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Mexican President Criticizes President Trump's Comment on Building Border Wall; Interview with Congressman Will Hurd; Vice President Pence to Speak at Prolife March. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 27, 2017 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Mr. Bannon, we or not shutting our mouths. You cannot intimidate us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: David Gergen intimidated me there. Did you see that steely look in his eye? Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Our friend Poppy Harlow is here. Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I feel so much better. I was under the weather but now I feel like running a marathon.

CUOMO: Vitamin C.

HARLOW: That's what you do to me, Cuomo.

CUOMO: In his first week in office, Donald Trump is redefining the presidency, policies, and the way Washington works or doesn't work. The president's very public rift with Mexico's president is sending shockwaves around the world.

HARLOW: This as the White House is floating a new plan to tax Mexican imports to pay for the wall and then sort of walking that back. This means, if it happens, that you, the American consumer, will get stuck with the bill, not Mexico. All of this as the president will host his first foreign leader at the White House, Theresa May, in just hours. We're entering day eight of the Trump administration. We begin our coverage this hour in Washington with Sara Murray. Good morning.

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. We expect it to be a very busy visit by Theresa May. She's going to meet with the president and she's going to hold a press conference with him, and then they're going to be having a working lunch. Now while this is a sit-down with a country that has a very warm relationship with the U.S., on Saturday Donald Trump will speak to the leader of a country with a tougher relationship, Russian President Vladimir Putin. This comes at a time when Donald Trump is off to a rocky diplomatic debut with tensions flaring between the U.S. and Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MURRAY: President Trump's triggering a diplomatic showdown with Mexico in his first week in office.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm talking about a real wall. I'm talking about a wall that's got to be serious.

MURRAY: The feud escalating quickly after the president threatened to cancel next week's meeting with Mexico's president if they won't pay for his border wall. Within hours, Enrique Pena Nnieto tweeting back that he told the White House he is not coming. Trump later casting the cancellation as a mutual decision.

TRUMP: Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless.

MURRAY: Adding to the tension, the White House began floating a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: By doing it that way, we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall.

MURRAY: Only to walk it back two hours later, saying it's just one idea that could finance the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are things that go beyond negotiation.

MURRAY: Mexico's foreign minister dismissing such a plan, pointing out the import tax would ultimately be passed on to American consumers. Many economists agree, citing the $531 billion in goods traded between the countries in 2015, making Mexico America's third largest trading partner.

The suddenly stormy relationship between allies caps off Trump's chaotic first week in office. The president signing a flurry of executive orders to fulfill a number of his controversial campaign promises. But the White House also delayed additional immigration actions as well as Trump's order to investigate his false claims of widespread voter fraud. This as the Trump administration's feud with the media isn't getting any better.

TRUMP: These are very hostile people. These are very angry people.

MURRAY: In a rare interview with "The New York Times," the president's chief strategist Steve Bannon labels the media "the opposition party," saying the press should keep its mouth shut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, Donald Trump will have a very busy day in addition to that Theresa May visit. He's also going to be heading to the Pentagon later this afternoon. In addition to signing some executive actions, we're also expecting him to meet with his defense secretary James Mattis and lay out his objectives for how to defeat ISIS. Back to you guys.

CUOMO: All right, Sara Murray. Congressman Will Hurd of Texas joins us now. He's a member of the

permanent select committee on intelligence, the committee for Homeland Security, and a former CIA undercover officer. Always good to have you on the show, congressman.

REP. WILL HURD, (R) TEXAS: Chris, good morning. Good to be on.

CUOMO: All right, so let me get your head on the man that we had on talking about how he can prove 3 million people voted illegally. He has no proof to show. He's got a lot of explanations for that. He is relevant because it does seem in timing and in the texture of the statement that the president of the United States picked up on what this guy was putting down without basis. Your take?

HURD: Well, there's a lot of people that are involved in our elections. And if they haven't shown real proof, you haven't seen the secretary of state for California talking about fraud. You haven't seen other candidates in down-ballot races where something like this would have a dramatic impact having this concern. I think this is a distraction from some of the real issues, like making sure we strengthen trade with Mexico, that we deal with ISIS and make sure we have a right kind of relationship with Russia.

[08:05:03] CUOMO: Right. But Congressman, you know why I'm talking to him. It's not because that's something I want to chase. I'm an investigative reporter. There's nothing there for me to chase at this point. It's because the president has put it on the radar and made it a political priority, as he did debunking the intelligence community's assessment that Russia was behind the hacks during our election. What do you make of those positions?

