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Trump White House Faces Credibility Crisis; The White House Insists Trump Is On A "Working Vacation"; Battle Over Climate Change. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:30:42] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A new CNN national poll really gets to the heart of the Trump administration's credibility crisis.

One in four, not even, say they trust most of what they hear from the White House. Thirty-six percent say the president is honest and trustworthy.

How big a deal? What do you do about it? Let's debate.

We have CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Matt, what do you do about this?

MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Nobody likes to see these types of numbers, Chris, but I think it's important.

We're at a point in politics where -- yes, I didn't get a copy of this poll so I haven't read it thoroughly, but if you look at the numbers of Congress, they're abysmal.

If you look at the fact that we just had six Republican senators switch their vote on Obamacare approval, there is great concern out there amongst Democrats and Republicans. You have a lot of Democrats who are looking at this strategy of hashtag resistance and they know that's not a good strategy.

But if you're the president and you're looking at these numbers, you know that you've got to steady the ship on these messages that come out of the White House and you have to make sure that you're pushing back on false stories about what their agenda is.

And number one, you've got to get accomplishments through Congress. You've got to repeal Obamacare and you've got to get a big tax package done.

CUOMO: So how does the president lift his own credibility by attacking the others -- the credibility of others, Ana?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it's about attacking the credibility of others. I think the solution is very simple. Start telling the truth. Start

telling the American people the truth.

Start taking your job seriously, stop making things up, stop exaggerating. Stop outright lying and then repeating it over and over and over again.

And I think the people around him instead of justifying it, instead of spinning it, instead of defending it need to tell him you are no longer the host of "THE APPRENTICE." You're not a used car salesman. You are the President of the United States and the American people deserve to have to believe you at some point.

You know, look, Matt worked at the Bush White House. He was there during nine -- you know, we had 9/11, we had Katrina. In this country of 300-plus million people of 50 states, at some point we're going to have a grave natural or manmade disaster.

We need to believe our president when he stands behind that podium and speaks to us. And today, Donald Trump has no credibility because he's been president for 200 days and he has lied practically every single one of those days.

CUOMO: Matt Schlapp, do you think the president can change?

SCHLAPP: Well, I disagree with this whole premise that he's not truthful. I disagree with what Ana said there.

I actually think we have a very polarized country. We are divided on almost every major issue and there are people that really despise Donald Trump -- that they hate him, and there are big sections of this country that are rooting for him.

Let me tell you about the people who are rooting for him, Chris. They don't like everything about him and they don't like politicians generally, and they don't like it when things don't get done in Congress, and the president's going to, you know, bear some of the responsibility for that.

But the part of Trump -- President Trump -- that great sections of this country do like is that he is authentic. He does tell you what he thinks. He doesn't -- he doesn't put a fine polish on everything. He says it very bluntly and --

CUOMO: But how do you square that with three out of four people thinking he's lying?

SCHLAPP: Well, Chris, like I said, I haven't delved into your poll. All I will tell you is you've got to take some responsibility -- all of us do -- on the coverage of this.

When you call the president a liar, or other people do, for 200 days, which I think -- even on climate change. To hear the coverage to say that people like me who are skeptics over the idea that man is causing the globe to put itself in a position where it's so warm that human life will not be able to be sustained, I'm a skeptic of that. I'm not a liar.

CUOMO: You're also not a scientist.

SCHLAPP: I'm a skeptic.

CUOMO: And when you have 13 agencies --

SCHLAPP: So what?

CUOMO: -- and scientists from the government --


CUOMO: -- saying something and they're worried about --

SCHLAPP: Chris --

CUOMO: -- suppressed, it's a credibility issue.

SCHLAPP: Chris, I want you to know that is wrong.

CUOMO: And that's why three out of four people say they don't trust the White House.

SCHLAPP: It's wrong for people in the media to say that on issues of abortion, on climate change, on the -- on the -- on the size and scope of --

[07:35:05] CUOMO: How is abortion and climate change the same thing, Matt?

SCHLAPP: It's about science. And guess what? You're wrong on the science.

Many of you who believe that people on the pro-life side aren't looking at the science of it, come on. The science is on my side on the unique human nature of every newborn child --

CUOMO: It's not about science, it's about ethics, religion, and morality --

SCHLAPP: No, what it is, is just a --

CUOMO: -- is what abortion's about. It's not about science.

SCHLAPP: It's a political difference in -- just because someone's on the other side please don't call them a liar.

CUOMO: How could --

SCHLAPP: I think that's not helping the country.

