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Witnesses to be Deposed Next Week; Investigation into Boeing; Wisconsin's Industrial Jobs on the Line; Trump Lifts Sanctions on Turkey. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 24, 2019 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: And I think we'll hear more of him in public.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Is he John Dean?

DEAN: You know, he -- he doesn't have the -- he didn't have direct conversations with the president. That's the difference.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And that is a big difference in this case --

DEAN: Yes it is.

BERMAN: Because you, of course, did have conversations with Nixon.

DEAN: Yes.

BERMAN: And so much of what ultimately was --

DEAN: But thank God we're recorded.

BERMAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, another thing that you hear Republicans saying and complaining about is, this whistleblower, we need to -- how can this whistleblower's identity be protected? We need to know what we're dealing with. Bring the whistleblower forward. You know, the president has said, I demand knowing who my accuser is.

I'm sure you have some thoughts of that because, of course, you had to -- you required federal protection during some of this time. You got death threats. And we see that all the time now.

DEAN: It's true. And the whistleblower should be protected. That is a post-Watergate law adopted in, I think, 1989, before they finally got around to the whistleblower law.

It's been very effective. It creates very unique problems for lawyers who have attorney/client privilege, whether they can indeed turn around and be whistleblowers. But that's all been sorted out and is constantly being sorted out.

But it's a -- it's an important law that particularly in the private sector, believe it or not, where they have whistleblower laws as well.

CAMEROTA: But, in this case, you are comfortable with the whistleblower's identity being protected?

DEAN: Absolutely. It should be.

BERMAN: John Dean, great to have you here with us.

DEAN: Thank you all.

CAMEROTA: Thank so much.

BERMAN: Thank you very much.

So, workers in rust belt states that flipped for President Trump, or then candidate Donald Trump in 2016, are now feeling the pinch of the trade war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not hiring anyone right now. We're -- I mean we're on layoff right now. So that's -- that's very worrisome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: We're going to get much more from the floor of a Wisconsin factory, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:36:43]

BERMAN: A stunning new development in the Boeing 737 Max investigation. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that a former Boeing pilot told colleagues he felt pressured by the company to ensure its 737 Max jets would not require expensive pilot training.

CNN's Rene Marsh live in Washington with more.

There's been a lot of developments in this case, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly, John. Good morning.

So we do know that federal investigators are now questioning the co- workers of this former Boeing pilot who said he felt this pressure from management to make sure that this 737 Max plane didn't require that expensive pilot training. Now this is a key issue getting scrutiny because in both of these deadly crashes involving the Max, pilots were not told about the plane's automated flight control software, which we now know at MCAS, because Boeing told regulators that pilots would rarely encounter it.

Now, this former Boeing pilot's concerns became public last week when internal messages that he sent to another Boeing employee, which CNN obtained, showed that he was concerned about just how difficult it was for him to control the plane in the flight simulator. Now, the FAA only recently learned about those internal messages and blasted Boeing last week for withholding them.

Of course, these messages are a part of the Justice Department's larger probe into the plane, how it was designed and certified as safe and whether Boeing officials misled regulators. Now, we should point out that the final report into Lyon Air crash, that's due out tomorrow. If you remember, that is the first 737 Max crash that killed 189 people. And we do expect in that report it will cast some blame on both Boeing for the design of the aircraft and its automated systems, as well as the FAA for lapses in oversight.

BERMAN: Also learning about a settlement between Boeing and the victims of the Lyon Air crash from last year. What can you tell us about that?

MARSH: Right. So it's been nearly a year later and we can report that four victim's families of that crash reached a settlement with Boeing. Now, attorneys do tell us, though, that they represent 46 families. So right now they have a settlement with four. And the other settlements are under negotiation.

John.

CAMEROTA: I'll take it Rene, thank you very much for all of that.

BERMAN: Are you -- I was going to take it. I'll take it.

CAMEROTA: I said I'll take it.

BERMAN: We'll take it. We'll both take it.

CAMEROTA: I said --

BERMAN: All right. OK, fine, it's yours. Go ahead.

CAMEROTA: All right, watch this, 2020 news now. In the past few weeks, polls show former VP Biden leading President Trump in Wisconsin. And that includes a new Fox News poll. So how are these states' industrial workers feeling about the race these days?

Well, CNN's Miguel Marquez spoke with Wisconsin aluminum workers. He joins us now.

Hi, Miguel.

BERMAN: We'll take it, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I will take it from here.

There's a lot of uncertainty out there. I think that's the main thing to say. This is one company we spoke to but they supply a lot of bigger manufacturers. Their orders, they're way down. They are plowing ahead for now, but there is a lot of uncertainty in the system. What they're most unsure of is how long this rough patch will last or how deep it will go. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice over): Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, for 100 years has seen boom and bust. Today its fourth generation owner seeing ominous signs of where the industry is headed.

[08:40:04]

BEN JACOBS, VP STRATEGY, WISCONSIN ALUMINUM FOUNDRY: For the last two years, if you wanted a job in Manitowac, you could get one.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And now?

