Return to Transcripts main page


Merkel: Europe Can't "Completely" Rely On U.S.;Kushner Facing Increased Scrutiny;Another North Korean Missile; New Arrest In Manchester Attack. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 29, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:32:35] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting Europe can't trust the United States the way it used to comes following meetings with President Trump, so what's in store for U.S. relations with key allies?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And, amid growing fallout over Russia, the White House is taking steps to minimize the fallout. How will Jared Kushner's reported backchannel overtures to the Kremlin affect the administration's power structure?

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. Thanks for joining us on this Memorial Day. And this morning, on the heels of his overseas trip, President Trump gets an implied no confidence vote from one of Europe's top leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says right now Europe can't completely depend on the U.S. and other longtime allies. Now, Merkel didn't mention President Trump by name but it was clear just who she was thinking of when she mentioned recent international summits she attended -- she attended with the president.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The times when we can completely count on others, they're over to a certain extent. I've experienced this in the last few days and that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands. Of course, in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain, and as good neighbors wherever that is possible, also with other countries, even with Russia. But we have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans, and that's what I want to do together with you.


KOSIK: On his trip, President Trump labeled Germany "very bad" on trade and he slammed NATO allies for spending too little on their own defense. NATO leaders weren't happy that the president failed to acknowledge their recent increases in military spending.

BRIGGS: And at the G7 summit, world leaders, including Merkel, were unable to convince President Trump to stay in the Paris Climate Accord. The president says a final decision is coming this week.

KOSIK: Distractions for the president, they don't stop there. The White House also facing growing fallout over word that Jared Kushner attempted to set up a backchannel to communicate with the Kremlin during the transition, undetected. A source with knowledge of the matter confirming to CNN a report that first appeared in "The Washington Post."

BRIGGS: President Trump now preparing to fight back. Sources tell CNN he's considering a shake-up in the White House communications office as the West Wing sets up a new war room to push back on all Russia stories with help from the RNC. We get now more from CNN's Ryan Nobles.

[05:35:08] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alison and Dave, good morning from the White House, and this is the start of a busy week for the president as he returns from his long trip overseas, and we'll have to see if the White House provides any more clarity about this latest controversy involving the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner and the reports that he attempted to set up a backchannel of communication between the Trump transition and the Kremlin.

The White House has not confirmed or denied this report but they did find an unlikely ally this weekend in South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who said that he's not sure he buys this report. Listen to what he had to say on "STATE OF THE UNION."

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know who leaked this supposed conversation but just think about it this way. You've got the ambassador to Russia reporting back to Moscow on an open channel, 'Hey, Jared Kushner's going to move into the Embassy.' I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it. I think it makes no sense that the Russian ambassador would report back to Moscow on a channel that he most likely knows we're monitoring. The whole storyline is suspicious. I've never been more concerned and suspicious about all things Russia than I am right now.

NOBLES: Now, Graham's defense of the White House is more than we've seen from the White House, itself. As we've said, they've not confirmed or denied the report. Instead, administration officials have answered questions about this topic by speaking it more conceptually and broadly, saying that if it were true it really wouldn't be that big of a deal. Among them, H.R. McMaster, the National Security adviser, and John Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary.

Meanwhile, the president had a busy Sunday, meeting with advisers about the path going forward, not just on Russia but on his domestic agenda as well. And we spotted Marc Kasowitz, the attorney that the president has retained to represent him as an individual, not necessarily as the president -- Kasowitz seen leaving the White House with Ivanka Trump, the wife of Jared Kushner who is, of course, at the center of all this controversy -- Alison and Dave.


KOSIK: OK, Ryan, thanks very much. No doubt, this is going to be a huge week and to talk about what's going to be happening this week we've got Eugene Scott getting up early for us this morning. Thanks for joining us. So, you know, we've got Donald Trump -- President Trump back on U.S. soil after his overseas trip. He says it was a success. Getting a kind of different vibe from Angela Merkel, who is basically saying that Europe can't completely rely on the U.S.