CUOMO: But who's calling --

NAVARRO: It has -- wait --

CUOMO: This is -- hold on a second. Ana, hold on a second --

NAVARRO: Can I tell you something?

CUOMO: -- because I get a lot of this.

You like to throw a label on something you don't like. I get it -- politically persuasive. But it's also B.S. a lot of the time, Matt.

SCHLAPP: I don't -- I don't know what that means.

CUOMO: Nobody's making abortion about science. I didn't even bring up the issue --

SCHLAPP: Abortion is about science.

CUOMO: -- you did.

Abortion -- the idea of when life begins, guess what?

SCHLAPP: It's science.

CUOMO: Nobody knows.

SCHLAPP: It's science.

CUOMO: You can believe it begins at conception.

SCHLAPP: No, that's not right.

CUOMO: You can begin -- believe 40 days after, the way the Jews do.

SCHLAPP: See, Chris, this is the problem.

CUOMO: You can believe in viability. There is an unknown component to it.

SCHLAPP: You know, I'll just believe in the science. No, it's not.

CUOMO: That's not what the science is behind climate change.

SCHLAPP: Each unique life --

CUOMO: They're not the same thing.

SCHLAPP: The science of when life --


SCHLAPP: -- begins is unquestionable. And the question on climate change, actually there's a great diversity on the science.

And we do have political disagreements but I think it's wrong in this country when we call people who have a contrary position a liar, and that's what's dominating the coverage --

CUOMO: Ana, that's a fair point. SCHLAPP: -- as much as Donald Trump.

NAVARRO: That is just -- that is just -- that is completely inaccurate.

CUOMO: Ana, that's a fair point that if you -- just because you disagree you call someone a liar. I agree with Matt. Disagreement doesn't mean somebody's lying, somebody's telling the truth.

But that's also not the case with a lot of these issues, especially when it comes to climate science.

NAVARRO: Listen, you know, Matt is very able and we are now chasing this rabbit and talking about abortion and policy disagreements. This is not about policy disagreements. You don't call somebody a liar because they disagree with you on, you know, one policy issue or another.

It's about the three to five million illegal immigrants he lied about. It's about the crowds of the inaugural he lied about. He lies about --

CUOMO: It's about no coverage of North Korea when it was being covered as he tweeted it.

NAVARRO: Exactly.

CUOMO: It's about the birther thing.

Now there's a pattern here, Matt, and you know it.


CUOMO: It's not that people disagree with his heartfelt beliefs about abortion or about climate science.

SCHLAPP: Let me give you -- let me give some on this, OK? I think it's a very fair criticism.

I think your question in the poll said that people are dubious about some of the things they hear coming out of the White House. It's a big overwhelming number, I'll give you that. That's nothing anybody who works in the White House wants to see.

And I think some of the communications chaos that has come out of the White House over the last six months that was front and center with the White House press briefing, I don't think that helped things. And I think the president and his team have to be awfully careful with how they characterize things because people are listening and people are watching.

But I do think that we're in a big fight. We're in a big political fight in this country. There are divides.

Ana and I are both Republicans. We have a strong disagreement on the Trump agenda. I'm totally for the -- President Trump and his agenda. I want it to

pass. I think it's going to make America better. As we fight, let's have a fair fight on disagreement on the issues.

I think President Obama was wrong on a lot of things.

I think it was wrong for Loretta Lynch to use an alias in her e-mail. I think that was duplicitous.

CUOMO: Yes. I just don't see the --

SCHLAPP: There's a lot of things --

CUOMO: I just don't see the legitimacy of your premise.

Nobody's coming at President Trump because, Ana Navarro, what he believes about abortion. I don't even think we know for sure --

SCHLAPP: That's not right.

CUOMO: -- what he does believe about abortion --

NAVARRO: Listen, listen --

SCHLAPP: That's not right.

CUOMO: -- or what it is about climate --

NAVARRO: The people --

CUOMO: -- science. It's about the ability to tell the truth about anything.

SCHLAPP: You just said that you -- you just said that the administration --

NAVARRO: No, it's not that. You're -- no --

SCHLAPP: -- was trying to --

NAVARRO: You're trying to make this segment --


NAVARRO: -- out of something that it's completely not about. You talk and talk and talk.

SCHLAPP: No, no, you are. You just want to prosecute the president.

NAVARRO: No, no. You've tried to make this about abortion. You've tried to make it about science. That's not about what it is.

