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Trump Quits Paris Accord. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 2, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHNS: Doubting the decision puts America first.
TRUMP: Our withdraw from the agreement represents a reassertion of America's sovereignty. We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore and they won't be.
JOHNS: Sources tell CNN the President was dead set on this decision. With the nationalist wing of his administration prevailing. With his daughter, Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner who were absent from the announcement pushed for him to stay in the deal. Along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
TRUMP: As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States. I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh. Not Paris.
JOHNS: The mayor of Pittsburgh hitting back after Trump invoked the name of his city.
PEDUTO: And the values that we have in this city follow right along the lines of what the Paris Agreement stated.
JOHNS: After the announcement, White House officials struggling on whether the President believes climate change is a hoax.
UNNKNOWN: You're going to actually have to ask him.
JOHNS: Former President Obama who signed the agreement responding in a rare statement saying, "The deal was meant to protect the world we leave to the nation." Adding, " The nations that remain will reap the benefits in jobs and industries created." JOHN KERRY: Donald Trump is not telling the truth to the American
people when he says, "We have this huge burden that's been imposed on us by other nations". It's voluntary the President of the United States could have simply changed that without walking away from the whole agreement.
JOHNS: Backlash also growing among American business leaders who fiercely lobby President Trump to stay in the deal. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger quitting the President's economic council.
General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt tweeting, "Industry must now lead and not depend on governenment". Cities and states are also bowing to step up. Dozens of governors and mayors across the country collectively pledging to uphold the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
JOHNS: Today the White House Press Secretary is expected to give one of his increasingly rare on camera briefings and is expected to be accompanied by one of the men of the hour. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt who was also a supporter of the President's move on the Paris Accord. Alisyn, back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe. Thanks so much for that. So world leaders are slamming President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. In a joint statement, France, Italy and Germany make it clear that there's no interest in renegotiating. CNN's Clarissa Ward is live in London with more. What's the reaction, Clarissa?
CLARISSA WARD: Well, Alisyn, I think by the time President Trump actually made this announcement a lot of world leaders had already accepted or come to the grim realization that President Trump was choosing to join the ranks of President Bashar al-Assad and Daniel Ortega.
But, nonetheless we have seen reaction falling in from across the globe. Disappointing but not at all surprising. That was from the Australian Prime Minister. Canadian Prime Minister calling it very disappointing. British Prime Minister Theresa May when she spoke to President Trump on the phone also expressed her disappointment.
You're sensing a recurring theme here. You mentioned the statement from Italy, Germany and France. They talked about how much they regretted President Trump's decision and they also made it clear that you alluded to that there will not be any renegotiation of the Paris Climate Accord as President Trump had indicated might be a possibility.
They drew a line under that saying there is no reversal of Paris. And newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron even has a kind of creative riff on one of Donald Trump's favorite slogans. Take a listen.
MACRON: We all share the same responsibility. Make our planet great again.
WARD: And, finally, Der Spiegel which is a German weekly news magazine also did a riff on another one of Donald Trump's favorite slogans. If we can pull up the cover for you now. It says, "America first, Earth Last". Alisyn and Chris.
CANEROTA: That's a dramatic cover. All right, Clarissa. Thank you very much. Stay with us if you would because we want to bring in the rest of our panel right now. We have CNN political commentator Errol Louis and CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger.
David, I want to start with you. You have a piece in the New York Times this morning in which you said President Trump has just given China a great gift. What do you mean? LOUIS: Well the Chinese have been looking for ways to step in to the void that it believes that President Trump has been leaving around the world. So a few months ago the President pulled out of the Trans- Pacific Partnership.
That was an Asian trade deal that actually excluded China and was suppose to organize the world around the United States and just in the minds of some, to contain the Chinese. And, China exploited that.
Now, with the decision to pull out of the Climate Accord - the Paris Accord the Chinese see another opportunity because the accord as you may recall was based on negotiations between President Obama and President XI Jinping in 2014 that formed the basis of what the all the other nations signed on to.
