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Trump, Clinton Trade Shots Over 2016 Election; Republicans Scramble for Votes on Health Care Bill; Clinton: FBI Letter & Hacked E-mails 'Scared Off' Voters. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 3, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: If the election had been on October 27, I'd be your president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump lashing out at his former opponent ahead of FBI Director Comey's testimony.
CLINTON: I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sally Yates is prepared to testify. She gave a forceful warning to the White House regarding Michael Flynn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a big difference between a forceful warning versus a heads up.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How is health care coming?
I think it's time now. Right?
REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: I supported not allowing pre-existing illnesses to be discriminated against. This amendment torpedoes that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been making important progress on this bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president cut a tremendous deal for the American people.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This was not winning in the Republican point of view.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, May 3, 6 a.m. here in New York. And up first, boy, President Trump and Hillary Clinton trading jabs over the outcome of the 2016 election. The president responding on Twitter late last night after Clinton blamed sexism, Russia and the FBI for playing a role in her defeat. So in just hours, the FBI director will face tough questions from
Senate Democrats about Russia and, of course, his own actions in the final days of the campaign.
Meanwhile, CNN is learning that a former Obama administration official will contradict the Trump White House about Michael Flynn when she testifies next week.
All of this as President Trump continues to push for a vote on repealing Obamacare.
So we have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live at the White House.
What's the latest, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, well, they are at it again. Just six months after the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are facing off one more time as another key player, the director of the FBI, is now returning to center stage on Capitol Hill.
JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump firing back at Hillary Clinton after her scathing indictment of the 2016 race, insisting that FBI Director James Comey influenced voters.
CLINTON: I was on the way to winning until the combination of James Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. If the election had been on October 27, I'd be your president.
JOHNS: The president responding in a series of late-night tweets, even slamming his own FBI director: "FBI director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. The phony Trump-Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign. This response coming hours after Clinton took a jab at one of the president's sore spots.
CLINTON: I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I feel a tweet coming.
CLINTON: Well, fine. You know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs. If he wants to tweet about me, I'm happy to be the -- you know, the diversion.
JOHNS: Comey expected to face a grilling from Democrats at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over his potential influence on the campaign. Hillary Clinton blaming Comey's letter to Congress about her use of a private e-mail server and WikiLeaks and Russia for hacking her campaign chairman's e-mails.
Clinton refusing to even say Vladimir Putin's name.
CLINTON: He certainly interfered in our election, and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and to help my opponent.
JOHNS: But acknowledging some ownership for her defeat.
CLINTON: I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot.
JOHNS: And now vowing to speak out against her former rival.
CLINTON: I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.
JOHNS: All this as sources tell CNN that former acting attorney general Sally Yates will testify next week that she forcefully warned the Trump White House in January that then national security adviser Michael Flynn lied about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador, directly contradicting the White House's version of events.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They wanted to give, quote, "a head's up" to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what the -- he had sent the vice president out, in particular.
JOHNS: Yates's testimony likely to raise further questions about why it took the administration nearly three weeks to fire Flynn, a decision that was ultimately made on the same day the story was reported in "The Washington Post."
JOHNS: The other big headline coming out of the White House today is the telephone conversation occurring just yesterday between President Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin. They talked mostly about Syria and North Korea. Now today, the president is going to host the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, here at the White House.
Back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thanks much.
Let's bring in our political panel to discuss. We have CNN political analyst David Gregory; CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis; and CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA counterterrorism official, Philip Mudd. Gentlemen, great to see all of you.
So hard to believe, but the election was almost exactly six months ago. I mean, it could feel -- it feels like it could be yesterday or five years ago. It's so amazing. But here we are hearing from Hillary Clinton, really, in the most fulsome way, in this fascinating conservation she had with Christiane Amanpour. So let's just play one more sound bite here of how she explains what went wrong with her campaign. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: If the election had been on October 27, I'd be your president, and it wasn't.
So did we make mistakes? Of course we did. Did I make mistakes? Oh, my gosh. Yes. You know, you'll read my confession and my -- my request for be absolution. But the reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last ten days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Errol, she's writing a book, and she says that then we'll read her confession. What do you think about what she said there?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't know how relevant it is for the rest of the country. I mean, she can tell herself whatever she wants to, and I've look forward to reading the book and so forth and so on.
But you know, there really is sort of a sense of denial there, because election day was not October 27. You know, I mean, you're supposed to play all the way to the very end. And there's some fundamental decisions that they made about what to do on the ground in Michigan, in Wisconsin, in Pennsylvania. That's what should be keeping her up at night. You know, these other questions are important. The Trump- Russia connection.
