Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Slams News Media in First Press Conference in Nearly a Month; Trump to Address Crowd in Poland. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 6, 2017 - 07:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN: -- this week in Poland, in just moments. NEW DAY continues right now.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Barack Obama found out about this in terms if it were Russia. He did nothing about it.

[07:00:15] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump will come face-to-face for the first time with Vladimir Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president should be trying to prepare for this trip. But we also know the president keeps stepping on his own message.

TRUMP: We want to see fair press. We don't want fake news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing that President Trump knows. Every eyeball in the world is going to be watching him.

TRUMP: They are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner. And something will have to be done about it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's not going to be Twitter diplomacy that's going to make any progress here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Time is short. Action is required. The world is on notice.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow joins me this morning.

And thank you. We've got a big day. Breaking news that we're following here. We're just moments away from President Trump's speech to the people of Poland, from Warsaw's historic Krasinski Square. A crowd already gathering there, waving Polish and American flags. We can bring you that speech live as it happens.

But before that speech, the president made major headlines in a press conference. And it was not the message that the world was expecting. This wasn't about touting American virtues and seeing it as the beacon of freedom we often expect from American presidents abroad.

Instead, he attacked the U.S. intel agencies. He attacked the U.S. media. He questioned whether Russia alone meddled in the U.S. election, saying others may have been involved, and no one really knows.

HARLOW: The president also resuming his attacks on the media, as Chris said. Discussing a U.S. response to escalating aggression from North Korea. All of this on the eve of that critical face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit. That is tomorrow. We have it all covered.

Let's start with our Sara Murray, who is in Warsaw. We're getting some color now, Sara, on what to expect from the president's speech. What are you hearing?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. We do expect you. He's going to continue to talk about the importance of the alliance between the U.S. and Poland. We might hear a little bit more from him on immigration and securing our borders.

But look, I think that really sort of remarkable diplomatic debut is what we saw from President Trump, as he was meeting with the Polish president and in their joint press conference. That is where President Trump sort of questioned whether other countries might have also meddled in our election and blamed President Barack Obama for failing to do more.


TRUMP: I think it could very well have been Russia. But I think it could well have been other countries, and I won't be specific. But I think a lot of people interfere. I think it's been happening for a long time. It's been happening for many, many, years.

Now, the thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this, in terms of if it were Russia, found out about it in August. They say he choked. Well, I don't think he choked. I think what happened is he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. And he said, "Let's not do anything about it."


TRUMP: U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election. They did not point fingers at any other countries. This is just one of these sort of vexing challenges, the people are going to be paying attention to you as Trump continues on this tour abroad.

One of the other issues, of course, is how to navigate this aggression from North Korea. President Trump was asked about that today and said he's not prepared to draw any red lines.

As far as North Korea is concerned, I don't know. We'll see what happens. I don't like to talk about what I have planned. But I have some pretty severe things that we're thinking about. That doesn't mean we're going to do them. I don't draw red lines. President Obama drew a red line. And I was the one that made it look a little bit better than it was.

I think we'll just take a look at what happens over the coming weeks and months, with respect to North Korea. It's a shame that they're behaving this way. But they are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner. And something will have to be done about it.


MURRAY: Now, Trump's unorthodox approach was on full display during this press conference. We're used to presidents going abroad and touting American values. Instead, Trump questioned assessments of his own intelligence agencies, and he took aim at the free press, calling out CNN and other news outlets specifically.

Back to you guys.

CUOMO: All right, Sara. And we need the benefit of context here. You know, the president gave some prepared remarks. He was on- message. He's going to give a speech that's coming up. We're going to bring it to you live. He's expected to be on message, philosophical, saying things that are constructive about what the world needs to adopt from America and what America needs to bring to the rest of the world.

