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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Two White House Officials Describe "Blatant" Push For Politically Motivated Probes From Trump; Mick Mulvaney Defies Subpoena And Refuses To Testify; Author Paints Damning Portrait Of Trump's White House; President Trump Slams Impeachment Probe; Facebook, YouTube, Ban Spread Of Alleged Whistleblower Name; Thirty Years Since The Berlin Wall Was Torn Down; Record-Breaking Cold Expected In The Coming Week; Trump Launching "Black Voices For Trump". Aired 8-9a ET
Aired November 9, 2019 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats impeachment push is moving quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of the most central players in the relationship of Ukraine putting the President's Chief of Staff at the center of the scandal. A source tells CNN that lawyers for President Trump's former National Security Adviser are in talks with the three committees leading the inquiry about being deposed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Bolton has information about events, meetings and conversations that have not been discussed in the testimonies so far.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump travels to his third major sporting event in recent weeks. Saturday's matchup between Alabama and Louisiana State University is another chance to prove he's still a fan favorite.
TRUMP: I love Alabama. We're going to go watch a very good football game.
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CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Take a nice deep breath, you've make it to Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul. We're glad to have you here.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge, in for Blackwell.
PAUL: Got some new details to talk to you about regarding the testimony of two top level White House officials who appeared before lawmakers in the impeachment inquiry. Newly released transcripts place acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney directly at the center of a Ukraine scandal now.
SAVIDGE: Meantime, the attorney for John Bolton is teasing lawmakers and the White House about what the former White House National Security Adviser knows about the scandal. He says Bolton has personal knowledge or relevant information that has not been disclosed.
PAUL: And like most Americans President Trump's going to be watching college football today. He's headed to Tuscaloosa for the S.E.C. showdown between LSU and Alabama. This is his third appearance at a major sports event in just the past two weeks.
Want to go straight to CNN Correspondent, Kristen Holmes right now though at the White House talking about the very latest transcripts that were released. They may not be good news obviously for Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. What are you hearing this morning Kristen, and good morning.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Christi and Martin. Well that's right. This is not good news for Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. So this came the same day that he defied a House subpoena to show up and testify and then you get this document dump. And it comes from two important testimonies here and they were from the White House Russia expert Fiona Hill and the National Security Council Ukrainian expert Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.
So these two testimonies they mirror each other in the transcript and they pay Mulvaney is really at the center of all of this - this Ukrainian pressure campaign. I want to read to you from Fiona Hill's testimony here, because I think she lays it out well.
She's she says Sondland who was the European Union Ambassador "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 investigation." So clearly here laying out this blatant quid pro quo with Mulvaney at the center.
So what happens now? Well we learned late last night that Mulvaney had actually tried to join a lawsuit saying that he wants a federal court to decide whether or not he's going to testify. He wants the court to tell him should he be defying the White House which has said he shouldn't speak or these House subpoenas.
SAVIDGE: And real quick Kristen, wondering if Gordon Sondland is sort of being set up here as the Fall Guy. President Trump, of course, once called him a great American. Now Trump says I hardly know him. And yet he was, as far as I understand, a very close associate of the President.
HOLMES: Oh, very close associate. And Fiona Hill said in her testimony that Sondland told her that the President put him in charge of the Ukraine. So just to note that there, now he says he barely knows the gentleman. But this is all part of the narrative that the President continues to spin.
Remember Michael Cohen, his longtime fixer, his lawyer, he said he was barely with him. That he was not really a lawyer. He was part time, and he frankly wasn't a good lawyer. Remember Paul Manafort, the chair of his campaign. He said, he wasn't really involved in the campaign that much, he didn't know him not well.
President Trump tries to paint a narrative in which he says he's not doing anything wrong. And if something wrong was being done he didn't know about it. He barely knows the people that were doing it and he continued this yesterday when he spoke to reporters and he continued the narrative that he wasn't concerned about any of this testimony. Take a listen.
