Return to Transcripts main page
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats Expected To Resign; Democratic Contenders Reveal Strategies Ahead Of CNN Debate; Father Charged With Manslaughter, Negligent Homicide And Endangering Welfare Of A Child In Death Of Twin Babies; Trump Doubles Down On Attacks Against Representative Cummings. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired July 28, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and the absolute heartbreak in all of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I guess if a man is full enough to get (INAUDIBLE) with a woman, she's ain't going to think much of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people underestimate the tremendous empathy that Altman had as a filmmaker. He loved people if they were flawed, if they terrible, if they were wonderful. He celebrated real humanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Catch "THE MOVIES" tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.
Hello again, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with this breaking news.
"The New York Times" reporting that the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, is expected to step down in the coming days. CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez at the White House for us. So what are you hearing?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Fred, yes, White House officials are not commenting on this reporting in the New York Times that the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats is expected to step down in the coming days, but this is something that White House officials had seen coming. We had reported just a couple of weeks ago that the President was having discussions about who he might tap to replace Dan Coats.
White House officials have told CNN that they got the sense from him that he was eyeing retirement. He'd already been on the job for two years, and as one White House official put it, the president never fully warmed up to DNI Coats.
We should point out the two men have had very public disagreements on a wide array of issues, the director of National Intelligence frequently contradicting statements made by President Trump on everything from the objectivity of the intelligence community to foreign policy with Syria, North Korea, Russia specifically. So, it's not clear at this point that those disagreements, those very public disagreements are leading to this departure, but we know the President according to sources had previously considered dismissing the director of National Intelligence.
As for potential replacements, a lot of names are popping up, one of them Congressman John Ratcliffe. You saw him during the House Judiciary Committee hearing of Robert Mueller earlier this week. He was grilling Mueller. We know the president is a big fan of his. He was considered for a number of post within the administration.
Another name being floated is Fred Fleitz, he is the former Chief of Staff to current Director of National Security or National Security Advisor, I should say, John Bolton. We know that according to sources he had previously had conversations with White House officials about replacing Coats.
And another name that's out there, a controversial one is Congressman Devin Nunes. His name was floated last week as a possible replacement for Coats. Of course that would be a very controversial pick considering how many deep state conspiracies he has pedaled but we know the President is big fan of his, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And for a folks who remember, it was Dan Coats who during the Aspen Security Forum who was asked, you know, by someone in the audience about is it true that the White House, you know, the President invited Vladimir Putin to the White House, and --
WHITFIELD: -- you know, who could forget he was just like, you know, come again, say that again?
SANCHEZ: Yes. He couldn't believe it, right?
WHITFIELD: And of course the President didn't like that, that kind of response coming from Dan Coats. OK, we'll get more reporting on that. Boris Sanchez, we'll get you to do that. As well, again, "The New York Times" is reporting about that expected stepping down of Dan Coats, all right.
Now let's talk about the race for the White House. We are just two days away from a potential make-or-break moment for 2020 presidential candidates, the CNN Democratic debates, the first round featuring Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren taking to the stage on Tuesday night. Round two, coming on Wednesday with former vice president Joe Biden and Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. And as the candidates descend on Detroit we are getting a clearer idea of the plans of attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My view is that if the United States Congress could bail out the crooks on Wall Street would destroy this economy. If we could give a trillion a half- dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent and large profitable corporations like Amazon, $11 billion profits in last year owned by the wealthiest guy in this country, it doesn't pay a nickel in federal income taxes, if we can do that, you know what, we can help save a generation, the millennial generation and cancel those debts.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe this is going to be one of those moments of truth where I'm going to be able to present progressive vision that's actually being put into action.
Look, New York City, we've done pre-k for every child for free, we've done the $15 minimum wage. We've done paid sick days. We're giving those two weeks paid vacation to every working person. We're literally guaranteeing health care for anyone who does not have health insurance. These things are happening in the nation's largest city.
MARIEANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The truth of the matter is we are the only advanced industrialized nation that bases our educational funding on property taxes. So what this means is that a child in a financially advantaged neighbor stands a chance, a good chance of getting a very high quality public school education here. But if a child does not grow up, not live in a financially advantaged neighborhood, then the opportunities are far less for a higher quality education.
