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Trump's History of Stirring Up Supporters Then Backing Down; Top Republicans & Ivanka Urged Trump to Disavow Racist Chant; Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Says U.S. May Have Downed Its Own Drone By Mistake; Iran State Media: Iran Seized Foreign Oil Tanker with 12 Onboard; Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus Discusses Iran's Denial the U.S. Downed Iranian Drone, Iran Seizing Oil Tanker; EPA Allows Toxic Chemical Linked to Brain Damage in Children; 200 Million People Facing Heat Wave in U.S. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 19, 2019 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BODLUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So of course, when a Trump supporter actually did sucker punch a protester at the rally a month later, the campaign distanced immediately from the violence saying -- let me get their words right -- "obviously, they discourage this kind of behavior."

Sensing a pattern?

Let's get to the White House. Kaitlan Collins is there for us.

Kaitlan, this isn't about the president. If this isn't about the president truly trying to discourage his supporters from doing anything, you are learning that it is about pressure from behind the scenes?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, today, after that chant happened in Greenville, North Carolina, where I was, you saw Republicans coming out denouncing the chant, but very few of them were condemning the president himself over that.

Except we are now being told behind the scenes that the White House was essentially getting an earful from some of their allies telling the president that he needs to disavow himself from the chant, distance himself. That's why you see the president take that position in the Oval Office yesterday.

Some of the people that we know, Vice President Mike Pence got an earful from Republicans talking about what kind of tough position they were in when reporters were asking them, do you think it's OK for the president's supporters to chant this.

We're also told that the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, is another person he heard from urging him to distance himself.

But yesterday, you see him in the Oval Office with a reporter and he says he doesn't like it and he tried to move on quickly so the chant would stop going on, which isn't true if you see the video.

Now the president is blaming the media, lashing out, saying they're the ones responsible for the reaction. A lot has to do with a president who doesn't like one-on-one confrontation. And that's why you're seeing him change his tune.

BOLDUAN: This isn't the first time we've heard about Ivanka stepping in behind-the-scenes to try to moderate her father.

COLLINS: Ivanka Trump or one of his close family members steps in and advices him to change his mind. That was something that was a big story line at the beginning of the administration with Ivanka Trump and you kind of saw a change after the Paris Climate Accord. She was a voice who made pretty public that she wanted her father not to withdraw from that. He disregarded her advice and did so anyway.

After that, you stopped seeing the stories as much talking about her involvement and what she advises her father to do. This time around it is something that ramped back up.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Kaitlan, thank you so much.

Ahead a new escalation in the standoff between Iran and the U.S. Iran denying President Trump's announcement that the U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone. So what happens now?


[11:37:12] BOLDUAN: President Trump says the U.S. brought down an Iranian drone in the all-important Strait of Hormuz. Iran says that's, quote, "delusional."

And that wasn't the only thing to happen this week. The Iranian media reports that Iran ambushed an oil tanker with 12 people on board.

The Trump administration is also sending hundreds of troops to the region.

CNN's Barbara Starr is joining me live from the Pentagon with much more on this.

Barbara, what are you hearing about this drone?


The president himself laid it out yesterday at the White House saying that a drone, an Iranian drone came within 1,000 yards of a U.S. Navy warship, the Boxer, as it was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz trying to enter the gulf. This was an unsafe distance that the U.S. tried to use radio calls to warn away whoever was operating to make it move. It did not.

And that is when U.S. Marines used the advanced technology you see on board on "USS Boxer, essentially electronic warfare, for lack of a better description, frying the electronics of the drone to make it crash into the sea.

Iran came back today and said it never happened, they didn't lose a drone, and suggesting that the U.S. may have downed its own drone. Maybe people need to use their common sense to come to their own conclusion about the likelihood of the U.S. military accidently downing one of its own drones.

But this comes as we see these really almost constant provocations by Iran. The U.S. responding by sending U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia to an airfield so they can use it to patrol air space and keep an eye on Iran.

The U.S. is adamant it's not looking for war with Iran. All of this is about deterrence and trying to keep the sea lanes open and the air space open.

But Iran continuing in the U.S. view to engage in these provocations -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Barbara. Thank you so much for that.

Joining me now is Ray Mabus, former secretary of the Navy under President Obama.

It's great to see you, Secretary. Thank you for being here.


BOLDUAN: First on the drone, if it did as we assume it did, come within about 1,000 yards of the "USS Boxer," how dangerous is that, how provocative.