CAMEROTA: You don't think the letter that James Comey sent to the Congress was as important as playing in Wisconsin and those loose ends?
JOHNS: You know, I mean, however you weigh it, the reality is you needed to have an answer. I mean, the things that she and, more importantly, the Democratic Party needs to do going forward don't change? It's the -- the whole thing is supposed to turn on the dirty tricks of your opponent. That's never going to be a strategy for victory.
CUOMO: All right. We'll get to the decision by the president to respond by the president in a second. But David, you know, after autopsy by the Democrats, go to what Errol is saying. That's what they say.
They also say she was a flawed candidate. And when she took responsibility in that interview with Christiane, she did so by saying, "Did I make mistakes? Yes." She didn't name any. And she said, "I was the candidate. I was the one on the ballot. So yes, I take responsibility." But you didn't hear her call herself out. You heard her call out Comey, Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I have a few thoughts about this. First, I do think that she's right about some of the things that she says. I think what Jim Comey did was to throw overboard Justice Department procedures because of political reasons. His own internal politics because of the hatred for Hillary Clinton within the FBI and because of this delicate balancing act he was trying to pull off with Republicans in Congress principally. And I think that was a horrendous decision on his part and one that he should and probably does regret.
I think there was misogyny. And I think we tolerate sexism in this country, whether it's, you know, the legal profession or corporations or in our politics. So I think that she's onto something there. We know about the Russia role.
But the Comey bit, the Russia bit is very difficult to measure. I think she doesn't give us honesty about what -- the terrible judgments that she made with regard to the e-mail server. The fact that she misread the mood of the country. The fact that Republicans came home for Donald Trump when she and many others didn't feel that they would.
So we're going to get more, presumably, in the book. I think this was a part of it. But I don't think she's forthcoming in a way that she should have been in taking some real responsibility for the fact that -- that she was not what the country wanted. What enough of the electorate wanted to make her president.
CAMEROTA: And Phil, I know you want to jump in here, particularly as our FBI veteran. But let me just read to you what President Trump said about this in reaction. So then you can comment. "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton, in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. The phony Trump- Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign."
He's using himself in the third person, which is -- slightly unusual. What do you see here?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: The best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton was Donald Trump. And she lost. If you had gone back to 2014 with a crystal ball and told the Clinton campaign, "Look, you're going to face Donald Trump in a general election," they would have had a week-long party.
She lost Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin. She -- she beat Trump on the coasts among elites. She didn't have a message. I still can't figure out what her message is. And the complaint is "Jim Comey lost it for me"?
Comey did the wrong thing. I agree with David Gregory. I served four and a half years at the FBI. Everybody at the bureau should still be saying, "We don't talk about ongoing investigations, particularly regarding a presidential candidate." That was an epically bad move.
But she faced a candidate who went into office with extremely high negatives, and she still couldn't win. She's got to look in the mirror, if the Democrats are going to move on and stop blaming other people and blame the campaign that didn't work. It's not very complicated.
CUOMO: And she's hearing a lot of that from -- in her former supporters and people in the party, that it should have never been close. But you mentioned Jim Comey. Let me stay with Mudd for a second here.
How important is his testimony up on the Hill? What kinds of things do you want to hear discussed? And what are your concerns about what will be discussed instead of what you want to hear?
MUDD: This is critically important. I fear that what people are going to be looking for is conversations about individuals. American citizens like Carter Page. The FBI director should not touch an investigation of any person citizen.
There's a bigger question that I'm afraid Congress won't get to, because they want to point fingers. That is, how did a foreign power intervene in an American election? And secondly what do we do about it for the next election? How do we protect future presidential candidates? How do we work, for example, with Silicon Valley, with Twitter to keep fake news -- and Facebook to keep face [SIC] news -- fake news off the Internet.
[06:10:11] I think people are going to be wanting him to detail investigations about who in the Trump campaign was involved with the Russians. That is not the avenue he should go down.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, David.
GREGORY: Can I just -- can I just add one point here? Back on the sexism piece. I don't think -- she was asked this directly, was Hillary Clinton. She didn't account for the fact that a majority of white women voted against her. This is a broader conversation about what made Hillary Clinton a particular liability as a candidate, and it does get into kind of how women think about a woman president and about her, in particular.
So there's issues there that's longer than we have time for.
The other piece about Comey is you don't talk about when you don't charge. That's the point. You don't talk when you don't charge. It's not just ongoing investigations, as Phil well knows. That, I think, was the great sin in this.
CAMEROTA: OK. One more thing to look for, Errol, this week is that Sally Yates, we now know, former acting A.G., will be going to testify in front of Congress. And CNN has some reporting and has learned that she is prepared to vociferously contradict what the Trump administration narrative has been about Michael Flynn. What do we know and expect?
