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AT THIS HOUR
Dems Reveal Letters to FBI over Session's Russian Meeting; Ben Jealous Running for Maryland Governor; Lebron James Invokes Emmett Till after N-Word Attack; Trump May Add Language to Satisfy Critics over Paris Deal; Chilling Video of Standoff Aftermath at Pulse Nightclub. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 1, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: One particular thing, Kate, I'll add real quick to this. One particular meeting, in particular, that they're concerned about is an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel here in Washington.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right.
PEREZ: I think you covered it a little bit earlier in the show. And they believe that there's more to that, and they want the FBI to look into it.
BOLDUAN: And any response from the FBI?
PEREZ: We don't have any response yet from the FBI.
PEREZ: It's not clear whether or not this is something that the FBI's investigating. We've reached out to the FBI to see whether or not they're going to provide an update.
BOLDUAN: And can you talk to me a little bit more about what CNN had learned and what I think some of your sources that you guys all learned overnight about Jeff Sessions and where things stand there with these undisclosed meetings?
PEREZ: Right. Again, the Mayflower event, which was back in April of 2016, it's early in the campaign season, and Donald Trump is then the candidate. He is going to do a foreign policy address. There was a gathering there. According to the Justice Department, they don't believe that there was anything private that happened between Sessions and Kislyak, that there was no private interaction. There was, however -- there were two parts of this event, one was a public event, and then there was a smaller gathering.
PEREZ: And it's not clear whether or not Sessions and Kislyak ever interacted. The Justice Department says they don't believe so.
These Senators clearly believe there's more to that, and that's the reason why they're asking the FBI to look into it. We also should mention that the Senate committee that is investigating
the Russian meddling in the 2016 election, they're looking into this as well. They're going to be seeking calendars and other records from the attorney general to see whether any of that might explain what happened that day.
BOLDUAN: That Senate investigation just continues to get wider and wider and wider.
PEREZ: It sure does.
BOLDUAN: Very interesting information.
Thank you so much, Evan. I really appreciate you bringing us that. Bring us more updates if you hear back from the FBI on any of that.
Let's move on to this right now. It is 2017. That is not breaking news. But are we still living in a 2016 kind of world? Hillary Clinton relitigating the election results, Donald Trump again still calling her crooked, and the American public stuck in the middle of it and sick of all of it. Clinton's latest appearance came with another round of who's to blame. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's another why I lost. If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to, as we now know, the 1,000 Russian agents who were involved in delivering those messages. We had Dean McKay here from "The New York Times" yesterday, and they covered it like it was Pearl Harbor. And then in their endorsement of me, they said, this female thing, it's like a help desk issue. I have my complaints about former Director Comey, but it was done. And then it was reignited and it became the major reason towards the end, based on the best analysis that I can find, that I lost ground and ended up losing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: President Trump not able to help himself, tweeted this afterwards: "Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate, hits Facebook and even Dems and DNC."
All right, let me bring in right now Ben Jealous, who is, of course, the former president and CEO of the NAACP, who has now announced just yesterday that he is jumping into politics officially. He is jumping in the race for governor, the race for governor of Maryland.
Ben, it's great to see you. Thanks for coming in.
BEN JEALOUS, (D), MARYLAND GUBERNATORY CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT & CEO, NAACP: Thank you. Great to see you.
BOLDUAN: I want to get to your big announcement in a second but, first, on the direction of the Democratic Party at moment. Hillary Clinton has offered some of these excuses for her loss in the past -- James Comey and Russia. But what we haven't heard before from her is blaming the Democratic Party. Listen to this, Ben.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I set up my campaign, and we have our own data operation. I get the nomination. So I'm now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean nothing?
CLINTON: I mean, it was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the DNC you're talking about.
CLINTON: The DNC to keep it going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What do you make of that assessment? Do you think the DNC is the reason Hillary Clinton lost?
JEALOUS: Well, I guess what it says to me is, frankly, all of us as Dems these days want to see our party stronger, know that we've got to rebuild, and, frankly, most of that rebuilding starts in our states. You know, we've lost ground in states across the country and we've got to regain it. And that means bringing in young people, and that means more of us stepping up to run. And so that's why I'm doing what I'm doing. You know, but it's -- you know, it's hard --
BOLDUAN: Is it helpful for Hillary Clinton? Because yes, you supported Bernie Sanders during the election.
