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Trump Claims Sweden Terror Remark Based on TV Report; NBA All- Star Game Highlights; Trump Declares the Media the Enemy of the American People; Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired February 20, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On their east ward journey. It looks like the severe threat is starting to go away so we don't think the tornado threat is going to be as high today but there is a lot of rain associated with these storms. And as I move across Louisiana throughout today, we'll watching them very closely -- Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jen. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
So the terror attack that wasn't. You've heard a lot about the Sweden gaffe that the president made. But all that matters are the facts of the situation. Is there any basis for what the president said is going on in Sweden? Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers, they're having problems like they never thought possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: President Trump naming Sweden and a list of countries impacted by terrorism except it really hasn't happened if you looked at the facts. Is this about fear or is it about fact?
Now later on the president tried to clarify the situation in a tweet, we'll put it up.
[06:35:04] "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on FOX News concerning immigrants and Sweden."
Probably accurately. There was a report. It, too, was an oversimplification of a situation and there was a political argument made. So was this just about a gaffe? Or -- and is this a reflection of the president having trouble getting things right? Or is it about a larger dynamic going on?
Let's discuss. CNN political commentator, Kayleigh McEnany, and CNN political commentator Symone Sanders, former national press secretary for Bernie 2016.
All right. Young counselor, Kayleigh McEnany, you know the record of facts here. The facts are not necessarily in the favor of the president in terms of what's going on with Sweden but this seems to be him tapping into a larger dynamic of the fears that refugees and migrants present. What do you think the case is for the president's statement?
KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look I think he saw that segment on FOX News Friday night and there is a case to be made that there is some sort of link between the refugee in Sweden and the rise in crime. Look, some people might dispute that and say it's linked to changes in Swedish laws but there has been an increase in violence. We know there have been terrorist attacks in Germany, for instance, carried out by refugees. Chancellor Angela Merkel has even admitted that there has been flaws in the refugee inflows. So he has a case to be made and I understand the way he structured the sentence might not have made it clear to some but it was clear to others. I was at the rally actually and the person next to me said he's talking about something that happened last night on FOX News. So to people it was clear, to others it was not.
CUOMO: Symone, do you think that's it? It's a question of interpretation?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't. Look, I think the way you structure a sentence is extremely, extremely important when you're the president of the United States. You know, President Trump should not just assume everyone is watching FOX News. I think the larger issue here is the fact that the president is loose with the facts and you just cannot make things up about another country and that is what, you know, I heard when he said that Friday night.
CUOMO: So -- yes, Kayleigh, look, everything is context, right? Did they have problems in Sweden -- but the raw numbers say that they have one of the highest rape incidents there are. Now the reason, it's not some people would say, the reality is they did change their laws. They're one of the most aggressive in seeing sexual assault for what it is. Not just its most extreme manifestations but even small ones that can take place in the workplace could be ever be as damaging.
And you also have a culture of reporting there that is impressive and they report every incident individually. So that if a woman says for a month my boss has been doing her, that's 30 days of reporting depending on which month it is. So do the facts matter and should the president have been more responsible with him?
MCENANY: Well, I do think the facts matter. And look, it's not just rape that's happened in Sweden. You know, Omni Horowitz who's actually been there -- that's the filmmaker who conducted the segment on FOX News was being interviewed.
MCENANY: You know, he said that he's gone over there and police have shown him no go zones where police refused to go. Not only that, we know Swedish police have said that there have been hundreds of people who have left Sweden in a mass exodus to go to Syria, two who came back and were actually arrested for having gone to Syria and committed murders. So there are incidences. And whether it's happening on this mass scale or not we should all be enraged because one incident is too many. If one American citizen loses their life --
CUOMO: That's --
MCENANY: Or one person suffers violence on the hands of a refugee that's one too many because we do have a right to life and safety.
CUOMO: And that is the seed of the argument right there, Symone, that you need to deal with, which is, OK, maybe we don't have the numbers right but one is too many. We don't want here what we see over there. Powerful medicine for people who are afraid of the possible.
SANDERS: It's fear-mongering, Chris. Look, one life lost is one life too many but for the president to stand on a stage and say Sweden is having many, many problems and alluding to the fact it's because they have consistently taken in refugees since 2014 and are slated to take in anywhere between 25,000 or 45,000 refugees this year, that's an issue. So we can't fear-monger. That's not what America is about. That's not who we are.
