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Russian Nuclear Monitoring Stations Silent after Blast; Mayor Bill de Blasio is Interviewed about Garner Case and His Campaign; Past and Present Predictions of Larry Kudlow. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:33:19] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: There are new questions this morning about the mysterious explosion at a Russian missile test facility that killed five nuclear scientists. CNN has learned that four Russian nuclear monitoring stations stopped transmitting information after that explosion, heightening concerns that Russia is trying to conceal information about how much radiation was released.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with the latest.

What do we know about this mystery, Barbara?


This was all after an explosion on August 8th in northern Russia of a missile test. That's what the U.S. believes. And they believe it was a missile called Skyfall, a nuclear powered cruise missile program that the Russians are working on. Huge explosion. And in the days afterwards, after this apparent test failure, four of five nuclear monitoring stations in Russia went offline. These are stations that are put there by an international, independent monitoring organization that monitors around the world for nuclear explosions and radiation.

Now, so far the question of whether radiation has been emitted from northern Russia is very confusing as well. Some people in the region were warned about it right after the explosion. But with these monitoring stations offline for no apparent reason, it's very difficult now for these international monitors to know exactly what is going on.

No word from the Russians about what has happened. Vladimir Putin says there's nothing to worry about, but he's not talking about these stations being taken offline. So Russians, Skyfall, John Berman, come to your own conclusions about whether there are James Bond analogies to be made here. You wouldn't be the only one if you thought about that.

[06:35:05] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: No, but there's a lot we're not being told here and the people in Russia are not being told as well with these tests.

Another development overnight, Barbara, as well. Russia is accusing the United States of escalating military tensions when it comes to missile activity, correct?

STARR: They are indeed. And this now is because of a test that the U.S. conducted on Sunday of a cruise missile. They test launched this missile off the West Coast of the United States. This is basically in response to the Russians testing other new missiles that the U.S. says is in violation of an arms control treaty, the INF treaty, intermediate range missiles, and now that treaty is essentially defunct. The Russians are testing theirs. The U.S. now testing their missiles.


BERMAN: All right, Barbara Starr on these important developments, thank you so much.

So the story that might matter more than any other today --

CAMEROTA: If you have a fence around your home.

BERMAN: Well, is this. Look at this. That's an alligator climbing a fence. If alligators --

CAMEROTA: Can they do that?

BERMAN: Well, that's the point. If they can, then what's the point of everything else. They're coming for you.

CAMEROTA: Of everything else.

BERMAN: They're coming for you.

CAMEROTA: And if they can't, what's he doing?

BERMAN: All right, we're going to give you the back story on this and tell you what it means for your safety, next.


[06:40:58] BERMAN: This morning, millions of Americans gearing up for another day of extreme heat. This is after some cities hit record high temperatures on Monday.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with the forecast.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It felt like 116 in Tulsa yesterday, John, just ridiculous numbers out there. Hot all the way south of that front right through the middle part of the country.

This weather's brought to you by Xyzal, all night, all day allergy relief.

So, yes, another day of hot weather today. It's going feel like 100, 102, 103 in D.C. It's going to feel like 106 in Dallas, Texas. But relief is on the way. There will be storms to get there, but the relief is on the way as the front goes by on Friday. So, yes, we're going to see showers, but these temperatures here today that are going to be in the 90s and even in the 100s, will be in the 60s, 70s, and 80s by Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as promised.

Guys, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Chad. Thank you very much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right, speaking of extreme heat, what temperature do you keep your air conditioner at while you are sleeping in the summer?

BERMAN: Sultry.

CAMEROTA: A new -- well, then you're going to like this report. A new consumer energy report says it should be 82 degrees, music to my ears. A reporter at a Florida station shared this tweet listing the new energy efficient recommendations of 82. It soon went viral, sparking outrage from Twitter users who said that's too hot. I hope my husband is watching right now, 82 degrees sounds just right to me.

BERMAN: First of all, if that sparked Twitter outrage, the bar for Twitter outrage is way too low.

CAMEROTA: Did you not know that?

BERMAN: And, b, why don't you just go to sleep in a hot tub?

CAMEROTA: Why don't I?

BERMAN: Just go to sleep in the hot tub.

CAMEROTA: Why haven't I thought of that?


CAMEROTA: Eighty-two. And why don't we start -- you know what, guys, for the planet, let's keep this studio at 82 degrees.

BERMAN: All right --

CAMEROTA: Who's with me?

BERMAN: But none of this matters.


BERMAN: None of this matters. You know why?

CAMEROTA: Gators are on the loose.

