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President Trump to Attend College Football Game in Alabama; House Democrats to Hold Public Hearings in Impeachment Inquiry; John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney May Testify in Impeachment Inquiry; Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg May Enter Democratic Presidential Primary; Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Joe Biden's Characterization of Her as Angry; President Trump's Approval Ratings among African-American at 10 Percent; CIA Veteran Analyzes Psychological Relationship between President Trump and Followers. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 9, 2019 - 10:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, welcome to the weekend. It is Saturday, November 9th. We're glad to have you here. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome.

PAUL: We want to get you some live pictures from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That's where football powerhouses, of course Alabama and LSU, are meeting this afternoon.

SAVIDGE: On top of the hype of the big game, President Trump will be in the stands. But for now the president is still in Washington where college football has definitely taken a back seat to the impeachment inquiry.

PAUL: The testimony of two top White House officials place acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney directly at the center of the Ukraine scandal now.

SAVIDGE: That's as the attorney for John Bolton, and this is interesting, says that the former White House national security advisor has new relevant information about the scandal that has never been disclosed.

Let's bring in now CNN White House producer Kevin Liptak. And Kevin, based on those new transcripts, I've got to say it does not look good for the acting chief of staff.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Yes. Well, it certainly places Mick Mulvaney much closer to the center of this impeachment inquiry than we knew before. And what is striking in this testimony from Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman is this nearly identical depiction of this crucial White House meeting in July where they say they overheard the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland placed Mulvaney at the center of this attempt to pressure Ukraine into starting these investigations into the president's political rivals.

And just to read some of what Fiona Hill said in her testimony. She said "Ambassador Sondland in front of the Ukrainians, as I came in, was talking about how he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney for a meeting with Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with the investigations."

Now, the reaction to this moment in the White House is also key. This was taking place in John Bolton's office. Hill describes Bolton stiffening when he heard those words. Later she said that he told her that he wanted nothing to do with this drug deal that was cooking up between Sondland and Mulvaney.

Now, this is all placing Mulvaney much closer to this alleged quid pro quo that itself is at the heart of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry. Democrats really want to hear from Mulvaney. They actually subpoenaed him to appear on Friday. He defied that subpoena, saying that his position in the White House made him immune to congressional investigators.

PAUL: So John Bolton is saying, listen, I've got some information, or his attorney actually, is saying that Bolton has got some information that has not yet been disclosed about Ukraine, but he's not going to testify unless the court forces him to do so. Is there a sense that he's putting that out there because he wants to testify?

LIPTAK: Not necessarily. This was buried in a letter from Bolton's attorney, and it was really kind of a tease. He has said that he will only appear before these congressional investigators unless a judge tells him it's OK to defy this White House edict that White House officials not appear before the impeachment committees. And in the letter, he wrote this, "Bolton was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies so far." And that obviously raising the suggestion that there's more information that Democrats and Republicans could learn from Bolton if he goes before these committees.

Now what both Bolton and Mulvaney could present to these impeachment investigators is far more information about what President Trump himself knew about what was going on and what he said about what was going on with Ukraine as all this was unfolding. They are far more senior than the officials who have gone before the committees so far, and they could bring lawmakers into the Oval Office to hear what Trump himself was saying about this as this was all unfolding.

There's not -- yes, there's not a lot of question about whether Bolton will appear soon. The judge has said it will take weeks to decide whether he can comply with Democrats' requests. Democrats want to move forward quickly on these public hearings which begin next week.

SAVIDGE: Kevin, I've got to bring in some breaking news at this hour. The Republicans have just put out their witness wish list. Who's on it?

LIPTAK: Yes, this is from Devin Nunes, he's the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. He is proposing witnesses that could be part of this impeachment probe as it enters its public phase. Among them Hunter Biden, he's obviously at the center of this, the son of former vice president Joe Biden who sat on the board of that Ukrainian natural gas company. He also wants to hear from the whistleblower, some of the whistleblower's sources. He's putting out this list as Democrats prepare this public phase of the impeachment inquiry next week. The hearings start on Wednesday.


We'll hear from Bill Taylor, he's the current top diplomat in Ukraine, George Kent. Both of these men expressed deep frustrations about what Rudy Giuliani was doing in that country. They'll also hear from Marie Yovanovitch. She is the one-time U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled. All of this must-see TV starting Wednesday next week.

