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Interview With Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA); Israel's P.M. Speech Interrupted By Sirens Warning Of Incoming Rocket Fire; Apple Unveils iPhone 11 Models, Which Go On Sale Soon. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 10, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, CNN: Flash forward to President Trump doubting these sources saying essentially, "My relationships with foreign leaders is far more important". So Congressman, what do you think Trump's motivation is for not trusting human sources?

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): We can only imagine what's in this mans mind, but what we can not imagine is him continuing to be President. This is down right a serious national security issue.

We've known from the very get go (ph) that Trump had no use for the intelligence systems of the United States. He said so right there standing next to Putin in Helsinki. The fact of the matter is Trump always believes in his gut, which happens to be getting bigger and bigger but less and less useful.

The fact of the matter is Trump, as a President, is a national security risk. I mentioned a few moments ago that he is pulling three quarters of a billion dollars out of the NATO defense programs in Eastern Europe pushing back against Putin. What is going on here?

When you refuse to believe your intelligence agencies then what you have come to is a narcissistic mind where you happen to think you possess all of the knowledge of the world and apparently that's where Trump is in his own mind. It is extraordinarily dangerous.

And then he goes off and probably, possibly in that meeting where he invited the....

BALDWIN: Sergey Kislyak.

GARAMENDI: ... exactly - into the Oval office things were said there that are of great concern to the intelligence community. It was private. The only people there were the Russians.

In all of the meetings that he's had with Putin there's only been Putin, no American there except perhaps an interpreter. The fact of the matter is our President is a danger to our national security.

BALDWIN: So can the President be trusted with classified intelligence, Congressman? GARAMENDI: He can't be trusted with anything. He can't be trusted with the economy. He can't be trusted with national intelligence information.

In all probability, the national intelligence community is keeping critical sources and information from those sources and about those sources from him because they can not trust him to keep his mouth or his tweets quite. It goes on and on.

There is a back and forth within the intelligence community that sorts out - sifts (ph) out and tries to get to the foundation of knowledge and information about what our allies or adversaries are doing and thinking.

It goes back to the very beginning of any government, maybe three, four thousands years ago when they tried to figure out what was going on in the other camp so that they could prepare themselves. And down through the centuries, down through the millennium we need to understand what is going on with our friends and with our enemies.

And that's what intelligence gathering is all about. It is not bad. It is absolutely necessary. It's essential and Trump is inessential.

BALDWIN: Congressman Garamendi, thank you very much, appreciate you.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Breaking news now, Israel's Prime Minister forced to interrupt a speech moments ago with (ph) sirens rang out warning of incoming rocket fire. Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem. Oren, what do you know?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding a campaign rally in the city of Ashdod, which is just a short distance away from Gaza and he had it on Facebook live when in the middle of this broadcast red alerts sounding, warning of incoming rocket fire.

Netanyahu's security team quickly surrounded him and rushed him off stage for a few minutes until the all clear was given. Israeli military says two rockets were fired from Gaza towards the city of Ashdod and in that direction and those two rockets were intercepted by Israel's iron dome aerial defense system, but there is no doubt that it was certainly a dramatic moment as Netanyahu was rushed off stage in front of his followers, many of whom it seemed didn't quite understand exactly what was happening.

Netanyahu came back on stage a short time later and tried to make light of the situation, saying "see, look whoever's in Gaza doesn't want us to be here" trying to tout himself as he who can stand against Gaza and stand against the militant groups inside of Gaza.

Brooke, it's worth noting that there has been no claim of responsibility for who fired these two rockets but given Netanyahu's earlier announcement that he intends to annex parts of the west bank if he wins election, I think it's likely that these rocket fires were a response to that.

It's also worth noting that in my four and half years here or so this is the first time we've seen rockets and red alerts sound while a Prime Minister was giving his speech, appearing to be targeted at where that Prime Minister was speaking.

BALDWIN: Significant (ph) on the timing. Oren Liebermann, we'll stay in contact with you for updates. Thank you very much, in Jerusalem.

Coming up next another bizarre twist in President Trump's insistence that he did not fabricate a hurricane warning for Alabama that includes reported threats one of his own cabinet members made to scientists.