It's about the fact that the President of the United States goes out and lies either by Twitter or by -- in person, daily.

Last week he told us he had phone calls he did not have with people who did not call him on the phone who he claimed told him things they did not tell him. That is a lie.

Some of you may choose to believe alternate facts and live in an alternate universe.

SCHLAPP: I don't.

NAVARRO: Some of us choose to believe in a factual universe.

SCHLAPP: Let's just do this. The one thing I would say is the following, which is I think hold the president accountable, hold the White House accountable. I don't have any problem with that.

But let's be awfully careful when you throw around the word lie on all these positions that the president and the people who support them are taking because what you do --

CUOMO: Give us an example of the president being called a liar where it's unfair, Matt.

SCHLAPP: I watched -- I listened to CNN on the drive in, Chris --


SCHLAPP: -- and I heard you characterize those folks that are critics on climate change as lying about the science, and I think you should take that back. I don't think that's accurate.

There's a great diversity of views from scientists -- true climatologists, not just people with PhD's who are liberal professors across the country or people embedded in the bureaucracy. We ought to have a real discussion on these things.

[07:40:00] Yes, I'm not a scientist and neither are you but we ought to be careful with throwing away the term.

CUOMO: Matt, it's just -- it's just inherently misleading. I'll say it again, OK, and --

SCHLAPP: That's the same thing as a lie.

CUOMO: I'll say it again --

SCHLAPP: That's a -- that's a synonym.

CUOMO: What you're saying -- no, no, no. We'll call it what you want.

I see the definition of lying as being pretty plain. A factual inaccuracy done with intention to deceive, OK?


CUOMO: That's the definition of a lie. It's a good one.

SCHLAPP: I like that definition.

CUOMO: I think you should own it.


CUOMO: Here's the deal with it, OK? When it comes to how much temperature is changing, when big shifts happen, that's going to be soft. They don't know. The predictions and the contentions vary.

But you have, again, 13 government agencies, scientists from each and all, saying there are real problems and an absolute affect that is human driven and it needs to be addressed.

SCHLAPP: Right, but you're taking one --

CUOMO: When you attack that premise with nothing other than your feelings about it that you're skeptical, that starts to take you into the realm of gross deception because --

SCHLAPP: Don't in -- don't in --

CUOMO: -- you've got no rational basis to disagree.

SCHLAPP: Don't insult that I'm governed by emotions when it comes to these questions and policy. I want --

CUOMO: But you're not a scientist.

SCHLAPP: Neither are you, and you don't even understand --

CUOMO: But that's why I don't say --

SCHLAPP: -- what these scientists are saying because --

CUOMO: -- 90 percent of the scientific community on the basis of how I feel about it, Matt.

SCHLAPP: No, what you're -- can you just do me a favor?

NAVARRO: Are we -- are we here not talking about Donald Trump being a liar versus being truthful?

CUOMO: Look, it all grows out of the same thing because the president has had to own this kind of stuff, Ana.

SCHLAPP: Ana, Ana, Ana --


NAVARRO: Matt, you want --

SCHLAPP: This is impossible.

NAVARRO: -- you want to make this a debate about abortion and about science --

SCHLAPP: It's impossible. NAVARRO: -- because you cannot defend the fact that the President of the United States is a compulsive, pathetic, daily liar. You can't defend that so you are making us chase --

SCHLAPP: Ana, you --

NAVARRO: -- you down this path of abortion --

SCHLAPP: You have Trump derangement syndrome.

NAVARRO: -- and of -- and of -- no, no.

SCHLAPP: You need to relax.

NAVARRO: No, no. You have -- you have -- Trump Kool-Aid overdose is what you have where you go out and you defend everything because it's good for you --

CUOMO: Is either of those -- are either of those based on science?


NAVARRO: -- because it gives you acid.

CUOMO: Are either of those maladies based on science, by the way?

NAVARRO: Because if you are able to defend --

CUOMO: I just want to know. Is Trump derangement syndrome --


CUOMO: -- is that scientific? Is the Kool-Aid thing science?

SCHLAPP: But I might -- but I might need counseling after this session, I'll tell you that much.

CUOMO: Look, Matt, I'll tell you what. I hear where you're coming from.

NAVARRO: I'm going to need a hell of a lot more than counseling. It's too early in the morning.

CUOMO: Everybody on the panel --

SCHLAPP: Don't call me a liar.

CUOMO: I'm not calling you a liar.

SCHLAPP: You are.

