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President Trump Attends G7 Summit; President and CEO of American Apparel and Footwear Association Rick Helfenbein Interviewed on Tariffs and Ongoing U.S. Trade Wars; Protests Continue in Hong Kong; Fires Continue to Burn in the Brazilian Amazon; Ruth Bader Ginsburg Successfully Treated for Pancreatic Cancer; President Trump Comments on Taxing Wine from France; Joe Biden Comments on Political Assassinations in Speech; Artist's Rendering of President Trump Examined. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 24, 2019 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:24] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you on this Saturday, August 24th, 10:00 a.m. We're so glad to have you here. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, you are in the CNN Newsroom. World leaders are gathering for the G7 summit in southern France this weekend against the backdrop of a trove of global crises to deal with. On the list of disputes this year, you've got China's escalating trade tensions, ongoing conflicts with Iran, the climate crisis, North Korea's nuclear capabilities. There's much more.

The big question this morning, can they make any headway on any of those issues?

PAUL: President Trump arriving in France just about an hour ago. He sounded very optimistic during this working lunch you're looking at here just wrapping up with French President Emmanuel Macron.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So far so good. The weather is perfect. The guest is fantastic. Everybody's getting along, and people will accomplish a lot this weekend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: But this is a slightly different tone than last night when the president threatened France over a potential digital services tax they proposed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want them doing anything having to do with taxing unfairly our companies. Those are great American companies, and, frankly, I don't want France going out and taxing our companies, very unfair. And if they do that, we'll be taxing their wine or doing something else. We'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All of this happening as thousands of demonstrators are in the streets of southern France to protest inaction on the climate crisis.

BLACKWELL: CNN's senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown joins us now from southern France. Typically, the leaders have a moment to settle in after landing, but we saw that working lunch. What else is on the agenda today?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are several things to discuss on the agenda. There will be this dinner tonight that President Trump will be attending with the other G7 leaders, and then tomorrow the president has a very busy day with working sessions, and in the morning there is an economic forum that the president himself pushed for. A source familiar said the president really wants this opportunity to tout his accomplishments, to talk about the strength of the U.S. economy, even amid these warning signs of a brewing recession.

But what's interesting here is the dynamic with these other G7 leaders believing that part of the global economic slowdown is in part due to the president's escalating trade war with China. Just yesterday the United States and China both slapped tariffs on one another, so that is expected to be a big focus.

Another big focus among some of these G7 leaders is of course the climate. President Macron has made it clear that that is a big part of his agenda. He wants to talk about the wildfires in the Amazon. But whether or not President Trump will be receptive remains to be seen. If you look at his past behavior, though, it's likely that he won't be so receptive. Remember at last year's G7 he didn't even attend the climate session there. And he has complained to aides behind the scenes that he feels like the G7 is a waste of time because in years past there's been so much focus on the environment and on oceans.

And so one of the ways aides tried to make this G7 more palatable for the president is to create this economic forum. So the economy really is top of mind for the president, but we'll have to wait and see how this all plays out, because he has some key differences with these other world leaders as it pertains to trade and, of course, climate. He really is an outlier here.

BLACKWELL: Yes, some significant disagreements amongst the rest of the members as well, talking Brexit. We'll see where that goes. Pamela Brown for us there. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Now, as we said, President Trump is butting heads with Beijing over tariffs, after China slammed tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. President Trump hit them right back, sending markets on a downward slide. He tweeted this.

PAUL: "Starting on October 1st, the $250 billion of goods and products from China currently being taxed at 25 percent will be taxed at 30 percent." The president also taking a swipe at Fed Chair Jay Powell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not happy with Hay Powell. I don't think he's doing a good job at all. I don't think he's much of a chess player, but I've got him, so that's what I have. Do I want him to resign? Let me put it this way, if he did, I wouldn't stop him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Joining us now, Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of American Apparel and Footwear Association. Rick, thanks for waking up and speaking with us. How bad are these tariffs for your industry?

