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Trump's First G-20 Summit; Trump Defends Tweet Rants; Vehicle Drives into Crowd in Boston. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 3, 2017 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:47] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me on this Fourth of July eve.

So many of you getting ready to celebrate the patriotic holiday, but President Trump, meantime, is trading Twitter for the phone. He's calling these leaders of these nations today ahead of their critical meetings during the G-20 Summit at the end of the week. That is where the president will come face-to-face for the very first time with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The big question, you know, what will they be discussing? Just a day after President Trump tweeted himself literally pummeling the media, specifically a body with "CNN" imposed as its head, we are hearing he may be pulling punches with his Russian counterpart. So far sources tell CNN that President Trump is not expected to bring up Russia's influence in the U.S. election. All the meddling not on the table, at least that's what we're hearing so far.

Our White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins, is standing by.

So if that is not up for discussion at the G-20, Caitlyn, what will they talk about?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, that's a great question, Brooke, and it's certainly the one that's been on everyone's mind this week as we lead up to this G-20 Summit in Germany. CNN is learning that the national security team for the president is not expecting him to confront Vladimir Putin over Russian meddling in the last election. They're saying that it's not on the schedule right now. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told reporters last week that no format or agenda for the meeting has been set yet and that it's largely up to the president to decide what he wants to talk to Putin about. And right now they're thinking that confronting him over hacking in the election is not on the table for discussion.

Now what administration officials are telling us they expect Donald Trump to discuss are two issues that his administration think are very urgent, and that is Ukraine and Syria. And as you know, Syria has been at the forefront of Donald Trump's presidency ever since the Assad regime conducted a chemical weapons attack against its own people in April and then Donald Trump promptly sent 59 Tomahawk missiles to a Syrian air base. He said he wants to end the slaughter and the bloodshed in Syria and he's likely to confront Putin over Russian support for the Syrian dictator. So we definitely think those two things will be on the table for their meeting despite whatever the format is.

But more broadly, this is really an opportunity for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to size each other up. Throughout the entire campaign, Donald Trump said he wanted to look for areas where he could work with Russia and cooperate with them and this is likely going to be a time for him to do that and figure out if there is a path forward for improving ties with Russia.

BALDWIN: Much more to discuss on the G-20 meeting. Kaitlan, thank you so much for now.

Meantime, let me just point this out. President Trump, you know, calls all of this tweeting. He says it's modern day presidential when he tweets things like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. What's going to happen?

Oh! Oh, my God!


BALDWIN: OK. Now I want you to notice a couple of times when then candidate Donald Trump called out why he didn't think President Barack Obama was presidential, including a time the former president didn't wear a tie or the way he handled protesters.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I definitely think he should have worn a tie. You know, he's the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a good point. I never thought of that.

TRUMP: Let him put on a tie. Bill was wearing a tie, not that he has to follow Bill, but Bill was wearing a tie. He's a president. It's a formal position. I think he should wear a tie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What message is he sending by not?

TRUMP: It's sloppy. It's not appropriate. It's not presidential. He's the president of the United States. Let him put on a tie.

Did you see yesterday Obama screaming and screaming and screaming? Just like the way he runs the country, nobody listens to him. Screaming.


BALDWIN: And in one tweet from 2004, then Donald Trump actually called President Obama unpresidential. This is specifically what he said. Quote, "the way President Obama runs down the stairs of Air Force One, hopping and bobbing all the way, is so inelegant and unpresidential. Do not fall."

[14:05:03] All right, let's go into all of this. Joining me, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, CNN political commentator Mandy Carpenter, used to serve as communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, and CNN national security analyst Steve Hall, who used to be chief of Russia operations over at the CIA.

So, happy early Fourth of July to all of you.

And, Chris Cillizza, I mean we played a little bit of a mashup but, you know -


BALDWIN: If he goes off on President Obama like this and then President Trump defends these tweets as modern-day presidential, his words, what does that even mean?

CILLIZZA: I mean, not much. It's not meant to mean all that much other than to sort of say, I'm - I have a plan. There's a strategy. This is three-dimensional chess that you guys can't see. I think it's more likely it's zero dimensional chess, frankly, based on what we know of Donald Trump in terms of strategy. He just says and does things, and then his aides, and he to a certain extent, work for justify them as sort of part of some broader schema that we just don't see.

Now, the other thing that's on display here, Brooke, and you noted is, Donald Trump doesn't - hypocrisy is not a think that Donald Trump deals with. What he said yesterday is, in his mind, immaterial to what he says today. What he said about Obama, it was true. And what he's saying now is also true in his mind. He doesn't see the logical inconsistency there. He just sort of glosses over it. And what he says today is what he said today. What he says tomorrow, if it contradicts what he says today, is what he said tomorrow. That's it.