MABUS: It's pretty provocative. Unclear how dangerous it is.


MABUS: But you warn them off, and if they don't leave, you did what the Marines did.

BOLDUAN: You do what you have to do.

MABUS: And I think this was a great example of, whatever comes along, whatever threat, big or small, Marines, sailors are going to be able to meet it.

BOLDUAN: Iran is denying that any drone was lost. Is there any reason to question this? Is there any other possibility? Iran is suggesting that United States downed its own drone.

[11:40:00] MABUS: The U.S. military put out a statement saying --

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

MABUS: -- we downed an Iranian drone, here's how we did it, here's where we did it. It's like are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?

BOLDUAN: I think that's a perfect way to say it.

Last time you were on, we were talking about another dangerous chapter that we were looking at in the Strait of Hormuz and the latest attack on an oil tanker. This just kind of continues this dangerous -- I don't know if we call it a tit-for-tat or an escalation. But Iran shoots down a drone, U.S. brings down an Iranian drone. If this is escalating, which it looks like it is, where do we go next? What happens?

MABUS: The danger is that we don't know.

BOLDUAN: That's what the danger is.

MABUS: The danger is you could make a mistake. There could be something inadvertent that happens.

And all of this goes back to this president pulling out of a deal with Iran that was working, that was being verified, that was lowering tensions in the region, without a plan of what happens next. So now you've got this back and forth, this tit-for-tat, as you said, that we don't know whether it's going.

But we do know it's continuing. And we do know that neither side is really trying to lower the tensions, which makes it an increasingly dangerous situation because of the unknowns and because of the uncertainty and because we don't know whether either side is trying to end up.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.

And is there a way to lower tension if the administration continues along this path, spending troops over to Saudi Arabia? I mean, the way that -- and this isn't just on the administration, this is on Iran as well. But is there something that you would suggest in watching foreign policy for so long and from your experience of how to lower tension when you know how this administration has no appetite to reengage with Iran on a new nuclear deal right now?

MABUS: Very frankly, we had the time to do it. I don't know what this administration is going to do. And I don't think they know. That's what makes it so dangerous.

Same thing with the Iranians. I think they're probing and sending a message saying we can do this whenever we want to. Keeping us on high alert, taking assets away from other things.

But one other thing. When Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, that's something the president of the United States announces. When Marines fry the electronics of a small Iranian drone, that's something that gets put out in sort of the ordinary course of business by the U.S. military.

BOLDUAN: What do you think that says?

MABUS: I don't know. But you think somebody is trying to deflect attention from something really awful that happened like racist tweets?

BOLDUAN: Do you think that's possible, the full sum of what this could be? In your view, the U.S. Navy taking out a drone, an unmanned drone, that's just -- that's not regular -- it's not every day, but you don't think that raises to the level of a presidential announcement?

MABUS: No. It's not every day. But it's also, we pointed out at first, it's an unknown threat but it's a small drone. Sailors and Marines were prepared for this. They took it out pretty easily. And that's just another day. You put it out, you explain the context, and you move on.

BOLDUAN: Really interesting perspective.

Great to see you, Secretary. Thanks for being here.

MABUS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Always appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Coming up next for us, a pesticide used on fruit and vegetables has been linked to brain damage in children along with other health problems. So why isn't the EPA doing anything about it?


[11:46:46] BOLDUAN: This week, we're updating on some of our past "CNN Heroes." In 2018, former U.S. Army Corporal Chris Stout was one of our top heroes for founding Veterans Community Project, a group that provides services to veterans in Kansas City. Now they're scaling out the mission in a big way and getting help from a big political name.

Last fall, U.S. Army combat veteran, Jason Kander, was a rising star in the Democratic Party, running for mayor of Kansas City. He suddenly dropped out of the race when he said he was seeking help for PTSD.

I spoke with Jason this week about his journey and his new mission with the Veterans Community Project.


JASON KANDER, CNN HERO & FORMER KANASAS CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: My first message to people is if you think something might be wrong, something is wrong and you should get help. I went to the V.A. and they gave me a lot of paperwork and I looked at it and said, I'm not sure I know how to navigate this process.

BOLDUAN: Even you?

KANDER: Yes. And I'm in a decent spot to be able to figure that thing out. So I went to an organization in Kansas City called Veterans Community Project. They helped me navigate the process.

They serve all vets. Anybody who falls through the cracks, they have a village of tiny houses. They've effectively eradicated homelessness in Kansas City. And I'm excited to lead the national expansion of the organization. It's a new mission.