[15:05:06] JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: This administration has weaponized the law to cruelly separate little children from their parents. Look, I've been consistent. I don't have an issue with maintaining a secure border. We're always going to do that. What I have an issue with is separating little children from their parents. I have an issue with an administration that uses migrants as a scapegoat to create fear and paranoia in order to win elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, we have team coverage on the campaign trail. Let's begin with CNN National Correspondent, Athena Jones, she's in Detroit ahead of the big debate. So, how are candidates poising themselves, getting ready?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Well, as you know these debates are huge opportunities for the candidates to make their case before a wide audience, a big national audience. And they play an outside role in shaping the race at this point.
Well, remember what happened with Senator Kamala Harris at the last debate in Miami going after Vice President Biden on desegregation, on federally mandated busing to desegregates schools. She saw a bump in the polls, a bump in attention because of that successful attack, and so that's the sort of thing we'll be watching for a couple of nights from now. Not just Harris potentially versus Joe Biden but also Senator Cory Booker, Julian Castro has -- the both of them has signaled that they plan to go after Biden as have several other candidates. So, we'll be watching to see about those match ups, how Vice President Biden handles himself, is he able to both defend himself while also making a compelling case for why he believes he should be the party's standard bearer.
But another important thing to point out here, Fredricka, is that for many of these candidates this isn't just an important opportunity, it may be the last opportunity they have to get some attention, to catch fire, to increase their ranking in the polls. And to that point I want to play some of what we heard from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the campaign trail in Iowa a couple of days ago, going after unnamed fellow Democratic candidates under stances on women. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN, KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have Democratic candidates running for president right now who do not believe necessarily that it's a good idea that women work outside the home. No joke.
We have presidential candidates running right now who thinks the Me Too movement has gone too far. We have members of -- we have people who are running for the president of the United States as Democrats who believe the standards for the Democratic Party are too high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you hear Kirsten Gillibrand talking about women's rights and this of course been a center piece of her candidacy. But what's kind of odd there is that you're wondering, OK, who is she talking about? When you hear these kind of extreme accusations you wonder who she is pointing to. And so of course I asked her campaign and her spoke person, her communication director, Meredith Kelly, gave us this statement.
"Kirsten believes we need to have a broader and more intentional conversation about valuing women in this country and even in this primary and she intends to do so in the coming days. Stay tuned."
And now what's interesting about that is she talks about having an intentional conversation and yet they won't say who she was talking about in those remarks. She'll likely be pressed about that or could be pressed about that in a couple of nights, but she's clearly trying to indicate that she'll going to go after some rivals. So, that, among other things, are the things we're be looking for, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Maybe that will be the surprise element during the debates and we'll see that on stage. All right, Athena, thank you.
All right, let me also talk now about Senator Bernie Sanders who is in Canada today traveling with a group of diabetes patients in search of cheaper insulin. CNN National Correspondent, Ryan Nobles is there for us. So, help us understand the strategy and the message. RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it's no doubt Bernie Sanders attempts to try and lay the ground work for this debate coming up this week. He wants health care to be a focus and the cost of prescription drugs is a big thing that Bernie Sanders talks a lot about on the campaign trail.
That's why he came to this pharmacy in Windsor, Ontario, which is just across the river from Detroit where the debate will take place with a group of patients who are suffering from diabetes and who have to, in many cases, pay 10 times as much for the insulin that they need to stay alive in the United States versus what they would pay in this pharmacy behind me.
And according to Sanders after he left this pharmacy with those patients who got that drug for a much cheaper price, this is a big problem in this country that he aims to fix. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: At the end of the day it is an embarrassment for those of us who are Americans. We love our Canadian neighbors and we thank them so much, but we should not have to come to Canada to get the medicine we need for our kids to stay alive. We can do that in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: If Sanders believes his Medicare for all plan would be at least be the start of reining in drug prices. But he has a number of other concepts that he is proposing including breaking up some of these big pharmaceutical companies.
[15:10:00] Fred, I know that his campaign is hoping that healthcare is a big topic in this debate and he is part of that first round of debate participants on Tuesday night. Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much, and Athena Jones, appreciate it.
All right, for more on this week's debates let's bring in Democratic Strategist, Hilary Rosen and Alexandra Rojas, the Executive Director of the Justice Democrats. Good to see both of you.
HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Hi, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, so Hilary, you first, you know, side by side there in Detroit. You know, for a lot of these candidates, you know, this will be the last chance, you know, to make their case for why they should stay in the race and move on, you know, to the third debate, the CNN debate come September. So, in your view, you know, Hilary, do you believe they will try to stand out by policy or stand out by trying to, you know, attack somebody else that they may be sharing the stage with?
