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Trump Lashes Out at Record Low Approval Rating; Roger Federer Wins Eighth Wimbledon. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 17, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a very difficult poll number for the president, putting his approval rating at 36 percent.
[05:57:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody looking backwards will say would have, should have, could have. I don't think that's fair to Donald Trump Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If someone did something wrong, hold them accountable.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is about as clear evidence you could find of the intent to collude with the Russians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator John McCain's health scare delaying the health care vote.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This bill would impose fundamental sweeping changes in the Medicaid program.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never underestimate Senator McConnell's expertise in getting the votes.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday July 17, 6 a.m. here in New York. Chris is off; John Berman joins us.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Monday.
CAMEROTA: Great to see you. Here's our starting line. New poll shows the president -- president's approval rating hitting a record low. The ABC News/"Washington Post" poll finds just 36 percent of Americans approve of the president's job performance. That is the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in seven decades.
President Trump remains defiant in the face of the latest Russia revelations, unleashing a flurry of tweets defending his son and once again attacking the media and his former rival. Now the Secret Service is refuting one of the claims made by the Trump team.
BERMAN: That's pretty remarkable.
Meanwhile, the White House trying to get everyone's attention back to the president's agenda. They are announcing new theme weeks, beginning this week with "Made in America Week." That's what they're calling it. Will any of this change the political situation for them, however?
One of the president's key promises, to repeal and replace Obamacare, facing a new setback. The Senate has delayed a vote on the latest health care plan as Senator John McCain recovers from unexpected surgery.
It is a huge week ahead. We have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns, live at the White House. Hey, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning John.
The president is back in Washington, D.C. After days of revelations regarding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. And now it appears the continued drip of information about the Russia investigation, combined with the difficulty of getting the president's agenda through on Capitol Hill, is continuing to take its toll on the president's approval numbers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.
JOHNS (voice-over): After nearly six months in office, president Donald Trump now facing the lowest approval rating in recent history. Just 36 percent approve of the president's performance in a new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll, a 6 percent drop since the 100-day mark in April.
The president attempting to spin these results, claiming that almost 40 percent is not bad and asserting that the poll was inaccurate during the election.
The poll also showing that 63 percent of Americans think that the meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton was inappropriate.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Most people would have taken that meeting. It's called opposition research.
JOHNS: The president once again focusing on his former rival in a Sunday morning tweet while defending his son, amid the latest revelations that at least eight people attended the meeting, including a Russian-American lobbyist who served in the Soviet military. This despite Trump Jr.'s insistence that all of the details about the
meeting have been disclosed.
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I don't think there's anything else. We scoured it thoroughly, just to be sure.
SCHIFF: He first said no such meeting never happened; and then said he said the meeting was about adoptions; and then he admitted the meeting was about getting information on Hillary Clinton; and then he wasn't forthcoming about who was in the meeting. So we can't accept anything Don Jr. says.
JOHNS: One of the president's personal lawyers also coming to Trump Jr.'s defense during a P.R. blitz on the Sunday shows.
JAY SEKULOW, DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: Donald Trump Jr. himself said things should have been done differently. Having said that, again, none of that is violation of the law. That's more process.
JOHNS: While raising a possible defense of the meeting.
SEKULOW: If this was nefarious, why did the Secret Service allow these people in?
JOHNS: The Secret Service pushing back, noting in a statement, "Donald Trump Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June 2016. Thus, we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at the time."
JOHNS: And then there is this. The Senate is delaying a highly- anticipated vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare, because a key senator has a health issue of his own, Senator John McCain recovering from surgery. And the CBO score, or the government-estimated price tag on the bill, has also been delayed.
Alisyn, John, back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK. Those are important developments. Thank you very much, Joe.
Let's bring in our CNN political analysts now to discuss. We have Abby Phillip, White House reporter for "The Washington Post"; David Drucker, senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner"; and John Avlon, editor in chief of "The Daily Beast."
John Avlon, let's just look at these polls again. They're interesting. Thirty-six percent of Americans, only, approve of the way President Trump is handling his job thus far. That, as we've said, is the lowest in recent memory. Your thoughts?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, not just recent memory or some years; in recorded history of presidential polling. There's no way...