SAVIDGE: Absolutely, Kevin. I think we'll all be glued. Thank you, Kevin Liptak.

PAUL: I want to bring in our legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Renato, thank you so much for being with us. I want to jump off that point about the witness wish list from Republicans. They name Hunter Biden and they name the whistleblower. We know the whistleblower is protected by federal law. So what is the plausibility that he actually would have to testify publicly, let alone privately, he or she?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think we're going to hear from the whistleblower because the House Democrats have the power under the current rules that we're operating under here to block that request. And, frankly, the whistleblower is not relevant here. Ultimately the issue here is what did the president do. The whistleblower, as Republicans had argued previously, has no firsthand knowledge of it. He or she got that information from other individuals, presumably some of the people who have already testified. And so he or she was basically a tipster of sorts.

So I think what the Republicans are trying to do is they're trying to keep a focus on something that is not the president and I think that it's effective to the extent that it's causing us to talk about that now.

SAVIDGE: What do you think of Mick Mulvaney when he's claiming this absolute immunity when it comes to testifying in this probe. Do you think he really has that kind of immunity?

MARIOTTI: No. I think it's best understood as a delay tactic. The White House understands that the courts are going to take some time to resolve these claims, and they have made increasingly absurd or unsupported legal claims because they know that delay is on their side. The Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are not that far away, they're early next year. And I think the White House understands that if they can just delay things by a month or two or three, it works to their advantage and Democrats may just proceed without that testimony. And I think that is in fact what Democrats will do. I think we will never hear from Mick Mulvaney, at least as part of this inquiry.

PAUL: Renato Mariotti, appreciate your input, thank you.

SAVIDGE: Yes, we do.

Let's get now to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the president is expected to attend today's matchup between Alabama and LSU. CNN's Sarah Westwood is outside the stadium.

PAUL: Sarah, it's good to see you. So we know the president had some mixed reaction at sporting events as of late. So a lot of people might be saying, why is he going to this specifically?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Christi. President Trump heading here to this pivotal game in just a few hours. It's his third sporting event in just two weeks. He went to game five of the World Series in Washington, he went to the UFC championship last weekend at Madison Square Garden. At both of those sporting events, some in the crowd ended up booing him. Obviously, a lot of fans around me right now. And now it's unclear what kind of reaction the president is going to get when he comes here to this game. We've been talking with people, tailgating here before the game about their perceptions of President Trump. Take a listen to some of those conversations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought he had been treated fairly. I do. Yes. Treated fairly. Yes.


WESTWOOD: You don't think he's been treated fairly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. No, I don't. I don't.

WESTWOOD: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because when the man try to help the country and you try to find a situation to throw out his character to help the country, it's back and forth, because ain't no perfect president. So everybody got their claws. But I think he's been treated unfairly.

WESTWOOD: Can I ask what you think of all the impeachment stuff that's going on in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's ridiculous. I think it's unfair. And I wish they would focus on getting stuff done instead of harassing the president.


WESTWOOD: Now, unlike some of those other sporting events that President Trump has attended, here in Alabama, this is friendly Trump country. The president won this state in 2016 by nearly 30 points. Now, there was some attention put on how this game would unfold because the university's student government sent out an email urging students not to cause any disruptions. There was a bit of a backlash to that email, so the student government later clarified that they were not trying to stifle anyone's free speech. But it will be interesting to see what the reaction to President Trump here in the heart of Trump country will be in just a couple of hours when this game starts, Martin and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, you have fun with that, my friend.

SAVIDGE: It's nice to see her in a different venue.

PAUL: It is. Thanks, Sarah.


SAVIDGE: We're going to keep the game day conversation going later in the hour, so what's behind President Trump's sudden interest in sports? We'll be talking to a sports columnist who says there is no coincidence here.

PAUL: Also, a New York-based technology company accused of undermining national security by selling Chinese-made surveillance products to the U.S. government claiming they were made in the USA.

SAVIDGE: Plus, billionaire Michael Bloomberg adds his name to Alabama's Democratic primary ballot. Joe Biden says he welcomes the challenge. So what is Bloomberg's strategy? We're live in New Hampshire, next.