BERMAN: Yes, because alligators can climb fences. If alligators can climb fences, nothing else matters. And they can. This is -- this is at a naval air base in Jacksonville, Florida. You can see the alligator there scaling the fence and going inside, right? So what's the point? They're coming.

CAMEROTA: Of anything. What's the point of anything?

BERMAN: They're coming for you. The alligators are coming for you.

CAMEROTA: What do gators want, you know?

BERMAN: They want to climb the fence and come in -- come after you.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, what do they want on that naval base? That's what I need to know.

BERMAN: They want the thermostat set to 82 degrees.

In a FaceBook post, this naval base said, we have several alligators on the base and they do not respect our security measures.




OK, we'd like to know what you think of that, and by that I mean John's Twitter feed would like to know.

BERMAN: Outrage.

CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, there's brand new CNN polling on the 2020 race. It has just been released this hour. We'll speak with a Democratic presidential candidate. Bill de Blasio is here with what he thinks about these new numbers and so much more.


[06:47:15] CAMEROTA: New this morning, the police officer in the Eric Garner case vowing to appeal after being fired from the NYPD and stripped of his pension. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the decision saying that justice has been served for the Garner family. And the Democratic presidential candidate joins us now.

Mr. Mayor, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: So Officer Pantaleo was fired. That's what Eric Garner's family has been asking for for five years. Many people think that that was long overdue. Couldn't this have been done years ago?

DE BLASIO: Alisyn, look, the important point here is there was justice and there was a fair trial for the first time. And you know where that fair trial happened? It happened at the NYPD. And this really bears recognition. I think a lot of people in this city, in this country would say, well, wait a minute, if something's happening within the police department, is it going to be fair, is it going to be impartial? It was. An NYPD judge said, look, this was a prohibited choke hold. That's not acceptable. This officer should be fired. The police commissioner confirmed it.

And I think what we're seeing is the effect of real reform where you have a police agency stepping up and saying, we need accountability in our own house. That's the big news here. The problem, Alisyn, was, the United States Department of Justice, over two very different presidential administrations, told New York City, do not proceed. The Justice Department will handle this.

But, Alisyn, here's the rub. They didn't. For five years they actually did nothing. And I think we need a law in this country that says God forbid we ever have one of these situations again, the Justice Department should be on a clock where they have to provide speedy justice. That's a whole American concept of justice, it has to be speedy.

CAMEROTA: Because justice was delayed, let's be honest, in this case.


CAMEROTA: And the NYPD could have started just -- what you're talking about, those -- that disciplinary action and a trial while the DOJ was doing their investigation.

DE BLASIO: The Department of Justice says do not proceed. It will undermine a prosecution in a much higher case. But, remember --

CAMEROTA: It's not a law. It's a request.

DE BLASIO: It's a request from the United States Department of Justice, which bluntly, at that point in history, we believed was the great dispenser of justice. The Department of Justice, over the years, has stepped into a number of these very sensitive situations and been the force for justice. So when they say don't proceed, we, the Justice Department, have higher charges, not just occupational charges, but higher criminal charges. You should defer to them, according to all history. But things have changed now. They did not act.

And, let me tell you, the job one is to never have a tragedy like this again. And it can be done, Alisyn. It can be done because we've changed policing. Every cop has a body camera now. Every cop has been trained in de-escalation so that very tragic moment you see doesn't happen again, and implicit bias training, telling our officers what we all need to learn. We have biases in this. We have to bring them out in the open so we can overcome them.

[06:50:04] CAMEROTA: And I guess all of that is the silver lining, but for the -- for the Garner family this morning, what do you have to say to them? Do you personally think that five years was too long for them to wait?

DE BLASIO: Of course it was too long. And what I've said is we would never do it that way again because we depended on a Justice Department that did not provide justice. And I think in the future, and I -- first of all, again, when I say never again, I mean it. We need to have the resolve in this country and in this city to believe it can be stopped in the future.

This kind of incident did not have to happen. Eric Garner did not have to die. And there are ways of policing that can stop this from happening. And this NYPD today would never have done things that way. That's the important point, to never let there be another tragedy. Every police force in America should be trained in de-escalation, implicit bias. Every police officer in America should have a body camera so it never happens again.

But, Washington has something to do here. The Justice Department needs to confirm to this whole country that if there ever is, God forbid, another situation, they will step in and make a decision fast.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about your presidential race.


CAMEROTA: So CNN has a new poll out just this hour. Let's pull that up right now.

Joe Biden is doing very well. Joe Biden has gone up since June. He's at 29 percent.

I guess the bad news there is Bill de Blasio is there under 1 percent. It's not at 0 percent, but it is under 1 percent. And I'm just wondering, what do you -- what do you think that's about?

