Return to Transcripts main page


Sources: Senators Frustrated Over Slow Pace Of Russia Probe; White House To Brief Senators On North Korea Tomorrow; Trump Voters On The President's Shifting Positions; Trump Voters Reflect On His First 100 Days; Trump Signals Shift On Wall Funding To Avoid Shutdown. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 25, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:31:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Sources tell CNN, senators are increasingly frustrated over the pace of the Intel Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. New poll numbers show most Americans think Congress should not be handling it at all. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll says 73 percent of Americans believe an independent commission should be in charge.

Joining us to discuss is a member of that committee, independent Senator Angus King from Maine. Always good to see you, Senator.

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Chris, good to see you this morning.

CUOMO: What do you say in response to this 73 percent of Americans in that poll say this investigation must be independently done?

KING: Well, I understand that. I hear a lot of that in Maine. And I think that's a natural reaction. I think the issue is if we start with a new so-called "independent commission", it would still be appointed by and created by Congress and perhaps even the president, and you'd end up having to start all over again. You'd have to end up getting clearances for staff and you'd still end up with some group of people. We have 15 now, 8 republicans, 6 democrats and me. It would look largely like that. And I don't know that you would really gain anything.

Plus, our committee has a history of dealing with the Intelligence Community, we know the people, we have the clearances, we're already deep into the document search. We had staff members at the CIA all weekend going through the documents. So, I understand that impulse but I'm not sure you would really be any further ahead. And in the long run, we have to produce a report that's credible. I understand that. And if it's not credible, if it's not independent, then the public isn't going to accept it. But my pressure is going to be public hearings, get the witnesses before, let the - let the public see what we see and draw the same conclusions.

CUOMO: All right. So, the secondary criticism is the work is not getting done. There's reporting out there that you don't have enough staffers, and the staffers who are appointed to this aren't really professionally up to snuff, they're not lawyers, they're not forensic people, they don't have an investigative background. What do you make of that situation?

KING: Well, they do have an investigative background. Some of the people that are working on this worked on the committee's investigation of the Benghazi, of weapons of mass destruction, of the massive torture report. So, these are people that have experience. I think at some point, Chris, in this process when we get to the point of calling witnesses and interviewing witnesses, we do -- I think we should bring in some prosecutorial experience, if you will. People who are experts at examining witnesses and getting to the bottom of those kinds of questions. We're still building up to that. So, I see that as a progression in terms of how we staff. But right now, we're plowing through thousands of pages. I've been out to the CIA myself, ran through many, many documents, continuing to do that. We've got to have the background.

This is a really complex matter involving at least three federal security agencies, a foreign government, probably I don't know how many people, a number of people that are involved that have to be interviewed. So, I think I understand the frustration. I feel it myself. Everybody wants to get on with this, everybody wants to get an answer. But my major concern is that we get it right.

CUOMO: And what about the reporting that Senator Burr, obviously the chair of the committee, republican, has not been quick to sign off on the subpoena request that are coming from the Intel Committee. What do you think of that, and has there been any sign, in estimation of partisan blocking?

[07:34:48] KING: The answer to your second question is no. I believe that -- and this is not easy, Chris. This is a very tense situation, obviously involving the President of the United States and a recently completed election. There are high feelings but Chairman Burr has and Mark Warner have worked together very well so far.

It's not going to be an easy, straight ahead, everything is going to go down in a simple way, but I believe Richard Burr understands, as I told him the other day, history has its eyes on us and on him. And this is probably the most important work any of us have ever done. It may be the most important work we ever do. And so, we have to be sure that we do it right. I haven't seen evidence of Chairman Burr slow walking this. If I do, I'm going to poke him.

CUOMO: Let me know. I'll give you a good platform for poking right here on NEW DAY, sir. So, this meeting with the full senate and the president for a briefing on North Korea, unusual. What do you make of it, and what do you make of the White House's posturing on North Korea?

