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Trump in Paris as Controversy Grips Washington; Senate GOP to Unveil Latest Health Bill Today; Interview with Rep. Ted Deutch; Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired July 13, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:00] JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And again, the broader picture here, and I think this is what the president was speaking to yesterday, is what many in the media and many on the left want to do here is keep this permanent cloud, and this goes to the -- what I was saying a moment ago, I'm glad Hilary brought up this point, is they want to keep this permanent cloud over President Trump trying to delegitimize his big victory this last November.
They want to try to keep this cloud over his administration as he's trying to push forward with his objectives. I mean, look at the fact that we're talking about this right now and we're not talking about his trip to France.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm glad you said that because I actually think --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we -- yes.
MILLER: I mean, this is -- they're trying to keep a permanent cloud.
CAMEROTA: OK. OK, Jason, you've made your point.
ROSEN: I'm glad you said that because I actually think it is so important that President Trump and his allies are trying to take health care aware from 23 million people, that the Environmental Protection Agency and our clean water and our air is all threatened, and all we're doing is cleaning up the mess from Trump and his allies because they consistently tell -- mislead the American people about their Russia contacts. I don't want to talk about it either.
MILLER: The Democrats are trying to file impeachment bills when we don't have a health care plan.
MILLER: We don't have a tax plan. All you can do is obstruct.
CAMEROTA: Jason, we have to go. We will be talking about health care but we actually were basing this segment on what President Trump chose to talk about yesterday which was Hillary Clinton. So just for the record.
Thank you very much to our guests. And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN NEWSROOM is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.
PRES. EMMANUEL MACRON, PARIS: Wherever we live, we all share the same responsibility.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: President Trump is leaving behind a White House said to be in a state of paralysis.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: One of the things that's been a great frustration is the drip, drip, drip of information.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Our goal is to be as transparent as humanly possible.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR NOMINEE: Any threat or effort to interfere with our election is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.
SEBASTIAN GORKA, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There never was in collusion. It's bogus.
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: The moment has arrived for all these people associated to finally, at great long last, start telling the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off. John Berman joins me.
Great to have you.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Quite a morning so far.
CAMEROTA: If our first hour is any indication, the next two should be very interesting.
Up first, President Trump is in Paris arriving early this morning as the Russia controversy involving his son continues to grip Washington. So in just hours, President Trump will hold a press conference where he is expected to face questions about the e-mails and the meeting his son had with a Russian lawyer.
The president coming to the defense of Don Junior insisting many people would have taken that meeting with the Russian lawyer to get dirt on a political opponent. BERMAN: Now all of these Russia revelations overshadowing what is an
important day on Capitol Hill. Senate Republicans will unveil the latest health care bill. What is different this time around? Can it win the votes it needs?
We have it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Sara Murray live in Paris.
Good morning, Sara.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well. President Trump is slated to take questions from the press alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. This as there is yet another political firestorm brewing back in Washington. This one centered on Donald Trump, Junior, the president's son, and his meeting with the Russian lawyer.
Today the first opportunity for President Trump to publicly address the latest Russia revelation that's rocking the White House.
MURRAY (voice-over): President Trump touching down in Paris, hoping to forge stronger ties with France's new president. But the trip overshadowed by the president's son's admission in e-mails that he met last year with a Russian lawyer believed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Kremlin.
Ahead of the trip, the president defending Donald Trump Junior in a Reuters interview, saying, "Most of the phony politicians who are Democrats that act holier than thou. If the same thing happened to them, they would have taken that meeting in a heartbeat."
President Trump insisting that there was zero coordination between his campaign and Russia, referring to collusion accusations as a "hoax made up by Democrats" and "the greatest con job in history," a characterization rejected by Trump's FBI director nominee at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: As the future FBI director, do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt?
WRAY: I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt.
MURRAY: The president again saying he only learned about his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer in the past few days, although exclusive video obtained by CNN from the 2013 Miss USA Pageant shows the president schmoozing with the Russian family at the center of the controversy.
TRUMP: These are the most powerful people in all of Russia. The richest men in Russia.
MURRAY: President Trump also asked if he believes Vladimir Putin's denial on election interference. The president dodging instead of siding with his own intelligence chiefs, responding, "Something happened and we have to find out what it is."
[07:05:08] TRUMP: When I keep hearing about that, he would have rather had Trump, I think, probably not.
