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Trump Defends Wiretapping Claim; White House Presses GOP to Hold Health Care Vote; Secretary Ross on Syria Strike; Trump's Best Walkouts. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired May 2, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:32:30] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Is President Trump moving away from his unproven claim that President Obama wiretapped him during the campaign? Watch this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS: I just wanted to find out, though, you're -- you're the president of the United States. You said he was sick and bad because he had tapped your -- I'm just --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can take any way -- you can take it any way you want.
DICKERSON: But I'm asking you because you don't want it to be fake news. I want to hear it from President Trump.
TRUMP: You don't -- you don't have to -- you don't have to ask me.
DICKERSON: Why not?
TRUMP: Because I have my own opinions. You can have your own opinions.
DICKERSON: But I want to know your opinions. You're the president of the United States.
TRUMP: OK. That's enough. Thank you. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK, let's bring in our CNN political commentators to talk about this. We have Paul Begala and Kayleigh McEnany.
Kayleigh, that body language, you can't overlook that. He was literally moving away from the question and dismissing it with his hand and walking away and ending the interview. What does that mean about his feelings about whether or not President Obama wiretapped him?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, we have not seen any direct evidence that President Obama literally issued a FISA warrant against President Trump or circumvented the FISA process. There's just no direct evidence of that.
Look, there are questions about surveillance. There were questions about unmasking. There are questions about why Mike Flynn's name was linked to "The Washington Post." And I think the president's tweet suffered from any sort of specificity. And I think, look, it would be worth him coming out and saying, I perhaps should have been clearer in my tweet. There were unmasking claims. There are real problems with surveillance --
MCENANY: But there was no direct evidence and I should have been clearer in the tweet.
CAMEROTA: So you are calling for him to clarify what he said. Is it worth an apology to President Obama for accusing him of a crime?
MCENANY: Look, I always think that the best route when you're found or you're found with mud on your face is to apologize, particularly because he called him a bad guy. But, you know, I think we, as Americans, need to see evidence or there needs to be clarity and specification given as to why the tweet was sent.
CAMEROTA: And we've not seen evidence that --
CAMEROTA: Of President Trump's claims?
MCENANY: Right, we have not.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. In fact, President Trump's head of the FBI, no friend of the Democrats, Jim Comey, has said President Obama did not wiretap anybody, certainly not candidate Trump. The -- President Trump's own head of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, said the same thing in congressional testimony, there's no -- because it's a lie. And I twist myself -- I guess we all do -- into a pretzel. Like, what's the method behind the mendacity? What's the purpose of the prevarication? Why does this guy lie all the time? And I just think it's his nature. I think he can't help it. I don't forget it. I don't excuse it. Kayleigh's right, Kayleigh would be a much better President Trump. My dog Gus would be a better President Trump, but -- but --
BEGALA: Gus would be a fine president. He's loyal and loving, but --
[08:35:01] CAMEROTA: But do you see something different? Do you see what -- what some of us saw in that, that I'm moving away, literally and figuratively, from this. I don't want to talk about it anymore. And maybe that means he no longer agrees with his words.
BEGALA: Right. He's clearly a bright man and he knows facts and he can understand when the FBI director says it didn't happen and the NSA director says it didn't happen. CAMEROTA: Not exactly, Paul, because -- and I don't mean that he
doesn't understand facts, but I mean what he said to John Dickerson there was, you have your opinion. I'm entitled to my opinion.
BEGALA: Right. This is what's been one of the 100 things that have been very damaging about the Trump presidency is that lots of things are opinion. You know, maybe we need to pass this health care bill. Maybe we don't. That's just opinion and reasonable people can differ. Some things are facts. The president of the United States, Barack Obama, did not violate the Constitution and the law by wiretapping Donald Trump. That was a falsehood. It was a lie. And I think he's bright enough to know it, but he's not man enough, or person enough or adult enough to admit it.
MCENANY: I do take issue with the "l" word. Democrats continually using the word "lie," because "lie" means you intentionally deceived.
