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Interview with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin; Trump Dictated Son's Statement; New Chief of Staff Reins in West Wing; Reviving Health Care; Los Angeles Summer Olympics; Republicans in Denial About Trump; Russia Cloud Grips White House. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 1, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:52] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: "The Washington Post" reports this morning that it was President Trump who personally dictated the misleading initial statement about Don Jr.'s meeting with that Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

Joining us now is Senator Dick Durbin. He's the Democratic whip and he serves on the Judiciary Committee, so we have a lot to talk to him about.

Good morning, senator.


CAMEROTA: From your perch on the Judiciary Committee, how do you see President Trump's involvement now in this misleading statement? Let me just read it for everybody in case that they have forgotten how this all unfolded. This is the statement that we, according to "The Washington Post," was crafted on Air Force One, and it said this about that first meeting.

"It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul" Manafort "to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up. I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand."

That is, obviously, not a fulsome statement because we now know that the meeting -- the reason that Don Jr. went to that meeting was because he was promised some sort of opposition research on Hillary Clinton. So that was omitted from the statement. So, again, you sit on the Judiciary Committee. How do you -- what lens do you see this through?

DURBIN: Well, of course, when Donald Jr. disclosed his e-mails in their entirety, it put that statement by -- written by the president obviously was misleading to say the least.

I thing the president is still viewing this as just a little family problem, a PR problem. It's not. It's serious. It involves a foreign power trying to invade our election process. It involves the highest level of security when it comes to the United States' relationship with Russia. And it's the subject of a criminal investigation. I know he would never hire me as an attorney, but I can't imagine having the president as a client if he would do something this rash.

CAMEROTA: But do you think that he's put himself in some sort of legal jeopardy?

DURBIN: Oh, I won't go that far, but I will tell you, I can't believe any worthwhile prosecutor can ignore this. I mean this is a reality. It was poor judgment on the president's part to inject into this conversation about his son's meeting, facts which, frankly, had no basis. (INAUDIBLE) --

CAMEROTA: But a misleading statement, it's been pointed out many times, is not -- a misleading statement, even to the American people, that's not a crime.

DURBIN: Well, I didn't say it was a crime. But I'm saying you have to take it seriously. When a president is making a representation about a meeting of this gravity, of this seriousness, and saying that I'm not making this statement, it's my son making this statement, there's some serious questions that have been raised.

CAMEROTA: There's been no tweets from the president this morning. That's sort of notable. We often get a flurry of this at this hour. What do you think about General John Kelly and what impact he will have on the White House and whether or not you, as a Democrat, will be able to work with him.

DURBIN: I voted for General Kelly for -- to head up the Department of Homeland Security. I certainly don't agree with President Trump's immigration policy in general, though I think his statements about DACA and dreamers have been encouraging to me. I want to work with General Kelly. I did before and still do.

He is in a position where he can stabilize this White House. That's good for this country. The president has to be part of that. When you think of a Marine Corps general and the Marine Crops in general, you think of discipline and order and loyalty and respect. Those are qualities which this White House hasn't really displayed a lot of in the last few weeks.

[08:35:19] CAMEROTA: Health care. Are we going to see anything on health care? Any new plan, any progress at some point out of the Senate or the House this summer?

DURBIN: Yes, I think so. I wouldn't be surprised this week if the Health Committee, chaired by Lamar Alexander with Ranking Member Patty Murray, doesn't come out with an agenda of things that they want to get into. Serious issues that need to be resolved. With -- same -- similar things, bipartisan things, are happening in the House of Representatives. This is where we should have started months ago, identifying the issues on a bipartisan basis and working it through the process with the expert, with the amendments. But let me say this. In the meantime, this administration has to do everything in its power to stabilize health care in America. The president's notion that we can let it sink and fail and then the Democrats will come running and begging for help, the president ignores the reality. Doing that is going to hurt a lot of innocent people, push premiums through the roof and make it difficult for people to insure their families.

Let's do the responsible thing. Keep this system afloat, but make it stronger in a bipartisan way.

CAMEROTA: Senator, the president has gone further than I think what you're suggesting. I mean he's not just saying that he'll stand idly by. He's saying that he would withhold federal dollars in terms of the subsidies for the lowest income Americans, as well as for members of Congress he doesn't like that he thinks that you all are being subsidized with federal dollars either. What about that?

DURBIN: Well, let me just say to the president, if you break it, you own it. It's the same thing as a souvenir shop. If he breaks this health care system in some spiteful rage, people will suffer and he will suffer the consequences for being held responsible. In terms of lashing out in every direction, it's nothing new from this White House.

CAMEROTA: Senator Dick Durbin, thank you very much for taking time to be on NEW DAY.

DURBIN: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Los Angeles and Paris duking it out for a slot to host the Summer Olympics. Find out when this summer games may return to the U.S., next.


[08:41:18] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, "The Washington Post" reports the president personally dictated the initial misleading statement about his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer. President Trump's personal attorney repeatedly denied the president's involvement in writing that statement.

CUOMO: Anthony Scaramucci fired as White House communications director after just 11 days on the job. CNN learning Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly, made the call.