MURRAY: In a separate interview, the president again questions the U.S. intelligence community and their conclusion that Russia meddled in the election to harm Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: If Hillary had won, our military would be disseminated. Our energy would be much more expensive. That's what Putin doesn't like about me.
Congratulations. Great job.
MURRAY: With the White House under fire, the president is hoping to change the narrative with his visit to France.
GORKA: We want to reassure everybody, as we did at the G-20, as Secretary Mattis and the vice president have done in recent visits, that we stand by our allies, we stand by Article 5.
MURRAY: Presidents Trump and Emmanuel Macron looking to put their differences aside after Trump abruptly pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord.
MURRAY: Now Trump and Macron have had some bizarre run-ins before. Who could forge t that awkward handshake at the G-7 but they will have plenty of time to spend together. In addition to their formal bilateral meeting, they'll be taking questions from the press, making statements, and they'll also be joined by their spouses this evening for a dinner at the Eiffel Tower.
Back to you guys.
CAMEROTA: That handshake from the G-20 is still going on. They're still --
BERMAN: Macron hasn't let go.
CAMEROTA: He hasn't let go. Yes. Yes, whatever. G-7, G-20. I don't do math.
Joining us now CNN political commentator Errol Louis, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post" Karoun Demirjian, and associated editor and columnist for RealClearPolitics, AB Stoddard.
Great to see all of you.
Errol, do we know how this press conference is going to work in terms of, is it going to be sort of free-willing? Can anybody ask questions? Will it be tightly controlled? Will American journalists be able to ask? Will it just be French journalists? You know, we've seen all sorts of ways to --
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We've seen lots of different variations. The tradition has been, and I assume that they'll sort of adhere to form, is that both leaders will take questions from foreign and sort of their domestic press. What we don't know is who is going to be in the room and how much they want to sort of press sort of French issues in the way that any of us would do.
So, for example, President Trump has been very critical of immigration policy in France. There's been talk about terrorism and whether or not it is linked to immigration policies that the --
CAMEROTA: In face he's called Paris dangerous.
LOUIS: He has called it dangerous.
CAMEROTA: The attack that it's a dangerous place to go.
LOUIS: So now, if you were a Parisian journalist, probably you would ask about that. Why are you insulting Paris? Are you insulting our own forces? Have you consulted with them?
You know, what we're going to get I think is going to be a pretty aggressive set of questioning about his past comments which here in the United States, it just kind of comes and goes. Right? He insults Germany, he insults France. He kind of moves on. They're going to probably try and hold him account to that.
BERMAN: And look, he could get some pressing questioning about his son Don Jr.'s e-mail exchange, you know, about this meeting with the Russian lawyer. His answers have been incomplete and in some ways contradictory so far.
Listen to what he told Reuters yesterday about that meeting. He goes, "There was zero coordination. It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. There was no coordination. This was a hoax. This was made up by the Democrats. This is the greatest con job in history where a party sits down the day after they get their ass kicked and they say, huh, what's our excuse?"
He continues to say this was a hoax, AB. And the meeting, you know, between Don Jr. and the lawyer, not a hoax. He needs to be pressed on this.
AB STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right. And obviously he will be. But I expect him to be as defiant as he always is. Facts don't really matter. They don't get in the way of President Trump's message. He obviously rails against the media, says that they're, you know, not credible, and he likes to blame everything on the Democrats now that he's out of the campaign and in office he really tends to blame things, as I said, on the Democrats or the media.
So I think you'll see a lot of discussion, you know, similar to what he's previewed in these interviews that Putin, if he's asked specifically about his meeting last week or Russian meddling and what he's going to do now, now that he has seen these e-mails, seen that the Russian government was interested in helping his campaign and that his son was willing to meet with people who were expressing that, he's going to be asked that question, I imagine. And I think he'll push back like he always has.
I don't think he's going to give an inch. And I don't expect him to be any different. I think that he's shown his cards. Everything is usually Hillary's fault or the media. And he's pretty good at sticking with that -- with that spin.
CAMEROTA: Karoun, we do have another little excerpt from the Reuters interview where he was asked just what his position is on Russian meddling. And President Trump said -- and Putin. "Somebody did say if he did do it, you wouldn't have found out about it, which is a very interesting point. Look, something happened and we have to find out what it is, because we can't allow a thing like that to happen to our election process."
[07:10:06] As Errol has pointed out, good news, President Trump, there's an investigation going on, many. So maybe we will find out exactly what's going on.
Do you think that that statement goes further than he has in the past?