PAUL: So I don't know what's on your itinerary today, but the top 2020 Democratic candidates are on the campaign trail this morning. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg holding town halls in New Hampshire. Senator Bernie Sanders is holding a climate crisis summit in Iowa. And Senator Elizabeth Warren is swinging through the Carolinas.

SAVIDGE: Senator Warren also has a message for those attacking her as angry, saying "I am angry, and I own it." She went on to say powerful men often accuse women of being angry to try to keep them quiet.

PAUL: And billionaire Michael Bloomberg is shaking up the race it seems. The former New York City mayor filed paperwork yesterday adding his name to Alabama's Democratic primary, although he hasn't officially announced that he's running for the White House. But Joe Biden said yesterday he'd welcome Bloomberg to the race. Mr. Biden, of course, Vice President Biden campaigning, as I said, in Concord, New Hampshire, today, and that's where we find CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz. What do we know he's going to focus on today, Arlette? And good morning.

[10:15:12] ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, Christi and Martin. Joe Biden will be here in Concord in just a few hours where he's doing an event with firefighters, a bit of a chili cookoff at a canvas event. And later on in the day he'll be holding a town hall in New Hampshire as well. But yesterday Joe Biden filed that primary paperwork so that his name is on the primary ballot here in the first in the nation primary state.

But that also comes as he is facing the threat of a possible new challenger. Michael Bloomberg is now taking steps to potentially enter the 2020 race. You'll remember back in March he had ruled out a 2020 bid, but his advisers say he's now concerned that the current crop of candidates cannot beat President Trump. But Joe Biden yesterday was asked by reporters about Bloomberg's entry, and he said that he's not worried about the former New York City mayor potentially joining the race. Take a listen to what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I welcome him to the race. Michael is a solid guy. And let's see where it goes. I have no problem with him getting in the race. And in terms of he's running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I'm pretty far ahead.


SAENZ: Now, Biden has also been engaged in a back and forth with Senator Elizabeth Warren after last week she suggested that the former vice president is running in the wrong presidential primary. Biden earlier this week penned a Medium post where he challenged Warren and described her as an elitist. And there was a line in that post that Warren is particularly seizing on. The former vice president wrote that Warren's comments, "They reflect an angry, unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics." Well, yesterday Elizabeth Warren sent out a fundraising email kind of honing in on that, noting that oftentimes people may call women angry. And she said I am angry and I own it.

Now, Biden was asked about that comment from Elizabeth Warren by our colleague, Dana Bash, and he said he wasn't trying to call her angry, he's just trying to point out that her comments suggesting that if you disagree politically that perhaps you lack courage or are running in a wrong primary. He believes that that is just something that does not sit well with people. Christi and Martin?

SAVIDGE: Arlette Saenz up there in New Hampshire where it looks like a beautiful day, perfect day for chili, obviously. Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Arlette. Still to come, there's an investigation now into a plane crash in Texas. And it found the results of gender reveal party, it was a stunt, and it went wrong. And that is at the heart of this accident.

SAVIDGE: Tide, Tigers, Trump. There will be politics at play when LSU takes the field against Alabama today. Coming up, we will talk to our Harry Enten about President Trump's sudden interest in sports. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


PAUL: So the biggest matchup this weekend in college sports, you know, today's game between LSU and Alabama. There could be drama in the stands as well as on the field at the end of the day.

SAVIDGE: And that's because President Trump is going to be there making his third appearance at a major sporting event in just two weeks. So Harry Enten is joining us now. And Harry, you've got to wonder, the first two appearances, the World Series and then he was at a mixed martial arts contest, they didn't seem to go over that well. So what makes him think this is going to be better.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes, I know, right? Those did not go over particularly well. One of those was in New York City, and I can tell you, New York City not exactly a big fan of the president of the United States.

But here's the deal with college football. One of the things that I did which was really cool, I essentially looked at Google searches by media markets. And then I compared those media markets to how President Trump did in the 2016 election. What do you see there? You see as the number of Google searches goes up searching for college football, President Trump's voting percentage goes higher. That is, college football fans more likely tend to be Republican than, say, the median voter.