CUOMO: I've never called you a liar. I'm saying --

SCHLAPP: No, but on -- just when I have a political disagreement with somebody --

CUOMO: Of course, then it's not lying.

SCHLAPP: -- and maybe some people will side with me --

NAVARRO: Are we doing this again?

CUOMO: No, no, no, Ana. It's a legitimate point. Just because you disagree with something about somebody doesn't mean somebody's lying.

NAVARRO: Chris, what we're talking about is that he's a huge -- no, but no, that's not what we're talking about. What we're talking about is a huge list that gets published all the time --

CUOMO: Right, right.

NAVARRO: -- by people who keep track of what Donald Trump --

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: -- says --

CUOMO: Both are true, though.

NARRAVO: -- and who confirm that they are lies. That he lies compulsively.

CUOMO: Both are true. Both are true.

SCHLAPP: Mostly funded by George Soros, by the way.

CUOMO: Hold on a second, guys.

NAVARRO: Read "The Washington Post" and "PolitiFact."

CUOMO: Hold on a second, guys. Listen, I know, I know.

NAVARRO: The lists are so long that they take up an entire newspaper page.

CUOMO: Ana, I know.

NAVARRO: We're not talking about science.

CUOMO: I developed parts of the list.

NAVARRO: We're not talking about policy disagreements.

CUOMO: We report on the list. We do fact-checks all the time. I get it.

I'm just saying Matt is making a valid point. Is it a little bit off point, yes, but he's making the point that just because --

NAVARRO: It's the point that he can't answer the fact that --

CUOMO: -- you disagree doesn't mean that somebody's a liar.

NAVARRO: -- they're lies.

CUOMO: Matt, you're right about what this --

NAVARRO: I'm not calling Matt a lie -- liar.

CUOMO: I got you.

Matt is right about what he's saying about disagreement in general.

Now, to Ana's point, that's not the specific context of our discussion.

The president's credibility problem, I would suggest -- there's certainly nothing in the poll that suggests otherwise -- isn't that people feel that his well-reasoned positions are mendacious. You know, that he's lying about those things. That's not what it is.

It's what Ana's talking about. That when he makes things up that work for him it is transparent and over time it has eroded trust in him, even among his base. That's a real problem and it's nothing to do with any specific issue.

SCHLAPP: Can I try and answer this?

CUOMO: Please, Matt.

SCHLAPP: OK, so my view is this, which is whether we call this fake news or I -- as a conservative, I do believe there's a liberal slant to most national news outlets.

If you look at that Harvard study and the coverage of Donald Trump, it is 70, 80, 85, 90 percent negative. All constant negative press on the president and I do think that it comes down to a different worldview on a lot of these folks.

Yes, you can look at tweets, you can look statements, you look at -- you can look at things he has said that turned out to not be accurate.

But by the same token, we're -- with much of this coverage there's a fundamental disagreement with the president's attacks on these major media institutions, on the swamp where the bureaucracy in Washington that comes out with these studies that you and I spend too much time talking about.

He is taking on these fights which a lot of us are applauding him for. And that his agenda is a big threat to much of the folks who are guiding the coverage of him and it's overwhelmingly negative.

All I would say is this. Give the guy a shot. The American people are fair. If they don't like his agenda they won't reelect him.

[07:44:58] Just cover the policy debate. And I'm not saying that you don't on every case. I'm just saying it is always skewed -- almost always -- in this idea of putting Trump in these basket of deplorables as a liar, as someone who's unfit. And you're not helping the country because actually that makes people

like Trump better because they actually have a lower opinion of many people in the press than they even do of politicians.

CUOMO: The day that the press is more popular than the President of the United States, we have a problem.

Ana, final word.

SCHLAPP: Right. That's right.

NAVARRO: Look, I think that the press has got a duty to scrutinize what politicians -- what elected leaders say and do. And I think that part of the problem is not only that he lies constantly but also his hypocrisy.

When he goes and talks about immigration and, yet, his resorts are calling out and putting out, you know, applications for foreign workers.

When he goes and talks about things made in America and practically every item that he's sold under the Trump brand is made in China or somewhere else.

SCHLAPP: Not a single lie there. Not a single lie.

NAVARRO: So there is inconsistency, there is hypocrisy, and there is lying.

SCHLAPP: There's no lying.

NAVARRO: And all of that can be rolled into credibility.

SCHLAPP: That's not a lie.

CUOMO: Let's leave -- let's leave it there. We'll leave it on a difference of opinion.


CUOMO: But, Ana, Matt, I appreciate the debate. It's always welcome here.

