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Trump Answers Questions on Bolton, Vaping, Guns, Taliban; CNN: White House Directly Involved in Pressing Scientific Agency to Repudiate Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump; George W. Bush & Defense Secretary Lay Wreath at Pentagon in Memory of 9/11; Acting Philly Police Commissioner Apologized for LAPD T-Shirt. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 13:30   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- when I came into office. And I do believe they would like to make a deal. If they do, that's great. And if they don't, that's great, too. But they have tremendous financial difficult. And the sanctions are getting tougher and tougher.

We cannot let Iran have a nuclear weapon. And they never will have a nuclear weapon. And if they're thinking about enrichment, they can forget about it. Because it's going to be very -- it's going to be very dangerous for them to enrich. Very, very dangerous, OK?


TRUMP: So you can spread the word to Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you consider easing sanctions to make a meeting happen?

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens.

I think Iran has potential. And I think North Korea -- those are two countries we're dealing with right now at a very high level. I think Iran has a tremendous, tremendous potential. They're incredible people. We're not looking for regime change. We hope that we can make a deal.

If we can't make a deal, that's fine, too. OK, that's fine, too. But I think they have to make a deal. They've never been in this condition.

By the way, China is having the worst year they've had now in 57 years, 57 years. It was 22 and then 27. It's 57 years, is the worst year they've had. It's only going to get worse.

I think they want to make a deal, too. I'm dealing with them but I think they want to make a deal. As you know, they're coming in sometime in early October and we're speaking to them constantly. And they also made a couple of moves last night that were pretty good. You saw that, right? They were pretty good.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Which moves are those?

TRUMP: They were pretty respectful to our people. You're going to see it because you were one of the people that reported it, your group. But China is about having to do with tariffs. You saw what they did. They took tariffs off certain things, a lot of things.


TRUMP: I think they did the right thing. I think it was good for them.

But they took them off. Yes, I think it was a gesture, OK, but it was a big move. People were shocked. I wasn't shocked.

But I deal with them and I know I'm going to like them. And I hope we can do something.

With respect to Iran, I think they have to do something because they have potential to have an unbelievably great country. But the way it's going right now, it's disintegrating. And I don't think -- I don't think they should allow that to happen.

North Korea has tremendous potential. North Korea is in between Russia, China and South Korea. It's an -- incredible people. I think they really will -- they have this truly unbelievable potential. I think they want to get to it.

We'll see what happens. Maybe they do and maybe they won't. You're going to just see.

But I really believe that North Korea would like to see something tremendous happen. This could be one of the most unbelievable -- you look at a country in terms of upside. This could be one of the most un unbelievable experiments ever, North Korea.

I also say the same with Iran. Iran can get back to business. They can do unbelievably well with all the natural things that they have.

So just to finish, this is vaping. This is a meeting that gets off a little track because you ask us questions about other things. I think we're better off answering them than not.

But we are looking at vaping very strongly. It's very dangerous. Children have died, people have died.

And the acting commissioner is somebody that's a true expert on it as much as you can be an expert on a brand-new subject.

We're going to have some very strong rules, regulations and, more importantly, we're going to have some very important information come out very shortly. And we'll be reporting that over the next couple of weeks.

And I want to thank you and the commissioner.

Thanks very much, OK. Thank you very much.

Thank you, everybody.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That was the president talking in the Oval Office there just moments ago. This was about 20 minutes that he was talking.

Let me just run down some of the things he talked about. John Bolton, his recently fired/ousted national security advisor. He said that Bolton, it was really the fact that he was talking about -- and this was quite some time ago -- the Libyan model for North Korea. And he said that really set them back.

He also said that Bolton was not getting along with people in the administration he considers very important.

He also talked about North Carolina race that we saw two House seats. He said they picked up two House seats. Just a fact-check there, no, Republicans did not. These were Republican seats that Republicans did reclaim on a very narrow margin in one of those races.

Thirdly, he talked about vaping and the dangers of vaping, which are really coming into prominence now that there have been six deaths here in the U.S.

There did appear to be some announcement there by the FDA and the Trump administration in general that they're going to do something. We're looking for some more details on that but it appears they're really targeting those flavor pods.


