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President Trump: From Uniter to Divider; Only One Ticket Wins Powerball's $758 Million Jackpot; Interview with Senator Richard Blumenthal; Campaign Aide E-Mailed About Effort to Meet Putin; Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired August 24, 2017 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw two different displays, one Trump using a teleprompter. The night before we saw the real Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are defined by the love that fills our hearts. I hit them with neo-Nazi. I hit them with everything. So what did they say, right? It should have been sooner.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has sent a good message to the Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he's going to continue to criticize the Republican leaders, he's not going to get very much done.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Who won the massive Powerball jackpot?

KERRI CORRADO, REPORTER, WHDH: This person who won may or may not know that they have just become a millionaire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. President Trump's positions giving supporters and critics whiplash.

Here are this morning's headlines in major papers. They say, "Three Personas in Three Speeches But the Same President." Another reads, "Different Day, Different Crowd, and a Different Trump."

The president swinging between uniting and dividing the country as Republicans watch the president continues to battle Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We also have two reporting exclusives for you this morning. Congressional investigators have uncovered another e-mail from a top Trump aide. This one revealing another attempt to set up a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. CNN also tracked down Russia's former top diplomat in the U.S. and

pressed him about contacts with the Trump campaign.

So let's get after all of it. We'll start with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live at the White House.

Good morning.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, President Trump again starkly displaying how he can be very different on and off script, delivering a national speech of unity, this following that fiery campaign rally. And this is leaving some members of Congress to question whether or not they can do business with this president as they get ready to go back to work.

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MALVEAUX (voice-over): One day after delivering an angry and divisive speech at a campaign rally.

TRUMP: They're bad people, and I really think they don't like our country. They're trying to take away our culture. They're trying to take away our history.

MALVEAUX: President Trump striking a dramatically different tone than reading the teleprompter at the American Legion Convention.

TRUMP: It is time to heal the wounds that divide us and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us.

MALVEAUX: The president's wildly different speeches again prompting criticism from the nation's former intelligence chief.

LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: He'll make a scripted teleprompter speech which is good and then turn around and negate it by sort of -- you know, the unbridled, unleashed, unchaperoned Trump. And that to me is -- that pattern is very disturbing.

MALVEAUX: President Trump's attempt to tamp down tensions comes as a new national poll says 62 percent of Americans feel the president is dividing the country and 59 percent say his behavior encourages white supremacist groups.

The president's rift with members of his own party growing in the aftermath of Tuesday's unhinged rally.

TRUMP: Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall.

MALVEAUX: House Speaker Paul Ryan responding to this threat on Wednesday.

RYAN: I don't think a government shutdown is necessary and I don't think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included. MALVEAUX: President Trump reiterating his claim that Republicans are

just wasting time if they don't get rid of the filibuster rule, an idea Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell already rejected. McConnell releasing a statement Wednesday insisting that he and Mr. Trump are committed to advancing our shared agenda together, amid reports that the relationship is rapidly deteriorating and that they haven't spoken in weeks.

This as CNN learns that the president has begun his effort to unseat one of his top Republican critics, huddling with potential challengers to Senator Jeff Flake before taking the stage in Phoenix Tuesday night.

TRUMP: And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator who's weak on borders, weak on crime.

MALVEAUX: Two other Republican leaders appear to be in the president's crosshairs over Russia. Politico reporting that President Trump called Senator Tom Tillis earlier this month to discuss a bill that Tillis had designed to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired. And in a separate phone call in July, the president expressed his frustration with the Russia sanctions bill to Senator Bob Corker, the Foreign Relations chairman voicing his concerns about the president's temperament weeks later.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), FOREIGN RELATIONS CHAIRMAN: The president has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the confidence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[07:05:05] MALVEAUX: Today President Trump is meeting behind closed doors with director of Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney. This ahead of what is expected a fierce debate with Senate Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.

The "Wall Street Journal" also reporting that the president is prepping to roll out the military ban on transgender individuals -- Chris, Alisyn

CUOMO: All right, Suzanne. Thank you very much.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman. She's White House correspondent for "The New York Times."