And, by the way, that's an interesting component in the pursuit of truth.

It's good to have you both -- Alisyn.

SCHLAPP: Thank you, both.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So Chris, when the president said he would not have time for golfing well, how do we characterize that because that's my next story.


CUOMO: It all depends on your definition of time.

CAMEROTA: The White House says the president will be working on his 17-day vacation, but he's also playing golf.

And he has played a lot of golf. The numbers are in and the president has spent about one out of every four days in office at one of his golf resorts.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is live in Washington with more. You've crunched the numbers, Brianna. What have you discovered?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPODNENT: Oh, we have, and you know it's confounding, Alisyn, that he ever said he wouldn't play golf because Donald Trump not golfing is like Donald Trump not tweeting. It's just never going to happen.


KEILAR (voice-over): For President Trump, golf is more than just a game, it's a way of life.

It seems he'd rather entertain world leaders, like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the links than in the White House.

And, Trump casual, it's not jeans and sneakers. It's khaki pants and golf shoes, even for a visit to tour the U.S.-Mexico border as a candidate.

In March, the president held a meeting with several cabinet secretaries at his course near Washington.

And he's spending a 17-day working vacation at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, though he tweeted, "This is not a vacation. Meetings and calls."

But also --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is my star doing a good job for you all?

KEILAR: -- golf.

Trump in a clear state of play greeted guests of a wedding Saturday at Bedminster's clubhouse.

All this time on the course --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump for the birdie.

KEILAR: -- head scratching, considering Trump constantly hammered President Obama for golfing.

TRUMP: Everything's executive order because he doesn't have enough time because he's playing so much golf.

I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf.

He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods. I love golf. I think it's one of the greats but I don't have time.

But I'm not going to be playing much golf, believe me. If I win this, I'm not going to be playing much golf.

KEILAR: At this point in his presidency, Obama had spent 11 days golfing. Since taking office, Trump has visited his golf properties several days each month, 48 in total as of Tuesday, and counting.

In 2012, Trump criticized Obama for playing mostly with close friends, tweeting, "He should play golf with Republicans and opponents. That way, maybe the terrible gridlock would end."

As president, Trump has not taken his own advice. He's played with senators, but only members of his own party. Rand Paul, back in April and Sen. Bob Corker in June, joined by football great Peyton Manning.

The president has teed it up with CEOs and quite a few professional golfers, including Ernie Els, David Frost, and Rory McIlroy, who revealed in February he played 18 holes with the president after now- White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Trump had played only a couple of holes that day.

The White House has tried to downplay just how much golf Trump plays and with whom, saying a trip to a golf course doesn't mean he played.

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Just because you go somewhere doesn't necessarily mean you did it, so on a couple of occasions he's actually conducted meetings there, he's actually had phone calls. So just because he heads there doesn't mean that that's what happening.

KEILAR: But in the era of social media even the walls of the country club have ears and eyes.

On Instagram, in March, check out that presidential golf glove. And in June --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the only place he can drive on the green, right, with your own golf cart?

KEILAR: -- busted on Twitter breaking a cardinal rule of golf etiquette.

But that's the norm according to sportswriter Rick Reilly, who played with Trump when he was writing his book, "Who's Your Caddy?"

RICK REILLY, SPORTSWRITER, AUTHOR, "WHO'S YOUR CADDY?": When you drive on the putting green it's like parking on the steps of the church. It's like bringing your own ham to a great restaurant. It's just not done. It's the worst thing you can do.

[07:50:07] And he also parks his cart on the tee box. I've witnessed this. You've seen it and people are like oh, no, that was the apron of the green.

No, he drives across the green and when you ask him why he says hey, it's my course.

KEILAR: Trump has only visited courses he owns since becoming president. He has 17, from Los Angeles, to the East Coast, to Ireland, Scotland, and the United Arab Emirates. He takes as much pride in his courses as he does his game, so those trying to get on this good side do best to mention it.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, here's what I'd say about the president. He's the most competitive person I've ever met.

Look, I've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on. He's standing in the key and he's hitting foul shots and swishing them, OK? He sinks three-foot putts.

KEILAR: Short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci probably meant to say 30-foot putts. Three-foot putts aren't that hard to make, especially the Trump way.

REILLY: Most people give you a putt within the leather. That means the leather -- the length of the leather grip on your putter. He takes putts within a driver. He just -- like those long drivers.

