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FBI Raids Home Of Trump's Former Campaign Chairman; Who To Believe? Trump Ignites Rhetoric, Tillerson Dials Back; U.S. Official: No Plans To Deploy Extra Military To Korea; Trump In 1999: Solve North Korea Problem Now Or Face Later; North Korea Threatens Guam After Trump's "Fire" Rhetoric. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired August 9, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We begin with breaking news right now, the FBI conducting a surprise raid at the home of President Trump's former campaign chairman.
It's part of the special counsel's investigation of Russian meddling in the election. The raid we are told came one day after Paul Manafort met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Let's get all of the details on this. Let's go live now to CNN's Jessica Schneider. Also with me here is CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan. Jessica, first to you. What exactly do we know right now about this?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, Paul Manafort's spokesman in fact confirming that raid saying that Manafort has, quote, "consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries."
But it does raise the question why this raid if he has in fact been cooperating. Now there are several ongoing investigations both on the congressional side and of course, by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The time line of this raid is notable since we know that it happened at the end of July. "The Washington Post" reporting on July 26th. One day after Paul Manafort met with the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors.
And in fact, the same day that Paul Manafort was initially scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That hearing was postponed after Chairman Chuck Grassley agreed not to issue a subpoena in exchange for Manafort agreeing to hand over documents.
You know, but we do know the special counsel investigation, it is going full steam ahead. In recent weeks, it's been of particular significance of Manafort's presence inside that July 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that was arranged by Donald Trump Jr. involved that Russian lawyer. And it initially came, of course, with the promise that it would reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton. So, Kate, we know that federal agents raided Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia home.
Interestingly, a source is now telling our Evan Perez that this is somewhat of an unusual move in a case like this where the investigation has been ongoing already for several months and in a case where Paul Manafort has, in fact, been handing over documents already presumably to the special counsel.
We do know to those congressional committees. So, yes, that raid happening at the end of July -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Yes, a surprise break to Paul Manafort and a surprise move when you think that everyone thought that Paul Manafort was cooperating. Jessica, thank you so much. Paul, on the most basic level, how do you get the FBI knocking at your door pre-dawn with a search warrant?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, it's an indication of a complete lack of trust and a heavy suspicion with respect to the person who is being raided. There are three ways to get information that prosecutors use.
One is voluntary cooperation. Your attorney says, OK, you want the documents, we'll produce them. He had a lawyer who was allegedly voluntarily cooperating. The second way is a subpoena is issued. Lawyers love subpoenas because they can go into court and contest the subpoena.
Say it's overly broad, they don't have the right to this. The third way, predawn rate by the FBI into your house. Now that's done when system one and two has failed and the FBI feels that they have been deceived.
And they're not being -- they're not getting the information that they want through the more conventional method. This is a suspicion of criminality. It may be by Manafort, maybe by somebody else, and a fear by the FBI that there was information that would be destroyed unless produced forcibly by a raid.
BOLDUAN: We, of course, at this moment, don't know what they were looking for. We don't know what they took with them in the raid. But generally speaking, is this a good thing for Paul Manafort?
CALLAN: It's a bad thing for Paul Manafort. It puts him dead center of the Mueller investigation and really, it's not surprising given his connections to Russia, Ukraine, and his simple role in the early stages of the Trump campaign.
BOLDUAN: Fascinating. A lot more to learn on this one, Paul. Thanks for laying it out. I really appreciate it. Great to see you, Jessica. Thank you so much.
Also, following this, tough talking, tough tweeting, a day after President Trump warned of fire and fury if North Korea continues to threaten the United States. He sends out a statement again on Twitter about the state of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Here is the tweet, "My first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever. Hopefully, we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world."
But still, both here in the U.S. and abroad, folks are reeling from the president's choice of words towards Pyongyang. But today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says his boss is just speaking a language Kim Jong-un can understand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days. I think the president again as commander-in-chief, he felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to North Korea.
[11:05:07] But I think what the president was just reaffirming is the United States has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack and defend our allies and we will do so. So, the American people should sleep well at night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: With me now, chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, for much more on this. So, Jim, where exactly do things stand right now? You have the president's tweets, the president's statement, and then what we heard from Rex Tillerson this morning.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rex Tillerson is either walking back the president's comments or that this is part of a good cop bad cop, the secretary of state speaking in somewhat more reasonable terms or less bombastic terms and the president making a statement as the secretary of state said there in terms that Kim Jong-Un would understand.