DE BLASIO: Well, first of all, I am looking forward to Sunday on this network, a town hall meeting, that I think is going to give a lot of people a chance to actually get to know me and what I've done and what I believe in because, honestly, those televised town halls have been absolutely crucial for other candidates. This will be the first one I'm getting as one of the last candidates to enter the race.

Look, in the end, yes, you see a bunch of candidates there, but there is not, in the end, I think, a sense among Democratic voters that they're secure where they want to go. The vast majority of Democratic voters are going to make their decision late. And what are they looking for? They're looking for someone who can change this country.

Wherever I go, Alisyn, people are not satisfied with the status quo. America, right now, is not working for working people. I have proven in New York that big changes can have. We gave pre-k to every child for free. We have made sure that folks go paid sick days, health insurance. We're making sure that anyone who does not have health insurance gets -- directly gets health care when they need it. These are big changes.

When I go all over the country, this is what people want to see. And I can say, hey, I've actually gotten this done. So the more people get to know this record, and this vision that I have, I think it's going to move people. CAMEROTA: But it sound like what people are looking for is who can

beat Donald Trump, and that's why Joe Biden's numbers are so good (ph).

DE BLASIO: Right. And the challenge becomes, in terms of who can beat Donald Trump, first of all, do they have a record that proves they can get something done, because people want to know that and that's part of how you beat Donald Trump is to prove that you can get things done for the American people and put the lie, he said he would be the best thing in the world for the American worker, it's been the opposite. He's given away the store to the wealthy and the corporations. That huge tax cuts, for example. The tariff war is hurting farmers, hurting consumers. He said one thing, did another. You need a candidate tough enough to point that out, to have a record and stands up to him.

And, bluntly, Democrats have to stand for working people again, which in 2016 was not entirely clear. So with all due respect to Joe Biden, unless there's a message that's strong and forceful, you're not going to see Democrats want a candidate without that strong message. Because without that message, we don't beat Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Bill de Blasio, we will look forward to Sunday night and your town hall.

DE BLASIO: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for coming in this morning.

DE BLASIO: Thanks, Alisyn.


BERMAN: All right, so President Trump's chief economic adviser loves predictions. The problem is, predictions don't love him. Larry Kudlow's prediction predicament, next.


[06:57:35] BERMAN: So you might think predicting the ebbs and flows of the economy might be a job for the nation's top market analyst. But for White House Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow, his track record suggests he is no Nostradamus.

John Avlon joins us with your "Reality Check."


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, there are plenty of signs of a possible recession. There's the trade war with China. There's slowing business and manufacturing numbers. And then, of course, there's the dreaded inverted yield curve, which has predicted almost every recession since World War II.

But to listen to President Trump's Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow on the Sunday shows, there's nothing to see her.


LARRY KUDLOW, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: I don't see a recession at all.

There's no recession on the horizon.


AVLON: Now, if you don't feel totally comforted, that may be because Larry Kudlow has a not so good record when it comes to prognosticating. For example, before the economic boom in the 1990s, Kudlow predicted that, quote, President Clinton's across the board tax increases will throw a wet blanket over the recovery and depress the economy's long run potential to grow. And what followed, of course, was record growth that turned decades of deficits into surpluses.

Immediately before the 2008 collapse, Kudlow wrote, quote, there's no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. The Bush boom is alive and well.

And when Chuck Todd called him out on it this weekend, all Kudlow could say was this.


LARRY KUDLOW, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: Well, I plead guilty to that.


AVLON: And it's not all he should plead guilty to. Kudlow said the deficit was, quote, coming down and coming down rapidly, when in the summer of 2018, when it was actually going up. His cheer leading for Trump's tax cuts plan hasn't aged much better. When "The Washington Post's" Erin Blake points out, in early 2018, Kudlow said his boss's tax cuts would lead to as much as a 4 percent GDP growth. Well, now that the data is in, it's only grown around 2.5 percent since then.

Look, Kudlow is Trump's economic hype man, but don't believe the hype. As much as it may pain the happy warrior supply sider, tax cuts don't always pay for themselves, particularly when combined with tariffs and high spending. Kudlow's rosy predictions may work for his audience of one, but they do nothing to help defend against signs of a possible recession that Kudlow either doesn't see or, worse yet, pretends doesn't exist.

And that's your "Reality Check."

CAMEROTA: He's no Kreskin.

Thank you very much.


BERMAN: Is Kreskin better than Nostradamus, though?

CAMEROTA: I put them in the same category.

BERMAN: Same category?


All right, there's a brand new CNN poll, and it could have big implications for the 2020 race. NEW DAY continues right now.

[07:00:02] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that I have made mistakes. I am sorry for harm I have caused.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: I know that not all of you are.