BOLDUAN: When you --
JEALOUS: I also supported her when it came time.
BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. That's absolutely right. When you see Hillary Clinton kind of after the fact on more than one occasion offering, kind of pointing the finger outward for the reason why she lost, do you think it's helpful? Do you think it's right? Do you think she needs to step up and just say I take the blame for it and be done with it?
[11:35:17] JEALOUS: Look, I think it's reasonable for somebody in her shoes to still be processing what happened. I know many people in this country are. For the rest of us, we've just got to get back to pushing forward. And frankly, we have to be prepared to push forward, no matter what's coming out of Washington. What comes out of Washington these days, you know, is often just kind of bonkers, you know? And in the meantime, we have children to raise, we have small businesses to build, and we've got to get back to just pushing our lives forward, and our states are the places to do that, our cities, our counties. We really can't count on Congress right now or the Supreme Court, and we certainly can't count on the White House. I mean, from day to day, it's just a crazy story.
BOLDUAN: And I think I heard you say just a second ago, you need fresh faces to enter the party. Joe Biden launching a new PAC today, Ben. A lot of people saying that this could be him gearing up, you know, putting in place -- putting things in motion for a 2020 candidacy. Would you like to see Joe Biden lead the Democratic Party to try and retake the White House in 20?
JEALOUS: You know, look, we have a bunch of great options, and I think it's great that Joe and Bernie are out there proving that your 70s are the new 60s. That's hopeful for guys like me in our 40s who don't want to feel like we're getting too old too fast. So, you know, look, I'm not going to say anything about Joe at this time. Joe's a good man. He's wanted this for a long time and if he wants to get out there, that's great, and it means that folks will have a harder time saying that Bernie's too old if Joe's out there. So, I think that's all good.
BOLDUAN: You said what you see coming out of Washington is just bonkers. You announced yesterday that you are going to be running for governor in Maryland. You have never run for office before. Why jump into politics now?
JEALOUS: You know, look, my life has been grounded as a community organizer, as a civil rights leader, as somebody who's spent their life living in community, working in community with people on their own terms to figure out the big solutions to help move all of us forward. And I've done that in my state again and again. I've led the effort there to abolish the death penalty and I helped lead the efforts to pass marriage equality and to pass the Dream Act, and touring across the state, just driving around in my truck with my kids, sitting down with folks at their kitchen tables, what you heard, you know, again and again is, look, we just want to move forward.
And this, you know, the president's tweets and all of this craziness and Russia, you know, what can we do right here? And I see an opportunity in Maryland right now for us to move forward quickly on the economy, on education, and our kids need us to do just that. So, that's why I've jumped in. I guess, you know, the organizer in me, the leader in me looks at what's happening in Washington, looks at how silent our governor is. You know, this Republican, who, on the one hand, stood up and said, no, he was not going to vote for Trump, but now that Trump's in office, he consistently has stayed silent as the Trump administration slashes the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan. He stayed silent, or even worse, tours with Betsy DeVos, and says that he's going to shift money from our, you know, from our -- shift money that should have gone to our public schools and use it instead to fund private vouchers. I mean, that's not what the people of Maryland want. We want to get back to moving our state forward. And that's why I've decided to run for governor.
BOLDUAN: And people of Maryland will have that opportunity to make their decision if they like what Larry Hogan's doing or not.
I've got to ask you about this.
BOLDUAN: There have been a couple high-profile racist incidents in the last 24 hours, including Lebron James' house being vandalized with a racial slur. He spoke out about it and he was very candid. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, PRO BASKERBALL PLAYER: No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, you know, being black in America is -- it's tough. And we've got a long way to go, you know, for us as a society and for us as African- Americans until we feel equal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: You made your career in civil rights. What does it mean to have someone like Lebron James say we've got a long way to go?