ROSEN: Well, and it's going to be hard to get attention tonight -- I mean on Tuesday night because you'll have the big dynamo match up with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. And so then, you know, those third and fourth tier candidates are going to have to figure out how to get into that debate when you know Sanders and Warren are going to want to try to distinguish themselves from each other.
So I do think that there is going to be a focus. You can't out left flank Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday night. But what you can do is challenge them about what they can do to actually execute on the plans that they have.
I think the American people are kind of -- particularly Democrats, we want to win so badly that we want someone on that stage to tell us how they're going to be successful, not just how they're going to turn the country upside down.
WHITFIELD: Right. Well, Alexandra, you know, perhaps while there have been some candidates who have sign posted that, you know, they're going after the, you know, the one out in front, you know, the one who was leading according to polls, Joe Biden, you know, Senator Cory Booker, you know, signaling that he might be doing that.
Then you have other candidates who have said, "I'm going to release more ahead of the debate, more on my health care plan, you know, or you know, my economic plan or, you know, such as Tim Ryan and even Kamala Harris.
What do you believe will be the focus of any number of these candidates? Will they refrain from trying to, you know, go after each other in trying to propel their plans or is there a way in which she can determine that?
ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Well, these debates I think are public moments of accountability. And it's an opportunity as we saw with last today to really contrast candidates amongst other candidates. And I think largely what's going to at least be on the first night is you have Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren making the case of a progressive vision. And I would argue that the rest of the candidates on stage a more centrist vision.
And I think, you know, a lot of the framing of the conversation around debate strategy has been, you know, the sort of centrist wing of the Democratic Party is so focused on winning and the sort of progressive flank is, you know, all about purity testing, flipping the country on, you know, upside down.
I think the reality is that the more centrist wing is arguing that they want to maintain the status quo and not really change very much in what the progressives are talking about as transforming this country fundamentally.
When you have 60 percent of Americans that can't afford an $800 emergency bill or one in five Americans that, you know, can't -- still don't have access to health care, presenting solutions that aren't fundamentally addressing, transforming the lives of working people in this country is disingenuous I think to the voters that we are trying to go after.
And the Democratic base right now is largely young people, people of color, union households and a lot of those folks stayed home in 2016. So, I think the candidate that is authentic, that is clear in their values, that remembers who their base are, is the one that's going to win in 2020.
ROSEN: You know, I'll just say I think that's silly. I think that not a single Democrat on the stage, either night, actually is advocating for the status quo. If everybody wants something different, everybody wants a country away from Donald Trump's policies, so how they get there is going to be the key.
And I think you've got -- you're going to get some interesting moments. For instance, the governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, hasn't been on the stage before. There are a lot of people who think is he potentially the sleeper centrist who maybe challenges Joe Biden?
Then we have other moments where Kamala Harris attacking Joe Biden actually worked last time. So are we going to see other candidates get a little personal than Democrats have historically been willing to get to? So there's a lot of energy on this stage that's both policy and theater.
WHITFIELD: And at the same time, you know, a lot of Americans are hoping and counting on clarity. You know we know the economy and health care have always been constant pillars in any presidential race and Americans are, you know, going to be at the edge of their seats wanting to see if there's going to be something understandable for them to try and digest and then pick their candidate if they are choosing a candidate that's a Democrat.
Hillary Rosen and Alexandra Rojas, thanks to both of you, appreciate it.
[15:15:03] All right. Just two days until this CNN Democratic presidential debate, two big nights, 10 candidates each night the first on Tuesday July 30th with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Central. And then Wednesday July 31st see the rematch potentially between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The Democratic presidential candidates live from Detroit only on CNN.
All right. Still ahead, the White House doubles down. Some officials even say the President's tweets attacking Congressman Elijah Cummings were not racially offensive, but there are many others who see it very differently.
Plus, the father whose twin babies died in a hot car has his first appearance in court, the latest on that coming up.
WHITFIELD: Backlash is erupting right now as President Donald Trump doubles down on his attacks against Congressman Elijah Cummings and his Maryland seventh district which includes Baltimore. On the heels of the President's extensive rant on the city and the Democratic lawmaker yesterday, he has back at the president, he is back at it today tweeting just moments ago saying this, "There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district and of Baltimore itself. Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win the facts, shame."
