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NEW DAY

Deadly Storms Rip Through The South; White House Defends Inviting Duterte Despite Human Rights Record; U.S. Troops Patrolling Syria's Border With Turkey; President Trump Intensifies War With The Media. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 1, 2017 - 06:30   ET

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


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[06:31:05]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, one woman has died after a gunman opens fires at a pool party at a San Diego apartment complex. Six others were wounded. Some of them critically. An eighth person broke his arm while fleeing the chaos. Police arrived and fatally shot the gunman as he appeared to reload, they say. The police also say all of the victims are minorities and the gunman was white.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Four states battered by deadly storms, at least 13 people were killed, and dozens more injured. The storms caused flooding and a twister damaging this church in Emory, Texas. That storm system is now headed north with millions of people in its path. CNN meteorologist, Chad Myers, is tracking latest. Where is it headed, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: To the northeast, in fact, 84 million people in the way of this system right now. Twenty one reports of tornadoes on the ground over the weekend. Over 3/4 of a million lightning strikes hit the ground over the weekend.

I was in Indiana and saw half of those. A lot of lightning. A lot of rainfall, over 6 inches in some spots. Twenty four rivers at major going record flood stage over the next few days. A lot of water into the Mississippi.

Cape Gerardo may crest at a new record. It's going to be very close. That's still a few days away. You have time to prepare, but there is so much weather running down the rivers now to the Gulf of Mexico.

There is the map for today. New York City is involved in the area of severe weather. Although I think as you move ahead, you notice that it will be after dark tonight. Most of the severe weather in the afternoon will be through the Carolinas and Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- Chris.

CUOMO: It keeps going back and forth. Chad Myers, thank you very much. Appreciate it as always.

All right, so coming up on NEW DAY, take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He's a pretty smart cookie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: He is talking about Kim Jong-un, our President Trump. Why does the president seemingly say positive things about authoritarian leaders like Kim Jong-un, Putin and Duterte? What our experts think next.

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[06:37:13]

CAMEROTA: President Trump extending a controversial invitation to the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to come to the White House. Duterte admitted to personally killing people when he was mayor. He also launched the so-called war on drug that has killed thousands of people. The White House, though, defends this invitation.

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REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It doesn't mean that human rights don't matter. What its do does mean is that the issues facing us, developing out of North Korea are so serious, that we need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Let's bring in our guests, we have Gordon Chang, the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World," and forbes.com columnist and CNN military analyst, Colonel Cedric Leighton. Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. Colonel, what do you think of this invitation from the White House?

COLONEL CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Wow, Alisyn, this is one guy who shouldn't grace the halls of the White House. When you look at President Duterte and his human rights record, you look at the kinds of things he said about President Obama when he was president. It is one of the situations where you say this guy? No. He should not be here. It is a very, very concerning issue at this point.

CAMEROTA: OK, just to remind people of what you are referring to, we have a couple of the highly incendiary things that Duterte has said about President Obama. In September of 2016, Duterte says, "I'm no American puppet. I'm the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people. Son of a blank. I will swear at you."

We are cleaning that up a little bit. A lot of people thought that it was even worse and the standard son of a blank and that he was referring to President Obama. Here is another one. This is in December of 2016.

He says, "I go around Davao with a motorcycle," this is when he was mayor, "with a big bike around and I would patrol the streets looking for trouble. I was really looking for an encounter so I could kill."

Gordon, can he help? If you overlook those things and his incendiary language, can he help with North Korea?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": Only a very little bit. He can certainly help with the South China Sea issues. Those are also critical for the United States.

CAMEROTA: So in other words, that is something. President Trump could enlist his support, Duterte, to help China stop expansion in the South China Sea?

CHANG: Yes, because the Philippines occupies a very important part of the South China Sea. It blocks the access of the Chinese to the Western Pacific where we don't want them to be. What's going on here is that President Trump is trying to build a coalition.

He is also reaching out to some pretty bad guys from Thailand and indeed, you know, China. You know, when you look at the Chinese government and some of the worst behavior on this planet.

[06:40:00]So you know, Trump is sort of excusing all this. I don't like this especially because for the United States I think Senator McCain is right when he said, our interest are our values, and our values are our interest. That's what make the U.S. exceptional. It is important for us to make sure that we are not an ordinary power. We are different because of our promotion of human rights.

CAMEROTA: You know, look, Colonel, President Trump likes to shake up sort of the conventional wisdom as we know, and including alliances and Duterte and the Philippines had moved away from the U.S. and towards China's embrace. So by President Trump extending an invitation to him, maybe he will once again mix up that alliance?