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TRUMP: I'm not concerned about anything. The testimony has all been fine. I mean, for the most part I've never even heard of these people. I have no idea who they are. There are some very fine people. You have some Never Trumpers. It seems that nobody has any firsthand knowledge. There is no firsthand knowledge. And all that matters is one thing, the transcript and the transcript is perfect.
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HOLMES: OK. So the transcript is perfect. No surprise there, that's what he has continued to say. But I want to correct the President on one thing. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, he was on that call between the President and President Zelensky so he is somebody who had firsthand knowledge there.
PAUL: He is. And when the President says he's not worried about anything. Is there any sense that they're worried about John Bolton, because he, of course, the former National Security Adviser to the President, has said he's got information about Ukraine that has not been disclosed thus far. But he's only going to talk when the court makes him.
HOLMES: Right. So that's right Christi. So this is a really key development here. On Thursday Bolton was supposed to testify. He didn't show up but the House didn't subpoena him, and here's why.
They did not want to tie up the entire impeachment process in these court proceedings, because Bolton made it clear that he wasn't going to testify unless the court said that he had to. But then yesterday a letter from the lawyer - I'm just going to read part of it, because you said most of it there.
But essentially saying that there were some things that Bolton knew that had already been revealed. But this is the key part, "as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed." And the only way to really describe this here is that shocked I eulogy when you're texting, because it's clearly a juicy tantalizing tease here.
But it means a couple of things and it puts Democrats in a hard spot. We know two things about Democrats. One they want all of the negative information that they can get on President Trump. They want to eventually impeach and bring these articles of impeachment. But we also know they want this process to be speedy. They do not want to drag this out.
So now they're going to have to make a choice, because if this goes to court and if they let the courts decide, this is going to prolong this process, making it much longer than they had hoped for or anticipated.
SAVIDGE: Yes, that is something they do not want to do. Kristen Holmes, thank you very much. Good to see you this morning.
Public hearings in the impeachment probe will kick off Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Republicans have complained for weeks that the inquiry was going on behind closed doors. Then the House approved guidelines for a public phase. Now President Trump is saying there should be no public hearings.
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TRUMP: They shouldn't be having public hearings. This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt. This is just the continuation--
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PAUL: Our legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig with us now. Elie good to see you this morning. First and foremost, what's important about Mulvaney is that he is directly linked to the president. How damaging is this information not just for Mulvaney, but for the President himself.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes Christi so the revelations that we got late in this week about Mulvaney were extremely important. Mick Mulvaney, we now know is a central witness, and he was centrally involved in the withholding of the aid, and presumably in the quid pro quo aspect of this. That was the main thing that came through the testimony yesterday.
And one of the defenses that we're starting to see come to life from the President and he hinted at this in the audio that we just heard, is this idea of, well, no firsthand information. You have these diplomats and they were doing whatever they were doing. But it didn't involve me.
But now we have the Chief of Staff, the closest person to the President, professionally speaking, centrally involved in this. So we need to hear from Mick Mulvaney. By the way Mick Mulvaney can testify if he wants. Plenty of these public officials have come forward and testified, but he's hiding. And I think the question is why.
SAVIDGE: Elie what do you make of John Bolton saying, you know, hey I've got information, but I'll only testify if I'm forced to as a result the court order.
HONIG: He's playing games and he's not doing the job that any public official should do. If you're a public official like John Bolton, you've been entrusted with important government responsibilities and you have relevant information, you have a duty to come forward. Now I don't know what kind of game he's playing here. He has every ability to come forward. And House Democrats need to make a decision here. I do think they should subpoena John Bolton. I do think they should go to court and try to force him to come in.
But also as we just discussed, they need to move quickly. They're under a timeline here. And so - but I think they do both. I think you proceed with your witnesses as scheduled next week with Taylor and Kent and Yovanovitch and you go to court and you fight to force Bolton to come in.
Because he's the guy - remember when this was all happening, he said he said this is not OK. I'm stopping this. We do not play political games. He was willing to call out wrongdoing then why isn't he now?
