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Trump Departs Hawaii Heading for Tokyo on Asia Trip; Concern over Trump's Inflammatory Language; Carter Page Says Trump Campaign Members Knew of Meeting in Russia; Former Presidents Criticize Trump in New Book; Another Actress Accuses Weinstein Which Could Lead to an Arrest. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 4, 2017 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:03] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. Welcome this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
At any moment now, Air Force One goes wheels up out of Honolulu as President Trump officially embarks on a critical foreign trip, perhaps one of the most critical since taking office. This is a live picture from Honolulu. He and the first lady spent the night there after honoring Americans killed at Pearl Harbor. There, laying a wreath at the "USS Arizona." Fears of a potential new war echoing across the region that he will be visiting as he tours five Asian nations beginning with Japan. He'll be meeting with leaders unnerved by a nuclear armed North Korea and the bellicose exchanges with President Trump.
Also, the Russia investigation and a new development. Former campaign adviser, Carter Page, backing away from his earlier denials and confirms a meeting last summer with Russia's deputy prime minister. Even more significant, Page says several members of the Trump campaign knew about his Moscow meeting, and afterward he even sent an e-mail about it to a campaign aide.
We have a lot to cover right now. CNN's Ryan Nobles joining us from Honolulu.
Before the president gets to Air Force One, we understand that he made a rather impromptu visit there in Honolulu. Tell us more about it.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president and his team altering his schedule a bit this morning. He's going to take off about an hour earlier than originally planned to head off to Tokyo. He's actually en route to the airport where Air Force One will take off from. On his way to the air force base, the president staying at the Ritz-Carlton, not staying at his Trump branded hotel. The Trump international hotel at Waikiki beach. The president actually stopped the motorcade and got out of the limo and went up and talked to some of the employees there at the Trump Hotel. We actually have a statement from the press secretary explaining this change to the schedule. She said, quote, the president stopped by the Trump Hotel on his way to the airport. It has been a tremendously successful project. He wanted to say hello and thank you to the employees for their hard work. Now, this could lead to some criticism of the president because it seems as though he looks for these opportunities to put his branded properties that he no longer owns, that he separates himself from since he became president, quite frequently. Spends many weekends at his golf course in northern Virginia or his resort in New Jersey. Of course, he spends much of the winter at Mar- a-Lago. The idea he would spend some time at a Trump branded property is significant and tells you a little bit about his thinking as he heads into this very important Asia Pacific trip. It will be the longest trip of his administration. It's the longest trip by a president to this region since the George H.W. Bush administration. The president visiting five different countries. Among them, Japan, China, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam. He'll speak to leaders of those counts specifically about the threat from North Korea and the growing tensions there with the North Korean leader Kim Jong- Un. The president hoping for some sort of breakthrough in that region. Those talks begin in earnest when he lands in Tokyo later tonight. The president set to take off from Honolulu in the next 30 minutes -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: Now we have video of the pit stop at the Trump Hotel there in Waikiki, shaking the hands of people outside there. That video now squaring up with your reporting there.
As the president heads to these Asian nations, is there a feeling from the White House whether there is a particular relationship that this president wants to focus on brokering or perhaps solidifying during this 13-day journey?
NOBLES: Well, I think there are many experts and foreign policy analysts who are most interested in the president's conversations and his negotiations with the Chinese President Xi. This is a relationship the president cultivated. When President Xi visited the United States. They seemed to forge a relationship that went beyond the professional dynamics of two global leaders. And of course, China is very important in the United States on many different fronts. North Korea being the most important in terms of their security. China in many ways enabling the Kim Jong-Un regime and the president hoping for some sort of breakthrough there, in terms of convincing China to put a little bit more pressure on Kim and his people there.
Also there's an economic question that will be raised during this trip, Fred. You'll remember that the president decided to pull out of the APEC deal, the Asia free trade deal, that was originally forged during the basketball administration, saying it was a bad deal and not good for the United States and the American workers. There is some thought there will be some conversations with these leaders about forging economic relationships and partnerships perhaps individually with these countries as opposed to a big global deal that impacts the entire region.
