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Parents Fighting for Terminally Ill Baby; New Jersey Governor Relaxes on Beach He Closed to Public; President Trump Stirs Controversy With Video Slamming CNN. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired July 3, 2017 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The president had calls with leaders of these different countries today. They we will all be meeting at the end of the week in person during the critical G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

That's where the president will come face to face for the first time with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. What will they discuss?

Well, just a day ago, the president himself tweeted literally himself pummelling the media, specifically a body with CNN superimposed on this guy's head. And this just in. The White House is commenting on where that video is not from. More on that in just a moment.

Let's go to the White House to my colleague over there CNN's Sara Murray.

What now do you know about this video that shows the president wrestling with CNN?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we don't know a lot about the video.

We know a version of it appeared on Reddit. The White House is insisting that the version was edited to include the CNN avatar, the one the president tweeted out, that he did not find it on Reddit. They're not saying where exactly this may have come from.

But I think we have seen a number of members of Trump's own party saying in recent days that they wish the president would focus his attention elsewhere aside from Twitter and aside from attacks on the media.

That is a pretty futile pursuit, according to the president himself. We saw over the weekend he tweeted that this is modern-day presidential the way he uses social media. So, I wouldn't expect that score to change anytime soon, Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. Tell me about these phone calls now, these phone calls with leaders ahead of the G20 in Hamburg.

MURRAY: Well, sure. In addition to sending out his tweets bashing the media and getting in sort of media fights over the weekend, the president has been doing some prep work for the upcoming foreign trip. He will be stopping in Poland. But then of course he has the G20 meeting in Germany. That's when he will have a number of high-stakes meetings with foreign leaders.

He's been preparing. He's spoken with leaders of Italy, of Germany, of Saudi Arabia, of China, of Japan, and, of course, we're all looking ahead to the G20 because this is when he's going to be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin face-to-face for the first time.

Senior administration officials say there are pressing matters the White House wants to talk about, the president wants to address in this meeting. That includes disputes in Syria, disputes in Ukraine.

But what is not clear is whether the president is going to bring up Russian meddling in the U.S. election in 2016. Obviously, we know that's something that President Obama brought up with it Putin in their face-to-face meeting. Unclear though if Trump will do the same.

BALDWIN: Sara Murray, thank you at the White House.

We're going to come back to Sara's point about the modern-day presidential from President Trump. But in the meantime, President Trump tweeted all this. All right, now, I want you to notice a couple times Donald Trump called out why he didn't think President Obama was actually 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. He's the president of the United States.

QUESTION: 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 the president. It's a formal position. I think he should wear a tie.

QUESTION: 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?


TRUMP: Nobody listens to him. Screaming.


BALDWIN: And in 2014 tweet, President Trump actually called Obama unpresidential. Let me just read this for you, "The way that President Obama runs down the stairs of Air Force One, hopping and bobbing all the way, is so inelegant and unpresidential. Do not fall."

Much to talk about here.

Let me turn to CNN contributor Michael D'Antonio, who has written not one, but two biographies on Donald Trump. Also here, CNN political commentator Scott Jennings, who was special assistant to George W. Bush, and Krystal Ball, author of the book "Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World."

Welcome to all of you. Happy Almost Fourth of July.

Krystal, to you first, just going back to Sara Murray talking about the president in the wake of the Mika tweets. This is pre-CNN wrestling tweet.



BALDWIN: Roughly.

He said he was being modern-day presidential. What do you think that means?

BALL: Whatever it means, it's making me sad, is what I would say.

I never thought I would live to see the day when a president would lower himself to tangling with any cable news hosts. No offense to you. No offense to you Joe and Mika.


I never thought I would see the day when he would think this was a worthwhile use of his time. But I have to tell you that I do think this conversation about Donald Trump vs. the media is a much better conversation for him than some of the ones that we've having about Russia or about this disastrous health care reform bill.

So I understand why he's trying to change the subject here. Look, it's unbelievably important the way this president has consistently tried to undermine the media, but I think he finds this to be a great dynamic for him and something he can play up with his base.

BALDWIN: Michael, let me turn to you, because you have spent many an hour with President Trump, Donald Trump, the man, writing your books.

His relationship with the media, as he lived here in New York, it was a pretty good relationship, was it not? Why do you think he -- he appears to be just fixated or obsessed. What do you think is going on?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he is enjoying himself, actually.