PAUL: So I want to ask you about Representative Jim Jordan, because he is now formally on House Intelligence Committee. He is going to be there as a Republican asking these questions How do you see what's going to happen this week play out now that he is in that space.
HONIG: Yes, I don't have any problem with the Republicans moving Jim Jordan into this committee to be sort of the lead. I think they're entitled to put whoever they want on this. But Jim Jordan is a bomb thrower, though. He likes to turn the tables. He likes to play the what aboutism game.
And I think what his strategy is going to be as a strategy I saw quite a bit when I was prosecuting cases, which is really distraction and diversion. When you're prosecuting the case or hear the investigators you just want to focus on what this person did and the actual evidence.
And what you're fighting against a lot of times as these efforts to say, but how about this, look over here, look over there. So I think he's going to be trying to invoke Hunter Biden and Joe Biden and things that really aren't relevant to what the President himself did in relation to Ukraine.
PAUL: All right. Elie Honig, I always appreciate your insight, sir. Thank you for being here.
HONIG: Thanks Christi. All right.
PAUL: And listen, if you thought all of this week was head spinning, just wait, because it is going to be a busy week in Washington. The impeachment hearings go public and this is the chance for witnesses to paint a vivid picture of the Ukraine scandal and potential wrongdoings by President Trump.
SAVIDGE: Yes. On Wednesday lawmakers will question the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, that's Bill Taylor. He will be followed by State Department official George Kent, and then on Friday former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch, she will testify. Excerpts from a new book, meanwhile, by an unnamed senior Trump administration official, painting the President as inept, erratic and a danger to the country. We'll take a closer look at the book that is offering chilling insight into the White House.
PAUL: And the President's reaching out to African-American voters. He did so at an event in Atlanta. Why he says he's better for the black community than any of the Democratic candidates?
SAVIDGE: Also marking 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a look back at how CNN journalists witnessed that historic moment.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been a city physically divided for 28 years, but now it's come together, East and West, in a spontaneous outburst of emotion.
PAUL: Well, we are learning some new details this morning about that explosive account in the new book written by an unnamed senior Trump and administration official.
SAVIDGE: If you didn't know it's titled "A Warning" and it paints a chilling picture of life inside the White House. CNN's Brian Todd has the details for us.
TRUMP: We're kicking their ass.
BRIAN TODD, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "His top officials would wake up in a full-blown panic over his tweets."
Working for Donald Trump at the White House is, "like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard, and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. Only your uncle doesn't have to lead the U.S. government once he puts his pants on."
These quotes, from the explosive new book, "A Warning," written by an anonymous Trump administration official, excerpted by the "Washington Post." Excerpts which some say will likely drive the President crazy.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Donald Trump, as we know, is pretty loyalty obsessed and he is, in particular, concerned with this idea of treachery inside the White House.
This is a moment where Trump is going to be particularly worried that he's surrounded by people he fundamentally can't trust.
TODD (voice over): The author is the same unnamed person who wrote an op-ed in the "New York Times" last year claiming to be part of a so- called resistance to Trump within the White House ranks. It's not clear if the person is still working for the president or has left.
According to "The Post," the new book says senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a, quote, "midnight self-massacre," to warn the public about President Trump's behavior.
MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If it was petty senior people and it was a lot of them, it would have not only affected the actual operations of the government, but it would have underscored and made very real one of the big concerns about this administration, which is that people are concerned about the President's very erratic nature. And I think it could have had a big impact.
TODD (voice over): The author says the officials decided against mass resignations fearing it would destabilize the government even further. The book depicts Trump as incompetent, a danger to the country, paranoid of those around him, including note takers and profoundly cruel.
TRUMP: Be quiet. Quiet.
TODD: The author says Trump once spoke with a Hispanic accent in the Oval Office to make fun of migrants crossing the border. And when discussing women, quote, "He comments on makeup. He makes jokes about weight. He critiques clothing. He uses words like "sweetie and honey."
GLASSER: That's the kind of amazing thing about Donald Trump. He makes racist remarks in private and he makes racist remarks in public. He says anti-women things in private and he says anti-women things in public.
