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Details From John Bolton's Book Are Out; New York City Enters Phase Two Reopening; Interview with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired June 22, 2020 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: -- Trump gets played by them. He says that Putin plays him like a fiddle, and treats him something like an intelligence asset, the way you would handle an asset.
You, of course, served in intelligence for decades. Do you agree with that?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I do, and I've said so in the past. That's not to say that the president is an asset in the classic sense, but that is the manner in which I believe Putin treats him. I mean, Putin's a KGB guy and that's -- you know, that's his experience and that's the way he approaches it, the objective is to seek leverage over his counterpart.
And so you know, that's what he's done. And that's pretty evident in their relations when you see them together. Clearly, Putin is the alpha male.
SCIUTTO: I've had intelligence -- former senior intelligence officials tell me that one of the biggest weaknesses for targets of that kind of influence is a lack of awareness -- right? -- that it's happening, but also an overconfidence that you wouldn't be vulnerable to it. I wonder if you see Trump displaying those qualities.
CLAPPER: Well, I do. I mean, I think when he came to office, he didn't have any -- as far as I know -- had no exposure to classified information, certainly no exposure to intelligence from the government. And so I don't think he was real wise in the ways of the Russians particularly, who are always bent on gaining access, gaining leverage, gaining influence.
And that's their game. And if they can -- kompromat, which is their acronym for compromising information, whether it's real or contrived. And it just struck me that he seemed, when we briefed him way back in January of '17, a big naive about that sort of thing.
SCIUTTO: The NSA's Paul Nakasone, head of the National Security Agency, according to Axios, he's released a statement saying, "I have determined that the unauthorized disclosure of the classified information in the draft manuscript" -- this of Bolton's book -- "reasonably could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States."
This is, of course, an issue because while a federal judge did not block the publication of this -- and listen, the horse is already out of the barn, in effect, with all these copies out there -- he did raise the possibility of legal jeopardy for John Bolton if there's classified information in here. What is that legal jeopardy, and do you see him, in telling these stories, of having undermined U.S. national security?
CLAPPER: Well, you know, having not read the book and certainly not the passages in question, you know, I do find the whole process here a bit odd in that in April -- according to the judge's reading on this -- in April, he got clearance verbally that --
CLAPPER: -- from Ellen Knight, who was the senior professional on this, that his book was cleared of all classified material.
And then afterwards, when political people got involved, this changed. Now, General Nakasone, very credible professional intelligence officer. And I -- you know, he wouldn't have done that casually but in the absence of knowing what the actual passage in question says, it's hard to make a call.
SCIUTTO: Finally, I wonder if I could just ask you, big picture, given that the description Bolton paints of the president is fairly consistent with what you've heard of other former senior officials appointed by this president -- Jim Mattis, former White House chief of staff John Kelly, the former Navy secretary Richard Spencer -- describing a president who violates, at times, America's national security interests.
Do you believe, as John Bolton said, that a second terms of President Trump would cause irretrievable damage?
CLAPPER: Well, I think so. I think we can survive -- I mean, I agree with what John Bolton said. We can recover from damage done in one term, but two terms, that's a different proposition, and I've long felt that way.
I think the big difference here, by the way, with everyone else is just the position that Bolton was in. And apparently, he was a pretty good note-taker. So this particular former (INAUDIBLE)
SCIUTTO: Oh, we lost Director Clapper there. His point -- his final point there, making the point that John Bolton kept contemporaneous notes of many of these encounters with the president, adding to some degree to his credibility. Thanks to Director Clapper -- Poppy, to you.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right, so after months of very strict lockdown here in New York City, phase two begins today in the reopening plan of the city that was the epicenter of this crisis. What does it mean for so many people who live and work here?
HARLOW: New York City, reaching a key milestone today. The onetime epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in this country, officially, Jim, entering phase two of reopening today. And it looks a lot different.
SCIUTTO: Big step there --
SCIUTTO: -- CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from New York. So tell us what changes are taking effect today and how are folks there responding?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Jim. You can see the changes right around me -- people eating at restaurants, albeit outside. It is a sight that New Yorkers have waited months to behold. Restaurants and bars can now do service out on the sidewalks. Along with that, you've got in-store retail sales, the reopening of the real estate industry. You can even go to your salon or your barbershop, steps that people have long looked forward to.
