kangaroo court. I practice in immigration court every day. These ICE raids specifically were meant to target 2,000 people that have deportation orders already, but really the intention is to terrorize millions, specifically those who are undocumented, who could be at risk of being deported. Really the purpose is to make them deport themselves because the courts can't handle it.

This administration cannot finish what it started by detailing so many people that the court cannot process properly. My clients are not getting fair hearings in court. There are not enough resources to properly provide the right conditions, whether they're detained. And when they're in court, they're rushed through the process when not receiving due process of law, whether it's asylum or proving they've been in the country for so many years with U.S. citizen children who would suffer extremely if they're deported.

PAUL: So, help us understand these red cards. Apparently some immigrants are handed red cards that inform them of their rights. How do they work?

STERN: Sure. Well, Christi, it's trying to inform people of their rights because a lot of people feel like they don't have any as undocumented immigrants. The Constitution applies to everyone in our country, whether you're a U.S. citizen or not. So, this is helping people understand that you do have the right to

not have people barge into your home and invade your personal space without a valid warrant. And most of the time, the detainers that the ICE officers have, they're just a piece of paper. It's not a judicial warrant. It might give them the opportunity to detain someone who's in violation of immigration law, by here being without status, but it doesn't give them the right to barge into their home, create fear and trauma for the kids inside.

So, it's helping people understand, you don't have to open your door and let officers in. You don't have to talk to them. If someone does come to someone's home with a detainer, step outside of your door, close the door behind you and do not let them into your home where many other people are at risk. It's just helping people understand what their rights are and make sure there's some level of protection for them.

PAUL: All right. Jessica, thank you so much for taking the time with us this morning.

STERN: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Uh-huh.

And we have more breaking news on the tense standoff with Iran. An Iranian commander has just been on state TV saying this: The U.S. needs to act responsibly to protect the lives of the U.S. soldiers in the region, which sounds to some degree, some of you who might hear it, as a threat.

We'll continue to follow this for you. We'll be right back.


[07:37:12] BLACKWELL: The wife of baseball legend David Ortiz says he's been moved out of intensive care in a Boston hospital and is in good condition. You'll remember the former Red Sox star was shot in the lower back earlier this month at a bar in the Dominican Republic. Authorities say Ortiz was not the intended target. A total of 11 suspects are in custody. Two more are on the run.

New York police say that 70 people were arrested outside of "The New York Times" building on Saturday. During a demonstration meant to call attention to the way the news outlets cover the climate crisis.

PAUL: The protesters from the group Extinction Rebellion hung banners on the building. In a statement sent to CNN, a "New York Times" spokesperson said this, quote: There is no national news organization that devotes more time, staff or resources to produce deeply reported coverage to help readers understand climate change than "The New York Times."

A bit of a chilly start to summer for parts of Colorado.

BLACKWELL: Chilly, you say?

PAUL: I say chilly. I mean two feet of snow.


PAUL: Frozen, it is true. I'm just trying to make it sound not quite so bad, although it's not bad for everybody else sitting in the sunshine today. It is, of course, happening on the first day of summer. Take a look at that. Really?

BLACKWELL: These are the mountains west of Denver. Already under snow on Friday when summer officially began. Then new snow started. People are skiing, snowboarding.

PAUL: They don't give a rip it's the first day of summer because they're happy.

BLACKWELL: Twenty inches in the city of Steamboat Springs. The snow is expected to taper off today. More snow.

PAUL: We do have breaking news on the standoff with Iran. An Iranian commander has just been on state TV there, appearing to make a threat towards the U.S.

Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran.

Fred, what can you tell us was said here and the meaning behind it.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi. This is a senior Iranian general and this is a quote he gave to Iranian television. He said the U.S. should act responsibly to protect the lives of American forces operating in the region. Obviously what he's saying here is if there was some sort of military escalation between the United States and Iran, it would affect U.S. forces in the entire region.

You know, one of the things the Iranians have been saying, is he said, if there was a strike if there was a strike by President Trump, by administration on Iran in retaliation for the downing of that drone that the Iranians would have dealt the U.S., as they put it, a crushing response, they would have responded forcefully to that.

And one of the things the Iranians have been telling me again and again, senior Iranian commanders, they say, look, one of the things the U.S. needs to understand is that the Iranians have proxy forces in this entire region.

[07:40:01] One of the things they keep saying is that next to every -- almost every American military base in the Middle East, there's an Iranian militia that would be ready to get involved if there's an escalation with the United States. One of the things the Iranians had said earlier today, they said if things escalate between the U.S. and Iran, the security situation here in the entire Middle Eastern region could become unmanageable, as they put it.

So, some strong words coming from the Iranians. The clear indication that any sort of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran would not stay limited to the military forces of these two countries but would, indeed, the Iranians put it, spread throughout the entire Middle East, guys.

PAUL: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you for the latest. We appreciate it so much. We'll be right back.


[07:45:45] BLACKWELL: Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first time humans set foot on the moon.

PAUL: Yes, the new CNN film "Apollo 11" takes you inside one of humanity's greatest feats that never before seen footage and audio from NASA's most celebrated mission.

BLACKWELL: Now, the mission was run mostly by white men but there was one woman in launch control during takeoff.

PAUL: Yes, her name is JoAnn Morgan, and she's been sharing her memories with our Randi Kaye.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other thing. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The space program in the early '60s was dominated by men. But during the historic launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969, one woman stood out in a sea of men in the control room -- 28-year-old JoAnn Morgan.

