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Report: Sources Say Trump Is Lonely, Emotionally Withdrawn; Trump the Nationalist Arises with Climate Decision; Comey To Testify Publicly on Trump Confrontations. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 31, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Would that tell you if he is leaning according to our reporting leaning on having the U.S. pulling out? Is their influence waning in the White House?
EMILY JANE FOX, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there are two important things to think about here. We have long heard two narratives. The first is that Jared Kushner is this moderate voice, and the second narrative is that Ivanka Trump is a very present voice in his ear, and perhaps the greatest influence in the West Wing, but what we are seeing now is that not the influence is waning, but the narratives are incorrect. Jared Kushner is very much in support of the President firing James Comey and the Muslim ban from what my sources say, so the notion of the moderate influence is becoming not so true, and the notion of Ivanka Trump being so close of an adviser is not as close to the reality as we thought.
BALDWIN: And so, he would have wanted the U.S. to pull out of the Paris accord, but the President meeting at the Vatican with the Pope, and Pope would like him to remain, and is Steve Bannon in the President's eyes more important, more influential than the Pope?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: I think that he is, and although I heard from the few sources that I have in the Vatican that they thought that Trump was teachable. That is the word that came back to me. That he is someone who can be brought along and I am not sure that is the case on this issue, and what is interesting is to understand that both Trump and I think that Jared Kushner, and perhaps even Ivanka are anti-elitist in their own way. They have the chip on their shoulder, and each one of them about certain people who might be identified as eggheads or elitists, and going against the Paris treaty would be a slap in the face to those people. It favors the Bannon position, but I am not sure that the fight is that intense in the White House, and Emily is making a good point, they are aware of his base and how it plays to the voter in Pennsylvania --
BALDWIN: Making good on the campaign promise all along.
D'ANTONIO: And these folks, I think they imagine that going against the environmental treaties is good for jobs. So, it is not necessarily, and we know that there are more jobs in the wind industry than in the coal right now. But, it is a statement. And it is a political statement, and a few years from now, I don't know how many voters will punish Donald Trump for going against this treaty versus how many will see it as consistent with who he is. BALDWIN: And following up on the teachable line from the sources in
the Vatican, and you have a written a book on the man, and that is what we have heard on the man, he is impressionable.
D'ANTONIO: Well, he is, but I think that we can see that he is identified his core attitudes. And it is not so much issues, but it is the attitudes that he wants to strike. So, policy, you know, he could take it or leave it, but if he is going to send a signal of who I am with and who am I against, well, he is against Barack Obama for sure. So much of what he does is still with the Obama in his sights. He is fighting that guy even though he is not a President, and Obama's really chilling all over the world. So, I think that he is makings the statements, and striking a pose and, he is comfortable with it. I think that the White House probably sees that, too, and everyone around him may see this differently from those of us who feel that the treaty is valuable.
BALDWIN: Michael, thank you. Emily, thank you as well on all things White House today.
We have more on the breaking news coming up. Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify next week on Capitol Hill on the allegations that President Trump did indeed pressure him to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. Stay here.
[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We are back with the breaking news and news about the fired FBI Director James Comey. We are hearing that he will testify publicly in front of the Senate as early as next week, and his testimony is expected to confirm that President Trump pressured him to end his investigation into the President's fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
With me now is Garrett Graff, the author of "The Threat Matrix, The FBI At War" and former Politico editor. Welcome back. When you hear the CNN reporting and the significance of it, and the public hears this coming from the former FBI director about the President, your thoughts?
[15:40:00] GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR OF "THE THREAT MATRIX, THE FBI AT WAR": So, this is one of the first hints that we are getting about how the coming months will unfold. We know that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is off and beginning to build the investigation, and assembling the team and putting together how he is going to be moving forward, but we did haven't a good sense until now about how that investigation was going to align or conflict or obstruct the Congressional investigations, in the house and the Senate, and this is sort of a sign that these investigations are not going to be going silent over the next couple of months, that we are going to be seeing Director Comey or former Director Comey out in public next week, and perhaps as early as next week, talking about this, and that he has discussed this testimony with Robert Mueller, and has permission to proceed, and that, it is a really significant sign to us that these investigations are not going to go continue in parallel over the coming months. BALDWIN: Since we know that Comey and Mueller have discussed this as
far as the testimony is concerned next week, what do you think, Garrett, what do you believe that the parameters will entail?
GRAFF: Well, we won't know that until we see where Jim Comey draws the line in his open public testimony.