CAMEROTA: It's just 70 years. You mean that... AVLON: That they didn't have polling before that.
CAMEROTA: ... polling doesn't go back before that?
AVLON: Right. So that's kind of a problem.
BERMAN: No one tested James Buchanan, luckily.
AVLON: In fairness, he would have done worse than this or he would have deserved to have done worse than this. But enough Buchanan bashing for one morning.
Look, these are bad numbers, no matter any way you spin it. And what's particularly stunning isn't just that he's at a historic low, that you can't spin your way out of that. It's that the Trump swing counties, he's at 50 percent, as well. That's a big deal, because the voters who made a critical difference for him winning the election, he's barely -- trying to keep his nose above water.
BERMAN: There's a couple numbers I want to show you right now. No. 1, on the Russia issue in particular in the meeting that was taken by Donald Trump Jr., 63 percent say that that meeting was inappropriate right there. You can see perhaps that's driving some of the numbers here.
And then a number that John Avlon was just talking about there. It has to do with counties that flipped, counties that flipped from President Obama in 2012 to now President Trump in 2016. In those counties -- look at this -- Donald Trump is now underwater: 44 percent approve, 51 percent disapprove.
And David Drucker, that's what people have been saying all along here. Trump voters are sticking with the president. Well, maybe not all of them. Maybe not the most important ones, the ones who gave him this election.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. So we have the Trump base, which I don't think is movable ever. But then we have the broader Republican base, which has been sticking by him through all of this, which is very much opposed to any idea of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that looks at their choices and say - they say, "Sure" -- and I've talked to voters like this -- "Sure, you know what? I don't like his tweeting; I don't like his behavior, but I like his agenda and what are my choices?"
And so you look at this poll, which shows in one way, how the polls can be unevenly distributed. His national numbers were horrible. In these counties that fueled his election, he's still -- it's not great, but it's also not horrible. And that can tell you why Republican members of Congress aren't flipping on him yet, because their voters aren't either.
However, take a look at "The Des Moines Register" poll. I think this is important, because this is a state that Trump, after the caucuses against Hillary Clinton, it was never in doubt for him. It was a great state for him. And his numbers there among independents from February to now have gone from 50 percent disapproval to 59 percent disapproval. He's at 43 percent approval overall. And they think the country is on the wrong track, like 60 percent to 30 percent.
That to me was the most interesting poll that I saw over the weekend, because of -- here was an area that, even though Iowa is a swing state, which maybe it could be again, which is why Republicans should be worried, it was not really a swing state in this particular campaign.
[06:05:12] CAMEROTA: You want to quickly comment on that before we get to Abby?
AVLON: Just that Iowa is an important bellwether. He's up by 11 points by election. That's key to his original victory. And Dave's exactly right to point that out.
CAMEROTA: Abby, I must say it's a perfect day for what I hope people will stick around for at 7:30, which is my latest Trump voter panel, because something interesting is happening.
So we talked to six people from across the country. Three of them consider themselves diehard Trump supporters. They're not going anywhere, as David Drucker said. Three of them now consider themselves on the fence. They voted for President Trump, but they're now on the fence, and they'll explain why they feel that way.
However, all of them talked about this next poll number, that 52 percent of Americans say the Democrats at this point only stand for being anti-Trump. And by the way, that makes even people on the fence dig in to supporting Mr. Trump, because they don't want to be told how bad he is and how wrong they were for their vote. Abby, your thoughts?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And also, elections are about choices. And I think that this is really the crux of the matter here. That when faced with a choice between Trump and nothing, you might find that a lot of people who are on the fence, who are maybe not thrilled with everything that he's done, choose -- choose Trump over an alternative that is uncertain or unsatisfactory.
I think that's -- that's the real kind of long-term issue that needs to be resolved before we can really evaluate where Trump stands. People have -- people have to vote either for or against him, either for or against his opponent. And right now there's -- there's no one really standing in that place.
I mean, I think for Trump more broadly, there's a risk here that some of these people who voted for him, looking for him to do specific things, are going to run out of patience. We're six months in. He hasn't really accomplished many of the things that he said he would do, especially legislatively, and also hasn't demonstrated the ability to actually manage Washington.