CAMEROTA: The U.S. military detecting increased submarine activity in the waters off North Korea. A defense official telling CNN, the movement appears to have follow the North's test launch Friday of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

CUOMO: The crisis in Venezuela worsening by the hour. Two opposition leaders -- that's what you're seeing on your screen right now -- they were taken from their homes overnight. It comes after the U.S. slapped new sanctions on the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, whom the White House now calls a dictator.

CAMEROTA: The White House Opioid Commission, headed by Governor Chris Christie, calling on President Trump to declare a national public health emergency to combat this ongoing crisis. The administration says it will begin reviewing the panel's recommendations immediately.

CUOMO: That would give urgency to Congress to provide more funding. So we'll see about that.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: All right, the Summer Olympics are heading back to the United States, but you'll have to wait awhile for those games. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hi, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Got morning, Alisyn. Hello to you, Chris.

A deal has been struck for Los Angeles to host the 2028 Olympic games. The games will be back in the states for the first time since the '96 Atlanta games. And the Los Angeles planning committee estimates this event will cost $5.3 billion. But they feel they can keep costs low by using already existing venues, like the dorms at UCLA, the Staples Center Arena and the L.A. Colosseum as well. The International Olympic Committee said that it will give the city $1.8 billion as part of the agreement. The bid committee believes it can make up the rest through sponsorships and ticket sales. The move also means that the 2024 Olympic games, they'll be held in Paris.

Check this out. Fourteen years after a lot of Cubs fans said Steve Bartman cost the team a trip to the World Series by interfering with a foul ball, the Cubs extend a $70,000 olive branch. They're giving the fan a World Series ring. Bartman has been one of the most infamous and vilified fans in Cubs history. The team says that it hopes this ring brings closure to an unfortunate chapter in its history. Bartman put out a statement says, quote, "although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful," unquote.

Some fans welcoming him back in, but other fans may be a bit more jealous of the guy and they're not getting a ring, just him. This guy who they felt cost them the World Series, Chris.

CUOMO: You know what I think of when I hear that?


CUOMO: Taxes. Going to have to pay taxes on that ring.

CAMEROTA: Wow, you're a buzz kill.

CUOMO: Otherwise, that's how they'll get Bartman. CAMEROTA: If you won the lottery you'd be like, God, the taxes are just overwhelming me.

CUOMO: The taxes. What do you take, the lump sum, or do you take the payouts over a lifetime?

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, you are yucking my yum on this story.

CUOMO: The answer is the lump -- the lump sum, by the way.

CAMEROTA: All right.

CUOMO: Another chaotic 24 hours in the White -- yucking your yum. I just got that. That was good.

All right, so how is the Trump administration going to handle this yucking of their yum? That's part of "The Bottom Line," next.

CAMEROTA: David Chalian will be here.


[08:48:12] CUOMO: Big story this morning is "The Washington Post" report that President Trump personally dictated his son's initial misleading statement on that meeting with a Russian lawyer. How big a deal?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political director David Chalian.

Jay Sekulow, the attorney for the president, comes on the show. We ask him directly, did he have a role in it? He says, no. And "The New York Times" suggestion that he did at the time before "The Washington Post" was, you know, silly. Turns out, he was wrong at best.

He put out a statement. Jay Sekulow says this. "Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent."

That is all the same thing, which is this is not a big deal.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Nothing to see here, which is what you would expect from him.

I think actually one of the reasons why it's a significant story is because -- because of Sekulow's comments. I mean there is -- there's a total counterfactual piece of reporting now to what Sekulow offered. That's a problem for the president. This is the lawyer that goes out and speaks on his behalf related to this Russia investigation.

I'm no lawyer, but I think the other reason why Jay Sekulow is saying that there's no consequence here, I don't know how he can know that. It seems to me that this may be part of a pattern building exercise that the Mueller team might be doing as they're investigating possible obstruction of justice. Obviously there's nothing wrong with lying in a press statement. I understand that that's not against the law. But if you're a team of investigators, this is now a new data point that you're going to build into seeing if there's a pattern.

And then there's just the larger question, guys, again, what is it with Donald Trump and Russia that no story is as it first appears to be? That -- that, to me, why does that keep happening around this very topic?

CAMEROTA: Well, and this one I think we can answer that. This one it -- there actually was evidence of -- if not collusion, an interest in collusion. This is the one where the e-mails reveal that Don Jr. is excited when the Russians offer him some sort of opposition research on Hillary Clinton. So this one, of everything, does feel like one that they wanted to say, let's not talk about that element of it.

[08:50:16] CHALIAN: And notice that you didn't say Don Jr. was excited to have a meeting about Russian adoptions. You said Don Jr. was excited about getting dirt. But that's not what the president -- if this report bears out -- dictated as the response.

And then the larger question is for me, remember how this all came to light? This was Jared Kushner and his team preparing to testify before the House and the Senate Intel Committee. The e-mail existed. They knew it. So how does Jared Kushner allow the president of the United States to dictate that statement? That -- that also is a question. I -- it's going to raise a ton more questions and obviously Sarah Huckabee Sanders will get them at a briefing today if there is one.

