tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN August 22, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
i'm pamela brown in for brooke baldwin. thanks for being here with us on this tuesday. well, one president, two very different speeches. less than 24 hours after delivering a disciplined, on-script address on afghanistan, president trump is en route to a campaign-style rally in arizona where we typically see the president ad lib and make jokes and provoke chants among his supporters. so why arizona? and why now? the state's two senators, both republicans, have been vocal critics of president trump, especially jeff flake, and the animosity seems to run deep on both sides, as president trump praises flake's primary challenger, calling flake weak on immigration and crime. and on top of all of this, we still don't know if the president plans to pardon
controversial former sheriff joe arpaio, although arpaio tells cnn he has not been invited to this rally. before the rally, the president plans to tour the border in yuma and that's where we find boris sanchez. we know that the mayor of phoenix asked president trump to stay away from his city and there are major protests planned there tonight. what more are you hearing? >> reporter: hey there, pam. yeah, as you said, we are hearing that several different progressive and anti-bigot groups are going to be protesting the president here in phoenix at the phoenix convention center. there will be waiting for him outside. this is in response to the president's remarks on the violence in charlottesville one week ago today at trump tower. the mayor of phoenix, as you said, greg stanton, asked the president to push this event back. obviously, the president deciding to move forward. we have also heard from the chief of police in phoenix who says that her officers are ready for anything. as you said, this is a
campaign-style rally and we've seen a lot of fireworks from the president when he's among his most ardent supporters, so following that very by-the-book, by-the-teleprompter speech about afghanistan yesterday, all eyes are going to be on what the president says tonight. if he makes reference again to the events in charlottesville. recall last night that he said all americans should yield and patriots stare down bigotry so not only fireworks potentially inside the phoenix convention center but also outside with those protesters. we will be watching and waiting, pam. >> all right, boris sanchez, thank you for setting the scene for us there in arizona. and let's talk more about this with brian walsh, the former communications director for the national republican senatorial committee. also with me, constantine, conservative political consultant who is a long-time critic of senator jeff flake. gentlemen, thank you both for coming on. i want to start with you, brian.
what do you expect tonight? >> well, i hope we have more of what we saw last night. last night, the president gave an excellent speech. he showed real leadership. he laid out a vision, and he also talked about unity, which i thought was really important coming on the heels of charlottesville. i hope we have more of that tonight. what i hope we don't have, and i think it would be a step backwards, if it devolves into this sort of raucous, off the cuff political rally in which he criticizes the same republicans whose support he's going to need this fall for a number of key issues. so i hope what we see tonight is more of what we saw last night. >> and on that point, constantine, there are some potential land mines that the president could wade into if he does go off the cuff, off teleprompter. what could those be? what are you hoping to see tonight and what are you hoping not to see? >> it will be interesting. he's going to have thousands upon thousands of people that are all amped up to see him and he feeds off of that energy, so i'm sure he will be on message for the most part in terms of the things he spoke about last night and just the general
direction he wants to take the country but i think it's also fair to expect that he'll hit certain applause lines that he likes to deliver and they like to hear him stay. he'll take a lot of shots at d.c. and the people who inhabit the swamp and some of those who reside right here in arizona and to a certain degree, that is also what the crowd came to see. >> i want to ask you about senator jeff flake, because the president has been openly critical of him on twitter, even backing his opponent there in arizona. what do you expect tonight in terms of how that might play out, what the president might say? should jeff flake be worried? >> in fairness, can we respond and say flake started it and was backing the president's opponent last november and so that is something that has obviously stayed with the president. i think they had sort of an uneasy truce there in d.c. they each kind of needed each other, and then flake wrote the book where he kind of took the president, you know, by name, very directly and kind of ratcheted things up to this next
almost necessary level so i suspect the two of them are going to settle that in the elections next year, but you know, what happens tonight, i don't actually expect the president to do anything as far as flake's race tonight. he has not settled on any sort of a primary opponent for flake yet. i think when the president does decide to support somebody, he's going to do so in his usual, unmistakable fashion. >> right. and he seemed to loosely support his poentd on twitter, but as you said, he hasn't formally done so. brian, you say the white house should be zeroed in on ten states. >> correct. there are ten senate democrats facing reelection next year in states that donald trump won, including several by double digits, states like montana, missouri, indiana. i think what a lot of republicans want to see is the president start to use the political capital he has in those states in targeting those democrats who are blocking his agenda. his issue isn't with republicans. and it's been frustrating to see
too much energy against folks like flake and heller who are got conservatives. i think we'd like to see the president really hone in on the democrats who are blocking his agenda. >> constantine, we were talking about jeff flake and his opponent, kelly wade. she has been rolling out some political ads. let's watch. >> senator flake, why are you still attacking the president? just to sell copies of your new book? you're not a conservative, senator flake, and you're not getting anything done. arizona deserves far better. >> so, our team here couldn't help but notice that picture of flake and obama you just saw. that was taken from an event where obama signed a bill honoring judge roll, who was killed in the 2011 tucson shooting. your reaction to that? >> well, obviously, she's going to go after flake and that's her opponent. he has a number of things, i suppose, she could be targeting him for, but i don't think the president has settled on anybody yet. i do think there's interest in the white house to replace flake
with somebody, but their search goes on. i think brian's right, that their time is best spent in states where they can actually pick up seats, but the unique nature of arizona, i suppose, to the heller seat in nevada, is here off senator who has taken trump on by name and who appears intent on running for reelection sort of as anti-trump, and that is something that obviously the president's going to take personally and his political team is going to take seriously. >> we'll have to wait and see what he says about that and other issues tonight during his rally there in arizona. constantine and brian, thank you very much. >> great to be here. thanks. any minute now, secretary of state rex tillerson will be speaking from the state department. just hours after president trump addressed the nation to reverse his stance on afghanistan and recommit to the war there. last night, the president spoke in very broad strokes, saying he didn't want to give specifics to the enemy. >> my origin instinct was to pull out, and historically, i
like following my instincts. but all my life, i've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. we will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. >> so, what we do know is that trump plans to increase troop numbers. he did not give specifics, but we hear from congressional sources that it will be about 4,000 more. he also spoke of targeting terror networks, going after isis, and reducing the influence of the taliban. trump also called on pakistan to step up, calling them a safe haven for terror. i'm going to now bring in ronald newman, an american diplomat who served as the united states ambassador to afghanistan.
