Return to Transcripts main page
Is President Trump Putting His Agenda At Risk? Trump's Tweets & GOP Agenda; Trump Renews Criticism Of London Mayor Over Attack; Cosby Trial Begins; When Do Presidential Tweets Really County? Aired 7:30- 8a ET
Aired June 6, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: The public is what defeated the bill the first time it came up. The public is what's going to defeat it in the Senate in the form that it passed the House. So the -- it's really important for people to see the distinction, and the distinction is to keep the focus on that. Do we know how to improve the Affordable Care Act? Of course.
You'd think the president would have said let's sit down and do that. The first thing we can start with is prescription drugs -- the cost of prescription drugs. That contributes more to the increased cost of medical care than anything. We could have certainty in terms of the funding of the Affordable Care Act, which the president has placed in doubt. And when it's in doubt, the insurance companies say we don't how to set our rates or we have to set them higher because we don't -- we don't know if we'll have the cost sharing.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Uncertainty.
PELOSI: The uncertainty of that. We have to address issues that relate to young people to attract more of them into it. So there is -- any bill that has passed Congress -- Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security -- all of it should be subjected to scrutiny as to how it can be done better. But if it's being sabotaged, that's at his doorstep and if the rates go up, that's at his doorstep because he is not obeying the law of the land.
CUOMO: Representative Nancy Pelosi, appreciate you being here. We know that there's a lot to discuss. We have the big testimony coming up on Thursday. After it, I'd love to get your thoughts.
PELOSI: You're absolutely right, and let's just say the president has said he's not going to stand in the way of Comey testifying. I don't know if there will be a bombshell but there will be a door opening and I want to make sure that there's no executive privilege for many of the people in his administration who could go through that door.
CUOMO: We'll see soon enough. Thank you for being with us on NEW DAY.
PELOSI: Thank you.
CUOMO: Alisyn -- ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Chris, President Trump likes Twitter -- that is not a news flash -- but what's happening today may be because his tweets could be getting in the way of his agenda. We have Trump supporter and Republican Congressman Chris Collins to tell us his thoughts on the president's Twitter habits.
[07:36:15] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: And you had this long conversation, you know, with whether the president's tweets are official statements or the same as policy or what not. You know what they are? They're a window into the man's mind. But what Donald Trump did in response to the British tragedy was again, I think inappropriate for a toddler, much less the President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, it's not just Democrats. Many Republicans also calling for the president to stop tweeting so often. Are his tweets getting in the way of his legislative agenda? Joining us now is Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York. Good morning, Congressman.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS, (R) NEW YORK: Good morning, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Do you have any problem with the president's tweets?
COLLINS: Oh, I have none at all. I was home last week. I traveled through all eight counties that I represent and I can tell you Trump supporters -- and I have one of the most wide level of support for Trump probably in the Northeast -- they love this president. They love his tweets because he's jabbing in a way. He's working around the press. You know, we can use whatever terminology we want -- you know, the fake news thing -- but his supporters really, really love his tweets, so --
CAMEROTA: And are they -- are they official presidential statements?
COLLINS: No, they're not official statements, they are tweets --
CAMEROTA: Yes. What's the difference?
COLLINS: -- but they are coming from the President of the United States.
CAMEROTA: Right, and that's where it gets complicated. So --
COLLINS: It does.
CAMEROTA: -- they're his words.
CAMEROTA: They are on a forum that we can all read, so why wouldn't you say they're official presidential statements?
COLLINS: Well, because -- it's like in my case, as well. Official statements are typically -- you know, four, five, six, and in his case probably more people, look at all the nuances of an official press release or an official statement. It goes through legal. It goes through, you know, different filters if you will, versus a tweet is unfiltered, and so I heard someone say it's a view into Donald Trump's mind or his thoughts and it is --
COLLINS: -- but it hasn't been filtered through six other people. You could call it more direct and because of that --
CAMEROTA: Yes, it's pure. I hear what you're saying. It's actually a more pure thought of his, so that --
COLLINS: And that's why his supporters love it. They really, really do.
CAMEROTA: Of course. I hear them say that, as well, but that leads us to our next question of so do we take them seriously? Do we take those to the bank?
COLLINS: You take them seriously because they are our president's thoughts. However, the nuances -- at the end, there will be a certain filter they go through when they become official policy. I mean, the attorneys always either water things down or, you know, look at the various nuances so there is a balance. And I understand it's a very narrow road I'm talking about but, you know, that's -- we need to look at official statements that have been filtered for the policy but, meanwhile, the tweets are that unfiltered look as to how President Trump is looking at the world, considering whether it's terrorism, whether it's travel, whether it's whatever it may be -- jobs, the economy, tax reform --
COLLINS: -- health reform. I think it's, frankly, refreshing.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, it's also confusing.