So, now the Chinese are saying they will be the leader in the environment. Now, there's some rich irony here. The Chinese are not free traders. They emit now twice as much CO2 as the United States does. And yet, the Chinese are able to go and use this moment to say they will be in the forefront of reducing carbon emission while the U.S. is on the sidelines.
That's really not the place I think that many wanted the United States to be.
CUOMO: Interesting, Errol. This really is not a surprise. Let's be honest. We are treating this as a big event, the President even hyped it as a big event. He was always going to do this. The question is why it makes so much sense for him.
We get what the international reaction is. We realize how absurd it is that the White House won't even address how what the President thinks is causing global warming. But, why did he do this?
SANGER: My sense of it is that politically he is going to show his supporters that he'll fight until the last dog dies, as the expression goes. That the more he gets criticized for sticking by coal miners and industrial workers, that he says will benefit from this, whether or not that actually happens is a separate question.
But the more he does that the more they love him. And he can turn around and I expect to see this on the campaign trail and at rallies to say I did this for you. I don't care what anybody thinks anywhere in the world I'll stand alone against anyone literally the entire world to look out for your interest.
That is political gold as far as binding him to his political base. Now, is that base big enough? Can he grow it, is it worth it? That we're going to find out over the next few years.
CAMEROTA: Clarissa, one of the curious things - curious arguments of logic that the President made was we're going to renegotiate. We don't like these terms. Though the terms were quite flexible. I mean each country sort of decides ...
CUOMO: It's not even a binding agreement. CAMEROTA: It's not a binding agreement and each country decides what they want to do in terms of progress. But it sounds like, this morning, other countries, Germany, France say they have no interest in any sort of renegotiating.
WARD: I think everyone is sort of scratching their heads a bit about renegotiating this deal because, as you've just made the point it's not legally binding and President Trump had already been seeking to undermine some of the initiatives that President Obama has put in place to achieve better clean energy objectives.
So, the Europeans have come our strongly and said forget about it. There can't be a renegotiation because by the way almost every country in the world with the exception of Syria, Nicaragua and now the U.S. This is the trio that the U.S. is now a part of has excepted this goal.
Now, whether that be China or India the more notorious polluters. Russia, all of them have managed to come to some kind a consensus. So, the deal will not be rewritten just because the U.S. has decided it does not want to enter it.
But, I think more broadly what this speaks to is a kind of crisis of global leadership where Europe particularly that this alliance that has been a treasured alliance for decades, whereby the U.S. is the de facto leader of the free world, this alliance is shifting. It is changing.
And now, Europe and other countries across the globe need to look to different places for leadership. And, that is quite a sobering - a sobering awakening.
CUOMO: So, you had Pruitt, the EPA Administrator say America doesn't have to defend it stewardship of the environment which is an interesting choice of words David Sanger when they were de facto advocating that stewardship by pulling out of the accord.
And, you had this big corporate reaction. You can put up the list of labels and logos. A lot of them energy companies. Coming out and saying this is a mistake. So, David tell us why and also explain to us this really awkward silence and reluctance from White House officials to address whether or not the President even believes in global warming.
SANGER: Well, Chris you have three remarkable things here. First, the business community is supposed to be Donald Trump's biggest supporter and here you see companies that probably cheered when he came in with his regulatory or deregulatory agenda, I should say and they're on the other side of this. Why is that?
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: ... biggest supporter and here you see companies that probably cheered when he came in with his regulatory agenda or deregulatory agenda, I should say and they're on the other side of this.
Why is that? Because they recognize that whatever cost and burdens this imposes over the long term, it's where the world's going. And they want to be the standard setters, as Clarissa suggested, rather than have to go deal with standards set by others around the world.
The second remarkable thing is the President's had three years now since he declared his candidacy or two and half years, I should say to basically come to a conclusion about whether he believes climate change is real. So, he's made it clearer in his twitter feed than his spokesmen did.
The third point, which I think, gets to this issue of whether or not there was another option for him is that there are other things he could have done that wouldn't have looked as dramatic but might have had the same or even more effect.