And again the president has to be careful with his words. We're not on the campaign trail anymore. We're governing. And I'm just waiting for the pivot.
CUOMO: And Kayleigh, how come the relative assessment doesn't work? When you look at refugees, and in the United States because that's where we are, right? You look at refugees, you look at crime, you look at migrants, you look at crime, and you know what the counter arguments are. I can give you a huge list of things that you and I need to be worried about happening to us today that are completely random and silly and involved refrigerators before we get to refugees and migrants. Why isn't that persuasive for people?
MCENANY: Well, because I think they look, you know, for instance, San Bernardino, you had Tashfeen Malik get here on a K-1 fiance visa and murder American citizens who lost their lives. So there has been a case where we had a flaw on the immigration system, wasn't the refugee system, it was the immigration system more generally.
[06:40:09] And people say, look, it can happen, it will happen, so why not do a 90-day halt or a 120-day halt until we figure out what is going on in ensuring that American citizens are safe. I understand other things are more likely to happen but the fact that it could and that we had a remedy.
MCENANY: To stop it at least temporarily is I think a good answer.
CUOMO: Last question to you, Symone, how big a deal is it that the difference in safety is a function of your procedures, and your processes, and your vetting? That's why the United States is as safe as it is. This ban that's supposed to come out again this week we are suspecting that once again it won't have new procedures in place. How important is it for the policy that come with new procedures and not just a ban?
SANDERS: I think it's extremely important. Look, I think the policy that we have seen -- I mean, again, we don't know what this new policy will look like so we do have to be careful about speculating but it is the procedures that matter and that will make the difference and if the president and the administration would like to make the case that they want to make America more safe they're going to have to show us how they're going to do that.
Just keeping everybody out and saying, you just can't come in because you're Muslim or because you're from this country, or for this or for that is not -- is not a procedure that keeps us safe. So I think it's going to be very, very key that we can see, that the American people can see what the differences are and what are the mechanisms that keep us safe.
CUOMO: Symone, Kayleigh, thank you for coming in on a holiday. Important points for the people to absorb. Thank you -- Brooke.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. President Trump again taking aim at the fourth estate, slamming the media as, quote, "the enemy of the American people." How dangerous is that kind of rhetoric? We'll discuss that with our media experts ahead.
[06:45:40] BALDWIN: Former team mates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shared the court at the NBA All-Star Game.
Andy Scholes, been in New Orleans, there on Bourbon Street. How was it, Andy?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It was great, Brooke. It's been a great week all week here in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star Game. The storyline going into the game all week long is that how would Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant interact being on the same team, playing together for the first time since Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors this past off-season. We found out right away in the first quarter Russell Westbrook checking in playing with Durant for the first time and these two didn't speak all week by all indications but they connected right away on this give-and-go alley- hoop and then after that there was a timeout call but all the Western Conference All-Star rallied around him and started cheering.
It was a nice moment. Westbrook and Durant, though, didn't shake hands, didn't share a hug, didn't even talk to each other it looked like, but still pretty cool to see right there.
Now as for the rest of the game the stars were out for this one. Jay- Z, Beyonce and their daughter among those courtside taking in the all- star game and the players out there having some fun. Steph Curry early on here, he's going to hit the deck and lay down as opposed to trying to block this Giannis Antetokounmpo slam right there. But he would not be able to avoid Antetokounmpo's dunk later in this one as he is going to sky high and throw down the put pack over Curry. Everyone kind of laughed that one off.
Now the MVP of this one, the hometown boy, Anthony Davis. He poured in 52 points which broke Wilt Chamberlain's record for most points ever in an all-star game. The West would run away with this one winning 192-182 in the highest scoring game in all-star history.
And the fans here in New Orleans getting some good news. During the game they traded for Kings star DeMarcus Cousins trading a first round pick and a rookie Buddy Hield among others.
And Chris, it was the rare time an all-star has been traded during the All-Star game. And by all indications, DeMarcus Cousins found out during post-game interviews which was rather interesting.
CUOMO: It can be brutal. He comes with a pretty interesting set of pluses and minuses. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out.
Andy Scholes, you are a lucky man.
All right. So President Trump escalating his battle with the media. That's what he does, right? He doubles down in the face of criticism. This time he called the media the enemy of the American people. Members of his own party, members of Congress don't like it. We're going to tell you why, next.
[06:51:49] CUOMO: President Trump doing what he likes to do most. Attack the media. This time in a tweet, "The fake news media. Failing 'New York Times," NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN is not my enemy. It is the enemy of the American people."
