Return to Transcripts main page
Appeals Court Rules Against Trump's Revised Travel Ban; Schumer & Staff Mock Trump's Cabinet Meeting; D.C., Maryland A.G.s Sue Trump; Trump Says He'll Testify Under Oath on Comey, But Won't Be First Time Under Oath; White House Being Secretive on Trump's Golf Outings. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired June 12, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: -- previous rulings where the president's own words or members of his own inner circle have worked against him. They cited this tweet from the president as recent as June 5th when he tweeted, "That's right, we need a travel ban for certain dangerous countries, not some politically correct term that won't protect our people."
Lindsay Moran, what do you think of that?
LINDSAY MORAN, FREELANCE WRITER & FORMER CLANDESTINE CIA OFFICER: I think it shows an unnuanced view of world affairs. From an intelligence perspective, a large part of intelligence collection, recruiting human sources is winning the minds and hearts of people from the Islamic community worldwide. And with an arbitrary, strategically flawed policy of banning refugees and immigrants from certain nations, that makes the jobs of CIA officers, of all intelligence collectors much harder overseas.
I would like to add also with regard to the bipartisan bickering that takes place in these hearings, every time that happens, Putin and the Russians are doing a little victory dance. Because that works in Putin's grand-scale strategy and favor. He's playing chess, we look like we're playing checkers, or our president is playing solitaire.
BALDWIN: If I had a penny that every time someone came on my show lately and talked about Putin, and you made your precise point. Yeah, I agree.
Thank you all so very much on that, in the wake of this latest press briefing from the White House.
But let's move along. We have two more breaking stories to share with you. First, these two attorneys general today suing President Trump over his business ties. Could this case lead to the mysterious tax returns?
Stand by. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:35:26] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. These are pictures from earlier today. You see the president. This is the first time he's been with his full cabinet sitting there at the White House. Went around the table and talked to different cabinet members.
I set this up only to then show you a video from the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, Democrat, poking fun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I thank everybody for coming. I just thought we would go around the room.
Lucy, how did we do on the Sunday show yesterday?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your tone was perfect. You were right on message.
SCHUMER: Michelle, how did my hair look, coming out of the gym?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have great hair. Nobody has better hair than you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before we go any further, I just want to say thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: David Chalian, Maeve Reston, I've got you back with me.
You heard the giggles as the camera panned away from Senator Schumer. Funny or not so funny?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Probably not so funny to Trump, open mockery. But there is an issue here, certainly, which is that the Democrats have argued that Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants, people who will pledge their loyalty to him. So they are making that point in a more humorous way, and some people will think it's funny and the other half of the country probably won't.
BALDWIN: David Chalian, is that fair?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Is the mockery fair? Sure. Anybody can make fun of the president or any elected official. It's fair game. I'm sure it you watch Donald Trump's Twitter feed, he will make fun right back at Chuck Schumer, who he calls a clown time and again.
BALDWIN: Right. Clown Schumer.
CHALIAN: I don't -- Donald Trump spent a lot of time today at that cabinet meeting talking about the obstructionist Democrats. I don't think it should surprise anyone that the Democrats wanted to hit back a little bit. That the Democrats, in Schumer world, were able to put together that quick turn-around video, and it obviously impressed the boss, who, after he did the whole joke, at the end, you hear him say, "That's great." He was, like, reviewing his staff's performance.
RESTON: Maybe these are the levels Democrats have to go to, at this point, to make news.
CHALIAN: Right. The Schumer/Trump relationship is one that is very rocky in these last several months. And I don't think either side sees any benefit right now working with the other.
BALDWIN: Standby to Twitter to see if it he fires back.
Guys, David Chalian, Maeve Reston --
BALDWIN: -- thank you very much.
We have more breaking news. Let's get you back to the story, how we learned that two attorneys general are suing President Trump over his business ties. This case could lead to the mysterious tax returns from Donald Trump.
Stay with me.
[14:42:42] BALDWIN: Breaking news, the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., just hit the president of the United States with a lawsuit, essentially, accusing President Trump of corruption and demanding his tax returns.
Here they were moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL RACINE, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Never in the history of this country have we had a president with these kinds of extensive business entanglements or a president who refused to adequately distance themselves from their holdings.
BRYAN FROSH, MARYLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Emolument Clauses are a fire wall against presidential corruption. And the one thing we know about President Trump is he understands the value of walls. This is one he can't climb over and it's one he can't dig underneath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: They maintain that President Trump violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions of dollars in payments and benefits from foreign governments to multiple Trump properties, including that luxury hotel of his in Washington, D.C. And we just heard the White House response. Here's Sean Spicer from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's interests, as previously discussed, do not violate the Emoluments Clause for reasons, at length, that the Department of Justice filing enumerates in their Friday night filing with respect to the CREW lawsuit, which is the first one. This lawsuit today is just another iteration of the case filed by that group CREW, filed by the same lawyers. So it's not hard to conclude that partisan politics might be one of the motivation behind the scene. The suit was filed by two Democratic attorneys general. The lawyers driving the suit are an advocacy group with partisan ties. It actually started with a press conference as opposed to filing it, which is interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With me now to discuss, Ambassador Norm Eisen, the former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, former White House ethics czar and chairman of the nonprofit legal advocacy group that we just heard Spicer mention, CREW. That organization served as counsel on a lawsuit the attorneys general have filed. And Bryan Lanza is with us, former advisor to President Trump's campaign and transition team.
