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Fourteen Men In Custody In Connection With Manchester Attack; White House Defends Kushner's Contacts With Russia; Trump Supporters Grade His Presidency So Far. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired May 29, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: -- with the U.S. U.S. military officials say the missile flew for about 6 minutes and did no damage to ships or planes, but it landed in the exclusive economic zone off Japan's coast.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Meantime, British police make another arrest in the growing investigation into the deadly bombing in Manchester. Now there are a report that Britain's security agency is investigating itself over missed warnings.
CNN's Phil Black is live in Manchester this morning with the very latest. Phil, good morning.
PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, David and Alisyn. Yes, this is still very much an active police investigation with authorities making raids and arrests pretty much daily. They've been doing that again this morning. So they now as you touched them had 14 men in police custody.
The authorities have not revealed what roles they suspect these men of having played in the attack, but they've talked about trying to get to the bottom of the network. They believe they made significant progress in doing so, but they are not confident at this stage that they've identified and found everyone.
In the crucial side of the progress that has been made, British intelligence has determined that the national terror threat level can be reduced. This happened over the weekend has been brought back to the second highest level, which means they no longer believe the same group has the ability to strike again eminently.
But they are also asking questions about how all this happened in the first place. The British government has confirmed that MI-5, the country's domestic intelligence and security agency, is conducting an internal review to determine why the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, was not identified as a threat sooner.
British media reporting that the authorities have been warned at least three times about his possible extremism before he carried out the attack which killed 22 people, including seven children. Alisyn, back to you.
CAMEROTA: Phil, thank you. Please keep us posted on all of the investigative threads there.
Well, a suspected gunman in Mississippi is in custody after a shooting spree that left eight people dead. Police say 35-year-old Willie Godbolt got into an argument Saturday night with his estranged wife and then went on a rampage. Listen to him confess to a reporter with the "Clarian Ledger" moments after his arrest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suicide by cop was my intention. I ain't fit to live. Not after what I'd done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Among those shot and killed, a sheriff's deputy and two children.
GREGORY: The White House meantime is downplaying reports that Jared Kushner tried to set up a back channel to communicate with Russia during the transition. Is it a distraction or a much bigger deal? We will dig deeper coming up next.
CAMEROTA: President Trump facing questions about his son-in-law amid reports that Jared Kushner tried to set up a back channel communication with Russia. The president trying to deflect on Twitter saying, quote, "It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the fake news media."
Joining us now is CNN political commentators, Nina Turner and Jeffery Lord. Nice to see both of you this morning.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hello on this Memorial Day.
CAMEROTA: You, too, Jeffery. How concerned should the president and the White House be of these reports, first that Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law is being investigated by the FBI?
LORD: Well, I just think frankly this whole thing is ridiculous. Let me bring up two incidents from history. (Inaudible) who was a midlevel diplomat at the Soviet embassy was contacted back channel by Robert F. Kennedy's attorney general and set up what was called in the day a back channel, an un-sharable piece of information known only to the Kennedy brothers that had nothing to do with State Department or anyone else. They were unaware of it. It certainly has been done.
And secondly, Jimmy Carter sent (inaudible) when Jimmy Carter was president-elect, tot president, to visit with the U.S. Russian ambassador to open a back channel when President Ford was the president. So this has been done. I'm sure there are other examples.
CAMEROTA: OK, so just to be clear, Jeffrey, if Hillary Clinton had won and her son-in-law had tried to set up a back channel with the Russians, you would have been completely comfortable with that?
LORD: Look, I believe that presidents get to make these decisions. If President Hillary Clinton wanted to choose Mark (inaudible), if John F. Kennedy wanted to send his brother, Robert. That's the president's choice.
CAMEROTA: Back channels outside of the typical line of communication even with adversaries like Russia, fine.
LORD: It's normal. It's been done and nobody complained. Everybody thinks it is great. The Justice Department is now named after Robert F. Kennedy. If it is such a terrible thing, maybe they'll take the name off. I hope not.
CAMEROTA: I don't know. I mean, as you know Michael Hayden, a former CIA director said he had never seen anything like it. He said it was off the map. He knows of no other experience like this in our history. Nina, your thoughts?
NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, even the former CIA director said the same thing. Listen, let the investigations take place. I'm not sure if Jared Kushner is naive or arrogant or both. I will say about this Russia thing is that we have an independent prosecutor. We have intelligence and judiciary committees within both the Senate and the House doing investigations.
This pre-occupation with Russia, this mess that the Trump administration has created is really harming the American people to such an extent that we cannot really focus in on the domestic needs of the people from Flint, Michigan to places like my hometown where there is an opioid epidemic in the state of Ohio.
[06:40:05]So this is problematic. Let the investigations go forward. Let the chips fall where they may. I'm hoping that people will be able to both let the folks who are dealing with Russia deal with Russia and also be able to handle some of the domestic concerns that we have. But this is something the American people do deserve answers.
CAMEROTA: How about that, Jeffery? All of this Russia cloud is getting in the way of the president's agenda.