A lot of important conversations for this president. It's thought that one of his strengths is one on one with these foreign leaders. He tends to have a charming way about him in these conversations. The White House and the officials at the White House believe there's a real opportunity here for some progress over the next 12 days.
[13:05:42] WHITFIELD: We will see if any of it bears any fruit.
All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
Let's bring in our global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott.
All right, Elise, so U.S. allies have, you know, expressed that they are on edge in many different ways. They want to be reassured the U.S. is standing with them against North Korea. So what does the president have to absolutely try to communicate with them?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think he needs to communicate a clear vision, Fred. You've had these kinds of mixed messages from the administration on one hand. You've heard President Trump with the whole fire and fury against North Korea, really leaning in towards a military point of view. Then you have secretary of state Tillerson talking about diplomatic back channels and the president tweeting it's a waste of time. So I think these leaders are very confused about where the administration is going. Yes, if there's going to be a pressure campaign on North Korea, that's good, but they want to know if there's a diplomatic strategy to avert a what -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: One concern on this trip is Trump's tendency to use words like "Little Rocket Man" and other inflammatory language about North Korea and its leader, something national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, actually talked about several times this week. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The president will use whatever language he wants to use. I don't think the president really modulates his language. Have you noticed him do that? He's been very clear. He's been very clear about it. I've been aware of the discussions about the inflammatory -- what's inflammatory is the regime and what they're doing to threaten the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So while Trump doesn't usually modulate his language as H.R. McMaster was saying, will the pressure kind of be on, that he has to refrain from certain language or tendencies while in Asia?
LABOTT: Well, I mean, look, these Asian leaders are very traditional, they want to have dine of a statesman like figure that they're meeting with. But, I mean, look, the question is whether his rhetoric is working. And, you know, listen, you can either have rhetoric you're going to follow through on and that pressure could be working. I definitely think North Korea's hunkering down, a little bit nervous about President Trump. They've been asking around to Republican think tanks, you know, tell us is this guy serious when he threatens war? The other danger is that they think he's bluffing and he's not going to do anything. It's not necessarily whether the leaders themselves are worried about Trump's rhetoric. I think at this point they kind of tune out the tweets. They want to see a clear policy. They also want to see that his rhetoric is working. So it's a question of whether -- what North Korea is going to do about that rhetoric. WHITFIELD: Elise, you'll recall when the president was at the G-20
summit in July and he avoided a press conference altogether, which was very unusual, it was unheard of, frankly, for a U.S. president to do so. Is there an expectation that he could try that again or is it unavoidable he will be peppered with questions from reporters around the world every which way he turns?
LABOTT: I think it's unavoidable. That was several months ago. He's just kind of getting his sea legs on, you know, one of his first major trips abroad. I think at that point maybe he wasn't ready. Obviously, a lot of the investigations about Russia and Special Counsel Mueller's investigation is the elephant in the room and he doesn't want to answer any questions about that. But he has several press opportunities, several speeches he's giving. I think it's going to be unavoidable he's going to be asked questions not just about North Korea but about Russia, about his tax plan, about a lot of things.
[13:09:19] WHITFIELD: All right, Elise Labott, in washington, thank you.
As we look at live pictures of Air Force One, awaiting the president and the first lady's arrival, and staff. They're in Honolulu before taking off for Tokyo.
Still ahead, candid criticism of President Trump from two former presidents. Bush 41 and 43 speaking out on why they consider the president a, quote, "blow hard," and feel he doesn't understand the gravity of the office of the presidency.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Live pictures of the entourage and motorcade of the president of the United States in Honolulu, arriving at Hickam Air Force Base where Air Force One is. Soon, the president, first lady and staff will be embarking on Air Force One and making their way to Tokyo, Japan, for a stop. This is part of 13-day, five Asia nation tour. Many of these nations looking for assurances from the leader of the United States as it pertains to concerns over North Korea. At the same time, there are many other things on the table, including trade with Asian nations.
Also while the president is abroad, coincidentally, the APEC summit in Vietnam. Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, will also be there. Might there be a one-on-one or some sort of bilateral talks involving Putin and Trump?