[07:05:05] But then, comes this. Let's bring in our panel: CNN Politics reporter and editor at large, Chris Cillizza; CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger; CNN chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour; and former State Department official ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns. Also joining us, we'll be -- we'll have other people come in as we need them. We have a big, big bank of experts for you this morning.

Christiane, when I say context, so he's getting ready to meet with President Putin. And in the press conference, he belittles the U.S. intelligence assessment and says, "We don't know if it was Russia. Maybe it was Russia. Could have been other people." That's right before he meets with Putin.

He's standing next to Duda, who has come under fire in recent years for the deterioration of his own practices with respect to democracy, and he attacks a free press and the United States. Contextually, what do those mean on the world stage?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't look good, because the president of the United States generally goes abroad and touts all those values that America is special and America is given to the world. First Amendment, freedom of the press, market economy instead of protectionism. The idea of the sanctity of borders, is that of kind of being wobbly

and what Putin and others have done. And the obvious, 100 percent commitment to Article V of NATO, which he hasn't actually done in so many words and which actually has sent a shudder through allies. We'll see whether he defines and redefines those words in his speeches coming up.

But you know, Putin is a very shrew shrewd, tactical player. Some say he's not a great strategist. But tactically, he's shrewd. He has been doing his homework for many, many years he's been in office. He is no neophyte. And President Trump has not been on the stage in terms of foreign policy or certainly anywhere near the length of time that President Putin has been.

And President Putin has very direct objectives when he gets to those meeting with President Trump. So the analysis is from experts that President Trump needed to be highly ready and highly advised and highly prepared to push back on the crucial issues that separate and define America, as opposed to an authoritarian state that reaches international law as Russia has done.

And as you see, our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is joining us, as well. But before we get to him Ambassador Burns, to you, the president clearly is questioning, Christiane, that line. He's questioning U.S. intelligence, right? The number of agencies that said this about Russia and also whether or not it was Russia alone, which no other U.S. intelligence agency has ever said it was anyone but Russia. That is a fact.

However, he seems to fully trust U.S. intelligence when it comes to North Korea. And that intelligence is critical right now. How much of a corner does that put this president in?

NICHOLS BURNS, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think it's unwise what he did this morning. The U.S. intelligence community is rarely united on any issue. They've been united for six months on this issue in their public report to the American people. And it's unwise politically, because the Senate voted by 97-2, two weeks ago to impose new sanctions on Russia. And that was led by Senate Republicans.

He's out of step with his own political party. And frankly, let's talk about the basic duties of an American president is to defend the United States. Russia launched a cyber-attack on the American election. They get into the databases of 21 American states. And the president is not defending the United States. He gave a gift to Putin here on the eve of their meeting, which Putin doesn't deserve at all.

What Putin needs to hear in the meeting tomorrow is that there are going to be repercussions, tangible concrete steps by the United States to penalize Russia. Because if you don't do that, think about what Putin might do to our 2018 midterms or the 2020 presidential election. I do think it's dereliction of a basic duty of the president to defend the United States. He's out of step with the rest of the country. Very unwise to say what he did this morning.

CUOMO: Now remember, it's just customary that the United States president or, really, any head of state. When they go abroad, they are trying to put the best face on their own country. You know, they're trying to be boastful. That's not what we saw this morning.

Jim Acosta, it is a high bar for me to ask you if you were surprised by something that the president of the United States said. But to take the petty political plays that are going in here at home and take it to the world stage, was that a surprise to the press corps?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all. Unfortunately, this was not a surprise at all that the president would take the first question from an American reporter during his foreign trip here, and that it would be from the friendly news media, friendly reporter who teed up a question about CNN.

For the president to then go off on CNN as fake news, to me just made this entire spectacle feel like a fake news conference. This was not an attempt by the president to seek out a question from somebody who was going to challenge him on the issues.

[07:10:10] David Martosco (ph) and I have known each other for a long time. He covered Donald Trump out on the campaign trail. I think he's a really good guy.

But in this instance, I think the conservative news media was being used here. And I do think that's unfortunate.