HURD: Well, I'm not criticizing you, Chris, for doing your job, but these are some of the rabbit holes I don't think we should be going down. There has been zero evidence, credible evidence that I've seen or have been presented to me. Department of Homeland Security hasn't seen anything. They provide support to protect our voting systems. I even did a hearing on one of the committees that I serve as a chairman on, on the integrity of our ballot box. And I just came through a very tight election myself.

CUOMO: Yes, you did.

HURD: So the issue of voter fraud is something that is important to me. And I haven't seen any indications of any real evidence that says the counter, the contrary.

CUOMO: As I said to that man and I say on social media, when he has the proof, we'll put it on first. We'll have it vetted, but we'll put it on first, because if it's real, it's a real concern.

HURD: Absolutely. If it's real, it's a real concern. And we should look at it.

But as I learned as an undercover officer in the CIA, information is one thing, intelligence is something else. You have to have properly vetted information that is fact checked, and just making assumptions with no data is helpful to no one.

CUOMO: Yes.

HURD: And we shouldn't be trying to create some concern around whether or not our voting processes are strong and protected.

CUOMO: Let me get you on two other things that are much more pressing. We have the intel community saying Russia was behind the hacks during the election. We then have the now president of the United States saying he didn't believe it. Now we hear there's an executive order that he may be signing and preparing to remove sanctions on Russia, and he has a big call with the Russian president tomorrow. Where is your head on this?

HURD: Well, I'm ready for Rex Tillerson to get confirmed and get in position. It is very clear that the Russian intelligence services were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee and that Russia is our adversary. They are not our allies.

Another thing I learned when I was in the CIA, be nice to nice guys and tough with tough guys. And the sanctions against Russia are an important tool not only because of this most recent hacking, what the intelligence community refers to as grizzly steppe, but because of their previous activity, going into Ukraine, going into Crimea, the Russians going into Syria. The reason they're in Syria is not to prop up Bashar al Assad. They're in there in order to have an air base to project power into the Mediterranean.

What are their plans and intentions with Estonia? They want to see the back of NATO broken. And we need to have all the tools at our fingertips to deal with Russia. I think another tool we should be using and what we should be talking about is how do we sell energy to eastern Europe. The Russian economy is more tied to the price of a barrel of oil. We have a lot of energy here. Our eastern European allies want to buy it from us and not from Russia. These are where some of the conversations we need to be having. And I hope in this conversation on Saturday some of these things are brought up.

CUOMO: That's all about the disposition of the men involved, whether they're looking to make peace or to be, as you said, bad to bad guys, tough with tough guys.

Another issue that's pressing to you, your district of constituency is really a lot of place that will be subject to whatever border plans come up there in Texas, a wall, the effects of this fracture with the Mexican president and our president. What's your take?

HURD: Well, let's start with something very basic, Chris. We live in a world that's more dangerous than our parents, and our children is probably going to inherit a world that's more dangerous than ours. So we should be defending our borders. And border security is important. But we should do it right.

[08:10:00] We should not just be doing something for the sake of movement. And building a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf Coast of Texas is the most expensive and least effective way to do this. Let's take some of this border wall money -- and by the way, MIT believes this is going to potentially cost up to $40 billion. The U.S. intelligence budget is $53 billion. So let's use some of that money to add more border patrol officers. Let's do things -- you can't build a wall in a river. Our president --

CUOMO: That's called a dam, by the way.

HURD: -- I'm sure he'll realize that soon.

CUOMO: That's called a dam when you build a wall on a river. Congressman, he's not going to like what you're saying right now. And how much does that factor in to what you say? You're a comer in your party right now. People have a lot of enthusiasm about you. He's saying it's not going to cost what MIT says. He's saying this is the key to securing the border and it's worth going to war with the Mexican president politically. And you seem to be contradicting a lot of that.

HURD: Well, again, over the last eight years, my problem with the previous administration is they had a one size fits all solution to border security. What you need in San Diego is very different than what you need in El Paso and Eagle Pass. Those are two cities in my district.

So let's empower the men and women in border patrol to adjust their tactics, techniques, and procedures as they see fit. And so we can't continue this notion of having a one size fits all solution, but just changing the solution.