When he says it's fun, in fact, I think when he did his fund-raiser last week, he said maybe I will sue CNN, that would be fun. This is almost like a hobby for him. And when he was in New York as a businessperson, he exploited the press very successfully.

They loved the story of the dashing billionaire, and they even loved it when he was extreme and kind of off the hook. This was a symbiotic relationship. Now that he's in the White House, he really can't control the White House press in the same way. And the message gets diluted or changed, depending on who is leaking what to various reporters.

So, he's ratcheted up the criticisms. He's, as he says, doing modern- day presidential. What I think is kind of remarkable is that it reveals how old-fashioned he is that he uses the phrase modern-day. I don't think there's very many people who use that term. It's almost like olden days, one or the other.

Really, what he's trying to do is a 21st century Twitter-based presidential presentation. And it works I think with his base, but it really does disrupt the rest of the country.

BALDWIN: Well, I think, Scott, if the roles were reversed -- and, listen, I listen to a lot of Republicans as well saying you guys are taking this way too seriously, this was meant as a joke, although I would say it only takes one person to take this seriously.

If you were to superimpose -- if this was President Obama and you superimposed FOX News on the other guy's face, I think Republicans would have a heyday in a negative way. They would outraged.


BALDWIN: You would lose your mind, no?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It wasn't during a tweet, but during the Obama administration, early on, they took a lot of shots at FOX News.

BALL: Not literal ones in a video, though.

JENNINGS: And people talked about it. It was sort of before the advent of this kind of Twitter back-and-forth.

I would say this. This is a real political strategy. The Democratic Party is in such disarray. It's rudderless and it's leaderless. There is no obvious villain on the Democratic Party right now. Who is the leader for the president to spar with?

And so I think he's signaling to his base the most clear and present danger to our agenda is the media, because there's nobody obvious in the Democratic Party to spar with. And so he's making it the media. This is a strategy he used successful during the campaign and he's going to keep doing it.


BALDWIN: Hang on just a second, Michael, just staying with you.

Bush 43 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, because then folks were saying where is the Republican outrage? There's nothing. What are they thinking?

JENNINGS: Senator McConnell has been pretty clear on the record as saying he wished the president didn't tweet so much. And I think at one point he said I could do with a little less drama.

Of course, he's a different kind of politician. Donald Trump has got a much different political style than Mitch McConnell. And I think President Bush was a different kind of presidency, and certainly before the era of this kind of communications that we see.

But I think Donald Trump will continue to ride these tools that rode to victory in both the Republican primary and the general election to try to get things accomplished as he sees it in his first four years. And, look, right now, the Democratic Party hasn't been able to muster up any kind of counteragenda to it.


BALDWIN: Let me just go back to your point. President Bush may have been in the White House pre-Twitter.

JENNINGS: Sure. Yes.

BALDWIN: But would he have done that?

JENNINGS: No, absolutely not. He would not have done that.

BALDWIN: What is he saying about it now behind closed doors?

JENNINGS: I don't know. I don't know what he says behind...

BALL: If you had suggested that to him, would you have kept your job?

JENNINGS: I would never have suggested that President Bush communicate in that way, but then again it's not his style.

Every president has a different style. Bill Clinton had a different style than Barack Obama. Kennedy had a different style than Nixon. All these presidents have their own style.

One thing you can't be in the White House though is inauthentic. And that's one thing Trump has done well, maintained his authenticity. He's really the same guy today that he was in the campaign.

BALL: Yes, that's what's scary.

BALDWIN: That's what's scary is what Krystal Ball says.


BALDWIN: Michael, back over to you, as we're also looking ahead to the meeting.

We don't even know if we will have pictures, the meeting between President Trump and President Putin. Just even optically, President Trump is like 6'2''. Vladimir Putin, did you know he is just like 5'7''?


BALDWIN: Will there be a white-knuckle handshake moment? Who knows? What do you think the inner workings of this meeting will be?

D'ANTONIO: I don't think there will be a white-knuckle handshake, because actually if you examine the two men, Putin is a lot more capable physically than Donald Trump is.

And he's got all sorts of background with the KGB. I think he knows whatever tricks Trump might try he could counter. I also think that right now the Russians are at an advantage. They have seen much more of what Donald Trump does and how he operates than I think Trump has observed in Putin.

And I would imagine he will be far better prepared. He has spent a lifetime preparing to deal on the geopolitical stage with the Americans.