Maggie, isn't the answer to the question of which Trump is it answered for us by the president? When he says at the rallies, they don't want me to say, and they don't -- isn't that your answer? That when he's on the teleprompter, and so obviously tied to it, he's lucky if he can move his head from, you know, panel to panel, he's reading someone else's words.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.

CUOMO: And when he is there in front of people, he's telling you what is in his heart and how he feels. The divisiveness is who he is.

HABERMAN: I think that -- look, I think a couple of things. I think that he has a formula that he loves doing in front of the crowds. One of the interesting things about his address on Afghanistan the other night, it did not take place at an Oval Office desk, right, which some aides didn't want him to do. Instead it took place with hundreds of troops surrounding him.

He loves a crowd and he feeds off it. But it is true and we saw this throughout the campaign. The tighter aides try to, you know, push restrictions on him in terms of how he can do things the more he rebels against them. The problem is, I don't know what's in his heart, Chris. Right? It can't speak to that. But certainly what he is willing to say I think is very alarming to a lot of people.

And what you saw him do at that rally the other night, I would say that was the most intense that we have seen since he became president certainly. I think we saw some pretty caustic rallies --

CAMEROTA: You mean Tuesday night where he was going after the media, where he was, you know.

HABERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: People said it was really -- I mean, some people have described it as unhinged. It was really -- it was heated.

HABERMAN: It was intense and it was certainly a return to the us, you know, and them language that we saw throughout the campaign, to your point about being a divider. It was also -- it was such a drawing contrast because we had all been told by the White House privately that this was going to be a unity focus.

And you saw that in the speakers, including the vice president, including the HUD secretary, who preceded the president. They all talked about unity and said you're going to see that is what's in his heart. And he took the remarks as he often does and ripped them up. The crowd loves it. But then there's a next day where you have to start over as president again. And it looks different from being a candidate.

CAMEROTA: Maggie, you have had such stellar reporting, you and your colleagues at the "New York Times" throughout all this and behind the scenes. What goes on behind the scenes after a speech like that? I mean, if his aides want him to be teleprompter Trump and they write these beautiful speeches for him, and then he rips it up and becomes, you know, rally Trump, then what happens?

HABERMAN: They are measuring levels of success I think perhaps differently than some of his critics are and some people outside of the White House, or certainly some people in Congress are. You know, a bunch of White House aides I spoke to yesterday when I said what is the reaction to this, their response was essentially, you know, we know how much worse it could have been.

And you're hearing that increasingly on a number of topics. You know, yes, whatever you're seeing publicly is bad. There's all sorts of things that we kill internally. Yes, this is not, you know, perhaps presidential but it could have been worse. It is frustrating to them. It is a sense of Groundhog Day. It is also really at odds with what you are seeing John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, putting in place in terms of more of a controlled system.

But again, as you know, we saw this repeatedly during the campaign. There is a lather, rinse, repeat quality of, you know, we are told he is going to give a prompter speech. They do -- to their credit, they don't really do that anymore. They don't really advertise these things as, this is going to be some new version of President Trump.

You do see people reacting that way sometimes in the media when he does a prompter speech. There's very little White House buildup ahead of his Afghanistan remarks. There was very little White House buildup ahead of this -- this, whatever it was, rally in Arizona. And I think it is because they have realized they're just setting themselves up.

CUOMO: What is the feeling about the war against his own? Going after the party, going after the electeds. Is there a strategy at play or is this just another manifestation of the president going against those who he believes are against him?

HABERMAN: It's a couple of things. I mean, I think that -- I think there is -- some of that, I do think there is a belief, and it is understandable that, you know, the president of the party that is controlling Congress, you have this rare moment that he is the head of the party and that people should be a little more fearful of what he says.

The problem is that people are not after repeated threats. He has made threats that turned out to be sort of empty in terms of his ability to muscle people in Congress, you know. in one direction or the other. Some of this is certainly feel-good. Some of this is, you know, enemy of my enemy is my friend. So he gets encouraged by particularly the House Freedom Caucus members who really do want to see, you know, Paul Ryan targeted.

