Return to Transcripts main page


What Next After Yates, Clapper Testimonies?; Apple Stock Hits Another Record High; Obama Speaks on Climate Change in Milan; New Biography Highlights Barack Obama's Relationship Before Michelle. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 9, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:49] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So after the Sally Yates and James Clapper testimony yesterday, we've learned a lot about what led up to National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's firing. What happens next?

Let's get the bottom line with CNN political analyst David Drucker.

Where did yesterday's testimony leave us in terms of the investigation, knowing more, and what is supposed to happen now?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, on the one hand, I think we understand that there's probably more to discover here about Michael Flynn and exactly what he knew and what he didn't know, what he told the White House and what he didn't, and how that impacted the Trump White House right out of the gate.

On the other hand, I think Democrats have to be careful here about collusion versus investigating Russian meddling. This collusion deal could turn out to be a big white whale for them. They don't want to be talking about this in 2018 more than how they're going to help people if they want to win seats.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So we just heard from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, that we know the president knew because Sean Spicer said Don McGahn, the White House counsel, briefed him immediately. So that starts the talk of the clock ticking on 18 days and the question why did it take so long?

Anthony Scaramucci knows what's going on in the White House. He's trusted by the president. Here was his answer.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, INFORMAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: But what I do know reasonably well is the president's personality about leadership and loyalty, how he thinks about his people, and what he cares about. And what I love about the president is he really cares about people first more than he cares about that sort of nonsense that goes on in the political arena. Also I think --

CUOMO: Loyal to a fault here, because this, OK, isn't we don't like Flynn. You know, that's not what this was.

SCARAMUCCI: I understand. Let me finish.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

SCARAMUCCI: You're brand-new to the presidency. You have the opposing party railing on a guy that you think is super valuable to you, and so I think you are going to be cautious, you're going to be patient and deliberate.


CUOMO: Do you think the White House was doing the opposite of what you just cautioned the Democrats now to do, which was they heard Russia and they stopped thinking about what this could mean beyond a political attack? Because they were conflating those two issues about Russian contacts and potential collusion.

DRUCKER: And I think that's what the White House has done repeatedly, is taken a look at anything that has to do with Russia in 2016 and decided it's an attempt to undermine the president's victory, which it may be coming from certain Democrats. But I don't think saying that Russia meddled undermines the president's victory. It just says that there was a problem here that needs to be taken care of.

And I think this was an example, in terms of how Flynn was dealt with, in the president's transition from running a closely-held family business, when he had the liberty to show loyalty and take his time in dealing with subordinates, to running the United States government, in which there could be national security issues if he doesn't move quick enough to replace problematic people.

CAMEROTA: Michael Flynn wants immunity, as you know, from investigators. So is there more that he can -- I mean, obviously he could reveal self-incriminating things about what he was doing with Russia. But in terms of the political fallout this has on the Trump White House, nothing after yesterday?

DRUCKER: Well, look, I still think this is going to break down into partisan lines, and I saw that yesterday in talking to different people.

[08:35:04] If you think Trump is crooked, then they're going to get to the bottom of this collusion thing, one way or another. It just needs more time and more energy and more focus. And if you don't think Trump is crooked, then this is a big hoax and all you're trying to do is destroy Donald Trump.

And I think that, ultimately to me, Flynn is a cancer on the Trump White House. I don't care how loyal he was during the campaign and how important he was to Trump. They haven't found any collusion. We do know that Russia meddled. But we know that Flynn is the source of all of these stories that causes Trump so much heartburn, apparently.

And I leave you with this -- in that part of the problem for Donald Trump has been his problematic posture toward Russia going back to the beginning of his campaign, all of which began to change after Flynn was fired. Now he takes a harder line against Russia as it relates to the Ukraine, as it relates to the Middle East. And so getting rid of Flynn solved a ton of problems.

CUOMO: But he's still the president of the United States. Ducks whether or not this is Russia clearly trying to meddle in the election. And you have to ask the question of whether or not Flynn is a cancer or is he a symptom of a disease that that administration has.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for the bottom line.


CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

CUOMO: All right. You've been watching the stock market. Apple surging an all-new high. Why? What could it mean for tax reform? Are they connected? Yes. The answer ahead.


[08:40:30] CUOMO: Apple is the world's most valuable company. The stock has hit another record high. Why? What does it mean to the overall economy? Chief business correspondent Christine Romans, she can answer that with numbers. What do you know?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know that Apple is the first $800 billion company, Chris. After billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he nearly tripled his stake in Apple, the stock then rose another 3.2 percent to an all-time high. That put the market value above $800 billion.