But the thing is, you have walked back from other spheres as well. South Korea, for instance, the U.S. ally in the region, making a point of saying today through their spokesperson in the Foreign Ministry that listen, there is not a crisis. There's not an impending calamity on the peninsula here.
So that message perhaps to temper the president's message there because, of course, we saw the reaction. Not just from media or from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, John McCain included, but also from the North Koreans as well.
Because you had what appeared to be a threat from North Korea following the president's statement saying that it will bring nuclear war to the continental U.S., et cetera. So, from a rhetorical standpoint, certainly an escalation following the president's remarks.
BOLDUAN: Can I also ask you, Jim, about the president's tweet about the nuclear arsenal? What exactly do we know about any changes that have been made since he took office in efforts to modernize the nuclear arsenal?
SCIUTTO: Well, the president's claim in his tweet that his first order was to modernize and that the arsenal is now modernized in the six months since he has been in office is frankly misleading, for one, the president did order a review, but that review is still under way.
In fact, President Obama last year ordered a modernization at the cost of which had been estimated up to a trillion dollars, some of which money that hasn't been allocated yet. Second of all, that's something that's going to take many years.
So, to claim that he ordered it himself and that it's complete and the U.S. nuclear forces are suddenly more modern than they have even been is -- it's frankly misleading. It's a long process. It started before the Trump administration and it's certainly not complete.
It is significant, though, because this is talking about a lot of money here. It's talking about modernization. But it's also part of a debate, Kate, because a lot of these are treaty obligations, right?
You have treaty obligations that hold down capabilities of your nuclear forces. You can't just snap your fingers and make this happen. It's a very long and difficult process.
BOLDUAN: You can't sum it up in 140 characters. That's for sure.
SCIUTTO: No. No.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Jim. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
So, is the U.S. military preparing any kind of response to this crisis in the face of the tweets and the statements and the potential walk backs?
Let's find out. CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is looking into all of this for us. So, Barbara, is the Pentagon saying anything about the president's remarks quite yet? Any changes planned?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Not quite yet, Kate. We can always wind up hearing from the secretary of defense later in the day. He is traveling today. He could wind up making a statement. We don't know.
Right now, we are told there is no plan for additional forces to go to the region. That also could change at some point. As far as it stands right now, aircraft and ships and troops remaining on their standard schedules.
Two things to note, however, the U.S. does keep those bomber aircraft in Guam. That's why Kim Jong-un got so upset and made that threat against Guam. They flew earlier this week in a show of force, unarmed, of course. They could fly again to demonstrate U.S. military capability in the region. There is a long-scheduled exercise later this month in South Korea with South Korean forces. That is likely to bring a significant number of additional U.S. troops to the area for that exercise.
Everyone will be watching to see how the North Koreans react to that. Expect to see a lot of rhetoric, but everybody insisting a long- standing routine scheduled exercise.
BOLDUAN: A routine exercise at a time when the tensions could not be higher. Great to see you, Barbara. Thanks so much. We will keep close to Barbara. See if we hear anything from the Pentagon. How are they reacting today to this?
Coming up next, we will talk about the president's red line. The red line he drew and has North Korea crossed it and how Kim Jong-un is likely to react now.
Plus, a blast from the past, a "Meet The Press" interview from the '90s. Citizen Trump talking about the North Korean threat then and what he would do about it. It has a lot of folks talking today.
And more drama inside the west wing, this time a conservative editorial board targeting Steve Bannon. Hear why.
BOLDUAN: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards North Korea may have echoes from the past, 1999. In an interview with the late Tim Russert on "Meet The Press," Citizen Trump said then if he were president here is how he would deal with North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One is North Korea and you say that you as president would be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea's nuclear capability.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: First, I would negotiate. I would negotiate like crazy. I would make sure that we tried to get the best deal possible. The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation.
We have a country out there, North Korea, which is whacko, which is not a bunch of dummies. They are developing nuclear weapons. They're not doing it because they're having fun doing it. They're doing it for a reason.