LORD: Well, I partially agree with her in the sense that I think that this is ridiculous stuff and we shouldn't be wasting a second on it because Nina is correct. There are plenty of other problems whether it's Flint, Michigan or health care or tax reform or opioid addictions, I mean, you name it.
There are a whole host of things that I'm sure the president really would prefer to focus his attention on. This is being done by political adversaries who practically don't even know their own history, which I find somewhat appalling.
CAMEROTA: Hold on second. It is not just political, it's the FBI. I mean, it's not just political adversaries that have brought up the Russia cloud. The FBI, there are intelligence agencies are looking into this. If there was collusion, we know that Russia interfered in the election. That is not a big deal?
LORD: Well, they've interfered in a lot of elections. Well, I mean, where were the investigations to the FBI in years past?
CAMEROTA: I mean, now, modern day, now. Do you think this is worth investigating?
LORD: I, Ali, this just goes to having a single standard, a single standard for President Trump and President Kennedy and President Franklin Roosevelt, et cetera. Same standard. That is all we're asking and I think that's pretty fair.
CAMEROTA: Nina, last word.
TURNER: I mean, the American people are being left behind in this and we really do need to focus. So let the investigations go on. Let the chips fall where they may. People in power need to stop playing Russian roulette with these issues. The Republicans need to act swiftly. For Democrats, this is not necessarily the ticket to win the midterms.
The American people need folks who are going to govern. Alisyn, I will say this. Really this weight and cloud should concern the president of the United States of America. He should be concerned about his legacy for this country is going to be.
Is it going to be just about Russia or is it really going to be standing up for the American people? The trust is his. Instead of a war room, they need a confessional.
CAMEROTA: Nina, Jeffery, thank you very much. Talk to you soon.
LORD: Thanks, Ali. Thanks, Nina.
GREGORY: We'll come back to politics. When we come back, something wild over the weekend. One of the Indy 500 favorites involved in one of the most terrifying crashes you will ever see. How was the driver able to walk away from the wreck uninjured? We will get details in the "Bleacher Report" coming up next.
GREGORY: So after eight tries, Japan's Takuma Sato wins his first Indy 500 in thrilling fashion. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report" from Indianapolis.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. This was my first Indy 500. I have to say it was like the Super Bowl on Miracle Gro. Three hundred thousand people here at the iconic Brick Yard, the largest single day sporting event in the world and making history was Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to ever capture the checkered flag at the Indy 500.
The race action packed. The record 15 different leaders. Takuma Sato finally chugging that victory milk. Forty years old, seven times victory alluded him here at the Indy 500, but he kissed the bricks on his eighth attempt. I asked the champ about his perseverance and his mind set.
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TAKUMA SATO, INDY 500 WINNER: No attack, no chance is my motto. Age is something, but I think you just believe it and never give up. I think then the dreams come true.
WIRE: Describe how that milk tasted in victory lane.
SATO: I love the milk, but it was just awesome feeling and the taste fantastic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Scott Dixon walked away as Indy 500 champ in 2008. In this race, fortunate to walk away at all. A heart stopping moment when his car went soaring through the air after contact with another drive, crashing into the barrier wall. His car bursting into flames and pieces. The safety cell and the bar above his head likely saving his life.
Miraculously he would walk away. Now after Dixon was released from the hospital, Alisyn, David, he seemed unbelievably calm. One of his crew members simply said race car drivers are not built like the rest of us.
GREGORY: But that safety cell is amazing, how it kept him locked in if you followed the video.
CAMEROTA: That's right. We need safety cells in our own cars. That's what I take away from that crash. Coy, thank you very much.
All right, so how do President Trump supporters, his most diehard supporters, feel about his performance at the four-month mark?
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CAMEROTA: So I know that you all have a grade four months in you would give President Trump. So three, two, one.
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CAMEROTA: All right. What led to those reviews? They will explain how they are feeling next.
CAMEROTA: Now to the next installment of our interviews with Trump voters. We assembled a panel of six diehard Trump supporters from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida to see how they are feeling four months in. We asked them what grade they would give President Trump today.
CAMEROTA: So I know that you all have a grade that four months in that you would give President Trump. So three, two, one. A plus. A minus. B minus. A minus. B minus. C.
OK, so Brooke, you gave him the lowest grade and I know that at one time, you considered yourself a diehard Trump supporter. So why today it's C?
BROOKE DHONDT: It really comes down to his character. Honestly, the straw that broke the camel's back for me was his tweets.
CAMEROTA: Now Donald Trump tweeted a lot during the campaign.
DHONDT: I liked how he was calling people out, you know, draining the swamp.
CAMEROTA: Well, what bothers you about his tweets now?
DHONDT: The name calling, the belittling. You know, I teach my children not to say these things to people. He is a grown man, just bullying all these people whether they are right or wrong. That is not how you approach a situation when you are president of the United States in my opinion.
CAMEROTA: Show of hands, how many people are bothered by his tweets? So three of you are bothered by his tweets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we love about him is he is not a politician. We hate about his is he is not a politician.
CAMEROTA: Dennis, you gave President Trump an "A plus." Is there anything in the past four months that has given you pause about the presidency?