But more than that, you can go to the southern United States and you can say, OK, in the south are you a college football fan or not? And we can break that down by Democrats, independents, and Republicans. And what do we see? Well, this I think is very important. First, look in the south, 54 percent in the south are college football fans. That's much higher than it is in the northeast. So Trump says, I'm going to go into that south. I know there's a lot of college football fans. I know I can be reaching out to them.

And more than that, you can essentially say, OK, in the south among those college football fans, what percentage of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and what do you see, 59 percent of Republicans in the south say that they are college football fans. So you can reach a ton of voters very, very quickly by going down to Alabama, especially Trump's base.

PAUL: OK, so let me ask you this, Harry. Is there a gauge of how people -- how President Trump appeals, specifically how he appeals to people in the deep south, in the suburbs, say?

ENTEN: Yes, I think this is rather important, right. So there are numerous ways to break this down. We can break it down by suburbs, rural and urban areas. We can also look at particular states. And what do we see when we look down in the Deep South? We see that in the Deep South, in those suburbs, which there are a lot of voters in there, Trump's approval rating very, very high, 57 percent. Of course, if you've been in the south, much of it is suburban areas. Those urban areas where Trump nearly isn't as popular, especially in the north, they make up a much lower percentage in the south, but even there his approval rating is 48 percent. In those rural areas, which there are a lot of in the south, Donald Trump's approval rating, 63 percent, very, very popular in the deep south.

SAVIDGE: Harry, what college did you go to?

ENTEN: This is very funny. I went to Dartmouth, but I actually grew up going to Columbia Lions football games with my father who took me every weekend. They stink. They have won zero national championships.



ENTEN: Zero. Alabama has won double digits. The whole thing is insane. So college football to me is not necessarily a love affair, but I love rooting for my Columbia Lions even if they stink.

PAUL: You know what I love about Harry Enten's hits? Your segments, we always learn something, a little tidbit about you. I like that.

ENTEN: Just a little bit, a little bit.

SAVIDGE: Honesty to a fault.

ENTEN: I am honest. Good Shabbos to both of you. You're both beautiful people.

PAUL: So are you. Harry Enten, thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Our next guest says that there is no coincidence that the president is becoming more interested in sporting events.

PAUL: She writes this, quote, "Trump craves adoration, the kind of fawning reception he gets at his rallies, and he'd go to a tiddlywinks tournament if it means people will cheer and chant his name. If it happens at a nationally televised event or will be captured on video that he can promote on Twitter, all the better," unquote. That's from Nancy Armour, sports columnist for "USA Today." That was her writing. Nancy, thank you so much for this, we certainly appreciate it.

As I understand it, you were talking about the fact that he goes to these because it makes him relatable.


PAUL: How so? Just because he's attending a game?

ARMOUR: Yes. I think all politicians, and President Trump is not unique in this, look for ways to connect with voters. And in this country where sports is -- we love sports. And so there is no easier or better way to appear relatable, to appear electable, than by showing up at a sporting event.

SAVIDGE: There is a warning that went on, I know from Alabama at least, the university there, the student government warning students against disruptive behavior during the game. If they act out, apparently they're going to be quickly ejected. Do you expect that the reception at this Alabama/LSU game is going to be different than, say, what the president got at the World Series?

ARMOUR: I do. And I think that's a large part of the reason that he's going to this game is because, as your previous guest had mentioned, he is still widely popular in Alabama. He won the state by nearly 30 percent. His favorability rating in Alabama is higher than it is in other state in the country. So this is a very friendly environment for him. And he's not -- if he hears boos, they're going to be very few and far between. You certainly are not going to see the reception he got at the World Series or even at the UFC fight last week. And that's what he's looking for. And I don't think it's coincidence that when he didn't find it at the other two places that he's going out to make sure that he finds it somewhere.

PAUL: But certainly, there have been other presidents that have gone out to sporting events. Were their intentions similar?

ARMOUR: Yes, I think that there's maybe not to get the adoration that I think Trump is looking for, but in terms of appearing relatable, in terms of connecting with the country, yes. We saw it with both Bushes were huge baseball fans, threw out first pitches, went to games. President Obama did the same thing. And you saw it with President Obama doing his brackets for the NCAA tournament. It's a way to connect with voters beyond just your policies and positions.

SAVIDGE: Well, it will be interesting to see where he's going to be sitting, whether he's sitting in some box seat or sitting out there in the bleachers with some fans. But Nancy Armour, you make great points and we appreciate you coming on this morning.