He could have, as Clarissa suggested, simply said we're not going to abide by some of the targets that President Obama set because they're voluntary. He could have come out and said, you know, this is more like a treaty than an executive agreement.
So, I'm going to turn over to the Senate where, of course, it would languish for years like the comprehensive trade - test ban treaty in the nuclear world. He didn't do that. Under that condition, the Senate could have debated it while the US decided how much they would abide by its regulations.
CAMEROTA: So, (Errol), let's talk about the White House's logic and the White House's side here. They say it's about jobs. And the President says he that he was elected to protect American jobs.
And in fact, there's this economic research group that says that the agreement would have cost the US 2.7 million jobs over the course, of I guess, the next 8 years. That's the high end, but even the low end was 2.3 million jobs. So, doesn't the President have- isn't that what he's hanging his hat on and his logic here?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well it's an argument, it's not conclusively proved by any means and, of course, there's a counter veiling argument which is that there are far, far, far more jobs to be had. More jobs now, more jobs in the future when it comes to the renewable industries. I mean...
CAMEROTA: But wouldn't those have made up that gap. So, if you're going to lose 2.7, let's go with his number - million jobs. Would clean energy jobs have been able to make up that gap people think?
LOUIS: It is conceivable. It is by no means, you know, out of the question. The numbers are very shaky, because how you count something as a green job gets to be very, very dicey.
There's also a question on the fossil fuel side are you including all of the gas stations? Are you including the gas station attendants? Are they part of that whole complex? But any way you look at it, clearly the future is in the direction of - hey look, when you China say we're going to create 13 million jobs in the clean energy sector in the next few years. Clearly they think that there's something there. So, the President is making a bet on what some say are already highly automated jobs in a declining sector.
CUOMO: That's a big point. That's a key deception here, OK? Will the green jobs fill the gap? In all likelihood, no not at this point. There are even legitimate questions about whether or not our power grid; our infrastructure could handle the amount of new energy they're talking about - clean energy.
But, the deception is well, you know, this accord this is what's killing your jobs coal miners. That's not true. We've been losing those jobs since before the EPA was even put in, in 1970. Automation is a big deal for it. Emerging markets around the world is a big reason for it.
It is all about whether or not the President can restore those jobs. It was an easy promise to make, but can he deliver. That's what the voters are going to decide on and it ties into what the greenhouse gases are supposed to be about. They won't even answer the question.
You know, the point that they were making...
CAMEROTA: I know.
CUOMO: ... Gary Cohn made it very well. But it was in response to the question of whether or not he believes in climate change.
CAMEROTA: And you know obviously, he's tweeted before that it's a hoax. So, we will obviously ask the President's people that today.
CUOMO: Yes. And he asked for remediation from global warming damage for one of his golf courses. So, he's had it both ways. But listen to this mash-up of, you know, Wolf Blitzer asking Gary Cohn four different times, does the President believe in it and every time he says he believes in jobs. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the President believe climate change is a hoax?
GARY COHN, CEA TO PRESIDENT TRUMP, DIRECTOR OF THE NEC: This is not about whether climate change is occurring or not.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Does President Trump still believe climate change is a hoax?
COHN: What President Trump believes is he was elected to grow the US economy.
BLITZER: But with all due respect Gary, you are not answering the question.
COHN: I'm answering what the president is committed to. You're going to have to ask him. You're going to actually have to ask him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether or not the President believes that human activity is contributing to the warming of the climate?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECTRATRY: Honestly I haven't asked him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
SPICER: I can get back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You haven't asked him whether or not he believes in climate change. You'll have to ask him directly. I mean, isn't that what a White House Spokesperson is all about? Isn't that what an official is about? Yes, I think it's a pretty big deal. I really do.
CUOMO: The reluctance, the awkwardness, ducking an obvious question.
LOUIS: Well and, you know, this could end up being something like, you know, birtherism or something. Where, you know, at the end of many, many years of all these - of playing these games that he says, you know, I don't talk about that anymore.