I was reading just this morning that President Obama actually met with Putin at about the same point in his presidency that Donald Trump is meeting with him now. And back then, Obama telegraphed his approach by saying that the problem with Putin is that he has one foot still in the Cold War.

Now he has both feet still in the Cold War, where he's renewing the contest with the United States, and America has sort of retreated from leadership. I think Putin feels that he's at the advantage now, and I would agree with that.

BALDWIN: Krystal, what do you think? What will you be looking for? Because we will get readouts of the meeting, but whatever.


BALL: Yes. Right.

BALDWIN: So, aside from that, when each man decides to come forward and really talk about it, the posturing and the body language, what will you be looking for to see how it really went?

BALL: What I would like to see is that this president actually cares about standing up for democracy in this country.

And what Michael is saying is really, I think, too generous. Not only has America retreated, but Russia has shockingly actually found an ally in its Cold War posturing in America. Who would have ever expected that the day would come when we would be the ones working with Putin to undermine liberal democracy? And that's what you see this president doing when he doesn't stand up for our own country. So, I have very low expectations here.

BALDWIN: Krystal and Scott and Michael, thank you all so, so much. I appreciate your time coming in on this Monday.


BALDWIN: Coming up here, life is a beach, especially if you're Chris Christie -- why the New Jersey governor showed up on a beach that he closed to the public. Oh, and, by the way, he says, nope, he didn't get any sun.

Also ahead, a heartbreaking story out of London. An infant on the brink of death, his doctors say it's time to take him off life support, but his parents disagree. They want to try this experimental treatment in the U.S. Those parents now have support from two of the most powerful people in the world, President Trump and Pope Francis. Don't miss this story coming up.



BALDWIN: Private beaches reserved for George Clooney, Beyonce and Jay-Z, and apparently Mr. Chris Christie.

Did you know that many state parks and beaches in New Jersey during the holiday weekend are actually closed right now under the direction of the governor himself, close to everyone but Christie and the family?

Aerial cameras catching him soaking up the sun on one of the public beaches he himself shut down. When asked whether he got actually some sun, he claimed, no, he didn't.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: No, I didn't, Claude. But go ahead. I didn't get any sun today. No. No. There's no one at Island Beach State. There are no lifeguards. There's no one to pick up the garbage. There's no one providing any services at Island Beach State.

Next. Next. Excuse me. Next. Next. I'm done. We're talking about the closure of government, and you're talking about your TMZ stuff.


BALDWIN: Now, let me just add on this here, because we have heard Governor Christie's representative later clarified his denial of getting sun by saying -- quote -- "He had his baseball cap on."

Governor Christie defended his beach trip again this morning.


CHRISTIE: This is where we live, one of the places we live.

And so what a great bit of journalism by "The Star-Ledger." They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with, his wife and his children and their friends.

So it's really a bit -- I'm sure they are going to get a Pulitzer for this one, because they actually proved -- they caught me doing what I said I was going to do with the people I said I was going to be with.


BALDWIN: With me now, the Christie expert, Matt Katz, reporter for WNYC Public Radio and author of "American Governor: Chris Christie's Bridge to Redemption."

Matt Katz, do you think that Chris Christie just doesn't care about his political future anymore or do you think he just thought he wouldn't get busted?

MATT KATZ, WNYC REPORTER: No, I think this was very much within the character of Chris Christie and the experience of Chris Christie as governor.

There's this idea that he's out of office in a few months and he doesn't care anymore, so he just went to the beach, but I don't think that's what this is.

Chris Christie has always enjoyed the perks of the office, and that includes helicopter rides on a state-owned helicopter to his gubernatorial state-paid-for little beach house on the water.

And he wasn't going to let a little government shutdown get in the way of that perk, regardless of the optics. From his first year in office, he's done things that would seem like they would be problematic politically, but if it involved a perk, the perk always won out over the optics of the situation.

He took a state police helicopter once to his son's baseball game, landed on the field next to the baseball game, and then got back in the state police helicopter and went to fund-raiser.


BALDWIN: I remember that.

KATZ: That was called Coptergate. This is called Beachgate.

And both are who Chris Christie is as a politician.

BALDWIN: Oh, add gate to a word and there you have with Chris Christie, it appears.

Matt, you know these numbers, but as far as how New Jerseyans are feeling, when you look at the last Quinnipiac poll, he's at 15 percent approval. That's the worst approval rating for any governor in any state ever conducted by Quinnipiac.