you were openly critical of obama's time line to withdraw combat troops, projecting that it was a path to failure. so, what did you make of what you heard from president trump last night? >> there were parts of that that i liked a great deal, and there were parts of it that i still want to understand. but the main decisions -- first of all, i like the fact that he laid out the case for being in afghanistan. the point that we have a great risk if we pull out quickly, and that's a point that i think even those who oppose the strategy have to deal with before they jump on, we should go out or we should not. they have to deal with the risks that he laid out. i liked the fact that he did not have a timeline. that was a disaster with the obama administration, and frankly, obama had about five different timelines. he kept shifting it. and that undercut the policy. i like the fact that it concentrates on building the
afghan security forces, although we have to hear a lot more about how that will be done. so, as a strategy, yes, it's a good one. now we have to see execution. >> i want to ask you, because something that he did not discuss in the speech or didn't focus on were some of the countries that may be hurting the u.s. cause in afghanistan, namely russia and iran. i mean, russia has been called out by top military commanders for arming the taliban. what do you make of that? >> well, the russians -- the russians deny that they're arming, but they are quite up front with their taliban contacts. i was in a conference in afghanistan last month with some russians, and they were quite up front about that. they say this is a function of the islamic state being there, but it is also a function of russian distrust of our commitment and the sense that things may fall apart and they have to protect themselves. and i think that is also part of what is driven iran to begin working with the taliban.
so, these things are all very interconnected to the extent that we project real strength, the ability to stay involved, i think we have a much stronger hand to speak with the russians about pulling back from what they're doing. >> i want to ask you, leon pinetta spoke after the president gave his speech and he said one of the things that concerned him was the president talking about winning this war. he said this is not a war to be won in the traditional sense. that shouldn't be the focus. what is your take on that? >> pam, that's a really good question. the trouble is, it doesn't fit very well into sound byte, which is what you mostly need. americans tend to think of winning a la world war ii, a surrender. when you fight non-state movements, you don't have that moment unless you absolutely kill everybody because they regenerate. and so we do need a serious discussion in this country about
what does winning mean. because if you can only call it winning in a way that is not possible with non-state actors, then you've permanently defined yourself as a failure and that doesn't make any sense. i think in the case of afghanistan, winning means reducing the risk of any strikes to the united states and basically having an afghan state and military that probably, with some monetary help from us, can basically handle the security situation. that, i think, would meet our strategic objectives, and by meeting our strategic objectives could be defined as winning. >> ron neumann, thank you very much for sharing your perspective. >> you're welcome. thank you for having me. we want to know why we are yelling, why we are cussing. this is what happens when for decades the people that have sat in this chair have ignored the people that have been out here. >> tempers flare inside a charlottesville city council meeting, the first since the violence and the president's
remarks. see what happened, and i'll speak with the vice mayor, one of the only ones that stayed behind out of the council members. plus a race against the clock, a death row inmate set to be executed tonight, despite new dna evidence. why the state is refusing to listen. and the wife of the treasury secretary flaunts luxury goods on instagram, then mocks one of her critics in a bizarre rant. i'll speak with the mother who louise linton went after. don't miss this. ice depot offic. 10 pack pens, one cent. composition notebooks,scissors, and plastic folders all one cent each! hurry to office depot office max. ♪taking care of business.
