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CNN NEWSROOM

Joe Biden Joins 2020 Competitors in New Hampshire; Bolton- Pompeo Relationship Hits New Lows; Tough Week for Trump and Boris Johnson; Estranged Husband of Missing Mom Believes She Is Alive; Police Say More Evidence Not Yet Presented in Missing Mom Case; Navy Fires SEAL Team Leaders Over Loss of Confidence; Rival Texas High School Teams Unite After Mass Shootings. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 6, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


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BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. Joe Biden visits New Hampshire along with virtually the entire 2020 Democratic field. The State Democratic Party holds its convention in Manchester tomorrow. While he's there the former VP is hosting a pair of town halls presumably to keep delivering jabs to the current occupant of the White House.

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This is Biden's first political event since his controversial fundraiser. The critics say went against his promise not to take money from fossil fuel industry, and the fundraiser was hosted by a former natural gas executive

And our CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz is in Laconia, New Hampshire following Joe Biden. And so how did the first town hall go -- Arlette?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Joe Biden spends about an hour here in Laconia speaking to voters, delivering remarks and then taking a few questions at a town hall. But as you mentioned, this comes as it's really shaping up to be a big political weekend here in New Hampshire for those 2020 Democrats. Tomorrow, 19 of the Presidential contenders will be descending on the stage to take their pitch to New Hampshire voters at the state's Democratic Party convention.

But Joe Biden today he fielded questions about immigration, also about domestic violence issues. But for the most part, the former Vice President really trained his focus on President Trump. Take a listen to what he had to say.

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JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now that the President's feeling pressure on the economy, he's becoming and we're teetering on a recession, he's becoming more erratic. He inherited a pretty good economy from Barack Obama. Just like he inherited everything in his life.

And now --

Now he's in the process of squandering it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAENZ: Now, Biden is appearing here in the critical first in the nation primary state of New Hampshire. And his visit here comes just a few days after his top aides were downplaying expectations about his performance in Iowa. A senior campaign aide said that he doesn't necessarily have to win Iowa or New Hampshire to win the nomination and that both of those fights are going to be a dog fight -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Arlette, thank you very much.

And as the number of pressing foreign policy issues facing the U.S. grows, CNN has learned that long-simmering tensions between key members of Trump's national security team has now reached an all-time low and is now leading to all-out hostility. The deep rift centers on John Bolton and the staffers he leads on the National Security Council and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The friction apparently so strong that sources say the two men have had stretches of going weeks without even talking to one another.

This internal squabble adding to a mounting sense of confusion about the Trump administration's foreign policy priorities. Gloria Borger is CNN's chief political analyst. She's with me now. And so given all the policy issues, Iran, North Korea, China, Venezuela, now this deep sense of you know isolation for NSC staffers working under Bolton, isn't this an example of when personality just gets in the way of policy?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it is and I think it also may be ideology quite frankly. I mean this is a President who is an isolationist and he hired an interventionist as his National Security Adviser. All you had to do was google John Bolton and you would have figured that out. So there's really no surprise that Bolton, for example, may clash with the President. But according to the great reporting by Kaitlin Collins, Kevin Liptak and Zack Cohen of our White House team, I think that you know what we are also seeing is that Pompeo, the Secretary of State, has figured out how to deal with this President and how to work with this President.

And on the personality side, John Bolton has not. And sort of gets in the President's face and the President may not like that. On the other hand, as you know, Brooke, this is a President who kind of likes having chaos around him. And so he may not -- he may not mind this because in the end, he's going to tweet what he wants to tweet about foreign policy and everybody else always has to catch up with it. Remember what he did on Syria before Mattis decided to leave.

BALDWIN: Speaking of world leaders and chaos, Gloria Borger.

BORGER: Yes, well. BALDWIN: So you look at the week that was, right. You look at

President Trump and dealing with the fallout from Sharpie gate. Then you look over the pond and I'm married to an Englishman and so I've heard a lot about Brexit, right. You have British Prime Minister Boris Johnson whose own brother is leaving his job, right. He was an MP to spend less time with his family.

BORGER: Brother.

BALDWIN: Who -- who had the worst week?

