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NYT: Scientists Worry Trump Administration Will Suppress Climate Report; CNN Poll: Trump Approval Hits New Low; North Korea Vow Retaliation for Sanctions; Is Obamacare Still in Trouble?; Interview with Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 07:00   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The temperature change in a positive direction is real. That it is more than a statistical anomaly, and that human behavior is central to this incident.

[07:00:18] They leaked this report through "The New York Times," because they were afraid the administration would suppress it.

HAYDEN: Yes. The magic word, Chris, came at the end of your statement there, the word "leak." Now look, I'm an intelligence guy. I oppose an awful lot of leaks. Certainly, any leak of classified information.

But what bureaucracies do when they feel as if their views cannot -- cannot -- get a fair hearing, is you create pressure, and this kind of information comes out one way or another, and now you've got "The New York Times" with the entire report out there. I think largely because, as you suggest, these folks felt this would not get a fair hearing. Not that it had to be accepted, Chris, but that it would not get a fair hearing within the government.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thirteen government agencies, it will be interesting to hear the White House -- I never heard of the White House debunking something that made its way through that many agencies, especially with that process.

General Hayden, thank you so much, as always. Appreciate the perspective.

HAYDEN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right and thanks to you, our international viewers, for watching. For you "CNN NEWSROOM" is going to be next. For our U.S. viewers, there is a lot of news for you in this new CNN poll. What you say? Let's get after it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since we've had polling there's never been a president his low this early in the presidency.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: His approval rating among Republicans and conservative and Trump voters is down slightly. It needs to go up. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're dealing with three-quarters of the country

not trusting you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: General Kelly is the chief of staff. President Trump is the chief of Twitter. And that's the way it's always going to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Richard Blumenthal has been in his cross-hairs from, basically, the very beginning.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: I will not be distracted by this bullying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim's regime is lashing out at the U.S. for pushing through a tough new round of economic sanctions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope North Korea will realize that the best path forward is to cease the testing and negotiate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

President Trump's approval rating hitting a low point in a brand-new CNN poll. Thirty-eight percent of Americans approve of how the president is handling his job, six months into his term. Even more alarming, there is widespread mistrust of what they hear from the White House.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The poll numbers also suggest the president is not doing himself any favors with his frequent tweet storms. Case in point, the repeated attacks on a Democratic senator's war record, after the senator appeared here on our show yesterday.

The president also falsely claiming that the media is not covering the sanctions against North Korea.

We have all of this covered for you, so let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns. He's live in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Alisyn. Call it what you will. This poll appears to paint a bleak picture for President Trump after 200 days in his administration.

For most presidents, this is a period of a honeymoon with the voters, but this poll appears to show, or at least show some evidence that the Russia investigation, as well as the sparse record of legislative accomplishment, is taking its toll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS (voice-over): A sobering assessment from the American people of President Trump's first six months in office. The president's job approval rating now at just 38 percent, its lowest point in CNN polling. Enthusiasm breaks against Trump, with 47 percent strongly disapproving of the job President Trump has done, compared with just a quarter who say they strongly approve.

Despite the president's insistence that support among his base is getting stronger, our new poll shows otherwise.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans strongly approving of the president, down 14 percentage points since February, a reality senior advisor Kellyanne Conway acknowledged this week.

CONWAY: His approval rating among Republicans and conservatives and Trump voters is down slightly. It needs to go up. They are telling him just enact your program.

JOHNS: But the most alarming figure shows the White House's growing credibility crisis, an astonishing 73 percent of Americans do not trust most or all of what they hear from the White House. Nearly half of Republicans agree. Americans also weighing in on the president's use of Twitter.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a very effective form of communication. I'm not unproud of it.

I have all these millions of people, and it's a great way to get a message out.

JOHNS: While 45 percent of Americans do think the president's tweets are effective, 72 percent believe his tweets send the wrong message to world leaders.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I don't think that it's helpful in terms of legislation moving ahead.

[07:05:07] JOHNS: And 70 percent say the president tweets too often in response to television news, an issue that played out in real time on Monday when President Trump tweeted about Senator Richard Blumenthal after he appeared on CNN's NEW DAY.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: That investigation must be pursued.

JOHNS: The president repeatedly attacking the Democratic senator's war record in a series of tweets throughout the day.

BLUMENTHAL: I have no idea about what is in his mind. I will not be distracted by this bullying.

JOHNS: The president also going after the "New York Times" after they published a story about Vice President Pence positioning himself for a possible run in 2020 if Trump bows out. Trump also falsely accusing the media of not covering U.N. sanctions on North Korea, after CNN covered the story extensively all weekend.

