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Poll: Trump Approval Rating Hits New Low; Confusion & Anger At Fox News Over Fake News Story. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 3, 2017 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:32:04] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The president's approval ratings hitting a new low this morning. There's a new Quinnipiac national poll. It shows only 33 percent of Americans approve of the job President Trump is doing. This morning, also, there's a new plan for immigration. Let's assess all of it with CNN Political Commentators Ana Navarro and Scott Jennings. Great to see both of you.

Let's start with the poll numbers. You're both Republicans so I'm interested in this particular part of this new Quinnipiac poll. It shows how he's doing among Republicans. Remember, after the election, it was in the high 90s. So, today, among Republicans, his approval rate is 76 percent. Still quite high, Scott, but it has dropped. To what do you attribute this?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you have to remember, during the campaign Trump never really got much out of the low 80s among Republicans. But on Election Day he got 90 percent of Republicans support. So, ultimately Republicans did come home to Trump.

Now, Republicans have returned back into the high 70s, around 80 percent depending on the survey you look at. And so, the White House needs to look for ways to bring those folks back home. It is not an election to aim towards. So, the ways you would do that would be to score some legislative victories, to get the White House under control, to handle the crisis, you know, the things that would indicate that you're following a Republican agenda. So, right now, I think that's what the White House needs to do is pass some bills and it looks like they're -- look like they're getting some things done.

CAMEROTA: Ana, why do you think he's dipped with the Republicans?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN COMMENTATORS: You know, Alisyn, I actually think there's something psychological in people's minds to six months. We're now more than six months into his presidency and he hasn't changed. He keeps up the deranged Twitter rants. He keeps lying and making stuff up out of thin air.

And yesterday, we learned he's having phone calls with imaginary friends in his head. He keeps attacking Republicans like Jeff Sessions, like Susan Collins, like Lisa Murkowski. He keeps not taking ownership of things like health care. He keeps being inappropriate. We see nothing but drama out of the White House until John Kelly got named. The Russia story keeps deteriorating credibility of this White House and Trump world, and six months have gone by.

I think most Republicans were willing to give him a chance wanting to see him succeed and thought, let's give him six months to get his sea legs then gets his bearing. But six months have now gone by and people are getting impatient and feed up. And they realized that they're now six months closer to re-election. He's gone through one- eight of his term and he continues being the same crazy guy who was the candidate.

CAMEROTA: Scott, what do you think about this part of the poll, about his credibility? And it shows that 62 percent of respondents do not find buying President Trump honest.

JENNINGS: Well, he suffered on honesty and trustworthy ratings during the campaign as well. In fact, both candidates did during the last election. And so, he didn't come in with a reservoir of support on that particular metric.

I do think they've had some moments in the first six months that have further eroded the credibility of the president and the White House, but there are ways to get this back. I do think we're six months in and people are starting to get a little concerned. But there's also 3.5 years to go in his first term, and so there's time for them to recover.

[07:35:16] I think the real political question is how does this impact the midterms. And I have been postulating since November that the ultimate issue for Republican voters is, are you fulfilling the promises that you ran on that caused us to give you the majority in Washington, in Congress and they give you the White House.

And right now I think that's really principally where Republican voters are concerned is we didn't pass health care, we're working on tax reform, but we're not there yet. Are you going to deliver on this agenda? If they start to do that, I think these numbers will come up.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about policy, in particular immigration and whether or not this is delivering on what Americans want. So, Ana, there's this push from two Republican senators, David Perdue and Tom Cotton, the President seems to have embraced it or the White House has, to make immigration a merit based system. Let in foreigners who are educated, who are skills-based and who speak English. What's wrong with wanting people to come here who speak our language? Doesn't that help assimilation they would say?

NAVARRO: You would be sitting next to an empty chair right now if the only people that they let in are the folks that speak our language. And you'd be speaking into an empty camera because I wouldn't be here either. It'd be pretty lonely for you today, Alisyn.

Look, I think that we need to have the immigration discussion. Practically everybody, no matter where you are on the spectrum agrees the system is broken. You can't do it in this piecemeal way where all you do is address legal immigration and cut it in half and make it a merit-based system. I think what he's trying to do with the Trump White House is trying to do is what they always do. They are trying to throw a bone. They are trying to send a dog whistle to his base.

There is no way that this proposal is going to see the light of day unless the Paul Ryan I have known for years has a lobotomy and maybe a gender identity change. There is no way he's going to see this pass the House of Representatives. It's completely antagonistic to every immigration belief he has had in the past.

I don't see people like Marco Rubio voting in favor of something like that when both his parents came here without speaking English. I don't see, you know, people like Lindsey Graham who has already said they're not going to -- he's not going to support it. So, just there, you've got more than, you know, more than enough opposition to tell you that this is nothing but something you can wrap dead fish on.

