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Third Attacker In London Rampage Was On Italian Watchlist; London Mayor: Don't "Roll Out The Red Carpet" For Trump; Trump Jr. Backs Up Father Bashes London Mayor; Trump Appears To Take Credit For Nations Cutting Off Qatar. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired June 6, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:18] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. The message just in from the President. Oh, no, I meant it. It counts.
Moments ago in a statement on Twitter, he wrote, "The fake mainstream media is working so hard trying to get me not to use social media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out."
HARLOW: This seems to contradict his own staff. What he calls honest and unfiltered, they call not policy. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's not policy.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Of course, it is.
GORKA: It's social media, Chris. It's social media. You know the difference, right?
CUOMO: It's not social media. It's his words, his thoughts.
GORKA: It's not policy. It is not an executive order. It's social media. Please understand the difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: OK. And it's a moment that everyone will be watching. Fired FBI Director James Comey in the hot seat just 48 hours from now for a grilling on Capitol Hill.
The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says Comey's testimony will be unrestrained and that he will talk openly about his confrontations with President Trump to allegedly back off the investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn.
So let's go straight to the White House. Our Senior Washington Correspondent Joe Johns is there.
And, Joe, we've learned he is expected to be open about his conversations with President Trump but fairly limited in what he can say about the Russian investigation. Is that right?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right, or so it seems because there are a lot of other things floating around, including the Special Counsel investigation. But I think probably the most important thing to say in the headline over the last 24 hours here from the White House on this is that the President, according to the White House communications office, will not seek to assert executive privilege.
We put in some caveats because the President has 48 hours or so to tweet and speak publicly and possibly change his mind, as he has before. Sarah Huckabee Sanders did issue a statement saying the President wants to facilitate a swift airing of the matters that the Senate Intelligence Committee is interested in hearing about.
Now, the fact of the matter is, legal experts have said it was always a long shot for the President to assert executive privilege because, number one, James Comey is no longer an employee of the government, meaning the President has limited control over what he does. And number two, the President has talked so much about the Russia investigation and related matters that he may have actually waived the privilege to keep it secret.
And if you want to hear the kinds of things the President has said about the Russia investigation, just listen to his sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., on another network this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC TRUMP, SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's the greatest hoax of all time. I was there throughout the campaign. We have no dealings in Russia. We have no projects in Russia. We have nothing to do with Russia.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I mean, to me, it's without a question, you know, reads and smells like a witch hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: So the significance of the President's decision on executive privilege is that if any constraints are placed on James Comey and his testimony later this week, apparently, it won't be the White House. Back to you.
BERMAN: All right. Joe Johns at the White House. Thanks so much. Other major news this morning on leaks. A federal contractor with top security clearance is now facing up to 10 years prison.
HARLOW: The 25-year-old is accused of mailing classified intel on Russian's hacking to an online news outlet. Our justice reporter, Laura Jared, is live in Washington with more on the contractor and what was in the document that she leaked.
What are we learning?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Poppy, the document at the center of this case is a classified report from the National Security Agency detailing how a Russian military intelligence unit tried to hack into voting systems here in the U.S. just days before last year's presidential election.
Sources telling us that the classified report that Reality Leigh Winner, this federal contractor, allegedly leaked is the same one described in an article published by "The Intercept" yesterday.
And while there is no evidence that any votes were affected by this hack, this document does provide new details into some of the mechanics of how the Russians specifically tried to target voting software suppliers and trick local election officials into clicking on phony e-mails.
Now, prosecutors they were able to catch Winner relatively quickly in this case because a news outlet sent a copy of the document over to the government for authentication before publishing the story. And so investigators were able to forensically trace it back to Winner.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein praised this operation, saying, "People who are trusted with classified information and pledged to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation." John, Poppy.
[09:05:03] BERMAN: All right. Laura Jarrett for us in Washington. Laura, thanks so much for that.
Joining us now to talk about everything that's happening in Washington right now, and will happen in the next 48 hours. David Swerdlick, CNN political commentator, assistant editor for "The Washington Post"; Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst, and Caitlin Huey-Burns, national political reporter for "RealClearPolitics."
Caitlin, if we can, let's put up this tweet from the President, or maybe I'll call it a statement that he wrote down and happened to put out on Twitter. He writes, 'The fake mainstream media is working so hard trying to get me not to use social media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out."
Now, I think he's right that someone hates this, but I don't think it is the media. I think it's own his staff and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Exactly because time and time again, he undermines his own staff by putting out these tweets. And they are unfiltered and they do reach the people that they want to reach, but you also have to take those statements. They are coming from the President. That is important, no matter what his staff says about never mind the tweets.