Then he was talking about guns. Talking about bipartisan discussions on the Hill, but there no specifics of what that means. What is that going to mean for background checks? Keeping in mind, as he's raising this vaping where six people have died, 1,343 children killed by guns in the U.S. The U.S. leading the world in child gun deaths. That, just last year.

I want to bring in some of the folks here I have to talk about this myriad of topics here.

Let's talk about John Bolton first, Jackie. The president shining some light on there, saying he hoped they were maybe parting on good terms but he seemed to reconsider and say basically that's not the case.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: All you have to do is look at his own Twitter feed as they were tweet fighting yesterday.

John Bolton, in his exit, has made it cheer that he's not going to be silent. We won't see a polite Jim Mattis situation. At least he's signaled that, that he's going to push back and preserve what he thinks is his reputation as he leaves.

But John Bolton stepped on a lot of toes in the White House, including the president's. As we know, particularly this issue of looking like he was helping direct the president's policy instead of the president making those decisions. The president doesn't take kindly to that.

KEILAR: No, he sure doesn't.

And clearly one of the people that's very important to President Trump is Mike Pompeo --


KEILAR: -- the secretary of state. And just so much at odds with John Bolton.

KUCINICH: And not only Mike Pompeo. I think across the administration there were a lot of people who weren't big fans of John Bolton. Certainly Mike Pompeo is.

And you were talking about the press conference yesterday. I don't think he and Mnuchin's smiles could have gotten bigger during that press conference. It was pretty wild to watch.

KEILAR: I want to talk about guns, first with you, Jackie, just the policy angle of this, which he's talking up these bipartisan talks. He's saying something about a gun- sense bill. Where does that really stand right now on Capitol Hill.

Because the president does not seem like he has any -- like any real effort to put behind for any kind of meaningful change even though you have the vast majority, almost unanimously that Americans want more done with background checks.

KUCINICH: He just had this meeting with members to talk about their background checks bill and some other things.

But until -- we'll believe it when we see it. We've seen this dance before. Everyone is just waiting to see what the president will endorse. Mitch McConnell says that.

The president has some real power here to move this issue if he wants to. If he wants to expend that political capital because he could give Republicans cover in a way, political cover in a way that no one else can.

It's hard for me to think that the base would rebel against the president. Perhaps they would, if he rallied for some of these background checks.

KEILAR: It's clearly the calculation he's making.

So vaping, vaping comes up. Six deaths in the U.S. now. Parents are very worried because cleanly some of these products have been targeting children. And now this. Where does this stand from what we just heard?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It sounds as though there's going to be a real move here to implement from the HHS and the FDA to ban flavored E-cigs. It sounds like it might take some time. The secretary said it would take a few weeks to add some guidelines and parameters. And then there's a 30-day period. Then, it sounds like the flavored cigarettes are actually going to be gone.

I think a lot of this has to do with the influence of the first lady, Melania Trump, who has made vaping part of her Be Best platform of helping children, and health and wellness.

Clearly, when she gets involved, thing things tend to happen. They tend to happen quickly.

The president just brought up his son, their son, Barron Trump, who's 13 years old. A topic the president and first lady do not bring up in public. Clearly, vaping and E-cigarettes and favored cigarettes are something that's happening with youth, with preteens, with kids in junior high and high school.

This has become something for her, for Melania Trump, that is of major importance. And I think we saw that today.

KEILAR: Elizabeth Cohen, to you, this is something concerning so many parents at this point in time. Does this sound like the step that is needed to tackle this issue?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like the first step. The first step is you say we're going to take these off the market. And as we talked about, that could take a couple weeks to get those guidelines done.

But there's a second part of it that I have some questions about, which is then those same companies that take these flavored, candy, fruity-flavored pods off the market can then apply to put them back on the market.

I hope that we get to hear more details, why should they be allowed to put them on the market. Why should they be allowed to do that? What purpose do these flavored pods serve? And how easy will it be to get approval?


So if we're just taking them off the market, to allow companies to apply and put them back on the market, there's going to be a lot of questions around that. But certainly, a good first step to take them off the market.

Now, another point to keep in mind here is that tobacco flavored E- cigarette pods -- for those unfamiliar with vaping, you put a pod in and it can have a variety of flavors. Tobacco-flavored pods can still be on this whole time. Those are not being taken off the market.

