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Epstein Injured in Jail Cell; North Korea Fires Short-Range Missiles; Puerto Rico's Governor Resigns; Biden Speaks at Conference; Mueller on Russian Interference; Rapper A$AP Rocky Charged with Assault. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 25, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That he was such a danger to the community because of the alleged victims and other victims that have not come forward yet and the judge also said that because of his excessive wealth and a private plane and his associations that there was just a risk of flight. And prosecutors brought out that when he was arrest in July, when they executed a search of his apartment, they found pictures of young girls.

And, Poppy, the big question here is --


CASAREZ: He wanted that bail package. He wanted to be able to be at home, he wasn't, which gives motive for self-infliction, right? But also things do happen when you're incarcerated. Now he is in -- he is in -- by himself.

HARLOW: Solitary confinement.

CASAREZ: Solitary confinement.

HARLOW: And is that how you --

CASAREZ: For his own protection.

HARLOW: And is that how you believe that they will keep him, if history is an indicator, until the trial?

CASAREZ: Oh, no question, because of the high profile nature. Yes.

HARLOW: Yes. OK. Jean Casarez, great reporting. Thank you so much on that.

CASAREZ: Thanks.

HARLOW: Meantime, North Korea is test firing two short range missiles. This happened overnight. The first missile test since the president stepped foot into North Korea, Jim, when you were there at the DMZ last month.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And it's not the first time they've tested missiles. South Korean officials say the new type of short range missile poses a military threat and risks undermining the peace process on the Korean peninsula.

CNN international correspondent Anna Coren following this there.

Anna, you know, of course the president has cited a suspension of missile tests as one of the gains from these ongoing nuclear negotiations with North Korea and his personal friendship with Kim. What are we learning about these tests?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly undermines the stalled peace process to denuclearize North Korea, but certainly, Jim, two short-range ballistic missiles, a new system of missiles was fired very early Thursday morning. The first one traveling 265 miles, the second one flew further at 428 miles. Both fired from a mobile launch vehicle. They landed in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan between North Korea and Japan.

This comes less than a month from when Kim Jong-un met with Donald Trump at the DMZ where they came out of a more than hour meeting vowing to restart these talks. Well, really, the only tangible thing that came out of those talks was an invite to Kim Jong-un to visit the White House. Other than that, nothing else concrete and certainly no date was set to continue these staff level talks.

But, you know, experts that we've spoken to say that this is North Korea responding to plans by the United States and South Korea to hold joint military exercises next month. And this is -- we've heard from North Korea's foreign ministry that has said this is a rehearsal of war.

Experts we've spoken to believe that North Korea is just going to continue to fire more missiles in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Of course the question is how the president reacts as well. Does he continue to defend these missiles as not being material to the ongoing talks.


SCIUTTO: Anna Coren --


SCIUTTO: In Hong Kong, thanks very much.

Celebrations erupting in the streets of San Juan as Puerto Rico's governor announces he's resigning.

Governor Ricardo Rossello out effective next Friday.

HARLOW: Protesters have been calling on him to resign after hundreds of offensive messages he sent with his inner circle all became public. They were leaked.

Our Rafael Romo joins us in San Juan this morning. You know, I have to say, I didn't know which way it was going to go after Monday and that huge protest, but clearly he thought he could not sustain the pressure.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, that's right, Poppy and Jim, and it took a little too long for some of the people that we talked to for Governor Rossello to finally resign, but it happened. And when it happened, it was just amazing to be able to witness the celebration, just the loud cheers, that we saw people banging on pots, dancing, singing, celebrating a moment that they had been waiting for. And they protested every single day for 12 days here at the governor's mansion, La Fortaleza, or The Fortress. To them ever since it was disclosed that the governor had participated in a private chat where comments had been made that were deeply offensive, racist and homophobic, there was no turning back. They had lost, they told us, their confidence in their governor and that it was about for him to resign.

Now, it's only the beginning of the healing process, Poppy and Jim, because a new government has to be created. Presumably the secretary of justice, Wanda Vazquez, is supposed to be sworn in as the next governor. But, again, the resignation is not immediate. It's going to happy on August the 2nd on 5:00 in the afternoon.

[09:35:17] Back to you.

HARLOW: OK, Thank you so much for being there. It's really important what happens. Rafael Romo, we appreciate it.

All right, so we're learning more about Joe Biden's tactic on the debate stage. He's not pulling any punches. And right now he's firing back at two of his 2020 rivals just days before he will be sandwiched between them on CNN's presidential debate stage. Much more on that, next.


[09:40:00] HARLOW: All right, this morning, it could get awkward, Jim, right, at the National Urban League Conference in Indianapolis. That is where several 2020 Democratic candidates are making their case to voters. Senator Cory Booker spoke just moments ago. And former Vice President Joe Biden set to speak in just a few minutes.