which means there's no pressure to get a great rate on a hotel. they're available for an unlimited time, always. so, book now. or don't. no pressure. ugh. heartburn. sorry ma'am. no burning here. a very thorough job in terms of describing the new military approach, and i think the important point in that is a conditions-based approach as opposed to a time-based approach that had specified troop ceiling levels and timetables, and i think the president's been quite clear that what will be different this time is he has empowered our military commanders on the ground to make more timely decisions, to conduct battlefield operations, based upon the conditions on the ground with the battle plans that secretary of defense mattis will be approving. that is going to change the
dynamic on the ground considerably. these are some of the same tactics that have been employed in the very successful campaign to defeat isis in syria and iraq, and i think we're taking a lot of lessons learned from our success there and will translate those to afghanistan. this is going to take some time for our military to go through a new set of training with some of the afghan forces. the fighting will still be borne by the afghan forces, by their military and their security forces. but we believe that we can turn the tide of what has been a losing battle over the last year and a half or so, and at least stabilize the situation and hopefully start seeing some battlefield victories on the part of the afghan forces who have fought very bravely, but they've been fighting, i think, with less than full capabilities that we can give them. i think similarly, on the diplomatic front, we too are going to adopt a conditions-based diplomacy. we're going to condition our efforts along with the progress
we see being made by the afghan government, who must continue the reform efforts that we've been working on for some time, in particular, a much more rigorous efforts around the anti-corruption. now, part of the corruption challenge in some respects has been the methods and ways in which we have been delivering some of our aid, and we've not been as accountable, i think, to ourselves in terms of ensuring that our aid programs, development programs are delivering the results that they were intended to deliver. some of that has been challenged by the security environment. it's very difficult for many of our aid workers to operate in afghanistan, so as the security environment improves, we expect to adopt a different approach as to how we deliver on the development and assistance that supports the afghan government in their reforms as well. i think the president was clear, this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the taliban to have the taliban understand
you will not win a battlefield victory. we may not win one, but neither will you. and so at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way to bring this to an end. now, this is a regional approach, and part of why this effort took as long as it did is we chose not to just focus on afghanistan. but we undertook a fairly comprehensive review of our relationships in pakistan and our relationship with india. and we see this approach as requiring an integration of all three of those strategies and use pakistan, india to also bring pressure to bear on the situation in afghanistan. pakistan, in particular, can play an important role here, certainly in delivering the taliban to the negotiating table. pakistan has suffered acts of terrorism, their citizens have suffered acts of terrorism as, i think, as dramatic as any we've seen anywhere. and we stand ready to help
pakistan address terrorist organizations inside of their country, but they must adopt a different approach themselves. pakistan and the u.s. historically had very good relationships, but over the last few years, there's been a real erosion in the confidence between our two governments. there's been an erosion in trust because we have witnessed terrorist organizations being given safe haven inside of pakistan to plan and carry out attacks against u.s. servicemen, u.s. officials, disrupting peace efforts inside of afghanistan. pakistan must adopt a different approach, and we are ready to work with them to help them protect themselves against these terrorist organizations but certainly to begin to end their attacks that are disrupting our efforts at peace. we are going to be conditioning our support for pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area. we want to work with pakistan in a positive way, but they must
change their approach. india's emerging as a very important regional strategic partner with the united states and has played an important role supporting the afghan government and in particular supporting their economy. india's provided developmental assistance. they've provided economic assistance. they are hosting an important economic conference in india this next week. all of that is important to stabilizing afghanistan as a nation. get their economy functioning, stabilize the country so that they can provide more opportunities to their citizens. these are all elements of what will lead to stability and ultimately a peace agreement. but the effort is, again, a regional effort. put pressure on the parties to understand that this fighting is going to take everyone nowhere. and it's time to begin a process. it may very well be a lengthy process of reconciliation and a peace accord, and afghanistan, as the president said, can choose its form of government that best suits the needs of its
people as long as it rejects terrorism, never provides a territory in afghanistan to provide safe haven for terrorists, and accommodates all of the groups represented inside of afghanistan, ethnic groups and others. how they want to organize themselves is up to them. but we have to recognize that their culture is a tribal culture and their history accommodates the nature of those relationships. there's no reason their form of government cannot accommodate that as well. so we want to facilitate a reconciliation peace process, and we want to facilitate them coming to some conclusion around how they want to govern themselves. that's really the essence of the strategy, and before taking your questions, i do want to make one comment on north korea. i think it is worth noting that we have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of north korea since the unanimous adoption of the u.n.
