tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN September 26, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
controversy. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. now for "newsroom" with john berman. >> i am flattered you had to look at the screen that it was, in fact, me. >> you are just so has n handso. fetching. blinding. >> let's get to the news, folks. john berman here. the president of the united states woke up this morning with 3.5 million americans suffering a humanitarian catastrophe in puerto rico. what was the subject? television ratings. ratings for nfl football are way down except before a game starts when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected. that's what president trump
wrote about, football ratings. you know where they did not watch much football this weekend, puerto rico. after not mentioning puerto rico in the wake of the football fixation, he did write about that last night. deep trouble. it's a safe bet the americans of puerto rico already know that. what they want to know now is what the administration is going to do about it. joe johns at the white house with the events this morning. joe? >> reporter: good morning, john. the mayor of san juan was asked this morning on "new day" about the president's tweets and she responded in part that when there's a humanitarian crisis, when there's a life or death situation, there's a moral imperative to deal with that. she also indicated that in her view the situation on the ground
there in puerto rico and the debt crisis in puerto rico are very different things. take a listen to part of what she said. >> these are two different topics. one topic is the massive debt, which we know we have and it has been dealt with, but you don't put debt above people. you put people above debt. >> reporter: the president tweeted this morning thanking the mayor of san juan for her kind words, he wrote, on fema and et cetera. we are working hard. much food and water there, slash, on the way. there are other things he has been tweeting about besides puerto rico leading to the question whether he's paying adequate attention to the situation on the ground there.
the white house press secretary said the president certainly can do more than one thing while he's in the oval office. also indicating in part that the white house response has been good. she said the government is handling the situation in puerto rico, and it has been anything but slow and there's been an unprecedented push through of billions of dollars that the administration has fought for. we do expect the president to meet with his homeland security adviser, tom bossert, to talk about that this morning. john, back to you. >> joe johns at the white house. we will watch that closely. joining me now, cnn political communicators, and republican strategists, all from different
perfectives. margaret, tweets about nfl railings and kneeling this morning, and 3.5 million puerto ricans suffering. is that a good use of tweeting? >> well, last working for bush during katrina, and so we were dealing with the hands on. the amount of blowback and i think, really, the unfair criticism, because george w. bush took seven trips down to the gulf coast after katrina and rita, and he got very unfair blowback, i think, for not being sufficiently caring about the people who were facing kwcalami in their lives, and it's shocking to me that the president would act this way when we truly have, and with this dam that is facing
devastation, and it's shocking to me that the president -- just looking at recent history and knowing politics is perception, if nothing else, focusing your administration on a catastrophe at hand is critical for making sure all the resources get there, and all of the humanitarian support that can come from mediating institutions in our democracy, and the press and the media, all should be focused on puerto rico and the president can help set that focus by himself focusing solely on what is necessary of the people in puerto rico, and that's not happening here. >> do you see the president focused as much as he needs to be on puerto rico? >> no, i don't. originally being from new orleans, and i had a lot of family members impacted by katrina, and i would say this would be the quote, unquote, katrina moment for donald trump. unfortunately, i am not certain
there's much of anything that would push his base against him. if i could comment, john, on the president and his nfl issue, you know, what bothers me and what is troubling is we are not having a robust conversation about this issue. the fundamental purpose of this quote, unquote, protest was to raise issue about police brutality, and if we are going to talk about those things, you have to remove the wedged issues about protesting the flag, which is not about that, and that's where the conversation has gone to, and i think the expectation is the president is part of the process. but the president is not the only way. there have been other moments in time throughout the history of our country where we faced many, many troubling situations, and sometimes the president was not looking back historically on the right side of those issues. but the country together move forward without. i think this is another one of
those instances where the expectation can no longer be on the president to bring the country together, to unite the country. look, at the end of the day, john, i think we really have to begin to listen to each other. if i am an african-american and there's somebody from rural ohio and they are talking to me about the opioid crisis, i may not be able to immediately identify with the situation but does that mean i have empathy or listen and have concern, so for a lot of african-americans and the point that many are raising is these are issues many receive are troubling, and we want to find a way to remedy the problem. >> if you are an african-american player kneeling, does the president calling you a son of a bitch make that dialogue easier? i hear what you are saying. and somebody with the president last night said the president is pleased as punch. the quote was you could tell he
was pleased. should the president be pleased this morning? >> look, i don't think so. while i agree in principle with the substance of what he's saying i don't agree with the style and language he used. i support his freedom to say what he wants to say about the nfl and its players, however i have a problem with the frequency of it. i think the nfl players do have the freedom to take a knee, but if this is truly about social injustice, where were the guys taking a knee when their own players were charged with domestic violence? where there were charges of battery and homicides? that's social injustice. where was the knee then? the number one priority is to shift the focus on the needs of the people in puerto rico and the tremendous damage and devastation they will face for years. i think it's important for the president tweeted about the nfl and what is going on in the football field, it's important to know what the administration