BOLDUAN: They're trying to do that now on a national level. To find out more about Veterans Community Project, please go to


[11:50:16] BOLDUAN: A chemical link to brain damage in children, that is something to pay attention to and that is now a chemical that the EPA has announced is going to allow to be used on pesticides that, of course, go on our food.

It's a chemical used on crops and proven effective against mosquitos and cockroaches. But scientists say that it's linked to brain damage in children. Multiple studies say this.

But the Trump administration is ignoring that research, saying that they cannot use it.

CNN's Rene Marsh is joining me now with more.

Rene, what is going on here?

RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this is a huge win for chemical manufacturers. We're talking about a widely used pesticide that scientists say as you point out associated with neurological problems in children, potentially resulting in lower I.Q.s, disorders like ADD., autism.

The EPA banned this pesticide for household use but they still allowed agricultural producers to use it so it doesn't end up on fruits and vegetables.

Environmental groups essentially failed to provide sufficient evidence to support banning it so that is the reason that they gave for their decision.

The agency says that they will continue an ongoing review to make its next determination about this pesticide by 2022.

But I do want to point out that a ban on it was initiated under the Obama administration, but it was reversed under the Trump administration.

Critics are saying this is just another example of EPA operating counter to science and putting the interests of the lobby ahead of public health -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And so the EPA has ruled. Is there anything that can now be done about it?

MARSH: Well, what we're all going to be looking for next is, you know, what happens in the court. I can tell you that environmental groups have taken the EPA to court over this issue.

Now the big question is, will the court step in and overrule the EPA on this decision. That we will have to wait and see -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right. Rene, we'll wait and see and pay very close attention to it.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate you bringing that to us.

MARSH: Sure.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next, summer scorcher. Tens of millions of Americans are bracing for dangerous record high heats. Look at that graphic. We'll have much more on what this means for you and how widespread it is. That's coming up next.


[11:57:30] BOLDUAN: Nearly 200 million people could be facing a deadly heat wave making its way across the country this weekend. Peak temperatures are expected to set in today. We are talking all throughout the east coast and the Midwest.

CNN meteorologist, Chad Meyers, is joining me now from the Weather Center with more on this.

Chad, yes, it is summer. But what is surprising is how hot it's actually going to get here and how much of the country is facing this at once.

CHAD MEYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. And the humidity that won't allow your body to evaporate the sweat that it produces. That's the true problem.

It's going to feel like 115 degrees in downtown Chicago today. If you take a look at O'Hare, probably 108. Get near the buildings, that's where the heat will be.

Omaha will be 116 this afternoon. And the heat that's in Chicago will be farther to the east by Saturday and Sunday. New York City will feel like 109 in Manhattan. Easily could feel like 115.

In the "do not try this at home" category for today, the weather service in Omaha, Nebraska, put biscuits in the front seat of their car and parked it in the sun. Eight hours later, they believe that the biscuits were done and they had a willing participant to try the biscuits. I don't recommend it at home. Please, do not try this. But they said they were edible. The middle was still gooey so, yes, it kind of works but just don't do it.

That plate got to 185 degrees. At 162, your skin will be scorched. So hot pads for sure for those guys as they got those pans out of there.

There's going to be some severe weather today across parts of the Midwest because a cold front is coming. It truly is going to make a big difference for next week.

By the time we talk about this next week, we'll talk about how cool it is rather than how hot it is.

New York City, you'll be dropping somewhere in the ballpark of 30 degrees in 48 hours. Chicago, you go from 97 air temperature, not in the sunshine and not with the humidity, all the way down to 61 for a morning low by Monday, Tuesday morning.

So much, much cooler. Even below normal. Our normal should be 84, New York. And by next Monday, Tuesday, below that.

So just take it with a grain of salt. Make sure the pets are taken care of and not in the sunshine with plenty of water. Kids, pets, adults, take care of yourself, too. This is a short but brief and very, very extreme hot weather event.

BOLDUAN: Chad, that temperature change, that is crazy that's happening going into next week.


BOLDUAN: That is wild.

MEYERS: And that's why there will be severe weather today around Minneapolis and Madison, Wisconsin. There could be some tornados.

BOLDUAN: Chad, thank you so much.

MEYERS: You're welcome.

[12:00:04] BOLDUAN: Really important perspective on this.

Thank you guys.

And thank you all so much for joining me.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.