KING: Well, it's not unusual in the scene that we have these kind of briefings quite frequently. We had one about three weeks ago, two and a half weeks ago on the strike into Syria, but what's unusual is going to the White House. And the logistics, I frankly don't understand why it's not easier to bring four people here than it is to take 100 there. I'm not sure why they're doing it that way. But I'm going to certainly go because I want to hear from General Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson, the various people that are going to be briefing us. But -- so you know, here or there, I think the important thing is to get the information.

In terms of North Korea, as you have been discussing all morning, this is a really, really difficult problem. In my view, it's only going to be solved -- and I'm not even sure what solved means, but perhaps to get to a pause in this nuclear pursuit by the North Koreans. It's only going to be solved through China. I like that we're going to the U.N., we're going to try to increase sanctions through the U.N. but this is a country that is so pour and so economically isolated already, it's hard to know what additional international sanctions will have effect. But the Chinese, they could do it if they choose.

CUOMO: Senator King, as always, thank you for your perspective. Have a good time up at the White House.

KING: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris, since becoming president, some of Donald Trump's positions have shifted. How do his loyal supporters feel about that? I'll ask them next.


[07:41:09] CAMEROTA: It is day 96 of the Trump presidency, and it's time for part three of our Trump voter panel. During the campaign and since President Trump took office, I've sat down with a group of diehard Trump voters to gauge their feelings on his progress. So, how do they feel now about some of his shifting positions? As usual, they have strong opinions.


CAMEROTA: I do want to get all of your takes on what some call flip- flop, some call 180-degree turn. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said, here is the problem with NATO, it's obsolete.

I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.

And we're going to have a great relationship with Putin and Russia.

Right now, we're not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia.


CAMEROTA: How do you feel about that?

ILENE WOOD, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: Look at the dates there. The dates are a year apart. The dates reflect a time when he was not president, when he was not privy to some of the materials he'd be provided as the president. Some of the highly confidential secret materials.

CAMEROTA: Sure. But I mean, does he need a confidential secret material to know that NATO is relevant?

WOOD: Well, he had a change of opinion. He changed his mind.

CAMEROTA: And you're comfortable with that?

WOOD: I am comfortable with that because I feel that we're all entitled to change with circumstances, with timing.

SUSAN DELEMUS, FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE REPRESENTATIVE: It's foolish to hold onto a particular view and then be shown evidence for something else.

CAMEROTA: But you're comfortable that he now believes in working with NATO, that he now believes in getting involved, if need be, in Syria, that he now no longer believes that China is a currency manipulator. You're comfortable with his changes of position.

DELEMUS: I'm satisfied with him. I believe that everything is fluid. And you can't make an informed decision if you don't have the proper information.

CAMEROTA: Did you feel that he was not informed during the campaign?

DELEMUS: I think he was as informed as they could get - they could make him.

WOOD: He wasn't the president.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Scott.

SCOTT MCCOMMONS, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: That's not true. That's not true. He goes behind closed doors just like President Obama did of the United States. He gets firsthand information like everybody else does. As the president, who -


MCCOMMONS: That's a bunch of crap and you all know it. It's a bunch of crap. Wait, let me calm down here. He goes behind closed doors.


CAMEROTA: Hold on.


MCCOMMONS: He got secure information on this country just like Mrs. Clinton did.

CAMEROTA: Before he was elected. MCCOMMONS: That's correct. And why would they hide information like

that to somebody that's going to become the next possible President of the United States. That's ridiculous. Come on. I know --


PAULA JOHNSON, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: But she was Secretary of State, so she was privy --


CAMEROTA: No, no, Paula, they did classified briefings. He did. Once they were nominees, they got classified -- hold on. Alex, you're comfortable with his shifts in position?

ALEX CHALGREN, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: Except for the Chinese currency (INAUDIBLE) thing.

CAMEROTA: Why not? Why not comfortable with that one?

CHALGREN: Because China is a currency manipulator.

CAMEROTA: So, why is he saying now they're not?

CHALGREN: Because unfortunately, he needs China.

JOHNSON: But, you know what - but you see -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's exactly right.