CAMEROTA: I'm not going to pursue the track of why Paul Ryan would vote for it if he were a woman. I'm going to just let that lie for a minute so that I can move on to the facts about this. Scott, let's just end here. I mean, the economists don't like this idea of cutting immigration in a half over the next ten years, all sorts of, as Ana points out, Republicans don't like it. The immigrants are good for the economy.

I mean, there's all sorts of data that supports that they start small businesses. They employ millions of native-born Americans. They add to the economy. So, where's the logic?

JENNINGS: Well, I think that the president is being responsive to the campaign that he ran. I mean, this is not a secret. This is his view of legal immigration during the campaign, and it is a responsive to sort of his rhetoric about, we're going to take care of the American workers who have been left behind, who have been forgotten.

I do think there's a real question though about whether this is the actual policy that does that. If you talk to people who work in agriculture or run H.R. divisions at manufacturing plants, the issue is more of, they can't find applicants who can pass a drug test. And so, that's why I think the president's task force on opioid addiction is really important. Because, if you want to help replenish the labor pool in this country, that really maybe the right thing, is to try to get people off drugs so that when they apply for these jobs, they can get and hold them. I think that's the principle labor issue we're facing right now.

CAMEROTA: Does immigrants also help taking all of -- and also take these agricultural jobs that are desperately needed, Scott?

JENNINGS: Well, I have a friend who runs a dairy farm in south central Kentucky, and he'll tell you that finding American workers to apply to milk cow is not easy. They have to go through a process to do it. They rarely get enough applicants and the applicants they get can't pass a drug test. And so they do rely on immigrant labor. CAMEROTA: And so, why don't immigrants help? Yes, there you go. So, immigrants help?

JENNINGS: Yes, no, I agree with you. No. I agree with you. I think there are a lot of jobs in this country that need to be filled by immigrant labor. But my position on this is the White House is doing it because it is responsive to the kind of campaign they ran. And look, it rings true to people, you know, out in the Midwest where you've had a lot of manufacturing plants shuttered.

They do believe that competition from immigration labor has hurt job prospects. And so that's core belief.

(CROSSTALK)

[07:40:00] CAMEROTA: It is a belief but it's not based on fact. This is why we do this segment. It is a belief, but maybe leaders need to disabuse people of that belief that immigrants are stealing the jobs rather than technology and modernization

JENNINGS: And one other issue that's important to remember too I think the last gallop tracking on legal immigration came last summer and about 80 percent of Americans said we either have enough or we should reduce the amount of legal immigration. So, as a polling matter, there is support to the concept that if he's leaving the numbers flat or reducing them.

So, the White House if you just look at the polling is, is on some firm ground in rolling out this policy. But I agree with Ana, I think the concept of this passing the Congress is low.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Okay, Ana and Scott, thank you very much for the debate. Appreciate seeing you. I think that they've fastened on perfectly. Feelings versus facts, people feel this way. But if you look at the raw data, immigrants are creating jobs in this country.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And because there's a connecting thought. You feed people misinformation and political dogma and make somebody the bad guy, then they start to believe it. The facts don't back it. But out of the simple suggestion is ask yourself if you would be here, if this were the criteria for getting into this country for the last several generations. Would you be here? We would not be, and yet we've become fairly productive, arguable.

All right. So, Colin Kaepernick, he wants to be productive. The quarterback wants to get back on the field, the team talking to the controversial quarterback next in "The Bleacher Report."

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[07:45:15] CUOMO: All right. So the Baltimore Ravens denying a report that their owner Steve Bisciotti is resisting signing Colin Kaepernick.

Coy Wire has more in the Bleacher Report just to catch people up. The guy has been out of the game. He was controversial. The question is who will bring him back in and what's the cost?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: That's exactly right Chris. Good morning to you. The ESPN report came out yesterday saying that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and general manager, Ozzie Newsome both support signing Kaepernick but Bisciotti blocking the move.

News from respondent in a statement saying, quote, we are going through a process and we have not made a decision. Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong, unquote.

The Ravens are interested in signing Kaepernick has a backup whose on- field play has diminished since his 2013 season. The team's Web site says they gauged public opinion about signing the man who created intense polarized reaction when he protested against social injustice and police brutality during the national anthem last season.

So, the question remains, will the Ravens or any team take a chance on Kaepernick determining that his ability to help the team win out weighs his potential to be a distraction and hurt the team's bottom line. That remains to be seen, Aliysn.

CAMEROTA: OK. Coy, we know you'll keep covering it. Thanks so much for the update.