I think a lot of people thought, "Hey, this is a business guy. He's going to come into Washington and change things up, change the way things work and make it work better." What we haven't seen is things working better. So there's a huge gap here between the promises and what has been delivered up until this point. And that's going to contribute to the sagging of his poll numbers, especially in the middle.
BERMAN: You know, there's one group over the weekend that seemed to run out of patients with the president and his team. And that was the Secret Service. This is really remarkable.
The president's private attorney, one of them went out on the Sunday shows this weekend and made a really specious argument about the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. took with the Russian lawyer. Listen to what Jay Sekulow said over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEKULOW: Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why did the Secret Service allow these people in? The president had Secret Service protection at that point. That raised a question with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Guess what? The Secret Service has an explanation for this. They say, "Donald Trump Jr. was not a protectee of the U.S. Secret Service in June 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at this time."
That's essentially, David Drucker, the Secret Service calling B.S. on an argument from the president's private lawyer.
DRUCKER: Yes, look, Jay Sekulow is a very good debater, probably could debate me under the table; but he has been tied in knots in these Sunday show interviews, which, you know -- somebody has got to take this job. So he should probably get combat pay for this.
But that explanation, along with his -- by the way, his explanation about trying to nail James Comey, the fired FBI director, for not honoring attorney-client privilege; and then somebody says, "Well, he wasn't the president's attorney. He wasn't acting as the president's attorney."
"Yes, but I'm talking about executive privilege. You know what I mean."
And so they've got a lot of issues with this meeting with, you know, apparently 55 Russians instead of three Russians that they've got to deal with. They don't have a good story yet or a good reason to explain this.
And it's interesting, because for a lot of the talks of, you know, collusion or potential collusion or did you -- did you understand that they were meddling. They were always -- whether you agreed with it or not, there were always sort of arguments they could make that, "Look, it's not like this happened or that happened."
And this is the first time we've seen evidence of something real, a meeting with actual people that is problematic. And they still -- all they've been able to say is, "Well, you know, it's opposition research. Everybody does it," which, of course, everybody doesn't do it. And that's usually not how it works in terms of working with a foreign government, friendly or not.
CAMEROTA: Yes. And, and I mean, I think that to David's point, every -- it does feel as though each day a new person pops up in the meeting that we didn't know previously was in that meeting. This was a bigger meeting than we thought last week.
AVLON: Right. And the reason the story keeps changing is because their story can't be kept straight, because it doesn't seem to be rooted in reality.
This is a problem, you know, how talented a spinner you've got, the fact is the surrogates, the facts keep changing; and they keep being revealed as not telling the truth. Then that's going to make the position untenable.
[06:10:07] But this is serious. This transcends, I think, simple scandal. This is -- this is starting to be the overall question that's being investigated. It's something a little bit -- it's a lot deeper than a scandal. It's at the heart of the context of the presidency.
BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. We've got a lot more to discuss.
Senator John McCain with a health scare over the weekend, stalling Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. You know, how will this delay affect the chances of the bill passing? We're going to discuss that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think the longer the bill is out there, the more conservative Republicans are going to discover that it's not repeal, and the more that everybody is going to discover that it keeps the fundamental flaw of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed a vote on the Republicans latest health bill to make the time for John McCain to recover from an unexpected surgery. The bill needs the support of at least 50 of the 52 Republican senators to advance. So far two Republicans have already said they are against it. They won't even vote "yes" on a motion to proceed to the floor.
Back now with us, our panel: John Avlon, Abby Phillip, David Drucker. And Abby, first of all, let's just say, we are all hopeful that John McCain will recover and recover quickly. We want him back in this fight and in this discussion as soon as possible. And I think every Republican and Democrat on Capitol Hill feels the same way. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that the absence of just one senator
means this thing would have no hope of advancing any further. It just shows you the predicament that Mitch McConnell is in.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, this is -- they have absolutely no room for error here, and they're working with people who are kind of just watching the way that the wind is blowing here on this bill.