TEXT: New York City Reopening Phase Two: Restaurants: outdoor dining open, social distancing; Hair salons and barbershops: 50 percent capacity, closed waiting areas; Offices: 50 percent capacity; In-store retail: 50 percent capacity; Malls will remain closed
FIELD: It's all possible because it's part of New York's rather dramatic comeback, going from being the epicenter of this virus to being a state where there is a less than one percent positivity rate on tests.
Here's how Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state has been able to get it done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We followed the science, we were a slave to the science. I look at the numbers every day, and we react by the numbers.
I argue and urge and enforce compliance every day. If we see any tick in those numbers, we will respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: Governor Cuomo has also signed executive orders that will enforce social distancing, that could lead to the suspension of liquor licenses for bars and restaurants that don't comply with regulations. Stores that don't follow the guidelines could also see their businesses temporarily shut down -- Jim, Poppy.
HARLOW: Alex, thank you very much. It's a big change, we'll see if people adhere to the guidelines.
Another major blow for a drug that was touted so heavily by the president to fight coronavirus.
SCIUTTO: Yes, as we've said, watch the data here. And at least four trials for hydroxychloroquine are now being cancelled. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, here with details.
So, Elizabeth, is it safe to say we have the word, the final word on whether hydroxychloroquine is a good treatment for the infected? But it is -- is it an open question on it as a preventative? What's the truth?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's been one study that looked at it as a preventative agent, and it really was quite a good and large study, and it found that it did not work.
I don't think there's going to be a lot of enthusiasm to do more studies. Let's look at these four that have been cancelled, this is all very recent, really just within the past couple of days.
Pharmaceutical company giant Novartis cancelled theirs; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a part of the NIH, cancelled theirs; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, they cancelled their hydroxychloroquine study, also a part of the NIH; and then the V.A. was proposing to do a study, and they decided not to fund it.
Now, they give various reasons but the bottom line is they were having trouble getting people to enroll in this study. And you know, I think the bottom line here is it's really such a pity that so much money was wasted on this. There was no science to begin with that said that this drug worked, and look at all the money that they sank or started to sink into studying this, only to pull back.
HARLOW: I know.
HARLOW: And now governors are going to answer questions about what they're going to do with these big stockpiles that many of them purchased for the state.
Elizabeth, what about Gilead, the pharmaceutical giant behind the drug remdesivir, some news from them this morning?
COHEN: Right, so remdesivir, Poppy, is the only drug that's been proven to show that it actually does work against COVID-19, and so the -- Gilead, the company that makes it, has announced they're going to try to develop an inhaled version of it rather than an IV version.
That would allow people to use it, say, at home, so that you could use it earlier on. An IV, obviously, needs to be done in the hospital. So they're making those efforts, they're hoping that it can be used earlier on so you're not getting people when they're severely ill. SCIUTTO: Elizabeth Cohen, always good to have you on. Thank you.
As nationwide protests continue, senators are thinking about how they will vote on police reform bills this week. We'll be joined by one, coming up.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back. The family of Rayshard Brooks has announced plans for his funeral and memorial services. Brooks, you'll remember, was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer in the parking lot of a Wendy's more than a week ago.
A public viewing will be held this afternoon at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a co-pastor. His private funeral will be tomorrow. The church's senior pastor, Reverend Raphael Warnock, will deliver the eulogy.
HARLOW: To Capitol Hill now, where the Senate is expected to vote this week on a Republican police reform bill. The vote to even take up debate could come as soon as Wednesday. At least seven Democrats will have to vote in favor to begin that debate.
With me now is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Senator, it's very nice to have you. And let's just begin there. I know you don't think it's a perfect bill, but I wonder how you're going to vote on even debating it.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Well, I don't know. We're going to talk about it this week, prior to the vote. They're -- the president's executive order, for what it was worth, and the Republican bill is -- are not serious bills. I mean, they don't deal with anything fundamental, they mostly are collecting more data and doing more studies and doing things that politicians always do when they don't want to address an issue.
So I would hope Senator McConnell would be serious, would entertain real amendments about banning police chokeholds and making police responsible, liable for their actions when they do things like this. That's the goal, and we should be serious about it and we need to move.
HARLOW: So let me get your response to something from Michael Harrington, who writes for "The Root," who is no Republican and no supporter, typically, of Republican legislation.