Apple having a great year. The stock is up 32 percent just this year. It has more than $250 billion in cash. Think about that. Just sitting in the bank. The snag, that quarter of a trillion dollars, is mostly overseas and Apple won't bring it back until one thing happens -- tax reform.

It's really the only thing that Wall Street cares about right now, you guys. And investors hope lower taxes could mean a flood of cash to stimulate growth. For example, these five companies -- Apple, Google's parent Alphabet, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle -- together they have more than half a trillion dollars combined sitting in bank accounts overseas. But until Wall Street gets a better sense of Trump's tax plan, that money will probably stay parked abroad.


CAMEROTA: Fascinating and staggering numbers. Thank you very much, Christine.

So former president Barack Obama is speaking at this very moment at a summit in Milan, Italy. He is expected to talk about climate change as President Trump considers pulling out of the Paris climate accords.

So let's check in with CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. He is in Milan with more on this speech. Hi Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Hi. I mean, it's a very relaxed-looking President Obama, isn't it? I don't think we've seen him looking this way for some time, certainly not giving a speech to an international audience. He is back on the world stage.

What he's talking about here is giving the keynote speech, addressing the issue of climate change and the need for sustainable, nutritional, healthy food. I mean, we think back to his Feed the Future iniTiative 2009 to the Happy, Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010, something that the food issue has been on the agenda for a long time. But the climate change issue and how the two couple together is what this conference is all about here.

The people organizing the conference hope that bringing President Obama into the mix here will really stimulate at a higher level thinking and planning for the future with that climate change, with a growing population, with scarcity of food. New ways of growing food. So it's certainly the COP21 issue, climate change, one of his signature overseas achievements, is something that's key to what he's doing here, something he understands very clearly President Trump is opposed to.


CUOMO: Nic, appreciate it. Good to have you there in Milan. Not a bad assignment either.

All right, so the man on your screen, former President Obama, is also the author of a new biography. Raising some eyebrows it is. Why? Well, it may suggest that the president's marriage to Michelle was a political calculation. Is that true? The author joins us live next.


[08:47:35] CUOMO: There is a new biography out about President Barack Obama. And it's stirring up a lot of attention. It features accounts from his ex-girlfriend, raises questions about his motivation for marrying Michelle Obama, and really takes you through, in a very deep and long fashion, the background of how he got to be in the seat of power.

Joining us now is the author of the new book, "Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama", David J. Garrow. It is good to have you here.


CUOMO: This is quite the compendium, the tone collection of lots of things. You said 1,000 interviews.

GARROW: Nine years.

CUOMO: What did the depth and the time reveal?

GARROW: I think the most astonishing thing, Chris, is that someone could serve eight years as President of the United States and a lot of important things in his earlier life never came out.

Most people have old girlfriends. He also wrote with his best friend this unpublished book manuscript from 1991 when he's in law school. Talks about race. Real insight into his political and intellectual evolution. This is a very smart person from early on, but someone whose grasp of ambition manifested itself very early.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about his love life because that's kind of juicy. And we didn't hear much about it before. You know, he had said that -- in his autobiography -- he had used a composite of old girlfriends. But you found a significant old girlfriend, a woman named Sheila Yager. He met her in Chicago when he was a community organizer, and she says that he proposed marriage to her twice. I mean, it's -- you know, for Americans, it's interesting to think that there could have been a difficult First Lady than Michelle Obama.

Here's what you write in the book. "The marriage discussions dragged on and on. It was affected by what Sheila describes as Barack's, quote, torment over this central issue of his life, the question of his own race and identity. The resolution of his black identity was directly linked to his decision to pursue a political career."

Tell us more about that insight and what she shared with you about their relationship.

GARROW: When Barack is in Chicago working as a community organizer before law school, that's his first immersion into the African- American community. Not Hawaii, not Indonesia. He's working in a largely black setting, living with a woman who's half-Dutch, half- Japanese. They were involved for five years. It's a defining relationship in Barack's life.

[08:50:05] And here we are, only in 2017, is this really core experience of his finally becoming part of the historical record.

And that's how I view this book. This is a comprehensive, authoritative history of Barack's entire political evolution. The man he was in Illinois in the 1990s up through the early 2000s, very different political figure than who we ended up seeing as president. And that evolution is the real story.