JOHNSON: But he have again that sometimes you have to negotiate. Because he needs China right now because you've got --


MCCOMMONS: He's going to give him (INAUDIBLE) because he (INAUDIBLE) the country bombed the place that needs help now. Listen, he started the war, he should go there and finish the god damn thing.

CHALGREN: He didn't start the war. No.

JOHNSON: Let's just be honest. You know what -

MCCOMMONS: They are the country who bombed Syria --


CHALGREN: Come on. That was -- that was Obama.

JOHNSON: What happened in Syria was disgusting, it was sad. And he went in there and he did -

CAMEROTA: Right. But why did he say before that during the campaign --

JOHNSON: Because it didn't happen. CAMEROTA: Wait, there have been (INAUDIBLE) bombed civilians.

JOHNSON: But there have been -- I get it. I get it.

CAMEROTA: But why was he hands off then?

JOHNSON: But what did Obama do in all of this? Obama had --


MCCOMMONS: And Obama didn't bomb the country, Trump did.

[07:45:02] CAMEROTA: But why are comfortable with Mr. Trump's shifting positions?

JOHNSON: Because at this point in time, he has a situation where he had to deal with. And did we want to take the chance of the next day taking these people, these poor innocent people and gassing them again.

CAMEROTA: Kraig, how are you feeling about all this? I mean, I know that you've been listening intently to your fellow panelists.

KRAIG MOSS, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: And I'm going to say, you know, Donald Trump -- President Trump -- we all gave him a pass because he wasn't a politician, but he's starting to fit the bill. But he's also human, and I can't agree with some of these panelists said. We just can't sit back and let a leader of a country annihilate their population.

CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable with where the administration is today on North Korea.


CAMEROTA: Go ahead.


MCCOMMONS: I'm not, plain and simple because you know what, if these panelists believe, some of the panelists believe, that he gets the wrong information and goes into North Korea and does something stupid, it could be detrimental on this country. It really could.

CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable with the tough talk against North Korea?

MCCOMMONS: You know what, I'll take any tough talk with President Trump if he's going to back it up, but he's not backing it up.

MOSS: What can we do, though? We've got -- we've got a leader of our country that has been flaunting the fact he has these missiles and he sends them up, do we have to wait until one of them is nuclear tipped and takes out one of our allies?

MCCOMMONS: Absolutely not. I'm not saying -- MOSS: Do we have to wait for that? Then I have to agree that, you

know, we as a country need to say, you know, "We're not going to turn our head anymore." You know, this is -- this is something -- this is something that I'm very passionate about.

MCCOMMONS: Do you think tough talk will take care of that?

MOSS: Look, I don't know about the tough talk. OK? All I --

MCCOMMONS: So what do you -- what do you --

JOHNSON: Of course, you have to talk and try to come to a resolution, and -- I mean, the guy is a maniac. He's insane. But --

CAMEROTA: I know you're talking about Kim Jong-un.



JOHNSON: I'm glad you clarified. But if you don't sit down and talk and you stopped at the weapon, then there's no chance to try to get a resolution here and try to make peace.


CAMEROTA: OK. Donald Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," what does that mean to these voters as we approach the 100-day mark? Our fiery panel tackles that next.


[07:50:52] CAMEROTA: President Donald Trump promised to make America great again on the campaign trail. What does that slogan mean to his supporters? And how about his taxes, do they want to see them? Here's part four of our Trump voter panel


CAMEROTA: Transparency. President Trump is not going to ever release his taxes. He says now. Do you care?




CAMEROTA: Why don't you want to see what's in there?

JOHNSON: I couldn't care less. He was a private citizen before he came in. You know, whose taxes I'd really like to see? We should write legislation that I got to see everybody in Congress's taxes, that I want to see every year when they file their taxes, they have to post it on their Web site.

CAMEROTA: Why do you want to see Congress's taxes and not the president's?


JOHNSON: Because I want to see all the money that they take on the side. I want to see all the speaking engagement. I want to see exactly how much they pay in taxes.

MOSS: They have to file that?

JOHNSON: Sure. And -- but you know what?


