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North Korea Fires Two Short-Range Missiles; Key Moments In Robert Mueller's Testimony; Rapper A$AP Rocky Charged With Assault In Sweden. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired July 25, 2019 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:34:27] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some developments here. North Korea fired two short-range missiles overnight and South Korean officials say one was a threat.
CNN's Will Ripley has been to North Korea 19 times. He joins us live now with more. What do you know, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, we have just learned within the last hour or so that, in fact, South Korean officials believe these were a new kind of short-range missile that North Korea was testing. One of them flew just over 400 miles; the other under 300 miles -- both of them shot into the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.
[05:35:02] This comes just a couple of days after North Korea released pictures of their leader, Kim Jong Un, inspecting a new submarine -- the kind of submarine that North Korea has said in the past could carry a ballistic missile that could be launched towards a country like the United States.
This missile test, South Korea says, similar to the one back in May -- the kind of missile that poses a severe threat to tens of millions of people in South Korea and 28,000 U.S. troops stationed there because it could carry a nuclear warhead. But also, the kind of weapon that President Trump, when he was standing at the DMZ, said he's not too worried about because it's not an ICBM.
Still, it shows that North Korea is advancing its weapons capability at a time that diplomacy has essentially ground to a halt yet again.
Despite that photo op with President Trump stepping into North Korean soil -- the pictures plastered across the front page of North Korean papers -- there has been zero communication between the U.S. and North Korea -- no working-level negotiations, no progress on moving the ball forward with denuclearization.
And apparently, North Korean officials won't be meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Bangkok next week.
This missile launch happened, by the way, John, as secretary -- National Security adviser John Bolton was visiting South Korea. Coincidence? We just don't know.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Really interesting as the president continues to tout his relationship with Kim Jong Un, they just keep testing.
Will Ripley, thank you so much for your reporting.
This morning, we're getting fresh reaction to Robert Mueller's testimony. In the papers this morning, you hear from friends -- blind quotes -- concerned about how he did. We're going to speak to someone who has followed Robert Mueller for years, next.
[05:40:46] BERMAN: All right.
This morning, we're getting fresh reaction to the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller. In the papers today, if you read them carefully, you can hear and see concern from some of Mueller's longtime friends about how he looked and appeared yesterday.
Joining us now is CNN contributor, Garrett Graff. He's also the author of "The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror".
Clearly, the president is taking glee in the testimony. They're pointing to the halting answers, in some cases stumbling. And then there are those who say this is not the same Robert Mueller that they saw more than six years ago and before that when he last testified before Congress.
You've covered him for years, Garrett. What did you see?
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, AUTHOR, "THE THREAT MATRIX: INSIDE ROBERT MUELLER'S FBI": So, I think one thing that is important to understand the context of yesterday, which is this is someone who has appeared, before yesterday, 88 times on Capitol Hill -- more than almost any other American in history testifying before Congress.
And yet, out of those 88 times, Robert Mueller has never appeared in the role that he was appearing in, in front of the House Judiciary Committee, which was as a prosecutor and as an investigator.
And I think you did see throughout the day both a reluctance on his part to give really either side the sound bites that they were looking for. The verbal gymnastics that he went through to avoid ever saying the word "impeachment" over the course of the day were quite remarkable.
But, particularly, during the House Judiciary Committee morning session yesterday, I think, frankly, he was just nervous about appearing in the role that he was. I mean, prosecutors don't normally appear on Capitol Hill testifying about cases that they have investigated or are under active investigation still.
BERMAN: There's a question of whether it was a lack of will or was it a lack of command?
GRAFF: I think it was -- look, Bob Mueller is certainly older than he was -- six years older than he was the last time that he testified on Capitol Hill and I think you did see some of that reflected in his testimony.
But I really do think, especially as I watched the totality of the day, that much of what we had escribed sort of fear and worry about his halting answers was really him just trying to avoid saying anything that could be used against him in any way, and trying to be as precise as possible throughout the day.
BERMAN: Some critics are now pointing to this, saying maybe Robert Mueller wasn't in complete control of this investigation from the beginning -- he was just a figurehead. Maybe it was his -- you know, the other lawyers there who were really running the show.
GRAFF: I think that that's highly unlikely to have been the case, in part because I just don't think that Robert Mueller would have stepped into this role if he had felt unable to fulfill it. But moreover, the team that he built around him was some of the most accomplished prosecutors in the Justice Department and they wouldn't have stood for anything less than the full Robert Mueller.
BERMAN: He had promised he was going to stay within the confines of the 448-page report. He did step an inch or two beyond at some points, really in the afternoon when he was talking about the idea of conspiracy during the Intelligence hearing.
And one of those moments when he -- is when he said that the president -- then-candidate Donald Trump talking about WikiLeaks was problematic -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove" -- Donald Trump, October 31st, 2016. "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks" -- Donald Trump, November fourth, 2016.
Would any of those quotes disturb you, Mr. Director?
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: I'm not sure I would say --
QUIGLEY: How do you react to them?
MUELLER: Well, it's -- problematic is an understatement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: In Mueller-speak that's like a five-alarm fire.
GRAFF: Yes. And I think what's remarkable about that one exchange yesterday, I think that might have been the one single unvarnished personal opinion of Robert Mueller that we actually saw yesterday. He really did stay within the confines of the report -- you know, monosyllabic answers. Scores of times yesterday referring people back to the report more than 100 times in different answers.
[05:45:04] That was the one moment where I think we saw Robert Mueller say the thing that he actually believes.