BALDWIN: "The enemy of the American people," he says. So lawmakers on both sides, they do not agree even Senator McCain using powerful words over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If you want to preserve democracy as we know it you have to have a free and many times adversarial press, and without it I'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties overtime. That's how dictators get started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's start there with CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Mr. Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst Bill Carter.
Great to see both of you all.
Brian Stelter, just to you, you know, this guy here I thought was pretty smart in calling the president Captain Double Down. I mean, if he doesn't like you, right? It's instinctual. He attacks. He attacks, he attacks with regard to the media, the great Carl Bernstein said this language is treacherous.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I wonder what language can get even stronger, right? If it's enemy in week four, what does he say in week five, and week six, never mind year two or three.
STELTER: I guess talking about vermin? I wonder what other language he can use to rally the crowd.
BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, we have -- scum has already been out there.
STELTER: But I do think it's -- Scum and disgusting. And yes.
STELTER: It is poisonous. I mean, it's poisonous behavior to be injecting this into the volley politic day after day. And especially the word enemy which is especially severe. What it's doing is it's infecting the mind, suggesting that the press is against -- literally saying we're against the American people.
CUOMO: But to whom?
STELTER: Not all the press --
CUOMO: To whom?
STELTER: But only five news outlets including CNN.
CUOMO: Right. But to whom? Who do you think? Who do you think actually believes --
BALDWIN: Who's it impacted?
CUOMO: What the president says about the media? His base has animosity towards all institutions. President Trump got lucky finding his way into a real feeling of desperation and anger towards institutions. It's real.
CUOMO: It's aimed at us, it's aimed at a lot of things and often with good reason. He literally -- I believe he fell into that. I don't even think it was his original plan. So who is he hurting us with exactly?
CARTER: Well, obviously the people who already believe that the media is --
CUOMO: That's right. CARTER: A force that they don't believe in. They eat this up. They
BALDWIN: They love this.
CARTER: They love this.
CUOMO: So what's the risk? Because his base is going to be against anybody that he tells them to be against. So who he worried about exactly?
CARTER: Well, I don't -- I'm not actually worried because I think the media is not going to be cowed by it. I think that's part of the strategy is to make the media back down. That's not going to happen but I think his language also speaks to, you know, that he doesn't have any regard for what he says. I mean, just to call somebody the enemy of the people, it sounds like Lenin. It doesn't like previous presidents. Previous presidents have used the word enemies sort of meeting their adversary. Their -- he specifically said no my enemy, the enemy of the people, the whole country.
CARTER: That is a ratcheting up of his very loose language and I think there's risk in the way says this. The same with the Sweden thing.
CARTER: He just throws this out there.
STELTER: And I am worried. I'm worried because somebody who's deranged is going to hear this kind of language.
CARTER: Well, that's the risk.
STELTER: Can take action against a journalist either at a rally or in some more private setting. I'm worried because of those effects.
[06:55:05] BALDWIN: They've been shouted, they've been spit on. The cars have been keyed. That's what's just on the campaign trail.
CUOMO: But that's what I'm saying bating because look, I said this during the campaign, it's going to happen and I don't want it to.
BALDWIN: That's what you mean by somebody is going to get hurt.
CUOMO: Somebody is going to get hurt. It's just a question of time because just like in any other dynamic in life, if you take somebody who's got a legitimate reason to be upset in the first place, and you pump them up and it starts to become a call to action.
BALDWIN: I hope you're wrong.
CUOMO: Somebody is going to get hurt.
CUOMO: What is he going to say?
STELTER: They don't recognize what the effect of their language.
CUOMO: What is he going to say?
CARTER: I know what he's going to say.
CUOMO: When somebody, god forbid, comes up to you and you're walking with your kids, and they get loud, and that reporter on that particular day doesn't want to hear and maybe it's something a little -- you know, a little push. Maybe it's fist fight.
BALDWIN: Right. Right.
CUOMO: Maybe it's something worse. Is he going to own it?
CUOMO: Because it's going to be his to own.
CARTER: Definitely no. It's going to be the same reaction that they have when there's a shooting incident. It's a deranged person. It's a mentally ill person. It's not a real person and you can't take the fact that he's using the rhetoric, that's -- they'll dismiss that. It will just be this individual action. It doesn't indicate that there's any blow back to what he said. I think that's how he'll attack it. He won't --
CARTER: He's not going to acknowledge the responsibility.