JOHNS: Well, what we expect and I hope the conversation will end up being about is she's going to blow out of the water this notion that was contained in the president's tweet back, all of this stuff about Trump and Russia connections is just an excuse for what happened in the election. Far from it.
We're going to have an acting attorney general who's going to give us sort of a tick-tock, hopefully, of what she told the transition team, when she told them that they had a problem with Michael Flynn. And then ten days elapses before they do anything about it. And in the end, what she said was absolutely true, which is why you got fired.
CUOMO: And there is no coincidence. You know, the president took the bait from Hillary Clinton. We could all see that coming. But his feelings about this Russia investigation are going to be called into really sharp contrast with what we hear from Sally Yates.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much.
And coming up in just minutes, Christiane Amanpour will join us to talk about her big sit-down with Hillary Clinton and all of the news that has been made from that.
CUOMO: All right. So Republicans are scrambling for votes in the hope of passing their health care bill this week. But it is still apparently an uphill battle. Here's the latest whip count. Now look, there are all kinds of deals being struck, people being called to the White House. So this can change.
But you have about 22 Republicans who say they're planning to vote "no." That puts them, really, just like a vote away from not being able to pass this.
But again, the president is working on this personally. It's a lot of deal-making being done.
So let's get to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, live on Capitol Hill with more. Can you feel the buzzing of people making deals on this deal?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can feel it, Chris. It is quite incredible when you think about this, because this is the president here facing, potentially, the real possibility of another defeat on health care. And so he is very much personally involved here.
What he has to do and what he will be doing today is trying to convince those who are undecided or who are leaning "no" that they have to take this pretty big political risk to push this through the House and pass it on to the Senate.
TRUMP: How's health care coming, folks?
I think it's time now, right?
Reporter: President Trump personally calling Congressman Billy Long, who is currently against the bill, twice in the past two days to try to gain his support. The two men will meet at the White House today, along with Congressman Fred Upton, another high-profile Republican who is also against the bill over the issue of pre-existing conditions.
UPTON (via phone): I've supported the -- the practice of not allowing pre-existing illnesses to be discriminated against from the very get- go. This amendment torpedoes that. And I told the leadership I cannot support this bill with this provision in it.
MALVEAUX: Republican leaders have yet to schedule a vote on the bill. CNN's current whip count has 22 Republicans voting "no." If this number holds, Republicans cannot afford to lose another vote.
Another defeat on health care could damage President Trump's legislative power and Paul Ryan's standing as speaker of the House.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're making very good progress with our members, and our president has been instrumental in that.
MALVEAUX: This battle playing out as the House is set to vote on the bipartisan spending bill that had more wins for Democrats than the president's priorities.
GRAHAM: I think the Democrats cleaned our clock. This was not winning from the Republican point of view.
MALVEAUX: President Trump lashing out and threatening to shut the government down in September when lawmakers negotiate the 2018 budget. A tactic at odds with the recent criticism of Democrats issuing their own government shutdown threat, something he called terrible.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: I'm not going to lecture. I hope he'll be a constructive force in the 2018 budget.
MALVEAUX: President Trump and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney insisting that Republicans came out on top in the budget negotiations.
[06:15:07] TRUMP: This is what winning looks like.
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: When you heard the last 48 hours about the deal, did you think we could build this?
MALVEAUX: Mulvaney attempting to portray funding towards fixing and replacing existing fencing as a win for the administration, despite the fact that there is specific language in the spending bill that prohibits any money from going toward construction of the president's controversial border wall.
MALVEAUX: For the third day in a row, Vice President Mike Pence will be here, back on Capitol Hill to try to shore up the vote for health care. The goal here over the next 48 hours to get that support before Congress goes on recess. That is on Friday. But House Speaker Paul Ryan insisting that there will not be a vote. Not schedule a vote until they have the votes -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Suzanne, please keep us posted throughout the program on what's going on there with the count.
Hillary Clinton talking about her stunning November defeat. Who does she blame for her loss and how does she see the world under President Trump? We talk with Christiane Amanpour about this revealing interview next.
CUOMO: Hillary Clinton speaking out about her election more candidly than she has to this point. Clinton tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour that she takes personal responsibility for her loss to Donald Trump. But she spreads the blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I take absolutely personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot, and I am very aware of, you know, the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had. It wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing.
But I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Christiane Amanpour joins us now. Before we get to the content, how surprised were you when, on this forum and a pretty general open-ended question, boom, Clinton went right into what had happened?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, we were there, Women for Women International, talking about the things that she's devoted her whole life to. Right? Empowering women, making sure the women get up there and help stabilize our whole society.