The president's tweet came at the same time Jake Tapper was reporting on the story.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Polls be what they may, the president continues to watch cable news as well as tweet. He tweeted 13 times yesterday, so far twice this morning. We do expect to see the president for the first time during this working vacation and a briefing on the opioid crisis later today -- Chris and Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right, Joe, thank you very much.

Let's discuss with the panel. CNN politics reporter and editor-at- large, Chris "The Point" Cillizza. CNN political analyst John Avlon and associate editor of RealClearPolitics, A.B. Stoddard.

A.B., welcome to the panel. What pops out to you in these poll numbers?

A.B. STODDARD, CNN ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, it's interesting. If you look in -- inside the numbers on the credibility crisis, what was so interesting to me was looking at older voters 50 and over and non-college whites, the base of the president's support, who he has believe all along, he could sort of dupe into, you know, believing whatever he says. He uses his Twitter feed to tell them that everything he doesn't like on CNN, or "The New York Times" or whatever it is, is fake.

The polls that are showing, you know, are not looking good for him are fake, and if you look inside this poll, at the base of his support, those voters I just mentioned, they're not buying it either. They're there in the Twitter. You know, the tweets are misleading. They're there watching him, knowing that he's tweeting after he watches too much TV. They think that the Twitter is, his tweets are potentially a liability in terms of the signals that it sends to world leaders.

What do you believe coming out of this White House? The numbers are low with them, as well. So it really is this -- he thinks it's a weapon in his arsenal to try to continue to tell them that Bob Mueller is dirty or conflicted or all this is a witch hunt or fake, but they know that the Don Jr. meeting took place, that that email said the Russian government was interested in helping his father, and that he ultimately dictated a false statement to defend his son.

They actually, some of this is really seeping in, that what they're being told is not true. And even if you buy that, looking at this polling, Chris, that he never promised to be presidential, he wasn't going to be an honest president. And all this stuff, upheld the stature of the office, if you look at all those numbers, the numbers are sort of, this businessman manager are staggering.

Can he bring effective change to the country, no by 12 points, the change the country needs? Can he manage the government effectively? No, by 20 points. This is really going to hit home with this White House that he has a lot of work to do.

CAMEROTA: John, I don't remember him promising not to be an honest president. But I take...

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Effectively.

CAMEROTA: I take A.B.'s point perfectly. So all of the details that she just gave in terms of the credibility erosion lead us to our headline and the overarching issue of his approval numbers.

So let's just remind people one more time it's at 38 percent approval. Disapprove is 56 percent of the country, of respondents, and if you just put that, you can look at where he himself has been over the months, and that's his lowest. He was at his highest at 45 percent in March. It's hung around 44 percent, and now it's at 38 percent. What's next?

AVLON: Something a good bit lower, because his strongly approval numbers are even lower than this. I mean, you know, what seems to be at this point his floor. He's got a core group of around a quarter of Americans who strongly support him, and that's a solid support.

To be underwater this entire time, to be consistently at the lowest historic number, that's something you can't spin your way out of. And this poll is disastrous for the administration if you dig deeper into it. Three-quarters of Americans don't believe what they hear from the White House, including over 50 percent of Republicans, that only a majority of Americans are basically embarrassed to have him as president. Only 34 percent are proud to have him as president of the United States.

[07:10:02] These are gut check emotional numbers that have to do with trustworthiness about honor, about decency, about dignity in the White House, things that you'd hope could be personified by the president, and instead you've got the opposite. These are deeply troubling.

CUOMO: Let's look a little bit more at the trust issue. Sixty percent say Trump not honest, not trustworthy. Eroding base, the president was tweeting a lot yesterday about his base is stronger than ever. Not so, says the numbers. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans strongly approve of Trump.

He still has, you know, 70, 80 even percent of people within his party who want him, but that is not unusual. Home team percentage is usually 90 or better. Fifty-eight percent of non-college whites feel Trump can bring needed change.

All right. That's a pretty decent number, but remember, he got two out of every three of those voters in the election. They were for him like 150 percent. He needs them. It shows it softening. Fifty percent of non-college whites say Trump can manage government effectively, same point there.

Chris Cillizza.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: That's the issue is that this is the difference between campaigning and governing. It is easy to say I will make America great again. It is more difficult to make America great again. Right?

I mean, this was, in some ways, frankly, although his poll numbers were a lot better, this was the challenge that Barack Obama ran into. When you run hope and change, those are somewhat amorphous qualities to translate into actual governance. Donald Trump has not done a whole heck of a lot candidly. I mean, I know he talks about his successes. I went through a bunch of them yesterday sort of fact- checking his tweets. Stock market, without question a success. Supreme Court without question a success. More murky on jobs. More murky on the fight against ISIS, MS-13, these sorts of things. But the truth is, I think that's how he'll be judged.

