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Political Turmoil in U.K. After Shocking Election; Trump, Comey Call Each Other Liars; Trump Infrastructure Speech at Department of Transportation. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 9, 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] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, her future is suddenly in question after an election stunner in the U.K. In a major upset, Theresa May's party lost its majority, losing seats, when they were pretty confident they would actually win more of a majority in the end. So, what does this all mean?
CNN's international correspondent, Phil Black, is right outside 10 Downing Street for us.
So, Phil, fill us in.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Kate, it wasn't supposed to be this way. It didn't have to be this way. Theresa May called this election because she thought she saw an opportunity. She was well ahead in the polls by about 20 percent. She wanted to increase her majority in parliament and thought this would do just that, but her lead was continuously eaten away. And the vote yesterday and the result from that we know, her conservative party no longer holds a working majority in the British parliament. It's what's known here as a hung parliament. And so, Theresa May is trying to pull together a government with the help of one of the smaller political parties from Northern Ireland, and she has gone and asked permission to do so, the usual process. She still holds the bigger number of seats in parliament, but not the crucial majority. She came here to Downing Street moments ago and basically said she would continue to govern, she has the legitimacy to do so and can bring the certainty no other party can. But what she hasn't done is admitted this is a gamble that failed, that voters rejected either her leadership or policies. She's trying to soldier on with a brave face on this -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Pretty amazing how this is playing out. Pretty amazing.
Phil, thank you so much, outside 10 Downing Street for us.
Let's discuss this further and what this means, here and there.
Steven Fielding is professor of political history and director of the Center for British Politics at Nottingham University.
Steven, thanks so much for joining me.
STEVEN FIELDING, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL HISTORY & DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR BRITISH POLITICS, NOTTINGHAM UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Kate. BOLDUAN: So, today, May says that she is staying and will be working
to form a government. You had initially said you think she is a goner. Do you still think that she's on her way out in the end?
FIELDING: Well, she's making a fist of it. She's determined to just power on through, but there's a question mark over her because many of her colleagues around the cabinet table, some people who were going to be sacked after she planned to come back with a huge majority, I think they've got more questions than she's prepared to answer. And so, I think they're going to probably see how the press reacts, how the media reacts, how social media reacts. And if it doesn't look like people are buying it, and they're still being criticized, then I suspect they'll move swiftly to get rid of her and get somebody else in, because they can't mess around. Brexit negotiations start very quickly.
FIELDING: So, they've got to really think about it.
BOLDUAN: Talk about uncertain times.
And May's relationship with President Trump, I mean, some have described it as a cozy relationship, but she has shown some distance in recent days on some pretty big issues. Do you think that the American president had an impact on the U.K. election, the relationship that they've had?
FIELDING: Well, I think it gave an extra argument for people that didn't like Theresa May, another reason for not liking her. Certainly, after the London attack and the kind of bizarre Twitter spat that he had with the Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, did not do him any good, did not do Theresa May any good, because she didn't want to criticize Trump for doing something that many people in Britain, whether they were Labour or Conservative or not, thought was quite outrageous under the circumstances, but I don't think it was a decisive impact in her performance.
BOLDUAN: Just bottom line, why did she take this gamble?
FIELDING: She thought she'd win. She thought she'd win big. She was 20 points ahead of the Labour Party. Everybody was anticipating she would get a huge majority, a majority of 100, maybe 150 seats. But during the course of the campaign, she showed she was not the person that she presented herself as being, a strong and stable leader. She made lots of mistakes. She was terrible in the media. She looked kind of robotic. And the contrast with Jeremy Corbyn, who really enjoyed campaigning, was dropping jokes, seemed to be authentic --
BOLDUAN: He had nothing to lose.
FIELDING: He had nothing to lose, which is why he was relaxed, but nonetheless, the contrast was there. And it looked like Theresa May was going to be taking people's houses away in order to pay for social care. There were lots of mistakes in that campaign. It set a gold standard about how not to have a campaign.
BOLDUAN: That is not a good review of how things went.
Steven Fielding, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
FIELDING: Thank you.
[11:34:35] BOLDUAN: Amazing times we live in right now.
So, any moment now, President Trump is expected to break his silence after the James Comey hearing, speaking live after, of course, this morning breaking his silence on Twitter, calling the former FBI director a liar. We'll bring you his comments live as soon as they begin.