[15:20:00] That coming from the President.
And Baltimore's paper, The Baltimore Sun, fighting back in an op-ed this morning calling the President after this headline, better to have a few rats than to be one. "The mocker" -- I'm now quoting from the paper, "The mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, and the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin."
All right, the ongoing slew of insults also has a growing number lawmakers across the country defending Congressman Cummings and touting his 23 years of service in Congress that includes presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Congressman Jerry Nadler. They both addressed the -- this trend from Trump today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Our job is to bring people together to improve life for all people not to be a -- have a racist president who attacks people because they are African Americans. That is a disgrace, and that is why we're going to defeat this president.
REP. JERRY NADLER, (D) NEW YORK: The President is as he usually is or often is disgusting and racist. He makes these charges with no base at all. And they are designed to distract attention from the very serious allegations about his conduct that came from the Mueller -- from the committee hearings this week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And as the condemnation continues to pour in, the President spending the day at his Virginia golf course.
I want to bring in host of "THE VAN JONES SHOW" and CNN Political Commentator, Van Jones. Van, good to see you.
So your reaction to, you know, the President's methods. I mean he has nothing else better to do?
VAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: No, I mean the president of the United States is failing kindergarten right now. Literally a kindergartner would be booted out, parents would be called if you had a student even at six years old talking about people this way, talking to people this way.
You know, this is complex because there are real pain points in Baltimore. I spent a lot of my time in Baltimore, you know, after the disturbances there. Prince went there, did a concert, I help with that.
The reality is though, when you have pain points, you elect a president not to make fun but to make change, to make a difference. And I think that's the terrible part here, is that where there are people who are suffering in Baltimore they need a champion and not a jester when it comes to dealing with these very serious issues of poverty and deprivation. So, without --
WHITFIELD: Right. But is that really the issue? Is that really -- are those the issues the president is trying to get at, or is he using that --
WHITFIELD: -- as a means in which to target Congressman Elijah Cummings who, you know, has made it very clear in his job in Oversight that he is looking for and, you know, or helping to promote an investigation of the president's financial dealings, so the -- really the issue is the president doesn't like that?
JONES: Yes, you know, you're making exactly my point, exactly what I'm trying to say which is that if you were serious about caring about people in Baltimore, this is exactly 180 degrees the wrong way to go about it. So this has nothing to do with the people in Baltimore, it's nothing to do with trying to make anything any better. It has to do with insulting people and throwing out these allegations. And there is a racial charge.
I know a lot of people get tired of hearing these words, you know, racism gets thrown around, socialism gets thrown around. But this is as clear a statement of racial animus you can find. He didn't just say, well, Elijah Cummings, cleanup your act. He said no human being --
WHITFIELD: Human being.
JONES: -- would want to live -- yes, I mean, hey, listen, once you say that all these people living in Baltimore, no human being, what you saying, are you saying that these are subhuman people? You're beginning to challenge the humanity of people, it's just wrong. Like I said you can't do that in grade school.
WHITFIELD: So, the President says these things via tweet, you know, two weeks after, you know, he singled out four women of color, all sworn in members of Congress, you know, going back to their country, et cetera. And, you know, this is how Republican Congressman Will Hurd assessed the president's tweets encompassing Cummings and what he has said of the congresswomen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): These tweets are different from the ones a few days ago or a few weeks ago. I forget how long ago it was now. When he tell someone to go back to Africa or whatever country, that's in essence telling someone because you don't look like them, that you are not American and that you do not have self-worth.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST, THIS WEEK: But to be clear, you're drawing a line here. You condemn the go back tweets, but you do not condemn these tweets by the president?
HURD: I wouldn't be doing those. I wouldn't be tweeting this way. But I think they are different. (END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:25:03] WHITFIELD: Is it different?
JONES: Listen, I mean you can try to figure out some way to thread that needle if you want to. Here's how you know that these are racially targeted tweets. Can you imagine Donald Trump saying this about a community in Appalachia? Can you imagine Donald Trump or any American politician saying about, you know, people who live in Appalachia, who live in rural poverty, that they are infested, that, you know, a no human being would want to live there, no human being would want be caught dead there?
Can you imagine him saying that? You can't imagine him saying that because Donald Trump would never say that about a community of poor white people. And so that's how you know. That's the give, that's the tell.