I actually think Rand Paul is -- is not quite identifying the problem here. I think everybody knows that this bill is not full repeal. I mean, conservatives are fully aware of that.
The question is how bad is it and how much are they willing to tolerate? I don't think anybody is under the delusion that this is going to be exactly what they promised, but they don't want to sign on to something that's going to create a lot of unintended consequences, higher premiums and prices next year.
I get the sense when I talk to people that they feel like the talks are moving in the right direction, but that more time is needed to massage some of these senators to create, in some ways, carve-outs in the bill to satisfy specific concerns in states where some of the changes, especially to Medicaid, are going to be the most severe.
But they -- they can only -- they can only survive with two losses here. I think they just have to hold on to just, you know, one more person and make sure that everybody is in line, and that's going to take a little bit of time. But it's not because people are going to suddenly wake up one morning and decide, "Oh, we're repealing Obamacare." I think everybody is aware that that's not happening.
CAMEROTA: But David, there's more than just two. There's two people who are vocally against it. But is it your impression that there are more than two people who were on the fence?
DRUCKER: Well, yes. I mean, that's -- and I think nobody wants to be the third senator that kills it. "You were the one that did it," and then, you know, you've got to look at a Republican primary.
As John McCain likes to say, it's always darkest before it goes completely black. And so what Republicans are trying to do here is make sure they don't get to that point. I think what a lot of people don't appreciate about the bind Republicans are in, both politically and from a policy perspective, is that when I talk to Republican strategists and I say, "What worries you about the midterm elections?" they don't say Trump. At least not yet. They don't only say Russia, at least not yet.
What they tell us is if we don't pass health care, our voters will not show up. We are going to be so ridiculous, and that's what people are going to think of us. And people are going to figure it's not worth their time and effort. And so politically, there's a lot of pressure to pass this, as bad as people have received the bill and, in part, because there's a policy problem.
There is a problem with health care, whoever -- whoever is at fault, and it needs fixing. And if they don't pass this, what is it that they're going to do? And that's why, if you want to watch what's going on with this, look west. Or if you're in the west, look a little bit east and check out Nevada. Watch Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller, because they could be the linchpin in this whole thing.
BERMAN: Just a couple moments (ph) to put a button on this. Right now in "The Washington Post" poll, 50 percent of people say they approve currently -- the current law, Obamacare. Just 24 percent say they prefer the current Republican proposal. So two to one, two to one favor Obamacare right now. That shows you the uphill battle right now.
And that perhaps having an effect on this other number I want to show you right now. Just 33 percent say that the president is making significant progress on his goals. Just 38 percent say that he is doing what he said he was going to do. Fifty-five percent say no, John Avlon, which is one reason why the White House might be shifting to these theme weeks.
Again, look, they tried Infrastructure Week. That didn't work out so well. This is Made in America week, which is a noble goal, but it's not just about Made in America.
AVLON: No. I mean, look, the theme weeks -- I mean, this is an idea that goes back to Mike Deaver with Ronald Reagan, so it's not something terribly new, and it's not something terribly successful, in part because every time this administration rolls out a theme week, they fail to support it with a consistent message; and the president ends up stepping all over the message by tweeting.
So -- so I mean, they can keep sort of trying to convince us we should be talking about Made in America. And God knows I'd love to see it be Infrastructure Week in America every week, but they don't seem to be making progress on the bill. So it's just more bunting, trying to distract us from the fact that something is burning.
AVLON: When you're trying to pass something this big, this momentous to your party, and you have to have a theme week that's not about this, that tells you something.
BERMAN: And Abby Phillip, there's the problem that there are things made by the Trump Organization that aren't Made in America. A lot of the products that Donald Trump has made over the years, you know, have been made in Asia. Ivanka Trump, you know, her company -- "The Washington Post" has got an unbelievable investigative story about where all those products are made. And the White House did answer questions about Trump Organization products.
PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, and this is actually kind of baffling to me, because I don't really understand how this Trump family, this Trump White House can really make a Made in America argument considering their long history of making virtually all of their products overseas. It really kind of boggles the mind here. [06:20:11] And I think to John's point, you know, if you -- and if you
are going into a health care fight, and you have to have a Made in America week in order to distract people from other scandals, that is not a good sign.