I have with me a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Bill Richardson, and former New Mexico governor, with me.
Your expertise, particularly as it relates to the Asian region, is always a great benefit and great treat. So I wonder from you what your expectations of this tour? What could be perhaps one of the most consequential foreign trips of this presidency happening as the president there and first lady waving as they are about to board. BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. & FORMER NEW
MEXICO GOVERNOR: One, I hope we have a unified message towards North Korea. One that emphasizes, yes, the military option, but backed by diplomacy. Secondly, a clear policy towards our friends and allies. We have some differences with South Korea. We should not be accusing them of appeasement with North Korea. Thirdly, Japan, I think that relationship's in good shape. Trump and Abe, the prime minister, are in sync. However, we don't want Japan to overly get militarized, to have nuclear weapons. Lastly, the relationship with China. And that's one plus in the president's policy that -- putting more pressure, China, to bring some sanity to North Korea. Those are the three objectives I see.
WHITFIELD: So on that second point you were making pertaining to South Korea and appeasement, the president, President Trump, you know, accusing South Korea openly of appeasement as it pertains to North Korea. That ruffled a lot of feathers particularly in South Korea. There's some real assurances that South Korea needs to hear, right, from this president in that this relationship particularly between the U.S. and South Korea not been jeopardized but, at the same time, it's South Korea closest to the threat of North Korea. How does the president either back pedal or clean up on the use of that word appeasement?
RICHARDSON: Well, first, he should stop talking about canceling or changing the U.S. South Korea free trade agreement, which is very important to the South Koreans. Secondly, the president needs to talk in sync with the South Korean president who was elected and has a sizable constituency in South Korea that wants a dialogue with North Korea. And then, thirdly, I think we have to be in sync on our military cooperation, on the THAAD missile system. In other words, the anti-missile system against North Korea. At the same time, other military cooperation maneuvers are critically important but that they be in sync. That we not be insulting the South Koreans. That we be working together. So there's a lot of issues. Because South Korea has a lot to lose. They've got 25 million South Koreans in Seoul right in the range of North Korean artillery and missiles. So they've got a lot at stake.
[13:15:25] WHITFIELD: How potentially unsettling was it for South Koreans particularly to hear this president even admonish his secretary of state and say don't waste your time on diplomacy, there's no use in that?
RICHARDSON: Well, this is why it's important that we have one clear message. The last thing South Korea wants is an all-out war because they're the first ones hit by the way, there's also 150,000 Americans military independents in the South Korean Seoul area so we've got a lot at stake. Think the president has to be positive, calm, talk in sync with the South Koreans, talk diplomacy. Yes, we're going to defend you. We have military cooperation agreement. But not dump on the South Korean for talking about dialogue. This is what elected this president, this new president of South Korea, who seems like a very sensible person.
WHITFIELD: You mentioned that the relationship between Japan's Abe and Donald Trump, you know, is very helpful. How much will that relationship sort of be a guidepost, as other nations, you know, brace for meeting with Trump?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think it's important that the relationship stay strong. It is strong. They have a personal relationship. They're playing golf together. What we don't want is the Japanese to be very, very scared of the U.S. not being part of the alliance against North Korea that Japan, all of a sudden, militarizes. You know, they don't have that military option now because of the war. But that they not go nuclear. That's the worst thing that could happen in that region. What we also want to do is say to China, look, we have strong alliances with South Korea, with Japan. You're trying to mess around in the region militarily, economically. We have to remember that China is a competitor. They're not our ally necessarily. But we need to work with them especially on stability with North Korea.
WHITFIELD: I also want to bring into the conversation Ryan Nobles, White House correspondent, traveling with the president, and global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott.
Ryan, as the president boards Air Force One, en route to the first stop in Tokyo, Japan, we've heard the ambassador say the importance of being able to speak with one unifying voice, particularly as it pertains to North Korea. Do you get a sense or, you know, from the White House, that that is objective number one?
