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U.S. General Vows To Continue Air Strikes Against Taliban; Today: Indicted Trump Ally Arraigned After $250 Million Bail; USA Men's Basketball Loses First Olympic Game Since 2004. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired July 26, 2021 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Women's soccer team is a very good example of what's going on. Earlier this week, they unexpectedly lost to Sweden, three to nothing.
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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good politics, Scott. I mean, I know the former president was upset that the women's national team didn't go to the White House after they won the World Cup, but rooting against America at the Olympics?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, this is a famous Donald Trump grudge holding here. He's been mad at them for quite some time. And when they lost, I'm not surprised he took this chance to get back at them. It's one of the most unfortunate traits that he has. And I think we should cheer for all the American teams. I hope they could keep winning.
I mean, also, I would just say he, you know, I think he thinks one of the greatest achievements of his presidency was being on top of the NFL kneeling controversy. And I think he's always constantly looking into sports for stories like this. And this one, obviously, there's great parallels. And so I think when he sees them, he can't resist even when it means rooting against his own country, which probably in the long run isn't great politics.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: What's your reaction to that Amanda?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I don't think these athletes appreciate being used as political pawns. And for evidence of that, I've looked to Tom Brady visiting Joe Biden at the White House and after he declined to visit Trump. So let's see how that's working out for you.
BERMAN: You know, I was off for a weekend at a radio contact. And when I got back in literally I couldn't get e-mails or text or anything else. The most frequently e-mailed or texted to me story of the last week was Tom Brady going to the White House with Joe Biden and how many people in, you know, my sports world were like, oh my God.
JENNINGS: That one, that one. You know that, you know that one cut, you know that one cut deep. That was a, that was a deeper cut for him than any political barb you know it?
KEILAR: Yes, certainly. Trump loved Tom Brady, just look at his tweets about him that you would see speaking so glowingly of him, so ouch, as we would say last week. Thank you so much, Amanda and Scott, really great to see you this morning.
And up next, there's turmoil in Tunisia. There are allegations of a coup there. Is another democracy in danger of crumbling?
BERMAN: And a U.S. general speaking out on airstrikes against the Taliban. Is the U.S. war in Afghanistan, really, oh.
BERMAN: A potential blow against democracy this morning. The North African nation of Tunisia has been considered something of a relative success story in recent years in terms of liberalization. But now what some are calling a coup. The Prime Minister fired after protests. CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us now with the very latest in this thought here, Ben. It seems to be COVID measures, what's going on?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a bit complicated. What you have this is Tunisia, which in 2011 was the first Arab country to overthrow its dictator. That was the beginning of the Arab Spring. But what has happened since then, is that the economy has stagnated.
And on top of that, really the final blow was the COVID pandemic, which per capita in Tunisia is the worst as far as Africa goes. People were increasingly angry with the inability of the government to deal with a pandemic, to yes, they had democracy but the economy was falling apart.
Last year, it declined by somewhere between 7 and 9 percent. Youth unemployment is running at 36 percent. So the president who under the rather complicated arrangement in the 2014, constitution, shares executive powers with Parliament and the Prime Minister, he's only responsible for foreign policy and defense, but he basically took it upon himself. He fired the Prime Minister. He has suspended Parliament for 30 days, lifted immunity on members of Parliament.
And certainly if you look at everything he's done so far, which is just since yesterday, it would indicate that he isn't calling it a coup, but his opponents definitely are. And there's reason to believe this could be the beginning of a coup, the last Arab Spring country to fall, John.
BERMAN: Yes. And that really would be in a historic moment. At this moment, it really does have all the hallmarks of something of a seizure of power. Ben Wedeman for us, I know you're going to be watching this very closely. Thank you very much.
KEILAR: The U.S. is stepping up airstrikes against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, and a top U.S. general is vowing to continue support for the Afghan military even after all U.S. lead forces are gone. Barbara Starr is live for us from the Pentagon. Barbara, tell us is this a short term or a long term approach for how the U.S. is going to oppose the Taliban despite withdrawing troops?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks to be getting a longer term strategy every single day, Brianna, and why is that? Well, let's take a look at the map. I mean, the Taliban by all accounts are stronger than ever, and they are seizing control in an increasing number of places as the map will show us.
They now control maybe half or more of the district centers in Afghanistan. And this is forcing Afghan forces to fall back and try and rearrange themselves to defend the major population centers, the major cities, the capital of Kabul, because they can't be out there in all these rural areas where the Taliban are.
