Return to Transcripts main page


Latest on Manchester Bombing; Kushner Focus of Russia Investigation. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 26, 2017 - 6:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Now for the latest in the Manchester bombing a source CNN that Isis likely trained the suicide bomber in Syria in the month before the attack. This as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in London and in a (sol solidarity) the UK resumes intelligence with the U.S. Senior International Correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Manchester with all of the latest. Hi Clarrisa.

CLARRISA WARD: Hi Alisyn. Hi Alisyn. Well there have been raids going on throughout the night and into the morning as authorities here continue to try to drill down on whom may help the suicide bomber make that bomb, which network may have help to facilitate this attack. And actually British authorities have released a pretty staggering statistic Alisyn which gives you sense of what they are up against really.

They, intelligence services have said that they are currently investigating 500 terror plots. 500 terror plots just here in the United Kingdom. Those terror plots encumbrance some 3,000 different people. That really gives you a feeling for the scope and the scale of what they're up against here. We are also heading former the U.S. Official as you mentioned that they likely believe that he did some training, the suicide bomber, in Syria with Isis in the month leading up to the attack.

That though doesn't gel with what we are hearing form the Turkish officials who said, he passed through the airport but he never actually got out of Turkey. And Turkey of course is the main funnel to get into Isis held territory inside Syria. So hearing a little bit of discrepancy there in terms of whether or not he spent time with Isis. But Libyan official also think that his brother and his father have been detained. The brother apparently telling Libyan, Libyan Militia that they were both members of Isis, (John).

JOHN SCHEERHOUT (ph): Alright that's the word for us in Manchester England.


CAMEROTA: The FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 Election just got closer to the White House. The FBI now reportedly focusing on President Trump's son-in-law and his Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner. Jared is now to discuss the Ambassador Norman Eisen, a former White House "ethics czar" and a Brookings Institution Fellow and Timothy O'Brien, the Executive of Bloomberg View and author of Trump Nation, The Art of Being the Donald.

Gentlemen thank you very much, good morning to both of you. Tim this is different than the Paul Manafort or Carter Page where people connected to the campaign, this means the investigation stretches into the White House. What's the significance to you?

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Into the Oval Office I think the significance here is that from what we know so far is this has been an investigation primarily focused on the 2016 Campaign, and possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Kremlin. In the person of Jared Kushner you have a dimension of this now that is definitely financial. We know during the period of time that Jared Kushner spoke to Sergei Kislyak that he was also trying to refinance 666 5th Avenue, one of the crown jewels of the Kushner's families real estate empower.

And Jared brought that building in 2007, he over paid, the debt was burdensome. For a good portion of last year he was speaking to a major Chinese insurer trying to get financing lined up that would bail him out of that investment. In December after a meeting with the Russian Ambassador, he was then introduced to the head of one of the biggest banks I Russia, a bank run by the individual who is also trained in Russia's Spy School as it where.

And the question gets raised is, was Jared Kushner talking his book with the Russian? Was he attempting to get loans to help his company's finance and his family's finances at a time when there was sanctions on the bank that he was speaking with and sanctions against the Russians for Vladimir Putin incursions into the Crimea.

CAMEROTA: Right and we don't know. You know, we just don't know any of that.

O'BRIEN: We don't know. Right.

CAMEROTA: That's why perhaps why the FBI is now focusing on Jared Kushner. Norm look, this is why there are nepotism laws, because anytime a family member is involved, it's a spider web of possible conflicts of interest. But of course with the Trump Empire it's even more complicated.

NORM EISEN, FRM AMB, CZECH REPUBLIC: Good morning Alisyn. And of course that is the reason that we have the Anti-Nepotism Laws. What we here is kind of a witches brew, a cocktail of corruption. We have Mr. Trump himself refusing to let go of his financial interest, in violation, I and others contend of the Constitution. You have his son-in-law and daughter coming in as his closest advisors and doing something similar.

They are both hanging onto multiple financial interest. The reason that the anti-nepotism laws were passed - concerned after Bobby and Jack Kennedy had worked so closely together, that a family member might not give the right advice to a president. And now we are in a situation where we are staring to ask if the investigation tightens around Kushner, will Kushner and Trump do the right thing for the country or will they close ranks to defend themselves?

CAMEROTA: Well there you go Tim. I mean that's part of the complication, is when there was scrutiny on Paul Manafort the campaign manager at the time or Carter Page, these are all campaign advisors that President Trump can then distance himself from and throw under the bus if necessary. And say that was just some guy who worked on my campaign. He cannot do that obviously do that with Jared Kushner, his son-in-law. So, what happens?