CUOMO: Respond to "The Times" review. They wrote that "it's odd that Garrow should seize on one former lover's anger and hurt, and try to turn them into a Rosebud-like key to the former presient's life, referring to her repeatedly in his epilogue. He even tries to turn her perception, about Obama's whaving willing himself into being, into a pejorative, when the act of self-invention, as other biographers have noted, was the enterprising and existential act of a young man who essentially had been abandoned by both his black father and white mother, and who found himself caught between cultures and trying, as he wrote in "Dreams", 'to raise myself to be a black man in America.'" GARROW: Barack's years as a community organizer are very much the

sort of font of his self-creation. He's creating himself both in Black America, in Black Chicago. He also has this very deep, intense relationship with Sheila. And it's during that relationship that his ambition to become a political candidate, to become president, is first articulated. And it's so powerful to have multiple witnesses from that time all attesting to what a crucial defining relationship this was in his life.

CAMEROTA: Some critics have not been kind, as you heard some shades of there in "The New York Times" review. They called it overstuffed and unfair. And the unfair part that they're referring to is that I think they see you as a sort of liberal progressive what was disappointed ultimately in President Obama's positions, and that that somehow colored your review of his entire life and that you couldn't see objectively.

GARROW: I think we've had some people who bring their own partisan loyalties to how they react to this historical book, this historical record. Barack as president turned out to be very different from who he was in Illinois. In Illinois, he had great relationships with extremely conservative Republicans, more conservative than what we have today in the U.S. Congress. And he had an ease of interaction that didn't pan out as president.

CAMEROTA: David Garrow, the book -- I'm so impressed that you could write 1,078 pages. The book's really interesting. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

GARROW: Thank you.

CUOMO: How about a little Good Stuff to get your morning going? We'll bring it to you next.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we will.


[08:56:52] CUOMO: This is a good, Good Stuff. It is a kind gesture that will stay with one woman forever. So Katie Kennedy's wedding planner posted pictures of the blushing bride online. Little did she know it would help a stranger across the border in Canada. Amanda was rushing to find a dress. Why? Her father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He only had months to live, so they had to move up the calendar for the wedding. And Amanda reached out to help.


KATIE KENNEDY: I thought about my dad. I thought -- I mean, she wants to have this with her dad. It just seemed like the right thing to do to give it to her.


CUOMO: She wanted the dress. She loved the dress that she saw in the pictures, but she didn't have time to have it made. Thanks to Katie, Amanda was able to have that last dance with her dad in the perfect dress.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh! That is beautiful.


AMANDA: And it was exactly the way it was supposed to be and it was perfect.


CAMEROTA: That's beautiful. That is such a nice gesture.

CUOMO: What a gift. And, you know, look, you can hear this and say, well, of course, why wouldn't you? You know, people don't know somebody else. A wedding dress is a very personal thing.

CAMEROTA: The sentimentality, of course.

CUOMO: But she did it and literally made a memory that will last a lifetime.

CAMEROTA: OK, that is the good stuff. Here's something lighter. The Queen of England can do something U.S. presidents cannot. The 91- year-old can still drive herself around.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on the queen of the road.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One British paper dubbed her the Queen of the Road. Ninety-one-year-old Queen Elizabeth was spotted driving her Jaguar home from church. It's enough to make car- loving American presidents envious, because they can't just say --


MOOS: President Trump was the latest to lament, "I like to drive. I can't drive anymore." And this is a guy who's owned everything from a Ferrari to a Lamborghini to a Mercedes McLaren, in which he posed for "Vogue" with his pregnant wife.

Melania has fondly posted pictures of her husband at the wheel of his Rolls --


MOOS: -- with their son Barron riding shotgun.

No Rolls for Hillary. A Cutlass Ciera was the car she drove to the White House.

HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: Last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996. And I remember it very well and unfortunately so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven't driven since then.

MOOS: President Bill Clinton told Ellen driving was the everyday thing he missed most.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm always -- whenever I'm on the golf course, I always make him let me drive the golf cart.

MOOS: George W. Bush used to scratch his itch to drive by taking leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel on tours of his ranch in his pick-up.

(on camera): Sometimes the only way a White House occupant gets to drive is with the host of a comedy show.


MOOS (voice-over): But President Obama had to confine his 1963 Sting Ray joyride to the White House grounds.

JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN: I like the hand hanging over the wheel.


MOOS: James Corden came to the White House to pick up Michelle.



MOOS: And Jay Leno gave Joe Biden an excuse to burn some rubber --


MOOS: -- in the VP's '67 Corvette.

But these are the exceptions. Usually these wannabe drivers are carried around like packages.