[10:05:00] RICK HELFENBEIN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERICAN APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR ASSOCIATION: They're a disaster. I would highly recommend everybody watching do your Christmas shopping between now and next Sunday when the now 15 percent tariff kicks in. You know 41 percent of all apparel coming into the United States comes from China, and 69 percent of all footwear, and 84 percent of all accessories, and a large majority of that will be hit with this 15 percent tariff, which was 10, now 15 effective on Sunday. And it's as it clicks across the border.

So this is really not a good thing for our industry, and everyone's talking about the "r" word. We don't like to throw it out there, but something like this where we're trapped in our own space is not good for the economy. It certainly isn't good for margins. We can't make any money, so it's a little bit difficult.

And Victor, one of the other things that's amazing to us, we're not sure which trade war we're fighting right now. Seriously, when we had candidate Trump, it was all about they're stealing our jobs. And then we morphed from that since we hit a 51 percent low in -- a 50-year low in unemployment, we morphed into oh, my God, it's the trade deficit. Well, in the first year of the administration, the trade deficit got $44 billion worse. So then it switched to theft of intellectual property and transfer of technology. And how's that affect people buying t-shirts and ties for the holiday season? We don't get it. We don't understand it. We don't see a strategy here. And our industry is feeling like we're some sort of pawn in an international chess game, and we don't quite know what's going on.

PAUL: So let me ask you this, Rick. The president, as you saw, is also ordering companies to stay away from doing business with China. How do you receive that when you hear that from him?

HELFENBEIN: Oh, we don't take that very well. I believe we're a capitalist country, and yes, the president has powers and can do certain things. He can enact IEPA, Emergency Powers Act. But really, do you really, really want to tell us where to buy our goods?

PAUL: Do you listen? Is there any chance that you're going to follow through with what he is saying he wants to mandate? HELFENBEIN: He is the president, and he can say whatever he wishes to

say, and he has all these powers behind him, but he also ought to look at the whole picture, because the number one place we get apparel, for example, is China. And there's a threat on China. The number two is Vietnam. He's put a threat of tariffs on Vietnam. Number three is India. He's put a threat on India. So we don't even have a place to go.

So if you're going to threaten somebody, at least give them an alternative. We just don't know where to go, and we don't know what to do. And you can crush the economy. And we also don't like being called great American companies. We had these things with patriotic farmers, and then they stepped all over the soybeans. So, a great company, yes, we want to do right for America. We want to do the right thing for America. But we seriously are starting to wonder where the president is getting his advice from and why people are telling him to do this.

We know what the results are going to be of this, and they are going to be catastrophic to the economy. You can't move a mountain of goods like this someplace else, and like I just said, we don't have another place to go. And then everybody says to us, OK, let's bring it back to America. You know what, America consists of three percent, three percent of our industry. We can't take 97 percent and bring it back to America. It's not going to work.

And then you could ask yourself, how did we end up in this position? Why did the industry leave? You know why we left? Because of the ATIONs, A-T-I-O-N-S, that's automation, innovation, globalization, over regulation. And you know how you fix that? You fix that with a fifth "ation," which is education. You don't do it with taxation, which is tariffs. It's a bad deal. It's a bad deal all around. It's not smart economics. And we hope, we hope the president will put this to the side, go back to the table, talk to the Chinese. The Chinese have a plan, I do believe they'd like to work with us. We should have a plan, too, and it should be public information what that plan is so we're not trying to second guess the president.

PAUL: All right, Richard Helfenbein, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

HELFENBEIN: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely sir.

BLACKWELL: Brazil is under international pressure to do more to save the Amazon from these fires that have been going on.

[10:10:03] PAUL: Wildfire and indigenous people at risk here, parts of Brazil covered in smoke, and the stakes, they're global. So what's being done to stop these fires? We'll talk about that.

And an eight-year-old girl was killed last night at a high school football game. This was in St. Louis. Police are searching for the gunman and a motive now. BLACKWELL: Plus, crime from space, this is not a b-movie script. The

"New York times" is examining a claim that an astronaut improperly accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station.

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BLACKWELL: We're seeing more chaos now in Hong Kong's 12th consecutive weekend of protests. Police are firing tear gas to disperse protesters, who hurled bricks and bombs at the police.