And that, that move by the Taliban to exert all of this control which they are, by all accounts, successfully doing is leading the U.S. to be back into it with airstrikes against the Taliban. The top general explained why they are there.
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GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: So we will continue to support the Afghan forces, even after that 31 August date, it will generally be from over the horizon. And that will be, that will be a significant change. And then it will be time for the -- for Afghan forces to fight and carry on the battle themselves.
We spent a lot of time training them. Now is their moment. Now is the time for that very stern test that I noted earlier they're going to face. I think they have the resources and the capability to actually conduct that fight and win it.
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STARR: The capability, the capacity to do it, that's what we keep hearing about the Afghan forces but whether they can be successful against the Taliban, it really quite a different question and whether this U.S. effort after the August 31st withdrawal date of U.S. forces is actually sustainable, quite a different question. The bottom line for the U.S. right now for the Biden administration is they have to keep Kabul airport open, the country's major international airport.
They are working to this week to get Afghans who want visas out of there. They have to keep the airport open so that embassy can stay open. Just in case it has to close and they have to leave. They need that airport. Brianna?
KEILAR: They do. Barbara Starr live force from the Pentagon, thank you.
Just ahead, another Trump ally about to be charged in court, what will he say before a judge today?
BERMAN: Plus a woman loses her son to COVID after her refused to be vaccinated. Hear what she did at his memorial service when she joins us live.
KEILAR: Today billionaire and longtime ally of Donald Trump, Tom Barrack, will be arraigned in New York on the charge of acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Barrack was released from custody in California on Friday on a $250 million bond with a $5 million cash security. CNN's Paula Reid is live for us outside the court in Brooklyn with more. Paula?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, Barrack is expected to attend today's arraignment in horsing here at federal court in Brooklyn. Now he is accused of illegal foreign lobbying. Prosecutors allege that he uses connections to the Trump campaign and then the Trump administration to lobby for President Trump on behalf of the UAE.
Now he is also accused of lying to investigators and trying to obstruct this investigation. But during today's arraignment, I am told he is expected to plead not guilty, and he is expected to remain free on bond ahead of an expected trial.
The prosecutors had alleged that Mr. Barrack posed a significant flight risk. They pointed to his vast wealth, his international network, and the fact that one of his codefendants in this case fled the country a few years ago shortly after being interviewed by the FBI.
But in a surprise move, on Friday, Barrack and his lawyers they struck a quarter billion dollar deal with the Justice Department to free him ahead of his trial. Now as part of his release, he has to wear a GPS monitor. There are some travel restrictions and he had to secure that with $5 million cash. But one place he is allowed to travel is here to Brooklyn. We expect to see him around noon today. Brianna?
KEILAR: All right, Paula, we'll be watching. Thank you so much.
Sean Penn refusing to return to set until everyone on set is vaccinated while Eric Clapton is refusing to play at arenas if they're mandating vaccines. We'll show you the celebrity spectrum as events return.
BERMAN: And the U.S. men's basketball team making the wrong kind of history at the Olympics. So what can they do to turn it around?
BERMAN: The United States men's basketball team lost their Olympic omerta (ph) to France 83 to 76. This is their first Olympic loss since 2004. They have now lost three of their last four games, including exhibition games, and this is just pretty much unprecedented in a sport that the U.S. has dominated for forever.
Joining us now is Dan Wolken, he's a national columnist with USA Today Sports. And Dan, I just want to put people up on the screen so people can see like, what's actually going on here, the four losses, we lost in Nigeria, then Australia, we managed to somehow squeak out a win against Argentina.
And then we lost to France in Olympic opener. You know, some people say, well, you know, other countries getting better, international basketball getting better. But you don't think that cut is an explanation, why?
DAN WOLKEN, NATIONAL COLUMNIST, USA TODAY SPORTS: Well, because if you took any of the other teams here at the Olympics and said, would you trade rosters with the United States just based from a talent standpoint, they would all say, yes. This is a team that is still deep with all star players top to bottom, but it's a poorly constructed roster. That's the problem here. And yes, you don't have LeBron James, you don't have Steph Curry, you don't have James Harden. There are some key guys who have been part of past gold medal winning teams who are not here.
But the United States still has more than enough talent to win a gold medal. But I just don't think they've done a very good job. Gregg Popovich, Jerry Colangelo, who's the general manager of this team. I don't think they brought the right mix of guys. I think they've got too many overlapping skill sets with players on the wing. They don't have a true point guard who can get easy shots in the half court. And we've seen now for multiple games, there's a big enough sample size to, I think, see that it's going to be really hard for them to win a gold medal here.