TODD (voice over): The White House is calling the author a coward, saying the book is "nothing but lies, a work of fiction." One Trump biographer warns the pushback won't stop there.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: God help you if you occupy an important position in service to the president and evidence any lack of loyalty. He's going to come after you hard. And there's no threat that he won't make.
TODD: Last year, when that same author published the anonymous op-ed, the White House went on a mole hunt, a furious effort to out that person, with Trump said to be obsessed with uncovering the person's identity.
Analysts say that's likely going on now as well. But according to "The Post," the author claims to be ready to reveal his or her own identity in due course.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
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PAUL: Brian, thank you. Well, Facebook and YouTube say they are removing any content, mentioning the possible whistleblower's name. But Twitter, not so much. New details on that. SAVIDGE: Plus the Eastern U.S. is getting hit with an early taste of winter as millions wake up to some pretty extremely - pretty extreme, it's an overstatement - really cold temperatures and that's just the warm up for the cool down to come.
SAVIDGE: Newly released transcripts place Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney directly at the center of the Ukraine scandal.
PAUL: And the attorney for John Bolton says the former National Security Adviser has personal knowledge of relevant information that hasn't been disclosed yet. CNN's Tom Foreman has President Trump's take on were the impeachment inquiry is headed.
TRUMP: This is a hoax. It's a disgraceful thing. It's a witch hunt. It's a crooked deal.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Against an ever-growing army of witnesses raising alarms about the Ukraine scandal President Trump is throwing haymakers.
TRUMP: I mean, for the most part I never even heard of these people. I have no idea who they are.
FOREMAN (voice over): Dismissing the bit players attacking the big names.
TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi is a corrupt politician. Shifty Schiff is a double corrupt politician.
FOREMAN (voice over): At the Capitol, however, the allegations of presidential misconduct continue gaining momentum. In a dramatic reversal of his early statements largely favorable to Trump, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland now says he recalls telling the Ukrainians resumption of U.S. military aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement we have been discussing."
In other words, another top diplomat, Bill Taylor says he was told for the White House to release the military aid it was withholding from Ukraine, the Ukrainian president would have to go to a microphone and say he's opening an investigation into Joe Biden and 2016 election interference.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): All of the witnesses agree that the president engineered a shakedown of the Ukrainian government.
FOREMAN (voice over): Other witnesses raised their own concerns about the transactional nature of the now infamous call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. The former top Russia advisor said she was shocked by the blatant push for investigations. An aide to Vice President Mike Pence said the call was not normal but political. A State Department official accused the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani of waging a campaign of lies against the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, to get her removed from her post and out of the way.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.
FOREMAN (voice over): the NSC top Ukraine official, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman said he understood acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was coordinating a trade. Ukraine would launch the investigations in exchange for meeting Trump.
Sondland just said that he had a conversation with Mr. Mulvaney and this is what was required in order to get a meeting. Mulvaney like some others says he won't testify, his lawyer citing absolute immunity.
The White House is dismissing all the proceedings as even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham. More Republicans howl for the whistleblower who triggered the probe to be unmasked. The whistleblower's lawyer sent the President a letter demanding he stop attacking his client. He didn't take.
TRUMP: The whistleblower is a disgrace to our country. He should be sued and maybe for treason.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I don't mean any disrespect but it must suck to be that dumb.
FOREMAN (voice over): At a Trump's rally jabs at Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and others drew huge cheers. But closer to the hearing rooms as the evidence mounts, Republican lawmakers are mostly dodging questions about the president's behavior. And when they tried to explain it - well--
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine it was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.
FOREMAN (voice over): The response from Democrats.
GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): It's extraordinary. The only thing missing in Lindsey Graham's defense is an insanity plea, which actually might work better than an incompetence plea.
FOREMAN (voice over): And the President--
TRUMP: Despite all that, we are kicking their ass.