PAUL: Andrew Stevens has been in the thick of it. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police have begun their clearing out operations in the last 10 minutes or so. The riot teams swept through the barriers and swept thousands of protesters further down the street. They've now drawn the line here, as you can see, and are now firing tear gas into the remaining protesters, and slowly now advancing forward in a more orderly fashion.

[10:15:06] The first charge was literally just that, a charge down to the protesters. And the protesters absolutely fled. You can now smell the tear gas in the air. The police have cleared this place out where there were probably 4,000 or 5,000 protesters standing here and had been here for several hours. Just getting the slight effects of the gas here.

But as you can see, continuing to push the protesters back, continuing to use tear gas to try to clear this street. The protesters have actually been here protesting against new high-tech surveillance measures being used by the police, and actually being rolled out in this area in Kwun Tong, and they have come here to protest that. It was a standoff for several hours. And as you can see now, the police are sweeping down the road, sweeping protesters before them in clouds of tear gas.

Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Wow, just glad he made it through that.

BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Andrew and everyone there, of course stay safe.

Now Brazil, let's go there. It's under international pressure to get control of fires burning right now in the Amazon rainforest. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, says he is deploying the military to help fight the fires for the next month. And several countries, including the U.S., are offering help.

PAUL: With the crisis of leading the protests in Brazil and around the world, really, as smoke from the fires travel into Brazilian cities and neighboring countries. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Brazil not far now from where the fires are burning. So Nick, it looks like you have moved from your first location, and you're closer now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we moved actually down one of the main highways. As we were passing by, we came across this small isolated roadside fire. But it gave an example really of how any -- simply catching. And it's moved down about 50 yards of this highway side here. And the firemen turned up. You can see there. They are putting it out, trying to dampen it out, just hitting it with shovels and trying to control it.

It seems to have burned itself out mostly. But this is basically the scale of the challenge they're facing here, incredibly dry brush, anything considered to light. This is in fact the place with the most fires in Brazil right now, and experiencing a pall of smoke over part of the rivers here and the skyline, which residents say they simply didn't see a year before. And it's really, I think, putting extra fuel to the claims that Brazil is feeling something unprecedented right now, and that critics say is essentially the result of human activity, of people coming in, deforesting, trying to get more agricultural lands, maybe farm soy, maybe farm cattle, maybe get the soy to feed the cattle, so perhaps we can have more beef, which is increasing part of people's diet, yours or mine here.

A lot of global questions here. And you can see behind me the firemen are -- putting some water onto these flames. But the geopolitical questions you're hearing, it's now at the G7 and amplified in places like this, because Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, says that really this is part of the annual burn, forest fires, an annual occurrence. They simply haven't happened like this for quite some time. They're 85 percent up, say Brazilian scientists of the government since last year. President Bolsonaro says the people of the Amazon should be allowed to use the land here, really, to enrich themselves, to get their economy flourishing again.

But you've seen the criticism leveled against Brazil by the French, by so much of the European Union, saying simply Brazil has to get a handle on this. They're sending in the army, temporary firefighters. But really fires like this come up quite so frequently, it's a mammoth task ahead. Do they need outside help? We'll see in the days ahead. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Nick Paton Walsh for us there. Nick, thank you.

PAUL: Four people were shot last night in St. Louis, and one of them, an eight-year-old girl, died. Police now want your help to find that shooter.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the Supreme Court reveals that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of treatment for pancreatic cancer. How she's doing now. We'll have more on that next.

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[10:23:11] PAUL: It's 22 minutes past the hour right now on this Saturday. Good morning to you, I'm Christi Paul.

PAUL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Always good to be with you. Listen, we need to take a tragic turn here to this shooting near a high school. This was in St. Louis last night. It left an eight-year-old girl dead, three others wounded. Police say the young girl was with her family when she was shot. Polo Sandoval is with us now. Polo, so this happened during a football exhibition game. What do we know about what led up to this?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Victor, by all accounts it seems that this little girl was simply an innocent bystander who was caught in the cross fire when gunfire erupted. The police chief saying that officers were either at or near the site before those shots rang out. They were responding to a fight that had broken out on the city's northwest side, that's near one of the local high schools there. Investigators saying that two teen boys and a woman were wounded and, also, sadly an eight-year-old little girl also shot. And the police chief says, she did not survive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF JOHN HAYDEN, ST. LOUIS POLICE: Of course, the little girl wasn't doing anything wrong. She was with family when this occurred. And shots rang out. Not sure what particular fight that was going on when shots rang out, but, again, the police were in this area. They had been in the area clearing out the crowd from this large, large event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: And context certainly adding another layer of tragedy to this. As you may recall earlier this month, CNN reported that seven children under the age of 17 had been killed by gunfire in St. Louis. Police apparently saying that before last night that the last shooting was a 7-year-old little boy who was shot and killed while he was playing with his little sister in his backyard. This was earlier this month according to his mother who had spoken to local media at the time that they were simply -- that there were two men shooting at each other in the street when their child was caught in the gunfire.