NOBLES: I think it is the first objective. I don't think there's any doubt about that, Fred. But as we've seen in the past with this administration, the goals of perhaps the president's most closest advisers like Secretary of State Tillerson on Defense Secretary Mattis doesn't often fall in line with what the president decides to do, especially in an impulsive moment. If the president's in a room with one of these foreign leaders and he sees an opportunity to strike a deal, if he doesn't think the terms are what he believes are the best for the American people, there's no guarantee he'll follow through on that. I think whenever he's in these situations, there's always a little bit of pause that, yes, the administration sets out a list of goals and hopes that they can be obtained over the course of this trip, but you never know what's going to happen until it takes place. In general, on these foreign trips, the president has done very well in these interpersonal relationships with these foreign leaders. Eves good one on one. He's very good one on one. He's a very charming individual. Many of these foreign leaders, particularly in the Asia Pacific rim like Abe in Japan and obviously President Xi in China, have gotten along well with President Trump one on one. If they can forge some sort of consensus, particularly as it relates to North Korea, that would certainly be a victory for the president and his administration.
WHITFIELD: Elise, there's been expressed concern about whether the president will decide to kind of go off script and that his rhetoric could potentially make matters worse as it pertains to North Korea while there. How concerned is the diplomatic community about that?
[13:19:55] LABOTT: Well, I think they're very concerns that they'll do something that will provoke North Korea. I think as we've been saying at this point, these leaders know about President Trump and his impulsiveness and they kind of have learned to kind of tune out the tweets, if you will, and joust focus on what the president tells them and what the president does and judge his actions. But, you know, as Ryan said, he's very good one on one with these leaders, but then he'll go off and give a speech and make a comment that, you know, isn't in line in what he said in those meetings. I think they're worried this will perhaps provoke North Korea for another missile test, for another nuclear test. The Chinese have been clear with North Korea that they don't want to see anything happen while President Trump particularly is in Beijing but while he's in the region meeting with these leaders. You also are dealing with a very unpredictable North Korean leader. I think what these leaders are looking for is some statesmanship from President Trump. They know that he wants a pressure campaign. And that pressure campaign, let's face it, seems to be working, Fred. But, you know, will the president take yes for an answer and work with these leaders? It may not be as much as he wants from China or others. But just kind of guide them in the right direction. We don't know that he has that kind of capability to be that kind of world leader that they're looking for yet.
WHITFIELD: Ambassador Richardson, you know North Korea, you've been there, you brokered releases involving Americans there in North Korea. Granted, may have been under a different regime, the father of Kim Jong-Un. But what does this president -- does he know what he's dealing with as it pertains to the unexpectedness of this regime and how this Kim Jong-Un is so compelled to prove himself constantly on a world stage.
RICHARDSON: Well, I'm going to go out on a limb a little bit. The North Koreans have not had a nuclear, nor a missile test since September 15th. That's almost two months. Hopefully, some diplomacy is going on that we don't know about. Some kind of stability that the Chinese are bringing or they're feeling Chinese pressure or something going on. I can tell you with the North Koreans, they don't think like we do. They're in another phase of diplomacy. They don't believe in negotiation necessarily. You could make a deal with the father but with this new leader, he's unpredictable, he's rash, but I don't think he's suicidal. I think he has an end game. That end game is there once he feels that he is secure militarily, nuclear-wise, we probably can't let him get there, but hopefully there's diplomacy going on.
WHITFIELD: Is it your feeling that China is -- has the potential of helping North Korea get there?
RICHARDSON: I do. I think the Chinese have done a lot more than they have before. There's coal sanctions. Some type of oil sanctions. Fish sanctions. Which is a big staple in North Korea. North Korean workers. I think China has to really push down on stopping cross- border smuggling between North Korea and China. 90 percent of the goods going into North Korea come through China. So they are in a position to have the most leverage. I think they're doing a little more, but not quite enough. And I think the more we pressure and work with China, for them to do it, the better off we're going to be. But it's going to be long range. It's not going to be appeasement by the North Koreans right away. But I think hopefully something is going on. They've shown some restraint lately in their rhetoric and their missile test. Maybe they're waiting for the president to make his move in this trip to Asia. And hopefully, his move is yes, a firm policy, unified message, but a little talk about dialogue negotiation and diplomacy. I think that would go a long way. And no insults, hopefully. But that's not going to happen. We'll probably hear of a tweet within the next 10 seconds.