BORGER: Well, I would have to say Boris Johnson, really had the worst week. I mean here is he, he's new, he lost everyone of his first votes in Parliament, which is unprecedented. His brother walked out on him. He purged 21 people in his own party because they didn't support him. I mean, and I mean I think it's kind of stunning that how he had these back-to-back defeats, as a new leader. I mean, that was kind of stunning. Look, if Jerome Powell had gotten up today and said we are headed into a deep, dark recession.

BALDWIN: Great, yes.

BORGER: I would have said --

BALDWIN: Then that would spell trouble for Donald Trump in 2020.

BORGER: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Yes. I hear you.

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BORGER: Exactly. I would have said Trump. But even though Trump had, you know, Sharpie-gate and the rest of it, and every week, don't we at the end of every week we can't remember on Friday what happened on Monday.

BALDWIN: Yes. Yes.

BORGER: You could go through a whole list of things which includes a former adviser of his, Anthony Scaramucci, today calling the President in severe mental decline. Huh? So, when you go through all of these things, you still have to say that I think Boris Johnson had a really, really bad week this week.

BALDWIN: Yes, yes, totally. Gloria Borger, you're the best. Thank you very much.

BORGER: Thanks. Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: In a new twist, the husband of a mother who's been missing for months has just been arrested for a second time. But he's also speaking out saying she is still alive.

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BALDWIN: Another key player in the case of a missing Connecticut mother of five has now been rearrested. Michelle Troconis is once again charged with evidence tampering. The charges are in connection with Jennifer Dulos disappearance in May. So Troconis is the girlfriend of Jennifer's estranged husband Fotis Dulos. He was also arrested again this week for a second time and charged with tampering with or fabricating evidence. And CNN's Brynn Gingras has more.

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BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The appearance of normalcy for Fotis Dulos where he's been spotted exercising and grocery shopping in his Connecticut community. But behind that normalcy, many questions. Dulos has posted bail twice on charges related to the disappearance of his estranged wife Jennifer who vanished on May 24th. Those charges tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Dulos's girlfriend Michelle Troconis has already pleaded not guilty to charges in the case.

Thursday, State Police adding more charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. She is free on bond. Her lawyer did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There's no question that she's the linchpin in terms of putting him away and getting the murder charge established.

GINGRAS: Dulos' latest arrest warrant details surveillance video from the morning of Jennifer's disappearance which police say shows him driving his employees' personal vehicle on a 60-mile drive to New Canaan, Connecticut where Jennifer lived with her five school-aged children. Police believe Dulos was lying in wait near Jennifer's home until she returned from dropping their children off at school.

The affidavit goes to state, the crime and cleanup are believed to have occurred between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. where Jennifer's SUV is seen leaving her home. Dulos is believed to be operating the victim's vehicle which is carrying the body of Jennifer Dulos. Detectives say forensic testing later showing Jennifer's blood was in that vehicle.

JACKSON: I've seen people convicted with less, much less arrested with less. And so the fact is I get police want to be meticulous, they want to dot I's, cross T's.

GINGRAS: Dulos and his girlfriend were also allegedly spotted on surveillance video the night of Jennifer's disappearance putting bags in trash cans on busy city streets several towns away. Police later found those bags contained clothing and a sponge with Jennifer's blood. The couple were involved in a contentious divorce battle after Jennifer filed back in 2017. Her parents say in court documents that they funded Fotis' business as well as the couple's home and the family home and he still owes them money.

In the days after Jennifer's disappearance, Dulos' employee tells police his boss was acting strangely going so far as to take the truck he borrowed to get professionally cleaned and insisting the employee replace the front seats. Authorities later finding evidence of Jennifer's blood on the seats. Fotis Dulos maintains his innocence as he did after the previous charges saying after his arrest Wednesday.

FOTIS DULOS, JENNIFER DULOS' ESTRANGED HUSBAND: It's an exhausting fight. I love my children. That's about it.

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GINGRAS: And, Brooke, the obvious question everyone seems to be asking is with all of that evidence laid out in those 38 pages of the arrest warrant, how is there not a murder charge at this point? We sat down with a Connecticut State Police spokesperson who essentially said what Joey Jackson said. And that's that they want to make sure they get this right before any charges like that are filed. That they still even have evidence that they need to go through in in this case. But it's very possible that a murder charge could be coming in the future. For now, Troconis and Dulos on those tampering charges are going to be back in court later this month -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Brynn, thank you so much for the update there in Connecticut. Appreciate it.