BOLDUAN: He's just the new guy! Haven't you ever heard of a learning curve? Those, of course, are something that you might hear in your office about the new guy or the new gal, but about the president of the United States?
President Trump this morning accusing James Comey of so many false statements and lies. Republican leaders not going that far, but they are coming to the president's defense with this kind of defense. Listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president's new at this. He's new to government. And so, he probably wasn't steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He's just new to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Yes. So is Chris Cillizza.
Joining me now, Chris Cillizza, CNN Politics reporter and editor-at- large; Phil Nutt, also new to this, former CIA and FBI counterterrorism official; James Gagliano, so new at this, former FBI special agent.
All right, let's get to this.
Chris, what do you make of the explanation that we got from House Speaker Paul Ryan there? What is he trying to do?
[11:40:12] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT- LARGE: The latest in a series of attempts to rationalize and justify support for Donald Trump, despite the fact that he has said and done many things that make Paul Ryan incredibly uncomfortable, would be my guess. I'm not a big believer in this line of reasoning, Kate. The presidency is a unique job in many ways. You can't necessarily -- you don't know how to do it. You can't practice.
CILLIZZA: There's no simulator to be president of the United States. At the same time, Donald Trump has not demonstrated a willingness, a curiosity, an acknowledgement that he doesn't know everything. He got elected in large part because he was a guy who had no past political experience, but the fact that he is our first president with no past elected experience and no military experience means he comes at this at a unique disadvantage just in terms of the logistics of how this all works. Given that, you would think he would really nose to the grindstone on a lot of this stuff to get up to speed. My sense from the way in which he acts, the way in which he tweets and talks, is he doesn't feel the need to do any of those things. So I don't know that you can use his unwillingness to learn the ways that Washington works and the way that the legal system works, as an excuse for him.
BOLDUAN: Look, and being an outsider and staying an outsider, staying with that kind of theme may be great in one sense, but it can clearly also get you into trouble. What are we looking at right now? It's got him into trouble.
Phil Nutt, the president is a newcomer to politics, yes, so you should give him a pass on how he interacts with the FBI director. Does that fly with you?
PHIL NUTT, FORMER CIA & FBI COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: Nope. No. What is with Chris taking the polite pills today? Let's be clear --
NUTT: This is nuts wrapped in silliness, stuffed in idiocy.
BOLDUAN: Come on, Phil.
CILLIZZA: Phil. Nutt always one for understatement.
BOLDUAN: Come on.
NUTT: No, let me give you the conversation, Kate, seriously. So, you're going to walk into a 70-year-old president, claim that he doesn't know the job. Here's the conversation, there's a well-known, publicized, ongoing investigation for months that you've heard about in classified and unclassified settings, and that's at the core of media coverage, and you've got to tell the president, hey, you might want to learn that it's not particularly appropriate to tell the director of the FBI to back off? That's what you've got to learn? That's crazy!
BOLDUAN: Pure crazy. That's how I describe Phil Nutt, but I understand, and thank you for your point.
James, joining in this conversation now, this side of it.
How about this one? Try this one on for size. The former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, he has had a lot to say in the past weeks about how this is all playing out and his view of it. He says that Watergate pales in comparison to what we're seeing now, and he's talking about the fact that we are talking about a break-in, with Watergate, we're talking about Russia influencing being involved in our election with this. But he also had this to say, and this is about your former agency. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, A.C. 360: Are you saying that you believe the president of the United States is a threat to democracy?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, to our system. You know, the assault on the institutions, starting with my own, the intelligence community, and his characterization of us as Nazis, the commentary he's made about the judiciary and individual judges, the assault on the bureau, as examples, which are not constructive for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Does being a newcomer to politics and the system explain that, or is he right?
JAMES GAGLIANO, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: No, I mean, I don't think you can fall back on I'm a neophyte at this. That's not a good excuse. I have great respect for the former DNI, and he's a wickedly smart man. I think he entered into some dangerous territory there of hyperbole and going over the top.
Look, I've been harshly critical of the president. I think that the roadmap that James Comey laid out in that seven-page document, which literally you can make an argument for obstruction there, although people can see it two different ways.