WHITFIELD: Mr. Ambassador reminding us that September 15th, last kind of activity coming out of North Korea. Is it your feeling that Kim Jong-Un would find this to be a great opportunity in which to launch another test missile while the attention the world is watching the next 13 days?
RICHARDSON: Well, you never can predict what they're going to do. I don't believe they will. While the president is on his 12-day trip. But you never know. Certainly, I don't think they'll do a nuclear test. Maybe a short-range ballistic missile test. That's inexcusable. But at the same time, maybe they're waiting for the president to say something, to do something. I worry we always talk with preemptive military strikes. I want to hear a little more diplomacy, potential dialogue, even for a short period of time. The North Koreans stop their test, we reduce military cooperation with South Korea on a very limited scale maybe for 30, 60 days, two sides talk, a special envoy goes there from the United States. North Korea wants a relationship and a deal with the U.S. They really care little about China, South Korea. They see themselves as the big power in the region. And they see us as the other big power. It's kind of comical that they only want to deal with us. I think that's their main message.
[13:25:54] WHITFIELD: The live picture now, Hickam Air Force Base. We'll see Air Force One taking off from Oahu there on its way to Tokyo, Japan.
Ryan, do we have a clear understanding of what is on the agenda for the president once he lands in Japan? We know his daughter, Ivanka, kind of, you know, perhaps set the stage by being at a women's conference there in Japan. But what's on tap for the president and first lady once they arrive?
NOBLES: So this is mainly a travel day for the president. They'll fly to Tokyo. It's a lengthy trip from Hawaii to Tokyo. Then tomorrow is when his calendar fills up pretty quickly. A lot of it's going to be centered around conversations with the Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe. He's going to play golf with Abe which is -- this is something the president has done in the past where he greets these foreign leaders in a more informal setting. An extensive period of time on the golf course where they can talk about some of these important issues. Abe plays an important role in the conversation as well. They may come to the conversation a bit differently than China does because China has somewhat of an allied relationship with North Korea where Japan is certainly an enemy of North Korea. That's going to be the key first conversation that the president has. There's also going to be economic talks. They're going to continue to talk about trade and talk about the relationship between the United States and Japan as it relates to the economy. Japan of course a very important trade partner with the United States. So that is going to be -- you know, it's going to be a day filled with that focus on the relationship between Japan and the United States when the president arrives there tonight.
WHITFIELD: And then, Elise, how important is it for the Japanese to see the prime minister, the president of the United States, in such an amicable setting, you know, playing golf this time, you know, in Japanese territory as opposed to Mar-a-Lago or, you know, in Florida when we first saw them golfing?
LABOTT: I think it's very important for the Japanese and prime minister Abe has really invested a lot in this relationship with President Trump. He was one of the first leaders to come meet with President Trump. He's really put a lot at stake in this relationship, trying to be that lead they're President Trump can relate to. Obviously, they've bonded over the love of golf. And he gave Trump this wonderful, you know, golf club as a gift when he came. And I think that's one of the reason he's bringing President Trump to play golf. This is a very important trip for President Trump. It's a very long trip. He hasn't met a lot of these leaders. I think he wants to ease President Trump into this and make him feel comfortable as he goes off on this 12-day journey. I think not only for the, you know, relationship in terms of North Korea and security issues but trade issues. And Japan's issues as, you know, trying to be, you know, take a greater role in world leadership. I think this kind of image of the two leaders together is going to be very important for the Japanese people -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: We believe that's wheels up for Air Force One there, flying over the island of Oahu, after their 24-hour visit in Honolulu, leaving Hickam Air Force Base.
So, Ambassador, in your view, first stop, Japan. How much might this visit of President Trump in Japan kind of set the tone before he heads to the other four Asian nations?
RICHARDSON: Well, if you're preparing a presidential trip, you want the start to be positive. And it should be positive. They have a personal relationship, Abe and Trump. The security relationship is good. Hopefully we won't have any trade disputes there. So that I think brings the big, big player next to China in Asia close to the United States. So you want that, but then you've got to go into the tough areas.
