Return to Transcripts main page
Trump: No Regrets; Trump's Business Panel Collapse; Christopher Cantwell YouTube Video; Anger At Trump Goes Global. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired August 17, 2017 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: -- world leaders, and the business community after the president's defense of white supremacists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLOTTESVILLE VIGILGOERS (singing): We all need somebody to lean on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And, a vigil on the University of Virginia campus, the site of an ugly, violent march last week transformed into an emotional moment of hope.
We have all the elements of this story covered for you around the world.
Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour this Thursday morning.
Let's begin with the widening fallout from President Trump's defense of white supremacist protesters.
Some of the president's advisers now concede his agenda may stall when he returns to Washington next week and more Republicans are pushing back.
BRIGGS: Senator Lindsey Graham calls the president's words dividing, not healing.
Quote, "Many Republicans do not agree and will fight back against the idea that the party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Pathetic, isn't it? Just pathetic listening to this and hearing these marchers. The president has to totally condemn this. And this is not about winning an argument. This is about the fact
that now these folks apparently are going to go other places and they think that they had some sort of a victory.
There is no moral equivalency between the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and anybody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: In a rare move by military leaders, all five U.S. joint chiefs condemned white supremacist groups.
But we're told the president is defiant. He has no regrets, even as he stays out of public view.
BRIGGS: That's right.
Two White House sources say they don't believe the president's comments will result in any long-term damage.
ROMANS: Yes. They say it's not disqualifying. You point out that's got a low --
BRIGGS: It's a very low bar.
ROMANS: A very low bar for a president.
America's CEOs are abandoning the CEO president. At least eight executives quit Trump's Manufacturing Council and a second economic strategy council was about to implode when the president tweeted that he was going to disband both of them.
Titans of business sat on that strategy council -- Blackstone, JPMorgan, Pepsi, GM, Walmart. They employ hundreds of thousands of Americans. They have millions of customers.
The exodus of these leaders -- the collapse of the president's blue- ribbon panels, they are an unprecedented rebuke to the business- friendly president.
They disagreed with Trump on climate change, they disagreed with him on immigration, but most CEOs had been willing to work with him until he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville.
JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon criticized the president for equivocating when denouncing racism.
Quote, "It's a leader's role in business or in government to bring people together, not tear them apart."
A break with business could hurt Trump's economic agenda. He's relying on their help to push for tax reform and infrastructure.
BRIGGS: Christopher Cantwell, the white nationalist featured in "VICE News Tonight's" documentary about the Charlottesville protest, has come out with a video of his own. In a YouTube video, a tearful Cantwell claims he and his group did everything they could to actually prevent violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER CANTWELL, SPEAKER, "UNITE THE RIGHT": We tried everything in our power to keep this peaceful, you know. I know we can talk a lot of s*** on the Internet, right?
But, like literally, Jason Kessler applied for a permit like months ago for this, OK? When they yanked our permit we went to the ACLU and we went to court and we won. We've been coordinating with law enforcement the entire time.
Every step of the way we've tried to do the right thing and they just won't stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: All right.
Of course, the "VICE" news story paints a very different picture of that guy. He appears armed for confrontation. I mean, he is gunned up and he says the next time, maybe even more violent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLE REEVE, CORRESPONDENT, "VICE NEWS TONIGHT": What do you think this means for the next alt-right protest?
CANTWELL: I say it's going to be really tough to top but we're up to the challenge.
REEVE: Wait, why?
REEVE: Tough to top? I mean, someone died.
CANTWELL: I think that a lot more people are going to die before we're done here, frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: He also added that the driver of that car had no choice. That it was almost a defensive --
ROMANS: Justified. He said it was justified.
BRIGGS: -- maneuver and justified, as well.
ROMANS: It's interesting, too. We found in the last 24 hours of reporting -- CNN has found that actually, both sides did have a permit.
Remember the president said he waited for -- to give a full response to what happened --
ROMANS: -- because he wanted all the facts. And then he said, you know, one side didn't have a permit. Actually, that was a permitted event all the way around.
All right, let's bring back Tal Kopan, "CNN DIGITAL POLITICS" reporter.
I mean, this is still the backdrop of everything here. And we showed you yesterday the picture of John Kelly -- Gen. Kelly, the Chief of Staff, standing there with his arms folded as the president was giving this sort of off-the-rails press conference.
Now, this morning in "The Washington Post," there's a story with 17 sources -- with 17 sources saying that Trump's lack of discipline leaves Kelly dismayed.
But we don't expect there to be any staff departures right now, do we?
TAL KOPAN, REPORTER, CNN DIGITAL POLITICS: No, we have no indication that anyone is headed out the door at the moment.