BALDWIN: But if you are Bob Mueller, what would you say to Jim Comey before he steps out in front of all of those cameras next week?
GRAFF: Well, this is where we just don't have a good sense yet, because one of the things that it might mean is that, and again, it is not based on any inside knowledge, but it is interpretations of what we are seeing or being reported today is the possibility of maybe Bob Mueller is not going to dive into the obstruction of justice question, and he is going to stay primarily focused on the Russia question. Let Congress take the lead on the obstruction of justice end of the investigation with Jim Comey. That would be very typical of what we would be, what we might expect to see from Bob Mueller who defines his, his scope and his parameters very narrow in general. That is what he did, and precisely what he did with the NFL investigation that he was asked to lead a couple of years ago into the Ray Rice domestic violence incident where he took one sliver of that investigated it very thoroughly, and so maybe he is going to be taking the backward- looking Russia angle of what happened in 2016 between Russia and the Trump campaign, and Russia's own meddling of the election, and did the President attempt to obstruct justice by firing Jim Comey.
BALDWIN: Well, the world will be watching next week.
BALDWIN: James Comey on the hot seat next week. Than you, Garrett Graff.
And news from Afghanistan, at least 11 Americans were among the nearly 400 people hurt in the wake of the suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan. The blast is one of the deadliest attacks in the Afghan capital in years. At least 90 people were killed. This happened in the part of the city where the foreign embassies are, and during the busy, busy rush hour is. And our CNN correspondent Elise Labott is with us, and what is your assessment of whether or not more troops will be sent in?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Look. This is a horrible bombing today, broke. So many casualties, dead and injured, and look, the last several months, and the last year in fact, it has been a real deadly one for Afghanistan, and now President Trump has the first decision that he has to make in the Afghanistan. And you know, Afghanistan was a kind of distant topic during the campaign. It hardly came up at all, but the attacks, and there have been a few attacks over the last month or two, and they have really brought to home how difficult and how unstable the situation in Afghanistan is. You have more than 90 dead, and nine of them were afghan nationals that were working a security guards for the U.S. embassy in Kabul, and as you said, 11 U.S. American contractors assigned to the embassy working on various state department programs were among the injured. So, this is really going to bring back to roost the decision that President Trump has in front of him.
BALDWIN: What would you say that the central decision is, whether he sends in more troops to Afghanistan front and center?
LABOTT: How long the U.S. is going to stay in the war, and whether it is going to stay for the job to be done, and the Defense Secretary Mattis, and H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser are advising a modest bump which is to train the Afghan forces and to get the Afghan army to the place to take over the security situation.
[15:45:00] But when you are look at the massive security problem there, it is reasonable that the President says how long will the U.S. be in there and he has said that he wants to pull the U.S. back, but when you have a war 16 years in, I don't know how the U.S. cut and run from something like this. I think that you will see the President who has this decision to make, but I think that at this point, there is no way that he can say no.
BALDWIN: And 16 years. Elise Labott.
Coming up next, President is signaling he may pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal. How this move might impact America's role on the world stage. And what it reveals about the President's inner circle. Ambassador Andrew Young weighs in.
BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news. According to two senior officials, President Trump is poised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement which would make the United States the sole major western power not to sign on. The U.S. would join Syria and Nicaragua, the only other nations not to agree to it, despite its ratification by 147 other countries. You can see the map there for yourself. Moments ago, we saw the President in his brief public appearance with the prime minister of Vietnam. President Trump would only say that his decision is coming, quote, very soon.
[15:50:00] So, let me turn now to the civil rights icon Andrew Young, the first African-American to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, former mayor of Atlanta, former Congressman from Georgia, current chairman of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. Mr. Ambassador, as an Atlanta native, it's such an honor and a privilege to have you on.
ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, it's good to be with you.
BALDWIN: So, let's just begin with this Paris news. You know, first your reaction to hearing that President Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
YOUNG: Well, remember, I was part of the U.N. where this whole international agreement, law of the sea, climate change and all of this was discussed, but really that doesn't really -- that's an intellectual argument. I think the argument I would like to see us address is the floods of Missouri and Arkansas, and we have along the Mississippi river, our foundation has been working with the mayors of 75 cities and 36 states. President Trump carried 34 of those, but those cities are about to flood, and nobody has touched the Mississippi river since I was born almost, in 1936. And the damage done from Iowa all the way down to Louisiana every year is in the tens and $20 billions of dollars.