GAGLIANO: Where I was let down, Kate, and you and I spoke yesterday, and I said I was exceedingly proud of the former FBI director for standing up, for pushing back, and for getting the facts out there. I believe him. I do believe him. And he was brave. He called the president of the United States a liar, five times. You don't have that happen very often in Washington. What struck me, though, was, and where I think James Comey lost the moral high ground yesterday, was the leak. There's no such thing as a leak. That's a benign word. It's an unauthorized --
BOLDUAN: They're trying to make it into something, but keep going.
GAGLIANO: But my feeling on that is it's an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
BOLDUAN: Do you think that was classified?
[11:45:07] GAGLIANO: I do in this sense. If I want to write a book about my experience in the FBI, Kate, I have to clear everything, all of my intellectual property. It doesn't belong to me. There's a proprietary interest that the Department of Justice has about it. So I have to write a book, send it in and wait two years for them to get back to me on it. He took an FBI document, whether a memo or electronic communication, he took an FBI document -- and this is what disappointed me most about James Comey, instead of going directly to "The New York Times" or the "Washington Post," which would have been brave, he said there were a "variety of reasons" that he elected to give it to a friend and colleague at Columbia University and have him leak it. That just smacks of hypocrisy, because if I had done that as an FBI agent, hell, if I do it now, there are going to be people knocking on my door saying you could be sanctioned for this and guess what, we'll go after your pension.
BOLDUAN: I want to continue that conversation, important points, but now to Washington, D.C., the Department of Transportation where President Trump is speaking right now. Let us listen in.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- this department, and the progress is being made so quickly, but leaders and officials gathered here from across the country have all praised the work that the secretary is doing to create a safe, modern, and reliable transportation system for the United States and for its great, great, great people.
I also want to thank Secretary Zinke for the fantastic job he's doing at the Department of the interior to clear the way for new construction and economic development. Both Secretary Chao and Zinke met with us yesterday with state and local leaders to develop plans to replace America's decaying infrastructure and construct new roads, rails, pipelines, tunnels and bridges all across our nation.
We are here today to focus on solving one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately needed infrastructure, and that is the painfully slow, costly, and time-consuming process of getting permits and approvals to build, and I also knew that from the private sector. It is a long, slow, unnecessarily burdensome process.
My administration is committed to ending these terrible delays once and for all. The excruciating wait time for permitting has inflicted enormous financial pain to cities and states all throughout our nation and has blocked many important projects from ever getting off the ground. Many, many projects are long gone because they couldn't get permits and there was no reason for it. We've already taken historic steps to speed up the approvals, including the approval of the Keystone Excel Pipeline, which was very quickly approved. It was sitting there for a long time saying, well, that project is dead. Then I came into office and, all of a sudden, America -- and I guarantee you, the consultants went over to the heads of the company and told them what a great job they did. They asked for a lot of money, most likely, but we got it approved, and we got it approved fast p.m. I'm also very proud to say that the Dakota Access Pipeline is now officially open for business. It was dead 120 days ago, and now it officially just opened for business.
(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Very proud of that.
We're also excited to be joined by representatives from our labor unions, including the North American Building Trades Union, which I know well, and the Laborers' International Union of North America. You will play -- go ahead, fellows, take a little credit. Come on, fellows.
TRUMP: You will play a central role in rebuilding America. Very important.
We're also joined as well by many distinguished members of Congress who share our total passion and desire to repair and restore America's highways, railways, and waterways.
In the audience is a man that I've gotten to know well who's doing some job. It's not easy, but it's going to get a lot easier. Chairman Bill Schuster, of the House Administration and Infrastructure Committee.
Stand up, Bill.
[11:50:02] TRUMP: Thank you, Bill. Great job.
Who is working very closely with us, including on our proposal to dramatically reduce airport delays by reforming air traffic control. We have an obsolete system. Before Elaine got here, they had spent close to $7 billion on the system. A waste. All wasted. But we're going to have a great system, great new system. The top of the line. It will be the best in the world. Right now, we're at the lowest part of the pack. It will be the best in the world for a lot less money than they've been wasting for years.
For too long, America has poured trillions and trillions of dollars into rebuilding foreign countries while allowing our own country, the country that we love, and its infrastructure, to fall into a state of total disrepair. We have structurally deficient bridges, clogged roads, crumbling dams and locks. Our rivers are in trouble. Our railways are ancient and chronic traffic that slows commerce and diminishes our citizens quality of life. Other than that, we're doing very well.