security council resolution, and i want to take note of that. i want to acknowledge it. i am pleased to see that the regime in pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we've not seen in the past. we hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we've been looking for that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions. they're ready to restrain their provocative acts and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to some time in the near future having some dialogue. we need to see more on their part, but i want to acknowledge the steps they've taken thus far. i think it's important to take note of that. so w tha so, with that, i'm happy to take your questions. >> i'll be really brief. it seems like to me, at least, that with the no nation building concept that the president laid out last night and what you just said that the main difference, other than the timetable part of the military stuff, the main
difference between this new approach and the old one is that you're eliminating two-thirds of what used to be known as the clear, hold, and build strategy. in other words, we clear -- or you clear, you hold, and we won't build, you will. so, if that's correct, what happens to the anti-corruption efforts that you mentioned, the good governance, the counter-narcotics, the education programs. what happens to those, and more specifically, what would that -- that's that going to mean for, particularly, afghan women and girls who have been assured for the last 16 years by two separate administrations that they wouldn't be abandoned. >> well, i don't want to suggest that there's that dramatic a difference in terms of our expectations for afghan government performance, and as you point out, there's been enormous strides achieved in afghanistan, both in terms of the numbers of millions of children that are now in
schools, being educate eed, td, role of women in the afghan economy has been dramatically changed. i don't expect any of that to be rolled back. i think that has been part of the afghan government structure. it's become part of what the afghan people themselves, i think, expect. if you go back many years ago, prior to this disruption, that was afghanistan. that was the nature of afghanistan 30, 40, 50 years ago, so i think it is part of their culture already. we want to support that. in terms of the clear and hold, that is still the approach is that areas will be cleared and afghan security forces can hold those areas, thereby enabling some growth in the afghan economy. part of what afghanistan struggles under is they do not have control over but a portion of their economy. so, as the forces are able to either hold areas and stabilize them, certainly not give up further ground, and they're still losing ground today, as you well know, so this is going to take a little while, but it's to stabilize and then hopefully begin to regain control, and as
ground is gained, it will be held by afghan security forces, while allowing the afghan government to continue what it has been very successfully doing under our assistance now for many years and not roll back any of those gains that have been made. that's -- i don't think that's the aspiration of the afghan government or the afghan people either. so, what we're going to continue to help them institutionally, we may be taking different approaches and not putting so much of the u.s. taxpayer dollar on the ground, building schools and building infrastructures. we think there are plenty of others that we're going call upon for assistance as well. rather, we're there to facilitate and ensure that there is a pathway for reconciliation and peace talks as this pressure begins to take hold and we do -- we believe, we already know, there are certain moderate elements of the taliban who we think are going to be ready and want to help develop a way forward. how long that will take will be, again, based on conditions on
the ground. >> mr. secretary, a question that embraces both the military side and the diplomatic side. on the military side won't the new rules of engagement mean our forces will be more at risk because they will potentially be doing night raids against the taliban again, not just training but actually supporting in a more active role, because the afghan troops are not all up to par here to push back against the taliban advance. and on the diplomatic side, why didn't the president mention russia's re-arming of the taliban, which general nicholson has been talking about very openly. he seemed to be letting russia off the hook in his speech. and do you have enough people, given the fact that there are not trump-confirmed diplomatic appointees in many of these positions in the region. >> well, on the military
operation side of it, i would really defer to the department of defense to answer that one. other than i know the approach is going to be, as i said, similar to what we have had success elsewhere. as secretary mattis describes it, it's a by, with, and through approach. that's part of why the need for a step-up in troop levels is now we can at the battalion level organize and help the afghan army fight in a different way with close ground advisement at the battalion level and the ability to call in support on a more timely basis as needed to ensure victory as opposed to either stalemate or defeat. with respect to the comment about russia, to the extent russia is supplying arms to the taliban, that is a violation, obviously, of international norms, and it's a violation of u.n. security council norms. we certainly would object to that and call russia's attention to that. if anyone's going to supply arms, it needs to be through the
afghan government. in terms of our footprint on the ground, we have very competent, capable, experienced people there now. our afghan ambassadors remaining on the job at this time. we have a pakistan ambassador that's been nominated. we hope to have that person cleared through the process soon, and even in the transition in afghanistan, as ambassador hale transitions out, we've nominated ambassador bass, very experienced diplomat, been chief -- been running the embassy in turkey, a very complex place. he's very well equipped to step into this situation as well. and we are looking at a couple of different people for the special representative to afghanistan, pakistan position. it's open currently. it's being filled with a very experienced individual today, so we're ready to get going with very competent people. we have, and i'm not at all concerned about the competency level or the experience of the people that we have working on this. i'm quite confident with them. >> and india? >> next question.
secretary tillerson, i know you don't want to talk about the military, but you were just using some military terms, and battalion level and that. i i know and understand why the administration does not want to talk about tactical moves. but strategy, don't the american people deserve to know approximately how many more of their sons and daughters will be going back to afc ghanistan in war that's lasted 16 years. >> i don't want to speak for secretary mattis, but i think the intent is there will be visibility to troop levels once the decision has been made. i think what the president has conveyed, and i agree wholeheartedly with him, is that we are not going to signal ahead what our plans are. we're not going to signal hayah, an increase, a decrease, the
timing of that. the only way we can defeat an enemy that is as any animble an cagey as this enemy is we have to be as cagey and tactical as they are and we've not been fighting that way. >> would that include strikes in pakistan? >> i'm not going to comment on what it could include. but the president's been clear that we are going to protect american troops and servicemen. we are going to attack terroris terrorists wherever they live, and we have put people on notice that if you are harboring and providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned. be forewarned. and we're going to engage with those who are providing safe haven and ask them to change what they're doing and help us help them. because in my view, the best -- the greatest benefactor, other than the afghanistan people themselves, with the people of pakistan. they will benefit more than any other nation. >> mr. secretary, you said no preconditions to talks.