Quote, "As someone who is not a huge fan of the Republican Party or its tactics, it might pain some to hear this as much as it pains me to say it, but the truth is, the GOP bill is more likely to stop cops from killing black people."
He talks about more effective withholding grant money is for them. He also says the Democrats' bill only outlaws chokeholds for federal officers. What do you make of his argument?
BROWN: I don't know enough about (INAUDIBLE) arguments to give them the credence that maybe the question suggests. But I -- I mean, I know that civil rights groups overwhelmingly support the Booker-Harris plan. There are 38 or 39 or 40 cosponsors. It's really a mainstream proposal to deal with police brutality, with the murder -- every day, every week, every month -- of African-Americans, mostly men.
And I know that -- I mean, I've watched Mitch McConnell and President Trump, they barely mention this in their speeches or talks or anything they've cared about in the past. I take very seriously what we're doing. I know that their plan is simply not serious.
HARLOW: You address the issue of disparity. In a powerful exchange and important testimony last week in the Senate -- you're the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee -- with the Fed chairman Jerome Powell. And I just want people to listen to this part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Do you think Dr. Spriggs is correct that the U.S. failed to grapple with the fact that much of the economic inequality is a direct result of institutional racism?
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE: First, the economics discipline, like every other aspect of our society, does have a troubled history when it comes to issues of race inequality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And we know from their data, if you look at the Fed data, that the disparity between median incomes for white households and black households, it's 10 times. White households have 10 times the median income that black households do. Were you satisfied by Chairman Powell's answer?
BROWN: Mostly I was. I mean, he's the only one in the administration who's answered any questions like that in a more or less satisfactory way. I think he understands it -- I think he's fairly straitjacketed in what he can do in this administration.
But we've all seen the killings of Mr. Floyd and Ms. Taylor and others. But we've also this pandemic has been the great revealer. It has shown the racial disparities in housing -- that's the reason, in large part, that incomes and wealth accumulation are so dramatically different between whites and blacks.
We've seen disparities in health, maternal mortality, infant mortality, life expectancy. We've seen these disparities throughout the justice system, throughout -- and in education, where so many people of color and many low-income whites have not -- have seen that gap grow even wider, the opportunity gap to get ahead.
So my hope is that this great revealer, this pandemic will -- I don't see Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump moving much on it because I don't think they frankly care, frankly. But I do see next year getting serious, and I'm hoping we can build a real move to deal with the great moral issues of our time: racial disparities, income inequality and climate change.
HARLOW: And on the issue of income inequality -- because it's not just government that has power here, actually, the private sector has the most power, you could argue, when it comes to wages and benefits for employees. And you wrote about this in a "Wall Street Journal" op- ed. Let me read people part of it.
The headline, "A Message to America's Corporate CEOs." "Feel-good commercials are fine, but put your money where your mouth is and do right by your employees." You say, "They need fair pay, power in the workplace and protections on the jobs." You quote one grocery store worker in your state in Ohio, who told you recently, "I don't feel essential, I feel expendable."
What is your message to the leaders of these companies?
BROWN: Well, this was an open letter. "The Wall Street Journal" was kind enough -- surprisingly (ph) kind enough to print an open letter to CEOs, saying raise pay to $15, provide pandemic pay for those people -- government and the private sector, frankly -- who are in the frontlines, that are more likely to die from the coronavirus, as many of us are able to work safely from home.
Don't fight unions at every turn, grant workers paid sick leave, implement strong safety standards -- the administration has refused. There have been 5,000 complaints to the Department of Labor about unsafe work conditions during this pandemic. One citation offered by the Department of Labor.
I mean, we need -- the administration's not going to do it, McConnell's not going to do it in the Senate. We need corporations to stand up --
BROWN: -- if you're going to (INAUDIBLE) say thank you to your workers, maybe you ought to pay them a little better and treat them a little better, that was my message.
HARLOW: We have to go. Yes or no, did any CEOs respond to that, did you hear from any?
BROWN: Not directly, but we're hearing that they're talking about it. I'm --
BROWN: -- very encouraged by the (ph) conversation.
HARLOW: OK, good.
BROWN: I'd love to give an update in a month or so. Thanks. HARLOW: Come back, please do, Senator Sherrod Brown, we appreciate
your time this morning. Thank you.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR,: Hello, everybody, I'm John King in Washington. Thank you so much for sharing your day with us.
The president --