LEIGHTON: I think he will. You know, it is very interesting. There is certainly an argument to be made, Alisyn, for the idea of keep your friends close and your enemies closer or convert your enemies into friends.

The other thing to note is that the Chinese are going to be making a port call. Their Navy is going to be in the Philippines for the first time since 2010. When that happens, it is very clear the United States does need to have a bridge to the Philippines.

But as Gordon said, they will not be a huge help directly in North Korea. It is the South China Sea aspect that could actually make a difference. So at that level, it does make some strategic sense to do this. The problem is you really are excusing very bad behavior at this point.

CAMEROTA: Gordon, also, Kim Jong-un, President Trump seems to be taking a sympathetic view of Kim Jong-un. Here is what he said this weekend about the North Korean leader.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP: He was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father when his father died. He's dealing with obviously very tough people in particular the generals and others. At a very young age, he assumed power. A lot of people I'm sure tried to take that power away. Whether it was his uncle or anybody else. He was able to do it. Obviously he is a pretty smart cookie. We have a situation that we cannot let -- we cannot let what's been going on for a long period of years continue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: What do you think, Gordon?

CHANG: Well, you know, I think what Trump is trying to do is set the ground work for negotiations with Pyongyang. This will not help because Kim Jong-un works according to certain constraints and incentives in that system. The only way diplomacy with North Korea will work is when the North Koreans realize they have no choice but to disarm.

You know, this is conscious policy on the part of Trump. He said some pretty nice things about Kim Jong-un a week ago. This is not off the cuff comment. I think what he should do is he should leave the analysis of Kim Jong-un to analysts and the president of the United States shouldn't be saying that.

CAMEROTA: That's why we have you here. Gordon Chang and Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you very much -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, up next, why are U.S. special ops forces now patrolling along Syria's border with Turkey? We have a live report from the Pentagon next.

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[06:47:03]

CUOMO: All right, there's a new complication in the war against ISIS. U.S. troops are once again in harm's way now patrolling the Syria's border with Turkey. Not to fight ISIS, but keep two important allies from fighting each other. CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with more -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Syria already dangerous for U.S. troops and getting more dangerous by the day. They are now patrolling in armored vehicles along the Turkish-Syrian border. American flags flying, very visible to all to see.

They want to be seen. Why is this happening? There have been a number of skirmishes on this border between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces up there. Many of them backed by the U.S. in the fight further south to retake Raqqah and other areas to push ISIS out.

So as these skirmishes have continued, the U.S. moving in trying to keep peace in the region so those rebels that the U.S. wants to fight Raqqah can continue to do that and not be diverted to this fight along the border.

But it is also politically vital and sensitive. The U.S. wants continued access to those Turkish air bases. The Turks are very upset that the U.S. troops are in the region -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Barbara, thank you very much for that update.

Meanwhile, instead of getting roasted at the White House Correspondents Dinner, President Trump staged a rival event attacking, guess who?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let's rate the media's 100 days. Should we do that? They are a disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time Donald Trump goes golfing, the headline should read. Trump golfing. Apocalypse delayed. Take the "w."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right, we have much more of this for you. Our media experts are here next.

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[06:52:30]

CAMEROTA: President Trump trading blows with the White House Correspondents Dinner keynote speaker in this dueling event simultaneously this weekend. Here's a taste.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP: Now before we talk about my first 100 days which has been very exciting and very productive, let's rate the media's 100 days because as you know, they are a disgrace.

HASAN MINHAJ, CORRESPONDENT, "THE DAILY SHOW": We got to address the elephant that's not in the room. The leader of our country is not here. I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Joining us to discuss is Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," and Bill Carter, CNN media analyst. Gentlemen, great to see you.

Brian, now that we are passed the 100-day mark, is it time for the media to stop taking President Trump so seriously when he says the media is a disaster? We should just ignore his insults about the media and just move on and do our job? Is it time to stop paying attention?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: The one reason we should pay attention is because he is injecting a sort of venom. It does have consequences in the country. Consequences not just this year but next year and down the line when he is eroding trust in institution including the media. That does have long term effects and we need to study those effects.

Other than that, though, we should put it in perspective. He wants the attention. He is obsessed with the media. He is watching cable news as we speak --

CAMEROTA: He gave a flurry of interviews on his 100 days --

STELTER: I counted nine interviews to eight outlets, some of them still coming out this morning, maybe even more interviews this week. This was a catharsis. I think Maggie Haberman who is here earlier this hour said it was a way for Trump to ventilate and to vent and to express how he was feeling about the first 100 days. But his media attacks do have harm. That is why they are important to note.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, I think so too. He craves attention at the same time he is attacking, he craves the attention from the same media he is trying to denigrate.