MCENANY: We don't know what documents President Trump saw. We don't know if he heard from within the administration that there were these unmasks requests that seemed to be unusual. We don't know what he knew at (INAUDIBLE) --
CAMEROTA: OK, but we do know what you said, what you started with, Kayleigh, which is that there are no facts to support his accusation --
CAMEROTA: And so he's not backing down from it, yet he's not apologizing. He's not saying, I was wrong, I stand corrected. So at the moment we know that this is a fact. Are you frustrated when he blurs facts and opinions?
MCENANY: Look, well, I'm more frustrated by Democrats calling him a liar. You know, he said he was using wiretapping in the conventional sense, not specifically tapping of my phone. It was used in a Supreme Court case in the sense that he used it back in the '80s, wiretapping as a more general form of surveillance.
Now, when he takes it to the length of making a comment about President Obama --
MCENANY: Without having the specific facts, that --
CAMEROTA: He doesn't have any facts.
MCENANY: Right. But I think to call him a liar, I mean unless you have a window into President Trump's mind and knew he was intentionally trying to deceive, I think is a bridge too far.
CAMEROTA: Yes. BEGALA: All right, he -- he -- but as he took office, he paid $25
million in fraud to people who were suing him for fraud. Now, he didn't admit wrongdoing, but he paid $25 million to people accusing him of fraud. I -- I tried not to use that word starting out this presidency, I really did, because I do think you can overuse it and I think it's a powerful word. He makes false statements with the intention to mislead and to misinform and to attack and distract. That's why he does it. He does it over and over --
CAMEROTA: How do you know that he does it with the intention to misinform?
BEGALA: Well, now we know because -- because the FBI says, right? He knows. He watches TV all the time. He saw his own FBI director saying, look, we've looked into this carefully and there's no evidence. So he now knows -- and with John Dickerson on Sunday, he's repeating it again. He does this time and again. He did it with the president, President Obama, and his birth certificate for years when he knew that that was a lie. He does this -- he did it with the crowd size. You can look at the pictures of his -- of -- he does this every day.
CAMEROTA: Yes. But, Kayleigh, now that we're passed the 100 days, is it time for him to change that pattern of sort of being loose with facts and making his opinion public?
MCENANY: I think we have seen the president change. Look, we haven't seen anything like the Obama wiretapping tweet. You know, he initially started off the presidency, you know, commenting on "SNL" and saying, you know, how dare they do x, y, or z. We've -- we've seen him kind of remove himself from the direct criticism of journalists. I think he is learning. And I think we shouldn't call him a liar. You know, Democrats were frustrated when people called President Obama a liar with regard to the Benghazi talking points. I think we should afford President Trump the same respect.
BEGALA: We all lie. All humans lie and politicians more than humans. "The Washington Post" fact checker says in the first 100 days he told 489 false statements.
BEGALA: That's a record.
CAMEROTA: Paul, Kayleigh, thank you very much for the debate. Great to talk to both of you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so the abrupt end to that CBS interview that Alisyn and the guys were just talking about, it's not the first time he's done that. A look at the walk out tactics that the president uses when it gets, I don't know, too hot in the kitchen, ahead.
[08:43:05] CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things To Know For Your New Day."
The Trump White House turning up the heat on House Republicans, trying to force a vote this week on the health care bill. Now, at this point, Republicans still don't have the votes to pass it.
CAMEROTA: President Trump embracing some of the world's most oppressive leaders. He will speak by phone with Russia's Vladimir Putin today after saying it would be, quote, "an honor" to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
CUOMO: President Trump says he's open to a potential gas tax hike as a way to pay for infrastructure improvements. The last time the gas tax was raised was back in 1993.
CAMEROTA: Classes resume today at the University of Texas at Austin after a student went on a stabbing attack killing one person and injuring three others. The suspect is in custody. Police so far say they have no motive.
CUOMO: United Airlines CEO is going to testify before Congress this morning at a House hearing on customer service. This comes after the airline forcibly dragged off that doctor from a full flight.
CAMEROTA: That's not good customer service right there.
Those are the "Five Things to Know." How here's a look at some extra headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ON SCREEN TEXT: Rafters rescued from CA river.
McDonald's unveils frork utensil.
