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Woodward Book Revelations; Wildfires Burn across West Coast; Pence to Attend Fundraiser; NFL Kicks off the Season. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 10, 2020 - 06:30   ET



MILES TAYLOR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Still does not know how to do his job. Fundamentally, he doesn't know what cabinet secretary to turn to, to get the job done in a national crisis. He tells the secretary of State to do things the attorney general should do. He tells the secretary of Homeland Security to do things that the secretary of Agriculture should do. And that's -- that's the president that we currently have right now. He hasn't learned how to do his job.

And when it comes to what happened with the coronavirus response, that has been absolutely damning. Again, I go back to, after September 11, 2001, we painstakingly built out plans to respond to national crises, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and, yes, pandemics. The president did not rely on those response plans. He had no interest in using the levers of government the way they needed to be used to save the lives of Americans. And, instead, governed on the basis of personal self-interest and momentary whim. You would walk out of these meetings with the president and you would turn to each other wide-eyed and say, that guy has no idea what's going on. He cannot stay focused.

And, again, I can tell you from folks who led this pandemic response at the White House, they've said the same things as Anthony Fauci about the response being rudderless and the president being clinically unfocused on addressing this problem head on with the authorities of his office.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: His attention span is like a minus number. Pretty vivid descriptions there.

And we will note that much of the sound we have played so far was from 190,000 deaths ago.

All right, there's a lot more to play for you this morning. A lot more sound. A lot more from Bob Woodward's stunning interview with President Trump, including what he revealed about a secret new weapons system. That's next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: In new audio, President Trump is heard revealing the existence of a new nuclear weapons system to Bob Woodward. This is information that had never been made public before.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I have built a nuclear -- a weapon -- I have built a weapons system -- weapons system that nobody's ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven't even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There's nobody -- what we have is incredible.


BERMAN: Now --

CAMEROTA: Well, I'm glad he's telling Bob Woodward about it before he tells anybody else. That's helpful.

Woodward's book also reports that two of the president's top officials considered speaking out publically against him. Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is quoted as describing Trump as, quote, dangerous, unfit, and without a moral compass.

Abby Phillip and Miles Taylor are back with us.

Miles, what do you know about this new nuclear weapons system that was revealed?

TAYLOR: Well, unlike the president, Alisyn, I wouldn't disclose what I did or did not know about something along those lines. But I think what we just heard in that audio is absolutely damning. It's one of the president's top responsibilities, as Abby noted in a previous segment, to protect the United States. And one of those aspects of that responsibility is to keep America's secret secret.

So, in this case, the president has suggested, allegedly, that there's a program that now the Russians and Chinese know about, that they can task their intelligence officers to find out more about. This, ultimately, puts American lives in danger. It puts multi-billion- dollar programs in danger to make these types of suggestions.

But this isn't the first time we've seen it. So there have been allegations that the president revealed to the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office information about sensitive spy activities in Syria. That he's revealed in other circumstances details about operations that we've undertaken overseas. That he had classified information up in Bedminster that was in view of reporters while he was talking to the Japanese prime minister.

And I can tell you firsthand that I've been in the West Wing when the president has picked up classified information off his desk and waved it at people in the room who were not cleared to see that information.

Donald Trump is failing at one of the most fundamental responsibilities of his job, which is to safeguard classified information and therefore safeguard the American people. This is stunning. I think there's no other way to describe it. And, genuinely, I got chills when you just played that clip. And I think other national security officials probably feel the same way.

BERMAN: Look, thank goodness he makes people in the White House sign nondisclosure agreements because it's doing a really good job keeping secrets like nuclear weapons system from being disclosed to people who shouldn't hear it.

I'm just going to read one quote before I hit another bite. Dan Coats, who was the director of National Intelligence, Woodward reports, never got over his questions about whether the Russians had something on the president. This is what Woodward writes. Coates continued to harbor this secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof that Putin had something on Trump. There was no proof, period, but Coates' doubts continued, never fully dissipating. How else to explain the president's behavior? Coates could see no other explanation.