And wouldn't it be good to sit down and really negotiate something? Ideally negotiate. If that negotiation doesn't work, you better solve the problem now than solve it later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:15:10] BOLDUAN: Fascinating. Joining me now to discuss, Jamie Metzl is here, a senior fellow at The Atlantic Council. He formerly worked on the National Security Council at the State Department under President Clinton. Gordon Chang is a "Daily Beast" columnist and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World," and Peter Brookes, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former Defense Department officials under President George W. Bush.
Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here. Really appreciate it. A lot to get to. A lot of elements. We will start with fire and fury. That was yesterday. Today you now have a tweet from the president, statements from Rex Tillerson. Jamie, how do you lower the temperature? Is that what you think Rex Tillerson is trying to do? Is that what the president is trying to do with the tweet this morning?
JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Rex Tillerson is trying to lower the temperature. The problem is completely he is out the loop and the president is ratcheting up the temperature in such a dangerous and really historically unprecedented way.
We expect this kind of behavior and this kind of rhetoric from the leader of North Korea. We in the world don't expect it from the president of the United States. That's why many people across the United States and our allies around the world are extremely concerned.
BOLDUAN: Can they lower the temperature now? Is it happening? Do you think it's happening?
METZL: It's not happening yet, but if they want to lower the temperature, take the phone, take the Twitter account away from the president. When he is out there, maybe it's adlibbing, maybe it's a strategy.
If it's a strategy, we're not seeing any evidence of it. It's in my mind completely incoherent and so if they're trying to take down the temperature, then do it. But you can't say you are doing it and then have the president out doing something else.
BOLDUAN: Gordon, hold on one second. Peter, I want to ask you, reporting this morning was that the president has not since yesterday has not spoken to any world leaders in the face of this ramp up rhetoric. Does that surprise you? Does that tell you anything?
PETER BROOKES, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY FOR ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS: Well, we don't know if it's true. But I think, you know, phone calls, of course, as the situation goes forward to our allies and South Korea and Japan could be called for. I think some of this -- this news that came out yesterday from "The Washington Post" and CNN was news that the government already knew.
I mean, these are internal reports. They already knew these sorts of things. So, I think the president may want to speak with the prime minister and the president of South Korea and Japan to talk with them about ways to go forward in dealing with North Korea.
BOLDUAN: Should he have done it already? BROOKES: I don't know that he hasn't. Based on reporting out there, but I don't know that he hasn't or some of his senior advisors have. Cabinet officials such as Rex Tillerson or Jim Mattis, they may have already done that. The national security adviser could reach out. It doesn't always require a phone call to the president to do that.
BOLDUAN: Gordon, I have heard a lot of folks saying that the president's words play right into Kim Jong-un's hands. If it does, how does it?
GORDON G. CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": Well, Kim Jong-un needs to keep the loyalty of the regime elements around him. Also, he needs to keep the loyalty of the North Korean people. Here is an enemy. There's another issue here.
That is, everyone agrees that President Trump should lose the inflammatory language. I'm not so sure that he should turn down the temperature. At this point, we have only got about a year or so before the North Koreans are able to put a nuke on top of a missile that can hit the American homeland.
We may not be able to deter the North Koreans because that regime looks unstable. The issue right now is putting pressure on the Chinese so that they will put pressure on the North Koreans.
Clearly in the past when we have tried to be cooperative with Beijing to work with them, it hasn't worked. So, I think the only thing we have left is to use our considerable national tools to work on the Chinese so they work on the North Koreans. We haven't done that.
BOLDUAN: That gets to an argument I have heard which is, Jaime, there's a 30-year track record of talking and trying and bipartisan efforts have failed. To get North Korea to slow down their efforts. Why not try something new and throw a little North Korea at North Korea?
METZL: It's great to do something different because we need to. I completely agree with Gordon. I had an editorial this morning about exactly this. We need to put far more pressure on China because China has the ability in many ways to change North Korea's behavior.
It's great for us to look at a new strategy. But as far as I can tell, this is not a new strategy. This is the president in many ways either adlibbing or doing something that just -- it doesn't add up. If we had a strategy, we would know it when we saw it because we would be engaging with our allies.
We would be looking at all the points of leverage that we have on China. We wouldn't be all other the place with different people saying different things and then the president in many ways mouthing off and matching the rhetoric of the North Korean leader.