This is huge because Europe is one of the U.S.' biggest trading partners. This has huge political implications, this has implications for defense, and this has implications beyond this presidency. I'm talking about Donald Trump. So I get that she's appealing to her electorate. She's up for -- she's up for reelection in September and she's up against a voting -- a voting population who are not too keen on Donald Trump at the moment. So with a beer in hand, she says that Europe can't rely on the U.S. like it used to. This has huge implications, doesn't it?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Absolutely. I mean, Germany is Europe's largest economy, right, and so that's going to have a huge impact on us in the States when it comes to trade. But it's also going to have a significant impact related to national security issues and other international affairs, particularly how they respond to Russia and what we can expect of them in terms of their relationship with Russia. I think what's most interesting is how personal this may be, as well.

We do know that Merkel was a good friend of Barack Obama's, at least internationally, and we also know that when she came to the States with Trump there was quite a few -- there were quite a few memes about handshakes and facial expressions, and it will be interesting to see what this means for us going forward in terms of her relationship with Donald Trump.

BRIGGS: Well, in a broader sense does this suggest to you that perhaps the United States will pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Does it suggest that -- in his speech he did not reaffirm Article 5 to NATO.

SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: Does it suggest that those two things are on the fence at this point?

SCOTT: I think so, and I think they have been for a while. I mean, we don't really know where the administration completely stands on this issue because they haven't always been consistent on it. I think there are people at the White House, like Ivanka Trump, who say that maybe we are going to be a bit more sensitive to these environmental issues, and then you have her father, the president, come back and say something else that doesn't give us a strong sense of where this administration is going to stand on these issues.

BRIGGS: Now, this has major international consequences but if you're a Trump supporter do you say look, this is what we voted for? SCOTT: Absolutely. I mean, I think the reality should say we cannot completely rely on the United States. I think when President Donald Trump campaigned and he said 'America First' this is what people in these towns and in these states that backed him were hoping. Not that America would be left -- would leave the rest of the world behind when they were in need, but that America would look out for Americans first.

KOSIK: OK, the other big headline of the weekend, Donald Trump's son- in-law Jared Kushner and his dealings with the Russian Ambassador Kislyak and others, including a big banker -- a big Russian banker. What do you see happening this week? We haven't seen the White House actually come out with a statement. We've seen a few tweets from Donald Trump. We haven't seen an official statement as far as what the position is about what's happening here with his son-in-law.

[05:40:10] SCOTT: Well, what I see happening is the White House putting this alleged war room into use, in terms of how they're going to figure out how to respond to these crises, particularly this situation with Jared Kushner in terms of backchanneling --


SCOTT: -- communications with Russia.

BRIGGS: Right, and that's the question here. Did Kushner try to backchannel with the Russians? Why did he exactly do that?

SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: Here are both sides of that story on Sunday.


JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Whatever the communication is comes back into the government and shared across the government, so it's not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines to any government. I would just say that any line of communication to a country, particularly a country like Russia, is a good thing.

MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA & NSA DIRECTOR: This is off the map, Michael. I know no other experience like this in our history, certainly within my life experience.


BRIGGS: All right. Here is how the president defended his son-in-law to "The New York Times." "Jared Kushner is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person." But at the heart of this is the question of the private backchannel to avoid our Intel Community. Is it a good thing or is it off the map? Two very different perspectives -- SCOTT: Sure.

BRIGGS: -- on setting up private communications with, arguably, our biggest global adversary.

SCOTT: Right, and certainly that obviously depends on what side of the aisle you sit on or issue you stand on, right? I mean, the reality is there are people who don't think that he is a very good person and has the experience to be involved in something like this. But I think it is important also to know that this information supposedly -- it's not uncommon for Russia to exaggerate what actually happened in these types of communications.

BRIGGS: And even completely lie.

SCOTT: And completely lie, right? And so -- and so --

KOSIK: And that's what Lindsey Graham was saying.

BRIGGS: But the administration did not deny it.

KOSIK: This weekend, Lindsey Graham saying --


KOSIK: -- this could be almost like a setup. Why would Kislyak tell his Russian counterparts that this is happening --

BRIGGS: Well --

KOSIK: -- when he, in the back of mind, knows that he could be being monitored by the U.S.?

BRIGGS: But the administration did not push back. They did not deny --

SCOTT: Yes. They didn't, you saw that.