BERMAN: So you're being delicate, compared to what you wrote in your column. In your column you wrote, Gregg Popovich, he stinks at Olympic basketball. Why?
WOLKEN: It's been a disaster. It's been an absolute disaster. You look at what Mike Krzyzewski did is the head coach of the U.S. men's Olympic team for three different cycles. They dominated everybody not just at the Olympics, but they went to World Championships.
They went to all these international events. And yes, sometimes they had competitive games, but they were never really in danger of losing. And since Gregg Popovich took the helm of this program in 2019, he sent a team over to China for the FIBA World Cup of basketball. They came in seventh. They've lost these exhibition games. They lose to France last night.
And look, maybe they'll salvage all of this with a gold medal. They can still do it. They still have opportunities, but no one is going to look back on this era of the Gregg Popovich led us team very fondly because you just don't lose this many times when you have all of this talent at your disposal. He's done a poor job putting the team together. He's done a poor job coaching them. And they're losing games they shouldn't lose.
BERMAN: He has five NBA championships, but the Olympic game is different. It really just is. I mean, international basketball is different. What changes could he make it that he can't change the roster at this point. He's got the guys he's got. But so what can he do now to try to pull this out?
WOLKEN: Well, look, I think certainly some of it is guys are going to have to play better. Kevin Durant is the most talented player at these Olympic Games him or Luka Doncic, who had a great game today for Slovenia. And if the United States runs into him, that could be a big, big problem. But I think they're going to have to be a little more creative in, you know, how they get guys shots in the half court.
To me, yes, defensively, they had some breakdowns against France, but I thought for a lot of that game, they played well enough defensively to win but late in the game. Offensively, it's just a lot of your turn, my turn. And that's what can happen sometimes when you get really talented all-star players who are good at scoring one on one. What you don't have here is a true distributor who can go get guys easy shots.
And I don't know if they're going to have to rely more on Drew Holiday, who's just coming back from the NBA Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks. He certainly had a good game last night and maybe that's the answer. You kind of run things through him, you play Damian Lillard off the ball. Maybe that solves some of it. But I do think they are going to have problems closing games, because these guys are just used to scoring one on one.
They're not used to being playmakers. And at the international level, that's really something you got to have because these games tend to slow down in the half court.
BERMAN: All right, Dan Wolken, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much. We'll hope -- we'll check in with you again, hopefully, maybe, you know, fingers crossed, they can turn it around. But, man, they don't look good. It really is don't look good like they know what they're doing right now. So thanks very much.
KEILAR: All right there.
In the meantime, and incredible rescue caught on tape, police saving a baby pinned under a car. We do want to warn you that the video that we are about to show you may be disturbing. Know though that mom and baby are doing OK at this point in time.
The video shows a mom crossing the street with her eight-month-old and there you see in New York when a car sped around the corner lost control, slams into them, and barrels into that barber shop there. It dragged the mother and the baby. But witnesses sprang into action.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 403 headquarters exit night. We got a baby under the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's switch it up. Let's switch it up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got it, we got it, we got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you pull, can somebody is going to pull the baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me try to pull him out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help, help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the way. Get out of the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Where's the baby?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's the baby?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got it, I got it. I got the baby. I got the baby. Hold on, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's the baby?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We got him. Yes.
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KEILAR: There's another angle of this body camera footage that shows officers and also bystanders lifting this car off of this eight month old girl and of course it was all thanks to the quick thinking of these heroic actions that mother and baby are doing OK.
And you know, Berman, it's not like everything's perfect here. We're talking about a skull fracture for the baby and a major femur break for mom. But the point is they're alive. And these officers and the folks with them are heroes for doing this. It's amazing.
BERMAN: They really are they had to act so fast and they just jumped right in. And they did what had to be done. So hats off to them.
BERMAN: New Day continues right now. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar on this New Day.
Vaccinated but still vulnerable, new reporting on the COVID risk for people who have had organ transplants, how can we protect them. Plus her son refused to get the shot so we ended up -- she ended up holding a vaccine drive in his memory at his funeral. The mother will talk to us live in just a moment.
KEILAR: And Nancy Pelosi makes a dramatic move right before the January 6th Committee gets to work. We'll be talking to a member of the panel about what that could mean for the investigation.
And explosive wildfires in the western U.S. destroying homes and forcing residents to run for their lives. We are live on the ground near one of the biggest fires that is burning right now.
BERMAN: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. That is Monday July 26th.
Coronavirus infections spiking in 48 states and it really doesn't have to be happening. This is the optional portion of the pandemic. The number of cases has quadrupled.