[11:20:03] And the question is, are we stronger, are we in a better position today than we were before the president made these comments? I think that we are not because our allies, China, that went along with the United States with the sanctions over the weekend, now they are saying, wait a second, what are we getting ourselves into and that harms us.
BOLDUAN: And to the point that Jamie raised, Peter, is this -- is this a strategy or is this the president speaking off the cuff? The White House has not clarified despite requests for clarification if this was a scripted statement or if this was something that the president when he was asked a question he spoke off on his own.
But it has a lot of people kind of remembering and calling attention to the part of his phrase where the world has never seen before. It's a phrase that he's used often in the past. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Grassroots movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. We're all part of this very historic movement, a movement the likes of which actually the world has never seen before.
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Peter, you have advised presidents on national security issues. Do you think this was a scripted statement, or do you think this was President Trump off the cuff?
BROOKES: It's not clear. It's not clear. We will have to find that out. I would go back for a moment to remind people what happened last weekend when we had these historic sanctions put on North Korea that China and Russia supported.
The president -- I'm OK with what the president said, quite frankly, because I think it helps to remind Kim Jong-Un of what he is up against, the consequences of picking a fight with the United States.
What do we have today? Nothing. Nothing has happened except for the release of a Canadian prisoner in North Korea. North Korea didn't invade South Korea. It didn't launch missiles. It's midnight there. Nothing happened.
I think it's important to have a strong declaratory policy. The president in his own way and in his own words probably told North Korea that you really don't want to pick a fight with the United States and its allies.
It won't end well for you. If there's one thing that matters to dictators like Kim Jong-un is that they have -- the regime survives. They live to rule another day. I think this sort of message has been sent.
METZL: Something did happen. The president of the United States laid down a red line and the leader -- BROOKES: I didn't call it a red line. You are calling it a red line.
Not like President Obama laid down a red line with Syria. He said, this is a red line. The president never said the word red line. A lot of people are equating it.
BOLDUAN: Lindsey Graham said that he thought it was a red line.
BROOKES: I did not hear the president say red line. Did anybody hear the president say red line?
BOLDUAN: No, literally, he did not. Effectively, did he? I guess that can be up for debate and interpretation.
METZL: You don't have to say the actual word red line. When the president says it's not going to happen if they threaten us, we're going to bring fire and fury, that's pretty much a red line.
BROOKES: If you listen to it closely, there was a break in the two sentences. The president talked about the threats, he paused and then he talked about the fire and fury. People will hear what they want to hear. I didn't see it as a red line.
I saw it as a strong declaratory message to the regime in Pyongyang that they don't want to pick a fight with the United States because it will end badly for them. I think that's an important message to send. It's a lot more than we saw from the last administration on this.
BOLDUAN: Fascinating. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Really appreciate it. I don't know where to land on the red line. We will debate that later.
Coming up next, CNN takes a virtual look at North Korea's missile capabilities and just how realistic a strike on the U.S. homeland would be.
Plus, two of the people closest to the president right now apparently in the middle of a feud. Now "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board taking aim at one. Taking sides. Details ahead.
BOLDUAN: This just in. The first lawsuit has been filed against the president's ban on transgender people serving in any capacity in the U.S. military. Five active duty transgender service members are suing the administration asking a federal court to block the ban.
It's worth noting here there's still quite a bit of confusion about the ban which the president announced in a tweet and caught top military leaders off guard. The Pentagon says that it is right now waiting for a directive from the White House before making any changes. Now there's a lawsuit to try to stop changes from happening in the first place. We'll have much more on that as it comes in.
Also, this morning, there are new reports of in fighting inside the White House and possibly new clues as to who might survive it. The editorial board of the "Wall Street Journal" taking on the feud between White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. The ed board putting the blame on Bannon for the chaos and questioning his loyalty.
Let me bring in Chris Cilizza right now, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large. Chris, what is going on here? The Bannon/McMaster clash is not necessarily new. They clearly have very different world views. Is it just now reaching a boiling point?
CHRIS CILIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. I think that's right. I mean, remember, Kate, from the start, Donald Trump put in place a group of individuals all with sort of a (inaudible) roles and titles. Bannon is one of them. McMaster is sort of another.
Where does one shove begin, the other shove, and remember Bannon had a seat in the National Security Council for a time.