A.B. makes a really important point, which is he was elected as the world's greatest deal maker, businessman manager, right?

People, look at the exit polling. People didn't think he was honest then. People didn't trust him then. If you look at the exit polling then, the exit polling of someone who you would assume lost the election 60 percent of people not honest and trustworthy. Sixty percent of people don't think he was presidential. They still voted for him. Why did they vote for him? Change and because they thought he would bring about a -- sort of a management style, a way of doing this because he was a businessman. If he cannot deliver on that fundamental promise, he doesn't have anywhere else to go.

CAMEROTA: John, you know, look, his supporters here, they have a longer list than what Chris Cillizza just pointed out. They think that he's rolled back regulations that were harmful to business and particularly small business. They think that illegal border crossings are down. In fact, they are down. They think -- I mean, there's veterans affairs. I remember one of the veterans on the panel said that she felt that the wait times were shorter, because he was bringing accountability.

So they see all sorts of things. But one thing that seems universal, according to our poll, that even his supporters now feel he could change is the Twitter habit. So 70 percent say that his tweets are too often about TV news. Seventy-two percent say that his tweets send the wrong message to world leaders.

We saw this case in point yesterday when Richard Blumenthal, senator from Connecticut, Democrat, was on our show. He was being critical of President Trump, and President Trump was tweeting in real time about Richard Blumenthal, not about other news that voters would have wanted to hear.

AVLON: Yes, on his 200th day. Look, I mean, again, it's flattering that the president's watching -- watching NEW DAY, but I mean, he clearly is so attached to his social media habit, that poll numbers, overwhelming numbers of which say, you know, "Dial back the tweeting, Mr. President. Focus on doing your job," even though that's the new message he's getting from the new White House chief of staff, he's addicted to it. He believes politically that's been the secret to his success, that he is to social media what FDR was to radio.

And look, I would argue that we want the president to be tweeting, because we're going to have real-time insight into what he's actually thinking. And any sort of edifice of professionalism that the administration tries to project with scripted speeches and all that falls away, and we get the ability to hold the president accountable as citizens and journalists by seeing what he's thinking about.

Unfortunately, it's offered on the ephemeral. It's on the passing. It's on attacks against the media, rather than actually the job of governing and people he should be looking out for, jobs, the military and it...

CUOMO: But that is his truth. That's why we want him to tweet. You're seeing it reflected in the numbers, A.B. Stoddard, to your point, that the president talks about what he wants to talk about. Sometimes it works for him. We'll see if there's a shift.

The tweet that he's put out this morning, first he retweeted something from FOX News that was weird, because it was like the president following FOX for information about his own intelligence agency.

But now he just tweeted, "I will be holding a major briefing on the opioid crisis, a major problem for our country, today at 3 p.m. in Bedminster, New Jersey."

AVLON: Great.

[07:15:10] CUOMO: Bravo for the president. They have the opioid commission. You've got Christie on it. You've got Kellyanne Conway on it. It's a huge problem. We have a documentary coming out about it in the fall. Poppy Harlow is doing some reporting. This is the kind of stuff, if he did more of this, that 70 percent "don't tweet" number would change.

STODDARD: I agree. I think he was watching NEW DAY closely yesterday, and he probably paid a lot of attention to Poppy Harlow's devastating reporting on this out of Ohio, and it is good news that he's going to get to a policy, an urgent policy matter, an actual crisis today.

But I think that, if you look at those numbers on the tweets, are they misleading? Do they happen after he watches TV? Are they a good signal? Are they a bad signal to world leaders?

The numbers in the poll, the CNN poll are so high on that, it shows that even his base believes this. They believe it's a liability, and that's the kind of thing that really has to -- John Kelly, General Kelly, the chief of staff, you know, he isn't pretending that he can stop this. He's trying to sort of curb it or make it more focused.

But you know, the president's most, you know, most loyal enthusiastic allies in the White House do not want us to know he spent all of yesterday thinking about Senator Blumenthal.

CAMEROTA: Good point. On that note, thank you very much, panel. Another top story that we're following, North Korea is not backing

down and vowing revenge in the face of the toughest sanctions yet. What are the options to deal with North Korea? We have a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with his ideas, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:20:41] CAMEROTA: North Korea lashing out at the U.S., vowing retaliation over the new U.N. sanctions. President Trump just tweeted moments ago about this. He says, "After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough and decisive.