Coates, who is obviously a private citizen now, could talk about this more if he wanted to.

A lot more audio, Abby, including the president talking about race. Bob Woodward had a conversation with him, I think this is two days after the president had the protesters cleared out from the White House, he walked across the street to the church and held up the Bible. Bob Woodward asked him questions about race and systemic racism.



BOB WOODWARD: OK, but let -- let me ask you this. I mean, we share one thing in common. We're white, privileged, who -- my father was a lawyer and a judge in Illinois and we know what your dad did. And do you have any sense that that privilege has isolated and put you in a cave, to a certain extent, as it put me, and I think lots of white, privileged people in a cave, and that we have to work our way out of it to understand the anger and the pain particularly black people feel in this country?


Do you --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, you -- you really drank the Kool-Aid, didn't you? Just listen to you. Wow.

No, I don't feel that at all.


BERMAN: Mocking, Abby, literally scoffing at the notion that somehow there is systemic racism. And the timing of this is so important. This is -- this is right at the very beginning of all the protests and sort of this national awakening, to hear the president closing his ears to it at that point is interesting. ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not even a second of

thought was given to even considering the idea that black Americans have a different experience than he might have had as a wealthy, white man in this country. And it -- that's not really a surprise when you look at the president's actions and his words over the last several months, that is what he believes.

And, you know, when I hear things like that, I think back to an old clip, an old interview that Trump did back in the '80s in which he talked about how he believed that it was better for you in the United States of America to be a black person applying for a job than a white person applying for a job and that black people, in his view, had advantages in the workforce in terms of applying for jobs and getting jobs.

That is not even remotely close to the truth today. It wasn't the truth back in the late '80s when he said it. And even if he didn't see all the studies that have borne this out, the pay disparity that exists, he doesn't have any interest in even asking black people what their lives are like. And I think that that's what he's basically saying in this clip is that he doesn't belief that any of this is true and he doesn't care to know.

CAMEROTA: Abby Phillip, Miles Taylor, thank you both very much for helping us understand what we're hearing in the president's own words.

OK, now to this other major story, the wildfires on the West Coast. They have turned the sky in northern California this eerie orange, everywhere. Even where you can't see flames, it's an orange sky. We have an update on the conditions making it so hard for the firefighters.



BERMAN: All right, breaking overnight, wildfires burning out of control along the West Coast have now killed at least seven people. In San Francisco, just remarkable pictures. The sky lit up orange -- not here -- as fires blazed on the hills. We have video showing the terrifying scene as one woman drove through the fire.

I want to get right to meteorologist Chad Myers with the forecast.

Chad, these pictures are remarkable.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They really are. And those pictures that you showed of the fire that looked like the Golden Gate Bridge, that was actually over Lake Oroville (ph), a little bit farther to the north. This is what the Golden Gate Bridge looked like, kind of like a constant sunset all day long. And people were saying it was getting darker, then it would get a little bit lighter, but it was always orange, all day long. It was just the weirdest thing.

This weather is brought to you by Kay, where your love story always the most important of all. So let's get to it. Today's a little bit better than yesterday. No

truly critical areas. But still the elevated risk because there's so many fires around. The fine lines are so large now. You don't have enough firefighters to fight this. A lot of smoke and haze out there. It's going to be that way for a couple more days. The smoke is blowing offshore for most of the day yesterday, but by time we get into the weekend, it's going to go the other direction.

Watch where this smoke goes. In fact, you'll get some hazy sunsets over Bismarck, Minneapolis, maybe towards Chicago by Monday and Tuesday of next week.

So here it is, 100 large, active fires over to the U.S. The cold air all the way down into Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, but still pretty warm out west, John.

BERMAN: All right, Chad, watching that very carefully. What they're going through there is truly historic.