is doing behind the scenes in regard to puerto rico and he signed a disaster declaration on wednesday, and we have millions of meals and water being distincted there, and the coast guard is setting up communication, and a core of engineers helping with debris removal. while there's so much focus on what is going on with the nfl, it's important for us to keep in mind the administration is doing a lot behind the scenes to help those people in puerto rico that are dealing with the devastating loss that they are suffering there. >> politics is perception, as margaret hoover was just saying, and it's an interesting point because the president tweeting, and i will not read it out loud because it doesn't add to the discussion, and to be fair the mayor of san juan did point out
she was appreciative of the fema presence. fema is there to coordinate. there are not hundreds of thousands of fema personnel. the people in puerto rico now are suffering immeasurably, they just want help and don't want it to be about politics at all, and the president started talking about their debt and the infrastructure already in place. that's not a solution looking forward. >> not only is it not a solution looking forward, it is important that the president's literal focus and the words he says on television and the words he says to the press are about puerto rico, because it's not just the federal government that needs to respond to puerto rico. if the american's people attention is not on it because the president's attention and the media's attention is not on it, the people of puerto rico
suffer. it helps to have the tone coming from the top focused on the disaster in puerto rico. >> this is happening in despite of the puerto rico and north korea, and despite of the health care bill, and maybe he is focused on this because he wants to draw attention away from it all. you have moore against strange, and i am curious what the implications will be if luther strange loses? the president backed him, and he is facing roy moore, and what do you think the lesson will be if moore wins and what lesson the president will take from it? >> i think judge moore is moore ensi in sync with president trump's policies. steve bannon mentioned mitch
mcconnell as persuading the president to endorse luther strange versus judge moore. i think the results will lead towards judge moore winning and going on to the general, and for the president it will probably lead for him to make a stronger case, particularly to his base for why he should not trust republicans in the senate because they led him to endorse somebody who did not win, and you listen to bannon and the president's remarks, and he admitted himself, if he doesn't win i will go ahead and back moore. it would seem to me the expectation from the white house and those around the president is that luther strange probably will not win this and they already began to make the case for why. i think you will see the present transition over to supporting judge moore. >> we have to cut it short because we have breaking news. the equifax ceo is out after the hack that exposed more than 100 million people.
christine romans coming in now. >> the stock was halted so we knew there would be big news coming in and the cia of equifax is retiring and it means he has been pushed out. richard smith is his name. and you have the chairman of the board who apologized for the big hack, 143 million of you, your information out there on the dark web, and 143 million people just, an astonishingly large cyber security breach. they are still trying to get to the bottom of it, and a reminder, if you are not a customer of this company, your data is its product. that's what is so maddening there was a patch to fix the problem but the hackers had already been in there and galavanting around with your information. the stock has been halted for this news that the leader of this company is out.
there were two other high profile departures as well, so you will see house cleaning. >> what will the markets be looking at today? >> you will see a bounce in the market. things were mixed an hour ago, but you are seeing some of the stocks that took a beating yesterday are bouncing back today. you had an incredible run over the past eight years, and specifically the past year, a big bounce. stock market investors have been rewarded for their patience, and you will see things bounce back. >> rewarded mightily for their patience over the last few years. and then a heated crucial race with serious implications for the president. we are live on the ground. plus, a deadly blow. does senator collins' no vote
witness katy perry and left shark. or a card shark. grandma? witness katy perry work. witness katy perry firework. witness katy perry swish. witness katy perry... aaaaaaw look at that dog! katy perry: with music videos and behind the scenes footage, xfinity lets you witness all things me. it is election day in alabama, and a day of reckoning for the president. the candidate he is supporting is in danger of losing to a candidate of being supported by steve bannon. the president is backing strange. a short time ago he said luther
strange has been shooting up in the alabama polls since my endorsement. finish the job. vote today for big luther. this is going to be tough. >> reporter: that's right, john. this is definitely a heated battle these two men are locked into for the senate seat left open by jeff sessions when he became the attorney general earlier this year. on the one hand we have luther strange that is backed by more establishment republicans like senate majority leader mitch mcconnell who super pac has poured millions of dollars into ads for luther strange. listen to what he said just this morning. >> i can assure you, steve, if i were part of the problem, the president wouldn't be down here campaigning so hard for me. i think it's a narrative because
there are other agendas out there. >> on the other hand, here, john, we have roy moore who is a very controversial judge, and he has refused to uphold a supreme court decision about gay marriage. there's another dynamic here at play, and for the first time we are seeing the president and steve bannon pitted against each other in the race. steve bannon has made clear this is not about donald trump but about a battle against establishment republicans. listen to what he said about roy moore last night. >> they think you're a pack of morons. they think you are nothing but rudes. you are going to get an opportunity to tell them what you think of the elites that run