Chris Cillizza over here at CNN says this shows he has just stopped caring. You say he's out of office in a couple of months. Aside from Bridgegate, where do you think it all went wrong?

KATZ: I mean, there was this sense that Chris Christie cared about New Jersey more than anything else. And that was really personified by him hugging President Obama, a member of the opposite party, days before the 2012 election, when Sandy, when Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore.

And there was a sense that Chris Christie doesn't care about politics, Chris Christie cares about New Jersey. And then he started using state troopers to run around the country to prepare to run for president.

His administration was embroiled in this big scandal that involved closing lanes to a bridge in order to punish a local mayor, all for preparation to run for president by being this bipartisan leader.

And New Jersey started to get the sense that Chris Christie cares more about himself than he does about the people of New Jersey. And this is another example of it. It happened when there was flooding in the Jersey Shore while he was in New Hampshire running for president, and he refused to come home at first. And he pooh-poohed the idea of coming home.

And New Jerseyans have seen so many instances of this. And this will probably now end up being that indelible image in their minds, Chris Christie on the beach, a closed beach that they are not allowed to go to, and this time, unlike the other times, he actually got caught in a lie by saying he wasn't catching sun, when apparently he was.

BALDWIN: Well, he was wearing a hot, so -- I'm being facetious.

KATZ: That's true. That's true.

BALDWIN: That was quite a bit of spin.

KATZ: But the sleeves.


BALDWIN: I know, everyone else in New Jersey on the beaches over the weekend are slammed in there, and here he is with all the room in the world, Beachgate in the history books.

Matt Katz, always a pleasure. Thank you so, so much.

KATZ: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, let's talk about president and the pope both coming to the defense of a terminally ill baby. Courts have denied his parents the chance to bring him to the U.S. for this experimental treatment. We have that for you. And, later, a CNN exclusive, and a young mom trapped in ISIS territory with a toddler -- her desperate messages to her own mother to rescue her from a nightmare in Syria.



BALDWIN: An infant living on life support diagnosed with a terminal illness is getting support from two of the most powerful people in the world, President Trump and Pope Francis.

Let me show you the face of Charlie Gard. His parents in London desperate to save him after doctors say it's time to pull little Charlie off of life support.

Well, the parents are fighting. They want to bring their son here to the U.S. for an experimental treatment, but they are not allowed to do so.

But this story is prompting this response from President Trump -- quote -- "If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the pope, we would be delighted to do so" -- this after Pope Francis on Sunday called for the parents of the baby to be allowed to -- quote -- "accompany and treat their child until the end."

CNN correspondent Diana Magnay is following this just heartbreaking story for us.

Diana, tell me about the legal battle that got them into this place.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the U.K., if there's a conflict between parents and doctors over how to care for a child, then it goes to court.

And the courts have decided -- they have sided with the doctors, basically, and they said it's not in Charlie's best interests to send him to the U.S. and to experiment with this treatment, which is called nucleoside bypass therapy, because it won't necessarily make any difference.

Even the U.S. specialist who is offering this treatment has said it's unlikely to reverse Charlie's brain damage, and that is the problem, whereas the parents think if there's a tiny chance, then we want to go for it.

And this therapy has helped other children with a similar condition, but not quite the very, very rare strain that Charlie has. So it's gone all the way through the court system here, through the high court, the court of appeals, the supreme court, and the parents even took it to the European Court of Human Rights.

But all the way along, the courts have sided with the doctors. And so the life support machine was meant to be turned off on Friday. The hospital here actually hasn't turned it off, but the parents just want this child to come home and be able to die at their home. And that's been denied them.

Let's just take a listen to what they said last week.


CHRIS GARD, FATHER: He's a little trooper. He's a soldier. He will fight. He will fight to the very end. And he's still fighting.

But we're not allowed to fight for him anymore. Our parental rights have been stripped away. We can't even take our own son home to die. We have been denied that. You don't think we have been through enough?


MAGNAY: Such a bitter end to this terrible, terrible case for the parents that has gone on for so much of little Charlie's 10-life -- Brooke.


With the pope and with President Trump jumping in, do you know, Diana, has President Trump or the administration actually been in touch with these parents?

MAGNAY: Yes, we have heard from the White House that they have been in contact with the parents.

The question is, how much good can that actually do, when this has gone up such a long legal chain in the U.K.? It's never been about the cost. They have crowd-funded a huge amount of money to pay for Charlie's treatment in the U.S. It wasn't about that.