And in that context, I asked a whole lot of questions, obviously, about her experience. And I do feel that she came to talk. You know, she was the most unplugged that I'd ever seen her. And you just said, you know, the most candid ever. And I do believe that that's true. You've all interviewed her before. You see what she was like. Very guarded throughout most of the campaign. And I think she has a lot to say.
And she did take personal responsibility. Obviously, had it been a political interview; had I been able to dig down more into some of the key aspects of the white working class and the states that she won during the 2008 primaries and why didn't win. There are many, many questions.
But she did take responsibility, and she talked about what everybody has computed. And that is an absolute difference in the day before the Comey letter and the days afterwards.
CAMEROTA: Right. I mean, she -- she says in her mind that October 27 was that dividing line between her win and her loss. And she thinks the Comey letter to Congress was that cataclysmic of an event. And the truth is, it's unknowable, you know?
AMANPOUR: I'm not going to re -- re-litigate the election, but she mentions Nate Silver and his very, very statistical look at this, and he talks about not just the letter but the media's coverage of the e- mails and the letter and made a demographic, statistical difference. And so that's what they say.
CUOMO: I mean, look, the general pushback is it should have never been close. The autopsy that the Democrats are doing right now is how is this even close? You know, because if she had brought out her base the way that even the low-end expectations were, she would have beat Trump easily, even in those states, and it didn't happen.
AMANPOUR: That's a whole other -- again...
CUOMO: It's a whole other thing to talk about.
AMANPOUR: But I do think that what was really interesting, particularly in that environment, was her take on women, was the misogyny. And Alisyn and myself, we can both sit here and say, you know, no matter how top of our game are -- we are, there is an underlying issue with women. Certainly, women who seek the highest offices, certainly, the women who have the temerity to demand equal pay for equal play, certainly with the structures of society as they are, you know, laid out by that.
So I think what's going to be really interesting, actually, is when she goes to Wellesley and gives a 50th anniversary commencement speech, because that's where people say she launched her political career when she was the first ever graduate to be elected by her student body, to give them...
CAMEROTA: So exactly 50 years ago?
AMANPOUR: Yes, I believe it was 50 years ago. It was '69 or something. The year was '69, so probably.
CUOMO: You want to hear the sound from the interplay about the misogyny? Just so people get some context. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Were you a victim of misogyny? Why do you think you lost the majority of the white female vote?
CLINTON: Yes, I do think it played a role. I think other things did, as well. Every day that goes by, we learn more about some of the unprecedented interference, including from a foreign power whose leader is not a member of my fan club. And so I think it is -- it is real. It is very much a part of the landscape politically and socially and economically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It's a clever question, because you asked about the misogyny. But in the context of white women not voting for her.
CAMEROTA: Exactly. And actually, there was a big laugh when I said you think misogyny plays a role. And the whole audience erupted like, "You think, Christiane?" Yes, of course. But these are structural, societal problems that we have to deal with, you know, going forward.
You know, without the parity between men and women, we're not talking about female domination, but without a gender parity in every aspect of our public lives, there will never be a healthy society. You will not have the best GDP you can get. You will not have the best peace. You will not have the best security or you will not elevate the whole world. And boy, do we need it right now in this crisis time.
[06:25:12] But she also had, really, very precise prescriptions for some of the big crises we are facing right now, North Korea and Syria.
CAMEROTA: That leads us to what her role will be. So she said that she's now part of the resistance. What does that mean?
AMANPOUR: Well, it's -- I mean, you know, again, that drew a huge laugh and a huge cheer. Because of course, you can see, with the political trends that are going on around the world. Brexit was the first. Then we had this election. Now, we have what we may see or may not see in France in -- you know, on Sunday with the second round.
And there is a sense that, yes, there's been a lot of hurt. Yes, there are a lot of forgotten. Yes, people need to pay attention and governments need to really be smart about retraining and reviving areas of economic dispossession.
But it goes beyond slogans, and it goes beyond free-trade deals and closing borders. This is about automation. It's about the technology revolution. It's about roboticization of all of the jobs. I mean, how many robocoms do we have? You know, this is a very, very serious global economic issue that these politicians have to deal with going forward.
CAMEROTA: Well, it was fascinating to hear your conversation with her, fascinating to see her unplugged in that setting. So thanks so much. It's great to talk to you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: So there are reports that the Justice Department has made a decision about whether to prosecute two officers who fatally shot a black man in Baton Rouge. You will remember this story. It has the community outraged for more reasons than one. So we give you all the details next.