MOSS: They have to file that?

JOHNSON: But how many of them really file taxes? I want to know how how many (INAUDIBLE)


CAMEROTA: But Paula, I'm just confused. Why don't you care about whether or not President Trump is making any money on the side while he's the president?


JOHNSON: You know what, I'd just -- I'm more concerned with Congress because Congress has been down in Washington and made this mess of this country, and to me, I'd rather -- let's start with them and then every year he has to do it now because he's president.



CAMEROTA: Publicly. We all have to file our taxes every year.


CAMEROTA: I have a question for you, is it possible that there's nothing President Trump could ever do that would make you --

MCCOMMONS: Upset. Yes.


MOSS: There is because it falls exactly in the - in the realm of all these other people that they've talked to across United States and that is he can do no wrong.

JOHNSON: At this point, no.

MOSS: Did you make excuses for him when he made fun of the handicap reporter?

(CROSSTALK) CHALGREN: That was not true. That was not -- he did not make fun.


MOSS: He didn't? I saw the tape. I don't know what you saw.


CHALGREN: I want to stand on this, OK? No, OK.


CHALGREN: Everyone calm down, please. OK. This is what happened. If you watch Trump and you watched all of his speeches. I watched most of his speeches from when he started this campaign till after he won the presidency, OK? He uses hand gestures all the time. When he was -- when he was --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you've got to be kidding me. I don't -- I disagree.

CHALGREN: No. When he was talking about the gentleman, yes, he is handicapped, and I'm sorry for him. (INAUDIBLE) but when he was talking about -- he was using hand gestures, yes, but he's done the same hand motion with any other --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe it.


CAMEROTA: I've never seen him uses.


CAMEROTA: The hand gestures that he was using when he was talking about (INAUDIBLE) I've never seen him before or after.

CHALGREN: He has, many times. I've seen the videos comparing him talking --

MOSS: What about what his proposed Muslim ban during his campaign? What'd you think about that? Did you back him on that?

CHALGREN: The Muslim ban?

MOSS: Yes, the Muslim ban.

CHALGREN: I did not.

MOSS: Did you go to his rallies? I went to 45 of them.


MOSS: Everyone, we're going to have a Muslim ban? They all jump up and cheer.


CAMEROTA: And did you like that?

MOSS: No, I couldn't support that. I never -- I never supported that. I never supported the deportation. I said, you know, a wall would probably help out with the infiltration of heroin.

CAMEROTA: OK. Why did you go to 45 of his rallies if there were some things that just turned your stomach?

MOSS: I tell you why --

MCCOMMONS: Why did you vote for him? (INAUDIBLE) why I voted for him.

MOSS: -- because I took the -- I took the (INAUDIBLE) of losing my son. And when Donald Trump told me that he was going to do whatever he could do to help the people that were found themselves involved with heroin and substance abuse. I took that to heart and I transformed my emotion that I had for my son in following this man around the countryside and I listened to him talk and I supported him because of his -- because of his promise that he was going to help these kids and these young adults get off this heroin.

CAMEROTA: You haven't seen that today?

MOSS: He's failed.

CAMEROTA: As we approach the 100-day mark, what does "Make America Great Again" mean to you today, Paula?

JOHNSON: It means that he is moving forward on helping with the economy. I think that we have to give this man a chance. Nobody has given him a chance from the day he became a nominee to the day he got sworn in, all the media has dumped on him and has not said "OK. He has to have this time to be able to get acclimated down there because he was not a politician. And that we have to give him a chance and just back off a little bit.

CAMEROTA: So, you're optimistic.

JOHNSON: I'm very optimistic.

CAMEROTA: OK. What do you feel, Susan?

[07:55:06] DELEMUS: I think that the President is going to continue down the path that he's already on. I think he's cleaning -- he is draining the swamp to some degree.

CAMEROTA: You know, a lot of people say that President Trump has put in his cabinet and in the White House lots of lobbyists and consultants and that that's not what people had in mind for draining the swamp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.

CAMEROTA: I mean that, you know,


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's absolutely correct.