[10:25:03] And then when you look at some of the stats that have been recently released by the St. Louis Police Department most recently that indicates that the first seven months of 2019 there has been a significant increase in assaults, and also in murders, particularly when you pin it up against the same time period of just last year. Victor and Christi, back to you now.

BLACKWELL: That's tragic. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

PAUL: In this morning's legal brief, the stand your ground law tested again during a trial in Florida. Michael Drejka claims he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Markeis McGlockton last summer during an argument over a handicap parking spot. After six hours of deliberations, here's what the jury said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The State of Florida versus Michael Drejka, case number 1809851-CF, as to the charge of manslaughter, we the jury find as follows as to the defendant in this case. The defendant is guilty of manslaughter as charged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: OK, according to the "New York Times," NASA is examining a claim that NASA astronaut Anne McClain improperly accessed her estranged wife's bank account from the International Space Station. "The Times" reports that McClain's spouse, Summer Worden, brought a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that McClain had committed identity theft, despite not seeing any indication of moved or spent funds.

PAUL: So Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just completed three weeks of treatment for pancreatic cancer.

BLACKWELL: The Supreme Court says a tumor was first detected last month, and that no further treatment is needed at this time. Ginsburg is 86 years old and was nominated to the court by President Clinton in 1993.

Let's go to Joan Biskupic joining us now from New York. So this is the fourth bout with cancer. How serious are her health issues, because there was an optimistic statement released by the court?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: It sure was optimistic. And one of the reasons it was optimistic is because whenever they put out the information, as they have since her first cancer scare in 2009, it's always after treatment has occurred and they're able to say that everything was caught, or at least that's what they're telling us. And at this point we have no reason not to believe that. In 2009 she had colorectal cancer -- pardon me, in 1999 she had the colorectal cancer. In 2009 she had her first pancreatic cancer indication, and then just last year it was the lung cancer.

But these have been detected early, apparently treated early enough that they've been caught, and so she's able to go about her life. She is 86 now. Things might be different, but she's making every point in the world to be visible, to be healthy, and to keep going.

I remember in 2009 when she first had the pancreatic cancer indication, she was undergoing treatment, and she insisted on showing up at President Barack Obama's first joint session to Congress in early 2009. And I asked her in an interview, how were you able to do that? Why did you do that? And she said I wanted people to see that I was on the Supreme Court, that the Supreme Court wasn't all men, because at the time there were eight male justices, and she was the only female. And she said, and I wanted to show people, especially that Senator from Kentucky, that I was still alive.

As you might remember, Victor, back in 2009 when she first had the pancreatic cancer, then Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning said, boy pancreatic cancer so severe she'll probably be dead in a matter of months. She survived that, and Senator Bunning himself ended up apologizing, and you know now, Senator Bunning himself has now passed away. And we're 10 years later, and she's surviving yet another round of cancer.

PAUL: Yes, it is extraordinary, Joan Biskupic, thank you so much.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So the U.S./China trade war is escalating as both sides slap another round of tariffs on one another, but it does not end there. Find out why France could soon be on the receiving end of the president's international trade war. We'll talk about this and much more with our political experts, Maria and Alice are with us, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: As the 2020 Democratic field of presidential candidates slowly thins out, despite low poll numbers, Marianne Williamson is in it to win it. She's sticking to her focus of love and spirituality as a way of healing this divided nation. I spoke with her earlier this morning, and asked her, since she's coming from a place of love and healing, if as president, would she be comfortable and capable of sending U.S. troops into combat. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Love is not weak. Love is fierce. Look at any woman. Look at what we will do for our children. Sometimes those of us -- it's interesting because this idea that those who love don't understand about evil, I think it's the opposite. I think those of us who have the deepest devotion to love have the deepest appreciation of the power of evil, and that's why we stand on love the way we do, because you need to love so as not to give evil so much room to fester. I think the fact that I have such a deep faith in love actually is part of what makes me understand that evil exists on this planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Williamson went on to say absolutely yes, she would send troops in if military action were necessary.