JACOBS: Now there's -- people are -- we're not hiring anyone right now. We're -- I mean we're on layoff right now. So that's -- that's very worrisome.

MARQUEZ (voice over): With the trade war and orders to China all but dried up, the company instituted a voluntary layoff for 8 percent of its workforce. It was supposed to last a month. Now it's stretched into two. And there are even more worrisome signs.

SACHIN SHIVARAM, CEO, WISCONSIN ALUMINUM FOUNDRY: Our production rate has slowed down about 40 percent versus the kind of February, March timeframe.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Forty percent since the beginning of this year?

SHIVARAM: Yes.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Shivaram says, despite some production lines currently idled, they have continued to invest millions in the business and, for now, are resisting more layoffs. The hope, this is a temporary downturn and not the start of a bigger hit to the wider economy.

SHIVARAM: We've decided, together with our board, to just stay the course and do what we do. But it's nerve-racking.

MARQUEZ: And they're not alone. Economic indicators have been flashing yellow for months. Some now red. U.S. manufacturing activity in September fell to its lowest point in a decade, according to the Institute of Supply Management Index, which measures industrial growth.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama said manufacturing jobs are gone. You need a wand, a magic wand. We found the magic wand because they're coming, and they're coming fast.

MARQUEZ: Despite promises in industrial belt states that flipped to the president, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all have lost manufacturing jobs since June.

Marcos Alfaro, a vice president with the local steel workers union, says he'd like to see the president focusing more on his campaign promises. MARCOS ALFARO, LOCAL 125, UNITED STEELWORKERS: We want that focus to

be shifted to what we're doing and our wages and what we're doing instead of, you know, other extracurriculars, if you will.

CORY NIMMER, MOLDER, WISCONSIN ALUMINUM FOUNDRY: A lot of jobs are closing --

MARQUEZ: Cory Nimmer has worked at Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry for 24 years. He and his wife support six kids. He worries his $21 an hour job would be tough to replace.

NIMMER: Hopefully get the economy rocking and rolling here to keep the future going.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Right. You're not feeling that right now?

NIMMER: It's -- it's kind of rocky.

MARQUEZ (voice over): In this industrial city, local officials stress there are plenty of jobs available and view the current downturn as a bump in the road, but express concern that a heated presidential election could make for more uncertainty and rougher times ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: So I was just texting with the CEO and he says things aren't getting a lot better. They've asked for more voluntary layoffs. They join a long list of manufacturers out there now trying to hold the line as the uncertainty grows. And that's the worst thing for them. Businesses need certainty. They're having a hard time seeing where the future is going.

CAMEROTA: You hear that in their voices. I mean the sound that you got from them talking to you, they sound uncertain.

MARQUEZ: And these guys supply much bigger companies as well that are also experiencing the uncertainty though. So orders just keep going down and down and down for these guys.

BERMAN: And we cannot stress what an important state politically Wisconsin will be in 2020.

MARQUEZ: It's the new Ohio. It is going to be fought hard by both sides for -- from now until the election.

CAMEROTA: Miguel Marquez, thank you very much for bringing that to us.

OK, here's what else to watch today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ON SCREEN TEXT: 11: 00 a.m. ET, Rep. Cummings lies in state at Capitol.

11:00 a.m. ET, Vice President Pence speaks in D.C.

4:30 p.m. ET, President Trump presents the Medal of Freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: President Trump calls the situation in Syria a success. We'll ask the former NATO supreme allied commander if he thinks that's true.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:48:14]

BERMAN: A new CNN national poll just released shows that three quarters of Americans are concerned about the ongoing situation in Syria. And nearly 70 percent believe ISIS is likely to re-emerge after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

Now, President Trump announced he's lifting all sanctions against Turkey after Turkey agreed to stop its attack on America's seemingly now former Kurdish allies. And the president called the crisis in Syria basically over and a success.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dealing with Turkey, it's been very successful. We'll see what happens. It's a very volatile part of the world. But so far, it's been pretty amazing what's gone on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Joining me now is retired Admiral James Stavridis. He's the former NATO supreme allied commander and the author of a new book "Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character. It's really a book about character, which we'll get to in just a minute.

When I listen to the president talk about what's gone on in Syria there and saw his statement yesterday, it made me think about George Aken (ph), the former Vermont senator, who basically said in Vietnam the U.S. should just leave and declare victory, which seemed to be what the president was doing.

ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Kind of feels that way. We heard the president saying that it's a big success.

There is success. It's success for Vladimir Putin. It's success for the Iranians, which now have a full play, an empty field essentially, John, from Baghdad through Damascus to the shores of the Mediterranean. It's a success probably for ISIS, which we ought to worry about a great deal.

The losers are the Kurds, tactically. Strategically, the loss is to American foreign policy and our credibility with our allies.

BERMAN: Talk about that. What has America lost in your mind? STAVRIDIS: Well, look at it this way, the president said, you know,

we're not going to be in the Middle East essentially. We don't want to be part of those blood-stained sands.