FOREMAN: Precisely who is kicking whom is debatable. But this is not. The full context. Politics will only get more intense when the impeachment inquiry hearing goes public next week. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
SAVIDGE: Now there is no doubt about that. People on 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 witnesses, informants or activists.
PAUL: This comes after right wing media outlets claimed they had the whistleblower's identity last week when asked whether Twitter will take similar action. A company spokesman said, tweeting the person's name is not a violation of its rules.
SAVIDGE: The President is turning to African-Americans to build a winning coalition in 2020.
PAUL: Coming up. The new campaign has launched to appeal to black voters.
SAVIDGE: And a reminder, former Vice President Joe Biden takes questions from voters live from Iowa in a CNN Democratic presidential town hall. CNN's Erin Burnett moderates tune in Monday at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.
SAVIDGE: Well, it was 30 years ago. The world witnessed one of the most, yes, I'd have to say, seismic moments of the 20th Century, that's the fall of the Berlin wall, a barrier that divided the city for 28 years.
PAUL: This morning leaders gathered in Berlin to mark the historic moment, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, you see over her there. She helped light candles at a memorial.
SAVIDGE: The fall of the wall signaled an it end of the cold war divide between the communist east and capitalist west. Here's what the world watched play out on TV that November, 1989.
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BRAD WHITE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the largest demonstration in East German history. The main square was carpeted with a half million people, the city virtually came to a standstill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our top story. The Iron Curtain between East Germany and West Berlin has come tumbling down. East Germany announced today it is opening its borders, allowing its citizens to go anywhere they wish. The future of the Berlin Wall is now up in the air.
DOUG JAMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: East Germany's Communist leaders have now taken a symbolic sledgehammer to that wall. It's conceivable, I suppose, now the wall - the real wall with real sledgehammers will soon be brought down on that wall. There's no longer any point of it being there, a prospect that no one could have predicted a, year ago or even a month ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been a city physically divided for 28 years but now it's come together, East and West, in a spontaneous outburst of emotion.
TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This could be a first move to dismantling the Berlin Wall that has stood as the most painful symbol of a divided Germany, since it was built in 1961.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One after another, drivers and passengers alike said they plan to use their new freedom to spend a weekend in West Germany and take, a look at how the other half lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every East German coming to the West received 100 marks, about $50. Many West German businesses are staying open around the clock, giving them a chance to not only spend the money, but pick up goods to take home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds of thousands of East Germans swarmed the streets of West Berlin. It was like a sea of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning a new hold was made in the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz. Yesterday, it was the Glienicke Bridge that opened up. To many of us these are just place names, but what signal do these places send to the German people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Potsdamer Platz was the Times Square building before the war. I was on the Glienicke Bridge yesterday and I have never seen more grown men with tears in my eyes than any time in my life on that bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vast majority of East Germans don't want to leave homes, jobs and families to go live in the West. The question now is whether the breached in the wall have whetted the appetites of people here, not for just a little more change but a lot.
East German leaders hope that by dismantling those things that have become symbols of their past, they can encourage the return of skilled workers, of doctors ,engineers and scientists needed to rebuild the country's future.
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PAUL: And the Eastern U.S., meanwhile, getting hit with some winter weather already. Right now there are about 30 million of you under freeze warnings. Just walk out the door. You don't need me to tell you that. And it's going to get even colder by Monday.
SAVIDGE: I was out there yesterday pulling all the plants into the garage. Cnn's Allison Chinchar this for us. And Allison how low are we going to go? ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Probably more like what you would expect for January rather than November. Take a look at some of these morning low temperatures. These all broke records here.
Rutland, Vermont; Ithaca, New York, even Baltimore Maryland breaking a record low this morning. The key thing is though we have another cold blast that's coming in and this one is actually going to be even colder.
It is going to surge for pretty much the entire eastern half of the country, looking at those temperatures well below average and a majority of them at or below freezing.
The other thing to note, with that cold air in place, as these next couple of systems come through, it's actually going to bring a majority of snow because that cold air will be in place. In fact we're talking snow potentially as far south as Nashville, Tennessee. Then even some accumulating snow a little bit farther to the North, especially along interior New England several inches possible before this system finally exits.