COLLINS: Well, it can be but, you know, he's focused on his supporters, his base, and let's go back to his base really does appreciate what he's doing.
COLLINS: They are -- you know, we're seeing, you know, the protests. I mean, I have them at my office. I've had to put new security into my office. This is a time unlike anything we've ever seen in this country.
CAMEROTA: Agreed, and Congressman, look, I talk to his supporters all the time as well, but the president is the president for everyone now. He's the president of the whole country. He's the -- COLLINS: Well, which is why we need to work on the jobs and the economy. I know --
[07:40:00] CAMEROTA: Right.
COLLINS: -- I represent an area that was devastated. Everything gets back to --
CAMEROTA: Yes, and that leads to the next question --
COLLINS: -- at this point, tax reform.
CAMEROTA: -- which is that there are some of your fellow Republicans who believe that the firestorms that he starts with his tweets when he sends them out at midnight and, for instance, criticizes a mayor -- the mayor of London in the hours after his city was hit by a terror attack -- that those actually do get in the way of his legislative agenda because they do suck all the oxygen out of the room. Do you think that his Twitter habit is getting in the way of his legislative agenda?
COLLINS: Oh, not at all. I think if anyone would suggest that, that's a copout because Congress' job is to have our hearings, work on our legislation. And if someone says we can't do that because there's a distraction over here on the left or the right that means that, frankly, we're not doing our job. It's a distraction and it should not. I don't believe it does, you know. I'm on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Our hearings are ongoing, our legislation's ongoing, and if there is, you know, things going on around us that shouldn't detract at all from what we need to do, you know, helping create jobs and getting through tax reform and infrastructure.
COLLINS: I would view that more as an excuse --
CAMEROTA: Well --
COLLINS: -- for not getting things done.
CAMEROTA: Senator Bob Corker is one of the people who just this morning is saying, "It's probably best to refrain from communicating with 140 characters on topics that are so important."
COLLINS: Well, my message to the Senate is send us a health care bill.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, one more thing about London before we get off of that. Are you comfortable that the president insulted or went after the London mayor in just the aftermath -- the hours right after the terror attack there?
COLLINS: Well, you know, I would say perhaps I would not have done that, but then I'm not Donald Trump -- I'm not the president. I will say the mayor in London has taken a lot of a jabs at our president. One thing we know about Donald Trump is he does jab back. CAMEROTA: But he started this one. I mean, he's the one who started
by saying "At least seven dead, 48 wounded in terror attack and mayor of London says there is no reason to be alarmed." And that, of course, was taken out of context of what the mayor said. He started this one.
COLLINS: Well, when you say "this one" it's been ongoing and I could argue the mayor started it, you know, months ago. Let's just say they are not friends. They are, you know, adversaries to the standpoint of jabbing at each other and one thing we know about President Trump is he does jab back.
CAMEROTA: Even right after a terror attack. Even in the hours after --
COLLINS: Well, I --
CAMEROTA: -- that city has been devastated by this.
COLLINS: Well, it goes back to -- you know, there was an inference where the mayor was saying, you know, we're all fine, we've got plenty of police on the street. And I do understand we want to live our lives. We don't want terrorism to scare us to the point that we stop going outdoors.
CAMEROTA: So then, what's wrong with what the mayor said?
COLLINS: I don't have a problem with what the mayor said. I -- you know, we all continue to be -- you know, my hearts and prayers go out to the families that it's so hard to defend soft targets, you know, whether it's --
COLLINS: -- in France, whether it's in Great Britain, wherever it may be. So I understand --
CAMEROTA: So should the president -- should President Trump have said that, what you just said?
COLLINS: Well, I can't speak for the president. Would I have said it, no, but again, they have an adversarial relationship, the two of them, and so, you know, I understand what's going on. But, you know, again, the president is -- takes care of himself.
CAMEROTA: OK. Congressman Chris Collins, thank you for being on NEW DAY.
COLLINS: OK, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: We appreciatetalking to you.
COLLINS: Always good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: You, too. Chris -- CUOMO: All right, another big headline. Bill Cosby's trial is underway. Who walked into the courthouse with him and what happened inside? We're going to tell you, next.