If you were consistently going around insulting poor communities, you were consistently going around, you know, spewing bile about poor communities because he's just a guy that doesn't like poor people. No, no, this is somebody who win a Congress person as African-American or Muslim, or Latina, he has a particular kind of bile it seems. And when a community is struggling is of color or a nation is of color, it's as whole nations. It's, you know, a crime infested, rat infested, it's go back where you're from. So this is the pattern people are concerned about.
The sad part about it is, you know, President Trump actually has positive things he could be saying about these communities. He's done this with his own initiative, he's done a criminal justice, there's unemployment record he can point to. He could be making a positive case for his presidency and contending, but instead he's insulting and condemning people, and it just doesn't make any sense.
WHITFIELD: Is guess what, Van? There's a piling on because the President just tweeted again just moments ago saying this. "If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district and Baltimore itself perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership. His radial Oversight," his, you know, in the Oversight Committee, he's "Oversight is a joke." So, there in lies perhaps the motivation.
JONES: Yes, I think so. Here's the deal, I think the worst part about all this is that Donald Trump is a president of the United States, the entire United States, including Maryland, including Baltimore, including every neighborhood and precinct and household in Baltimore.
And so if there's something wrong happening in Baltimore, he has a lot more power as president of the United States to do something about it than any single Congress person or city council person or dogcatcher. And yet we haven't seen him leaning in to be as helpful as he might be, and yet he is somehow using this as a way to beat up on Elijah Cummings. Listen, I think the political class is in danger now of just collapsing into this you're a racist, you're a socialist, you're a bigot, you're a socialist, you know, a stutter back and forth while real problems just don't get addressed.
Hey, listen, I will say this to you and I'll say it to anybody else, I care about poor people, I care about poor people in the barrio, in the hood, in Appalachia, at the border, anybody, Republican or Democrat who wants to work on that issue in good faith, I will work with you in good faith, but this is not a good faith commentary about what's happening in Baltimore anyplace else, and it's not a dog whistle. It's a megaphone blast in terms of the difference between the way that this president chooses to talk when he's mad about poor black communities versus poor white communities and that's got to stop.
WHITFIELD: Is Van Jones, thank you so much from Detroit, appreciate it.
We'll be right back.
[15:32:22] WHITFIELD: All right. Back to the Breaking News, we're following director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is expected to step down in the coming days. Texas Republican John Ratcliffe who aggressively questioned former Special Counsel Robert Mueller last week has been mentioned as a potential replacement.
I'm joined now by Shawn Turner. He is the former Director of Communications for the US national intelligence and a CNN National Security Analyst joining me right now. So, Shawn, what do you make of Dan Coats possibly stepping down?
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST (via phone): Well, thanks for having me, Fred. First of all, I think it's simpler to play out that Dan Coats has been a benefit not just as a job as director of National Intelligence. You know, he came in with lots of concerns around the community as to whether or not he would keep the intelligence community out of the political fray and work to speak truth to power and that's exactly what he's done.
So, I think that this is an unfortunate development for the Intelligence Community because there's been a shield there between the IC and the political world. And I think that, you know, it's going to be very important for the President to pick someone who helps to maintain that. But based on some of the names that have been mentioned, I fear that that might not be the case.
WHITFIELD: And talk to me about the importance of Dan Coats and his defense of the intelligence community, especially as it pertained to Russia's interference and -- with the US elections.
TURNER: Yes, and I think that's really important. You know, one of the things that we talk about in the intelligence community is maintaining a willingness and desire to speak truth to power. So when it comes to issues like Russia's interference in the US election, even when the President and the administration were saying that we're casting doubt on whether or not it actually happened and then suggesting that it may not have been Russia that was responsible. It was Dan Coats who leaned on the intelligence and those people in the intelligence community who were able to collect and analyze the data.
It was Dan Coats who stood up and said, "Yes, this happened. We were attacked." And it wasn't just with Russia. When it was inconvenient to -- for the intelligence community to say that Iran was complying with the Iran nuclear deal or to say that North Korea was continuing to pursue nuclear capabilities even while the President was talking with them, it was Dan Coats who stood up and said those thing so the President, who was going to spoke to the power, who was honest about those things.
And I think that right from the start that made him -- that put him that odd with the President and put a real chill on this relationship. But it was the right thing to do for the intelligence community. And so we really need someone in that position who's going to continue to do that.