I'm proud to represent Big Ben National Park. They have peaks thousands of feet high right on the river. Are you going to build a wall on top of a mountain? You have a Chihuahua desert where you can see 200 miles in one direction. And if you build a wall and don't have enough people to be there to deal with someone who may jump the wall, than wasting that money -- you're wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars, right.

So, again, I think that our president is committed to protecting the country. He's committed to enforcing the law, but let's make sure the things we're using, hard-earned taxpayer dollars, actually makes sense. We haven't even talked about intelligence. There are 19 criminal organizations that are operating in Mexico. We should be increasing the intelligence on them, working with our Mexican partners, because we have to remember that this is a problem for Mexico as well. They are our friend, they are our partner. And we should be working together on how we can solve this problem together and not fighting with each other.

CUOMO: Documentary we did on El Chapo, that's how they got him, with U.S. intel help. Will Hurd, thank you very much, appreciate your perspective. You're always welcome to make the case here.

HURD: Thanks. Have a great morning.

CUOMO: You too, sir. Poppy? HARLOW: Vice President Mike Pence will make a historic appearance soon at the annual prolife march in Washington. Demonstrators at this event aiming to rival the crowds that gathered for the women's march last weekend. Our senior Washington correspondent Brianna Keilar is live at the National Mall where the march will take place. And Brianna, we're hearing the president may also in some way be involved today.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He may be calling in remotely to talk to marchers here today, Poppy. That's something our Sara Murray confirmed with sources. The one hiccup may be, as you know, President Trump has British Prime Minister Theresa May in town and he has some events with her. So he's going to try to fit that in.

But Vice President Pence is going to be here and that's making this march a much bigger deal for participants this years. That is by far the highest ranking White House official to ever speak to this gathering. And they're hoping to be a counterpoint to the liberal women's march that we saw this weekend which was done in conjunction with a number of groups, but very prominently with Planned Parenthood.

So that is what folks here are hoping for and certainly a little pressure to have some turnout and having the vice president attend is something that doesn't hurt.

We're here right by the Washington monument. And what we're going to see is participants listening to speakers here and then they're going to be marching in a few hours to the Supreme Court after that program does begin. But they're hopeful this year because President Trump has been elected and he's now saying that next week he's going to announce his pick for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. That is something that folks who are against abortion rights think is going to work for them. They're hoping for at least some sort of rollback of Roe versus Wade, the landmark abortion decision. And they think that this is something that can be delivered for them with President Trump being in the White House, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Brianna, thank you very much. Appreciate you being on the show with that hat.

Democrats in Congress speaking out about the president's executive actions in his first week. How do they plan to fight his agenda? Congressman Elijah Cummings joins us next. The president of the United States just tweeted about our show. We'll reveal what he said next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Congressman Elijah Cummings joins us next. The president of the United States just tweeted about our show.

[08:15:02] We'll reveal what he said next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: All right. Earlier this morning, we just spoke to a man who claims he has proof that 3 million people voted illegally, but he's light on the proof part, says he's still completing his analysis, but he's already comfortable in his conclusion -- uncompelling except to the president of the United States, who tweeted saying, "Look forward to seeing results of VoteStand. Greg Phillips and crew say at least 3 million voters were illegal. We must do better."

He seems to accept this conclusion. We all want to see the proof.

Let's discuss with Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Sir, your take on the president's interpretation of that interview as being a vote of confidence in the conclusion.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I don't see how the president could come to any conclusion that there's any credible evidence that there's any significant or insignificant amount of voter fraud.

Chris, I'm appealing -- I'm hoping the president is watching. I'm appealing to the president not to go through with this type of investigation. I think it's going to be a waste of taxpayer dollars. What I would ask him to do, however, is do an investigation of all the people who are being denied their right to vote, where the Fourth Circuit said that in North Carolina, the North Carolina legislature surgically and systematically did everything in their power to stop African-American people and people who would normally vote for Democrats from voting.

[08:20:05] I want him to address the issue of 600,000 Texans not being able to vote. Those are the issues that we need to be dealing with. The president said in his inaugural address that he was giving the power back to the people. Well, make it all the people, Mr. President. I'm looking forward to meeting with him.

I want to talk with him about this, because there are a lot of people in pain because they see all this argument -- I watched that whole interview that you did with Mr. Phillips. We spent all that time on nonsense when at the same time, there are people who cannot even vote in the United States of America. We're better than that.

CUOMO: Voter suppression is a legitimate issue.

CUMMINGS: Voter suppression.