A couple of things we do want to point out. The president once again said that Barack Obama did nothing from August to November about Russian meddling. That is simply fake news.

Barack Obama went farther, by the way, in that meeting with Vladimir Putin. And President Trump is promising to do himself. He's not even promising to bring up election meddling in his bilateral with Vladimir Putin.

So for the president to say, well, Barack Obama did nothing. He is, at this point, promising to do less than nothing on that front. The other thing that was fake news coming from President Trump, is when he said, "Well, I keep hearing it's 17 intelligence agencies that say Russia meddled in the election. I think it's only three or four."

Where does that number come from? Where does this three or four number come from? My suspicion, Chris and Poppy, is that if we go to the administration and ask them for this question, I'm not so sure we're going to get an answer. And if we do get an answer, it will probably be off-camera.

KEILAR: And James, just stay with us. We're looking at live pictures of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both very senior advisers around the president there in Warsaw, ahead of this speech that is about to begin at any moment. You'll hear it live right here.

Look, we do know that ODNI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the DIA, the FBI, the NSA, those intelligence agencies who have purview over something like Russia hacking and meddling in the election. All said that Russia interfered with the election, with the intent of helping Donald Trump. And I speak for all 17 agencies.

CUOMO: That's right. And Clapper actually went out and qualified this number, saying, you know, all 17 didn't look at it. He obviously oversees all of them. They benefit from the collective intelligence.

HARLOW: Right.

CUOMO: But they came to a reason of certainty here on this issue that they have no reason that's self-serving to have found it. And I think that's something that, Chris Cillizza, that often gets lost in this mix.

You know, the intelligence community, they're in the business of being circumspect. You know, very few things are absolutes in their world. They have a hard time proving things in general. For them to come down so hard and to be undermined by their president abroad, right before he meets with the man whom they believe is responsible, then that is -- that is really twisting things up in a knot in an inopportune time, is it not?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes. I've stopped saying -- or tried to stop saying remarkable, because I think there's so much that is sort of ahistorical when it comes to what the president says and does and what this president says and does. But yes, absolutely.

I mean, I really do believe that Donald Trump may be the lone Republican elected official in the country at this point who is unwilling to say, "Yes, Russia hacked the election."

And I think Ambassador Burns makes a really important point, which is, it's not only about the past. It's not only about a willingness to say Russia was responsible for this. Everything we know suggests they were. It's about the future. It's about taking this threat seriously, because everyone from Clapper to Comey, to anyone else, has said they will do this again. And if you don't recognize the threat that happened -- the seriousness, the severity and the ownership of that threat -- it's going to be hard in the future to assail it.

CUOMO: Chris Cillizza? That takes us to this moment. What will the president use the world stage to do? He is entering the square her, Krasinski Square in Warsaw. You hear chants from the crowd.

Jeff Zeleny, you are on-scene. What are we expecting when the president takes the podium?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, I can tell you, you can come in here now and hear the military trumpets playing and the colors being presented. There are cheers from the crowds. There are American flags waving. Polish flags wavering, as well, here. A very festive crowd here.

The Polish government, in fact, handed out these flags here. The Polish government delivered on this big crowd here. And I can tell you, thousands of people lined the streets here. Chris, the people that we talked to, at least, a handful of them have

some of these questions. Will this president stand up to Vladimir Putin in terms of Russian aggression in this region?

The president mentioned that earlier today when he talked about that a little bit in his earlier remarks. But we'll see how much of that is central in his speech here today. But we're told by administration officials, this is going to be, essentially, a philosophical speech, a defense of western civilization, if you will. He has so many things in common with this Polish president here in terms of the strains of populism, the Law and Justice Party.

But Chris, today this is the biggest speech, I would say a critical, key speech on the eve, though, of that important meeting tomorrow, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

[07:15:12] HARLOW: And Jeff Zeleny, let's listen in ahead of the president giving this key speech.