BALDWIN: OK. I'm with you. But I'm also just thinking too, you know, for critics who say, well, we're not focusing enough on the meat and potatoes of what's happening at the White House and policy, let me just point out precisely what the president's tweeted since being inaugurated. Tweeted 94 times have been attacks on the media, 68 on jobs, 29 on the military. I mean when you look at this, you know, six months in, just trying to understand, you know, where the president's mind-set is, it's almost like, Chris, and then Amanda I want to hear from you, it's almost like he's still thinking like he's a New York, you know, businessman obsessed with media, and not so much his own policy.

CILLIZZA: Right. So two things, Brooke. First, I actually think, looking at his Twitter feed and analyzing what he tweets about is really important because this is the unadulterated sort of Donald Trump, right? This is the undiluted. This is him and a phone theoretically. This is what's really on his mind. That's point one. Point two, yes, you know, for all of the scolding of the media, and obviously I'm a defender of the media. I've spent my whole professional life in the media. I get that.

BALDWIN: Of course. Of course.

CILLIZZA: But for all of the scolding of the media, look at what he tweets about. He tweets about -


CILLIZZA: CNN or "The Washington Post." He doesn't often tweet about jobs or the wall or ISIS. He tweeted about that this morning, but only to say the fake news media isn't covering these things. And that's what's really on his mind day in and day out, whether it's illegal votes, whether it's Hillary Clinton and the rigging of the election, whether it's the media, whether it's the wiretapping - still unproven - the wiretapping of Trump Tower. That's what animates him. He's the president. We pay attention to what the president says and, yes, what he tweets.

BALDWIN: Amanda, Amanda, what do you make of this, and, also, where is the Republican outrage?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Well, here, I'm really intrigued by this tweet because I think he's employing one of his most useful rhetorical devices. He always puts on the something and then kind of denies he ever said it. This is classic Trump. He's putting out a tweet of him punching CNN in the face. But it's not really real because it's fake wrestling. He's kind of advancing and denying this at the same time. And so everyone's asking, will this gin up violence? We don't have to ask if Donald Trump will gin up violence. He already has.

At a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on the campaign trail, some Trump supporters physically assaulted a black woman. Do you know what their defense in court is? Essentially Donald Trump made me do it. They told their lawyers, they told the judge, Trump was saying, get them out, get them out, get them out. So they went after this woman and hauled her out and hurt her. We saw Corey Lewandowski deny, call a reporter delusional for saying he grabbed her and then she showed pictures of the bruises. We saw a Republican candidate in a special election punch a reporter in the face and still win his race. So let's not speculation if Trump will cause violence. He already has. And this is something we really need to focus on. Yes, it's funny, you might not take this tweet seriously, but just look at what's already happened.

BALDWIN: You know, when I saw - I hope - I do hope you're wrong.


BALDWIN: And I think of someone like Ben Ferguson who, you know, I know I was watching CNN air yesterday and he said you guys are taking this way too seriously. This was a joke. And I think I just leave that saying that it only takes one person.

Steve Hall, to you. How do you think that the tweets will impact his credibility? As we're talking about how he's making these key, key phone calls to world leaders ahead of the G-20. How will this impact, on will it not, credibility of the presidents around the world? [14:10:06] STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, and it's

sort of a fascinating turn of events, Brooke. I think that - I think that Vladimir Putin will look at the - at that video that we're referring to about him doing the body slam on CNN and say, hey, you know, maybe I should - there's a couple of pointers here that I can use as I control the media here in Moscow. So that will be interesting.

More seriously, though, I think when you look at the public face that President Trump presents himself. I mean if Angela Merkel is looking over the photo album that she probably got from the White House with the photos in it that show her in a very uncomfortable pose and setting with the president, and then she sees sort of the black slapping, you know, good old boy stuff that was going on in the Oval Office when Sergey Lavrov, and the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador were there, that this sends very -

BALDWIN: Unbeknownst to them, by the way, unbeknownst to the White House those photos got out. Remember that?

HALL: Yes, absolutely.


HALL: So I think those are symbolic I think as to what's going on and I - you know, Putin sees, I think Trump coming in these upcoming G-20 - G-20 sessions. You know, he's looking to be able to sell this cooperation piece, which most Americans say, well, why not? Putin - I mean Trump himself has said what's wrong with cooperating with Russia? The problem is, Russia is poised to take advantage of that and unless President Trump goes in very strong and makes some demands and registers some severe concerns about some of the things that Putin has done, like meddle in western election and annex countries in Europe, unless he goes in strong, the Russians are going to come out with the upper hand in this initial meeting between Putin and Trump.

BALDWIN: Do you think -

CILLIZZA: And, Brooke, by the way, just quickly -

BALDWIN: Yes, go ahead, Chris.