specifically, are you saying that the u.s. no longer expects the taliban to accept the afghan constitution and specifically the rights of women? and on pakistan, did you articulate in specific terms, or do you plan to, to pakistan, the consequences of their actions, whether it be sanctions, dropping their nato ally status, i mean, what exactly have you communicated or do you plan to communicate? >> well, i had a good call with the prime minister of pakistan yesterday afternoon to give them a bit of a fore warniwarning of they were going to hear in the president's speech, and also we did touch on the points i've made to you today. we are going to be engaging with them them in a very serious and thorough way as to our expectations and the conditions that go with it and all of those things you just listed are on the table for discussion if, in fact, they are unwilling to change their posture or change
their approach to how they're dealing with the numerous terrorist organizations that find safe haven inside of pakistan. again, it is in pakistan's interest to take those actions. when we say no preconditions on the talks, i think what we are saying is, look, the government of afghanistan and the taliban representatives need to sit down and sort this out. it's not for the u.s. to tell them it must be this particular model, it must be under these conditions. and i think that's what the president means when he says we're no longer nation building. look, we've tried taking certain principles and forms around the world and sometimes it works. in a lot of places, it doesn't work. we don't know what's going to emerge here. we're going to be there obviously to encourage others, but it's going to be up to the afghan government and the representatives of the taliban to work through a reconciliation process of what will serve their needs and achieve the american people's objectives, which is
security. no safe haven for terrorists to operate anywhere in afghanistan now or in the future. >> mr. secretary, you mentioned the forced protection concerns and ambassador bass shortly going to afghanistan and the discussions, but how are you going to get someone who is able to go out beyond the wire and negotiate, functionally, regularly, in that weekly basis with individuals from the haqqani network and that forced protection concern. >> well, we are going to have to improve the security environment. it is not -- the environment today is not conducive to carrying out those types of activities. you are exactly right. and so part of what we're going to have to do is first ensure we're ready to engage when conditions permit us to engage. it, again, is why pakistan is very important in this discussion as well. pakistan can facilitate much of that discussion, and there are other regional players to which
this particular conflict and this unstable situation in afghanistan are important. we've had discussions with the chinese about a role they might be able to play. we've had discussions with the russians about the role they could play if they choose to. and certainly regional players in the gulf, gcc member countries, are very interested in seeing this area in afghanistan stabilized as well. so, there are a lot of partners out here on the periphery that i think will have, from time to time, important roles they can play. ultimately, it comes down to the two parties. the afghan government and the taliban representatives. >> mr. secretary, going back to pakistan, officials for quite some time, democratic and republican administrations, have tried to get the government to stop its -- stop giving safe haven to the haqqani network of terrorist groups. what leverage do you think you have? >> well, i think it's obviously
we have some leverage that's been discussed in terms of the amount of aid and military assistance we give them, their status as a non-nato alliance partner. all of that can be put on the table. but you know, at the end of the day, pakistan has to decide what is in pakistan's best long-term interests from a security standpoint for themselves and for their people. quite frankly, as i evaluate pakistan's current situation, if i were the pakistan government, i would be -- i would have growing concerns about the strength of the taliban and other organizations inside of pakistan who seem to be growing their numbers and their presence to the point that at some point, they become a real threat to the stability of the pakistan government itself. i think they need to be thinking about what is in their best long-term interests and how can we work with them to achieve a safer, more stable pakistan in the next decades to come as well.