As you know, Biden and Booker have been trading jabs in public over each other's criminal justice record. Biden also criticized Senator Kamala Harris, without naming her though, saying that the won't be so polite at next week's presidential debates here at CNN.

CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz is in Indianapolis right now.

And, Arlette, one of Biden's big claims to the nomination is his electability, that he's the candidate most able to beat Donald Trump. I imagine other candidates are taking issue with that.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Jim, and we heard just a short while ago from Cory Booker here at the National Urban League as they're having these 2020 Democratic candidates come try and to court black voters.

And one thing that Cory Booker talked about was he was challenging that idea, the conversation around electability, saying that it often does not focus on the black base of voters of the Democratic Party.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Most of the time when somebody's asking about electability, they're not asking about the African-American voters who make up the most reliable constituency of the Democratic Party. And that's a problem because the truth is we need to understand that we cannot beat Donald Trump unless we have a large, vibrant turnout in the black community.


SAENZ: Now, this comes as you're seeing this escalation in the feud between Cory Booker and Joe Biden. Yesterday, Cory Booker calling Biden the architect of mass incarceration and Biden pushing back highlighting police practices in the city of Newark while Cory Booker has been mayor.

And you've seen Biden really sharpening his attacks against both Cory Booker and Kamala Harris over the past few weeks. I'm told that he is the one who has decided to become more assertive heading into that next debate. And last night he vowed at a fundraiser that he's not going to be quite so polite the next time around.

Poppy and Jim.

HARLOW: Something tells me this time Biden is not going to say my time is up.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: He is not going to give up his time, that's for sure.

Arlette, thank you. Great reporting there. We'll see what happens in just a few minutes.

The CNN Democratic presidential debate is just a few days away. Two big nights, ten candidates each night, next Tuesday and Wednesday live from Detroit only right here.

SCIUTTO: Yes, you're going to want to watch it. The campaign is heating up.

Meanwhile, the new normal. Robert Mueller issuing really a sobering warning about Russian interference in the U.S. election.


[09:47:13] SCIUTTO: Don't miss these words from yesterday. They're doing it as we sit here. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller warning the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is still, today, actively interfering in U.S. elections, including, of course, 2020.

I want to discuss this and more with CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd.

Phil, let's replay Rob Mueller's -- Bob Mueller's warnings yesterday and I want to get your reaction. Have a listen.


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: There wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign.

I hope this is not the new normal, but I fear it is.


SCIUTTO: The new normal specifically he was talking about there was U.S. campaigns accepting Russian help. Everyone believes Russia is going to meddle in the 2020 election. It's already started.


SCIUTTO: Is the U.S. doing enough to prevent it?

MUDD: No, and I'm going to tell you, inside government, the mechanics of government, this is a really heavy lift. Think about when you're sitting on the National Security Council or with the president in the Oval Office, the first question you have is, are all the agencies coordinated for defense -- the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency -- to protect people from you and me -- like you and me from getting bad stuff?

Let me give you another heavy lift, are agencies coordinated on whether we want to go and how we go on the offense when the Russians accelerate? Do we want to do more with the CIA and NSA? What happens when they start complaining to the White House and the Oval Office?

Then the most interesting one, and I think we're not in a good place, this would require the White House, you've got to talk to the American people both about what they should expect and about how we should expect the government to cooperate with Silicon Valley to stop this. This is really a tough government job.

SCIUTTO: On the same day that Robert Mueller issued that warning, the Senate GOP blocked even a vote on a measure that would have required by law campaigns to inform the FBI of offers of foreign help. Of course, as you know, the president has said publicly that he might accept foreign help.

I wonder, you've covered Russia for some time --

MUDD: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Does Russia look at that as an invitation to interfere in this next election, to offer help to candidates that it wants to help? MUDD: Well, they have to. I mean if you look at this from an

intelligence perspective, this is what we call classically covert action. A political action you can deny. Look at the result. They got the candidate they wanted. That's what the head of Russia said in Helsinki. And the implications for them are the president of the United States says this isn't really a big deal and at least initially saying this didn't really happen. So if you're Russia and you're an intelligence officer you're saying, what's the cost and the benefit is huge.

SCIUTTO: I'm going to ask you a difficult question. Are you concerned that the president would welcome such help?

MUDD: You know, that's a fascinating question. I initially thought, until a couple of weeks ago, that the issue here, like everybody else thought, that the issue here was the president was embarrassed. He wanted to say, I had an electoral victory.


MUDD: He didn't want to talk about the popular vote. I came to think, especially with his comments about, maybe I'll be around in eight years or 12 years or 20 years, I came to think that he might perceive this as a legitimate interference for a candidate himself who has every right to be president and therefore has every right to accept overseas influence. I'm not sure about that, but it's a different perspective I never case to until a couple of weeks ago.

[09:50:19] SCIUTTO: That's a sobering thought.

As you know, I've been deep in this issue for a number of years.

MUDD: Yes.