CUOMO: Well, that's the danger. There is a good chance the president of the United States is watching us right now. He watches the show. He monitors the media. He criticizes it. All of that is within his right.

But with power comes accountability. There is something wrong with him attacking a free press. There is something wrong with him wanting to change the libel laws.

Yes, I know we had the parties this weekend. That is all good, but about doing job, this is a big deal that he wants to change the libel laws. Listen to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, lay it out.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would require as I understand it a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

[06:55:06]PRIEBUS: I think it is something that we have looked at and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: That's a very big difference.

STELTER: We all need to be responsible.

CUOMO: Every constitutional amendment or another case in the Supreme Court to challenge. The interesting part is this. When he talks about what the standard should be. He is outlining the actual malice standard.

When the president talks about what is wrong, he is like, when they intentionally say something they know is wrong and they do it anyway and it's horrible, well, he can show that --

CARTER: That is the legal standard, but in fact, he usually just is talking about things he doesn't like. That is his attack point. I found it very interesting the contrast. You had Hasan Minhaj doing the joke. One of the things he did was great. He stood up and said here is a guy who is a Muslim, a first generation.

I can stand up here and make fun of the president of the United States because of the first amendment. The next morning, the president's chief of staff is saying maybe we should change that.

CUOMO: Here is that moment at the dinner.

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MINHAJ: Because this event is about celebrating the first amendment and free speech. Free speech is the foundation of an open and liberal democracy. From college campuses to the White House, only in America can a first generation Indian-American Muslim kid get on the stage and make fun of the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: That's poignant.

STELTER: In other countries you can do the same thing partly because of America because we have led the way with regards to free speech rights. We are seeing erosions in other countries. Think about Turkey over the weekend blocking access to Wikipedia, one of the starkest demonstrations yet of that country's crackdown.

To have this president or his aides even flirting with the idea about eroding first amendment rights it's worrisome because of the effects it could have in other countries. I do think we should note, Bill. They are only talking. Right now, they are not taking action.

CAMEROTA: He is talking about threatening it, but it would be very hard to do it.

STELTER: Yes, I think the president was using his own first amendment rights over the weekend at that rally. Doing a very effective job with his base. Right now all they doing is talking. I think what Priebus was doing was keeping the door open to some sort of action, but it will be very hard to open that door wide.

CUOMO: In truth, who does benefit from the first amendment more than Donald Trump? Let's be honest. He has almost no regard for what is fact. If the media operated the way he did, he would hit the malice standard very easily against every news organization. The only difference to the U.K. laws and here practically is that the defendant in the U.K. has to prove that what they said was true. More often than not, it's Trump's own words that are being held against him.

CARTER: Look, what he said about Obama spying on him was clearly just made up on the spot. You can say he is the president so you can't go after him for these things. When he was a candidate, he was saying this judge is unfair because he is Mexican. You should lock up, she is guilty. Those things could be attacked if you undermine the first amendment. He could be vulnerable as a citizen.

STELTER: Floyd Abrams, one of the top first amendment lawyers in the country has said, there are things Candidate Trump said that would have thrown him in jail in Europe. It would not have been permitted in other countries. In the first 100 days, I did not hear a lot of incitement although it was a pretty fire rally on Saturday. I did hear a lot of dishonesty.

To your point, Chris, the "New York Times" spot about one misstatement a day. The "Washington Post" found more than that. I wonder in the next 100 days if trust or distrust is going to continue be the story of the White House? Then President Trump needs to be more honest.

CUOMO: The defamatory laws are not federal. They are almost state tort laws and then you have the big Supreme Court decision. So the bar is very high for him to mess, which arguably makes us the most special country in the world.

CAMEROTA: Brian, Bill, thank you very much.

And thanks for our international viewers for watching. For you CNN NEWSROOM is next. For our U.S. viewers, we'll look at what's in this new spending bill, does it satisfy lawmakers on one side of the aisle more than the other? "NEW DAY" continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have begun the process of rebuilding our military.

CUOMO: Congress reaching a late night agreement to avert a government shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They do appear to have given in on a bunch of key Republican priorities.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The Democrats have been totally obstructionists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He tries to blame the Democrats, but he didn't need a single Democratic vote to pass it in the House.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would be so angry if we don't get that damn thing pass quick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Duterte is an authoritarian on the world stage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more he courts strong men around the world is not a good trend. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes to human rights, the president said enough was enough. The issue on the table is North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. We begin with breaking news, shutdown averted, Democrats and Republicans agreeing on a spending plan overnight that keeps the U.S. government funded through September.