BRIGGS: -- that this happened so those hearings on Capitol Hill for Kushner become very important. Eugene Scott, thank you, friend.


KOSIK: Thanks so much, Eugene. Good seeing you. OK, the two big international stories this morning, North Korea escalating its missile test following firing another that lands not far from the coast of Japan.

BRIGGS: And another arrest in the Manchester attack as officials say some of the bombers' network could still be at large. Live reports on both of these developing stories, next.


[05:46:53] KOSIK: Breaking overnight, the latest provocation from North Korea. Pyongyang firing off its third ballistic missile test in as many weeks, a short-range missile that fell into the waters between North Korea and Japan, just 200 miles from the Japanese coastline. The test drawing strong and immediate condemnation from Japan and South Korea. CNN's Paula Hancocks is live for us in Seoul with the very latest. Paula, this missile landing very close to the Japanese coastline where ships and planes operate getting very strong words from Japan.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Alison. We heard from Japan's chief cabinet secretary that it was extremely problematic, the fact that this is a busy shipping lane, the fact that there are a number of aircrafts and ships in the area and clearly, North Korea does not give warning to anybody when it's carrying out these missile launches. So, once again, Japan and South Korea are very concerned.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had some strong condemnation, saying that he "will take concrete action together with the United States" to try and make sure that they can deter North Korea, not giving any indication, though, of exactly what that is. Whether or not it's stronger sanctions, further sanctions, and of course, what part Beijing would play in that, so up in the air at this point what exactly that means. We heard from South Korea as well. They're saying that they condemned what had happened. "A severe threat to the peace and stability not only of the Korean Peninsula but of the entire international community."

Now, there's a fairly new president here in South Korea. Moon Jae-in was sworn in just three weeks ago and since he became president, North Korea has fired a missile every single week since then. This is a man who said he is pro-engagement, pro-dialogue with Pyongyang but, obviously, very difficult to see how that is possible when these launches are coming so intensely. At this point, we know it's a short-range missile. We believe it is a scud missile. Analysis still going as to exactly what kind of scud, Alison.

KOSIK: OK, Paula. It certainly will be interesting to see what concrete actions Shinzo Abe is looking to take and if it will have any effect on what North Korea is doing. All right, Paula Hancocks, thanks so much.

BRIGGS: Elsewhere, a new arrest in connection with the Manchester terror attack. A 23-year-old Sussex man taken into custody just hours ago. Fourteen people remain in custody. Police now trying to determine whether the bomber had a terror network behind him and if members of that network might still be at large. Let's go live to Manchester and bring in CNN's Phil Black. Good morning to you, Phil. What's the latest? Where is this investigation headed here?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave, as you touched on there, it is still leading police to raid properties and make arrests. We saw that overnight -- it happened over the weekend, as well. So we know now that there are 14 men in custody. Police here are talking about making significant progress but they're not saying they've got everyone just yet.

There's an encouraging sign where over the weekend British intelligence officials determined that the country's national terror threat level should be lowered from its highest classification. It was raised to the critical level following the attack, but the lowering of that now means that intelligence here believes that the same group is not capable of striking again imminently which is, indeed, a pretty crucial point.

[05:50:12] The British government has confirmed that MI5 -- this is the domestic intelligence and security organization -- they're going to be conducting an internal review to determine why the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, was not identified as a threat sooner. British media are reporting that people here had contact with the authorities at least three times prior to the attack to warn them about his extremist views.

Meanwhile, here in Manchester, what you're seeing around me is still -- well, it's a very emotional scene, as it has been throughout the weekend, as it continues to be almost a week since the attack killed 22 people, including seven children. This memorial here in the center of the city is where people are still coming to leave flowers and tributes -- to stop, reflect, and think about those victims.

And there are also a great number of people who are going about their lives in such a way to prove that the attack will not change the community here. We saw that in a pretty powerful way with the tens of thousands of people who took part in the Great Manchester Run. It's a big annual event here. Some people were nervous about showing up in such a big crowd under the circumstances. But there was tremendous security -- but also, tremendous determination because those runners knew that it was sending a big message to the people who conducted the attack and to the rest of the world as well, Dave.

BRIGGS: Boy, it sure is, Phil. Nice to see no fear -- a show of strength. Thanks so much, Phil, appreciate it.

