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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
President Trump Publicly Supports Increased Gun Control; Democrats Publicly Label Trump White Supremacist; Vladimir Putin Marks 20 Years in Power; How Other Countries Have Reacted To Gun Tragedies; Democrats Descend On Iowa, Sharpen Attacks On Trump; Two U.S. State Dept. Officials Resign Over Differences. India Relaxes Lockdown In Kashmir For Friday Prayers; The Fight For America's Future. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 9, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:13] BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: It's been a week in the U.S. that started with the sound of gunfire, and is ending with the
cries of children without their parents. Hello, and welcome to the show. I'm Bianca Nobilo, in for Hala Gorani.
Tonight, we're examining the fight for America's future. It's been six days since a shooter apparently targeted Latinos and killed 22 people in El
Paso, Texas. Just hours later, a gunman killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio.
And in the wake of those tragedies, politicians are working to stay in office, trying to figure out just the right amount of gun control to please
the highest number of voters. And immigration enforcement officers are doing their jobs, detaining and deporting people despite the awful optics
of these raids that have left children crying for their parents.
A very tough week indeed for America. But also, now, perhaps a glimmer of hope. We're hearing some encouraging words from President Donald Trump on
the possibility of political compromise on gun control. But right now, they're just that, words, until they're followed through with action.
Mr. Trump told reporters that he supports background checks for gun-buyers. And crucially, he says he believes Republicans in Congress do as well,
including the top senator who's been blocking a vote on the legislation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, we need intelligent background checks, OK? This isn't a question of NRA, Republican or
Democrat. I will tell you, I spoke to Mitch McConnell yesterday. He's totally on board. He said, "I've been waiting for your call." He is
totally on board.
I spoke to senators that, in some cases, people -- friends of mine, but pretty hardline senators, hardline. And when I say that, I say that in a
positive way. Hardline on the Second Amendment. And they understand. We don't want insane people, mentally ill people, bad people, dangerous
people, we don't want guns in the hands of the wrong people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: The question is, when might something actually happen on this? Mr. Trump is about to go on a 10-day holiday, one of his golf resorts, and
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't appear willing to call lawmakers back from their monthlong summer recess. Let's bring in White
House reporter Jeremy Diamond now.
Jeremy, what do you think the timeline for this looks like if, in fact, you think something will materially happen to try and bring about some kind of
legislation on gun laws?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, we're going to have to wait at least several weeks before we see any kind of potential legislation
make its way to the floor of the U.S. Congress.
I asked the president this morning, whether he would urge Congress to come back, to end its August recess and to return to focus on this legislation.
And he said that, frankly, he doesn't see a need for that necessarily, but it is clearly something that he's already working on and has his mind very
much focused on. He said that he's been speaking with Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and in the Senate, to talk about the
possibility of doing some kind of legislation on background checks.
But as you mentioned, Bianca, the question really is, what exactly would that legislation entail? And the president was fairly vague, even though
he was quite forceful and talked about this more extensively than he has since these shootings took place, he was quite vague as far as what that
legislation would entail.
He talked about "intelligent" background checks, "common sense," "sensible," you know, using all of these buzzwords. But it's not clear,
exactly what that would mean. Because we know that this is a president who has already previously threatened to veto legislation that would make
background checks universal, that House Democrats passed. So what exactly is the president looking to do here? We're going to have to wait and see
for more details from this White House.
NOBILO: Jeremy Diamond in Washington, thank you.
Many people in America's Latino community are living in fear right now. A day after the government rounded up hundreds of undocumented immigrants in
raids in Mississippi, more than a quarter of the area's Hispanic students stayed home from school. Nick Valencia reports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, can I just see my mother? Please.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An emotional plea from one of the many children left behind after a massive ICE raid on undocumented
workers on the outskirts of Jackson, Mississippi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Government, please put (ph) your heart, let my parent be free. With (ph) everybody else, please don't leave the childs with
crisis (ph) and everything.
VALENCIA (voice-over): This 11-year-old, like so many others, doesn't understand why her parents were taken away from her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Desiree Hughs works at one of the seven plants across the six Mississippi cities targeted by ICE.
[14:05:03] DESIREE HUGHES, EMPLOYEE, MORTON PLANT: Very hard, seeing many kids cry, scream for their loved ones because they're gone, they don't know
when they'll see them again.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Kids who would have had to fend for themselves, if not for the compassion of locals like Jordan Barnes.
JORDAN BARNES, OWNER, CLEAR CREEK BOOT CAMP: We're going to have bedding available for them and we're going to get food for them, just to get them
through the night. And if they need transport to school in the morning, we can arrange that as well.