The reason that they are saying that is because they don't want that to interfere with some of the legal arguments, of course, they're trying to make with the travel ban. That is kind of the context of this kind of thing. But they are coming from the President, they have to be treated as statements from the President. HARLOW: I mean, you even had George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne
Conway, someone who is up to be Solicitor General, say, "These tweets may make some people feel better, but they certainly won't help the OSG get five votes in the Supreme Court, which is actually what matters. Sad."
There is an interesting op-ed in "The Washington Journal" this morning that John pointed out. Paul Callan, to you. And here is one key line of it, "If this pattern continues, Mr. Trump may find himself running an administration with no one but his family and the Breitbart staff. People of talent and integrity won't work for a boss who undermines them in public without thinking about the consequences.
This is a Murdoch on paper. This has generally been pretty supportive of the President with the exception of a few rare instances. How big is that?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's a good observation by "The Wall Street Journal" because and particularly when you are dealing with lawyers. Lawyers are always willing to take on a new client in the hopes that the client will listen to the legal advice given, but if the client consistently undermines the lawyer.
The lawyer gets in front of a judge and makes a statement on the record, and then the client says that's not true, the lawyer's integrity is shot and the ability to argue the case effectively is shot, and I think you would see resignations occurring. And that's going to happen continually as long as the President undermines his own advisers.
HARLOW: I mean, he's already doing that on Twitter.
CALLAN: Yes, he is.
HARLOW: He's saying what you are saying, what you are arguing is not true. David --
CALLAN: Yes. And someday, they're going to be standing in front of the Supreme Court --
HARLOW: Making that.
CALLAN: -- answering for those tweets.
BERMAN: And by the way, it's not a distraction we're talking about lawyer-client here because one of the things that's happening is the President has been very critical of Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, on Twitter as well. "The New York Times" has a whole article about that, that they have a tension that exists between the White House and the Justice Department.
David Swerdlick, if we can shift gears to what's happening in Washington in just two days. Forty-eight hours plus one from now, James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
You know, our Gloria Borger reported that had James Comey seen obstruction of justice, people familiar with his thinking said he would have said something at the time, which, in some ways, to me, seems to be trying to lower expectations here. Is there a notion that Democrats may not be happy at the end of this with everything they get from James Comey?
DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: John, so I think Democrats are not going to get the sort of decisive blow to the President that they might want or maybe have hoped for over recent months. The idea that one single thing in this whole collection of smoke that's surrounding the White House is going to take President Trump down at an early stage in his presidency, right, we're still only a few months in, I think is sort of a pipe dream for Democrats.
But even if Comey comes outs and just testifies in front of cameras directly what we think we already know -- we think we already know that the President at least sort of encouraged him or nudged him to put the brakes on the Russia investigation -- I still think that's pretty big news because, right now, we're hearing it from secondary sources, but we'd be hearing that from someone who was in the room with the President.
Even if it doesn't rise to the legal level of obstruction of justice, John, it rises to a political problem for the President. No question.
BERMAN: He's not deep throat.
BERMAN: I mean, James Comey won't be deep throat, he'll be a named source
HARLOW: No. So, Paul, you wrote an opinion piece that's getting a lot of attention on this about how boxed in you think actually James Comey is going to be in what he can say and can't say based on how he testified back in March, just on March 20th.
How boxed in will he be by that because our sources say he'll be open about the conversation with the President but not on the Russia investigation? But if the President is under any sort of investigation for obstruction of justice, which we do not know at this point in time, will he be more limited even in what he can say about those conversations?
CALLAN: You know, people forget that Comey is not only the top copper or was the top cop as head of the FBI but he is also a lawyer. So --
BERMAN: A good one.
[09:09:59] CALLAN: A very good lawyer, very respected lawyer, but he's bound by the code of professional responsibility that binds lawyers and prosecutors. So I went over the transcripts of his last two congressional appearances, and he will not talk about pending investigations.
Well, the Russian investigation is pending. Virtually everything the Democrats want to grill him about are pending investigations. He will not make statements about pending cases that would violate the code of professional responsibility.
And with respect to his conversations with the President, well, the President has now said, at least through spokespeople, that they're releasing him from executive privilege. Now, that being the case, I think the one thing we may see here that we didn't see before is the give and take between the President and Mr. Comey directly. And that's going to be big news, but I think that's the only big news that's going to come out of this.
BERMAN: But, again, that is big news because that gets to the whole idea of possible obstruction of justice, even if not in a legal sense, in a political sense.
CALLAN: But here's the thing, and why I called it him being boxed in. When the President says, you know, or implies, go easy on Flynn, can you let this go, what does Comey do? Comey doesn't go and consult with the Justice Department and say, something really strange happened in the Oval Office, how should I proceed? He walks away from it. He seemingly just makes a note about it and continues with his investigation.