That is not necessarily the same aim that the White House has, particularly as we are going into the debt ceiling negotiations, particularly as you're talking about tax reform. Some of this is -- some of this is intentional, but he tends to take it a little far, not everybody in the White House agrees with the idea that he should be advertising a potential shutdown.

[07:10:06] CAMEROTA: There's some new Quinnipiac polling that is interesting to look at this morning. So one of the questions that they asked was, do you consider President Trump level-headed? And out of the total, 68 percent said no, 29 percent said yes. In independents, it's interesting how it breaks down. 70 percent of independents said no, 26 percent said yes. Obviously he needs independents in the future.

But you know, you know the president as well as any reporter. He likes to be liked. And so do they keep these polls from him? How does -- what does he think about his polling lately? HABERMAN: They can't keep televisions from him. Right? So even if

they're keeping materials from him, they can't really keep what he is seeing -- they're not with him at all hours.

Look, he continues to tell people -- one of the interesting things about him that we have seen time and again is this ability, at least for himself, paint his own reality. Right? I mean, you saw -- and that is part of what he does in these rallies, is he paints a version of reality where he has done more than any president has in this amount of time, more serious legislation.

The reality is that they have not passed a major signature piece of legislation. But to listen to him, it sounds like they have. He has been telling himself, according to several people I've spoken to that, you know, these polls really aren't real. I mean, what he says about this is all fake isn't an act. I mean, this is --

CUOMO: He really believes it.

HABERMAN: Yes. He believes he is -- he believes that he is in good shape. He thinks this is all just his permanent critics and what he thinks of as a permanent opposition.

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: So you can look at those numbers and we can look at those numbers, but until we see what it means either for legislation or for the midterms, I think it doesn't matter. I think what he is very frustrated and I don't think this has gotten enough attention in the last week honestly is he has not paid a governmental price yet for what happened post-Charlottesville, but he is paying a personal business price.

CUOMO: Well, it's interesting that, you know, on to that point. The idea that their rapid response person, that there's going to be more turnover at the White House. Andy Hemming is in charge of rapid response and he is now out.

HABERMAN: Right.

CUOMO: What's that a reflection of?

HABERMAN: I think there -- there's a couple of things. But one of the -- one of the biggest issues that you heard about right before the staff -- rolling staff shakeup over the last couple of weeks at the most senior levels was that there is a swelling communications department with a lot of duplication. Nobody knew exactly who did what.

I think you are seeing John Kelly trying to streamline things. This is yet another one of those departures where you hear it described as a mutual decision.

CAMEROTA: So this is redundancy? This was that his rapid response wasn't working?

HABERMAN: Well, his rapid response was not so rapid. His rapid response was more so pushing out positive stories about the president.

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: So I don't think there's -- first of all, I don't think there's any amount of rapid response that anybody can do that is going to change what the president does.

CUOMO: And nobody is more rapid than he is.

HABERMAN: Correct.

CUOMO: Right? I mean, he would be overwhelming your own message.

HABERMAN: Correct. That's right. That's right.

CAMEROTA: Maggie, always fascinating to talk to you. Thanks so much for sharing your reporting with us.

Now to a CNN exclusive. Congressional investigators uncovering an e- mail from a top Trump campaign aide revealing a previously unreported attempt to arrange a meeting between campaign officials and Russian president Vladimir Putin last summer. The source of this e-mail is this man, Rick Dearborn. He is the president's deputy chief of staff now.

And our Jessica Schneider is live from Washington with more on this.

Jessica, what have you learned?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this was part of an e-mail that was disclosed to congressional investigators in a batch of about 20,000 documents from the Trump campaign. It is from then campaign aide Rick Dearborn. And in it he explains that an individual was seeking to connect top Trump officials in the campaign with the Russian president. Now that individual looking to make that connection is identified only as being from W-V. But one source saying that's a reference to West Virginia.