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: No, it doesn't. I mean, look, Trump has said -- that he's acknowledged, OK, maybe something happened, which you've got to show what happened. Maybe it was Russia, maybe it was China, maybe it was somebody else.
He's never fully pinpointed Russia. He's never fully backed what happened. He's never fully backed his own intelligence community. This perspective is a last-year perspective. The rest of the country pretty much has moved on to the next stage of these investigations which is to say there seems to be some Russian connection.
Again, all of this stuff is still alleged but we have the entire intelligence community, that's something back there, especially when you're the president of that administration. And then you have these probes, both Mueller's probe and all the congressional probes that are advancing and starting to look at his surrogates very closely now in the next -- in the upcoming weeks.
They've moved past this point and he has not caught up yet. It does not seem like he's going to catch up. He finds new ways of describing this. And this is a unique turn of phrase, I suppose, that doesn't actually advance where he's standing to say actually I'm going to back the intelligence community and say, yes, it was Russia, it was likely Russia directed by Putin. And we've got to figure out how to deal with that so that specifically does not happen again. He's not there.
BERMAN: You know, Errol Louis, I think it's going to be fascinating to see, you know, where he operates because, you know, critics on the left say that the gold posts have moved here. They've been consistently moving the gold post, at first saying the Russia thing is all a hoax, then saying there's no collusion. Now to an extent saying, yes, well, look, if there was collusion, maybe it wasn't totally illegal.
You know, maybe if Don Junior had this meeting it's not so bad because other people would have had this meeting. You know what? The Democrats are doing it, too. It really shows how their argument has shifted.
LOUIS: Well, that's right. I mean, there was in fact -- there was an intermediate spin saying, well, just because somebody is Russian doesn't mean that they're connected to the Putin regime. Putin himself sort of suggested well, maybe there were some patriots out there who were kind of doing this on their own, sort of rogue hackers and so forth.
We now know that that's not true because the e-mail says it's coming from the Russian government. So yes, we can either keep moving all of the goal posts or we can have sort of a national conversation and some firmly held standards about what is or isn't proper, acceptable and possibly --
BERMAN: In the papers this morning there is notion from the White House, apparently the president was walking around the White House saying that this was getting better. He thought the original firestorm over this e-mail may have been bad but it was getting better over the course of the day, that maybe the arguments that they're making they think are beginning to work.
LOUIS: Well, I think they're working with their base. That's the thing. You know, you've got a political tract and you've got a legal tract. As far as the legal side of it goes, we'll find that out as we get, you know, sort of hard investigatory sort of advances coming from the special counsel and the intelligence committees. On the other hand, politically, if you're just talking to your base, yes, Donald Trump can convince his base that this is all the fault of the Democrats, this is all the faults of the media.
It happened, it didn't happen, it sort of happened, they would have done the same. It's all just politics. Meaning literally shifting the goal posts and redefining what is acceptable politics. His base may swallow that. The polling suggests that to a certain extent they do. What everybody else wants to do, though, where the rest of us want to go with what is acceptable to have a foreign adversary interfering in our elections, that's going to be a different set of politics, and I think we're going to find it out no later than the midterms. But the conversation goes on right now.
CAMEROTA: AB, give us the big picture in Washington. You know, we do chase these threads. They come out in terms of Russia meddling and any sort of possible collusion. Is there a sense on Capitol Hill and in Washington that the Don Junior e-mails do put this in a different category?
STODDARD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there is absolute discussion going on, you know, privately, as it has all along, about whether or not this administration is now in real peril, whether there was a real substantive threat behind the Russia investigation and the Don Junior e-mail. He received a notice from his friend that the Russian government was trying to help his dad. And he did not say, what do you mean? I mean, the e-mail sounds like he was unsurprised and, of course, willing and eager to meet with them.
This is very concerning to senators and congressmen who are defending the president, taking these questions day in and day out. But what I'll add to what Errol was saying is this actually becomes a bigger policy. There's more policy pressure on Donald Trump as a result of these last five days.
Republicans in Congress now are more determined than ever. They're not going to say to a reporter, yes, the Trump administration, they stink to high heaven and they're probably in real trouble. What they're going to say is, we're going to sanction Russia for meddling.
[07:15:05] The bill that passed the Senate was 97-2. House Speaker Ryan as of yesterday wants to bring up the same bill on the House side, not include any of the waivers to soften it that the White House is seeking, and really put this on the president's desk and dare him to veto it. That's actually a big policy issue and a challenge to President Trump.