Or let's be clear, climate change is real. What do you get? I mean, what really matters is, you know, and just as we've said, just as Secretary Kerry was saying in the clip that you played, he never had to, sort of, take this dramatic action of denouncing this. He could have dialed back all of the standards. He could have sat on something.
CUOMO: He could have cut the money for other economies.
LOUIS: He could've if he was serious about renegotiating. He could have said let's find a new standard. You know, that we're doing this the wrong way.
CUOMO: He could have just said I don't want to pay for you to find to be greener find your own way.
CAMEROTA: Yes panel, thank you. We will, obviously be talking about it through the rest of the program.
CUOMO: All right. We're following breaking news his morning on another front, the high stakes battle over President Trump's halted travel ban. It's going to head to the highest court in the land. Will the Supreme Court give the President the win against Muslim Immigration he so desperately wants?
CNN's Laura Jarrett, live in Washington, with more. The handicapping will begin.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Exactly Chris, Well the Trump administration really escalated its legal fight over that travel ban lat night filing hundreds of pages with the U.S. Supreme Court all in the hopes of convincing the justices to allow the ban to go into effect.
You'll remember late last week, a lower court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled against Trump. Using his own words to find that the travel ban likely violates the Constitution because it was allegedly motivated by intent to disfavor Muslims.
But the Justice Department has now appealed that decision. Saying in a statement last night that it's quote "confident that the President Trump's executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep our nation safe and to protect our communities from terrorism".
Now no telling on how fast the Supreme Court will act on all these moving pieces here. But in the short term the Trump administration will need five justices on their side to get the travel ban back on track posing the first major test for the courts newest member and Trump's nominee to the bench Neil Gorsuch. Allison?
CAMEROTA: OK, we're going to talk about this next, as well as, this story. James Comey sits before a Senate committee next week. What will the fired FBI Director say about his conversations with the President?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Fired FBI Director James Comey set to testify next Thursday before a Senate panel. This will be Comey's first public comments since President Trump abruptly fired him.
We could learn about their private conversations and whether Comey was pressured to drop his investigation of Michael Flynn. CNN National correspondent Dianne Gallagher is live in Washington with more. What have we learned?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know Alisyn, this is going to be must see TV right? You have to remember that no one was entirely sure that this was even going to happen.
Now sources told CNN that Comey consulted privately with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to work out exactly what he can and can't say legally in public. So at this point, we're not entirely sure how much the public is going to learn on June 8th.
But you should expect a hard line of questioning from Senators about the tense confrontations and private conversations with President Trump that sources have told us that Comey recorded in memos.
Like the claims that Trump urged Comey to go easy on now former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Now, if he can't answer publicly the commission does have a closed session with Comey. Afterwards to ask some more questions. Now speaking of the election medaling, perhaps it was patriotism (ph), well Russian patriotism that is.
That's what Russian President Vladimir Putin hypothesized on Thursday when really for the first time he appeared to concede that the hacking attempts may have come from his country saying quote, "Hackers are free people, just like artists. They would wake up, read about something go on in interstate relations and if they feel patriotic, they may try to contribute to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia."
Now Alisyn, we have to point out that Putin did insist the government didn't put anybody up to this if it did in fact happen and continued as the Kremlin has to deny that they had anything to do with the U.S. election.
But quite remarks there from Putin.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely Dianne, thank you very much for all that reporting.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The irony that even with that sarcasm, Putin wound up going farther than the President of the United States in terms of admitting Russian involvement and the interference.
CAMEROTA: Great point.
CUOMO: So let's bring in the rest of our panel. Errol Louis and David Sanger and joining us Associate Editor and Columnist for Real Clear Politics A.B. Stoddard. So what do we make of the Comey testimony?
There's a lot of hype around it, so let me be a human bucket of cold water. What can actually come out that would change the fate of the president or anyone around him?