Some people say that's a good thing because people use vaping to quite cigarettes. For some people, that does work and that's very useful. But hopefully, kids won't then turned to tobacco flavored vaping. Hopefully, that's not what happens. Hopefully, this really does have an impact. It feels like it would because what kids love are those fruity flavors.

KEILAR: Jackie, I want to ask you about something, because clearly this is something so many parents would love if it's meaningful. Elizabeth raised the questions about that. But the reason -- I mean, you can't miss it. The reason for why he's talking about vaping is to save the lives of children and then he's talking about guns. And it's not substantive that we can tell, at this point in time, what he's talking about.

So many more kids die every year because of guns. I cited that number, 300 and 143 in 2018. Most of those were homicides.

KUCINICH: Part of the reason is the gun lobby is very powerful.

KEILAR: More powerful than the cigarette lobby.

KUCINICH: Well, the E-cigarettes.


KUCINICH: When this was coming down the pike, a lot of those companies and the people who represent them didn't know, to your point about the speed. K Street, if you've been in D.C., it is awash in money from E-cigarette companies.

That said, they don't have the political heft in the country that the gun lobby does. The NRA really does have a grassroots network that they're able to activate and that politicians, no matter how high you are, are loathe to challenge them.

KEILAR: A very good point.

I want to talk to Boris Sanchez there at the White House.

The president was asked point-blank about this story that actually he had asked his chief of staff to tell NOAA that actually not to take -- I mean, you explain this to us.

Basically, the -


KEILAR: -- the president was saying Alabama was in the path of the storm and this whole thing trickled out about the National Weather Service and NOAA disagreeing with him at least.

SANCHEZ: Right, Brianna. As we were watching the president give these remarks, our colleague, Jim Acosta, was able to confirm some reporting that the "New York Times" broke earlier today that the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, had a conversation with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross about those tweets send out by the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, that contradicted what President Trump said about Hurricane Dorian.

Remember, President Trump said that the people of Alabama should hunker down because the ramifications, the effects of Hurricane Dorian were going to be worse than thought. He tweeted that out at a time when the hurricane model has shifted. He wasn't going anywhere near Alabama.

So the National Weather Service in Birmingham put out that tweet. Then apparently, Wilbur Ross, according to reporting in "The Times," called the head of NOAA and threatened to fire NOAA staff if they didn't contradict that tweet sent out by the National Weather Service in Birmingham. NOAA effectively did that.

Now there's reporting that indicates that may have originated here at the White House with the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. The president was asked about it during the gaggle in the Oval Office. The president said that he knows something about that, that he didn't direct Mulvaney to do that. He called the story a hoax.

Yet again, if you look at when he sent that tweet, clear in all the forecasts, Hurricane Dorian was not heading in that direction -- Brianna?

KEILAR: It was not.

All right, Boris, thank you so much, at the White House. Just before their debate, Joe Biden's campaign taking shots at Elizabeth Warren and her plans.


Plus, one Republican Senator has been quite for months after openly criticizing the president, and now the president just endorsed him.


KEILAR: Moments ago, former President George W. Bush, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and current secretary of defense, Mark Esper, marked the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. At the Pentagon, Mr. Bush, who led the country at the time, placed a wreath on the Pentagon memorial. All three stood together as taps played to commemorate the solemn occasion.

My next guest ran to ground zero 18 years ago today to help rescue efforts and served there afterwards as part of the National Guard.

Paul Rieckhoff, thank you so much for joining us on this day. We appreciate it.


KEILAR: Tell us what it's like to stand there in a very different setting, but this is the same place where you stood nearly two decades ago.


RIECKHOFF: It's surreal, to be honest with you. To feel it come full circle this many years later and now have this tower behind me is a bit surreal.

I tried to do what so many people did that day, do what we could to try to step up to help others. There's a lot of reflection about the loss. And we definitely should reflect on the folks we lost.

We also need to celebrate the life. And when I think back on that time, I think about the heroism and bravery and the very best of this country that was embodied in the people that stepped up on that day, including folks where I'm standing -- over my shoulder is Battery Tunnel where firefighter Stephen Siller (ph) left his truck and ran up into the towers as they fell.

I'm always reminded by that heroism. And I hope that's what folks, especially the younger folks, remember about that time and, hopefully, it can provide inspiration for the future.