Gentlemen, really great to have both of you on.
Mr. Ambassador, just because we just heard Sean Spicer referencing your organization, I want to begin with you. You filed a similar lawsuit in January. Respond to Sean Spicer and the White House, do you believe that the president is showing disregard for the Constitution?
[14:45:05] NORM EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & CHAIRMAN, CREW: There's no question about it, Brooke. Thanks for having me back. Sean Spicer is wrong. The Constitution says the president cannot accept foreign government payments and benefits or those from the states of the union. He's doing it. There's no doubt he's doing it. As one of the clients today said, attorney general of D.C., it's as if he's hanging out a "for sale" sign on the lawn of the White House. You just can't do that. We saw what the travel ban, this is a president who doesn't care about constitutional violations, and he's going to be slapped down the same way by general in this case as he was in that travel ban case, now by two circuits.
And I do have to correct several false statements in Mr. Spicer's remarks. First, CREW is a bipartisan organization. Myself and the push ethics czar serve on the board. Second, there was no lawsuit that was filed after the press conference. The lawsuit was filed this the morning and, as is normal -- we know the White House doesn't like when he talks to the press. As was normal, there's a press conference afterwards. And then finally, I have to say that I think the merits of the case are going to be demonstrated. And the Justice Department's brief from Friday has been very widely criticized because the exceptions would consume the rule the Justice Department has gone too far. So that's where the case stands.
And I should add one last thing. It's not the same lawyer. In New York, you have hotels and restaurants who are represented by one set of counsel. Here you have two states who are represented by A.G.s. CREW is outside counsel in both.
BALDWIN: OK, we heard you stop.
Bryan Lanza, it's your turn. You can totally respond, and you heard what the ambassador said about the "for sale" sign outside the White House. How do you see it?
BRYAN LANZA, FORMER ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & FORMER ADVISOR, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: It's silly. This is partisan- based politics at its best. You stated earlier, in a couple previous segments, this is about the tax returns. The bottom line is the American public has already made their decision on tax returns. It wasn't important for them to have access to it, as they are making a decision. They are very comfortable with the decision they made.
As for the partisan politics, there's two office holders that push forward. We know how this is going to end. They want to keep bringing up these issues going forward. We're going to let the legal process take its course. And I'm not an attorney, but my understanding is the way this is going to work is they are going to look at the facts and decide that Trump has put together a managed trust that's handled by his kids. He's allowed to communicate and he's done everything in the law required of him. What we saw in the attorneys general was arguments stating that case.
BALDWIN: Mr. Ambassador, I want you to respond to that very question. A lot of Republicans are saying, hang on, is this really about foreign payments or is this about a federal judge being able to finally --
BALDWIN: -- turn those tax returns over. What is this really about?
EISEN: This is about defending the Constitution. Just like the Muslim ban cases, the president is violating a core constitutional principle that you can't take the foreign and other governmental payments. This is like the Muslim ban case. It's not a close question. And he's a conservative Republican. I'm a Democrat. CREW is a nonpartisan organization. The Constitution applies to all Americans. No individual is above the law. The president, that's how he got in obstruction trouble, because he has disdain for the law. And the common thread, the mystery, you pointed it out before, is he's receiving, as his sons have said, Russian -- his son said Russian finance is very important to their businesses. They made a number of references to that. It's the common threat. We don't know the answer, but it's the common threat.
BALDWIN: We'll let the investigation play out. We're going to let that investigation play out. (CROSSTALK)
EISEN: That's the common thread.
BALDWIN: Bryan, here's my question.
BALDWIN: Hang on. I want you to respond to him, but I want to ask, how could the president be totally separated from his business when his sons are still giving him updates?
[14:49:53] LANZA: Let's address this. The president has set aside an ethics lawyer to work him through the process. We have never had this situation before because we have never had a president financially successful in the business world where he has complex organizations and businesses out there. That's why he set up the parameters that existed in December. We have seen them. The process is what the process is.
We're dealing with partisan politics. You may say we have bipartisan politics, but you have a former Bush administration person who certainly doesn't give us any latitude with anything. They have their agenda. Their agenda is to slow down Donald Trump's agenda here in Washington, D.C., which is to bring the necessary changes so the middle class can be restored. If it's a lawsuit today or tomorrow, they don't care. That's their priority, to slow down any progress that the American people voted for in November.