VALENCIA (voice-over): The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi called the raids "the largest single state immigration
enforcement operation in American history." More than 600 ICE agents were involved.
MIKE HURST, U.S. ATTORNEY: Now, while we are a nation of immigrants, more than that, we are first and foremost a nation of laws.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Responding to criticism that the arrests of hundreds of undocumented immigrants fell on the first day of school, as
well as just after a deadly mass shooting that targeted Latinos, an ICE official with direct knowledge of the raids defended the timing as
coincidental, but said they understood the poor optics. The official, who was on-site for the raids, telling CNN, "The emotion is a horrible thing.
I saw kids coming up, crying at the gates."
Some detainees have been released with ankle monitors to reunite with their families. Still, local activists, Thursday, expressing outrage about the
massive operation in their community, a community, they say, is only here to contribute.
NSOMBI LAMBRIGHT, NAACP MISSISSIPPI: We are ashamed about what our state is doing. But we're here to let everyone know, around the world, that
we're going to fight back and we're going to make sure that these families are supported.
NOBILO: We're going live to Nick in Mississippi in just a moment. But first, some of the Democratic presidential hopefuls are speaking out
against the raids. Listen to Senator Kamala Harris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After what just happened in El Paso, when it was motivated by hate against immigrants and
Latino immigrants, you'd think that -- that a responsible leader would have said, "Don't do those raids." It's just -- it shows a level of
insensitivity and callousness, that should not be traits of the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Nick Valencia joins us now, live from Jackson, Mississippi.
Nick, you've been spending a good amount of time with the community there. What is the mood in response to these raids?
VALENCIA: Well, right now, we're in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. These raids took place about 45 minutes outside of Jackson, the outskirts. And
what's happening there, Bianca, is what happens typically in a lot of these communities that see these types of raids. You know, they turn into ghost
We're told that Hispanic-owned businesses closed early last night, on a typical weekday. You know, this is the first week of school, Bianca. And
on a typical weekday, you could hear the sound of children playing outside, music blaring from porches. None of that happened yesterday.
There are even residents that were telling me they were considering leaving because of the fears. And those Latinos that were not caught in these
raids are afraid to come outside.
I did, a short time ago, speak to an ICE official, who told me that the raids on Wednesday were part of a broader federal criminal investigation.
And it was just a short time ago that -- we're outside now, in front of the U.S. Attorney's Office here in the Southern District of Mississippi.
We got our hands on these affidavits, which show that ICE agents were looking for things like visa fraud, were looking to see if these employers,
which are predominantly white American employers, if they followed proper protocol to ensure that the immigrants that they were employing were not
There is a lot of questions about the timing as well. It is the worst-kept secret in these communities, that those plants that were raided, employ
undocumented labor. So it begs the question, why now? Why did these raids get conducted now?
You heard in that piece there, and ICE officials say that the timing was purely coincidental. But many here are questioning the optics, especially
after what happened on -- you know, last weekend in El Paso, that racist attack on Latinos and the heightened anxiety and fears across the United
States -- Bianca.
NOBILO: Nick Valencia for us in Jackson, Mississippi. Appreciate it.
The suspected shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto that some say was taken from a President Trump rally. The Trump administration allowed ICE raids
the same week Latinos were apparently targeted.
The fallout from all this has led some to accuse President Trump of being a white supremacist, and some of those doing that are Democrats running for
Elizabeth Warren tweeted this. "Today, I was asked whether the president is a white supremacist. I said yes." Washington Governor Jay Inslee says
that -- says as much during the Democratic debates on CNN. Here's what some others had to say as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you call him a white supremacist, since all the candidates seem to be getting asked that now?
ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, again, if someone acts and speaks in a certain way, then you have no choice but to say that's what
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: During one of the debates, your 2020 opponent, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, said that President
Trump is a, quote, "white nationalist." That was a fairly stark accusation. Do you agree with that? Do you think President Trump is a
[14:10:05] BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I do. And, again, from some of the record that I just recited to you, the things that
he has said, both as a candidate and then as the president of the United States, this cannot be open for -- for debate.
TAPPER: One of your 2020 rivals, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, told me this morning that he believes President Trump is a white supremacist, or a white
nationalist. Do you agree?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do. Look, and it gives me no pleasure to say this. But I think all of the evidence out
there suggests that we have a president who is a racist, who is a xenophobe, who appeals -- and is trying to appeal -- to white nationalism.
And, you know, it breaks my heart to have to say that this is the person we have who is president of the United States.
NOBILO: Now, it's important to mention that not everybody is using those words. Frontrunner Joe Biden has been fiercely critical of Trump, but has
stopped short of calling him a white supremacist.