KOSIK: OK, time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joins us this morning. Good morning. It looks like it's going to shape up to be a very busy week concerning President Trump and Russia.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Yes, it will. Great to see you guys.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: So obviously we will be covering all of the latest threads on that. Also, I'm going to have the next installment of my Trump voter panel. This, of course, is where I sit down and interview diehard Trump supporters. We check in with them to see how they're feeling now, four months in. And, of course, we are remembering our brave men and women of the military who were lost on this Memorial Day, so we're going to have former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on, along with famous documentarian Ken Burns, who was a new film coming out on Vietnam war vets in just a couple of months. So we're going to sit down with them and they're going to help us commemorate this holiday.

BRIGGS: Awesome.

CAMEROTA: And I also have -- look who also drew the short straw today -- David Gregory is here --


KOSIK: Hi, Dave.

CAMEROTA: -- filling in for Chris --

BRIGGS: Lucky you.

CAMEROTA: -- so it's going to be a very big morning here.

BRIGGS: All right, sounds good. We'll see you guys in just a bit.

KOSIK: Thanks very much.

CAMEROTA: See you.

BRIGGS: All right. EARLY START will be back in just a minute.


[05:56:45] BRIGGS: All right. A suspect in custody this morning facing capital murder and other charges after allegedly gunning down eight people, including a sheriff's deputy, in southern Mississippi. The carnage, two men, four women, and two boys, spread out over three crime scenes. Authorities identifying the slain officer as Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy William Durr. The suspect, 35-year-old Willie Godbolt spoke to a reporter from "The Clarion Ledger" newspaper as he sat in custody awaiting treatment a gunshot wound.

KOSIK: In the paper's video, Godbolt says he was trying to talk to his wife and her parents about taking his children home with him. That's when Godbolt says somebody called the sheriff and the shooting began.


CLARION LEDGER REPORTER: So what's next for you?

WILLIE GODBOLT, MASS SHOOTING SUSPECT: Death. Suicide by cops was my intention. I ain't fit to live, not after what I done.


KOSIK: Godbolt had a long rap sheet, including a 2005 arrest for armed robbery and aggravated assault.

All right, just a reminder for you. The financial markets, they are closed today in honor of Memorial Day, but the monthly jobs report for May comes out on Friday and a strong report could wind up bolstering the case for another interest rate hike that is expected, and the Fed triggered a hike in March. Also, earnings reports are expected this week from companies including Lululemon, Vera Bradley, Michael Kors, and Hewlett-Packard, so we're going to watch out for that. Also, Dave, expect what happens in Washington to certainly affect the way you're seeing stocks trade on Wall Street.

BRIGGS: Most certainly. We always see that.

KOSIK: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" with David Gregory in for Chris Cuomo, and Alisyn Camerota begins right now.


BRIGGS: German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting Europe can't trust the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Europe, there are a lot of folks looking to hear things from him.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we hit a homerun no matter where we are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump again targeting journalists, accusing the fake news media of fabricating lies.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA SENATOR: If you tweet every day and complain about the media you're not going to get your deals done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jared Kushner sought to develop a line of communication with the Russians that could not be monitored.

KELLY: Any line of communication to a country, particularly a country like Russia, is a good thing.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: There ought to be a review of his security clearance.

GRAHAM: I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it.

HAYDEN: What manner of ignorance and chaos would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good idea?


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, May 29th, 6:00 here in New York on this Memorial Day. Chris is off and David Gregory joins me. Great to have you here.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Always fun to be called up.

CAMEROTA: We have a lot of news so let's get to it. Here's our starting line. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says European nations must take their fate into their own hands, adding they can no longer completely rely on the U.S. President Trump is back in Washington today facing growing questions about his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The FBI investigating Kushner's contacts with Russia.

GREGORY: Meantime, as you might expect, President Trump is reviving his attacks on the news media, condemning leaks in a barrage of tweets. Yes, more tweets. Can he overcome the growing cloud of Russia gripping his administration now that he is back at the White House? All of this as the president marks this Memorial Day in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. We have it all covered this morning.

We're going to begin with CNN's Athena Jones who is live this morning in Washington.