[11:39:39] JEALOUS: Well, look, just -- you know, it reminds us of what so many black athletes have said over the years. But here in Maryland, it brings us right back to just a week and a half ago, two weeks ago, we had a young man just commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, student at Bowie State, two days from graduation, over celebrating with his friends at University of Maryland College Park, stabbed to death by a white student at the University of Maryland who was part of a Facebook group called Alt-Right and appeared to be motivated by hate. It's the second incident in the last six months with a young white man from Maryland associated with hate groups stabbing a black man to death. And the reality is that race in our country continues, you know, to be this lightning rod.
But for us, as black men, to just leave us, frankly, having to fear too much, and what we end up doing is just pushing forward. But when you are raising children and you have nephews and you have sons, as I do, living with you at home, you know, every now and then, you just look at them and you say, you know, we've got to find a way to do better.
And that's what we really need, quite frankly, is we need leaders who are prepared to pull us together across racial lines, to have grown-up conversations about race, and to take the hate in our schools and with our young people seriously. Right now, we've got a president who enflames that every day. And that's why we need more leaders in our country who are willing to step forward, at least at the local and the state level, and try to turn things in the right direction. And again, that's one of the reasons why I've thrown my hat in the ring and decided to run for governor here.
BOLDUAN: Ben Jealous, thanks for coming in. I appreciate it.
JEALOUS: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, he's the Russian banker under scrutiny for meeting with the president's son-in-law and top senior advisor, Jared Kushner and CNN just caught up with him and asked him about that meeting. The dramatic encounter, coming up.
Plus, breaking news on the president's big announcement today on whether he will pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal. There is now word from the White House that the president may be working on some last-minute changes to satisfy critics. What could that mean? We've got that coming up.
[11:46:13] BOLDUAN: This just in to CNN about President Trump's forthcoming decision, his big announcement on the Paris climate agreement, and whether he will be taking the United States out of that deal. The president facing a choice, to fulfill a campaign promise, which is get out of the deal, or -- get out of the deal or stay in the deal and not fulfill a campaign promise and go against all of his base supporters. Can he somehow please both?
Let's find out what the latest of this is. Athena Jones is at the White House.
Because there is some late-breaking -- I don't know what we call it -- movement on this, Athena. What are you hearing?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well, this is reporting from my colleague, Jim Acosta, who spoke with a GOP source who says that all indications continue to be that the president is going to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. We've heard that reporting from several sources, and that continues to be the case.
But this source says that it's possible that there may be some language that attempts to satisfy Ivanka Trump, who has been pushing her father to remain in the deal. A lot has been made about the kind of war going on within the White House between the so-called nationalist folks like chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and folks like Ivanka Trump, the more globalist side of the White House. Ivanka Trump is one of several groups of people who have been pressuring her father to stay in the Paris Climate Accord, along with European leaders, even the pope, and a long list of American companies who are urging the U.S. to stay in.
What's not clear is what exactly this means. What would the language potentially say? Would it try to strike some sort of middle ground? For instance, potentially staying in the deal but then lowering the emissions targets that the U.S. has committed to? That's one of the things that still remains in question -- Kate? BOLDUAN: A very big question. Now, in classic Trump fashion, raising
the suspense even more on that big announcement coming in just a couple hours.
Athena, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.
Let's discuss this right now, what this means, what the fallout could be, political and otherwise.
With me now, Bryan Lanza, who was deputy communications director for the Trump campaign; and Symone Sanders is here, a former press secretary for Bernie Sanders' campaign.
Guys, great to have you here.
We were going to talk about something completely different, but let's talk about this! Let's talk about this right now.
So, Bryan, if language is in there to please Ivanka, right, to try to kind of thread the needle, if that's what the president is going to do, I mean, you have to assume that means keeping something of the goals that were set out by the Paris climate agreement and what the United States brought to the table. Can the president still say he's fulfilling a campaign promise?
BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATONS DIRECTOR FOR DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: You know, let's remember what that promise was, was to restore American jobs. And so, you're --
BOLDUAN: No, it was to get out of the Paris climate agreement.
LANZA: Well, because there was a threat that it was affecting American business here because they had to abide by standards that the rest of the Western world wasn't going to abide by. So that's what the bulk of the Paris agreement was, and what Trump said, what he said throughout the campaign and what the entire narrative of our campaign was we're going to put America first and we're going to put American jobs first. If there is an amendment that can go through this process that highlights that point and that makes it a better business deal for America, why shouldn't we stay in it? But we should analyze all the options that exist. You know, Ivanka getting involved, everybody getting involved, that's the process.
