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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Prisoner Swap Controversy Continues, Despite Second Video; Interview with Sen. Chris Murphy; Update on Bowe Bergdahl's Condition in Germany; Politics at Play in Bergdahl Controversy?
Aired June 5, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president fires back at those criticizing his decision to swap five Taliban leaders for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Does the vow to leave no soldier behind trump all else?
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A terrifying shootout with police on the streets of a quiet Canadian town leaves three police officers dead and a community locked in their homes. The gunman is still on the loose.
BERMAN: So they kind of seemed to get along before, Vladimir Putin and Hillary Clinton, but wait until you hear what the Russian president is saying about her now. How do you say sexist in Russian?
PEREIRA: How do you say sexist in Russian?
BERMAN: Da is the only Russian I know.
Hello, everyone, I'm John Berman.
PEREIRA: I'm glad we don't know that word in English or in Russian.
I'm Michaela Pereira. It's 11:00 a.m. in the East, and that means, of course, it's 8:00 a.m., bright and early, out West, those stories and so much more, right now, @THISHOUR.
We just heard from President Obama, again defending his unilateral decision to trade five Taliban prisoners for American POW Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
BERMAN: The president is in Brussels where the controversy over the Bergdahl swap has in some ways overshadowed the G-7 summit.
President Obama insists the United States does not leave troops behind on the battlefield.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington, right? That's par for the course.
But I'll repeat what I said two days ago. We have a basic principle. We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind. We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated, and we were deeply concerned about. And we saw an opportunity, and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: I want to bring in our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto and also senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns. Good to have you both with us.
Jim, starting with you, President Obama is certainly standing firm on his decision to swap these five Taliban prisoners for a U.S. soldier who apparently walked away from his unit in Afghanistan.
He goes on to say -- call Bowe Bergdahl a "kid," essentially trying to humanize this soldier.
How much of a difference, or if any, will it make in the eyes of politicians and the public?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's a question. It's interesting. He stood firm, but he also stood impassioned. It was a very impassioned plea, saying we don't leave anyone in uniform behind, calling them "kids," saying I'm responsible for these kids.
He shared the moments, the difficult moments, that he has when he has to write letters to parents of soldiers who are not coming home at all and just the contact, of course, that he had with the Bergdahl family, and said, listen -- you know, in effect he's saying, what would you have me do? Leave him there?
Is that really the option that we want for our soldiers who volunteered, as the president said, to go fight in foreign wars?
And that's a point that's been echoed by others. General -- former General Stanley McChrystal in an interview yesterday said the same thing, said we have to bring these guys home.
And then when they get home, if there's a question about desertion, then you go through an investigation, a legal process then.
BERMAN: So, Joe, the public is -- the president is showing some public passion today.