So after a week that shocked, numbed and appalled, will this be a critical moment that changes anything in America? To discuss this, I'm joined by
Jake Tapper, CNN's chief Washington correspondent and anchor of "THE LEAD" on CNN.
Jake, it's great to have you on the program. Thanks for being with us.
TAPPER: Hi, Bianca. Good to see you.
NOBILO: What do you make of the mood in America at the end of this week? Do you sense that something has changed? Internationally, as we look on,
primarily because it's become an election issue in America, there is some sense that this could be a historical moment for change in gun legislation.
Is that just wishful thinking?
TAPPER: It's hard to know right now because the United States has been through this any number of times. As you know, we have mass shootings not
And so, having been a journalist now for a few decades, I can say that, you know, whether it's the Columbine shootings in 1999, or the Sandy Hook
shootings, in which 20 first and second-graders were killed in 2012, or the shooting a year ago, February 2018, at Parkland High School in Florida,
there has been a moment where there is a call for tighter restrictions on who can get their hands on a gun.
So that it's not as easy for people who either have criminal records or records of violence or maybe a history of mental or emotional problems that
would restrict them from having a firearm. Where there seems to be some momentum for that, it's -- universal background checks enjoy widespread
support among the American public, according to polls.
And then, ultimately, it's not passed in the House and the Senate. We've seen that any number of times. It is possible that this time is different.
But I recall President Trump, in February 2018, after the shootings at Parkland, saying that there would be background checks, he supported
background checks. And then ultimately, nothing happened.
And so it's -- you know, the good money is always on skepticism and betting on inertia and cowardice. So I don't know what to tell you, other than
even a small and fairly modest measure like universal background checks, I don't know if it can get through the Senate, which requires 60 votes.
And then ultimately if President Trump, who enjoys tremendously strong support from the leading industry, gun industry group, the NRA, the
National Rifle Association, I don't know if he'll ultimately sign it. We'll have to see.
NOBILO: We will. And, Jake, some of the 2020 presidential candidates have been accusing President Trump himself of white supremacy --
NOBILO: -- partly because the El Paso shooter's manifesto echoed some of that language that the Trump campaign refuses to stop using.
Now, obviously, supporters of President Trump would say that you can't stop evil people with nefarious designs, co-opting language of politicians. But
then others would argue that the tone is obviously set from the top. Words clearly matter to you and I, Jake, to the media and to most people. What
role do you think rhetoric has to play here, in politics in the United States?
TAPPER: It's -- you know, this is a discussion that happens every now and then around the world, about what kind of responsibility leaders have for
their rhetoric, and whether or not they can be accused credibly of inciting violence, making it acceptable.
There's a term among those who study terrorism, "stochastic terrorism," which is the idea of leaders demonizing a group to the extent -- whether
the group is Jews or Muslims or LGBT, whoever. Immigrants, in this case -- whether a leader demonizing a group to the point that violence against that
group becomes predictable.
[14:15:23] Not the individual incidents, those are random and hard to predict. But the idea that violence will occur becomes predictable, that's
a term in terrorism and it's something that people are discussing, here in the United States.
Given that, as you noted, the racist white terrorist, the white supremacist terrorist in El Paso, Texas used some of President Trump's own language,
talking about "the invasion" of migrants and asylum-seekers from Mexico and Latin America.
And as you know, an invasion, if you look it up I the dictionary, whether it's the Oxford or Merriam-Webster, here in the United States, an invasion
suggests enemies coming into a country. Not people, enemies. And obviously, that's not what's happening at the southern border.
So does that language create an environment where people feel free to further demonize or commit acts of violence against these vulnerable
You know, it's tough to say that we in the United States think that other countries' leaders are capable of inciting violence, but that never happens
in the United States. I mean, either language matters or it doesn't as you noted. And as a journalist, I am one who believes that language matters.
NOBILO: And speaking of language, Jake, just then, you were saying that the smart money is often on skepticism and cowardice and inertia. Do you
think there are some green shoots (ph), are there reasons to hope for a more positive future on this?
TAPPER: Well, I mean, we do see -- I mean, if you're suggesting greater efforts to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of people who should not
have them, however that is done, you do see people talking about those efforts, whether they're conservative Republicans or liberal Democrats.
I don't know what the potential is for there to be any sort of compromise. Some conservatives are talking about so-called red flag laws, which would
allow an individual's family or law enforcement, potentially, to petition a judge if they think somebody is a danger to himself or herself or others.
The National Rifle Association has already said that they are against those kinds of laws because that would take away constitutional protections
unless there is a due process, an adjudication of those individuals.