Now in the e-mail Dearborn did appear skeptical of the request to set up that meeting with Putin. And it's unclear if Dearborn ever acted on the request. But what's notable in this e-mail is that it was sent in June 2016 around the same time of that Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Russians who had promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Now it's unclear if this e-mail now had any connection to that meeting, but intelligence experts say that this does fit a pattern of Russians trying to gather human intelligence from the campaign and get another attempt to gain an entry point into the campaign.

Now Rick Dearborn who wrote the e-mail is now the president's deputy chief of staff. He didn't respond to multiple requests for comment, and the White House is only saying that they also will not comment on potentially leaked documents -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, appreciate the reporting, thank you very much. We have some more breaking news, and this is of the good variety.

There is one winning ticket for the massive $758 million Powerball jackpot. The golden ticket sold in Massachusetts. This is the largest win ever by a single ticket in American history.

We have Kerri Corrado from our affiliate WHDH live at the store that sold the winning ticket in Watertown, Mass.

[07:15:05] Do we know what does the store get for selling the ticket? Do they get a little taste?

CORRADO: They get a bonus $50,000. But as for the person who won the jackpot, they may or may not know they won yet. So it could be quite the surprise to wake up to if they were sleeping throughout all of this. But this is a look at the store that sold the winning ticket.

Now the lucky winner walked into Handy Variety one day not knowing they purchased the ticket that could forever change their life. Those winning numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, Powerball 4.

Now this is the largest won by a single ticket in North American lottery history. Again it was sold at Handy Variety in Watertown, Massachusetts. And this is the fourth time a Powerball jackpot winning ticket has been sold in Massachusetts.

Now the family who sold the winning ticket, they owned this place. They showed up here waving. So a lot of excitement. But again still no word yet on who won that major jackpot. Back to you.

CAMEROTA: OK. Kerri, thank you very much.

You know, I used to work in Watertown. That where my bureau was. So I'm checking to see if my cameraman won, but I haven't heard from him. Probably on --

CUOMO: They probably did win, right. And when you do hear from him, you probably won't like him. Because he'll be on his own truth-to- power tour.

CAMEROTA: Good news, we won.

CUOMO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: We won --

CUOMO: Small W.

CAMEROTA: -- $24 in this Powerball.

CUOMO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And we are instantly going to wisely reinvest it in mega millions.

CUOMO: Because we've shown that we can win.

CAMEROTA: Yes. We're winners.

CUOMO: That's right.

CAMEROTA: We've learned that.

CUOMO: That's right.

CAMEROTA: OK. Very good.

Is President Trump making it harder to bridge the partisan divide in Congress with his mixed messages or going after some of his fellow Republicans? We're going to ask Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal next.

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[07:20:46] CAMEROTA: OK. Now to a CNN exclusive. Congressional investigators have uncovered an e-mail from a top Trump campaign aide that reveals another attempt to arrange a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Trump campaign. The source of the e- mail is Rick Dearborn. And he is now the president's deputy chief of staff.

Joining us now to talk about all of this and more, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. He serves on the Judiciary Committee that's one of the panels investigating Russian meddling.

Senator, thanks so much for being here.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: What can you tell us about this e-mail from -- between Rick Dearborn and some unidentified person that appears to be trying to connect the Trump campaign with Vladimir Putin himself.

BLUMENTHAL: This e-mail is part of a vast collection of documents. The Judiciary Committee will be reviewing lots of them. We're investigating obstruction of justice that may have occurred in connection with the firing of Jim Comey and others issues that involved overseeing the Department of Justice.

What we know for sure is that the special counsel is conducting a vigorous penetrating investigation involving exactly this kind of documentation, also interviews and the special counsel needs to be protected against any political interference which is why I have joined with Republicans in bipartisan legislation that would protect against any kind of firing of the special counsel or any other political --

CAMEROTA: So the special counsel cannot be fired?

BLUMENTHAL: Well, right now our fear is that the president might well seek to fire Robert Mueller.