CUOMO: Well, and we'll see what kind of responses you get from her. But it does raise the question of, all right, forget it, it's not illegal, but it is wrong on several levels and we keep waiting for members of his own party, elected leaders to step up and say something.

And now it seems one senator from Arizona has. He wrote an op-ed and he said, "to carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of crucial faculties. And tremendous powers of denial."

OK, so what is he saying? He's saying it's time to step up and call out the president on some of these antics.

CHALIAN: Yes, I -- it feels a little like 2015 all over again. I think that the split that we saw in the Republican Party during the nomination season is reemerging but now with six months of a Trump presidency as sort of evidence that some of the Trump critics from inside the party are using.

And Jeff Flake here is certainly doing that. He's trying to make the conservative mainstream Republican case against the president exactly as that was being made in 2015, and it fell on deaf ears. Does now six months of the way Donald Trump has acted in office change that calculous for voters? I think that remains to be seen.

CAMEROTA: Chris has been monitoring this very closely in terms of whether the president was going to tweet this morning because maybe John Kelly was already hiding the Twitter machine somehow.

CHALIAN: The phone. Yes.

CAMEROTA: He just tweeted. So here's what President Trump says. The stock market could hit an all-time high again, 22,000 today was 18,000 only six months ago on Election Day. Mainstream media seldom mentions. We did do a whole segment on the gangbusters that the stock market's reaching, but that's beside the point.

CHALIAN: And most mainstream media organizations note the Dow at the close almost every day. But, yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but either way, what the president and his supports that we've had on, they say that there's all sorts of good stuff happening. That, you know, we're allowing ourselves to once again be distracted by Russia and there's also some things that matter to the people out there, how their bank accounts are doing.

CHALIAN: So it's fine to tout the good stuff. I think all presidents do that, all administration. It's then when you add the line, there's no chaos, this was a great day at the White House, all of a sudden you're then defying reality of what people are seeing with their own eyes. And I think that's where it becoming more problematic than just trying to tout the good stuff.

CUOMO: And also notable that he did not insult us, though he is inaccurate in his statement about reporting.

CAMEROTA: David Chalian, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: "The Good Stuff." Should we do that?

CUOMO: Indeed.

CAMEROTA: Let's do it next.


[08:57:03] CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff."

People are good and they give. Two strangers connected to help save someone's life. A woman's selfless act. Nicole, heart broken when she read a post about a single mom suffering from lupus. Kara (ph) was getting sicker by the day, was in dire need of a kidney. Nicole decided to take action.


NICOLE: That's when it really hit me and I was like, I can do something about this. Like, maybe I'm a match.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: You know what? You know how rare that is? But Nicole was a perfect match. Gave Kara a gift she will never forget.


KARA: Giving me that time back with my children, and allowing me to be involved in their lives in a way I hadn't been.


CUOMO: The two women now of course the best of friends and share a bond.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: It's not like giving you a ride.

CAMEROTA: It's not.

CUOMO: It's not lending you a dress.


CUOMO: This is --

CAMEROTA: An internal organ.

CUOMO: It's a tandem organ. You only need one kidney. But that -- you know what I mean?

CAMEROTA: You're down playing it. You only need one.

CUOMO: But that -- that ability to do it -- no, I mean that's a huge thing.

CAMEROTA: It's amazing. And they were strangers.


CAMEROTA: OK. All right.

Let's end on this note. Late night comics pouncing on Anthony Scaramucci's abrupt firing from the White House. Here are your late night laughs.


JIMMY FALLON, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Today, President Trump officially removed Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director. And this was a little awkward when Scaramucci called an Uber to pick him up at the White House, Sean Spicer was driving.

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: Yes, the Muc is toast. The front stabber has been back stabbed. He said he was going to fire everybody. And I got to admit, he delivered. That's thorough.

JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": He had a number of unflattering and filthy things to say about his colleagues, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, that President Trump reportedly felt those comments were inappropriate. You know, he's a very -- say what you like about him, very appropriate person. So --

FALLON: Scaramucci's official start date was supposed to be August 15th. Or, as Trump put it, see, we're setting so many records. He's the first person to ever get fired before they start working.

COLBERT: Kelly let the Muc go because he wanted more structure, less of "Game of Thrones." That's not fair.


COLBERT: That's not a fair comparison. With "game of Thrones," you have to wait a whole week for a new beheading.

SETH MEYERS, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Now ten days may not seem like a long time, but consider all the Muc got accomplished. He sold his company away. He gave a vulgar damning interview to the press. His wife filed for divorce. He missed the birth of his son. That's more than Trump has done in his entire presidency.


CAMEROTA: I know. I know. Some of those veer into the tragic, personal side of this.

CUOMO: Yes, it does. I mean it's the first time I've ever seen where you don't have to exaggerate reality to create comedy.

CAMEROTA: That's right. That's right.

CUOMO: But I feel for him. And it does raise a serious question. I don't know what loyalty is in that White House because if Scaramucci wasn't loyal, I don't know who is, and he's still gone.

[09:00:04] CAMEROTA: All right, tune in tomorrow for more on that.

CUOMO: I hope not.

All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman pick up the ball.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, don't till tomorrow. Stay tuned right now.