In the Democratic Party, we see much more willingness now than even Obama's Democratic Party when he ran in 2008 and 2012 for president, to talk about
greater restrictions on gun ownership. Not just restrictions on individuals who shouldn't have guns, but restrictions, period, in terms of
ammunition, in terms of semiautomatic weapons, et cetera.
I don't know what will happen. I mean, I can't say I'm just -- I've just been covering this too long. I mean, I -- you know, I remember going to
Denver after Columbine. I remember talking with then-Senator John McCain - - may he rest in peace -- about closing the gun show loophole, which is that if you go to a gun store, a firearm dealer, they do a background
But if you go to a gun show, you know, there isn't necessarily a background check. So somebody can just walk I, give them money and walk out with --
you know, with a semiautomatic weapon.
I don't know if this Congress, this political environment, I don't know what anybody's capable of right now. So I mean, our job is not to be
optimists, necessarily, in our reporting. Right, Bianca?
NOBILO: That is right. Well, thank you, Jake, for your reporting.
TAPPER: Good to see you.
NOBILO: As a reminder, you can catch "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper in just under two hours from right now -- that's at 9:00 p.m. here in London -- and
see him again, here this weekend, on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper.
[14:19:08] Stay with us on CNN. We'll have much more for you on this theme, including a close look at how people abroad are viewing the U.S. gun
debate. But first, Russian President Vladimir Putin marks 20 years in power. We take a look back at his rise to the top.
NOBILO: There's an entire generation of people in Russia who have grown up, largely knowing only one man firmly in control, President Vladimir
Putin. Twenty years ago to the day, he was elevated from a little-known ex-KGB spy, to the country's prime minister. Our Fred Pleitgen has more.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A final goodbye from the embattled and fatigued Boris Yeltsin. His
successor, Vladimir Putin, designated by Yeltsin on August 9th, 1999, immediately laid out his ambitious plans.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): I've always said -- and will continue to say -- that the Russian state must
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But Putin's presidency got off to a rocky start. He was heavily criticized for his handling of the sinking of the Kursk
nuclear submarine in 2000, which killed all those on board.
Putin didn't immediately return from his holiday to manage the crisis. He escalated the brutal war in Chechnya, eventually crushing the breakaway
republic's rebellion at an immense human and material cost. And Putin cracked down on terrorism.
PUTIN (through translator): We'll whack them in the outhouse.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): More than 330 hostages were killed when Moscow's special forces raided a school taken hostage by extremists in Beslan,
southern Russia in 2004.
Meanwhile, Russia's economy and overall stability started improving, thanks in part to high international oil prices, boosting the president's
After finishing two terms, Putin had reached the limit under Russia's constitution. His solution? He swapped jobs with his prime minister,
Dmitry Medvedev, for four years. Medvedev then changed the constitution, extending the terms from four years to six before Putin's return to the
Vladimir Putin was re-elected to his third term as president in 2012. But not all Russians were happy. Massive protests engulfed the streets of
Moscow, Russian authorities crushing the opposition movement despite international condemnation.
Vladimir Putin's second stint as president has been defined by confrontation with the West. In 2014, after an uprising unseated the pro-
Russia leader of Ukraine, the Kremlin invaded Crimea, later annexing the peninsula. Russia is also accused of fueling and aiding the uprising in
eastern Ukraine, which has led to thousands of deaths.
And the downing of a commercial airliner, killing everyone on board. International investigators blame a missile fired from Russian military
equipment for the tragedy. The Kremlin has remained defiant.
PUTIN (through translator): We think there is no proof. Everything that was presented shows nothing. We have our own version. But unfortunately,
nobody wants to listen to us.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Russian forces are supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad against a rebellion in the Middle Eastern nation.
Western countries saying Russia's heavy bombardment and frequent targeting of civilian areas amount to war crimes. And Putin's Russia is accused of
directly meddling in Western nations' affairs, including a broad effort aimed at swaying the U.S. presidential election in 2016 in favor of now-
President Donald Trump.
[14:25:04] Putin, denying he meddled but acknowledging he wanted Donald Trump to win.
PUTIN (through translator): Because he was talking about normalizing U.S.- Russia relations.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But normalizing relations seems out of the question after Britain accused Russia of using chemical weapons to poison former
double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018. Russia, once again, dismissing the evidence.
Twenty years after taking power, Vladimir Putin maintains a strong grip on the presidency, having largely marginalized Russia's opposition.
But international sanctions and isolation, along with a weak economy, have sent his popularity into a nosedive, as some Russians have grown wary of
their longstanding leader. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
NOBILO: So with a decline in popularity and weeks of opposition protests, is President Putin's control starting to show some cracks? William J.