Here's a look at that map as you can see lots of purple on that map. That's four or five if not six inches. But there could be some spots they could pick up as much as a foot of snow, especially in the higher elevations, because those cold temperatures will be in place.
And those cold temperatures we talk about, there's going to be a lot of them. And a lot of potential records over 240 possible records Monday through Wednesday of the upcoming week. But just how cold is it going to get because that's really going to be the key over the next couple of days.
Sure it could be a couple of degrees below average or it could be significantly below average. This is a look at Chicago, again going from the 40s today down to highs only in the 20s by the middle of the upcoming week. But, again, even you go see a little bit farther down to the south.
In Texas, a state you think of as being very warm. Here's a look at Dallas going from your 70s today and tomorrow, Martin and Christi, down to highs only in the low to mid 40s by the middle of the upcoming week.
PAUL: All righty, Alison Chinchar, bundled up.
CHINCHAR: Thank you.
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PAUL: We have some incredible video to show you out of Australia, firefighters struggling to contain what they're calling on precedent deadly bush fires. Take a look at this. I mean this is what they're driving through. It's an absolute inferno on both sides of them. SAVIDGE: It's amazing. They make it through with scenes like this are playing out across the Australian State of New South Wales. At least three people are dead seven others missing. And officials say at least 100 homes have been destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Coming up next. Courting the black vote. Why President Trump is turning to African-Americans to build a winning coalition in 2020?
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TRUMP: Blacks for Trump. Black voices for Trump. African-Americans for Trump, call it whatever the hell you want, correct? What do you prefer Blacks for Trump or African-Americans for Trump?
AUDIENCE: Blacks for Trump!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: President unveiling a new campaign to some degree less than a year from the 2020 election. He's making his pitch to African-American voters specifically.
SAVIDGE: Yesterday the President campaigned right here in Atlanta. He was launching Black Voices for Trump. That's a coalition dedicated to recruiting African-Americans to support the President. Just 8 percent of black voters cast their ballot for Trump in 2016. But the Trump campaign hoped to improve those numbers next November.
PAUL: Joining us now Richard Rose, President of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP and Bruce LeVell, he is Executive Director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and a Republican National Committee media surrogate. Gentlemen, thank you both for being here.
BRUCE LEVELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION FOR TRUMP: Yes. Thanks for having us.
RICHARD ROSE, PRESIDENT, NAACP, ATLANTA: Thank you. Thanks for having.
PAUL: You were at the event last night, Bruce. What did you see.
LEVELL: I was saying it was awesome it was. It was just exciting. It was - first of I was glad he come down in the hot Atlanta, the President, of all the places and he plans to do many more stops around the country. And it was jam packed. We wish we had a bigger venue. We did - we had a lot of folks that couldn't get in. And there was a lot of excitement.
There's a lot of excitement about just the fact that the President is going aggressively and asking hey I want this. I want this vote. I want to you know, as he was saying, he was promoting the opportunity zones. He was a leader and game changer in the step one act, which was a nonpartisan, the way he approached it. And it took lot--
PAUL: That did start in the Obama administration, but he continued it.
LEVELL: And we closed the deal.
PAUL: And you closed the deal, yes, yes. Just I mean - just for clarity.
LEVELL: Yes, with a collaborate effort. And you know it's just the fact that the lowest black unemployment since 1972 and we plan to get it much lower. And interesting, on that note, I remember being at Trump Tower in 2015 and we were with a lot of African-American pastors - about a 100, on 26th floor. He said one of the biggest disconnect is we got to get this unemployment down.
He says we'll get it down. And this is actually what he said in 2015. And also to create generational wealth, small business, black business - black business owners like myself. That is something he really wants to go in the heart, because there is that there is a disconnect especially in black communities.
SAVIDGE: Let me bring - let's bring Richard into the conversation as well to hear what is clearly going to be another side here. When it comes to the issue of unemployment and what the President claims he has done for the African-American community. How does that ring through for you?