BERMAN: You think -- last question, Garrett -- that Robert Mueller's happy about this today based on what you know of him?
GRAFF: I don't, but I think that that's, in part, because Robert Mueller didn't want to be there in the first place. You know, this -- he went out of his way to say this is not -- I don't want to be on Capitol Hill testifying. And I think, yesterday, he bared that out.
BERMAN: He demonstrated it --
BERMAN: -- for the world to see.
Garrett Graff, great to have you here. Thanks very much -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right, John.
Boris Johnson has been British prime minister for one day and there are already big changes in the U.K. That's next.
CAMEROTA: And we have a bit of breaking news.
Prosecutors in Sweden have charged rapper A$AP Rocky with assault, and President Trump is trying to get him freed.
[05:50:02] CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Stockholm with all of the breaking details. What's happening, Melissa?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the prosecutors come out with that ruling that we were waiting for more than three weeks after A$AP Rocky and two members of his entourage were taken into custody and placed in detention. And that ruling is really bad news for the American rapper. He is to be charged.
And we've had now 552 pages of court documents released. The prosecutor explains that there is that video out there that has done the rounds on the Internet. So many people have made up their mind one way or the other about A$AP Rocky's guilt. He says, "We've had access to much more than that" releasing some stills, which we can show you now, from some of that CCTV footage.
And what the prosecutor says is that, in fact, what emerges is a picture of Mustafa Jafari, who was the victim of this assault, being on the ground for much of the assault -- being beaten with part of a bottle or a whole bottle with DNA from that bottle corresponding to that of A$AP Rocky and his bodyguard.
So, a trial will now be held. We've just been hearing here in the hotel behind me from A$AP Rocky's lawyer who has been responding to what the prosecutors published today, saying that, of course, A$AP Rocky is extremely disappointed with that result. The lawyer regrets that the prosecutor appears to have gone with the version of events given by Mustafa Jafari, the other party to that assault.
The trial now begins next Tuesday -- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday -- at the end of which we'll know whether A$AP Rocky and his entourage are to be freed or facing up to nearly two years in jail here in Sweden.
Alisyn and John.
BERMAN: All right, Melissa Bell for us in Stockholm. And again, this is a case that President Trump tells us he is watching very closely.
We do have breaking news this morning after those huge protests on the street. Hundreds of thousands of people in Puerto Rico taking to the streets. The governor there has announced his resignation.
We will tell you how this developed while you were sleeping, next.
[05:56:31] BERMAN: Happening now, Britain's new prime minister, Boris Johnson, is beginning his first full day on the job, filling out a cabinet and addressing Parliament this morning.
CNN's Clarissa Ward live at 10 Downing Street in London with the first full day of the Boris Johnson era, Clarissa.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John.
Well, to some people, he is a charming buffoon, a witty raconteur -- the eloquent man who saved Great Britain from the evil clutches of the European Union. To others, of course, he is disingenuous, he is cynical, he is evil. He is the man who swindled the British public into leaving Europe.
But whatever side of the political divide you happen to fall upon, here in the U.K. there is no doubt that Boris Johnson is now the prime minister. And, boy, John, does he have his work cut out for him.
In his first soaring speech, he vowed to defy the gloomsters and the doomsters, as he called them, and to come up with a Brexit deal in the next 99 days -- by that October 31st deadline. And boy, oh boy, is he going to have a lot of work to try to push that through -- to try to make that happen.'
And one person who he's going to be relying on is the president of the U.S., Donald Trump. A lot has been made of the similarities between these two leaders, from the shock of blonde hair to the occasional racist gaffes, to accusations that both have been economical with the truth.
But certainly, Johnson is going to be relying on President Trump to help him come up with some kind of a bilateral trade agreement that will soften the economic blow of Brexit -- John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: And their dynamic will be very interesting to watch. Clarissa, thank you very much for that report for us live from London.
All right, late-night comics had some fun with Mueller's testimony. Here are your "Late-Night Laughs".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Mr. Mueller, over here -- hey-o, whoo, whoo -- macaw, macaw.
Marco? Marco? OK, bring it in. Bring the eyeballs this way. There you go -- and, good.
How would you characterize the contents of Don, Jr.'s skull?
COLBERT: Sir, to you, what is more disturbing? Donald Trump welcoming interference from the Russians in our election or the trailer for "CATS"?
MUELLER: Donald Trump.
TREVOR NOAH, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": According to Robert Mueller, the president can be charged with obstruction of justice once he leaves office. So you know what that means -- Trump is never leaving office -- yes.
He hears that, the Secret Service is going to be banging on the Oval Office door like, "Sir, you need to leave." He'd be like, "No housekeeping, thank you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: I like Stephen Colbert's -- you know, airline -- bring it in right here. This way.
BERMAN: There were people speculating on Twitter yesterday that the Republicans were doing that on purpose. They were saying, "Over here, over here, over here" to try to make Robert Mueller look like he didn't know what was going on.
I don't know -- have any reason to believe that was the case, but there were conspiracy theories --
CAMEROTA: That seems a little --
BERMAN: -- out there.
CAMEROTA: -- childish.
CAMEROTA: All right. Puerto Rico's governor resigning after weeks of protests, so let's get right to the breaking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO (through translator): Today, I announce that I will be resigning from the position of governor.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR, "CNN WORLDWIDE": An explosion of joy from the people here in Old San Juan after they learned Gov. Ricardo Rossello will be resigning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be victory for the people of Puerto Rico.
MUELLER: I don't think you will review a report that is as thorough, as fair, as consistent as the report that we have in front of us.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Did you actually totally exonerate the president?