Burns joins me now to discuss this. He served as U.S. ambassador to Russia under President George W. Bush, and he's written a memoir of his time as a
diplomat titled, "The Back Channel."
Very good to have you on the program, sir.
WILLIAM J. BURNS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: It's great to be with you.
NOBILO: Do you think that when Putin became -- got to power back when he did, 20 years ago, when he was just a former KGB agent, do you think he
would ever have expected to still be in power, two decades later?
BURNS: Well, Vladimir Putin, in my experience, never lacked for self- assurance. But I think he's surprised even himself. I mean, over the last two decades.
He was, as your piece, I think very well describes, kind of an accidental leader at the end of Boris Yeltsin's time. But you know, he's developed
into a very combustible combination today of grievance and ambition and insecurity, all wrapped together.
And he's tactically agile, he's willing to play rough and he consistently demonstrates that, you know, declining powers, which Russia objectively is,
can be at least as disruptive as rising powers.
NOBILO: You've written -- and this interested me because I'm a martial arts enthusiast myself -- but Putin's been able to act like a good Judo
expert, using the opponent's stronger -- the opponent's strengths against them. Talk me through how you think that has been reflected in his
approach to international affairs, and to maintaining his grip on power.
BURNS: Well, I think in some ways, Putin, as you know very well, realizes that, you know, he's playing a relatively weak hand, whether it's compared
to the United States or to China. But he understands and has a particular facility for taking advantage of opening, and using the weight and strength
of opponents against them, much as a good Judo specialist would as well.
And so where he's seen openings, you know, whether it was in Syria at the beginning of 2015 or in trying to undermine our elections in 2016, he
hasn't been shy about trying to take advantage of them.
NOBILO: Do you think that the Trump administration, that Brexit, that the rise of tensions in the Middle East, and of course the protracted conflict
in Syria, have all served to prolong Putin's time in office? Or do you think the agency is more from him and his manipulation of events?
BURNS: I think it's more from him. And you know, his -- the grip that he's built inside Russia. But he also was -- he looks at the international
landscape today, he often sees a target-rich environment. You know, opportunities emerging for Russia, in a sense, to punch above its weight.
And, you know, he's been quite skillful and also quite brutal about doing that.
NOBILO: William Burns, thank you very much for joining the program.
BURNS: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
[14:28:57] NOBILO: Still to come tonight, after an incredibly difficult week in the U.S., Democrats are sharpening their attacks on President
Trump. The battle to replace him and his policies goes to that all- important state, Iowa. Stay with us.
[14:30:35] BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back. While the United States grapples with what to do about guns, around the
world, people look on at the debate with the sense of bewilderment, and sometimes disbelief.
I want to discuss the international reaction, how people outside the United States are looking at the crisis of guns. I'm joined by Greg Swenson.
He's a member of Republicans Abroad. Thanks for being with us this evening.
So we always have an eye on the international community on this program. Do you understand as an American, and presuming, a supporter of the Second
Amendment, why people around the world and countries that have much stricter gun laws and much, much fewer death with a gun-related? Why there
would be a sense of bewilderment?
GREG SWENSON, MEMBER, REPUBLICANS ABROAD: Yes. I think -- I mean, it shouldn't surprise anyone that we almost expect that, because people don't
-- live in the U.S. don't understand that there is some a cultural attachment to the privilege of gun ownership. And if you don't have that
in your own country, it's just -- I can understand that it's hard to identify.
But I think there's also -- it's also important to really separate, you know, data from the sheer spectacle of these mass shootings. You know,
these are horrible, horrible events.
And in fact, they're designed by the kind of unhealthy people that execute them, you know, to get attention. They do get way more attention than we
like when, in fact, you know, if there's a little bounce, a little context, you know, that they get -- they get -- they become the spectacle instead of
really being something, you know, something that's data dependent.
NOBILO: But still, if something could be done about these atrocious events, I understand the culture attachment the United States' second
amendment. But it seems like it would be imperative for government to do something about it.
And I'd like to unpack the attachment of the Second Amendment, because as somebody who's studied history and someone who isn't American, it seems odd
to me that spirit in which the Second Amendment was intended to be able to resist the tyranny of the government.
I mean, let's be honest, what other guns do you own in America, you're not going to be able to fight off the might of the U.S. military? SO help me
explain the attachment to an absolute position when you can't obtain the absolute objective in which --
SWENSON: Sure. Yes, I know. Because it was designed in the 1700s when it was really to support -- or at least to support the right to form a
militia, but -- and they've gone through this a few times in some cases where they've tried to decide whether it's appropriate now and currently.