JOANN MORGAN, FORMER NASA DIRECTOR: I was the instrumentation controller. The instrumentation controller needs to know, is there a problem? If so, I need to tell the right people in the test team.

KAYE (on camera): So, how did you end up the only woman in the firing room during the launch of Apollo 11?

MORGAN: My director of information systems called me in and said, you're our best communicator. We're going to have you on the console. Later I found out, he had to go and convince the center director Dr. Kurt Debus (ph) that it was going to be OK.

KAYE: Do you think it was okay with the men in the room?

MORGAN: No, no.

KAYE: Exactly.

MORGAN: No, I don't think so.

KAYE: Growing up, JoAnn had a love for science and learning.

JEAN HELMS, JOAN'S SISTER: JoAnn was an insatiable reader. She skipped the first grade. She did not want a doll for Christmas. She wanted a chemistry set or erector set. KAYE (voice-over): At 17, JoAnn interned at U.S. Army ballistic

missile agency and went on to be the first female engineer at Cape Canaveral.

(on camera): So, what was it like when you first started at NASA?

MORGAN: It was pretty intense. It was all men. A lot of the buildings I worked in didn't have ladies' rest rooms.

KAYE (voice-over): just like the women in the movie "Hidden Figures," JoAnn had to go to a different building or use the men's room.

MORGAN: Sometimes during tests, the guard was just great. He would come over and say, you need a little break? I'll police the men's room.

KAYE: When JoAnn first started working in the firing room, she also got some obscene phone calls.

MORGAN: One time when one of them came through, I slammed the phone down and one of the division operators from the station downstairs came up and he said, is something wrong? Is something wrong? I said, yeah. An obscene phone call.

But I never let myself feel like an object. I was not going to be an object, you know. I just had too much fearlessness in me to let that be any kind of deterrent.

KAYE: Roy Tharpe sat next to JoAnn in the firing room.

ROY THARPE, APOLLO 11 CHIEF TEST SUPPORT CONTROLLER: We were all men. JoAnn was there. She was a looker. You could never pull anything over on her because she would take and cut you to pieces because, technically, she was extremely competent.

KAYE (on camera): Were there some men, though, who didn't want her in there?

THARPE: Right. But no doubt about it, she had the moxie of what it took to be in a position of being the only woman in the firing room for "Apollo 11".

ANNOUNCER: We have main engine start. Four, three, two, one, zero, lift-off.

MORGAN: I got to feel the launch, the vibration of the lift-off once the shock wave hit the building, the false floor shook. My console shook. It was so slow. It just lumbers. You think, it's never going to get off the ground.

[07:50:01] It just creeps and creeps. Once it's gone, it's like, OK, come o engine, you burn perfectly for me.

KAYE: Where did you watch the actual moon landing?

MORGAN: My husband is a school teacher. He wanted to go on a fishing trip. That evening we had a great dinner and bottle of champagne and we went back to watch it on TV with everybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The eagle has landed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.

MORGAN: We are just sitting there watching and it was just so dramatic.

NEIL ARMSTRONG, NASA ASTRONAUT: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

MORGAN: And my husband looked at me and he said, you are going to be in the history books.

KAYE (voice-over): After Apollo 11, JoAnn's career took off. Over 45 years from 1958 to 2003, she continued to break barriers and became the first female senior executive at the Kennedy Space Center.

THARPE: When you looked at JoAnn and the way she worked the politics and the way she did things, she had greatness.

KAYE (on camera): Do you think you would be where you are today without someone like JoAnn Morgan?

SUZY CUNNINGHAM, NASA STRATEGY AND INTEGRATION MANAGEMENT: No, I don't. She was a champion for me. She's a huge inspiration to say, you can do this.

KAYE: You've been described as fearless. Where does that come from?

MORGAN: I think it comes from that tiny little child, seeing my dad go off to war and my dad turning around and saying, little Jo, you're in charge, saluted and off he went. My grandmother said, I saw you get your bossy on.

KAYE: Did you get your bossy on at NASA?

MORGAN: Yes, I did. I had to get my bossy on sometimes.

I always played piano. For many years I thought I was going to be a piano teacher, but my track changed after my dad moved us to Florida and I saw rocket launches.

KAYE: You're retired now in Montana but there was a point where you actually wanted to retire on Mars.

MORGAN: Well, I thought they should have a geriatric program. Fifteen years ago, I would have been a volunteer.

KAYE: So, when you come outside and you look at the moon at night here, what do you think?

MORGAN: Oh, I got to help put 12 people to walk on that moon. I love telling everybody about it, too.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Big Fork, Montana.


PAUL: And don't forget, the award-winning CNN film "Apollo 11" premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, rock 'n' roll legend Mick Jagger is back in action after a health scare.


[07:55:26] PAUL: I know a lot of you waiting for this. Mick Jagger is back on stage.

BLACKWELL: I mean, it's been less than three months since he was under the knife for heart surgery, 75 years old. But some of the moves here are classic Mick Jagger moves. This is Chicago Friday night on the first stop of their -- the Rolling Stones' U.S. tour. Now, the band delayed the tour, obviously for the medical needs of its star.

PAUL: You can't really have the tour without him.

BLACKWELL: You can't.

PAUL: You just can't do it. He is now, we believe, fully recovered and thousands of people were thrilled to see him.

Welcome back to the stage, Mr. Jagger. You have been missed by many.

Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King is up next.