CUOMO: Laying wreaths at the memorial there at Krasinski Square that commemorated the fight against the Nazis in the early '40s.



CUOMO: We see there the Polish president, Duda, and his wife, and the president of the United States, and the first lady, Melania Trump. David Sanger, we've gotten an advance on what the president is going to say today. What do you see in those remarks?

SANGER: I think the most interesting thing out of this, Chris, is that you are going to get this defense of western values. And that means a lot, particularly to the Polish people, who are, of course, among the newer members and most enthusiastic members.

CUOMO: David, stand by one moment. I think Melania Trump is going to introduce the president. Let's hear what she says.

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Thank you very much.

My husband and I have enjoyed visiting your beautiful country. I want to thank President and Mrs. Duda for their warm welcome and their generous hospitality.

I had the opportunity to visit the science center today and found it not only informative but thoughtful in its mission, which is to inspire people to observe, experiment, ask questions, and seek answers. I can think of no better purpose for such a wonderful science center. Thank you to all who were involved in giving us the tour, especially the children who made it such a wonderful experience.

As many of you know, a main focus of my husband's presidency is safety and security of the American people. I think us -- all of us agree, people should be able to live their lives without fear, no matter what country they live in. That is my wish for all of us around the world. Thank you, again, for this wonderful welcome, to your very special

country. Your kindness and gracious hospitality will not be forgotten.

And now, it is my honor to introduce to you, my husband, the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. That's so nice.

The United States has many great diplomats. But there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful first lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. That was very nice.

We've come to your nation to deliver a very important message. America loves Poland. And America loves the Polish people. Thank you.

The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region. But Polish- Americans have also greatly enriched the United States. And I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.

[07:20:15] It is a profound honor to stand in this city by this monument to the Warsaw uprising and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of. A Poland that is safe, strong and free.

President Duda and your wonderful first lady have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. I'm sincere -- and I mean sincerely thank both of them.

And to Prime Minister Szydlo, a very special thanks also.

We are pleased that former president Lech Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity movement, has joined us today also. Thank you. Thank you.

On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom but also symbols of America's commitment to your security and to your place in a strong and Democratic Europe. We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. Thank you. Great job.

President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the three C's initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you.

We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy. So Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.

Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the president of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic three C's initiative. Thank you.

This is my first visit to central Europe as president. And I am thrilled that it could be right here, at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful.

Poland is the geographic heart of Europe. But more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great. And your spirit is strong.

For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. But while Poland could be invaded and occupied and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land, but you never lost your pride.

So, it is with true admiration that I can say today that from the farms and villages of your countryside, to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers and Poland prevails. Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you or destroy you, you endured and overcame.

[07:25:18] You are the proud nation of Copernicus. Think of that. Chopin, St. John Paul II, Poland is a land of great heroes. And you are a people who know the value of what you defend. The triumph of the Polish spirit, over centuries of hardship, gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil and peace achieves victory over war.

For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation. Polish heroes and American patriots fought side-by-side in our war of independence and in many wars that followed. Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combatting the enemies of all civilization.

For America's part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people. And we never, ever will.

Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters. It's a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom. The signs of this friendship stand in our nation's capital. Just steps from the White House, we've raised statues of men with names like Polaski and Kosciuszko.

The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington and a monument stands to one of the world's greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan.

And so, I am here today, not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up for an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization.

The story of Poland is a story of the people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken and who have never, ever forgotten who they are. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so much. It's such a great honor.

This is a nation more than 1,000 years old. Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago. In 1920, in the miracle of this (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Poland stopped the Soviet Army, bent on European conquest.

Then, 19 years later, in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That's trouble. That's tough.

Under a double occupation, the Polish people endured evils beyond description. The Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Jolocaust, the Warsaw ghetto and the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The destruction of this beautiful capital city and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people.

A vibrant Jewish population, the largest in Europe, was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis --