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Chinese Forces Near Hong Kong Border; Former GOP Congressman Calls for Primary Challenge; Dayton Killer's Parents Apologize. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 15, 2019 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Landing hero, next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning.

A commercial pilot is being hailed as a hero in Russia, look at this, after successfully landing a packed passenger plane in a field. The jet flew into a flock of birds just after takeoff. Sound familiar? Sully Sullenberger. There were 226 passengers on board, no fatalities. Russian state media say 23 people, including five children, are in the hospital, some in serious condition. It struck the birds immediately after takeoff. And then again, like Sully, this pilot determined he couldn't land back at the airport.

CAMEROTA: He couldn't turn around, yes.

BERMAN: He couldn't turn around. So he found a field nearby and put the plane down there.

CAMEROTA: That is remarkable. What a feat of talent there. We'll continue to follow that.

Also new this morning, large numbers of Chinese forces are at the border with Hong Kong amid escalating tension and protests.

[06:35:02] CNN's Matt Rivers is live at the border.

Matt, tell us what you are seeing.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, we were able to see firsthand for the first time this buildup of Chinese paramilitary force. There are called the People's Armed Police. They're 1.5 million members strong paramilitary force that China uses to regularly quell protests in mainland China.

But right across the border there behind me, that's Hong Kong. That is where we have seen more than two months of consistent protests escalatingly (ph) -- getting escalating violent -- more violent each and every week. We've seen the Hong Kong Airport be shut down earlier this week, two straight days in a row. And, clearly, by putting these paramilitary forces just a few miles away from the border, where we were able to see, you know, thousands of troops, we were able to see dozens of armored personnel carriers, you know, that is clearly Beijing wanting to send a message that it has the right, the legal right under Chinese law, to send in troops to Hong Kong to quell those protests.

Now, to be clear, there is zero sign of an imminent deployment. That would be a massive step forward for Beijing. It would have incredibly drastic consequences for Hong Kong, economic, diplomatic, military consequences and Beijing knows that. So they're not doing it yet. But the fact that they've stationed those forces here is then sending a message to the rest of the world.

President Trump tweeting about the Hong Kong situation. He's been relatively quiet about it. But he is tweeting about it, saying that he would be willing to meet with President Xi of China to maybe come up with some sort of a solution to the situation.


BERMAN: Very much tied into the trade war now. Very much tied into the U.S. markets plummeting over the last 24 hours.

Matt Rivers, keep us posted on the border there.

A former Republican member to Congress calls President Trump reckless and dangerous and is now calling for a Republican to launch a primary challenge. Why does he think it could actually be successful? That former member joins us next.


[06:40:59] BERMAN: This morning, a former Republican member of Congress says it is time for someone in the party to primary President Trump. Now, it was right here on NEW DAY, just three days ago, that one-time White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, broke up with the president and declared he no longer supports his re- election. And now former Republican congressman and conservative radio host, Joe Walsh, says it is time for a Republican challenger, calling the president dangerous, reckless, and un-American.

Joining us now, former Congressman Joe Walsh.

Joe, thank you very much for being with us.

I want to read you a tweet from October of 2016. You said, on November 8th, I'm voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket. You in? A strong Trump supporter in November of 2016 to calling for a primary challenger today. How did he get from there to here?

JOE WALSH (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Hey, John, this guy in the White House is a disaster for the party and the country. I wrote that piece in "The New York Times" yesterday trying to wake up Republicans. I mean, every single day he says something or does something. He lies to the American people. I mean it -- John, it feels like a year ago, but it was just a week ago the president of the United States sent out a tweet accusing a former president of murder. If we -- if Republicans don't stand up right now and challenge this guy right now, he's bad for the party, he's bad for the country, we're going to get wiped out in 2020.

BERMAN: There are people who will look at you and say, you're just getting that now? Because he said this type of stuff while he was running for president. You didn't perceive it to be an issue then? Why do you perceive it to be an issue now?

WALSH: You know, like a lot of people, John, I voted for Trump. I didn't love him. I didn't like him. I voted for him because he wasn't Hillary.