CAMEROTA: So you're trying to pass legislation that would prohibit that. BLUMENTHAL: And my feelings is there's growing support for it because

what we've seen over the past days and, in fact, weeks is a zigzagging, a boomeranging, the president unitiing, then dividing and the kind of behavior that we've seen and the overt threats about red lines being crossed with financial dealings, complaints about a witch hunt, indicate that the president may be intent on firing Robert Mueller.

CAMEROTA: So where are you with the investigation into any sort of Russia collusion or meddling? How long until you're done?

BLUMENTHAL: My hope is that it will be done sooner rather than later. But we want to make sure that there's no kind of inconsistency or contradiction with the special counsel campaign or investigation. And that's this deconflicting is important. But here is the important point that the special counsel is investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians in their interference in our last election and potential obstruction of justice by the White House, specifically the president.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BLUMENTHAL: And that investigation has to go forward unimpeded, without interference.

CAMEROTA: One of the central figures, as you know, in this investigation is the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And he is a hard person, a hard man to pin down, at least by the media. However, our intrepid reporter, Matthew Chance, found him in Moscow and had a conversation with him. So listen to a moment of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What about this allegation that you are a spy master, a spy recruiter?

SERGEY KISLYAK, FORMER RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Nonsense. Nonsense.

CHANCE: Did you attempt to recruit any members of the Trump administration?

(LAUGHTER)

KISLYAK: You should be ashamed because CNN is the company that keeps pointing to these allegations. It's nonsense.

CHANCE: It's U.S. security officials, intelligence officials that made it, of course.

KISLYAK: I've heard other statements by them, also by former head of the FBI who said that I was a diplomat. I have no more reasons to doubt that he knew what he said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: What do you think of his response, sort of scoffing at it and saying that people should be ashamed for even suggesting it?

BLUMENTHAL: There was clearly indisputably Russian interference in our last election, an attack on our democracy. Some would regard it, and I believe as well, an act of war. And the potential collusion or conspiracy involving the Trump campaign is very much a topic of these various investigations.

And for the Russians to scoff at it or belittle it could be expected, especially from the former ambassador who himself may have participated in.

CAMEROTA: OK. Back here at home, what do you make of the president's relatively public spat with Senate majority leader Mitch as well as other Republican senators. The latest being Jeff Flake and John McCain. You have been on the receiving end of some of the president's criticism and his ire, Twitter and insults, what's your advice to these senators that he's going after now?

BLUMENTHAL: My hope is that these internal debate was within the Republican establishment, that is between the president and Senate Republicans, will give us an opening for more bipartisanship and cooperation, for example, on raising the debt ceiling without poison pill amendments or achieving a budget.

My fear is that these divisions are just a short-lived personal spat or feud that will be papered over and, in fact, the Republicans will come together, perhaps on efforts to defund central government programs as a price for moving forward on the budget or lifting the debt ceiling.

CAMEROTA: But you think there's a possible opportunity with the president going after his own that then they come to Democrats and need your help?

BLUMENTHAL: I'm finding among my Republican colleagues that there is an appetite for bipartisan cooperation on infrastructure, for example. We know we need to rebuild our roads and bridges and highways and ports and airports and VA facilities. There should be no question about it.

We know we need to lift the debt ceiling, the full faith and credit of the United States is at stake. We know we need a budget without holding it hostage for a wall that president himself said that Mexicans are going to pay for it.

CAMEROTA: But do you need the president for all those things? Can't Congress just do those and sort of box him in in the way that you did with Russian sanctions?

BLUMENTHAL: I think that we can create a compelling narrative and momentum that really enables the president to do the right thing and maybe even take some credit for it.

CAMEROTA: Interesting diabolical plan, Senator. Thank you for sharing it with us and for being here on NEW DAY Great to see you -- Chris. CUOMO: All right. A tale of two Trumps, maybe. We see him on script

sometimes, straining to read the word of others and then, the way he is when he wants people to know how he really feels. Often it changes 180 degrees from one day to the next.

Can this benefit him over time? Can it benefit him with Congress?

The big debate next.

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