So the claim is going to be if he thought something criminal had occurred, an ethical investigator would have done something more than make a note about it.
HARLOW: Caitlin, how much do you think it hurts the President here, or does it at all, that he laid out so much leading up to this, whether on Twitter, whether on the interview with Lester holt, whether in his note about why he fired Comey, saying, "I greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation"? Obviously, outside factors shouldn't color Comey's testimony, but we are all human.
HUEY-BURNS: Exactly. And they provide kind of the frame through which both Democrats and Republicans are looking at this. You do have some Democrats who are saying, you know, we are going to ask, why did you bring this up now? Why didn't you flag it earlier? Remember, Democrats kind of have a complicated relationship with James Comey.
But it is bipartisan in the fact that both Democrats and Republicans want to get Comey's side of the story. What's also really telling is how the administration is kind of prebutting this.
Remember, Kellyanne Comey, yesterday, was saying, remember that Comey had to correct testimony the last time he appeared before Congress. Also remember that everybody in Washington kind of detested, in her words she said, this person. So it's kind of interesting.
That gives us an idea of how the administration is trying to kind of prebut these arguments, kind of expecting that even if there is not some bombshell revelation, that the details provided are going to be really important here.
BERMAN: And that's a great point. David Swerdlick, just to circle back to you for a quick last word here, your point that even the details of those conversations will be significant, it is very rare that you have someone under oath who has the potential to directly contradict the President of the United States about those conversations.
BERMAN: You know, President Trump, in a memo that's out there, says, on three separate occasions, you told me I'm not under investigation. I expect that James Comey will give some kind of answer to that, that either will directly contradict it or will confirm it in the answer to that question. It's huge either way.
SWERDLICK: I think you're right, John, that Comey will have some kind of answer like that. I think Caitlin makes a great point that the White House is setting up these prebuttals. They're preparing for whatever is to come on Thursday. And I think they have figured out that Comey is not going to deliver that decisive blow to the President.
On the other hand, I wouldn't expect, if I were in the White House, Comey to flinch, right? We've seen several witnesses now come before Congress or come before T.V. cameras. I'm thinking of Ambassador Susan Rice when she went on with Andrea Mitchell. I'm thinking of former Attorney General Sally Yates when she went before Congress.
Whether or not Republicans or whether or not the public believes what they said, they didn't flinch. They said we didn't leak. They said we did our job to the best of our ability. I expect Director Comey to testify in a very similar, direct sort of manner --
SWERDLICK: -- just straight ahead saying, I was in the room with the President and this is what he said.
HARLOW: Guys, thank you very much. David Swerdlick, Paul Callan, Caitlin Huey-Burns, we'll know in 48 hours.
Still to come, breaking news on the London terror attack investigation. What we know about the third attacker, we're just learning that this morning.
BERMAN: Right. The London Mayor still engaged in a battle with the President of the United States. The Mayor's message, cancel your trip to the United Kingdom.
And help wanted, a lot of it, as the White House battles controversy. The problem is, there are hundreds of open positions in the administration.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, breaking this morning, the third attacker in the London terror rampage has been named. Metro Police in London say he is a 22-year-old named Youssef Zaghba. He is from East London and believed to be an Italian national of Moroccan decent. He was not a person of interest in U.K. before the attack.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, CNN senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward is following this. Again, not known in the U.K., but apparently on a watch list in Italy. What else are you learning this morning, Clarissa?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. There were definite red flags in Italy, as you mentioned, John. He was actually stopped by Italian police carrying a one-way ticket to Istanbul. Authorities thought he was trying to go to Syria.
They confiscated his cell phone and found extremist material inside the cell phone. Put him on a watch list and then nothing more was done and he was able to come to the United Kingdom, set up residence in East London where it is presumed he came into contact with another one of the attackers, who is 27-year-old Khuram Shazad Butt, who was also very well known to British authorities.
He was part of a local extremist group that has been disbanded now but was very well known on the streets of London for years, John. They were, you know, organizing all sorts of protests, burning flags.
[09:20:08]They were related to several terrorist incidents, calling for the implementation of Sharia law here in the United Kingdom. Butt, the 27-year-old British attacker was actually born in Pakistan was part of this group, well known to authorities.
Authorities are saying, well, he was part of this group, but we didn't think that he was planning any kind of an attack. We know there was an investigation into him in 2015. That investigation didn't go anywhere.
So really now a lot of questions developing about why it is that the British attacker was certainly very well known to British authorities. The Italian attacker was well known to Italian authorities and yet still this attack was able to come off.
HARLOW: Clarissa, a lot of displeasure this morning from the mayor of London with President Trump saying essentially we don't roll out the red carpet for people that speak in the way that he has. What can you tell us about the heighten tension between the two men?