Look, he lost me, John, officially at Helsinki over a year ago when he stood in front of the American people and said, I stand with that guy Putin instead of my own people.

John, this is a -- this -- I feel like we're living in "Alice and Wonderland." Every day he lies to the American people repeatedly. You can't believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

John, we've -- we've never had that in a president. And, again, Republicans, generally -- that piece I wrote in "The New York Times" yesterday, John, most Republicans agree with me. Most of my former colleagues up on Capitol Hill agree with every single word I said. They're scared to death to say that publicly.

BERMAN: I have to question your police work, as they say in Fargo here, because if we look at the new polling from Fox News, 88 percent of Republicans, 88 percent approve of President Trump. And what's interesting about this op-ed, I should have made clear, you wrote this op-ed in "The New York Times" yesterday and it's a fascinating read. Everyone should go read it. You say that there should be a primary challenger to Donald Trump. Not William Weld from the middle of the left. You think that someone should challenge the president from the right. How does that work when he's got 90 percent approval from within his own party?

WALSH: Well, John, what's interesting in that Fox News poll, and I heard you a few minutes ago, 59 percent of the people in that poll believe the president of the United States is tearing this country apart. Listen to that, 59 percent.

Look, yes, a lot of Republicans support him because they look at the alternative and they say, oh, my God, it's the Democrats, they're a bunch of socialists. They need an alternative. And, John, again, I know a lot of good people are thinking about primaying (ph) Trump. It's got to be the moral case. This has got to be a mission.

This guy is unfit to be president. I believe a lot of Republicans down in their heart and in their bones, they know that. They just need someone to strongly say that. They need an alternative.

[06:45:07] BERMAN: Well, do you have any names here because, again, we had Anthony Scaramucci on the other day and he claims he's been talking to people in the cabinet who are concerned about the president about to leave. You say you talk to people on The Hill, Republicans, who say, oh, they're concerned and they could turn. Well, where are they?

WALSH: They're afraid. John, they're scared to death. Look, I'm a former congressman. Most of my former colleagues keep their mouths shut because they don't want to piss off the president. They don't want to tweet. They don't want a primary challenge. Most of the people in my business now, John, conservative media, they want ratings. And so they sing this guy's praises.

What they need is somebody to stick their neck out and say enough. Enough, President Trump, we're tired of the lies, we're tired of the bullying, we're tired of the cruelty. Enough. Somebody has to break that impasse.

BERMAN: One of the most interesting things about this op-ed you wrote wasn't about the president exactly, it was about you. You haven't spoken softly ever in your career. And you've said a lot of controversial things. You were a bomb thrower for a long time. And one of the things you said, among many, is from December of 2016 when you said President Obama was a Muslim. For the past week everybody's been asking again why Obama hates Israel. The answer is simple really, I think Obama is a Muslim. You said in this op-ed that President Trump has made you reflect on things you've said and done. How?

WALSH: Hey, John, one of the reasons I wrote this op-ed was to apologize. To apologize for the role that I played, that I played in putting an unfit con man in the White House.

Look, the country was divided before Trump. That's why we got Trump. I was at the head of that divide talking about and pushing ideas I believed in. As you said, I've been very outspoken. Oftentimes I stepped over the line. That was one of them.

The election of Trump has made me see how ugly our side -- both sides can get, but how ugly I've been. And it caused -- it's caused me to reflect and no longer engage in personal attacks and just focus on the policy differences.

BERMAN: Can you give me one name of someone you want to challenge the president?

WALSH: I can't. All I can tell you, John, it better be somebody who can look this guy in the eye and say, enough. You're not fit. We're tired of your indecency. Somebody has to say that, John.

BERMAN: Former Congressman Joe Walsh from Illinois, thank you for joining us on NEW DAY.

WALSH: Thanks, my friend.

CAMEROTA: Really fascinating talk there, John.

We do have some breaking news from the campaign trail.