SCIUTTO: I wrote a book called "The Shadow War" about Russia's interference in the election and how it fits into a broader attack on U.S. democracy, on the west, its interests around the world.

The fact is, Russia was interfering before 2016. There were signs that it was ramping up its interference. It had this broad-based attack on the State Department e-mail system going back to 2014.

Why haven't we solved this problem yet as a country?

MUDD: I think there's a couple issues here. Number one, there's a free speech issue. Everybody gets what they want to get on FaceBook. I'm not sure they want the government saying this is how we're going to -- we're going to edit what you see on FaceBook.

One of the pieces is the relationship between the Congress and the government and the people who own the information. Silicon Valley is adversarial. We're in chapter one of this. We've got to figure out a way to say, we want to support U.S. companies that are getting attacked, instead of getting Mark Zuckerberg on The Hill and saying, why can't you fix this yourself.


Let's talk about the challenge to the -- the intelligence community.

MUDD: Yes.

SCIUTTO: So let's say -- and they're already seeing signs -- Russia -- they see signs, intelligence, Russia is interfering in 2020. The probing attacks, not just on candidates, but also perhaps election systems. You have to report that from the IC to the president.

MUDD: Yes.

SCIUTTO: This is a president who apparently doesn't want to hear it. We know that. Mick Mulvaney instructed Kirstjen Nielsen, the former Department the Homeland Security secretary, don't bring it up with the president.

What do you do?

MUDD: Boy, I've thought about this. You know, you sit in the chair after 9/11 and figure out, how do you bring difficult messages in about al Qaeda. There's a sign at the front entrance of the CIA that says "the truth shall set you free." I don't think you can speak the truth to the president because the problem with that is not that you want to hold back, but you can't have a productive conversation.

I think the conversation then goes to, who has influence, the national security adviser, vice president, members of Congress, senators. Who has influence so that you can speak to them and get them to filter for you because a face-to-face conversation with the president saying, they're coming after us again and they're going to favor you, I don't think would go too well.

SCIUTTO: Phil Mudd.

Poppy, sobering words.


SCIUTTO: I don't think you could speak the truth to the president on a -- on a clear and present danger to U.S. elections.


I was so glad that Will Hurd asked about that yesterday, but he was the only one to ask about Russia's continuing interference in seven hours.


HARLOW: You know, I mean, it's ridiculous. All right.

SCIUTTO: And he's a former CIA guy himself, so he knows a thing or two about it.

HARLOW: Yes. Exactly. OK, so, coming up for us, an American rapper is set to stand trial in Sweden after prosecutors say he and two others attacked a man with a glass bottle.


[09:57:34] SCIUTTO: Rapper A$AP Rocky has been charged with assault and will have to stand trial now in Stockholm, Sweden, after a brawl there. The 30-year-old, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been in custody in Sweden since July 3rd. According to video obtained by TMZ, the rapper is seen throwing a man to the ground, kicking and beating him. You see it there.


SCIUTTO: Prosecutors say the victim was beaten with a glass bottle.

HARLOW: So the defense, Rocky's lawyers are saying that he was defending himself after he was assaulted first. You've had a lot of big name celebrities, even the president vouching for Rocky.

Our correspondent Melissa Bell is in Stockholm with the latest.

I mean the president essentially said he reached out to the prime minister there but the prime minister said, look, this is how our justice system works and he will stay in jail and then stand trial.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, in the end, that presidential plea, Poppy, came to nothing. Since, disappointing news for the rapper today. The prosecution decided that he and two members of his entourage were to be charged. They now face a trial that will begin next Tuesday and may have to spend another couple of weeks in jail until a verdict is reached. So clearly a great deal of disappointment on his side.

Now you showed a moment ago, Jim, those pictures. Those TMZ -- that's TMZ footage that has been so widely shared on social media. What the prosecution said as he delivered the announcement of those charges today at the end of a more than three-week investigation is that he hadn't simply based himself on those. He said there was a lot of other footage, both from CCTV. We've got some stills that were released today as part of 552 pages of court documents. Lots of other evidence, he said. We spoke to him a short while ago. Based on things like testimonies from eyewitnesses who happened to be around when that street fight broke out. What the prosecutor says is that the version of events described by the eyewitness reports corresponds to the version of events described by the other party in that brawl, the 19- year-old Swedish resident, Afghan national, who claims that he was a victim in all of this.

Now, the investigation into him was discontinued on Monday. The prosecution decided that he didn't have a case to answer. And instead decided that A$AP Rocky and his entourage were to blame.

Now, earlier on we spoke to A$AP Rocky's lawyer. He claims that his client is innocent, that he was just trying to defend himself. And we asked him specifically about what he had made of Donald Trump's support. Here's what the lawyer had to say.

[09:59:54] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLOBODAN JOVICIC, A$AP ROCKY'S ATTORNEY: We have put in a lot of time explaining the situation and the Swedish laws for our client, so he was not surprised or in any way disappointed that -- I mean he was disappointed last Friday when the