[07:47:20] CAMEROTA: Comedian Bill Cosby's aggravated indecent assault trial getting off to an emotional start. One his accusers tearfully describing her experience. CNN's Jean Casarez is live in Norristown, Pennsylvania with more. Tell us what you've seen, Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. You know, you never know how a prosecution is going to begin their case but they started out with a bang yesterday, putting on a prior bad act witness. Someone to show a pattern of conduct of Bill Cosby.
This was a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby in 1996 -- that would be eight years before Andrea Constand -- and the fact she testified to substantially similar. She was the personal assistant to Bill Cosby's agent at William Morris. She said that Bill Cosby took a personal interest in her, mentoring her, helping her, interested in her career.
He invited her to the Bel-Air Hotel. She went to his bungalow, as he asked. He answered the door in his bathrobe. She walked in and there he opened up his hand with a big, white pill, saying you need to relax. She didn't want to take it, she wanted to leave. She says he forced her to take it and then she didn't come to until she did, and she found herself in the midst of being sexually assaulted.
Brian McMonagle, lead attorney for the defense, absolutely tried to destroy her credibility, saying that she never went back to William Morris. She filed an H.R. claim. Never mentioned anything about Bill Cosby. When she finally did, she said the incident happened in 1990, not in1996 when she finally said that something occurred -- Chris.
CUOMO: And it was very telling how defense counsel spent so much time cataloging the number of communications after this incident between Cosby and Constand and who initiated them and how long they were. That's obviously going to be a focus if they put on their own case. Anyway, Jean, thank you very much. Appreciate your coverage.
CASAREZ: And the big question is when Andrea Constand is going to take the stand.
CUOMO: Yes, yes. We are waiting for her and we are being told that Cosby will not.
All right, time for CNN Money Now. You saw the graphic. Corporate America wasn't happy that President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. Now, big business is teaming up with local leaders in the climate fight. What will that look like? Chief business correspondent Christine Romans has it in the Money Center. What are we going to see?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Chris. Well, forget what the president decided, big business and local leaders plan to honor the Paris Accord. Hundreds of businesses pledge in an open letter to keep reducing emissions. Tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, but also companies like Adidas, The Gap, and L'Oreal. Eight states and the mayors of dozens of cities also signed this letter. The coalition writes that "Local government and businesses already are primarily responsible for decreased greenhouse gas emissions and they'll continue to reduce them, no matter the Trump policy in Washington."
[07:50:10] The president's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord angered business leaders. Dozens of CEOs spoke out about it. Disney's Bob Iger, Tesla's Elon Musk, they even quit a White House advisory panel in protest. Now, the president said pulling out will help the U.S. economy, particularly the struggling coal industry. But experts say coal's decline is mainly due to the natural gas boon, not to regulation, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right, Christine, thank you very much for that.
So, should the president's tweets serve as official presidential statements? Our media experts discuss that debate, next.
CUOMO: All right. In this bizarre disconnect you had White House heavyweights getting out there and saying hey, if the president tweets, well those aren't official statements, you know. They are the unfiltered words of the president on, often, issues that matter to you. So should they be considered as official as anything else? Let's discuss with CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. And director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Frank Sesno. First, Brian, baby -- good, sleeping?
[07:55:00] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Yes, two weeks old, sleeping wonderfully.
CUOMO: Your ability to change diapers?
CAMEROTA: I'm so happy to hear that.
CUOMO: How quickly can you do it?
STELTER: A thousand percent better than it was two weeks ago.
STELTER: Still working on the swaddling.
CAMEROTA: Worker on it -- it's harder, yes.
STELTER: Yes, still working on it.
CUOMO: All right.
CAMEROTA: Welcome back. STELTER: Thank you.Thanks for --
CUOMO: So, yesterday Sebastian Gorka, one of their -- you know, the heavyweights -- came in here with his bully stick --
STELTER: Oh, yes.
CUOMO: -- to tell me how wrong it is for me to obsess on the tweets. Now, the first pushback was hey, the president used the occasion of the London crisis to talk about his own travel ban and attack its mayor. We didn't ask him to do that, he did it, we covered it. But also, then this notion tweets don't count.
STELTER: Well, they only count to his supporters but the media shouldn't obsess. That's what Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway said yesterday. My reaction this weekend was that the London tweets were the only White House statement. There was no paper statement. There was no official comment from the White House, no interview out there on Sunday morning. All we saw were the president's tweets. So yes, that absolutely counts as the only official statement from the White House.