DENNIS MCKIRAHAN: I think because I'm in that 70 year age bracket that I had a little more understanding of somebody just being real because I want people who are real. No matter what anybody says, I think he is more truthful than most people I've heard running the campaign --
CAMEROTA: But what about some of the things that he has clearly changed his tune on? What about some of the things where he said, China is a currency manipulator? No, they are not.
[06:55:12]NATO is obsolete. No, it's no longer obsolete. He said during the campaign, I will save Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security without cuts. The budget was just released. There are cuts.
MCKIRAHAN: We learn as we go. He is going to make mistakes and he's also going to say something -- you know, when you are put on the spot like I am right now, I may not say something that's not exactly what I wanted to say later, you know.
CAMEROTA: But you are not president.
MCKIRAHAN: No. He is not perfect.
CAMEROTA: So you give him a B minus, David?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CAMEROTA: What was the moment that started to turn for you from an A to now a B minus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Healthcare reform. I think Obamacare is definitely the wrong path because I know from personal experience I had to pay the mandates every year at tax time or pay the penalty.
CAMEROTA: You felt that President Trump could have gone further with healthcare?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that he could have really sat them down a little more. I think it was a little rushed.
CAMEROTA: Judy, explain your grade.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it is hard to beat an A plus. I don't think anybody is perfect right out the gate. The health care now that we have -- that is very big to me. I work in health care. I worked in health care for a couple decades.
CAMEROTA: So are you pleased with how President Trump has handled it thus far?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was too -- he pushed the first bill too soon. I believe that it is inexperience. He is not a politician.
CAMEROTA: So Jamie, you gave him an A?
JAMIE HECHTMAN ULLOA: I gave him an A minus. There are some things that I'm not happy with. One of them happens to be some of the verbiage he uses.
CAMEROTA: Such as?
ULLOA: When he calls people -- what was it he said to little Marco, but that was during the campaign.
CAMEROTA: He just called James Comey a nut job. That rubbed you the wrong way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think it wasn't very professional.
CAMEROTA: Roark, explain your grade to us.
ROARK TISHKO: B minus is what I gave him. Going into it I was very supportive, but reality sets in and you start seeing the drawbacks and tweeting which I hoped would stop. And really just as it boils down, I really thought he would get out of his own way.
CAMEROTA: What drawbacks?
TISHKO: Drawbacks such as reality like you mentioned Medicaid, $800 billion cut. When he was on the campaign trail, he said he would not do that. Basically as it happens, I was really hoping for more assertive leadership.
CAMEROTA: That's interesting. I don't often hear people say that President Trump is not aggressive enough of what -- can you give as an example?
TISHKO: Well, I mean, the tweeting. A news channel will say something negative about him then he will light up Twitter. I would have thought a president would have a bit more diplomacy.
MCKIRAHAN: What I want to do you can't see it, but it's -- I don't know if you can draw it. All of the accomplishments of Donald Trump in four months. One of the big ones is protecting my religious freedom, my voice to be able to speak.
CAMEROTA: You could not speak about your Christianity before four months?
MCKIRAHAN: I didn't let it bother me, but when they start taking the rights of religious groups away from them based on talking about faith or something, are you kidding me? I give Islam the freedom. I give Hindu the freedom. I give an Atheist a freedom. So for God sake, give me as a Christian the freedom.
CAMEROTA: But let's just remember, it was President Trump and then candidate who said he was calling for a full and complete and total Muslim ban until we can figure out what the hell is going on.
MCKIRAHAN: Until we can figure out.
CAMEROTA: Have we figured it out?
MCKIRAHAN: Well, I think he was learning that maybe that was a hard core position that he needed to lighten up a little bit.
CAMEROTA: Brooke, you are a stay at home mom?
CAMEROTA: What are you hoping for from President Trump's administration that could help you?
DHONDT: You know, there are many people in my life that struggle with addiction or have addiction, and it's absolutely heart breaking. For you to say you are going to do something about it and then you haven't really done anything. It makes me question a lot of everything else that he said.
CAMEROTA: Because you don't think that President Trump has done enough to combat addiction at this point?
DHONDT: Absolutely not. Children are losing their parents to drugs. They are being raised by their grandparents. I was raised by my grandparents.
CAMEROTA: Because of addiction?
DHONDT: Yes and it's just so personal to me.
CAMEROTA: What were you hoping President Trump would do at this point?
DHONDT: If you are saying you will help people with addiction, do you really think that these people have high quality jobs? They offered great insurance to be able to cover their state to be out of work to go to rehab? Absolutely not. If anything you are creating a bigger roadblock for these people to get help that need it.
CAMEROTA: You know, David, it is interesting. A couple of these panels that I have done recently, that is the issue. That's the issue that has turned them from being diehards to now questioning him because they believe -- so many people struggle with addiction and have family members that are struggling, and they thought that President Trump would do something almost instantly.
GREGORY: And results are going to be the thing. But I think what you hear and I thought very eloquently from the panel is a wide berth. They are still giving him a wide berth to achieve results and they are more sympathetic to his arguments that people are conspiring against him. It's a reality.
CAMEROTA: That's right.