[08:50:02]

If you think about it, how does that resonate to a South Korean? Does that mean we're not going to be with our South Korean allies in those snow-capped mountains of the Korean peninsula? How does this sound to an Estonian? Does it mean that when the going gets tough, the United States may not be there?

So that credibility in our alliance structure, which is our greatest single advantage in the world, John, is undermined badly by this decision.

BERMAN: You're talking about the word of the United States of America basically.

STAVRIDIS: Precisely.

BERMAN: And what's the value of the word?

STAVRIDIS: Well, if our allies value our words, they will stand with us. This is why the 28 nations in NATO came to Afghanistan with us after the United States was attacked on 9/11. The only time Article Five of the NATO charter has been activated. This is why the Japanese, the Australians, the New Zealanders, the Singaporeans, our Pacific allies stand with us because of their belief in our credibility.

When we simply pull back in the face of some military pressure and, listen, I get it, we don't want to be in these endless wars. But, John, this was 2,000 troops. When I commanded that mission in Afghanistan, it was 150,000. We had 185,000 in Iraq. This small number of troops was leverage. It built our allies and created the conditions to defeat the Islamic State.

BERMAN: Well, talk about ISIS.

STAVRIDIS: Sure.

BERMAN: What is your concern now about ISIS? What does ISIS do with this and where does it go? And we heard, by the way, and the United States, the administration was trying to diminish this, that more than 100 ISIS fighters escaped in the process.

STAVRIDIS: Yes. And let's recall that it was 19 terrorists who brought down the World Trade towers and let's recognize that a small number of terrorists can have huge impact in Europe, where they'll get to first, and eventually back here.

Way to think of it, John, we just were covering the forest fires in California, right? When you put out a forest fire, there's still going to be embers on the ground. And when you walk away prematurely, those embers can re-flash. So 100 get out now. There will be more bleed over time. And the

ongoing chaos in the region makes me very concerned about what comes next.

BERMAN: What does Vladimir Putin get out of all of this?

STAVRIDIS: He gets credibility at home. There's a domestic component to this. He wants to appear to be a strong man. His ratings, if you will, have been going down a little bit. Same thing with President Erdogan of Turkey, by the way. Putin also, converse of the United States, he's showing that he stands with an ally. He has been with Bashar al Assad, a war criminal, since the beginning. He backed that horse and he stayed with Assad. It's the U.S. that's walk away from the Kurds. That's a pretty nice contrast if you're Vladimir Putin maneuvering in the international scene.

BERMAN: Something I read, and it's not surprising given your decades of service to the United States and the decades of service of Ambassador Bill Taylor, you know him.

STAVRIDIS: I do. I have known him for many years. I've worked with him in a number of different positions. West Point graduate. Combat in Vietnam. Long series of very important jobs in strategic planning in the Department of Defense. An ambassador to Ukraine. If there is anybody who sails true north, it's Bill Taylor.

BERMAN: What do you think it would take for him to write the type of opening statement that he did and we saw?

STAVRIDIS: First of all, someone who takes meticulous detailed notes. Someone who's a hell of a good writer, just as a read. I encourage people to pick it up and read it. It's quite dramatic. And third, and most importantly, he is driven by that duty, honor, country motto of West Point. It's a good place to have a West Point graduate. And I say that as an Annapolis graduate.

BERMAN: I know that's a tough admission for you, right?

There -- you know, in your book, which is about different admirals, it's about character though.

STAVRIDIS: It is.

BERMAN: And that's -- maybe it's never been more important as a subject (ph).

STAVRIDIS: Indeed. And folks often say, oh, Jim, you've written a good book about leadership. No, this is not a book about leadership. Leadership is how we influence others. It's kind of a big door that swings. But that big door of leadership swings on the small hinge of character, which is buried deep in your heart. And it is that hinge that determines whether you are a leader for good or for ill.

And so I chose to use a framework of admirals, because I know the sea, I know their stories. We talk about that hinge of character, how they became leaders. But this is a book about that voyage and the human heart, far trickier than the voyage of leadership.

BERMAN: In all of the tumult that we've seen the last month and a half or so, where have you seen evidence of character?

STAVRIDIS: Well, I'd start by saying -- looking at the admirals in "Sailing True North," the one I would highlight is Chester Nimitz, who led the United States Navy through the Second World War.

[08:55:03]

He took command of the Pacific Fleet, John, as it was smoking and in ruins on the bottom of the -- of the -- of Pearl Harbor. He took command on a diesel submarine in rumpled khakis and he went out and built a team and moved forward coherently to win the Pacific War.

In terms of today, frankly, we are so polarized on both sides of the political spectrum that what we need are voices like a Chester Nimitz, who could bring General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Bull Halsey together into some kind of coherence. So these lessons in "Sailing True North" I think are very applicable today.

BERMAN: We need those lessons right now.

Admiral, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

STAVRIDIS: Thanks a lot, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Interesting conversation. Thanks so much to the admiral.

So, House Democrats are moving towards holding impeachment hearings in public.

"NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow, next.

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