And the answer is, yes, they still -- the least -- the cases that have come before the courts have decided that, yes, there is still that inherit
You know, remember, that it's not just the NRA, or, you know -- over 50 percent of Americans own guns or in gun owning households. There are 500
million guns in the U.S. That sounds like a huge number. It is. There are more guns than people in the U.S. but you're much more likely to die
from a car accident than you are from a mass shooter.
So a little perspective is important. But even 25 percent of Democrats in gun owning homes. So this is a state issue. It's a local issue. I mean,
I think it would be very, very hard, you know, if you want just looking at the politics of it.
For a Democrats who run around on the coasts and say that they're for restricting gun ownership and removing the right for gun ownership, you
know, that might work in Boston and New York and Washington, but not in Pennsylvania and Michigan, so.
NOBILO: Do you see an opportunity here, perhaps, you wouldn't consider an opportunity. But do you see a window here where there could be a move on
gun legislation? Is that possible?
[14:35:06] SWENSON: I think so. I think -- because you've already seen -- I mean, the president is very open to ownership restrictions, background
checks, red flag laws. He's very much a supporter of those things.
And actually, in spite of all the rhetoric and all the abuse that the president's got from the left and some in the mainstream media, he's
actually much more likely to bend on NRA and gun ownership than past Republican presidents. That doesn't make him better or worse.
But he's not -- he's not a movement conservative. He's not someone who's got a history or a defining philosophy in terms of his political view. So,
yes, I think there's a good opportunity to do it. Mitch McConnell has already said that he's willing to get it to the top of the list.
So, look, there might be a moment. We've been through this before, as some of your earlier guests were mentioning, you know, going back to Columbine
in '99 and Connecticut a few years ago. You know, these were horrible moments, you hope there's some good that can come of it. And I think that
you might -- you might see that because there might be some ways.
But it's not going to be a simple answer, remember that. I mean, just flipping the switch on some restriction is not going to change the bounds
of criminal activity in the U.S.
NOBILO: Finally, Greg, just to get a response from you. We have mentioned the comments from the Democratic candidates, some of them saying that the
president is -- they would characterize them as a white supremacist, as a Republican yourself, do you think that's a fair characterization? How
would you characterize the president?
SWENSON: Of course not. I mean, it's absolutely shameless that they're coming out and do that. And I don't say that as a Republican or as a
conservative. I just that as an American. To shamelessly use something so tragic for political purposes and to come out and say, it's Trump's fault
or Trump's a racist. It's absolutely obscene.
I mean, the last time I looked up racism and included a bit of anti- Semitism, you know, it just -- it absolutely makes no sense to do that. And I think this will hurt the Democrats that are -- perhaps, they're just
doing it to get some attention. They're not polling very well. Some of the candidates that came out. You noticed Joe Biden didn't come out and
say that. Because he's the one who's most likely going to run the general election.
And so that kind of rhetoric that's completely shameless doesn't work in the general. It might help them get some attention in the Democratic
primaries. But I think that's really a mistake and I think they'll regret it if they -- if any of these candidates, actually, have to run in the
NOBILO: Greg Swenson, thank you very much.
SWENSON: Thanks, Bianca. Nice to be here.
NOBILO: The massacre in El Paso hit far too close to home for Wal-Mart. But the retail giant is resisting pressure to stop selling guns at its
Democratic presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are both calling for Wal-Mart to pull guns from its shelves. Warren tweeted,
"The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees. No profit is worth those lives."
The pressure could soon get even more intense. The largest U.S. teachers union is threatening to boycott Wal-Mart if it won't stop gun sales.
The shooting in El Paso, Wal-Mart, last weekend, killed 22 people.
As Americans reflect on a week that will rank among its darkest, it's important to remember that life has to go on. And we're seeing that in the
world of politics, as we were just discussing.
And for that, we now take you to the Iowa State Fair, a rite of passage in American presidential elections. It's the home of uniquely American
phenomenon like pork chop on a stick, fried butter, and of course, caucus goers. And if you're a Democrat running for president, that's likely where
you'll be this weekend.
They're descending on that to speak to voters in a state that will be the first to pick its candidate. And after this terrible week, most of the
Democratic pact has been sharpening their tone against guns and against President Trump.
Arlette Saenz is in Iowa for us and she joins me now.
Arlette, what have we been hearing from democratic candidates over the last day or so on this key issue of guns, and any other issues that are
currently defining the democratic race?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Bianca, certainly right now, the country is reeling after those shootings down in Dayton and as well as
in El Paso. And you've seen the democratic presidential candidates try to use this moment as a way to promote unity in this country and they also
have gone and become a very critical of President Trump, suggesting that some of the messages that he's relayed has embolden people in this country,
as such as white supremacists or racists.