BALDWIN: Just quickly, if the president wants to stay clean on all things business related, why is he getting updates from his sons?
LANZA: We don't know he is. But he is certainly entitled to --
EISEN: We do know. We do know. The sons have admitted it.
EISEN: We do. The sons admitted they are briefing him and giving him financial information, and it's terribly wrong. He shouldn't be able to get Chinese trademarks that they denied and given. They gave those to his daughter. Money is pouring in. The Saudis have spent a quarter of a million dollars at that hotel. Forgive me for interrupting but it's an outrageous violation of our Constitution. It will be slapped down. I think these are two brave public servants who stepped forward A.G. Frosh and A.G. Racine. And the courts are going to slap this violation down, just like they did the Muslim ban.
LANZA: We have been waiting for a long time for people to push back on President Trump. We have seen it during the campaign, and we've seen six months. It's a lot harder than I think it is, and this lawsuit is going to be batted down just like the other things that have been batted down.
BALDWIN: Bryan Lanza, Norm Eisen --
LANZA: Thank you.
BALDWIN: -- thank you both.
EISEN: Thank you.
BALDWIN: We'll be watching carefully.
Gentlemen, thank you very much.
We want to get back to breaking news. More today. Will Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when he testifies tomorrow, will he invoke executive privilege when he testifies this time tomorrow before the Senate Intelligence Committee? The White House moments ago, in answering that question, said it depends. It depends.
Plus, why is the White House being so secretive when it comes to the president's golf outings, especially after Donald Trump criticized then-President Obama of playing golf too much. We'll ask that.
[14:45:43] BALDWIN: President Trump vowing to testify under oath after calling James Comey's testimony a lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So he lied about that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn't say that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of --
TRUMP: 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The president says 100 percent. So if the president does testify under oath, it would not be the first time he's been sworn in to tell the truth. And the results, thus far, have been mixed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please swear in the witness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your right happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you swear the testimony you're about to give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
TRUMP: I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That's video you saw from 2016 from when then-Candidate Trump, one year ago, taking the oath in a civil deposition and answering questions about his campaign remarks disparaging Mexicans and immigrants. That was part of a lawsuit against a chef who pulled out a restaurant out of Trump's new hotel in Washington, D.C. That case was settled out of court. But Trump did not fare as well when under oath in 2005 when he sued my next guest for liable.
Tim O'Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg View, and he's the author of the biography "Trump Nation, The Art of Being the Donald."
So Tim is back.
So talk to me about that experience and how he admitted to lying.
TIM O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW & AUTHOR: He admitted he had to acknowledge 30 lies on matters big and small. He acknowledged he lied about his ownership stake in a major development on the west side of Manhattan. He acknowledged he lied about how big the Trump Organization was. He acknowledged he lied about how many debts he had and about his wealth. He acknowledged lying about needing to borrow money from his family when he almost went bankrupt. He lied about the fees he got for speeches.
BALDWIN: So big and small lies, it all came out.
O'BRIEN: And the problem, in our deposition was my lawyers were very well prepared. And they had documentation. We had business records, banking records, receipts for payments, et cetera. So we simply put questions in front of him that he had to answer that ran contrary to this long history of in public.
BALDWIN: The other thing you have dealt with is the tape issue. You didn't hear Donald Trump say -- what did he say?
O'BRIEN: When we'd speak on the phone -- we spoke frequently, multiple times a week -- he said, you don't mind if I record this. And I'd say no. He said, I may be recording this. I said that's fine, I was recording things, too.
BALDWIN: But he wasn't.
O'BRIEN: He wasn't. We finally, during the deposition, said to him, you said on multiple times that you were taping me. Obviously, we wanted some of those tapes ourselves for the litigation. And he had to say, no, I didn't have a taping system in Trump Tower and have never had one.
BALDWIN: You're convinced, even though we don't know yet, are there tapes, you're convinced they don't exist?
O'BRIEN: I don't think Jim Comey has to worry there are tapes. The weirder thing about all of this is the White House continues to make this into a reality TV show game. Sean Spicer at the press conference today was asked, do the tapes exist, and he said as the president told you on Friday we will know in a couple weeks. And it's not really the kind of comportment we're used to seeing in the Oval Office.
BALDWIN: So that's the thing that irks all of us. And they just finally, under the category of lying or just lack of truth, however you want to say it.
The golf outings. The president has been golfing 32 times, it's been tallied. It's acknowledging -- when reporters go to the White House and ask what the president has been up to on the weekend, they will not acknowledge, especially because of the hypocrisy and all the times he slammed then-President Obama for hitting the links.
O'BRIEN: Precisely because of that. Yet again, there's a long record of Trump going after President Obama for being less than dedicated to the hard work of being the president. And Obama didn't golf nearly as much as President Trump. He lives on the golf course on weekends.
And I think the larger issue about these big and small lies is he's under investigation potentially --