i think it really is up to them. they've got to ask themselves that question. why does this work for them and why is this going to be -- going to continue to support their stability and the survival of their government in the years ahead if they continue to allow these elements to just grow and maintain their presence inside of pakistan. >> last question. >> thank you, mr. secretary. don't you feel, on the other side, that too much pressure on pakistan may destabilize the islamabad and may have destabilizing all the region with having taliban stronger in the country. >> that is a concern and that's why i made the comments i just made, that i think it's important that pakistan begin to think about its ability to contain these groups as well. it's why, though, we take a regional approach. the u.s. alone is not going to change this dynamic with pakistan. you know, india and pakistan,
they have their own issues that they have to continue to work through. but i think there are areas where perhaps even india can take some steps of rapprochement on issues with pakistan to improve the stability within pakistan and remove some of the reasons why they deal with these unstable elements inside their own country. as i said, other regional players have strong interests in pakistan. china has strong interests in pakistan. having a stable, secure future pakistan is in a lot of our interests. they are a nuclear power. we have concerns about their weapons, the security of their weapons. there are many areas in which we believe we should be having very productive dialogue that serves both of our interests and regional interests as well. so, this is, again, this is not a situation where the u.s. is saying, look, it's just us and you. what our approach is to bring, as i said, these regional approaches is to bring all the other interests into this
effort. as much as we've done with north korea and assembling this global effort in north korea, i think too often we try to distill these challenges down to where it's just the u.s. and some other country and only between the two of us can we solve it. we have to enlarge the circle of interest and bring others into the effort as well. and that's what we'll be doing with pakistan as well. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you, everyone. we'll see you tomorrow. we'll have a press reefing at 2:00 p.m. secretary of state rex tillerson speaking on the heels of the president's primetime address on the new plan in afghanistan and how that would unfold in the coming months and perhaps years and the secretary putting sort of an optimistic yet stern approach to this plan and how the diplomatic strategy will play out, particularly when it comes to pakistan. i want to bring in former ambassador to afghanistan, ronald neumann. you heard him say, the secretary, just flatout say that he believes we, as in the u.s., can turn the tide in the losing
battle in afghanistan. of course, the longest war in u.s. history. do you think, with what you know about this plan, that that can be the case? >> well, there's still obviously a lot we don't know, but yes, if you look at the extent to which the insurgency has depended on sanctuaries in pakistan. if you accept that part of this plan is to try to make a really much more serious effort to close those off, if that happens, then the chances of a much larger success in afghanistan would go way up. there's several if's in what i just said, but when you're fighting a war, there are always if's. >> and he seemed to fill in some of the gaps, some of the details that we did not hear from the president in his primetime address that was more of a broader speech. what stuck out to you in listening to the secretary of state? >> i was impressed, listening to
him. i am out of government and i'm not always a big booster of -- and i was quite critical of the last administration, although i -- not because i was critical of them everywhere, but in afghanistan. so, i don't think i'm just a booster of the administration. but the secretary was on top of his brief. he was able to fill in some of the questions from last night. yes, there is still economic assistance strategy. yes, we are still going ahead with a lot of other programs. yes, there is a negotiation strategy, and it's a well thought out one because it's not grasping after silver bullets and really short-term miracle fixes. that was the problem with the obama administration. they wanted out, and so they tried to do things too quickly in ways they couldn't be done and then tried to drive out -- finally, they had to keep reversing parts of their policy and changing it because it was
unrealistic. they had a politically-driven timeline, which was increasingly out of phase with events on the ground, and they never really resolved that contradiction. now, we'll see how this works, but it is, frankly, it is a more realistic effort. >> all right, i want to bring in my colleague, jim scuitto now, to get your reaction on what we just heard from the secretary of state. >> it shows why it's important for a u.s. secretary of state to occasionally answer questions from reporters because he gave some clarity, one, to the president's seepeech last night his discussion of the afghanistan plan as well as it was a chance for america's top diplomat to comment in public on key national security issues like north korea. on afghanistan, first, first of all, secretary tillerson puts clarity on the president's statement last night about troop numbers. the president saying he's not going to discuss them, which raised the issue, waits, when will the american public know how many more of its sons and
daughters will be asked to go into the line of fire there. and secretary tillerson said, listen, we're not going to keep that secret. it's going to come out when those decisions are made by commanders on the ground. that's an important answer. that's something that i think not just reporters but people at home want to hear. >> right. >> i think it's interesting as well, because this struck me last night with the president's speech, is that a -- and secretary tillerson reiterating it, that a key part of the trump administration plan to win, in effect, and have an end game is to negotiate with the taliban. elements of the taliban, and a not uncontroversial and not unrisky move for the u.s. to take. this idea has percolated before with regards to afghanistan and the ambassador knows far more than me on that, but it's a difficult one, because there are some very harsh elements in the taliban who kill men, women, and children, and continue to, and have expressed no interest in negotiation. there's discussion of elements within the taliban who might be
more open to that, but that's a risky path to take to be a central part of the policy. the final thing i would say, pamela, that struck me is just to hear the u.s. secretary of state, after two very volatile weeks with north korea to say that the u.s. recognizes that north korea took a de-escalation step in the threats, with regard to guam, et cetera, that's significant to hear america's top diplomat say, listen, north korea, we're watching, and not so much thank you, but, in effect, that's a positive step towards avoiding war. >> right. and he cited -- he said the reason why this is, he believes, is because the u.n. security resolution, and he also said that he appreciated that pyongyang is exercising restraint, direct quote there. so that certainly was a headline coming from the secretary of state. i want to go to you, ambassador, and hit on what jim said. there's a lot coming out of what we just heard from the secretary of state, but this notion of the
moderate elements of the taliban wants to move forward and perhaps negotiating with them. how realistic is that? >> well, it's never been really put to the test. i think taliban is an umbrella organization. it contains a variety of groups within it, some local fighters, haqqanis, others. and there have, apparently, seem to be -- sorry, that's too mushy an answer. there have been groups that appear to be more moderate in times. they also appeared to be very much in the second place in the last couple of years and dominated by harder line groups. one of the key things is, you have to be able to fight and talk at the same time. and not treat these as alternatives where you veer back and forth. when you look like you're chasing negotiations, you stiffen the other side. you stiffen what they're going to demand, and then you either don't get negotiations or you're
going to have to kill more people to prove that you won't back up. so, a lot of this is how you walk and chew gum at the same time. and you know, that's a little bit of an art. >> all right, jim, last word to you. >> well, just to echo what the ambassador has said, is that the taliban is big. we think of them as monolithic. you have many different groups there, elements that have shown interest, perhaps, in some negotiation. i would just say that that, then, raises the question, say you came to some sort of agreement with elements of the taliban, doesn't mean that the other -- that the haqqani network, which has been guilty of some of the most aggressive and deadly attacks recently, for instance, in kabul, doesn't mean that they disappear, so just to reiterate what the ambassador is saying, you've got to fight and negotiate at the same time and you might end up fighting some folks who will never negotiate and that's just the morass that is afghanistan. >> all right. thank you to you both. appreciate it, gentlemen. >> thank you.