But you're hearing more and more over the past few days of these from these democratic candidates who are pushing for gun control a lot. They don't
think that enough has been done to try to stem the issue of gun violence in this country, they want to see more background checks, and they're calling
for bans on assault weapons.
President Trump himself has said that there is action that needs to be taken on background checks. It's unclear how much exactly Congress will be
able to do it that, especially as the president is also facing pressure from gun rights advocates like the NRA. The president, today, saying that
he does believe the NRA will come around.
[14:40:15] But over and over on the campaign trail, you've heard over the past few days these presidential candidates pushing, saying that something
does need to be done to try to stem this gun violence issue.
Now, right now, I am in Clear Lake, Iowa, where tonight, there is going to be the annual Wing Ding, it's a dinner to raise money for the local
Democratic county -- party. We're going to have 22 of the 24 Democratic candidates here tonight. You already seen lively bunch of supporters from
Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, just to name of the few of the candidates who will be speaking here tonight. And these candidates will be
given their pitch.
It's unclear how much they will be drilling in to gun violence or comments about President Trump in relation to white supremacy, a you've had several
of those candidates come out and directly call him a white supremacist.
But certainly, the shootings down in El Paso and Dayton have been on the minds of not just voters, but also these democratic presidential candidates
over this past week here in Iowa. Bianca?
NOBILO: Arlette Saenz, thank you very much for coming to us from Iowa. Appreciate it.
Still to come on the program tonight. New Delhi has lifted some restrictions in Indian-controlled Kashmir. But tensions there show little
sign of easing. We'll bring you the very latest, next.
Plus, as Hong Kong protest entered their 10th week, the city's leader warned that demonstrations are very bad for business.
NOBILO: Now, to the latest shakeup in the Trump administration, as two more high-ranking officials leaves the job. First, the top U.S. State
Department official for Latin America quit in a reported clash over immigration policy. Then a Foreign Service officer cited the shooting in
El Paso as part of the reason he is quitting.
In a blistering op-ed for the Washington Post. Chuck Park wrote that he can no longer justify serving for Trump administration. There's also an
announcement that the country's number two intelligence official is being forced out and President Donald Trump is naming a new acting director.
Kylie Atwood has the latest developments from Washington.
Kylie, the op-ed by Park is indeed blistering. How damaging has the effect of that being? Because he's basically saying the Trump administration in
of itself is pernicious to the values which on depend what it means to be American.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: He is, and that's why he says he can no longer be in the State Department. He said it was becoming
a place that was complacent. He said that he couldn't be a part of a place where there is no resistance to Trump and his policies.
[14:45:59] Now, by nature of the State Department is not a place for people who are advocates of certain political agendas. These are Foreign Service
officers. And this man, Chuck Park, was one of those. He had been serving for almost 10 years as a Foreign Service officer. He'd served around the
world, and he talked about those experiences in this op-ed, saying that he defended American democracy and the strength that it was even when the
United States was going through some of its own hardships.
During Black History month, he went to celebrations, even though there were those in the U.S. calling for justice to African-Americans after the death
of those like Treyvon Martin.
But he continued doing the work. He said he could no longer do that anymore because he wanted to get a bit more involved and stand up to
President Trump in a way that he couldn't do at the State Department.
So it's pretty significant that someone who had signed up to serve for every administration, not just the Trump administration, but also
Democratic administration is now stepping aside.
And he put it really clearly when he spoke and wrote in that op-ed, saying that El Paso, that recent shooting, this awful shooting here Interpreter he
U.S. was the reason that he decided to eventually leave.
NOBILO: And, Kylie, Joseph Maguire is now being appointed as the acting director of National Intelligence. What are the president's reasons for
putting him in that role? Does it come down to the fact that he is likely to be a political loyalist?
ATWOOD: Well, Admiral Maguire has served in past Republican administrations, but he is also a career professional. He was a commander
of Navy SEALs. He has been in the counterterrorism space, the national security space, for a long time. So he's viewed as an adult in the room,
even though he does have some ties to Republicans.
And that is key here, because President Trump accepted the resignation of Sue Gordon, who had been serving in the role after director Coats is going
to be leaving. And she said that she was leaving not because it was her choice, but because President Trump should have his team in place. That's
a note she wrote to the president.
Now, she is someone who was an intelligence professional. She was widely respected here in Washington by both Republicans and Democrats, and from
the intelligence community writ large. So her loss is viewed as a big one by those from both the Republican and Democratic sides.