this country. a vote for judge roy moore is a vote for donald trump. >> reporter: what is really at stake here is the fight for the republican party, and people like mitch mcconnell fear it could happen again. is today the latest to repeal obamacare. susan collins from maine announced she would vote no. >> this thing is not going to be fully dead until mitch mcconnell says it is, and he has not made that decision, at least not publicly. what he does know is he knows he does not have the votes with susan collins coming out last
night, collins and john mccain and rand paul, that makes three. if mcconnell were to bring it for a vote today the bill would not pass. the question is why has he not pulled the plug yet? he's facing pressure from his colleagues not ready to give up the fight to repeal obamacare. some of his colleagues are saying they would like to see the bill come up for a vote even though they know the bill would not pass. >> so we're going to press on. it's okay to vote. it's okay to fall short if you do for an idea you believe in. >> now, this is a tough position that mitch mcconnell finds himself in if he decides to bring this up for a vote. on the other hand, if mcconnell
decides he will not bring it up for a vote despite his colleagues wanted a vote, and then he encourages some of the folks to continue trying at a time when leadership feels strongly they are ready to move on to other issues like tax reform. it's tuesday, so we are watching the policy that will happen this afternoon, and inside that room is where mitch mcconnell is going to get a better ideal of how some of his colleagues will want it to come up for a vote. >> we will watch very closely. thank you so much. fears in puerto rico of the island becoming an afterthought after hurricane maria. growing questions over the administration response. we'll have much more next.
the national anthem. the new statements comes after the controversial grows of the president's response in puerto rico. many fear puerto rico is not the focus of the president. and joining me now, senator from montana. let me read you the latest statement from the president of the united states. the nfl has rules and regulations and the only way out for them is you can't kneel during our national anthem. do you agree the nfl should implement such a rule? do you think it's a priority for the president of the united states to be talking about that this morning? >> john, i am the son of a u.s. marine and i have been brought up talking about respecting our flag for what it represents, and the thousands of men and women who died defending it.
it's not the right place to me on the ball field to be showing disrespect to the united states flag. my kids grew up playing sports. i think about all the times as little leaguers, we honor our national anthem and the flag. you have millions of young people who were watching nfl players who they idolize. i think it's important we teach the principles of respect. i respect the right for them to protest, but to show it by disrespecting the flag, i don't think it should be having. >> and you just had a reasonable discussion, and there are some people who called people a son of a bitch.
the point is, there's a disagreement there. my question to you, is there an important area for the president to focus on this morning with 3.5 million americans suffering in puerto rico, and north korea taking aggressive measures and the health care bill teetering on the brink of failure, and is that what you want the president focusing on now? >> well, puerto rico is a u.s. territory, and the president -- i'm grateful for the fact he continues to stand to put america first, and he wants us as a nation to show respect to our flag, so i respect the president. i respect his strong stance he is taking right now to bring this country together and to show respect, to bring us together, unity under the flag, the red, white and blue, the stars and stripes. that's something young people are watching right now.
frankly the division we see on the fields on the sunday, the nfl, they are not helping to bring this country together. >> again, i would only say the divisions are not only on the nfl field. some people are seeing divisions coming from the white house as well. i do want to move on. you talked about concern for the people in puerto rico. your fellow republican senator wrote the crisis for these americans needs more attention and urgency, the potable water problems are substantial. >> i agree. i agree. senator rubio was there surveying the damage just yet. the images are absolutely devastating. this is a humanitarian crisis. i think you are going to see soon much more attention and resources being applied toward puerto rico, but we have got to be there to help the people of puerto rico. this is an under reported story. certainly have had a lot of
issues with harvey and what happened in florida and with maria, and what is going on in the virgin islands and puerto rico, it's devastating. i join them that we need to come together and help with puerto rico. >> to be clear, you are saying there needs to be more urgency from the executive branch? >> i think from the entire country. fema, it's one of their highest priorities. we need to come together as a nation and make sure puerto rico is taken care of. >> amen. i agree with that 100%. the things we keep hearing from people who are there, able to get messages out, paint a dire portrait of what is going on. senator collins came out and said she would not support the graham/cassidy bill. the only remaining question is will it come to a vote on the senate vote? do you want mitch mcconnell to call for a vote? do you want the republican
members of the senate to be accountable for their opinions right now? >> we will have that discussion at lunch tomorrow, and i don't think we have the votes to pass it. >> do you still want to take the roll call in the senate? >> the leader and the team will come to a consensus on that at lunch. and we will see how it goes today. i guess, as i look at it, i don't think the votes are there, and we will see if that goes to the floor. >> you just returned to south korea, and you have seen the situation there and talked most importantly to south korea officials, defense officials on the situation on the ground here. how do they see things right now? are they pleased with the way this is going? >> well, i had a sobering discussion, first of all, with general brooks and his team there. he's the commander of the u.s.