[05:35:00] And, you know, keep in mind there are plenty of people who went into this administration not because they were Trump true believers. It was because they believe in serving their country and believe in, you know, making a difference in whatever way they can in the Trump administration.
So, you know, the reporting that there were folks in the administration who were unhappy with this, that's certainly the case. But that doesn't mean that they're, you know, packing their things and heading out the door tomorrow because many of them still believe that they're there for a specific reason and purpose.
BRIGGS: Tal, many of this country's CEOs, as Christina's mentioned, decided their customers would not stand for this type of rhetoric and they bailed on these advisory councils.
But for the most part, have Republican members of Congress decided that their customers -- their voters can live with this?
Now, with the exception of Lindsey Graham, and John McCain, and Marco Rubio, and Cory Gardner and a few others, have they decided that their customers can live with these comments and they will not speak out against the president?
KOPAN: Dave, that's a perfect question to keep asking them over the next several weeks.
And, you know, lawmakers, in general -- the good ones who remain in office -- have a very good sense of what their voters want from them. They go out in the district, they talk to folks, they keep their finger on the pulse.
That's what you have to do if you're going to be a successful lawmaker who continues to get reelected. And so I'm sure that many members of Congress are taking stock of how their base is reacting to this and how they can play it.
I don't want to make any suggestion that these folks aren't human beings who have very real reactions to this. And I think we're seeing from many members of Congress that they are incredibly dismayed at the notion that we are not just condemning white supremacy, which is the response that should be given to an event like this.
But they're certainly looking at, you know, perhaps the Confederate statue issue. They may come down a little differently than some folks on the left or the moderate right. You know, there are nuances to that issue and others that they may feel like they have to be careful with.
And certainly, Trump believes he is playing to his base at this moment and keeping true to his base. You know, what that means in terms of what his base actually feels is less clear.
And, you know, again, at the end of the day Republicans have their own agenda and where it aligns with the president they're not going to avoid it simply because the president is involved.
Cory Gardner, to his credit, gave three town halls the days of these remarks.
Now, Paul Ryan will give a town hall here on CNN Monday night which should be fascinating if he is pressed on the direct words of this president.
ROMANS: You talk about where the president and his party align. I mean, you could almost hope or suspect that maybe they'd try to get through this finding some common ground, say on tax reform, although I'm hearing tax reform is out of the question now. Tax cuts might be what we're talking about for business.
What happens to the president's legislative agenda here?
KOPAN: Well, I think that what happens is that it's not the president's legislative agenda anymore.
You know, the way to get things done in Congress is to build political capital, to have high approval ratings, to demonstrate that not only are you the leader of the party but you're leader of the majority of the country and as president, what you speak in favor of and what you want is actually, you know, what is going to carry the day.
As Trump continues to sink in polling -- he has, you know, record low approval ratings, record high disapproval ratings -- and we see episodes like this, members of Congress are going to say you know what, you're not in the driver's seat. We are going to lead on this.
And as we saw with health care, Trump didn't exactly put out a vision for them to follow. He really let them lead to begin with.
So, you know, there are things he would like to get done but I think the true ramifications of the way he has conducted himself in the beginning of his presidency is that he's going to have to be a bit of a spectator and mostly just use a threat of a veto as a way of guiding what Congress actually does.
BRIGGS: All right. So in the short-term, we will not see the president today --
BRIGGS: -- but he did tweet about a rally that he will hold in Arizona next week. And the Phoenix mayor not so happy about the timing --
ROMANS: He's a Democrat.
BRIGGS: -- of all of this -- a Democrat. And here is the statement from him.
"I'm disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville. If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation." Greg Stanton.
To Christine's point, a Democrat. Joe Arpaio has been held in contempt, in part, for not listening to judges and continuing to racially profile.
What will it tell us if he continues with this rally and does, in fact, pardon Joe Arpaio, about the direction the president intends to take?
[05:40:03] KOPAN: Well, we've already seen lots of reporting that the president has no regrets about his actions and his -- you know, remains defiant.
You know, part of the backdrop for this is the last time the president went to Arizona it was particularly charged and there were quite a bit of protests. I think we can expect that again this time.
You know, keep in mind that the two senators from Arizona are Jeff Flake and John McCain. They have not been afraid to criticize the president.
KOPAN: There's no indication that they are appearing with him.
ROMANS: Will they be on the tarmac when he lands? No.
KOPAN: Right. There's no indication of that.
So, you know, it may not be a warm welcome that Arizona rolls out for the president.
And certainly, at his rallies when he hears those crowds -- and I've been at, you know, Trump events. Those crowds are tremendously loud. They are enthralled on his every word.