BLACKWELL: Before heading to the G7 in France, President Trump escalated his trade fight with Beijing, imposing more tariffs on Chinese goods after Beijing announced a new round of tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. In a tweet, President Trump announced the tariff hike. He said this, "Starting on October 1st, the $250 billion of goods and products from China currently being taxed at 25 percent will be taxed at 30 percent."

Joining me now to discuss this and much more, CNN political commentators, Maria Cardona, who is also a Democratic strategist, and Alice Stewart, who is a Republican strategist. Ladies, welcome back.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So let's start here. The president has increased tariffs, but even after that, right before leaving the White House, headed to France, the president talked about a potential tariff on a French product. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[10:35:02] DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want them doing anything having to do with taxing unfairly our companies. Those are great American companies, and frankly, I don't want France going out and taxing our companies. Very unfair. And if they do that, we'll be taxing their wine or doing something else. We'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So Alice, we've got the trade war with China, the threat of tariffs against European auto imports, the threat of tariffs against Japanese auto imports, the threat of tariffs earlier this year against Mexico in relation to immigration, now the threat of tariffs against French wine. The Republican orthodoxy is free trade, free market, anti-tariff. Are you comfortable with this?

STEWART: No, I'm really opposed to tariffs in general. But Victor, when we talk about touching wine, I have a real problem with that personally.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: But politically --

PAUL: Amen.

STEWART: Let's look at this from a political standpoint. It's important to note going back to the origin of why we're in this situation currently with China, they do need to face consequences for the unfair trade practices, the currency manipulation, the theft of intellectual property, and someone does need to take a stand on this.

I think the tariff war and the trade war we're getting in is becoming troublesome. There are other ways to go and push back on China. We can limit -- restrict their access to financial markets or certainly to education, other ways to go about it. The tariff war is dangerous. China is looking at this from a long-term, a long ball perspective. He's got decades to look at this. President Trump has an election coming up, and he's got to get something done sooner rather than later. I don't think tariffs are the good way to go about doing it. There are other ways to make the point.

BLACKWELL: Considering, Maria, how this affects real household spending, farmers, how businesses can buy or plan for the future, are the Democratic candidates for president emphasizing this enough?

CARDONA: I think they should be emphasizing it much more, Victor, and I hope they will as they get their campaigns started in all of these states, because, frankly, what this president is showing is that he's completely clueless about how the economy works. One of the things that I have actually been happy about in the last two and a half years is that he has been unable to screw up the Obama economy that was handed to him when he came into office. That is now going away because his completely misguided approach in terms of trying to put out a strategy on Twitter in terms of how our economy functions, in terms of how the global strategy of our economy functions, and doing it through tweets, is completely, incredibly insane.

And we are seeing the effects of it. He is actually being incredibly detrimental to the same people that voted for him. He is betraying them. The farmers, the working class folks who thought that he would have their back, he has actually done exactly the opposite. This trade war, to your point, is going to cost American consumers millions of dollars. We are going to feel it every time we go to the grocery store. And so I think going into the campaign, absolutely Democrats need to be emphasizing this.

BLACKWELL: Maria, Alice, stay with us. We have more to discuss. We'll talk about the Democratic candidates for president in just a moment. Christi?

PAUL: So this week's Mission Ahead is a unique drug trial that's underway. It's a cancer vaccine. Now, it's being treated on dogs, but humans may be next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go, this way. We're going to go right in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good boy.