BALDWIN: NOAA and the National Weather Service front and center after the President tried to prove his point that he was not wrong when he said Alabama would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian. You remember the thing.

New York Times reports Wilbur Ross, Trump's Secretary of Commerce, which oversees NOAA threatened to fire its top officials unless they issued a statement against this tweet from the Birmingham National Weather Service. As you can see it corrected the President.


BALDWIN: Now the Congress department says that the New York Times story is false and that Secretary Ross never ever threatened NOAA staff but on Friday NOAA issued an unsigned statement backing up the President's false claim saying, "The Birmingham National Weather Service's Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time".

Today, the man Ross reportedly threatened that's NOAA's acting administrator spoke in support of the Birmingham office at a National Weather Association meeting in Alabama but Jacobs also stood by the NOAA statement.


NEIL JACOBS, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, NOAA: At one point, Alabama was in the mix as was the rest of the Southeast. The numbers were all over the place, particularly further out into the forecast.

The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian. What it did not say however is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office which was to calm fears and support the public safety.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: D. James Baker is one of three former NOAA administrators who condemned the NOAA statement for Trump in a Washington Post piece. So Jim, thank you so much for being here, sir.


BALDWIN: First and foremost, just public trust in weather forecast, especially when lives are at risk - can not be politicized. So you tell me, how important is it for NOAA to maintain scientific integrity?

BAKER: Brooke, the weather forecasts are not just happy talk. They involve protection from death and destruction. When I came became the administrator of NOAA in 1993 one of the first things - one of the first slogans I put up was, "fund the weather service or die" and that's in fact what we're talking about here.

We need to have public trust in the forecast so that people do what they need to do and are not over worn. One of the important things the weather service has done over the years is to learn about the social impacts of its forecast as well as the scientific side of it. And making sure that people get exactly the warning they need and not too much.

In this case, there was over warning a false report that Alabama would be strongly affected and the weather service off in Birmingham didn't even know about the tweets from Trump until they started to get lots of anguished calls about what should I do? And then they put out a statement, which was absolutely accurate, that there would be no impact of Hurricane Dorian on Alabama and that's what the center piece of this discussion is all about.

BALDWIN: So then the other piece of the discussion is also just about how Secretary Ross was threatening to fire these employees after the NOAA Birmingham office contradicted Trump's claim about Dorian and Alabama. And your reaction to that is what?

BAKER: Well, the Secretary of Commerce is fairly limited in what he can do with NOAA. NOAA is the scientific with lots of scientific experts and they know much more than the Secretary will ever know.

There is only two things he can do. He could either cut the budget or he can fire people. And so in this case, apparently he decided he would use the second of those and he threatened to fire the political appointee's there at NOAA.

BALDWIN: And if you were still at NOAA, right, this would have been you, sir, on the other end of the line from Secretary Ross. I'm sure you've thought about it, how would you have handled it?

BAKER: Well in this case this is a direct violation of scientific integrity and when I worked in the Clinton administration we had very strong and positive support from the White House so we didn't have to come up against this problem. So it's always hard to put yourself in the place of someone else, but in this case I think the only right thing to do was to say, "I can't do that. I'm going to have to resign. I can't violate scientific integrity". That's what NOAA's all about.

BALDWIN: Scientific integrity, Jim Baker. Thank you very much.

BAKER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just in to CNN, hurricane survivors from the Bahamas will not be granted temporary protected status - what we're hearing from White House sources on that.

And Apple rolling out its next generation iPhone just moments ago, details on the changes to the phone camera.



BALDWIN: President Trump's approval numbers among African Americans may be low but he just boasted about some other numbers that drew applause from an audience of African American educators just a little bit ago. This was at the 2019 HBCU week conference in Washington. HBCU, that's historically black colleges and universities. So here was the President.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first time ever most new hires are minorities and predominately women, so that's a big statement. Most are minorities and women. The African American poverty rate also reached a new record low in the history of our country, the lowest poverty rate.

We are - that's something.


I don't know. When I'm not that debate stage with whoever I'm on, these are pretty good numbers to - who's going to beat these numbers? Please tell me.