O'BRIEN: Well what happens is that I think it is a useful moment for us to step back and talk about why these provisions exist. You have been on this issue very early on Alisyn, you and (Chris) both, around conflicts of interest laws and in the Federal Government and in the extent which the President himself is not bound by guidelines but which everyone else is.

And I don't think this is an (idiot logical) or partisan issue. It's really about good government. It's about what do we want from a process standpoint around our government. And what we want is to make sure that deal making isn't (complicated) with policy making. And the problem with the Trump White House is they've rather randomly mingled both.

And so it's hard to know on a visa program when the Kushner family is using it to pitch business in China, whether or not that visa program exist because it's good policy or whether or not the Kushner's are using it to raise money. It comes up with the hotel that Trumps own on Federally owned land in Washington, DC where essentially running the government and leasing the land for themselves in a profit making venture at a hotel that is frequented by lobbyist, diplomats, ambassadors, members of his own government - it's a kind of "Gilding" Age Movement we're in right now.

And the laws that came into being in the wake of the "Gilding Age" and the wake of (tea pot) was designed to prevent this kind of stuff.

CAMEROTA: And by the way Norm, the office of the government ethics says, that the Trump administration has yet to disentangle themselves from the conflicts of interest that the government, of the office of government ethics want them to, in terms of conflict of interest. So they say, that at the moment, they're not fully compliant.

EISEN: Well Alisyn of the good news stories in this very troubling time that Tim describes, and I agree with him that (Newsday) has been all over this from day one. One of the good news story is the checks and balances including in Trump's own Executive Branch like the Office of Government Ethics lead by the unlikely American hero Walt Shaub. And they have persistently stood up against this mingling, of personal interest and official interest including against the President himself.

And there are very profound Russian conflict questions, we don't know the answers - questions, because both of the President's sons have said, that there are substantial, allegedly said, that there are substantial Russian financing or Russian purchasing, or cash in Trump business.

So OGE is right to stand up for the traditional distinctions. No man can serve two masters. And it's Trump and his son-in-law are now being scrutinized as to whether they are doing just that.

CAMEROTA: Norm Eisen, Tim O'Brien Thank you very much for all the context. John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. President Trump attended his first NATO meeting. What did he bring with him? A lecture for some of the United State's closest allies. So, how did this scolding go over?

That's next.


BERMAN: President Trump addressing America's NATO allies for the first time, during his overseas trip. He took the opportunity to remind 23 of 28 member nations that they should be paying more. And he did not reaffirm the United States commitment to the group's mutual defense provision.

Let's bring in CNN Military and Diplomatic Analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby and former Deputy of Secretary of State and CNN Global Affairs Analyst turned, Tony Blinken.

And gentlemen, really the tale of two messages here. In Saudi Arabia, the President of the United States, Donald Trump told a crowd filled with, you know, gangs and leaders of the Arab Nation's - literally he said, we will not lecture you.

And then in Europe, filled with a room of America's closest allies, he lectured them. Listen to what he said briefly.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Twenty three of the twenty eight member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they're supposed to be paying, for their defense. This is not fair to the people and tax payers of the United States.

BERMAN: All right. That may be an important message to get more NATO contributions from some of these nations Tony Blinken. But what about the difference in the messages? Saudi Arabia, telling them we are not going to lecture you, and in Europe, one of America's closest allies there really a scolding.

ANTHONY BLIKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well look, the difference is stark. But what it comes down to with NATO is, it winds up being counterproductive. Because of course, we want our partners and allies to do more. Since 2014, in the Wales Summit, they have started to more.

They stopped the decline in defense spending and it's slowly rising. But the problem is when this president lectures them, in a sense in their own home in our common home, it's counterproductive.

He's not popular with European publics. The more he presses in public in this way, the harder it is for European leaders to actually deliver on more defense spending, because their public's don't like something for President Trump, unfortunately.

So, it's not the right way to do it. And the other problem is, as you've pointed out, in effect our partners didn't hear what they wanted to hear. Which is a strong commitment by the United States to Article 5, that is an attack on one is an attack on all.

And they heard what they didn't want to hear, which was, a lecture on defense spending. If the president had really made a forceful declaration on Article 5, that would have helped. He didn't do it.

And the bottom line is, it makes NATO look like some kind of protection racket. You know, if you pay we'll do something for you. If you don't, we won't. That's not what it is.

BERMAN: Admiral?