CUOMO: A court case people can Google of what happened in Texas at the Supreme Court level. The Supreme Court denied a cert there to review the case. Meaning, it stays as judged, which was that it was a discriminatory practice. They should at look at themselves.

CUMMINGS: Right.

CUOMO: The reason the man is relevant is because the president of the United States seems to have tweeted early on and now just echoed a confirmation of his speculation. That's why it demands address by the media. Similarly, what we talked about down in Washington last week where you

said, if people knew what we knew about this election, they'd understand why Democrats are boycotting. When are you going to be able to hold a hearing that will declassify information that you suggested so that American people can have full information about their democratic process?

CUMMINGS: Well, that's a great question, Chris. You have to understand, the Democrats control nothing in Washington. In other words, those kind of decisions are made by the Republicans, some of them made basically by general policy, if something is classified of course we can't reveal it.

But these are the kind of things that Republicans can put out there, assuming they want to. They don't want to do that. They don't -- and they -- they're not -- they're basically going along with everything that the president is putting out. And I think we've got to be very careful, because we're going down a slippery slope, Chris.

There seems to be an effort to delegitimize our voting system, the CIA, FBI, Office of Government Ethics, IRS, all these thins that underpin our democracy, it seems as if the Republicans are laying back, being calm and being cool while our democracy goes down the drain, period.

CUOMO: So what are you going to do about it? Has your party figured out what it wants to fight for and how it will deal with opposition going forward so that the work of the people can get done?

CUMMINGS: I think that's a very -- again, what we want to do is we want to work with the president on those things that we have in common. I mean, TPP, I was very pleased to see m do that, pleased to see him meet with the unions. He says that he's not going voucherize Medicare. He says that's he's not going to reduce Medicaid, and so, those are -- and Social Security. We want to work with him on that. We don't want to see Social Security privatized.

There will be a number of issues I think we can work with him on. On others, when our values clash, then they're going to clash and we'll have to go against the president. But I don't believe that we should do what the Republicans did. When President Obama came in, what they said, we're in the going to do anything, we're not even going to support him. They were barely speaking to him.

CUOMO: Right.

CUMMINGS: McConnell said his number one goal was to make sure he did not have a second term.

CUOMO: Right.

CUMMINGS: So I don't want to be in that position. I want to work with that president. I'm hopefully meeting with him this weekend. He invited me to the White House. I'm looking forward to it.

CUOMO: Enough politics, Congressman. It's the end of the week, something that matters a lot more.

We covered the story of what befell one of your aides. I've got to tell you, I've never heard a worse story of loss that one family could suffer. House fire, six of your aide's nine kids were lost in the blaze. We didn't want to chase after you about it then.

But how is she doing? How is the family? What do they need?

CUMMINGS: Yes, she's doing as well as can be expected. She's announcing this week that Saturday after next, they're going to have a private memorial viewing service.

But she's doing -- she's good. They lost every single thing they had, everything. And so, you know, people from all over the country have been contributing and trying to help her. And so, again, if people are interested in doing that, we can give them that information.

HARLOW: Please do bring that to us a well.

CUOMO: Yes, I know.

Congressman, we'll talk to you after this to get the information. We'll put it on the website. But again, our sympathy's go to her.

There are no words for that kind of situation. What we can do, we'll put the word out to get done.

Congressman, thank you for talking to us.

CUMMINGS: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll talk more later.

CUMMINGS: Thank you very much. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Pop?

HARLOW: Breaks your heart.

All right. When the congressman gets that info, we're going to bring it to you here on NEW DAY.

[08:25:00] President Trump is dramatically reshaping America's foreign policy. A diplomatic feud to say the least with Mexico in his upcoming meetings today with Britain's prime minister and his phone conversation tomorrow with Vladimir Putin. What it all means for new world order. We'll get the bottom line, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: President Trump's tweeting minutes ago and it matters, talking about his public feud with Mexico, he says, "Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits and little help on the very weak border. Must change now."

This comes as the president prepares to meet with the British prime minister in hours, and will speak to Russia's president tomorrow.

Let's get to the bottom line with CNN international business correspondent and host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS", Richard Quest, and CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Richard, when I said, when I read the tweet about the trade deficit with Mexico, your head fell. Why?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It fell because he's now got to prove he can make these bilateral arrangements work that he wants to actually get done. So, for instance, he's meeting Prime Minister Theresa May today.