Vice President Pence insists he knows nothing -- he insisted he knew nothing about the controversial conspiracy theories behind QAnon. So why is he going to a fundraiser hosted by QAnon supporters? That's next.




BERMAN: The president says they love America. So how do those beliefs embody a love of America?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you said the president seemed to embrace it. I -- I -- I -- I didn't hear that. I -- I don't --

BERMAN: He said they love America, Mr. Vice President.

PENCE: I don't know anything --

BERMAN: They love America.

PENCE: I heard the president talk about he appreciates people that support him, very generally, but --

BERMAN: Do you believe they love America? Do you believe they love America?

PENCE: I don't know anything about that conspiracy theory, John.


BERMAN: Well, he's had weeks to learn, because that interview was three weeks ago. So, clearly, the vice president knows about QAnon now. And developing overnight, CNN has learned that Vice President Pence is

expected to attend a fundraiser in Montana next week hosted by this man, Michael Borland, and his wife, who have both expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theories on social media. The FBI has labeled QAnon a potential domestic terror threat.

Abby Phillip back with us.

The vice president going to their house.

PHILLIP: Yes, John, it appears that the White House has no plans to scrap this, at least for now. They haven't responded to these questions about this fundraiser.

But this couple appears to have reiterated some of these QAnon conspiracy theories online. And, like many of these people who are believers of this idea, the idea is that there is some kind of deep state within the government that is protecting a cabal of leftist pedophiles. And as you noted, Vice President Mike Pence has said that the White House does not entertain conspiracy theories, but there appears to be no efforts to pull him out of this fundraiser or even to address this issue.

And, mind you, this is just one of several in the last several weeks. There is a Republican congressional candidate, Marjory Taylor Green, who was also a QAnon believer, who was invited to the president's speech on the White House lawn for the Republican National Convention. When this was brought to the White House's attention, there was no attempt to distance themselves. White House officials and campaign officials have appeared in public with her.

So it's just one of many examples of this conspiracy theory seeming to permeate into the ranks of the Republican Party and now the president's campaign, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I don't know, maybe they should talk to that North Carolina guy who's doing time because he fell for one of the QAnon conspiracy theories and showed up at the pizza parlor with a gun and who now says that he was completely misled. I don't know, I mean maybe they could just research some of that.

Anyway, Abby, thanks.


Sorry to make you sit there while I opine.

The NFL season kicking off tonight in Kansas City with fans in the stands.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

How's this going to work, Andy?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll wait and see, Alisyn. But, you know, this is a day that we weren't sure we were going to get to with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, but the Chiefs and Texans set to kick off the NFL season tonight here in Kansas City and fans will be allowed inside Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs, one of two teams on opening weekend, along with the Jaguars that will have fans in the stands. They're going to allow about 17,000 into Arrowhead tonight. The normal capacity is about 76,000. Fans will be required to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking. They're going to have to sit in groups of four and six. So it's certainly going to look much different.

Now, this is the first NFL game since the Super Bowl and the league is planning many social justice initiatives this season. The Chiefs and Texans expected to do a show of unity together tonight. Before all the games, the NFL is planning on playing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is considered the black national anthem.

Now, players will also be wearing decals on their helmets to honor victims of systemic racism and police brutality. The message is "end racism" and "it takes all of us" will be on some of those helmets and also will be painted in the end zones around the league this week.

And, Alisyn, it's a gloomy day here in Kansas City, raining all day. It's expected to rain for most of the night as well. But it should be an exciting night for these Chiefs fans. They're going to unveil their first ever Super Bowl championship banner. And you know Arrowhead Stadium, usually one of the most loudest stadiums in the NFL. We'll wait and see how loud those 17,000 fans will be tonight.

CAMEROTA: OK, Andy, thank you very much for the preview.

All right, there are new audio clips of President Trump admitting the intentionally downplaying the coronavirus pandemic. We have all of the sound to play for you.