ROSE: Well the President is sort of like a person who shows up for the Thanksgiving dinner. He didn't buy the turkey, he didn't hired a cook, he didn't buy fix and he didn't buy the house, and he claimed credit for it.
Those unemployment numbers were going down under the Obama administration, but they still remain higher for blacks. 7.5 percent is the great black unemployment rate. And it doesn't even compute the black underemployment rate. So those - that's just boasting of the person who didn't have anything to do with the fix up. He just happened to be sitting in the chair.
PAUL: Let's listen to the President, if we could, from just last Sunday what he was saying about this campaign to try to connect with black voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And get criminal justice reform, nobody out. I get it. Without me you don't have criminal justice reform. And that was for the African-Americans more than anybody else. So I think my standing in the African community - African-American community is maybe the best.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: He says it's maybe the best, Richard, what do you - what is his standing in the black community as you see it? ROSE: Well we take the words of some of the Republicans as Andrew Gillum says he's running for Governor of Florida. It is the racists who call this President a racist. It is Lindsey Graham who said he was racist, xenophobic and a religious bigot. And we can't disagree with that.
That the policies of this administration, including not enforcing consent decrees, not enforcing for consent orders that were volunteer as it relates to police brutality all over this country. His administration has rolling back the gains that we made under the Obama administration. And for us it's not Democrat or Republican.
Racism in America has been bipartisan and the NAACP has been fighting against that no matter who was in office and we will continue to do that. We speak out on policies. I've known numerous black Republicans, but they don't ascribe to this kind of racism.
SAVIDGE: Bruce let me ask you real quick here on this question, the President does have some things which he can point to legitimately to the African-American community. But then there is the personality side of this President. And I believe this is actually what you were sort of alluding to Richard.
That you know he has been criticizing "The Squad" for women of color. He went after Elijah Cummings of Maryland. In Charlottesville where a woman was killed and a white supremacist did the killing, he says the violence is on many sides and he goes on to use an expletive to describe the entire continent of Africa. So isn't it clear why many people may doubt this outreach?
LEVELL: Well Martin I have to respectfully disagree. And just to give you the numbers on unemployment is 5.4 and it's going to get better. I--
ROSE: Its 7.5--
LEVELL: Well, no, sir it's 5.4. But Martin at the end of the day, the President is a--
SAVIDGE: I think we have the actual unemployment rate. We can show you how they break down under the Obama administration. And so you can see the - it's 5.4 and that - but the most significant decrease came under the Obama administration.
LEVELL: Well, look, at the end of the day the President gets the credit, good or bad, no matter if you're in office. Let's just respect the fact that we're doing much better now for all Americans.
And there's one thing about it, Martin that I just have to keep putting this in perspective. Most of the African-American communities, which we know, we've had conversations with the President, it is essential and vital to us build black generational wealth back into all these communities.
Opportunity Zones is a magnificent tool. It's one of the best tools that we have. We can get better, yes. But when you go to the African- American community ask yourself who owns the grocery store, who owns the gas station, who owns - I'm one of the largest black jewelry store owners in the country. I'm African-American. The dream come true.
LEVELL: Well, wait a second, sir. I didn't interrupt you.
PAUL: Well, we only have a this segment (ph) left.
LEVELL: --respectful. So this is about business, this is about restoring and putting back black wealth to grow. It's a win, win for everyone.
PAUL: But you have to resonate with people in order really to make that happen--
LEVELL: And the numbers don't lie Christi.
PAUL: Well - but here are the numbers.
LEVELL: The numbers don't lie.
PAUL: The President in August of 2016 said at the end of four years I guarantee you I'll get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. In the latest Quinnipiac poll it shows he has a 10 percent approval of the job he's doing for African-Americans and 80 percent of black voters believe that he is racist.
LEVELL: Is at the same poll that said Hillary would win. Come on guys - polls really?
PAUL: I understand that.