Stars hit met gala red carpet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It really does upset the whole day when you go in there and the mower doesn't start. You're like, oh. It throws off the who day.
Anyway, do Republicans have the votes that they need to pass their health care bill? We're going to give you "The Bottom Line," next.
[08:48:27] CUOMO: Have to vote this week. Need to get the vote done this week. That's what the White House is telling GOP lawmakers. The question is, do they have the votes and what happens if it doesn't go their way.
Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston.
We've heard the calculus, you need the tax savings here to motivate the tax plan and then we'll go and wrap that into infrastructure. But if you do not have the votes with any certainty, why not delay? Why gamble?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I agree, especially given the fact that they've already lost once and there's going to be a good chance they're going to lose twice. Now, we always talk about, right now, that with -- there's about 17 undecided folks right now. You've made news this morning, you know, with the members saying that he --
CAMEROTA: Congressman Renacci, who told us on the air that he had decided yes he would vote for this.
PRESTON: But I think Charlie Dent, the congressman from Pennsylvania, was absolutely right last night. If this does go down, right, if they do not get enough votes, it's not going to be two votes, it's going to be ten votes, because you will see a block of people end up moving over. Nobody wants to be that one vote that takes down President Trump's health care initiative.
CAMEROTA: One of the things that Congressman Renacci told us this morning was that he believes that pre-existing conditions will still be covered under this plan. But then, just like President Trump, he said, but, it will sort of be up to the governors. We're going to pass it down to the states. This belongs in the states and then the governors can decide. Well, that doesn't mean that it's guaranteed.
PRESTON: Yes. Yes, I mean, it means that there's no guarantee at all. And, in some ways, maybe they're trying to play with the language and saying, well, it's going to be guaranteed --
CAMEROTA: Because they'll set up these high risk pools.
PRESTON: Correct, which are extremely expensive as well and perhaps those who are guaranteed it may not be able to actually afford the coverage (INAUDIBLE).
[08:50:01] CUOMO: It's an interesting play for Renacci. Renacci wants to be governor of Ohio, right? And I have a governor in my house.
CAMEROTA: Do you?
CUOMO: I used to have two.
CAMEROTA: I -- what's he saying (ph).
CUOMO: And he says that, yes, yes, sure, you're going to shift it on to us but you're not going to give me the money.
CUOMO: So you're basically going to say to the governor, hey, it's up to you, but, by the way, you're not getting the money that we were going to give you for Medicaid. So what are they going to do? They're going to have to cut costs. And by giving them the possibility to do that, you are basically guaranteeing that someone's going to use it. And yet we keep hearing them say, people don't lose coverage. How damming could that statement become? PRESTON: Damning specifically when we head into the mid-term elections
when you're going to have every member of the House of Representatives who's up for re-election, you're going to see 20 Democrats that will be up. You know, of course they'll be fined based upon this issue. But you also have a lot of Republicans that are up as well.
And to your point about the governors, it's an unfunded mandate. And for those who are out there, you know, who are wondering what that means, it means the federal government's telling the state that they have to do something but we're not going to give you the money. And that's where you really see a strain on state budgets.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said about the moment that President Trump decided to launch those missiles at Syria. He described the moment and he says, "just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria. It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment. The thing was, it didn't cost the president anything to have that entertainment." So those are glib comments. How do you interpret them?
PRESTON: Well, two things. One, factually, he's wrong because those missiles cost a lot of money, right, I mean the fact of the matter is. But your point, glib, unfortunate, stupid. I'm sure he absolutely regrets it. We've all said stupid things. I mean this was really stupid because you're talking about the loss of life and you're talking about war. But I do think that we should perhaps give him a little bit of leeway on this and see if --
CAMEROTA: Because he's not a polished politician?
PRESTON: Well -- well, but, yes, he's not a polished politician but a successful businessman. Let's see if he comes out and apologizes. And if he does, let's just move on.
CUOMO: Or you let him dangle out there to distract from the stuff that the president's been saying in recent --
PRESTON: Right. Right.
CUOMO: All right. Mark, appreciate it.
PRESTON: Very Trambonian (ph) of you.