What Congress wants, what Republicans on the Hill want is a health care week. They want the president and the White House to actually be invested in thinking about how to sell this bill to their own supporters, to that 36 percent of Americans who won't budge in terms of their support of the president, and they're not doing that. They're talking about other things, and Made in America is just not something that this White House has much in terms of legs to stand on here.
CAMEROTA: OK. Panel, thank you very much. Great to talk to all of you.
We have to get to this story. A family weekend turning tragic in Arizona. More than a dozen family members swept away when flash floods hit a swimming hole. We have the latest on the rescue efforts next.
[06:25:13] CAMEROTA: Here's a breaking news story now. South Korea making a rare push for military talks with North Korea. This move comes after weeks of heightened tensions following Pyongyang's recent wave of missile tests, including a successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
South Korea's defense ministry proposing talks Friday on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone. The North has yet to respond.
BERMAN: Wonder what the White House will think about that.
Search operations resume in central Arizona for a missing 27-year-old man swept away in this weekend's flash floods. At least nine people were killed, including six children. It is believed they were all taking part in a family outing in a swimming hole 90 miles north of Phoenix Saturday when heavy rain triggered a mudslide. Four family members were rescued.
CAMEROTA: TV and movie fans mourning the death of legendary actor Martin Landau. Landau's publicist says the 89-year-old died of unexpected complications after a brief stay at a Los Angeles hospital. Landau was a three-time Academy Award nominee. He won an Oscar for his role as Bella Lugosi in "Ed Wood," but he was maybe best known as a master of disguise in the 1960s television series "Mission: Impossible."
I remember him, John, best from Woody Allen's film, "Crimes and Misdemeanors," which stuck with me for a long time after seeing that.
BERMAN: Got away with murder, literally, in that film.
He was a wonderful -- was a wonderful, wonderful actor and a tremendous loss. And an actor's actor. He taught a lot of people acting over on the West Coast. And you know, a big loss. He was great.
Roger Federer cements his place as the greatest tennis players -- no, he cemented his place as the greatest tennis player of all time. He did that a long time ago. This time he just shattered every imaginable expectation for what a human should be able to do.
Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Good morning, John and Alisyn.
It's the age at which Roger Federer is still winning. He's 36 in a couple of weeks. And that's no spring chicken in athlete's years. He's still at the top of his game. He beat Marin Cilic of Croatia yesterday to captures his record eighth Wimbledon title.
One of the most compelling aspects of Federer's historic win is that we've learned that the greatest men's tennis player of all time is, in fact, human. He has doubts and insecurities like all of us. He wasn't sure he'd ever win at Wimbledon again. He told CNN's Robby Ubba (ph) why that place is so special to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER FEDERER, 2017 WIMBLEDON CHAMPION: This club means so much to me. That's probably why I started to play the game because of my heroes, and Ed Berg, and Becker and Sampras all playing and winning here. I wanted to be like them. But I didn't think it was actually possible until I actually played here for the first time. So it's good to chase your dreams, ,I guess, sometimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Now, Federer says he would give up chasing his dreams. He'd retire if his family couldn't join him on tour. His wife and two sets of twins stole the show at the final, waving at the cameras, making faces. His five-year drought at Wimbledon likely worth the wait and had his kids probably old enough that they eat probably remember witnessing him make history at Wimbledon.
CAMEROTA: I'm sorry, Coy. Did you just say two sets of twins?
WIRE: Two, 7-year-old girls and 3-year-old boys.
CAMEROTA: OK. As parents of twins, we both -- John and I have twins. And the idea of two sets...
BERMAN: That's why we didn't have any more kids. We already had twins. You stop after you have twins. He should know that. Seventeen grand slams. Talk about a simple lesson. All right. Coy Wire, thanks so much.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, coy. All right. The White House trying to deflect attention away from Don Jr.'s Russia
meeting by taking aim at a DNC contractor's meetings with Ukraine. I'm sure you've heard them do this on our air.
So up next, we will sift the fact from the fiction with the reporter who broke the story and the Clinton campaign. What do they say about this next?