LEVELL: No one really wants to give up--
PAUL: 80 percent of black voters believe that he is a racist.
LEVELL: No, that's an unfair statement.
PAUL: Is there anything that this President can do--
LEVELL: That is unfair.
PAUL: It's in a poll.
LEVELL: The man has been out there for 40 plus years, Christi, and all of a sudden he announces for President and all of a sudden--
ROSE: Well there is not--
PAUL: We got to let Richard have a voice here.
ROSE: He was he was a racist before he announced for President--
LEVELL: That's not true.
ROSE: He called for execution of the--
LEVELL: No, no--
ROSE: --the Central Park Five who were found to be innocent and he still has not apologized for that. His policies have really--
LEVELL: Who was--
LEVELL: --bad prosecutor
PAUL: Would an apology from President Trump, he believed by the black community.
ROSE: Absolutely not.
PAUL: And would it be accepted?
ROSE: --absolute. Well, this President is so untruthful. How could you believe anything he says? I mean the documented--
LEVELL: Numbers don't lie
ROSE: Right. The numbers don't lie. 3,000 to 5,000 lies he writes--
LEVELL: There is a train in very city
SAVIDGE: All right. We are over clocking here. So Bruce let me ask you this. How much of this - and Richard it's the same question. How much of this outreach on the part of the President do you think was actually targeting African-Americans or was more directed to try to soothe the worried minds of white American voters who feel very bad about supporting a President who talks down to African-American?
LEVELL: I disagree. Look at the cities. Look around this great nation Martin, and look who is in control of--
SAVIDGE: This is a majority in their African-American city in which you had only about 400 supporters that show--
LEVELL: And some of the unfortunate, disadvantaged towns and cities around here are under democratic rule for 30-40 years, Martin. All the President is saying when he says, "What do you have to lose? Give us a chance." That's all it is. The numbers don't lie.
Yes there's a crane up on every part of Atlanta. Now there's revitalization. There's a black Subway owner just opened up for the first time under this administration. There are vibrant stores opening up an Auburn-- SAVIDGE: You've already gone through the economic zones--
LEVELL: --you can't lie about this.
ROSE: --has nothing to do with this President. None of that has anything to do with this President.
LEVELL: Well, he is just--
ROSE: All he had to do was maintain what the Obama administration had started--
LEVELL: No, we did that. We were there in the recession.
ROSE: But what he did was - and now we got tariffs, we got trade wars going on. This has been a disaster. And economists tell us we are headed for a slowdown because of the actions of this President. So--
LEVELL: Are we better off now than we were eight years ago?
ROSE: Eight years ago he has nothing to do with eight years ago.
LEVELL: Well, wait a minute--
ROSE: He is a man.
LEVELL: Richard, are we better off now? Sir--
ROSE: --nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but he claims--
LEVELL: --are we better off now.
ROSE: --he claiming for the things--
SAVIDGE: Bruce, it's not all about the economy.
SAVIDGE: And we got to leave it - I'm sorry.
PAUL: And I'm sorry we have--
LEVELL: No, sir, I disagree. Everything that's argued in DC is about money. 80 percent of the America--
PAUL: But for the voter a lot of it is about respect and about how you treat people and that's where--
ROSE: And this President shows no respect to people of color.
PAUL: Its doesn't--
LEVELL: I disagree
SAVIDGE: All right, Bruce, we're going to leave it there.
PAUL: You know, Bruce, we appreciate you both being here.
SAVIDGE: Bruce LeVell, Richard Rose, Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: --and spirited and we appreciate you coming on.
PAUL: We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So researchers off the coast of Massachusetts came face to face - look at that thing, with what's being described as a monster shark.
SAVIDGE: Marine biologists say that they tagged 15 foot great white shark off the coast of Cape Cod. It is the biggest shark of the season. The area is known for its shark sightings. And the beach close here has followed 46 sharks have been tagged so far this year, the most ever. I think we need a bigger boat.
PAUL: All righty. Thank you so much for being with us. We'll see you again in another hour. "SMERCONISH" is now.