CAMEROTA: Here's the problem with that, Frank. We just had Congressman Chris Collins, a big --
FRANK SESNO, DIRECTOR, SCHOOL OF MEDIA & PUBLIC AFFAIRS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I watched that.
CAMEROTA: -- President Trump supporter on and he says no, no, no, they're not official statements because they haven't been vetted by lawyers and by his staff. These are just a window into his mind but they're not really official. And the truth is, is that he does change them so they're not policy. You actually cannot look at them for policy because look at the travel ban, they change.
SESNO: Well, you know, this takes us into completely uncharted territory. Since when do the president's words not count? Since when are we told that the President of the United States, you shouldn't listen to him?
CAMEROTA: They count at that moment --
SESNO: Well, don't listen to them officially. Well, don't listen to them -- the president's words always count. That's why he is in a very unpleasant confrontation now with the mayor of London. The mayor of London hasn't gotten a memo that the president's words don't count, so this affects allies.
Let's say you're a senator, let's say you're a congressman and you're having a town hall meeting and your constituents get up and scream at you because they want you to either support or oppose what the president has tweeted. Well, you're in the middle of trying to do business. The president's words count so this stuff flows downhill, OK, and whether they are literal or not they are out there.
Ronald Reagan famously said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," right? None of his advisers wanted him to say that. It wasn't a tweet, though. It was something he'd thought about for a long time. It was delivered in a -- in a -- in a very particular place at a very particular time. The president's words always county.
CUOMO: Let me ask you something. Why do you think the president is doing this? Why would he consciously, somewhat out of context, right -- London's in the midst of crisis. Usuallyyou're supportive and you double down on the threat. He doesn't do that. He goes to the travel ban which, really, nobody was talking about, and he says things that embarrass the White House in terms of their spin to this point. We could play sound all morning for you, Frank, where press secretaries are saying you call it a ban. See, that's why you're fake news. It's not a ban, he just blew it all off. Why would he do that?
SESNO: Well, I don't think we know. We're not inside his mind and we can't really parse that, so --
CUOMO: That's why we need the tweets.
SESNO: Well, I think -- look, he does it because he can, he does it because he wants to, he does it because it's worked, and he does it because it continues to work. Thepresident's approval ratings are 40 -- or under 40 percent and --
CUOMO: So work is a defined term?
SESNO: Yes, and it works with some of his constituency. And he was elected to be the barnburner -- to burn the barn down.
CUOMO: It's his own barn.
SESNO: This is what he continues to do. That's right.
STELTER: But what Collins was saying -- was Collins was saying was, essentially, we're still in the "burn it down" phase of the Trump presidency. Burn it down.
CUOMO: But he's burning down his own message. They're trying to move away from the word "ban," move away from an intentionality --
CUOMO: -- of targeting and he went back on that.
SESNO: Well, it's really interesting that George Conway, Kellyanne Conway's husband, said that his tweets may get in the way of what he's trying to do with the Supreme Court --
SESNO: -- on the travel ban. That was amazing to me.
CAMEROTA: Agreed -- me, too. Kellyanne Conway's husband to publicly speak out in that fashion, you don't see that often. I mean, that --
SESNO: No. I'd like to see what they had -- what they had to say over scrambled eggs.
CAMEROTA: Yes, absolutely. To be a fly on the wall. Yes, right.
STELTER: Well, I think what we're tiptoeing around -- I think what you're tiptoeing around, Chris, in your question very artfully is the emotional state of the president, and it is part of the story -- the emotional state of the president. There was reporting recently about how angry he was, how frustrated he has been alone at the White House. That's part of the story now as he impulsively --
SESNO: And, hold on a minute --
CUOMO: Well, hold on, Frank, because as often is the case you're going to -- you're going to want to hear this.
CUOMO: The president often watches the show and we respect his --
STELTER: Did he just tweet?
STELTER: Did I just feel something?
CUOMO: Yes, and he says good luck with the baby. He doesn't believe you can change diapers. No, he says, "The fake MSM is working so hard to get me not to use social media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out." I want you to focus on those last words because that's exactly why they matter.
SESNO: Well, that's right, and it's why it works and resonates with his 30 million followers, it's why it unsettles Washington, and let's remember why Donald Trump was elected. He was elected to unsettle Washington.
CUOMO: But Collins just said well, only the filtered part matters. Sebastian Gorka said if it's not an executive order it doesn't matter. Kellyanne Conway saying focus on the -- the President of the United States just told you don't listen to them. Don't listen to them.