And many students this week of course back in school. But there's a hidden population of children on the brink of homelessness, 1.3 million kids sleep on the streets or couch surf every night in the United States. Kids who have made the tough decision to leave their often-unstable homes and navigate a dangerous world on their own that makes them ineligible for foster care. So this week's CNN Hero is bringing these teenagers out of the shadows giving them a safe house to live in and also love, belonging, and a chance at a brighter future.

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VICKI SOKOLIK, FOUNDER OF STARTING RIGHT: There's a lot of shame that goes with being a homeless, unaccompanied youth. They hide what's actually going on with them. And so they really become this very invisible population. Most people don't even know exist. The transformation of these kids is monumental. They come in so broken, and I'm just one person telling them I'm going to help them. They become softer. It's just great that they can be happy, and they're able to be kids again.

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BALDWIN: So awesome, and you can read so much more about Vicki and how she's helping these teenagers just go to CNNheroes.com.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Breaking news now from the Pentagon, we're getting word of a major development involving the Navy SEAL team dismissed from Iraq over disturbing allegations. Let's go straight to Ryan Browne. Ryan, what's happened?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Brooke, in an unprecedented move, the top three leaders of a Navy SEAL team, SEAL team 7, have been essentially fired from their jobs, as the commanding officer, the executive officer and senior enlisted member of the team have been fired from their jobs by the top admiral overseeing all U.S. Navy SEALs. And he cited a failure in leadership that resulted in a breakdown of order and discipline among the team.

And that was on display when a platoon form SEAL team 7 operating in Iraq was sent home early because of alleged misbehavior. Now officials tell us that alleged misbehavior included drinking while being on deployment and an alleged sexual assault. Now the investigation into those instances is still ongoing, but the climate even though these top leaders weren't involved with those actions themselves, the Navy feels that the climate that they oversaw that allowed this to happen that their subordinates were engaging in this behavior was bad enough that it resulted in their unusual termination, them being fired from their positions.

Now they're still in the Navy. There's no additional disciplinary action against them being taken at this point we're being told, but very rare. Unprecedented, the Navy officials we talked to had never heard of this ever happening before, that top three members of an elite Navy SEAL team being fired for a loss of confidence by their boss.

BALDWIN: All right. So I hear you on how rare this is. And this is just the latest incident involving the Navy SEALs.

BROWNE: That's right. In fact, there have been real concerns in the Navy SEAL community and wider special operations forces community, but specifically in the Navy SEALs community, the same top admiral, Collin Green, sent a memo recently talking about what they were perceived as a series of ethical failures and lapses. Members of SEAL team 10 were accused of cocaine use.

You had instances like Eddie Gallagher who was on trial for actions in Iraq. And so some of these instances have kind of come together and have created a real concern among leadership in the Navy SEALs there are some ethical breakdowns. In fact, they issued a memo ordering their subordinates to carry out a series of changes, reviews, implementing tighter standards, more regulations. Enforcing these kinds of things, everything from uniforms to haircuts to disciplinary measures. These things have all been upped in recent weeks because of these concerns about these instances -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got it. Ryan Browne thank you very much.

BROWNE: you bet.

BALDWIN: And just before I let you go, you know, I started my week on Sunday reporting from Odessa, Texas, and this is where I want to leave you this week. For years El Paso and Odessa have met on the football field as rivals to battle it out for the win, but this week it was all about sharing a message of unity.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We join tonight at a high school football game to cheer and support our students. Tonight we can also show the world that hate has no place in west Texas.

Tonight we choose to respond with love. Love for our first responders.

Love for El Paso and Odessa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: How special is that, the Permian High School band from Odessa spelling the word love during Thursday night's halftime show against Franklin High School from El Paso. In less than a month, both communities were shaken by mass shootings, 22 people were shot and killed at an El Paso Walmart on August 3rd, and then just this past weekend seven people were killed in a shooting spree in west Texas where Odessa is located. Both high schools also exchanged special banners ahead of kickoff. Each signed for the other team with a special message of strength. So, incredible.

Quick check of the Dow here, it is flat to the end to the week as the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell just today dismissed concerns of a recession but he did warn there is significant risk to the economy including the impact of the trade war. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much for being here with me at CNN. Stay with us, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.

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