In addition, as a means to retaliate against the Russians in December, outgoing President Obama evacuated those two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland and sent a bunch of Russian officials home. The administration currently is considering giving those compounds back to the Russians and inviting them back here.
And there's bipartisan pressure for him to not do it, from the senators and the members in Congress. That's a challenge for this administration.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much for all the information and insights. Great to talk to you.
All right. Senate Republicans will unveil the latest version of their health care bill today. So what has changed? Will this be enough to win over votes to pass it?
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is keeping track of all this live on Capitol Hill. What's the latest Suzanne?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Well, we're just four hours away from receiving the version -- the latest version of that repeal and replace Obamacare bill. Already two Republicans are not happy with it. Conservative Senator Rand Paul says that this is even worse than the previous bill. It does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare because of taxes, subsidies and regulations.
In fact Senator Suzanne Collins, a moderate from Maine, says it goes too far because of the cuts to Medicaid. At the same time you have Vice President Mike Pence again will make an encore appearance here on the hill. He has been wining and dining senators, taking them horseback riding, he has been central to pushing forward the version of the health care bill.
At the same time the president really playing a low-key role if you will in this version of negotiations, but at the same time warning senators what this will cost?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am sitting in the Oval Office with a pen in hand waiting for our senators to give it to me.
PAT ROBERTSON: What will happen if they don't?
TRUMP: Well, I don't even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad -- I will be very angry about it. And a lot of people will be very upset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Just a few things that we know are going to be in the revised bill, some additions here, $45 billion for opioid addiction treatment, taxes on wealthy Americans will remain, not be repealed as in the previous bill, more money for stabilization funds and finally no major changes to Medicaid, which means that some of those severe cuts will remain in place -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill. A lot going on there today. Thanks so much.
In the meantime how are Democratic lawmakers reacting to President Trump saying the Russia story is a hoax, still, even after the Don Junior e-mails, a hoax created by Democrats.
We're going to ask a key Democrat next.
[07:21:57] BERMAN: President Trump defending his son amid growing backlash over his son's e-mails and his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer. President Trump told Reuters in a new interview that many people would have held that same meeting if they had the opportunity.
Joining me now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch. He's the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL), RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY AND ETHICS COMMITTEE: Good to be with you.
BERMAN: Let me read you the direct quote from the interview with Reuters. President Trump said, "I think many people would have held that meeting. And you have to understand when that took place, this was before Russia fever. There was no Russia fever back then. That was at the beginning of the campaign more or less. There was no Russia fever." But that first line, "I think many people would have held that
meeting." If someone would have come to you in one of your campaigns and said, I have information from the Russian government about your opponent that will help you, would you have taken that meeting?
DEUTCH: Of course not. I tell you what I would not have done. I would not have responded immediately agreeing to the meeting and reaching out to the senior most members of my campaign to go have that meeting.
Here is what the e-mails that we saw this week have now confirmed. They've confirmed the intel community's conclusion that the highest levels of the Trump campaign was willing to have a meeting with Russian officials who told them that they had information that would help elect Donald Trump, and their response was, one, we'll take the meeting, and two, boy, that's great.
And the only other thing I'd point out is it was just weeks after that that then Candidate Trump announced that there is nothing he would rather do than be friends with Russia. It's outrageous to suggest that there's anything at all acceptable about this meeting and it raises a thousand more questions about the way that these interactions with Russia transpired.
BERMAN: You just pointed a fact, the meeting wasn't with a Russian official, although in the e-mail exchange, he believed it, he believed it to be a Russian official, just to clear that up.
BERMAN: As for the timing, you know, there's some big timelines out there that are worth looking at. We do not know if this meeting was connected to anything later that happened. But just on the specific point, and again, I want to move on from this. You've been in politics for a long time. Do you think it's true that many people would have taken this meeting?
DEUTCH: No, of course not. And what's so concerning is the response. If I got an e-mail like that, if any -- I dare say if any of my colleagues received an e-mail like that, there would be shock, there would be concern. There would certainly not be an immediate response that says, I love it, especially later in the summer. It suggests almost that this wasn't the first time that he had heard about it.
No, we wouldn't -- I wouldn't react that way. And as we saw yesterday at the hearing, I think the FBI director designate was right. This is the kind of information that you come to the FBI and let -- so that they can FBI investigate it.
BERMAN: When pushed by Senator Lindsey Graham, he ultimately said this is the kind of information you should give to the FBI.
BERMAN: He didn't say flat out you shouldn't take that kind of meeting or no when first asked there but again when he was pushed to say that.