well, tempers flare inside a charlottesville city council meeting, the first since the violence and the president's remarks. coming up, i'll speak with the one council member who did not walk out. plus, the wife of the treasury secretary flaunts luxury goods online, then mocks one of her critics in a bizarre rant. i'll speak with the mother who louise linton went after. you won't want to miss this. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college.
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and the next great idea could be yours. we have some breaking news. the clock running out for missouri death row inmate and we have learned now that the governor of missouri has issued a stay in the execution of marcellus williams' execution. that execution was set to happen tonight at 7:00 p.m. in missouri. the governor has issued a stay, because his attorneys have come out and said there was new dna evidence that shows that he did not commit this murder, and that the 48-year-old is innocent. i want to go to our reporter,
scott mclane, who is in missouri with more on this breaking news. scott? >> reporter: hey, pamela. there's a lot to unpack here, but the bottom line is that marcellus williams has been handed a lifeline by the missouri governor, at least for now. she announced that he would create a board of inquiry to look into whether williams actually committed the murder that she's accushe's accused of 1998. so for now, he will not -- the execution will not go ahead as plan. it was scheduled for just about four hours from now, 6:00 local time, 7:00 eastern. that board of inquiry will be made up of retired judges. it will have full subpoena power to ultimately get to the bottom of this. keep in mind, this issue was at the supreme court in washington. we were still waiting to hear from justices as to whether or not they would issue a stay of williams' execution. we hadn't heard yet but obviously the governor has power regardless of what the court
decides to spare a man's life and in this case, that's exactly what he's done. >> right. that request went to justice neil gorsuch. just to give us some background on this case. what are his lawyers relying on to stay the execution in terms of the dna that has been uncovered? >> reporter: yeah, so, there was never any physical evidence linking marcellus williams to the actual crime scene in this 1998 murder of a local newspaper reporter who was stabbed more than 40 times in her house. in 2015, a judge allowed new dna testing to be done on the murder weapon, which was a kitchen knife, pamela, and that dna testing came back, showed some mixed results, but three out of four of the analysts who looked at it said that it should rule out marcellus williams as maybe not a suspect but as someone who had that knife in their hand. now, the state argues, look, he may have been wearing a glove and there's plenty of non-dna evidence to uphold this
conviction and so that's the rub here. it's also important to keep in mind that even if williams were to get exonerated from this case as his lawyers hope that he one day will be, there is very little chance that he will ever be getting out of prison, because of previous unrelated separate convictions that he's now serving time for. >> all right, scott mclean, thank you so much. more on this breaking news in just a moment. but first, the people of charlottesville, virginia. that's where i want to turn. they called out the city's leadership after that deadly terror attack there. demonstrators interrupted and blasted the city council during their first meeting since violent clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters. police removed and arrested three people in that meeting. they were angry an august 12 unite the right rally was even allowed to happen in the first place. last night, residents took the mayor to task on everything from the police response to the rally to the monument of confederate
general robert e. lee. neo-nazis say they came to defend. >> blood on your hands. >> i've been here and i've warned you. i've had enough. we've all had -- absolutely had enough. the statue needs to come down. you need to grow a [ bleep ] spine. get the statues down, all of them. >> why is it that city council can not recognize white terrorism for what it is, the form of terrorism that's killed more people in this country than any other form ever has or ever will. >> what happened to cpd? you want to bring these [ bleep ] in here tonight to restore order. >> this is what i want to know. what are y'all going to do when
they come back? because they are coming back. because they've already said so. what do y'all plan to do when they come back? because those statues are still there. that's their beacon. >> clearly, the residents there wanting to make their voices heard. vice mayor wes bellamy of charlottesville, virginia, joins me now. you were the only council member to remain when every other member of the council walked out. why did you stay? >> well, thank you for having me, and once again, it's important for us to acknowledge and send our condolences to sister heather who lost her life as well as the two police officers, in addition to the many people who were injured during the melee on august 12, including deandre harris. now, to answer your question, i thought it was important to stay because many of these individuals within the crowd -- personally, i believe that they deserve the right to be heard. this is a very passionate subject, and people deserve not only our empathy and our sympathy. now, i can't speak for -- as to
why some of my other colleagues chose to stay or didn't stay, but i will say, overall, my colleagues and myself, we were in the city council meeting for nearly six hours, and we listened to nearly 150 to 200 people, so i think that is, in a sense, showing our commitment, and i'm looking forward to us all working together and move forward together. >> you see police escorting, arresting some of the citizens there, escorting them outside of the meeting. what do you say to some of the people in there who said, look, the police are escorting us out and not letting our voices be heard, but yet the city will let neo-nazis come and let their voices be heard in the city. what do you say to them >> i understand exactly where our citizens are coming from. again, we have to understand and analyze different people's perspectives, and i'm not here to get into a blame game or pick one side over the other. what i wanted to do last night was be able to listen to everyone and try to understand their viewpoint and perspective.