DR. DOUG THAMM: Frazier's here this morning to actually finish off enrollment for a new clinical trial called the VACCS trial, the Vaccine Against Canine Cancer Study. The vaccine is actually designed to potentially delay or prevent a variety of different kinds of cancers simultaneously. Dog and human cancers look very similar at the molecular level, so if it's successful in dogs, we're really hopeful that that will provide really encouraging evidence to pursue the same approach in people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, nice work.

STEPHEN JOHNSTON, ASU BIODESIGN INSTITUTE: We've been working on this for 12 years. We made it by screening 800 dogs for the eight major cancers, and then we looked to see which components were in common across those eight cancers. And we took 31 of those and that's what we made the vaccine for. The hope is, is that when a tumor arises you will have one or more of those components that we vaccinated against, and as soon as the T-cells see that in the immune system, they'll start reacting against that at a very early step and kill the tumor.

Most people in the cancer community will still say that this is impossible because every tumor is personal. They may be right. Our rationale is that if there's a possibility it might work and the impact would be so big, it's worth taking that chance.

THAMM: Today he's going to get his first vaccine.

[10:40:08] STEPHANIE FOSTER: Our dogs are our best friends, and they love us unconditionally. I jumped at the opportunity to help people. It is awesome that our dogs could be the answer to this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Back now with CNN political commentators Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart. Maria, let me start with you. Congressman Seth Moulton dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president. And in his interview with "The New York Times" he said this, "I think it's evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren, and Sanders, and really it's a debate about how far left the party should go." When you look at the polls, you've got the top five who are ranging from where Biden is at the top of the happy to where Harris and Buttigieg are at five percent, and then you've got everyone else at, I guess, three and below. Is he right?

CARDONA: Well, I think certainly if you look at the polls now that's probably where he is getting that. But let's recall, Victor, that we can't really lean on political convention, right, because we thought in 2016 that there's no way in hell that Trump would ever win, and look what happened. So --

BLACKWELL: Yes, but he was also at the top of the polls for most of his time as a candidate.

CARDONA: But when he first came in, there was -- nobody gave him any sort of serious look in terms of him being viable. Yes, then he became viable, what I'm saying to you is that it's still really early, and not one vote has been cast.

[10:45:10] And so I think it's too early to cast anyone else out. This is why we have Democratic debates. This is why we have the primaries that are going to be starting in February of next year.

And so I think that what the focus for the Democrats is right now is that anybody on that stage and in the Democratic primary currently will be a much better president of the United States than Donald Trump is. I certainly believe that the candidates do need to understand where the electorate is, essentially the primary electorate as well, and they do need to be careful to be speaking to the majority of that primary electorate in terms of the issues that they care most about.

BLACKWELL: Well, I want to talk about that in a moment, but first, Alice, let me get you into this. When you look at that list that Moulton highlighted, Biden, Warren and Sanders, Buttigieg raced the most money in the second quarter. Harris had a bump there for a while. What do you think? Do you think he's right that the president should not be concerned with anyone other than Biden, Warren, and Harris -- I mean Biden, Warren, and Sanders?

STEWART: The three of them clearly are the three to keep an eye on. I still, I keep my eye also on Buttigieg. He's good on the campaign trail. He's solid. He's able to make his point without coming across in a bitter, vindictive way.

But the reality is, if you look at the polls, nationally, obviously the polls are Biden and Warren and Sanders, but the state by state polls are really what matters. And whether we're talking about Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and these early states, Biden is clearly always at the top, and the second two spots are Warren and Sanders, and the three of them I see as the break away. That doesn't mean something couldn't dramatically change.

CARDONA: Right.

STEWART: The takeaway with what Seth Moulton said, though, is we need to look at how far left the Democratic Party is going to go. Joe Biden is more moderate. I would say if I was on that side, he would be someone that should be more of a force to be reckoned with for Trump. He would be a better candidate to nominate because he's more moderate. When you have Warren and Sanders so far to the left, that is something, it might help them win a Democratic primary, but that is not going to win over some independent minded voters when we get to the election. So Moulton is right with regard to this is a question for the Democrats, how far left do you want to go and really take on Trump.

BLACKWELL: Maria, I want you to listen, everyone to listen to this from the former vice president yesterday when he was asking an audience in New Hampshire to imagine an assassination. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My two political eras were Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. My senior semester they were both shot and killed. Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee, what would have happened in America? Things changed. You had over 40 kids shot in Kent State on a beautiful lawn by the National Guard. There are a whole lot of things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So Maria, we play the -- he was making a larger point, right?