BALDWIN: Charles Blow is a New York Times columnist and a CNN political commentator and we'll get into the numbers in just a second but let's talk about HBCU. And one of the questions out there is well, why are HBCU's sitting there and listening to the president of the United States -- and you say?


BALDWIN: It's a White House incentive.

BLOW: This is a White House initiative.

BALDWIN: Initiative.

BLOW: This office that puts on this conference was an office that was started under Reagan, who is also a racist by the way, anybody who's confused about that let's go back and listen to the tape last month that we found of him talking to Nixon calling black leaders at the U.N. monkeys who had just learned to wear shoes, so if you're confused about that. And that office moved into the White House proper under...

BALDWIN: President Trump.

BLOW: ... President Trump. And - but the thing to remember is that symbolism means a lot more to racist than it does to people who are not. Results and deliverables [ph] mean a lot to people who are not racist but to a racist the symbol that says "This is a guard against you calling me a racist" means something and that means something to this man.

BALDWIN: But what about his point just on the numbers, right. The Washington Post did this whole take out on the black unemployment and let me just quote them.

"For the first time most new hires of prime working age, that's 25 to 54, are people of color" according to this Washington Post analyst of data the labor department had been collecting since the '70's. Minority hires overtook white hires last year. Women are predominantly driving the trend so say what you will about this President the numbers don't lie.

BLOW: Right. But you have to know what the trend of the numbers, right. So almost all of that betterment of black numbers whether it be unemployment, driving, new businesses. The bulk of it happened under President Obama after we almost crashed everything turned around under his presidency until the numbers get better.

It's just that he didn't destroy the trend and so do you give the person who's responsible who oversaw the last 10 percent of the trend credit for the entire trend because he didn't destroy the trend that was already happening? In fact, it flattened out. It was less steep of a decline in the bad numbers under him than it was under Obama.

So how did we guess that? So I think what we have to do it to keep telling people to take in the whole picture of this. I'm not saying that - I'm happy he didn't destroy the trend, for whatever that means, right. I'm happy that didn't happen, but the trend...

BALDWIN: Of course. We want the numbers to be strong.

BLOW: ... it's Obama's trend.

BALDWIN: OK. Before I let you go, let me ask you about - we've learned from a source in the administration that Trump will not grant the temporary protected status for folks who've survived Dorian in the Bahamas. TPS is for humanitarian relief, your thoughts on that?

BLOW: Right. And so now you have to ask yourself, why wouldn't you do that? It's temporary. These people are clearly suffering. They are very close neighbors of ours. Why wouldn't you do that? There's part of a trend here of trying to signal to the other people -

this is the other side of the world, right, so one sides a signal that says I'm not a racist and because I do this I can then (ph) turn around and treat these black people any way I want. And that is alignment with this kind of white, nationalist thinking which is to deny everyone entry to this country that you possibly can.

BALDWIN: He says he's worried about bad actors taking advantage.

BLOW: They always say that. When have they not said that? That's why we have children in a cage on the southern border. That's why they're trying to cut off visa lottery because now a larger percentage of those are actually African people taking advantage of it.

It was designed for European people, but now it's African people. Now they want to cut it off. It's the worst thing in the world. Bad actors are going to come sneak into the country. That is always the excuse used to kind of turn the grip on the black people.

BALDWIN: Charles Blow, thank you.

BLOW: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, we will show you what Apple just rolled out for it's new product launch and we will take you to Illinois where a freight train has just derailed and has now sparked this massive fire.



BALDWIN: Just in, Apple unveiling it's iPhone 11 models, which go on sale in about 10 days. Moment ago at Apple HQ Tim Cook touted the addition of a third rear camera to the pro model. The announcement comes as iPhone sales has stalled and revenue has fallen. Apple has also cut the price for the new entry level iPhone by about $50.

And breaking news in Illinois, first responders are at the scene of a train derailment in the town of Dupo that is near St. Louis. You can see several - what appears to be several cars in this freight train going off the tracks. Several nearby schools have been evacuated and electricity is being cut off in the area as a safety precaution because of high power lines there. No word yet on any injuries.

And that is it for me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being here. The lead with Jake Tapper starts right now.