I think we're going to have to focus on that, and then people will say, well, wait a minute, this has never happened quite like this before. Why is it happening now? Then we get into the real issues pertaining to climate change. But we have to have a solution, and what I think we'll find is that all of the solutions to almost any problem we face is the global solution, and we still have a nation that's thinking nationalistically. Now President Trump's problem is that he really does live economically in a global economy. All of his business is global, but his mind is national, and the people who voted for him thought that there might be a quick international solution that would make haul of these great problems go away. If just ain't so.
BALDWIN: Mr. Ambassador --
YOUNG: It doesn't matter, we shouldn't -- I guess concerned that we've been distracted by the personalities that make the news every day. There were 11,000 editorials about race that made the south face up to race. We don't have anybody calling us back to those issues that we have to deal with. That's what our foundation has been trying to do all along.
BALDWIN: And I promise I want to ask you about that, but if I can just stay on, you know, to your point, the folks along the Mississippi river. When you hear from the White House, it's all about jobs. The President, if you can -- can you hear me?
YOUNG: I hear you very good.
BALDWIN: OK. The President is saying that -- that by potentially pulling out of the Paris accord that this would mean job growth for Americans, that he is thinking domestically, that this is, you know, making good on a promise he made his supporters out on the campaign trail. Your response to that?
YOUNG: My response to that is the Mississippi river, 36 states, 6 cities from all top to bottom, and that's where the job problem is. It's got little or nothing to do with Paris, and I think if you focused on the people that voted for you and not the commentary and the discord that was generated by this campaign, but there was some real people who were concerned about real issues, whose homes are flooding and who are going to flood, it was almost $60 billion worth of damage up around Iowa. There was about $20 billion along Illinois and down where I come from in New Orleans it was something like $10 billion, $12 billion of flood damage. Preventing that flood damage would create jobs. Now, New Orleans has done it. New Orleans put the casino and the convention center in the bend of the Mississippi river, and New Orleans doesn't flood, but to do that, they had to put down 100, 150 feet of concrete and steel. It protects the river. It the creates the job. It's the lifeline of New Orleans tourism and conventions. Now, we've sort of done the same thing here. Our problem wasn't the river, but we've learned how to exist in a global economy and use worldwide money to dole with national problems.
[15:55:00] BALDWIN: Yes, sir. If I may ask you about civility in politics. You know, you served federal, local government. We were watching recently the shoving match broke out on this Texas house floor. We saw a Montana Congressman body slam a reporter, a Mississippi state representative called for the lynching of his critics. I mean, sir, as someone who has walked with dr. King, it's not the worst you have seen, but how bad is -- is it now in your eyes?
YOUNG: Well, the bad thing that it seems to be acceptable, and this is where the President and his close associates have set a rather bad example, that this talk tough and I think we get, you know, much closer together when -- I mean, I grew up in New Orleans with the Nazi party on the corner. The first lesson I learned from my father was this is a sickness, nazism, but you don't get mad at it. You have to get smart, and you have to protect yours from this kind of hatred. Don't get caught up in the hatred and tit for tat. You lose your temper in the fight and you lose the fight. Now, there are lots of people who are so frustrated that they are losing their tempers, and they are taking it out not only on people of different colors and religions, they are taking it out on their own families and the anxiety and frustration of our nation is really not political only. We're scared. We're scared of the world in which we live, and part of our message is that we don't have to be afraid. I mean,
I was a child at Pearl Harbor, and that was something to be afraid of. They were sinking American ships right off the coast of Georgia, but Franklin Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and all of a sudden, the country was put at ease, and we went through pearl harbor after that, and we -- and, you know, we've had crisis. Every crisis of violence and bloodshed in the civil rights movement was a potential for blowing up, and everybody was wondering where is the violence coming? Well, we understood that violence destroys, and we were trying to learn to live together as brothers and sisters, and it -- it -- and nobody right now was to blame. We were born into a mess of a world, and we don't have to blame anybody on what we've had. We have to use the common consensus and intelligence and research and -- and the labor of ordinary people to solve our problems.
BALDWIN: Right. Which applies in a different sense today in America in 2017. Andrew young, Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much. Those are words to hang on to now. Thank you so much for your time.
YOUNG: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, Hillary Clinton moments ago talking about the e-mail investigation, President Trump and whether she will run for President again.
Before I let you go tomorrow night, Lebron James will face off for the third time against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals and today he's dealing with this. Police say someone vandalized his home with a racial slur. The "n" word was spray painted on the front gate of his west Los Angeles home and by the time he arrived the slur had already been painted over. James wasn't home at the time. Police are looking through any security footage for any clues to find out who could have possibly done that. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts now.