You know, when he feeds off that kind of audience that is sometimes when he can go the most off script because he feels that energy coming back at him.
So it's going to be an event that I'm sure his aides would like him to handle carefully and we are going to have to watch and see if that's the case.
BRIGGS: A very volatile situation there in --
BRIGGS: -- Arizona, indeed.
ROMANS: All right. Tal Kopan, nice to see you this morning. Thanks.
KOPAN: Thank you.
BRIGGS: All right. Thanks, Tal.
Anger with President Trump's comments extends beyond the U.S. Could diplomatic efforts be hindered as world leaders speak out against the president's words?
[05:45:40] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I absolutely abhor the racism, the hatred, and the violence that we have seen portrayed by these groups. I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them.
And I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
British Prime Minister Theresa May joining a chorus of world leaders expressing anger over President Trump's refusal to condemn white supremacists.
Officials from Europe, the Middle East all weighing in, raising new questions about the president's ability to perform on the world stage.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen joining us with more on the fallout in Europe. Good morning, Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Dave. And look, one of the things that's really becoming a diplomatic problem for a lot of these European leaders -- and I think the case in point in that really is Theresa May. She's the one who forged very close ties with the Trump administration and now she's having to backtrack some of it, simply because the British public is so angry.
You know, at the beginning, after Charlottesville happened, she said look, anything President Trump says, that's his own opinion. And then she had to backtrack and come out with a more forceful statement like the one that you heard right there.
Now, the Irish foreign minister saying similar things.
And very, very staunch comments coming from Germany with the foreign minister there obviously alluding to Germany's Nazi past saying, "We see what can happen when you give free rein to right-wing extremists. Above all, this should be seen as a lesson for us in Europe and in Germany." Again there, speaking of the past in Germany.
Many Germans quite angry at what they saw there in Charlottesville, you know, brandishing Nazi flags and, of course, those torch marches as well evoked some pretty bad memories for a lot of Germans.
Angela Merkel sounding a similar tone. She said, "It is racist far- right violence and clear forceful action must be taken against it regardless of where in the world it happens."
Of course, the Germans saying no matter where you see things like this the Germans, because of their past, have to speak out against it, Dave.
BRIGGS: All right. Fred Pleitgen live for us. Thank you, sir.
ROMANS: So, President Trump's comments are even helping Israel and Iran, believe it or not, find common ground.
Leaders of both nations scolding this president condemning racism. But in one country, Russia, there is notable silence.
Let's go to CNN's Oren Liebermann. He is live for us this morning in Jerusalem where I just imagine the response is categorically against the president's comments.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nearly unanimous, politicians from the left and the right coming out and now they're mentioning President Donald Trump by name or talking about his comments. This idea that there's some sort of moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and white supremacists and the counter-protesters -- those who oppose neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
And we've seen some politicians -- or I should say nearly all politicians coming out against that idea and saying there needs to be unequivocal condemnation from the White House, from Trump against neo- Nazism and white supremacy.
Notably, one person who has been fairly quiet here is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who issued a very short statement only three days after that initial white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, and only after Trump himself came out and condemned racism and white supremacy.
You're right in pointing out that this is one of those strange times where most Israeli politicians and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei have, what it seems, a similar message. Khamenei coming out and saying that the U.S. needs to deal with its own racial discrimination in the public and in institutions, especially before it tries to meddle in the affairs of other countries.
It needs to be pointed out that Khamenei is an on-the-record Holocaust denier.
Christina, as you pointed out, one of the countries -- one of the few countries it seems that is notably quiet here is Russia. We haven't heard anything from President Vladimir Putin or the Kremlin or the Foreign Ministry on this. They, it seems, have decided, at least right now, to stay out of this and not criticize President Donald Trump or any of the other sides here.
ROMANS: Interesting. All right.
Oren Liebermann for us in Jerusalem for us this morning. Thanks, Oren.
BRIGGS: Searching for another world leader. Emmanuel Macron has yet to weigh in on this, as well, and I continue to search for some comments on this but nothing from him.
BRIGGS: He's also deeply unpopular right now, 37 percent in France.
ROMANS: Is he?
ROMANS: That's his approval rating.
ROMANS: All right.
The Trump administration agrees to pay a key Obamacare subsidy, at least this month.
"CNN Money Stream" is next.
[05:54:15] ROMANS: New satellite photos may provide the best clues yet about the location of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 that vanished back in March of 2014.
Australian officials say the four satellite photos were taken by the French military just over two weeks after MH 370 disappeared. What they show there is 70 objects -- 70 drifting in the Indian Ocean in an area to the west of the original search zone.
Australia's aviation chief says that the pictures should be treated with caution, though.