forces there in korea, as well as meeting with the defense minister. they are -- we have a unified command over there. i will tell you, we have the south koreaens and u.s. forces there on one page. it's sobering. you look at seoul, 35 miles away from the border. you have a population density there four times that of los angeles we have 300,000 americans in south korea. 30,000 military personnel, and then the north koreans, of course, are focused on the nuclear threat and they present a grave threat to the united states and entire world, and they present nerve gas. they have 15,000 artillery pieces, many which are pointed right now at seoul and have the ability to hit seoul in 30 seconds. i am grateful for general brooks and the united states command working with the united nations command as well as the south
kor kor koreans, because this is 30 years of failed policy from democrats and republicans in the past, and we have a north korea that will soon be able to put a nuclear missile on top of a intercontinental ballistic missile and that presents a grave threat to the continent of the united states. >> thank you for your empathy on the matter of puerto rico as well, and we need to focus on that much more. thank you, senator. >> thank you, john. this morning, confident and sometimes advicer to the president, roger stone on the hill. we have pictures of roger stone arriving a few minutes ago, and he will testify for the house intelligence committee this in the russia election meddling investigation. >> he just entered the secure committee room. this coming as democrats long wanted to question him. he's a political trick stir.
he tries to settle a number of scores going after democratic lawmakers by name, and demanding public apologies saying they have maligned his name and that he, quote, suggests any suggestion he colluded with russia. there are instances in particular that democrats wanted to question him about as to whether or not he's had any connection with the founder of wikileaks and advanced knowledge of the dnc hack, and he denied both in the statement, and they want to question him about why he did not provide documents to this committee. i am told by sources he did not provide documents, his records with russians, and sources tell me because there were no private
communications with russians, no private records, only public. he said they released publicly, including a twitter exchange he had with an alleged russian hacker, and they had a direct message exchange on twitter, and something he released publicly, and they expect him to come out and answer questions publicly afterwards. he said the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. >> a flare for dramatic from roger stone. thank you very much. shortages of the most basic necessities. we will have a live update from puerto rico next. o develop more renewable and clean energy resources because there are limits to the amount of fossil fuels that we can burn. since 1925, we have depended on diesel generators, burning approximately a million gallons of diesel fuel a year.
our mission is to make off-shore wind one of the principle new sources of energy. not every bank is willing to get involved in a "first of its kind" project. citi saw the promise of clean energy and they worked really closely with us, the wind farm will lower power prices. we're polluting the air less. businesses and homes can rely on a steady source of power. block island wind farm is a catalyst- - this will be the first of may off-shore wind farms in the u.s.
this morning the president receives a briefing on the suffering in puerto rico, six days since hurricane maria hit. food scarce. water scarce. >> reporter: this woman doesn't even know who i am, but i'm the first person she has seen since hurricane maria battered the island, the flood and the debris and the lack of power already making hard-to-get-to areas hard to reach, and even fema has not set foot in some parts of puerto rico. we took a chopper to remote areas largely unscene, like a town on the north west part of the town. the dam has been breached and the government ordered nearby residents to evacuate. it's here where i was met with such emotion.
the people starving for assistance. she says if something happens to that dam, it could be as bad as the hurricane itself. many are asking us to send messages to their families. from the air can you see why more than 3 million u.s. citizens could remain in the dark for months. >> this is the problem. this is why puerto rico, 100% of the island doesn't have power right now. granted the infrastructure was vulnerable before maria passed by, but you could see with the power lines down what the challenge is. they are completely collapsed. heading further inland the death toll is among the highest here. this is where we meet 56-year-old, a diabetic and unemployed and now doesn't have a home either. this is what maria did to her
home. water spewing from every corner. by now she thought help would have arrived. it hasn't. she's hopeful somebody will help her. to be able to rebuild this. flying south to even more remote, the roads are blocked forcing us to find another way to get to this home. coffee growers tell us the problem here is food. most of what they have left has gone bad. he says you work and work and work and it's for nothing because he's lost everything. a common theme on an island of 3.4 million u.s. citizens now waiting and hoping that help is on the way. john, i just had a conversation with the mayor and she pulled me
aside, and she was sobbing and she said we need help, specifically in the hospitals. she said last night two people died in a hospital in an intensive care unit because they could not get diesel to that hospital in time, so no generators. in the meantime she said she has hospitals in san juan that are hours away from being without power. >> thank you very much for the update. thank you for your reporting. we are grateful and other people in puerto rico are grateful as well. one day after north korea says it can shoot down u.s. planes because the united states declared war, that country moves military equipment to its coast. stay with us. i want to think about. choose wisely everyone. no cheating, no cheating. then we found out how many years that money would last them.