CARDONA: Right.

BLACKWELL: And we played the what if Obama had said or done what President Trump says or does on a daily basis. But can you imagine if in making a larger point President Trump had said, what if my predecessor had been assassinated when he was nominated, it would have been breaking news. In this case, Vice President Biden --

CARDONA: I doubt it, Victor. I really do.

BLACKWELL: If President Trump had said what if President Obama had been assassinated, I bet you it would have been.

CARDONA: You know -- yes, sure.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this. What is with these flubs from the vice president? CARDONA: Look, I think to your point, he was making a larger point.

And if we're going to get into gaffes, Victor, exactly. Trump does this five times a day on Twitter. He says things that are just completely nonsensical, things that even Republicans can't even defend and they kind of look the other way. So I have to say if you're going to go gaffe for gaffe between Biden and Trump, I think Trump is the one who will win that gaffe -- that gaffe contest every single day. And so you do have to look at the larger issue here, because we are in a moment of tumult. We are in a moment where this country is looking at a sort of violent, tumultuous time, and frankly because of the what the president of the United States --

BLACKWELL: I hear the point.

CARDONA: -- is saying and doing. That's the focus.

BLACKWELL: I hear the point, but we're continuously seeing these moments from the former vice president, and this one jumped out from what he said in New Hampshire. We've run out of time, Maria Cardona, Alice Stewart, thank you, both.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:53:06] BLACKWELL: So you might be familiar with the work of President Trump's super fan Jon McNaughton. He's been reinterpreting famous pieces of art like Washington crossing the Delaware with this own Trump spin.

PAUL: Now he's got a new piece, called "The Masterpiece." Sadly for him, not everyone loves it. Jeanne Moos reminds us when it comes to art work, everybody is a critic.

BLACKWELL: Everybody.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump has done a few skyline sketches for charity. It looks like a bunch of middle finger salutes was one critique. But even President Trump doesn't call himself an artist, so what's this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The title is going to be "The Masterpiece."

MOOS: Jon McNaughton has a new painting. He's made a name for himself with his Trump fan art. Remember Trump crossing the swamp, mimicking Washington crossing the Delaware. Many of the works posted on his Instagram even move. But they also move his detractors to do a little retouching.

Critics on Twitter went bonkers pulling back the curtain on the president's painting. They took the impressionistic original painting and reinterpreted it, revealing everything from a filet-o-fish to the president's tax returns to a map of Greenland. The actual artist meant to look at the big picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will history remember the presidency of Donald J. Trump? I believe it will be considered his masterpiece.

MOOS: These re-touchers think history will remember Trump's presidency for its caged immigrants and white supremacists with tiki torches, or for his relationships with a bare-chested Vladimir Putin, Trump and Kim Jong-un in a hot tub, colorful characters like Stormy Daniels and Anthony Scaramucci. Note the itty-bitty hand holding the curtain.

[10:55:03] The real Scaramucci tweeted "Not bad doctoring." The un- doctored masterpiece is available for up to $399 on the artist's website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it's my masterpiece, that I don't know yet.

MOOS: He is the master of this piece of work. Trump fans love it, and Trump critics love to deface it. It's a scream.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Oh, my goodness.

All right, listen, this is not something you want to see in the car next to you when you're driving. A driver apparently asleep at the wheel of his Tesla on a busy California freeway. Look at this.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's totally asleep. This is crazy.

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BLACKWELL: So the couple who spotted this apparently sleeping driver, says it looked like the car was going about 70 to 75 miles an hour, but it managed to stay in its lane. Now, at the very end of the clip, the driver appears to wake up, puts his hands back on the wheel. So obviously some technology involved here to keep the car within the lanes for the Tesla.

PAUL: Yes, I would think so.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: Thank you so much for spending your morning with us. We always appreciate you, and don't forget to tweet us @Christi_Paul and @VictorBlackwell.

BLACKWELL: Yes, on Instagram, too. There's much more ahead in the next hour of CNN's Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.

PAUL: Make good memories. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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