BRIGGS: A hotel in Switzerland under fire for alleged anti-Semitism. The hotel manager posted signs instructing Jewish guests to quote, "shower before using the hotel's pool."
Israel's deputy foreign minister called the incident an anti-Semitic act of the worst kind and ugliest kind.
[05:55:02] The manager did not respond to CNN's request for comment but did defend herself to Swiss media saying she is not anti-Semitic.
The signs have since been removed.
ROMANS: A desperate search goes on off the coast of Hawaii for five missing crewmen after their Army Blackhawk helicopter crashed in the water near Oahu. Search and rescue crews have been scouring the area for just about 25 hours now. Officials say debris has been recovered.
The two Blackhawk helicopters were taking part in routine nighttime training when communication with one of the choppers was lost.
BRIGGS: The driver of a truck found packed with over 100 undocumented immigrants in Texas last month could face the death penalty.
A federal grand jury indicting 60-year-old James Matthew Bradley. He's facing five criminal charges, including one count of conspiracy.
Ten people died in the truck. Bradley claims he was not aware that there was anybody in the back of his truck and only discovered them after parking at San Antonio Walmart to use the restroom.
ROMANS: After 31 years, a stolen Willem de Kooning painting worth, oh, $100 million, it's about to go back on display. This masterpiece was cut from its frame, stolen from the University of Arizona Art Museum all the way back in 1985.
The museum recently got a phone call from an antique dealer in New Mexico who bought the painting at an estate sale. After he researched this work of art he realized it was de Kooning's "Woman-Ochre" and decided to return it to the museum.
BRIGGS: A hundred million dollars?
ROMANS: The woman goes home.
BRIGGS: In the eye of the beholder. All right. This may be the most memorable ceremonial first pitch ever. Seventeen-year-old Jordan Leandre on the mound at Fenway Park last night and just a bit outside.
The photographer who got hit below the belt, you might say, he's fine. He took to Twitter to share a photo of the ball just before its arrival, saying "Feel free to caption this, America." And yes, we did. "Two balls with one strike."
ROMANS: All right. Making it momentous.
All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.
Global markets lower today. Wall Street closed higher yesterday but only a little bit. The collapse of two of Trump's business councils kept gains in check.
You know, a break with biz leaders is causing investors to question the future of Trump's economic agenda, especially tax reform. Basically, Wall Street investors are saying this is a very isolated president. A pro-business environment, but this president is more isolated than he has ever been.
Stocks also briefly popping after the Federal Reserve unleashed -- released, rather, the minutes from its July meeting. Janet Yellen and company seem to be split about the future of monetary policy, including whether there will be another rate increase this year.
Looking at stocks this morning, right now futures are a little bit lower. Still near record highs, everybody, in the stock market, but down a little bit.
The Trump administration is agreeing to pay a key Obamacare subsidy, at least in August. That's according to the White House. Those cost- sharing payments help insurers pay for lower income enrollees.
Trump has threatened to stop them and that uncertainty has prompted big premium hikes in 2018. In fact, the CBO found that ending them completely would cause rates to soar 20 percent next year.
What companies want is more than just month-by-month certainty, though. They want assurances from the White House that the White House will apply the law and not let Obamacare quote-unquote "implode."
Silicon Valley joining a backlash against neo-Nazi groups. Silicon Valley removing them from their services -- Web hosting services and platforms.
Companies like Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, and security firm Cloudflare, they're citing policy violations to ban hate groups.
For example, the Web host Go Daddy dumped a neo-Nazi site over an offensive story about the Charlottesville victim. These crackdowns show how far they're now willing to go to police hate speech.
Tech companies have also been working to remove violent propaganda from terrorist groups on its sites.
It's so fascinating because there's been a lot of criticism that the oxygen for terrorists, the oxygen for neo-Nazis is the Internet, right --
BRIGGS: Yes, no question.
ROMANS: -- and it needs to be (INAUDIBLE) more strongly.
All right, that's -- thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.
BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.
New fallout between President Trump and his own party as military, world leaders, and business leaders, as well, after his defense of Nazi sympathizers.
"NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: President Trump defiant in the face of mounting criticism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It wasn't business as usual today with the CEOs. Their support for him completely collapsed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His moral authority is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are they going to do when the next rally happens?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: White supremacists are emboldened and Congressional Republicans are emasculated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can't reprimand the President of the United States who are giving aid and comfort to Nazis, I need you to exit stage right.
CHARLOTTESVILLE VIGILGOERS (singing): We all need somebody to lean on.
ROMANS: Hundreds of people taking part in the vigil against hate and violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heather Heyer was the best that we had.
SUSAN BRO, MOTHER OF HEATHER HEYER: I'd rather have my child but, by golly, if I've got to give her up we're going to make it count.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.