CUOMO: Well, hopefully we don't have to deal with it. But I mean, it's just a matter of time. Brian, that's how this stuff works. I mean, it works with little kids in the sandbox. It works with adults when they're at a bar drinking, and it works right now with our president who is intoxicated by the idea of beating up the media. He thinks it works for him otherwise he wouldn't do it, Brian.
STELTER: And certainly the polls indicate that that is correct. That it is effective within his base. People talk about lack of trust in the media.
BALDWIN: But his base is not the whole country.
STELTER: But they're really talking about --
CUOMO: That's right.
STELTER: That's right. Lack of trust in the media. What that really means is lack of trust in the media among Republican conservatives.
STELTER: And independents who lean to the right. That's really where the lack of trust exists. Jay Rosen of NYU has said some people, some Trump fans have opted out of journalism. Now they would disagree. They would say they get journalism from InfoWars and from other conspiratorial sites that support Trump. But the idea that this lack of trust, yes, it's a real problem for America but it's concentrated among Trump's loyalists, among his base and it's really where this challenge exists. I wonder what news start-ups, what new news organizations, what new ways are there to try to reach out to those voters who may not trust this network but may trust other sources of news.
CARTER: I think there's going to be a comeback by some in the media. I think people are going to turn to the media more and more for --
CUOMO: We've seen in our numbers.
CUOMO: I mean, the numbers are higher now than they were during the elation.
CARTER: No question.
CUOMO: It can be a coincidence. I mean, you know, Brian, the numbers may -- but he said don't watch them. They're fake.
CUOMO: They're bad. So --
STELTER: And that's true here. That's true with the "New York Times," which he calls failing. The "Times" adding subscribers as a result. Magazines also getting subscribers but really on television, we see all the cable news rating --
CARTER: And watch his tweets. Because I think that tweet was also directed toward -- there's going to be a story breaking and I want to get ahead of it. And I think he was trying to get ahead of this "New York Times" story. I think what he does that, he usually has a purpose.
CUOMO: He likes to distract. He's good at it.
BALDWIN: Change the narrative.
CUOMO: Yes. He's good at it. But I also think he's given tremendous opportunity because whether it's something like Sweden, what he says about the crime rate, or what he tells you about any policy. Fact has a new value. You know, when we used to do political coverage, it was Brian comes on, he wants to do more taxes. Bill comes on, he wants to do more taxes. Bill comes on, he says more taxes are a problem. And we just basically look now, it is constant fact analysis. The president has made that the main currency. BALDWIN: But isn't some of it superficial? We're talking about what
Trump is saying and tweeting and not getting to the meat of what he's supposed to be doing as president of the United States.
CUOMO: That goes to how you cover it. You know, Alisyn beats me over the head with that all the time, about should we talk about every tweet? And the answer is no.
CUOMO: You don't let him distract you with something shiny. But he's giving you an opportunity. You know, Sweden. What is the reality? What are the facts? Now we're able to bring them out. You make an opinion based on them.
BALDWIN: We have to talk about that.
CUOMO: That's the way it should work.
BALDWIN: All right. We're done.
BALDWIN: We're done.
CUOMO: The Sweden tie on Brian Stelter, blue and yellow, Brooke, with --
CUOMO: Subtle statement herself. Very interesting. Gentlemen, thank you.
BALDWIN: Gentlemen, thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For your "CNN NEWSROOM" is coming up right now. For our U.S. viewers, ready to get after it? NEW DAY is. Let's do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You look at what's happening in Germany. In Sweden. Who would believe this?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The comments sparking confusion worldwide.
TRUMP: We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to believe.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: He essentially views the First Amendment as an enemy of the people.
TRUMP: Believe me, I and we inherited one big mess.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump continues his search for a new national security adviser. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you don't hit them hard
you will be empowering in Russia.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A senate committee preparing an investigation into the Trump-Russia connection.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: I'm afraid they're going to destroy the documents.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: To accuse an organization of being in constant contact with Russian spies is outrageous.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Brooke Baldwin here. Thank you for the help, my friend.
BALDWIN: Got it.
CUOMO: Up first, we begin with President Donald Trump trying to explain what he meant by, quote, "last night in Sweden." He was tweeting that the nonexistent terror incident that he seemed to be suggesting was from something he saw on TV.
BALDWIN: So all of this as the intelligence community asks federal agencies --