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new this morning, north korea moving planes and boosting its defenses along the coast. this comes one day after the country's foreign minister says that north korea now has the right to shoot down u.s. planes because of a statement by president trump he says amounted to a declaration of war. the white house calls that conclusion absurd. joining me now to talk about this general wesley clark, former nato allied commander wrote the forward to "united states armed forces salute to america's heros." thanks for being with us. how concerned are you about the escalation when you hear a senior north korean official say the u.s. has declared war that sounds alarming. >> well, it is alarming. that's the typical north korean response to anything that the united states does that pushes them. so when they say that, though, we have to take that seriously. because as we see now they're
moving assets and so forth. we don't want them to shoot down one of our airplanes. if they try to do this, though, i'm sure that we have the right of self-defense, we'll go back at them and this will further ratchet up the escalation. what we really need is behind-the-scenes diplomacy to cut down the escalation, because there's no advantage gained in starting a low-level conflict here. >> are you concerned about the possibility of an accidental conflict with this rhetoric being the background? >> well, the accidental conflict could occur by let's say some trigger happy north korean missile man thinking he's obeying the dear leader's instructions and shooting down an american aircraft or shooting at an american aircraft, in which we case we respond by taking out the missile site. and that could lead to something. i don't think that would lead to an accidental war, but war by miscalculation is misunderstanding the intent of the other side. it's very dangerous in korea right now.
>> look, the exact statement that north korean foreign minister was referring to where he said he believed the president declared war, is when the president wrote on twitter that "north korea won't be around much longer." how -- you know, what should they infer? what should the north korean infer from that message? >> i think the north koreans are pretty smart in terms of interpreting american politics, so i think inside the north korean government they understand what this is about. this is about playing to a domestic base, about a lot of bragging, ratchet up a crisis without starting a war. this may be about trying to pressure china. but north korea, by virtue of the way they operate, they never take a threat -- they never take it without ratcheting back up the escalation. that's the way the north always responds. >> moving the defenses to the coast not far from where the u.s. planes fly when they fly.
what message does that send? >> it's one more step up the escalation ladder toward as you suggest an accidental war or war by miscalculation. it's not reducing the chances of catastrophe in korea it's increasing them. this is why we said for a long time the right thing to do is not scale up the rhetoric, it's to work behind the scenes. this what is we did in the clinton administration. when we got the original framework agreement in 1994. we were at almost the same position. we were talking about moving aircraft, the north koreans were talking about if you put an embargo through the u.n. it's an act of war. what we did and the president sent jimmy carter over and cut the thing off. that could be done now but has it been done? we don't know. >> something completely different, iran and something the president wrote over the weekend. he wrote and said iran just test fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching israel they are also working with north
korea. not much of an agreement we have. so military officials tell cnn over the weekend, they have no evidence that iran did a ballistic missile launch over the weekend. is the president getting information that the military is not getting? does the president have to be more careful with his claims on twitter? maybe referring to something from months ago? >> i think it was something in the press that wasn't correct, that the president might have seen. the point is, if you go back and look at this, take it back to 2002, when president george w. bush declared an axis of evil he grouped these three countries, iraq, iran, and north korea, together. and sure enough, they worked together since then. we went after the country that was the weakest and easiest to take care of in going into iraq and we made a big mess of it and now, president trump is building on that sort of public lingering memory of linking geo strategy and morality to create crises
and to whip up his base. this is extremely dangerous for the united states. and for the world. and i would like to see us resolve these problems with real leadership and real diplomacy. >> general wesley clark, great to have you here with us. appreciate it. in just minutes we will hear from president trump at the white house. what will he talk about? will he talk about the crisis in puerto rico or the fixation be on nfl rules? want a snack?
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good morning, everyone. john berman here, standing by, in a few minutes the president welcomes lawmakers to the white house. will he use the opportunity to rally national support to end the suffering in puerto rico, to lean on members for aid, to lobby for disaster funding? will he do that or talk a
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