He just rakes everything. Everything's good and it's all happening quickly and you're like that can't have been good, but he's gone. And it's just like well, wait a minute, what about that putt you just took?

And by that -- that moment is gone and he's -- now he's over here tipping some greens keepers, and then he's over here yelling at some people that are building his cart path, and it's madness.


KEILAR: It's also, though, according to Rick Reilly and other folks who have reported playing with Donald Trump, a lot of fun. They say he's the consummate host.

But certainly, there is this theme that he is factually challenged, Chris.

In fact, he reportedly said that he's a 2.8 handicap. That's is a very elite level of play. That's someone who's shooting regularly in the mid-70's, maybe the low 70's.

Ernie Els said that Donald Trump is more like an eight or nine and that he shot an 80 on the day that they played.

CUOMO: It's still a great score, as you know, Brianna.

KEILAR: It's is and it's not -- it's not a score you actually would need to exaggerate. CUOMO: Right.

KEILAR: That's what's actually very interesting about it. It's a great, great score.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, I do think that the Trump rules on the golf course do make sense. It's his course. What more do you need to know?

CUOMO: Well, etiquette is etiquette.

But I'll tell you what, very instructive in that story, Brianna, on a lot of different levels is that how do they deal with his golfing? That's what leads to the credibility crisis they have.

KEILAR: That's right.

CUOMO: The spin even when they don't have to and they got themselves in trouble as the poll reflects.

Brianna, thank you. Appreciate it. Well done.

CAMEROTA: All right.

So there's this government climate report that we need to tell you about. It is now awaiting the Trump administration's approval but it contradicts what President Trump and his team seem to believe.

So we speak with the "New York Times" reporter who is breaking the story of this big report, next.


[07:55:55] CAMEROTA: The impact of climate change is dangerous and it is already being felt in the United States. That is according to a new government report obtained by "The New York Times."

And it says, in part, quote, "Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean."

And it goes on to say, "Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions and greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for the observed climate changes over the last 15 decades."

Joining us now is Lisa Friedman. She is "The New York Times" reporter who got this story.

Lisa, thanks so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: OK, so this is the newest -- as far as we understand, the most comprehensive report of all the latest data. Thirteen federal agencies have signed off on this report.

You got it. You've read through it. Tell us what you think the big headlines are.

FRIEDMAN: I think the main takeaway from this report is that scientists are saying that half of the warming over the past four decades can be linked to human activity.

That directly goes against what we've been hearing from many members of the administration who say that while climate change is happening and there is some human link, it can't really be determined how much or what level of human activity is responsible for warming.

These scientists from across federal agencies in the United States say that's not true.

CUOMO: What do they make of resistance from the administration which has couched this skepticism about the human link within the science and their concerns about whether or not this report would be made public?

FRIEDMAN: Sure. So, you know, this report has been peer reviewed by literally hundreds of scientists. It has been out there in the scientific community and, you know, it, in fact, drafts have been available online, but the final version that we reported on has not been.

The -- you know, this is coming to a head soon. The administration is poised to decide by August 18th whether to move forward with this report which would then be published in October or November, and scientists tell me that they were very worried that this report would not be -- see the light of day.

CAMEROTA: And we should mention, Lisa, that you're not a science reporter, you are a political reporter.

And politics comes into play here a lot because, obviously, President Trump, as well as the head of his EPA, Scott Pruitt, have been on the record of being very skeptical about climate change and certainly being skeptical of the component that human activity is connected to it.

So what do you think will happen when they digest the findings of this and how they will release it to the public?

FRIEDMAN: Yes. A lot of scientists have been talking to me about the ways in which this is a test case for the administration. This is the first big, significant climate science report poised to come out of this administration and it's really not clear what's going to happen.

You know, in some ways, this is a technical report and different administrations might handle it very differently, right?

You now, the Obama administration, you could envision having a big Rose Garden ceremony to present a report like this.

Maybe under the Bush administration it would be just quietly released without any fanfare. Scientists, in this case, tell me that they are very worried that it wouldn't come out at all. Whether it will or not is a wait and see game at this point.

CUOMO: You know, it's interesting. When you look at why the administration, the president, his EPA head, and many others are skeptical within the administration about the science, it almost invariably leads to the consequences of the science.

It's not that they have a scientific basis independent of the one that's being offered up in this report, for example.

But they don't like what it did to the oil industry in Oklahoma. They don't like what it will mean for caps on American business that will disadvantage them, you know, against businesses abroad.

It seems to be more about the implications of a science than their rational basis for disputing the science itself.