ARMOUR: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Thanks, Nancy.

Well, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is making some moves towards a possible presidential run. Is there an appetite, though, even among Democrats for his candidacy? We're going to discuss his possible path to the nomination next.

SAVIDGE: Plus, how Facebook and YouTube are taking action to protect the identity of the whistleblower in the impeachment inquiry.



SAVIDGE: Starting next week, several impeachment inquiry witnesses are set to speak out in public for the very first time. The first set of testimony kicks off on Wednesday. That's going to be Bill Taylor. He's the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine and deputy assistant secretary of state, then George Kent. And then on Friday we are set to hear from Marie Yovanovitch. She is the former ambassador to Ukraine.

PAUL: How will both parties try to frame these hearings to their advantage? We're going to discuss this with Republican strategist and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart as well as Democrat strategist A. Scott Bolden. Thank you both so much for being with us. We appreciate seeing you.


PAUL: Good morning to you.

BOLDEN: Hey, Alice.


PAUL: OK, let's talk about impeachment here, because we know that it is going to be dicey. We have Jim Jordan, who is now on the house intel committee, so he'll be asking some of these questions. A. Scott, what is your prediction?

BOLDEN: My prediction is that the Democrats will do building blocks based on the deposition testimony. Remember, the witnesses they're calling have given sworn testimony already, so the public hearing is something the Republicans have called for, and I think the public deserves. Images in the media and looking, seeing, and feeling what someone is saying as a witness is far more powerful than a deposition ever can ever be.

That's a problem for the Republicans because Jim Jordan and others will attack the process and the biasness or the fairness of the messaging coming from these witnesses. But the reality is the public is going to look at what's accurate, what isn't, and I think their arguments are going to fall shallow and far away from what the Democrats are going to be presenting.

SAVIDGE: Alice, as you just heard, of course, Democrats are hoping like in the Mueller hearings, they were saying it was going to bring the report to life. It didn't work out that way. And I'm wondering are Democrats running that same risk, especially when it's going to be televised, and of course Republicans are going to be pushing back. It's all on camera.

STEWART: Right, Martin, they absolutely are running the risk of overpromising and under delivering, just like with the Mueller report. And those building blocks that Scott talked about, I think it's going to turn out to be building blocks of a stairway to nowhere, because we have already seen the transcripts of the phone call.


And I encourage folks to read the transcript of the phone call. And while the wording that the president used was inappropriate and ill advised, it was not impeachable. And we're continuing to find out more and more information, but from what we have now, this is not worthy or grounds for impeachment. And while the Democrats want to continue to try and paint this picture

as though there were high crimes and misdemeanors, I just don't see that. And the Republicans do have a valid argument in questioning the process that is being used here with regard to the inability for Republicans to bring about witnesses and question witnesses and not have the equal opportunity to put information out there. This is certainly going to be directed at the hands of Adam Schiff, and I think this is going to be very one-sided.

And to Nancy Pelosi's request at the very beginning, saying that she was not going to go this route unless there was overwhelming and bipartisan support for this, well, there has not been. There was not bipartisan support for this. Only Democrats supported moving forward on this. So I expect we're going to see similar as the Mueller report, a high level of promises, but in the end there will be nothing there, and this will be -- this will hurt the Democrats coming into 2020.

BOLDEN: Martin, if I may --

PAUL: Go ahead.

BOLDEN: If I may, the big difference between the Mueller report and these witnesses is with the Mueller report, we, the public, didn't know what to expect. We were being narrated, or they were being narrated. Here we've got the sworn testimony. We have the corroboration of not only the phone call but the whistleblower, and you even have the president attacking the whistleblower and wanting to call the whistleblower and Hunter Biden. That doesn't get us in anywhere near impeachment. That's the difference. We know what these witnesses are going to say, and that's going to be the difference between their testimony and what we got from Mueller.

PAUL: And of course, that starts this week. I want to move to something that happened last night with the president. He was in Atlanta talking to black voters. Let's listen to what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Blacks for Trumps, black voices for Trump.


TRUMP: African-Americans for Trump. Call it whatever the hell you want, right? What do you prefer? Blacks for Trump or African- Americans for Trump?