and i think it's important for us to do that. so look at it from this perspective. if you were an individual who attended the rally on august 12 and as we heard, on several different accounts, people saying they saw fights, they saw different things transpire and take place, and then to a certain extent, they were looking for certain individuals to intervene and for whatever reason, they did not, from their perspective, they're trying to understand how could that be and they're looking for answers. now, again, i'm not here to pick sides or say, you know, one group did this, one group did that, specifically talking about last night, and i'm looking forward to continuing the conversation with our police department and our police chief to make sure that we address these situations in the most appropriate manner. but i think, again, it's important for everyone's viewpoint and their perspective to be heard becauses this a traumatizing and very, very emotional situation that's going on. and most of all, people just want to be heard. >> wes, last night, the president addressed bigotry
during his statement on afghanistan. let's take a listen to that. >> when one part of america hurts, we all hurt. and when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. love for america requires love for all of its people. when we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate. >> so, wes, do you think that his remarks that we just heard this time around were strong enough in terms of condemning white sprem snoupremacy? >> well, to be honest, i'm not here to talk about 45. i'd much rather talk about the city of charlottesville, and i'm looking forward to us, again, continuing to rally together, staying together, and be a lot more courageous and much more
united in terms of how we move forward. 45 can say what he says, and again, i don't really want to get into speaking about him. i would much rather spend my attention and my focus on talking about the city of charlottesville. >> but doesn't moving forward include the president? >> in my perspective, locally, where i'm in a local elected official, it's most important for me, once again, to focus on the people of charlottesville and i'm still thinking about the voices of the people that i heard in that city council meeting last night and trying to figure out how we can make amends, whether that be by the city council apologizing publicly, whether that be we conducting another town hall and talking to our constituents and finding out different ways in which we can improve because i heard a lot of people say they have been terrorized, they feel as if they are petrified by what happened, they are traumatized and they are afraid these individuals may come back. so as a city, we have to continue to formulate our plan and be able to prepare for whatever future incidents arise, but also let our citizens know that we have their back, that we
are doing everything that we can to make sure that they are safe and letting them know that charlottesville is still a great place. we're not a perfect place. we've had issues for several different years now, for several generations, but we're trying to move forward in the right direction. >> okay. vice mayor of charlottesville, wes bellamy, thank you. >> thank you. and we have reached the second hour. thank you so much for joining us. i'm pamela brown in for brooke i'm pamela brown in for brooke baldwin. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> if recent rallies are any indicator, we expect a stark contrast from his teleprompter speech on afghanistan. although trump won arizona in the 2016 election, the state is home to two of the president's most vocal gop critics. republican senators john mccain and jeff flake. as flake faces reelection, president trump has called him weak on immigration and crime
while praising his primary challenger. and while in arizona, we'll also be watching to see if the president might pardon controversial former sheriff joe arpaio. but before the rally, the president will visit yuma, which is the main base of operations for u.s. border patrol and that's where we find cnn's boris sanchez. he joins us now. boris, the mayor of phoenix asked president trump to stay away from his city, and there are major protests planned there tonight. what more are you hearing? what can we expect? >> reporter: hey there, pam. yeah, the potential for conflict, essentially, outside the phoenix convention center, as you mentioned, the mayor of phoenix asking the president to delay this rally after his divisive remarks in charlottesville last week. several different weeks, progressive groups, anti-bigot groups as they're calling themselves, were mobilized and they are set to greet the president as he arrives at the phoenix convention center for that rally later tonight. you can also expect several of the usual names to be on hand, vice president mike pence is making a trip out, so is chief
of staff john kelly. interestingly enough, though, those who were not invited, including, as you mentioned, the republican senators from arizona, both john mccain and jeff flake, have been very critical of the president, both with some very harsh words for donald trump after that press conference at trump tower last tuesday where the president talked about the violence in charlottesville. the president has not hesitated in responding specifically to jeff flake, as you said, calling him weak, calling him a non-factor in the senate, and praising a potential gop primary opponent, dr. kelly ward. we don't know if dr. ward is expected to be at the rally tonight or whether or not the president might give her a full endorsement. also not invited, the man known as the toughest sheriff in america, joe arpaio. he was found guilty earlier this year of going against a judge's order to halt a program that was found to be illegal for racially profiling
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