KEILAR: I will say I think of the beautiful moments of that day more now as time has passed, as it used to be, and still is, of course, you think of the horror of that day, but you do remember these amazing stories of Americans just putting themselves in harm's way.

On this week -- this is a very important week. So I wonder what your reaction was when you heard that the president had plans to host Taliban leaders at Camp David this past weekend?

RIECKHOFF: It's ridiculous. It's outrageous. It's insulting. It's beyond tone deaf.

I mean, really, I think it jeopardizes our foreign standing, and I think really just showed -- we say, "never forget." Looks like the president forgot.

Right now, we have folks in Afghanistan. I recorded an interview with my podcast of a soldier in Afghanistan and they're taking mortar fire, they're overseas, and I think often they're forgotten.

The lessons of 9/11 were forgotten, came together in unity, how we had the whole world behind us. And we've forgotten many first responders who were there that day.

Thousands now struggling with health impacts from being exposed as ground zero. We fought tooth and nail to get an extension of the victims' compensation fund just a couple of months ago. That was only a couple of months ago.

The president has forgotten and many people have forgotten. And I hope folks take that energy and spirit and don't forget and use it as a positive driver forward far beyond the politics.

That was the one time in my lifetime where the politics went away and we were united as Americans. If we can capture that spirit again, it can drive us forward in the future. KEILAR: We cannot forget.

Paul Rieckhoff, thank you so much.

RIECKHOFF: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: A picture from the '90s surfaces showing the acting police commissioner in Philadelphia wearing a shirt joking about the beating of Rodney King by LAPD officers, and now there are calls for her to resign.



KEILAR: Pressure mounting for the acting police chief in Philadelphia to step down from her post, and that is because of this unearthed photo from the '90s which shows Christine Coulter in a T-shirt that says "LAPD, we treat you like a king." That's a slogan making light of the brutal police beating of Rodney King caught on tape.

Coulter immediately apologized at yesterday's city council hearing but argued that she had no idea the shirt packed a racist message.

City council member, Cindy Bass, is joining me now.

Cindy, you want her to step down. You were not buying the denial. Tell me why.

CINDY BASS, (D), PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, I don't think there's any -- it's inconceivable she had no idea, no clue. When this incident occurred, it received international coverage back in 1991.

In 1992, as we all know, there was a very well-publicized trial and acquittal, a riot. There was a loss of life after, as result of that riot.

And so, in 1994, when she was photographed wearing the shirt, you know, there were other things that were happening, other trials that had echoes of the Rodney King verdict and the disappointment and the way people felt around the LAPD, particularly the O.J. Simpson trial, which was coming up and which started around 1994.

So all of these things together say to me there's no possible way that anyone who was in policing during that timeframe could be unaware of what the significance of that shirt and that wording meant.

KEILAR: Do you think if she had said that she apologized and she realizes that there was a T-shirt she was wearing making fun of the LAPD but at the terrible expense of someone who suffered so brutally, that this might have been different?

Because I see what you're saying. I was 10 at the time that happened and it felt like everyone, everyone knew what was going on.

BASS: Right.

KEILAR: Everyone knew about Rodney King.

Do you think if she's have apologized and just been more -- I don't know -- you would say honest, assuming that she is not being honest --


KEILAR: -- about what she's saying --

BASS: I would.

KEILAR: -- do you think that would have helped?

BASS: It would have made a huge difference. I think that to say -- first of all, issue an apology and to say, I've evolved, I've changed from my thoughts at that time and the appropriateness of wearing a T- shirt of that, what it signified, I've changed my viewpoint. I understand in a different context now why this shirt was so hurtful.

And if she had forgotten, I would say go back and look at the videotape. Look at it from just two seconds, three seconds, and you will quickly be reminded of just how brutal this beating was, and what it meant across this country.

This was the very beginning of the sort of like being able to videotape police interaction --


BASS: -- with communities of color.

And so to say that you have no remembrance or you have no recollection that this shirt could be connected to this incident is absolutely unacceptable and an apology would have really been much more appropriate.

KEILAR: All right. Cindy Bass, thank you so much. We appreciate you joining.

BASS: Thank you.

[13:59:58] KEILAR: That is it for me.

"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin" starts right now.

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