Sources tell CNN that Democrat John Hickenlooper will drop out of the presidential race. The former Colorado governor is expected to make the announcement in a video today. Hickenlooper was never able to gain traction in the very big Democratic field and was not going to qualify for the next round of debates in September. He may be considering a run for the Senate.

BERMAN: And that's the key there. There are Democrats who want him to run for Senate in Colorado. That would flip is seat, if he could win, from red to blue. And there are a lot of Democrats who have been pushing him for that.

The parents of the Dayton killer are apologizing this morning for what may consider to be a grossly insensitive obituary. How they described their son just days after he killed nine people, that's next.


[06:52:42] CAMEROTA: The parents of the Dayton killer say they are deeply sorry for posting a glowing obituary about their son that omitted his heinous act of killing nine people, including his own sister.

CNN's Ryan Young is live in Dayton, Ohio, with more.

This -- listening -- we understand the parents want to remember him in a certain way, but then there's reality.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean this is very tough. We're standing outside where the shooting happened. And you can see people show up all day yesterday still paying their respects to all the fallen. And then you have the family post something that basically said they remember him as being funny and articulate, and went on to talk about how he originally was. And so that didn't really hit well with a lot of people in the community.

We'll put the full screen up to show you exactly what they said after there was some pushback from the community. In fact, it said the Betts family apologizes for the wording of the obituary for their son. And they say it was insensitive not acknowledging the terrible tragedy that created the grief and they presented their son in the way they knew him. And, of course, that doesn't reduce the horror of his last act.

All of this going on yesterday in this community when one of his friends was headed to federal court for providing him with the ammunition drum, the body armor, and a piece of that AR-15. And we learned in that conversation in court yesterday that was actually continued to today that apparently federal investigators were also concerned about having that man back in the general public. And that was one of those things they wanted to make sure that if they were released, if he would be able to be safe from the rest of the public.

This case still continues and there will be more conversation about this in the next coming days.

BERMAN: Yes, something that I think really hit that community hard was reading that obituary. Not what they expected at all. Ryan, thank you for being there for us.

So, a CNN exclusive. Stephen Colbert unplugged talk --

CAMEROTA: Is he usually plugged?

BERMAN: He -- I don't know when he's plugged.

CAMEROTA: I don't either.

BERMAN: But this -- you know what, this is different. This is him talking without punchlines --

CAMEROTA: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: To Anderson Cooper. A very serious discussion about late night in the age of Trump. A preview of Anderson's interview -- Anderson Cooper's interview with Stephen Colbert, next.


[06:58:55] CAMEROTA: You know him as the man behind many late night laughs. Well, Stephen Colbert sat down with our Anderson Cooper to talk seriously about comedy and politics in the era of President Trump.

Here's a little preview.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": You've called President Trump a -- I think a heretic --


COOPER: To reality.

COLBERT: Heretic to reality.

Our president wants to live in a fantasy world where only the way he perceives the world is the way it is, only the things that sort of serve his vision. And he's also trying to convince us that that is the only world that exists. It's extremely solipsistic.

But he's also trying to invite us into this madness that he has. And that is -- that's heresy against reality. Even though we have -- have a plan, starting at like 10:30 in the morning we have a general plan.

COOPER: Right.

COLBERT: Many is the time, as you know.


COLBERT: And it's only accelerating. COOPER: Right.

It also feels like --

COLBERT: At 4:30.


COLBERT: And why go on at 5:30, 4:40, 4:45, 5:00.

COOPER: 5:00.

COLBERT: Somebody's like popping their head in and they're like, chopper talk.

COOPER: Chopper talk?

COLBERT: He's -- chopper talk. The president is standing in front of Marine One. We call it chopper talk.

COOPER: Oh, I get it. OK.

COLBERT: You know.


COLBERT: He should just stand in front of like a margarita maker --

COOPER: Uh-huh.

COLBERT: Because it's just the same noise. Well, and at least there would be a cocktail at the end.

COOPER: Yes, I -- yes.

[07:00:04] COLBERT: He creates his own storm.

COOPER: Right.

COLBERT: He takes a big bucket of sea water, throws it in his own face and goes, I'm a sea captain.