BLINKEN: It's the greatest volunteer alliance in the world.

BERMAN: Admiral, Sean Spicer was allowed to speak off camera, not on camera, to reporters, saying and this is ridiculous, of course, the president backs Article 5. That was implied. He didn't need to say it out loud. Are people

reading too much into this Admiral?

JOHN KIRBY, RETIRED REAR ADMIRAL, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I disagree with Sean. I think he actually did need say that. Look, some times -- it is a bedrock foundation of the alliance, absolutely.

But, you have a lot of allies who are worried about this administration and their relationship with Russia. And where's its going. And don't forget article 5 was designed, not about Russia, but of the Soviet Union back then. It's important.

And sometimes those bedrock principles are the ones that absolutely need to be reiterated in full every now and then. And yesterday was the prime moment to do that. Here he is in a memorial to 9/11, where Article 5 was invoked for the first and only time in the - in the NATO Alliance and on our behalf.

And while he mentioned that, he - it was the perfect segue.

BERMAN: Right.

KIRBY: It could have been the perfect segue to recommitting to that bedrock principle. And it's a real shame that he didn't do that.

BERMAN: You know, we have some news, just in to CNN. There was something of a dust up yesterday, after the president's meeting with the European Union. Der Speigel, a German newspaper, reported that President Trump said that Germany was very, very bad or had been acting very, very bad. Well just moment ago, Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to the President, clarified that the president did in fact say those Germans are very, very bad on trade. But he doesn't have a problem with Germany. He said his dad is from Germany.

I don't have a problem with Germany. I have a problem with German trade is a message the president wants to send there. But even that, Tony Blinken, to pick on the German's there for trade there, is that dicey territory on your first European trip?

BLINKEN: Well it is. Particularly because, when we step back what the Russians are trying to do, in every which way they can, is to divide us. Divide us internally and divide from our allies.

And so, when you go to NATO, the heart of the alliance, or when you go to the EU, a key partnership with the United States and you wind up saying divisive things, you're actually playing right into Mr. Putin's hands. You're doing Russia's work for it.

And I can just see them sitting back in Moscow, smiling and laughing about this. So again, it's not smart if you want to get to where we need to get, which was a rock solid alliance to confront all of these challenges. Germany is one of closest partners.

BERMAN: I can see though. I can see some of the president's, you know, allies and White House staff saying this isn't a Russia thing. This is a president pushing the trade agenda that he got elected on any chance he gets.

You know, Admiral if I could shift gears quickly here, one other area the president is commenting on is the leaks. You know Great Britain vey upset about leaks to the U.S. press and apparently U.S. intelligence about the investigation into the Manchester bombing, the president spoke out harshly against. It said they would be investigated.

Your take on this? Great Britain's outrage seems disproportionate to me, at least, compared to past investigations we have seen in France, in Brussels, in Orlando even. In the United States, this type of information does get to the press.

KIRBY: Yes. But I think it's really unfortunate that it does. I actually don't think the -- the outrage in the UK is misplaced at all. I think they're right to be that angry. Look, they were in an active manhunt. The scene, at the arena, was still a crime scene, still being going over for forensics.

And information is getting to the American media. And I think that's absolutely horrible. And I think the president's right to be aggressive in terms of wanting these investigated and then - and potentially prosecuted.

Now I don't think he had much choice in issuing that statement yesterday. I mean after the UK pulled back or threatened to pull back at that point their cooperation. But I think it is a serious matter and one that we all need to take extremely seriously here in America. BERMAN: Yes, the president's been talking about leaks for some time. It gives an opportunity to do so on the international stage.


BERMAN: All right. Tony, Admiral thanks so much for being with us. Thanks to our international viewers. For you, CNN Talk is next. For our American viewers the Republican congressional candidate charged with assaulting a reporter. He's going to Washington. He won.

New Day continues right now.


CAMERATO: Good Morning everyone. Welcome to your new day. Chris is off this morning. John Berman joins me. Great to have you.

BERMAN: Good to be here.

CAMERATO: Happy Friday. So, Republican Greg Gianforte wins a special election for Montana's lone House seat 24 hours after being charged with assaulting a reporter. In his victory speech, Gianforte apologized to that reporter that he is accused of body slamming. Gianforte says he is owning up to his mistake.

BERMAN: While that's going on the FBI's investigation into Russia connections piercing the president's inner circle. CNN is reporting a senior advisor, and perhaps most importantly, son-in-law of President Trump, Jared Kushner is now under scrutiny for his role during the campaign and the transition. We have this all covered.