CROWD: Blacks for Trump! Blacks for Trump! Blacks for Trump!

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: OK, so here's the thing, in August of 2016 candidate Trump then said at the end of four years, I guarantee you, I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. We're three years in. A Quinnipiac poll shows he has 10 percent of African-American approval of the job that he's doing, and 80 percent of black voters believe that he's racist. What does he do with that going into 2020, Alice?

STEWART: What he should be doing and what they are doing is pushing the accomplishments this administration has made to benefit African- Americans. And with the unemployment rate at a historic low, we have incomes of black Americans increasing at enormous and historic rates, and the efforts they have done to promote economic opportunities for the African-American community, that is a very compelling argument and is a winning argument.

And as they work to coalesce the African-Americans who do support Trump and get that message out there, the more they can reiterate and double down and make sure that the African-American community understands the successes that have been made, that he will win over more voters as we get to November of next year.


SAVIDGE: Scott, what do you make of the argument that some put forward here that the president really isn't reaching out to African- American voters, he's trying to soothe white suburban voters, which we saw he lost some when it came to the election this week? In other words, they're uncomfortable with what has been his outspokenness on race.

BOLDEN: You think? My goodness, 80 plus percent of African-Americans don't agree with Donald Trump, and he doesn't get credit for criminal justice reform. That started before him. He doesn't get credit for low unemployment for African-Americans because many of them see this as a natural recovery of the economy, and no specific programs that are targeted for urban Americans and African-Americans that they can put their finger on.

And so, no, I don't think there's anything Donald Trump can do. He'll have his black Republicans and he has those one-on-ones with those groups, and he'll go to a black church and be blessed and honored. But the American public or African-Americans, and I can't speak for all of them, but for 80 percent of them it's clear he doesn't get credit for it. And he doesn't get credit for it because he kills his own message. Alice is right, those would be good numbers and good things to talk about. But his attacks on Baltimore and Elijah Cummings, his attacks on the squad, his equivocating on Charlottesville, African-American voters and all American, not just African-American, don't forget that.


Remember in Maya Angelou said. You can show me what you say and what you do, but I will never forget how you made me feel, and Trump doesn't give a good feeling to African-Americans in this country.

PAUL: Before we let you go I want to ask you about this --

STEWART: If I can just say, real quickly, to one of Scott's points, the president should get credit for criminal justice reform. He was the one that got the First Step Act passed. You ask Alice Johnson, who was released from prison, if she gives the president credit for criminal justice reform. I'm sure that she would say yes. So that is one aspect that he has done that is successful that he does deserve credit for.

BOLDEN: He should get credit, but he doesn't, and now what are we left with? This is the political environment. He doesn't get credit for it with African-Americans. There are a lot of people involved with that, including African-American senators and congressmen and others. But he should get credit, but he doesn't. That's his problem, that's not America's problem. Trump is America's problem.

SAVIDGE: Got to leave it there. Alice Stewart, appreciate it very much. And A. Scott Bolden, thank you.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you both.

Facebook and YouTube have decided to remove content that mentions the potential name of the Ukraine whistleblower. Both companies say it violates their harm policy, which prohibits outing of witnesses, informants, or activists.

SAVIDGE: This comes right after right-wing media outlets claimed that they had the whistleblower's identity last week. When asked whether Twitter will take similar action, a company spokesperson said tweeting the person's name is not a violation of its rules.

Aventura, that's a New York based technology company, they are being accused of undermining national security. That's after they sold the U.S. government Chinese-made surveillance equipment with "Made in America" labels.

PAUL: Prosecutors say those products were used on U.S. military installations, and court documents say the fraud resulted in serious cybersecurity risks. Seven employees or former employees have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, unlawful importation, and money laundering.

Coming up, we've got a really interesting discussion about the psychological ties between President Trump and the people who support him. How has he managed to amass and keep such a dedicated following? Our next guest says he knows. His name is Jerrold Post. He's a 21- year veteran of the CIA who served under five presidents. He's got an awful lot to say about this. We'll be back in a moment.



SAVIDGE: I've been waiting all morning for this one. A recent national poll from ABC News and "The Washington Post," and it shows President Trump's approval rating at just 38 percent. But despite his declining numbers, we still see hundreds and often thousands of people show up at his rallies. Many are outfitted from head to toe with Trump shirts, hats, and flags. So what is it about the president that is so appealing?