WIRE: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: So, what is "Fox News" doing in the wake of its retracted Seth Rich story? We have the behind-the-scenes scoop of what's going on inside the network amid accusations of a fake news story.

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[07:50:38] CUOMO: There is a new lawsuit putting a spotlight on a debunked "Fox News" story about the murder of a DNC staffer named Seth Rich. The suit was filed by a contributor for the network named Rod Wheeler. He claims a "Fox News" employee fabricated quotes attributed to him. Wheeler also accuses "Fox News" of working with the White House to concoct the story.

CAMEROTA: "Fox News" has yet to discipline anyone as far as we know. Two months after pulling the fake news story, all of this leaving employees confused and angry. Let's discuss the new reporting with CNN Host of Reliable Sources Brian Stelter and NPR media correspondent, David Folkenflik who broke the news about the suit now facing "Fox", great to see both of you.

David, you broke the news, what is the reporting from inside "Fox" of what's being done? I mean look, there are rules of journalism it's good for a refresher of course, when something is wrong you retract it, you apologize, you acknowledge it, you often fire people. What has "Fox" done?

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, NPR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: "Fox" has done apparently very little of any of that. They -- after the story imploded on them in such a public way, Rod Wheeler, the private investigator at the heart of this who in whose mouth quotes -- appears who's trying to been planted and fabricated by the reporter of Malia Zimmerman for "Fox News" who worked on this.

He went to president of "Fox News" foreign news, a guy named Jay Wallace, very recently appointed to that role. And the chief lawyer for "Fox" Diane Brandy who's been there through the storms and lawsuits to the past year as well as many years previously. And he made this complaint. He said look, words were put in my mouth. Things were attributed to me in the story and then when things went south, things were attributed to me again. And explaining to the Rich family, the survivors of this young man who's killed, who was at the heart of the story. And blamed --

(CROSSTALK)

FOLKENFLIK: -- for the story. They retracted the story "Fox News" but they blamed him once more for doing it even though it appears from all the evidence that he provides in this lawsuit that they acknowledge these quotes were manufactured. They listened to what he had to say, according to Jay Wallace, they also talked to Malia Zimmerman, the reporter. And they say that as of now, so many weeks later, they don't have any concrete evidence that the quotes were fabricated.

You know, reporting takes time to do at times, it doesn't take two months, it doesn't take ten weeks, it doesn't take that kind of trying to figure out what went wrong. There was also an anonymous source that was cited by "Fox News" in this. If I'm "Fox News" I'd say to Malia Zimmerman, tell me who your source was. They're absolutely legally entitled to know that.

But if they actually had a source within the FBI who vouched for the information, the idea there was a link between this young killed man and WikiLeaks, the idea that there was a cover up, somebody inside in the FBI vouched for that, tell me who that source is. Maybe we can support the story even as we acknowledge that these quotes weren't right.

We haven't heard that at all. We don't know anything about that source. Right now, I think "Fox" has a lot to do to keep faith with the story, to keep faith with the truth, top keep faith with their own journalists internally, and keep faith with for people like the Rich family who are grieving. They told me this week that the story that "Fox" did on May 16th was as grievous a blow as the day that their son was killed.

CUOMO: And they put out a statement after the lawsuit saying they hope that this ends it. They don't want their son attached to any conspiracy theories. The man Ed Butowsky, the donor at the center of this situation promised us information that would validate his side of the story. He has offered nothing since that interview.

CAMEROTA: Why hasn't anyone been disciplined at "Fox"?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: He gets one of those sweep it under the proverbial rug situations. This retracts and happened toward the end of May. This story went away for a while until this lawsuit came up. I think "Fox" maybe thought they could just maybe act like it never happened.

But this was a big story on "Fox." And it came in a pivotal time for the president. The president had just fired James Comey. He had just shared top secret information with the Russians in the Oval Office. Robert Mueller was about to be appointed as special counsel. The president needed a good news story amid all those horrible news stories. And this was a good news story for him. I hate to even say that because the death of a DNC staffer and a conspiracy theory about it shouldn't be a good news story for anybody. This is a pro-Trump conspiracy.

CUOMO: Or you need to say it because of other allegations in this lawsuit which is it wasn't just about what "Fox" wanted to concoct with this donor, who's also a "Fox News" contributor. But the Spicer meeting that actually happened. And yet, another meeting with the White House official where they didn't know what it was about. But they had it anyway and it quickly changed to a different topic and only lasted ten minutes. One of you heard that before. And the allegation that the president may have known about this article and advocated for its progress.

[07:55:10] FOLKENFLIK: Right. I mean, you have lawsuits all the time and allegations are made in lawsuits. And people say, well, that's one side story and we should recognize that about this here. This lawsuit contains an extraordinary level of real time documentation of what people are saying behind the scenes. So, you have pressure from this "Fox News" commentator, unpaid, Ed Butowsky who you interviewed the other night. Invoking the White House's authority, saying, the White House is interested. The White House is aware of this. We got to get on this.