[15:35:03] WHITFIELD: And it can't go unnoticed that this would be days after former special counsel, you know, Bob Mueller testified on the Hill and said that Russian interference is happening as we speak. And I think we have the sound bite pulled.
It was Dan Coats, you know, as director of National Intelligence who was at the Aspen Security Forum and someone asked him, you know, to comment on the President's invitation of Vladimir Putin at the White House and Dan Coats, you know, said say that again and then he said, well, that would be special. We have that sound bite. Recall this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: The White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall.
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Say that again.
MITCHELL: You -- Vladimir Putin coming to the --
COATS: Did I hear it? Did I hear it?
MITCHELL: Yes, yes.
COAST: That's going to be special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Yes, it was a very awkward moment, Shawn, because, you know, you would think the director of National Intelligence would know that first-hand. It was Andrea Mitchell asking that question. And while it was a bit of a laughable moment, it ended up being a very embarrassing moment for the President of the United States. Was that kind of the window into what friction would come or a window into the relationship or respect that the President might have of Dan Coats?
TURNER: That exchange, Fredricka, was very telling with regard to the relationship that the President had at the time with Dan Coats and the relationships with that has developed over time.
Look, I talked to a former colleague after that happened and the director of National Intelligence was genuinely caught off-guard by that. And, you know, we all talk about the fact that that is the kind of thing that should never happen.
And unfortunately that was kind of on the front end of what has been a deteriorating relationship over time and certainly not on the part of Director Coats who has done absolutely everything to give the President decision advantage by being candid with them, being honest with them about what the Intelligence Community sees.
But unfortunately, it's been the case oftentimes when Director Coats or his staff shows up with information that it is not consistent with the world view that the President would like to espouse or would like to have. It puts the chill on the relationship.
And so, I think that this has been coming for quite sometime and I think that it's unfortunate that the men and women of the Intelligence Community who really had had an advocate and -- for our partners and allies would have an (inaudible) Dan Coats, I think it's unfortunate that they're going to lose that.
WHITFIELD: Shawn Turner, thank you so much. Again, CNN confirming National Intelligence Chief Dan Coats to resign. We'll have much more after this.
[15:41:42] WHITFIELD: President Trump likes to brag about a roaring stock market and record low unemployment as evidence of a booming economy. But now, 2020 Democrats are punching back saying middle class Americans aren't really benefiting from the economy's success. CNN Chief Business Correspondent, Christine Romans reports.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, the President of the United States calls this the best economy in history, but the Democrats running to take his job, they'll have to try to prove otherwise.
ROMANS (voice-over): It's the economy, stupid. A strong economy is a gift for any sitting president going into an election year.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the hottest economy anywhere on earth. We have the number one economy in the world.
We're now the economic envy of the entire world.
ROMANS: It's an advantage for President Trump, the lowest jobless rate in half a century, nearly 3 percent economic growth last year, the stock market near record highs. But the Democratic candidates for president are asking just who is the Trump economy working for.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has done nothing to help working families in America.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Communities where as if this recovery never even happened.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ask these people who are working in this restaurant how that economy came up for.
ROMANS: The key for Democrats in 2020 frame the Trump economy as great for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
HARRIS: I will repeal that tax bill that benefits the top 1 percent.
BIDEN: Eliminating Donald Trump's tax cuts for the wealthy.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is Wall Street's turn to help rebuild the American middle class.
ROMANS: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want more taxes on the ultra-rich.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: An ultra- millionaire's tax, its 2 cents on every dollar of the great fortunes above $50 million.
ROMANS: Crack down on Wall Street.
SANDERS: We are going to break those huge banks up.
ROMANS: And rein in big tech.
WARREN: It is time to break up America's tech giants.
ROMANS: Most of the Democratic candidates want to raise corporate taxes, tax investment profit, some even favor putting a fee on every Wall Street trade.
HARRIS: Frankly, this economy is not working for working people.
ROMANS: Democrats message that in the Trump economy, income inequality is worsening. Today, the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. Democrats propose raising the minimum wage, strengthening workers rights and implementing fairer housing policies.
Senator Cory Booker wants to give newborns a bond to close a racial wealth gap. The median white family in America has nearly 10 times the wealth of the medium black family.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's about time we target the creation of wealth equally for all children in America.
ROMANS: Senator Kamala Harris wants to bring transparency to the gender pay gap.
HARRIS: Paying people for equal work equally.