PAUL: We want to talk about this with Dr. Jerrold Post. He's professor emeritus of psychiatry and political psychology at George Washington University. He is a 21-year veteran of the CIA. He served under five presidents. He was the founding director of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, and he recently wrote a book. It's called "Dangerous Charisma, The Political Ssychology of Donald Trump and His Followers." Dr. Post, good morning to you. Thank you for being with us.


PAUL: So when you write "dangerous charisma," explain to us what that means in relation to President Trump.

POST: Well, it's often the case that charisma is applied to individuals. But in fact, charisma is a relationship between the leader and his followers. And that's really important to understand, because there's an almost chemistry-like fit between Trump and his followers. On the one hand, he needs to be in the spotlight, and periodically we see him conducting a rally for no particular reason. It's as if he's refuelling his tank of adoration. But he is really ultimately the creation of his followers, and they seek a rescuer. They seek a strong, all-knowing, omniscient person to fasten themselves to. So it's a lovely fit between the two. And that's why it's such a strong continuing relationship.

SAVIDGE: It's fascinating because I've spent a lot of time talking to those who support him, voted for our president, and the one thing they will commonly say is that he gets them. He connects with them, and that they feel like there's so much in common with him. And yet he's a billionaire, he's grown up in a lifestyle that most Americans can't even dream of. So is he empathetic with those who follow him, or does that matter?

POST: He is not empathetic. He does have a link with those who follow him, to be sure, but one of his major problems as a leader, as I understand him, is an absence of empathy. For example, as McCain, Senator McCain, was dying of brain cancer, he was challenging him, criticizing him, and even after McCain's death he continues to criticize him. With Khan, the father of -- the Gold Star father of the Muslim soldier who died a hero, he mocked him. And one that I found particularly distressing was to watch him mocking the disabled "New York Times" reporter who had a congenital tremor.

SAVIDGE: But none of that seemed to turn off his supporters.


POST: That's right. And why not? And because there's -- first, there's a sunk cost. And secondly, he fills the hole for his followers seeking a rescuer, and he is strengthened by their adulation. Watching the rallies, for example, it's almost a frightening phenomenon, the power of "lock her up," "build the wall," and so forth and so on.

PAUL: Dr. Jerrold Post, we thank you so much for taking time to be with us again. His book, "Dangerous Charisma, the Political Psychology of Donald Trump and His Followers," that is his book. Thank you for being with us.

POST: Well, thank you very much.

SAVIDGE: Thank you, doctor.

PAUL: We'll be right back.


PAUL: A lot of us have a soft spot for abandoned and abused animals. Donkeys fit into that category for a champion who is one of this year's top ten CNN Heroes. Mark Meyers is giving donkeys a second life, a second chance at life, I should say, and finding them forever homes.



MIKE MEYERS, CNN HERO: Donkeys speak to my soul. Donkeys are like dogs. They're amazing animals that nobody gets. I understand what they're thinking. And there's so many donkeys in so many places that need so much help.

There's nothing cuter than a baby donkey.

MEYERS: We're saving them. We're improving their lives. I want to see every donkey find its happiness, its happy place, its peaceful place.


PAUL: To vote for Mark for CNN Hero of the year or any of your favorite top ten heroes, go to

SAVIDGE: An NTSB investigation has concluded that a plane crash in Texas two months ago was the result of a gender reveal stunt gone wrong. The pilot was apparently flying at a low altitude and dumped 350 gallons of pink water. But after the water was dumped, the plane immediately stalled and crashed.

PAUL: The pilot wasn't hurt. The plane's passenger was. Also, a family in Iowa inadvertently created a pipe bomb that killed a family member when it was detonated at a gender reveal party recently. So a lot of things coming out of these parties.

Researchers off the coast of Massachusetts came face-to-face with this monster shark.

SAVIDGE: Marine biologists say they tagged a 15-foot great white shark off the coast of Cape Cod. It's the biggest shark of the season, which implies there are bigger. The area is known for its shark sightings and beach closures. And 46 sharks have been tagged so far this year.

PAUL: Thank you for spending time with us. We hope you make good memories.

SAVIDGE: CNN NEWSROOM is next with Fredricka Whitfield.