This is made more credible by the fact that, yes, he engineered this meeting April 20th with the investigator and Sean Spicer at the White House to brief him on this. Spicer tells us, Spicer tells you guys, you know, that wasn't a meeting that I called. It was something I did out of a courtesy. And at the same time it occurred, it's a fantastic, a surprising thing. When he invokes the White House, Butowsky says, get this on the air. Right after Jim Comey has been fired by the president of the United States. When he says the president has read a draft of the story. In any other White House whether Democrat or Republican you would say, that seems like an incredible stretch. With the interest that Donald Trump takes in television and on the news business --

CUOMO: Conspiracy theory?

FOLKENFLIK: -- it seems -- and conspiracy theories. It seems the less implausible. When you see the willingness to engineer the story from the beginning with the reporter involved from the outset with this advocate for the president. It seems less implausible. We don't know that the president reviewed it. But it's hard to dismiss particularly given the questions of credibility that's around the press shop and the White House as well. CAMEROTA: Well, look, now there's a lawsuit. So now, there will be all sorts of things that come to light in terms of discovery and people having to testify about things like this. So we will follow this and see where the story goes. Next story.

Let's talk about what Anthony Scaramucci's next move is.

CUOMO: So, and speaking to Anthony Scaramucci, he has decided that he was going to go dark. No more. I guess its opaque we'd say the best because --

STELTER: Then he talked to you?

CUOMO: Well, you know, look, I mean -- we talk a lot. I don't think that was the violation of going dark. But the decision that tomorrow he's going to hold a major event where he is on Facebook live and using periscope and all these other broadcast media to go directly to the American people, specifically the Trump base and tell them why he was brought in, what he was supposed to accomplish, and how he has been maligned by the media as well as members of both political parties.

STELTER: Sounds like a show with an audience of one, President Trump that he wants the president to be watching. Last week was the mooch show. This week that's been missing, so he's brining it back tomorrow. And by the way a "Fox" connection according to your reporting is working with former "Fox" executive Bill Shine in order to make this happen. I think this is a sign that Scaramucci is at least in his own mind, announcing a comeback.

CUOMO: Well, he has supporters, you know, and he has an interesting take. He said he and the president discussed that he would always be a short timer -- not ten days. But maybe six to nine months that he wanted to build a communications team including hopefully Bill Shine to put into practice a memo that he came up with to better the communication strategy.

CAMEROTA: That's right. He wanted bet he relations with the press if you believe his story. And the there is an excerpt of this memo that he had put out in his short ten year. There, oh, read it.

He wanted to implement a series of professionalizing initiatives immediately. For example no White House communication staffer goes home without returning all calls, e-mail, and texts. That's a high order. People may not like our answers but they should be treated professionally and respectfully. That would have been a great mission statement. But he is --

FOLKENFLIK: It was a pretty good memo. I mean that said, you wonder if he's the best vehicle to restore civility and trust after his conversation with Ryan Lizza. You wonder if this Facebook live thing should have a second delay to make sure that, you know, some of the words aren't going to be little --

CUOMO: Well, but he has an explanation for that also. Rookie mistake, call it whatever you want. He will say tomorrow and he'll say to anybody who asks him, if I knew that I was being taken at, you know, the substance of my words as a communicator for the president and the American people, I wouldn't have spoken that way.

FOLKENFLIK: Rookie mistake by a guy who's going to lead the communications office for the president of the United States. The most, you know, powerful person on earth --

CAMEROTA: But you talked to a reporter --

FOLKENFLIK: -- to make that kind of rookie mistake.

CAMEROTA: You might be more circumspect.

STELTER: And he wrote the memo the day before he lost the job. I think that was a last gasp attempt to save his job. But it has some good ideas. And I think there going to be followed now in the White House, for example trying to have better relations with the media.

FOLKENFLIK: Being responsive, I mean, there are things like -- it's suggested actually a much more constructive rapport and understanding of what the president --

CUOMO: And he was saying, I don't know when the memo was drafted. But I remember when he was making the pitch to the president that was part of it. Your media strategy isn't working. Turn the camera back on, stop being hostile.

CAMEROTA: On that note, gentlemen, thank you very much for all the conversation. We're following a lot of news this morning. So, let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think the economy will be well served by cutting the number of immigrants in half.

[08:00:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't understand why anybody who wants a pro growth effort in America to oppose this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The members of Congress, they can either vote with the interests of U.S. citizens and U.S. workers or they can vote against their interests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it'll pass the Senate.