ERROL LOUIS, POLITCAL COMMENTATOR: Well look it could certainly sort of galvanize attention on this. So there are - there's probably some number of Americans out there who don't think this is very serious.
This is going to be serious and the coverage of it is going to be serious. As you know this is also not going to be a court of law right? Every misleading, leading question in the world can and will be thrown at James Comey. To try to get him to sort of emote but also to try and raise some of those possibilities and the suspicions that a lot of Senators have. Especially the Democrats about what could have happened and how far it went.
I think the - the - the bucket of cold water that you're throwing on this is - is a point well taken. Because this is somebody who is very careful, who is very measured, who doesn't say more than he can.
And the fact that he had to sort of sit down with Mueller and try and figure out what would and what wouldn't be able to get disclosed. . .
CUOMO: He didn't have to, he wanted to right? Mueller isn't the one who controls who goes before Congress.
LOUIS: He -- this is also somebody who's spent a lifetime you know sort of not talking right? Sort of being very careful about what he says. So I don't think it's going to be the big display and the big show that some might be hoping for. On the other hand, you know there are things that get shaken loose.
You hate to go back to Watergate and I don't say this for political reasons but the reality was you know it was in the course of a Congressional hearing that somebody quite by accident mentioned. "Oh yeah there's a tape recorder (ph) in the Oval Office."
You don't know what you're going to hear. And that - that's partly why I think it's important to do this all out in the open.
CAMEROTA: It will be fascinating that it's out in the open. And just as we said it's must see TV. But David I want to go back to Putin for a second because when he said this might have just been patriotic citizens who hacked the U.S. or attempted to election.
You know that the point has been made lately that because of all this attention on Putin the unfortunate byproduct of this is turning him into this sort of global boogeyman who is able to control U.S. Democracy.
And it's funny that Putin is downplaying that role but of course we can't really trust what he's saying.
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITCAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You sure can't Alisyn but you know we spend a lot of time here talking about the White House changing its story, Mr. Putin has changed his story here big time. I - initially last year he was saying, "You know no evidence has came from Russia. How could this -- you can't tell, cyber attacks can come from any place."
Essentially the same line that President Trump was taking during the campaign and the transition. Now he says, "Well maybe your right. Maybe it did come from Russia but it wasn't government controlled."
And that's one of the key elements of cyber attacks. Because many countries, China and Russia leaders in this, have army's of people whose links to the government are always a little bit murky. It's never entirely clear whether their acting on their own, whether
there freelancing, or whether they were told what to do with the material.
And then once they got the material, were they in control of it? Or did it go to the hands of the GRU? The Russian Military Intelligence Operation, which is what U.S. Intelligence believes.
But Putin's made a very big move here from, "Wasn't us" to "Well maybe you know, but teenagers these days, what can you do with them?"
CUOMO: And remember we had James Clapper on the show just a few days ago and he said, "This was unprecedented and the evidence was overwhelming, that this leads back to Russia." A.B. interference. . .
SANGER: That's because they picked up intercepts of Russian Officials talking about the material.
CUOMO: Right. When you brag about it, very often, it gets you in trouble. A.B. this legal case, going to the Supreme Court. How big a deal is it? How big a win for the president would it be if the ban was upheld by the Supreme Court?
A.B. STODDARD, REALCLEARPOLITCS CORRESPONDENT: I think that it would be an enormous victory for the president because he's fought hard through appeals and this is a signature issue. Obviously it's one of his first policy pronouncements out of the gate.
That wasn't just an Executive Order that was going to nowhere and not be legally binding. And he ran on this and he's struggled since in --with his legal team to say that this not something that disfavors Muslims and it's not a Muslim band.
But he says it's a - it's a major component of his National Security to stop the bad dudes from coming into the country and threatening us here.
And so I think if he was able to get a win in the Supreme Court, it would be next to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. You know the biggest win he's had.
CAMEROTA: OK panel thank you very much for all that. We have to get back to one of our other top stories. President Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate deal.
To keep a campaign promise to his base. So how do his die hard supporters feel about this decision? We find out next.