CAMEROTA: But Alex, I want to -- I want to move on to you. President Trump promised that there would be so much winning when he becomes president. Do you feel -- are sick of winning yet?

CHALGREN: No, I'm not. We have a lot more to look forward to, I think. Hopefully, he'll get re-elected. We'll win the, you know, in 2018 Congress again.

CAMEROTA: Ilene, what does the future look like to you?

WOOD: I'm willing to give him more time. There is a learning curve that is involved with learning how to deal with the government. So, I feel encouraged that things will continue to improve.


MCCOMMONS: You know, Alisyn? Basically, I hope his next 100 days is better than his 100. You know, it cannot get better I hope, not worse, truthfully. I still - whether this panel thinks I hate Mr. Trump or not, I really don't. Again, I agree with these gentlemen here. I want him to succeed. I really do. I think he can, but I don't think he can just go to the table and say "It's my way or the highway." He's got to negotiate. If he doesn't, it's going to get worse in the next four years. It truly is. And he's going to lose a lot of people the next election. I guarantee it. There'll be a lot of people turned against them.

CAMEROTA: Kraig, how do you see the future?

MOSS: Well, you know, they say give him four years. But unfortunately, he's showing what he's capable of doing in his first 100 days. "Make America great again" has become a myth. I don't wish for the president to fail in this endeavor. You know, if he wins, we all win. I could never vote for him again because he's shown what he's capable of doing, and that is trying to put through something that was absolutely the opposite of what he said, and what he promised American people.


CAMEROTA: Your thoughts?

CUOMO: Well, some of it I dismiss as, you know, partisan people looking to things through a partisan lens, but that man, Kraig, has a very important point to make, and we were just up in New Hampshire, we're working on this documentary about the opioid crisis. They were waiting for help. There were so many people I was with up there. First responders, victims who said "He said he'd help us with this. It matters to me." CAMEROTA: Because he lost his son three years ago through heroin overdose. I know you make a great point. Something about Donald Trump was able to connect with people on a very personal level, and you heard Kraig, he went through 45 of his rallies, he followed him around because President Trump looked at him and made him a promise. There was something that connected on that gut level, and that's what probably allowed him to win the presidency, and you heard in our very small unscientific sample some people who obviously are having some voters remorse because they realized that when you get to Washington, things are just much more complicated.

CUOMO: Right. And you also have people on the panel who are holding strong for two basic reasons. One, nobody likes to admit that they're wrong no matter what.

CAMEROTA: No, they really believed in him. It's not that they won't admit it.

CUOMO: And that's the second. That's the second. Well, it's always a little bit - it's tough to get voters to move off a spot, but they reject the status quo, and they are not going to turn around and say they were wrong to do that, not yet.

CAMEROTA: All right. What is your take? We'd love to hear it. You can tweet us using the #newday or you can post your comments on

CUOMO: All right. There is a lot of news. The wall is off the table. Will it ever get built? Let's get after it.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We feel very confident the government is not going to shut down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The border wall has never really been vetted by the Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump will take the wall off the table for now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a waste of money and it's counterproductive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he has delivered is a gut punch to America's --

TRUMP: North Korea is a big world problem, and it's a problem we have to finally solve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the level of provocation, the pace of provocation, there's an urgency here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diplomacy against an adversary can be only effective when it's backed up with a credible threat of force.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The State Department log post, that raised the eyebrows of ethics watchdogs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You literally have somebody who says my house, my business is the winter White House.

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

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY, government shut down averted the White House says President Trump is willing to take the border wall off the table in an effort to avoid a shut down.

CAMEROTA: And then there is the president's tax plan. It is being unveiled tomorrow but we've already learned that it includes a drastic cut in these corporate tax rates. How will that go over? It's day 96 of the Trump presidency.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Joe Johns, he is live at the White House for us. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT : Good morning, Alisyn, the administration taking the position that at least for now it won't insist on funding for the president's border wall, could clear the way to avoid an embarrassing government shut down for republicans. However, the fact of the matter is, there may have been no other options.