CUOMO: Thank you.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, he got serious and he talked about something that's really worth hearing, the health care involving his newborn son. The story has a good ending. We're going to explain it in our "Good Stuff" next.
[08:56:20] CUOMO: A different kind of "Good Stuff" today. A different side of Jimmy Kimmel. He wasn't being funny. He was being real. The comedian choking up on his show last night, revealing a health scare with his newborn son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Billy was born with a heart disease. Something called Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. So this poor kid, this is what he looked like on Monday. But this is what he looked like yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Look at that.
CUOMO: He had successful open heart surgery. He's going to need more procedures. This isn't over for Jimmy and his wife, but he says he's beyond grateful. He named the doctors and the nurses who saved his son's life, in his estimation. And I'll tell you, it's not easy to open yourself up like that up to an audience with what's going on in your real life, but there's something about what a kid does to you, you know, and that urgency of protecting them that was beautiful to see.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. And everybody is praying for him and, obviously, pulling for that little baby. His smile, that's young for a baby to be able to smile that broadly. We just hope that every -- he comes through everything healthy and well.
Meanwhile, on a lighter note, President Trump employs a range of tactics to walk out of interviews when he wants to. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can have your own opinion.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What really made it more than enough --
TRUMP: That's enough.
MOOS: Was the dismissive wave. Interview over.
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS: But I want to know your opinions. You're the president of the United States.
TRUMP: OK. That's enough. Thank you. Thank you very much.
MOOS: CBS' John Dickerson was thank youed right out the door. Twenty- seven years earlier it was Donald Trump who walked out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing that we didn't discuss on the phone, Donald.
MOOS: After tough questions from CNN about the financial health of his casinos.
TRUMP: But back to the negative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back to the negative. I --
TRUMP: Back to the -- you know what, do you -- do this interview with somebody else (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we talking about this yesterday on the phone. This is exactly what we talked about.
TRUMP: Do the -- do the interview with somebody else, really. You don't need this. Do it with something else and have a good time.
MOOS: Instead of thank you, it was, good luck.
TRUMP: I think it's very unfair reporting. Good luck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I disagree with you. Sorry you feel that way.
MOOS (on camera): Actually, Trump's walk-outs are rare when you consider how many hundreds, even thousands of interviews he's done over the years.
MOOS (voice-over): He's never come close to terminating me. Though as a presidential candidate, Trump walked off on two Ohio TV reporters in a single day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nineteen days out from the election, you've been labeled a racist, you've been called a sexist --
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How -- how do you respond to that?
TRUMP: I am the least racist person you've ever met.
MOOS: This after a woman came out accusing Trump of touching her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know the woman can out (INAUDIBLE) today. Can you -- can you answer allegations about that?
TRUMP: I know nothing about that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About the US Open allegations?
TRUMP: I know nothing.
MOOS: Trump clearly knew nothing about fake rapper Ali G (ph). He sat down with Sacha Baron Cohen's character who asked him to invest in --
SACHA BARON COHEN: This ice cream gloves.
MOOS: Trump declined to invest. Did it without taking off the gloves.
TRUMP: Good luck, folks. It's been nice seeing you. You take care of yourself, OK?
COHEN: (INAUDIBLE) going to be in on that?
TRUMP: Well, it sounds like an interesting idea.
COHEN: We've still got --
MOOS: Trump tends to be harder on the microphone --
TRUMP: Do it with somebody else, and have a great time.
MOOS: Than the interviewer.
DICKERSON: But I want to know your opinion --
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
TRUMP: That's enough.
MOOS: New York.
CAMEROTA: Look, very polite, even when he walks out. Doesn't raise his voice. Doesn't yell at anybody. We've seen other presidents who can be yellers. Very polite when he says, that's enough, I'm leaving now.
CUOMO: Yes, the question is why he puts himself in the situations. When something winds up shown to be false, stay away from it, move on. That's the nature of that business and of life.
[09:00:05] CAMEROTA: Let's see if they're going to discuss that on CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: You know, that is how --
CUOMO: He walked away from me during my conversation.
HARLOW: That's how Berman walks off this set.