CILLIZZA: Worth noting -


CILLIZZA: And Steve made me think of it. Worth noting, as Kaitlan reported, that - that at least at the moment sources are suggesting he won't be bringing up the meddling.

BALDWIN: Right, the meddling.

CILLIZZA: I mean, remember, Donald Trump billed himself as the guy who was OK with confrontation, right? The guy who would tell it like it is. The guy who would not kowtow to world leaders, as he alleged Barack Obama did. So if that's borne out, and we'll see, obviously a couple more days still, but if that's borne out, it undermines a fundamental premise that Donald Trump ran on, that he's tougher, he's a fighter. And ,remember, by the way, that - those words, tougher and fighter are the way they defended Donald Trump - they, the White House - defended Donald Trump in the wake of him attacking Mika Brzezinski last week.

BALDWIN: Sure, sure, but he also seems quite impressionable. I mean, again, back to the Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov and how that was when the president dropped his guard or not, however you want to characterize it, when he let it slip, you know, the classified information to - to tick off Israel, right, and so there's some concern, just beyond his - from his national security team, that that could happen with this meeting with Putin.

Quickly, finally, just, Steve Hall, final thoughts before we go?

HALL: Yes, I - absolutely, I mean I agree with everything everybody's saying. We have to hope that Trump will go in and be firm about this because of what he said, how he's going to be. But all indications are that he's going to look for cooperation. Again, the Russians are going to take that to the bank. They do every time.

BALDWIN: OK. Steve, Chris, Amanda, thank you all so very much.

We are getting some breaking news here. The breaking news is that we are getting word that a group of pedestrians in Boston have been hit by a car near the airport. Police are saying there are severe injuries. We will take you to Boston live, next.


[14:17:17] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Breaking news here on CNN.

You are looking at live pictures here of someone clearly on a gurney. This is Boston Logan Airport. And, sadly, let me just tell you what we're learning. This is according to Massachusetts State Police. That a car - I don't know if it's that white taxicab that's in the middle of the scene or another car, we don't know yet, this is all just happening now. But a car has plowed over a number of pedestrians at the Boston airport.

Here's a - here's a wider shot so you can get a sense of what's happened. This is all happening now. The information is just coming into us. Let me just be totally transparent, we don't know a lot.

You can see paramedics on the scene, fire, EMS. Almost looks like that's near the taxicab lot, right, where they all wait before they line in to pick people up. That's the broader scene. You can see some pieces of, who knows id that's pieces of the car or items that were on these different individual before they were hit. And according to police, the severity of the injuries range. So some severe, some not as severe.

We're still also waiting to see if there are any fatalities. We don't know yet. But, clearly, this was serious, as they are putting one of several people hid inside the back of the ambulance.

We're going to stay on these pictures and we're all just going to do this together. Steve Hall is just joining me. We'll talk to Steve here in a second. He was with - forgive me, Steve Rogers. I was just talking to Steve Hall. Steve Rogers is with the Nutley - he was with the Nutley, New Jersey, police department.

Steve Rogers, tell me, you know, we don't know a lot, but if police on the ground, obviously EMS, what are they doing? Priority is what?

STEVE ROGERS, RETIRED DET. LT., NUTLEY, NEW JERSEY POLICE: Well, priority now is to make sure that they keep everyone safe. You will have the national - or at least a joint terrorism task force on scene because, Brooke, unfortunately it looks like a pattern that we've had worldwide with people driving cars into the crowd. But we don't know that yet. We don't know if it's a terrorist related attack. But that's going to be the priority, to keep the people safe.

And I don't know, Brooke, because it's all fresh, if they captured the individual. We -

BALDWIN: We don't know.

ROGERS: We don't know. But that will be a priority, too, to find this individual and to make sure that people are safety. But motive is very important here. They need to have that individual in custody. And once they get that individual in custody, then the investigation truly begins.

Now, look, if this is a driver who was drunk, if this was a driver who just had a horrific accident, that's one thing. But if there is a terrorist matrix, we've got a problem on our hands.

BALDWIN: Before we go there, because we don't know, as you point out. What we do know is this is a tragedy that's happened the day before the Fourth of July.

[14:20:07] ROGERS: Yes.

BALDWIN: This is Boston, a city that has a massive celebration, as many, you know, American cities do. What do you make of the location being the Boston airport and the timing?