But North Korea says its missiles and nuclear weapons are not on the negotiating table and never will be.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Thanks so much for being here in studio, Congressman. Great to see you.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Thank you, good being with you.

So the president is pleased at this unanimous 15-0 U.N. Security Council vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, but North Korea, it appears, has only gotten more bellicose as a result of those, and you heard, I mean, they say that they will never negotiate about their nuclear program. Where does that leave us?

MEEKS: First of all, let me say compliments to the president in that hopefully, he's understanding what President Obama understood that you can't do this America alone, and you've got to work with nations. I mean, that's what President Obama did when we talked about the Iranian agreement with other nations.

So we've got to do that, but now how do you do that and how do you maintain and make sure for example that China locks in and stays with these sanctions, because we've all said China is key.

CAMEROTA: And what is the answer?

MEEKS: And the answer to that is we've got to make sure, you know, because diplomacy is multilayered, and so we know that China does not have an interest for the United States to stay in the region, but China does have an interest to be a world player.

We have other allies that we've got to work with, and China has been trying to deal with them. So we've got to talk to those allies, and we've also got to look at, on a long-term basis, I know a lot of individuals were critical of, say, for example, TPP. But those kind of engaging those countries in the region to make sure that they are continually working with us and not, you know, just doing separate deals becomes important.

CAMEROTA: Has China shown any appetite or openness to really doing something critical on North Korea?

MEEKS: Well, no, this is the first, well, another indication of what China can do, I mean, but what you have to do is to put enough pressure on them, and I think not just pressure from the United States.

CAMEROTA: How?

MEEKS: We talk about pressure. It's multilateral pressure, but other nations also saying to China this is important. If you want to continue to do business with us as they're doing, then we need you also to be strong on North Korea. And I think they get that this then hurts them on the world stage also, because they want to stay on the world stage. And we've got to focus on that.

CAMEROTA: This wasn't the first tweet that the president sent out this morning about North Korea. He also retweeted a FOXNews.com story about our spy agencies apparently spotting these anti-ship cruise missiles being loaded onto a patrol boat days ago in North Korea.

That's curious on a number of levels. So why is the president tweeting a FOX News story when he could, I mean, this is arguably intelligence that he should know from his own administration efforts. Why is he using that to get word out to the American people?

MEEKS: I could never justify what this president is doing. To me he's playing "Apprentice" in the White House, and you know...

CAMEROTA: Meaning what?

MEEKS: Meaning that, you know, he's trying to make folks guess. He tells lies. That's what "The Apprentice" was all about. You know, and if you didn't do, doing something, then you're fired. That's a game show. It's supposed to be reality TV. It's not real.

And he's utilizing that same format to try to govern this country. That is dangerous, and so I would hope that my colleagues, particularly my Democratic, Republican colleagues, understand that we can't play "The Apprentice" game in the White House. I mean...

CAMEROTA: And the other confusing thing is that the president is well-known for saying he never telegraphs his thoughts to the enemy. This comes from what he would call a leak from the U.S. intel agency that's sharing it with FOX News. It's just confusing on a bunch of levels.

MEEKS: And if you talk at what he said, you know, about fake news, the only news that he seems to want to report is fake news. Those that are not verifiable, but when you have networks like CNN and CBS and ABC and NBC and all of whom, the "New York Times," "The Washington Post," you know, credible, notable press, he says that's fake news.

[17:25:13] Well, he goes to things that are clearly not verifiable, and it just seems to me he is playing a game; and he should stop doing it. CAMEROTA: Congressman, very quickly, I know you wanted to tell us

where you think you're headed on health care. What's happening on Capitol Hill with health care?

MEEKS: Well, what I wanted to talk about, because I think what Senator McCain said is very, very true. We need to go back to regular order, where you have hearings and ideas being discussed, and working things over in a bipartisan manner, because health care is too important for us to continue to play partisan politics with.

CAMEROTA: And you want Medicare for all, yes?

MEEKS: I would want Medicare for all, but I understand that there's got to be an agreement that's worked out. So I don't believe that you wipe out the Affordable Care Act. I think that you've got to work collectively to fix it so that people have quality, affordable care.

I remember too vividly, too many Americans going bankrupt when they've had a family member or someone within themselves got sick, and they couldn't afford it. They thought they had health care, but they didn't when they need it, and we've got to make sure that doesn't happen. Life is so important, and we shouldn't play politics with it.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Gregory Meeks, great to have you in the studio. Thanks so much for being here -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. So President Trump and the truth are being put to the test. A new CNN poll shows a majority of Americans, three in four, don't trust what they hear from the White House. So this is a big deal. A president cannot survive this way. How will the president turn it around? We have a debate you don't want to miss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)