NOBILO: Kylie, these two resignations taken within context of the other resignations that we've seen throughout the Trump administration, what do
they tell us about it? For example, when Park mentions this idea over complacent state and having concerns about that.
I mean, what do these speak to? What is the wider theme here that we could extrapolate from the various resignations that have been seen?
ATWOOD: Well, the Trump administration is known to be a place where it's evolving leadership roles. There's an open door that's kind of swinging as
people are coming in and leaving.
But I do think that Sue Gordon is different here than the Foreign Service officer who left. Sue Gordon had been in this space for almost 40 years.
As I said this career Foreign Service officer much less time. But at the same time, they were both career professionals. One signed up to do
intelligence for the U.S. government, the other signing up to do diplomacy for the U.S. government.
So it is notable that they are leaving and they can no longer serve in the Trump administration, even though they had signed up to serve an
administration's, writ large, no matter which party they were affiliated with.
But there are people who are rising to the ranks, the State Department is a massive organization. There are plenty of Foreign Service officers who
continue to do their job. So it's not as if we were seeing a mass exodus in the working level at the State Department of folks leaving or in the
intelligence community, as far as we know yet.
Kylie Atwood in Washington, thank you.
Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir, relaxed a day's long curfew so people could attend Friday press. Tensions in the region had been high
since New Delhi's move to strip Kashmir of its autonomous status.
And Pakistan has warned of a strong response to any military action by India. Nikhil Kumar has the very latest from New Delhi.
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Indian authorities harshly eased security restrictions in some areas on Indian-controlled Kashmir on Friday,
after an almost week-long security crackdown that prevented ordinary Kashmiris from going about their everyday lives.
The trigger was the move by New Delhi on Monday who disrupt the region of a decades-old special status under the Indian constitution that's taking away
its power to set most of its own laws.
[14:50:01] It also downgraded Jammu and Kashmir State which includes Indian-controlled Kashmir to a union territory. This means that it will
effectively be run directly by New Delhi Indian states have much more power to direct the internal affairs.
All this happened against the backdrop of a security crackdown that's so prominent Kashmiri politicians arrested. Internet and phone lines will
also cut. People were also told not to congregate in large groups, as authorities feared protests against Monday's changes.
Some of those security restrictions have now been lifted. The reason authorities told us was allowing people to conduct Friday prayers at
mosques around the Muslim majority region. But things are still tense. Life is nowhere near back to normal.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, which like India, controls a portion of the Kashmir region and claims all of it, has been very critical of Delhi's moves. Its
army has promised to oppose the changes.
We're also watching closely to see if there's a violent backlash within Indian-controlled Kashmir. The biggest risk as always in this volatile
region is that it spirals into something much bigger. A dangerous showdown between India and Pakistan. Remember, both have nuclear weapons and both
have already fought multiple wars over this territory.
Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.
NOBILO: Hong Kong chief executive, Carrie Lam, is raising the alarm. Saying that the weeks of continuous protests are taking their toll on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: The downturn is so rapid that some people have described it's a rival as a tsunami. Compared to the economic
downturn that we dealt with caused by the SARS and the economic storm that came afterwards, I am afraid the situation this time is harsher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Her remarks come ahead of a 10th straight weekend of protests across the financial hub. Activists packed the arrival haul, the city's
report earlier for the start of a planned three-day sit-in there. Demonstrators chanted "democracy now and stop police brutality."
Britain has yet to leave the European Union. But uncertainty over Brexit is certainly taking its toll on the British economy. GDP contracted two-
tenths of a percent in the second quarter of this year. That's the worst quarter for the British economy since 2012. As you can see, the pound is
sinking at the news. All this amid rising fears of a no-deal Brexit coming in October.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed to leaving the E.U. by October 31st. Come what may. The U.K. government says it's, "Determined to
provide certainty to people and businesses on Brexit." But this grim economic data shows just how worried business owners might actually be.
And I'll be back with a final thought on this very difficult week in the United States after this short break.
NOBILO: This has been a difficult week in America. We'd like to leave you with some important events over these past seven days. They're taken
together, felt like they've led to a larger moment in this country's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:55:16] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two mass shootings in this country about 13 hours apart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why I ducked and he's just boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, he started firing off rounds at me.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.
BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We live in a country where we have a president who demonizes communities like this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're simply tired of living in a country where we're fearing for our lives.
(CROWD CHANTING "DO SOMETHING")
TRUMP: We need intelligent background checks. OK? This isn't a question of NRA, Republican or Democrats.
NOBILO: Thank you for watching tonight. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Isa Soares is up next here from London.