WARD: Well, there is a lot of tension. It's not just between the two men, if you talk to people on the streets of London right now, they are really ticked off with President Donald Trump. They can't understand why he singled out the London mayor in this moment in the aftermath of tragedy and trauma and began to verbally disparage him in a very public platform.
But, yes, the mayor, Sadiq Khan, basically saying his values don't gel with our values so why should he come to visit the United Kingdom. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR SADIQ KHAN, LONDON: I don't have the time to respond to tweets from Donald Trump. My position remains the same. I don't think we should roll out to the carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for.
I think one of the things when you have a special relationship, it's not different -- no different to when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity, but you call them out when they're wrong and there are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Prime Minister Theresa May has said there is no reason that this state visit shouldn't go ahead. But I have to tell you, Poppy and John, here in London I think the president is going to find he gets quite a frosty reception.
ROMANS: All right, Clarissa Ward for us in London. Of course, this extends to the family level. New this morning one of the president's sons coming to his father's defense saying that the mayor of London should stop attacking Donald Trump, the president, and do something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: This is a recurring theme. We're attacked, but maybe rather than the mayor of London attacking, maybe he should do something about it to fix the problem rather than sit there and pretend there isn't one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think the mayor of London is at fault for what happened there.
TRUMP JR.: That's not what I said. I think it is time for the people there to probably act and do something more proactive and I do think that's something people have to do. We can't sit there and pretend this is not a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: All right, with us CNN global affairs analyst, David Rohde. He's also the online news director for "The New Yorker." How does this spat and now you have the president's son come out and they weighed in on Russia calling it a hoax and witch hunt. We'll get to that in a moment, but how does this all look on the global stage? And does this president care?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Look, I think it looks after he's going after the mayor of London because he's Muslim. The president is not saying that out right, but that is clearly the signal here. Why is he going after Khan? One of the persons coming under fire here is actually Prime Minister Theresa May.
During her six years as home secretary, the number of British police dropped by 19,000 officers. When police complained she said they were scare mongering and crying wolf. So that's -- bottom line he's signaling this, he's saying you can't trust Muslims. That's what I feel. BERMAN: Look, in Theresa May, who is a different party of the mayor of London has come out to defend the mayor of London in this incident. You can see how it's playing politically over there. Separate subject, still dealing with the United Kingdom, there are still no U.S. ambassador to the U.K.
There are a huge number of vacancies around the world. Not formally nominated any assistant secretary level person in the State Department. What is the effect of that?
ROHDE: It slows down the American government response. There is no ambassador to Afghanistan. The death toll in the bombing as risen to 150. The president has a chance to try some new approaches to terrorism and new approaches are needed given what's happened in London and Europe in general and arguably in the United States.
But I feel like he's squandering that chance by talking about a travel ban, which is a message of the problem is Muslims and picking these political fights instead of naming people, coming up with a very comprehensive counter terrorism strategy.
HARLOW: So he just tweeted the president, "During my recent trip to the Middle East, I stated that there can no longer be funding of radical ideology leaders pointing to Qatar." Look, it's complicated, right because you have a huge American military base there that's very important strategic ally for the United States.
[09:25:06]What do you read from a tweet like that from the president in the midst of the context within the last 24 hours four or five other Middle Eastern nations cutting ties with Qatar?
ROHDE: He is right and that there should be a crackdown on countries that are allowing more private citizens in Qatar sending money into extremists. So he's right to address that and elevate the issue. But to defeat extremism, you have to work with moderate Muslims. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London is one of them.
You have to train troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can't make these broad statements. You need to appoint people and work at this problem over time, strengthening governments in the region that are actually fighting the jihadists.
BERMAN: All right, David Rohde, great to have you here with us. Thanks so much, my friend.
All right, the Republican agenda, what is the effect with everything that's going on? New worries on Capitol Hill that the problems in the White House may lead to problems with legislation.
HARLOW: We're just minutes away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans is here. Good morning.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning you two. I think you will see a cooling off in the stock market this morning. Yesterday was a lower close for stocks and today we're seeing futures down a little bit here. A reminder it has been a very good year for a few tech stocks.
I want to show you five of the tech stocks that account for a third of the overall S&P 500 gains so far this year. Two of those names, Alphabet and Amazon have already topped $1,000 a share. You are seeing a cooling off here mostly on geopolitical risks quite frankly.
That diplomatic row in Qatar is something that is moving the energy markets, also moving money into the bond markets and out of the stock market. So watching a little bit of concern about what we're seeing on the world stage.
We have a lot coming up. We have a British election this week. We have the Comey testimony on Thursday and a fed meeting next week. So I think you are seeing a pause button here overall, guys.
BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans go nowhere because coming up we will have a discussion about the bad-ass women of Washington and we need you to weigh in. Don't go anywhere.