BOLDUAN: Bryan, you think if he stays out the deal, even if they completely blow out all the goals that are in there, which is one of the options because it's voluntary, if he stays in the deal, can he still say he's fulfilling a campaign promise?
LANZA: I think he can fulfill the promise by telling the voters, who voted for him, I'm here to create American jobs, and if there's a treatment or an agreement that focuses on that and hits those goals, he can turn to his base and say look what I've accomplished.
BOLDUAN: Symone? [11:50:53] SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITIAL COMMENTATOR: I just don't think Donald Trump can say anything and all of a sudden that makes it a rubber stamp, and all of a sudden, he has satisfied his campaign promises. Look, the fact of the matter here is if we pull out of the Paris climate agreement, it will be us, it's comforting to me of we're in over the last couple of days. I'm cautiously optimistic that anything positive is going to come out of this statement the president had to say.
BOLDUAN: Bryan, the president could be winning over, Symone Sanders, if he's broadening the deal.
There you go. There you go. Can we have it both ways?
BOLDUAN: Listen, Bryan, I mean, he's definitely going to be accused of trying to have it both ways, right?
LANZA: Yeah. What he's going to be accused is trying to prioritize American jobs. We hold that with high regard.
BOLDUAN: Who says we're losing jobs in 500 companies?
LANZA: What's that? I missed that.
BOLDUAN: But doesn't Fortune 500 companies want to stay in the deal?
LANZA: I think in the long run we'll see what it looks like that some of the people brought forward at the end and we'll look at what the impacts are. You have a president analyzing data from every side. He's listening to the Bannon side. He's listening to the Jared/Ivanka side. If he's making an informed decision, which is what we want from the president, if he sees an opportunity to strengthen something to the benefit of the United States, that is a benefit to the American worker, why shouldn't he exercise that? That's why he's here.
BOLDUAN: Good communications for Trump then, good communication for Trump now.
Great to see you, Bryan.
Thank you, Symone, for being here.
Sorry we had to cut it short with breaking news. But I'm glad we got it in.
LANZA: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up next, we have to bring this to you, very important. We've been talking about it throughout the hour. A new and horrifying look inside the Pulse nightclub massacre. Police are now releasing body cam footage from the moments they were responding to the attack. The video is coming up next.
[11:55:03] BOLDUAN: Never-been-seen video from inside the Pulse Nightclub as police were just arriving on the scene and the standoff with the shooter was still under way. 49 people -- look at all of these faces -- killed in the deadliest mass shooting from a year ago in Orlando.
A warning, we are going to be showing this video from police body cam footage in these chaotic moments just after the initial attack as they were arriving on the scene. The video is very disturbing. It shows officers rescuing survivors and searching, still, for the gunman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We've got an active shooter here.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: All right. I need people.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Headquarters, you can hear shots fired in the background.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Just arrived. Somebody shot over there on the corner.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Let's go. Come to me, come to me, come to me. Hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We've probably got about 20 gunshot victims.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Just so you know, we're going to need a lot of people.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Let us see your hands now!
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Let us see hands!
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Come out with your hands up or you will die!
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: All right, come out. We're the police, man.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We do have gloves. We can check this one's pulse. Did anyone check this one? UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: No.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: I don't feel a pulse.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Our main objective is to get the bodies out.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: As the victims come out, our job is to pull them out.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: If you have a gun, point it at the building from the outside.
Realize there are blue inside.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Terrorism in Orlando. Pledging something to the Islamic State. That's all they're saying.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: So he's in the club?
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: At least we (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are going to get this guy.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Helmet blocks a bullet.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Call for O.P. right now. They can (EXPLETIVE DELETED) get their trucks.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Right now. Right now.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: I know. I know you're good. Sit down, relax, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A guy was shot and we were helping him. Just want to make sure he's OK.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: OK, we'll check on him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:59:53] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.
Big questions and fresh accusations. A busy day in politics.
One emerging over the last hour, Democrats are accusing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions of giving false testimony about his contracts with the Russian ambassador. In newly obtained letters, the ask the now-fired FBI --