ROMANS: While Biden, Warren and Sanders have plans to revitalize rural America.
BIDEN: Rural economies which are integral to the nation's success.
ROMANS: And then there's free college first popularized by Bernie Sanders in 2016, critical many Americans go into debt to earn a degree.
SANDERS: Frankly, that is crazy. We want you to get the best education you can without having to pay off outrageous levels of debt.
[15:45:01] ROMANS: This time around, all the candidates have some policy for affordable college. Most want free community college, though free college for all and canceling all debt, that's a far left position not matched by everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not for free college for all.
BUTTIGIEG: I just don't believe it makes sense to ask working class families to subsidize even the children of billionaires.
ROMANS: Warren has proposed wiping out student loan debt up to $50,000 for some 42 million student debtors.
WARREN: Anyone in this country should be able to get an education without getting crushed by student loan debt.
ROMANS: Bottom line, the Democrats say Trump's economy isn't helping all Americans. The question is, can they convince voters the same?
ROMANS: The other big question, Fredricka, is how long will the good times last? Already this economic expansion is the longest in history, 10 years old, Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Christine. Don't miss the CNN Democratic Debates Tuesday and Wednesday nights starting at 8:00 Eastern only on CNN.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The father of twin one-year-old babies who died after being in a hot car for eight hours has been charged with manslaughter, negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child. Police -- New York Police, rather, say the twins were left in their car while 39-year-old Juan Rodriguez was at work at a nearby VA hospital. CNN's Dianne Gallagher is here with me. So, Diane, we are now hearing from the father, in what manner?
[15:50:01] DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not so much in words, but he made that first court appearance and, Fred, in his demeanor, in his presence there, you kind of get an idea of what it is like to go through something like this.
Now, we've seen the criminal complaint. And right afterward Juan Rodriguez told police that he thought he had taken his twins to day care and that when he parked the car, didn't notice anything, and when he came back out, eight hours later, that's when he saw the children motionless, lifeless, still strapped into the back seat of that car.
His attorney, Joey Jackson, who is a legal analyst here with CNN, spoke in court about what this has been like for the Rodriguez family.
JOEY JACKSON, LAWYER FOR DAD ACCUSED IN HOT CAR DEATHS: Everyone is still coming -- trying to come to grips, judge, with the horrific nature of this circumstance. Certainly his wife and his lovely family support him, as does so many friends and members of the community. And I raise those issues, judge, just because they relate to his state of mind. There's nothing here at all that's intentional.
And my client, if he could bring back time, certainly would do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Now, Juan Rodriguez's family was in court there with him and his wife issued a statement afterward talking about how devastated the family is. I want to read a little bit of what Marissa Rodriguez said.
She said, "Everything I do reminds me of my sweet, intelligent, beautiful babies and I am still in disbelief. Though I am hurting more than I ever imagine possible, I still love my husband. He is a good person and a great father and I know that he would've never done anything to hurt our children unintentionally. I will never get this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake."
Jackson in court, Fred, spoke about Rodriguez's past. He was in the military. He's in the National Guard. He works as a social worker. He works at the VA, but he also works with NYPD dealing with any sort of issues that come about that people who may have emotional or mental disturbances.
And so they are talking about just him going forward and how difficult this is for that family right now. He is out on bond.
WHITFIELD: This is so terribly sad, all right. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much. Appreciate that. We'll be right back.
[15:55:13] WHITFIELD: All right, checking our top stories. One person is dead and nearly a dozen others are recovering from injuries today after a shooting at a park in Brooklyn, New York. It happened last night after a festival. Police say a 38-year-old man was killed. The other victims range in age from 21 to 55. At least one is in critical condition, and police say they are looking for at least two suspects.
The search continues for two teenagers suspected of killing three people in Canada. Police are going door to door in rural Northern Manitoba where the boys were last seen. The boys were initially thought to be missing when their car was found burning on the side of the highway. But investigators say they are now prime suspects in the deaths of an American couple and a Vancouver University professor.
A professional surfer is recovering after being bitten by a shark in Florida. Frank O'Rourke was surfing near the Jacksonville Beach Pier Saturday when a friend says a shark knocked him off his board and bit him. O'Rourke and his friend paddled to shore, and according to his friend, went to a bar instead of the hospital.
All right, and back to Breaking News. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expected to step down in the coming days, the significance of his departure and the potential frontrunners to replace him, next.