ROGERS: Well, before the Fourth of July, a lot of traveling. We know that and, again, we'll emphasize the point, we are not saying this is a terrorist attack because we don't know. But the pattern of terrorists in the past, whether they be home grown or ISIS related, are looking for large crowds. And when they find large crowds, there's their target and then they drive into those targets. Same -

BALDWIN: Look at this. Actually, forgive me for jumping this, but you see this - this could be the car. It looks like air bags have deployed. This is a taxicab. We have no idea if the drier of the car is alive, is taken into custody, but that appears to be the vehicle involved. ROGERS: OK, the police now have that vehicle. They're going to do a

complete forensics on that vehicle. We're talking about DNA. We're talking about fingerprints. Or they may have the individual. It could be a taxi cab driver who was in a bad, bad accident. But I cannot emphasize one overriding point, they need to have the driver of that car in order to proceed in the direction that they need to go in with regard to this investigation.

Well, look, I'm sure that airports around the country now are going to have a heightened state of alert. We do have huge crowds coming out tonight and tomorrow at Fourth of July celebrations. Not that we were not already on a high alert, but this is really going to emphasize that point.

BALDWIN: Steve, stay with me.

I also have - I have Daniel Linskey on the phone, former Boston Police superintendent in chief.

So, sir, thank you so much for calling in this day before the Fourth of July holiday. You know, I don't know if you're in front of a TV and looking at the images that we're looking at, several people taken away in gurneys. It looks like the taxicab is perhaps the vehicle that - that tried running people over. What does this look like to you?

DANIEL LINSKEY, FORMER SUPERINTENDENT IN CHIEF, BOSTON POLICE (via telephone): Yes, so that's the taxi staging area at Logan Airport. I did get a chance to see it and review some of the video. I'm looking at the tenor and tone and the response and the tension in the troopers that are responding on the scene and the pace of the scene. What I believe we have, from my assessment, is the taxi had either a medical event or some type of failing of its systems, and a tragic accident has occurred, and they're responding in that sense. I don't get a sense that it's a bigger organized attack at this point, just from the response of, you know, looking at the troopers on the ground and how they're responding. The crime scene's up and the other tax drivers being kept there.

If you know the location, that's the location where the taxis are held until they're called for planes that have landed and people off- loading.


LINSKEY: Clearly a place where if somebody slips a break, the general area is where the taxi drivers get and gather food while they're waiting in between operation. So it's not the most traveled areas for pedestrians. It would be taxi drivers alone that would be in that - in that queue.


LINSKEY: So I think it is leaning more towards a tragic accident than a deliberate event. But that's something that Mass State Police will figure out. They're going to go in there, find out what the taxi driver, who he is, what was going on, what's the status of the cab, what will witness statements going on at the time. Obviously we have a large celebration, July 4th, going on in (INAUDIBLE), one of the nation's premiere events, and they're going to make sure they take all the steps to keep people safe. But it looks as if this might be a tragic accident as opposed to a deliberate attack.

BALDWIN: I see. And just so I'm clear, I understand that it's a taxicab staging area, but we saw from some of those aerial shots an area where you could be eating. There were tables. So this isn't anyway near the outside of terminals where passengers would be getting dropped off or, you know, coming and going. This is an area where taxicab drivers would be sitting and waiting, is that correct?

LINSKEY: Taxi cab drivers stage there and they wait. Sometimes they wait up to an hour to pick up fares that are leaving the airport. There's a cafe that serves taxi drivers. It's a place where they can get food, snacks, coffee. They sit out and they catch up and talk and they wait their turn to be the next one in the queue.

It's not a place where travelers are going. So it's less likely to be a place that if someone was looking to - to do some type of attack, that they would - they would attack inside this facility. The way in which the cab is located, it looks like it might have been in the front row, had a mechanical failure or a human error or a medical event and the cap proceed forward into the area where the cab drivers often sit and gather and have their coffee, preparing for their next route.

Hopefully that's what it is and that - that will be tragic. We've, obviously, got some injuries here. Our amazing EMS in Boston will hopefully do its - their work to keep people as safe and get them the best outcomes as possible. But right now, just tenor and tone of what I'm seeing, those troops' attention on the ground, it doesn't appear as they're preparing up, that this was bigger than that, bigger than an accident. If it was, we would start seeing some tactical teams showing up, we'd start seeing some additional resources out there, and we haven't seen that yet. It looks like Mass Port has got it, basically treating it as a crime scene, an accident investigation scene at this time. That obviously could change. That's my assessment of it from reviewing the quick video that I've seen.

[14:25:16] BALDWIN: Daniel Linskey, former superintendent in chief of Boston P.D., thank you so much for your assessment. So, so important, knowing the area, knowing the ground and knowing just the optics of all of this and what this could be. Thank you so much, sir, for calling in.

Steve Rogers, stay with me. A quick break. We're back with more on our breaking news after this.


[14:29:58] BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news. Live pictures around Boston Logan Airport here, the day before the Fourth of July. We are covering multiple injuries here as it appears a driver, perhaps the driver of that taxi cab, slammed into pedestrians.