Instead of rebuilding our country, Washington has spent decades building a dense -- it took only four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and five years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year to build the Empire State Building. People don't believe that. It took less than one year. But today, it can take 10 years, and far more than that just, to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project. These charts beside me are actually a simplified version of our
highway permitting process. It includes 16 different approvals involving 10 different federal agencies being governed by 26 different statutes.
As one example, and this happened just 30 minutes ago, I was sitting with a great group of people responsible for their state's economic development and roadways. All of you are in the room now. And one gentleman from Maryland was talking about an 18-mile road and he brought with him some of the approvals that they've gotten and paid for. They spent $29 million for an environmental report weighing 70 pounds and costing $24,000 per page. And I said, do me a favor, I'm going to make a speech in a little while, do you mind if a take that and show it? So I'm going to show it.
Better make sure I move it. I don't want to trip on the way out. That would be a big story.
Especially to trip over that.
So they spent millions and millions of dollars. When I said, how long has this short roadway been talked about? The gentleman said, well, if you say 20 years, you're safe. I said, don't say anymore, because I have to be -- I have to be exactly accurate with these people back there. I was off by, like, two months. It's a major front-page story.
But these binders on the stage could be replaced by just a few simple pages. And it would be just as good. It would actually be much better. Because these binders also make you do unnecessary things that cost billions and billions of dollars and they actually make it worse.
[11:54:53] As another example, the 23, if you look at it in Ohio, the Ohio River Bridge, $2.3 billion. A project amassed a 150,000-page administrative record. 150,000 pages is a five-story tall building. Think of it. If you put the paper together, it's a five-story building. How can a country prosper under this kind of nonsense? And I know it. I know it's a well-being in the private sector, but, you know, in the private sector you move, and you wheel and you deal, and you hope and you pray, and maybe it goes a little faster, but it's a horrible thing in the private sector. And we're talking about reducing that for the private sector likewise.
Why should we continue to accept what is so clearly unacceptable? Oftentimes, for consultants that are making a fortune because you can't do anything without hiring them, paying them a tremendous amount of money, having them write up this nonsense, you can't get approvals.
And there in the case of New York, Albany, they go to Albany, the state capitol or here they go to Washington. And you have to hire them. It's a terrible thing. It's a group probably nobody has heard them talk about. Because I'm a business guy I understand it. They work really hard to make it difficult and some are believers, but most aren't. Most want to make a lot of money. So they make a very, very simple roadway or whatever you want to be building a very complicated subject and they make it very much more expensive. And they make it worse. It's not as good as it would have been.
I was not elected to continue a failed system. I was elected to change it. All of us in government service were elected to solve the problems that have plagued our nation. We are here to think big, to act boldly, and to rise above the petty squabbling of Washington, D.C. We are here to take action. It's time to start building our country with American workers and with American iron and aluminum and steel. It's time to put up soaring new infrastructure that inspires pride in our people and our towns. When I approved the Keystone Pipeline, I said where was the pipe made? Unfortunately, they had purchased a lot of it, but I put a little clause at the bottom. You want to build a pipeline in this country, buy American steel. And let it be fabricated here.
TRUMP: Very simple little clause written in hand, but it does the trick.
It is time at last to put America first. Americans deserve the best infrastructure anywhere in the world. They deserve roads and bridges that are safe to travel and pipes that deliver clean water into their homes, not like what happened in Flint, Michigan. They deserve lanes of commerce that get people and products where they need to go on time. Most of all, Americans deserve a system of infrastructure that is looked upon not with pity. The world, in many cases, is so far advanced that they look at our infrastructure as being sad. We want them to look at us with envy, a system worthy of our magnificent country. No longer can we allow these rules and regulations to tie down our economy, chain up our prosperity, and sap our great American spirit. That is why we will lift these restrictions and unleash the full potential of the United States of America.
To all of our state and local leaders, I appreciate your being here today. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you, Bill. I want you to know that help is finally, after many, many decades, on
its way. We are giving control back to the cities and the states. You know best how to plan your communities, analyze your projects, and protect your local environment. We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your month. Our goal is to give you one point of contract to deliver one deliver one decision, yes or no --