So this is the question becomes what are you going to do about this, Congressman? And your colleague, Brad Sherman, has filed Articles of Impeachment on this. A move to depress that. Do you think that's a good idea?
[07:25:08] DEUTCH: Well, look, at this point I think we need to take a step back and look at where we are. The reaction from the president and others in the administration is to treat every one of these revelations as if it's the first one, as if it's never happened before.
BERMAN: But the question is -- the question, sir, as we sit here today, at the beginning of July, do you think it's the right time to file that?
DEUTCH: No. No. What I do think we ought to do, and I've been very clear about this, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, is we ought to start holding hearings in the Judiciary Committee where we bring in all of the relevant parties to have a discussion about and have hearings about these revelations to start talking about, for example, what constitutes obstruction of justice, whether the firing of the FBI director because of an investigation like this might constitute obstruction of justice.
BERMAN: Do you think --
BERMAN: Do you think your pal -- you know, your colleague Brad Sherman should put the brakes on this, that it's not helping your argument by filing these articles?
DEUTCH: There are multiple -- let's remember, John, how many investigations are ongoing now. There is the special counsel of the FBI, we've got multiple congressional investigations. And with every new revelation like this, there is more and more information that will lead to a conclusion, wherever that conclusion -- wherever the facts take us.
So we'll figure out what needs to happen. At this point, we need to keep gathering the information. But at the same time that we do that, here is what Congress can do, John, Congress can send and the speaker can take action this week to send the Russia sanctions bill that the Senate passed to the president and see if the president will sign it.
DEUTCH: That's a policy matter that will put the president to the test of whether or not he's willing, as he says, to be tough with Russia or whether he's really the president that we saw during the campaign as the candidate who kept talking about wanting to be friends with Russia. This is a serious matter. Russia interfered with our election, Congress is trying to toughen sanctions. That's what the American people want and expect. And that's what the speaker ought to allow us to vote on so that the president has a chance to sign it. BERMAN: And again, the Senate passed it with only two no votes. It
hasn't come up for a vote in the House yet.
DEUTCH: Of course.
BERMAN: I know you're a big proponent of that. Perhaps there will be a vote soon on that.
You said there's a Russian effort to influence the election. Something that we're hearing from allies of White House, as well as there was a Ukrainian effort to influence the election. And yesterday you brought up -- you brought up Chris Wray and the FBI confirmation hearings yesterday. He refused to rule out the possibility that he'd be willing to investigate whether or not there was any connection between Democratic operatives and Ukraine.
Do you have any concerns on that front?
DEUTCH: Here is what I would just point out. The willingness, the desire to talk about a political article from sometime back at a time when we're in the midst of this focus on a Russian effort to interfere with our election is trying to divert attention. And here's what I -- and I understand the efforts to do it. Here is why they're doing it.
The fact is, we were told over and over by the president, the vice president, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, over and over, Donald Trump Jr., that there were no contacts with the Russians.
DEUTCH: And they've been walked back over and over. And now --
BERMAN: They were wrong about that. They were wrong about that. And there's no question that talking about Ukraine diverts the focus from that, but in a vacuum.
DEUTCH: It sure does.
BERMAN: Again, it doesn't mean that what happened between Ukrainian -- you know, people close to the Ukrainian embassy and this Democratic operative did happen. Do you have any concerns there?
DEUTCH: I don't -- I haven't heard anything further other than what was in that article. But what I have heard a lot about is that, even just yesterday, again, we saw the president -- we heard about the president's meeting with Putin where the president sat down and, instead of looking Putin in the eye and saying, look, the American intelligence community has told me that you've interfered with our election and America will not stand for it.
Instead, he looked at Putin and asked him, as the president told Reuters yesterday, asked him once, did you do it? Then he asked him again, did you do it? And then he -- when Putin denied it, he decided it was appropriate to enter into a cyber security compact with Russia. It's outrageous. It's a sign of weakness. That's why it's so
important for us to ratchet up the sanctions on Russia, and the president is the person that's going to need to sign that to make that happen.
BERMAN: And Paul Ryan is the person who needs to get that to the floor.
DEUTCH: And it should happen this week. Of course, John.
BERMAN: Congressman Ted Deutch, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate your time.
DEUTCH: It's great to be with you. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: John, we're going to get the other side because President Trump says that he and Russian President Putin get along well. Is that a good thing? What does that mean to a member of the House Intel Committee? We will ask him next.