[13:30:00] South Korea. Not get mad at the South Korean president. Try to work something out on North Korea. And then China. China's the key. But I think what's important is a clear message on the most important national security threat the United States faces, and that's North Korea. And that should be, yes, we're going to be standing by our allies but we're ready to open a dialogue, a negotiation, because this instability in the region can't continue and there's a lot at stake.
WHITFIELD: All eyes will also be on Vietnam when the president of the United States heads to Vietnam and during the APEC summit there, Russian President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled to be there.
So, Governor, do you believe it will be wise for the two to have some sort of bilateral discussions while at the APEC summit?
RICHARDSON: Yes, I'm all for building relationships between leaders. You know, we've got President Putin and Trump. We got a lot of differences. But it's important that the relationship improve. It's in very bad shape. Russian can help us on North Korea. They have some leverage through trade and other relationships. Also on Syria. Maybe we can make some progress on Syria now that ISIS seems -- there's been progress there. But I think in the region with a whole area, Vietnam, other countries we're meeting with, there's a fear about Chinese domination. I think we have to send a message that the United States is going to play in Asia, that it's a very important region for us, that we're not going to withdraw, that we're going to have a clear message, and that we're going to be partners with the players in Asia like Vietnam, like some of the other meetings we're having. But yes, this Putin meeting, hopefully it happens. The relationship can't get any worse.
WHITFIELD: All right, former governor, former ambassador, Bill Richardson, Ryan Nobles, Elise Labott, thanks to all of you.
You saw the map of the president embarking on his five-Asian nation tour. Vietnam, South Korea, China, Philippines, among those stops over the next 13 days. This trip overseas coming as the Russia investigation moves closers to the West Wing. New questions now after a former Trump aide tells CNN multiple members of the campaign knew about his trip to Russia where he met with a senior Russian government official.
[13:36:49] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. We're following new developments in the Russia investigation. Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser for Donald Trump, tells CNN that he told multiple members of the campaign about his trip to Russia where he met with a high ranking Russian government official while in Moscow last year.
Here's what he said about his conversation with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR: You know, that mention, which was the big headline yesterday, was a brief comment as we were walking towards the elevator, after having a dinner together. So it was such a nothing event, and, you know, as you correctly noted, I mentioned that, you know, I'm heading over there and totally unrelated to the campaign, so it was -- I actually had -- it was a meeting -- or a dinner that was set up sort of at the last minute. And I ended up changing around my schedule because I was just getting ready to go in a couple of days. So I said it was the only time I ever met him. We had one dinner.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Sessions?
PAGE: Yes. I'm glad I was able to meet before I head to Moscow, I mean, it was totally in passing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Kara Scannell is in Washington.
Kara, is this raising new questions in the investigation?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, it certainly adds more puzzle pieces to the mix. What we learned this week from Carter Pages is that he had told Sessions and some other individuals related to the campaign about this trip. We also learned after the trip where he met with the deputy prime minister of Russia, he then sent an e-mail about that back to several individuals within the campaign. That is a focus of the investigation by the special counsel's office. And we saw this week that they got their first guilty plea. Another foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty to giving false statements to the FBI. And that also related to conversations that happened within the Trump campaign relating to Russia and contacts with Russians. So it's certainly an area of scrutiny. I think it also raises more questions and clouds for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has received scrutiny from Capitol Hill already this year for whether he was wholesome about any meetings we had with Russians while he was a Trump adviser to the campaign.
[13:39:10] WHITFIELD: All right. Kara Scannell, thanks so much. Keep us posted from Washington.
We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: All right, there's an up written rule among former presidents that you don't criticize the sitting commander-in-chief. But in today's political climate, that rule has all but gone out the window. Former U.S. presidents have criticized Trump's policies or leadership style, at one point or another.
And in a new book called "The Last Republicans," Bush 41 and Bush 43 take direct aim at President Trump, calling him a blow hard and expressing concerns that he doesn't know what it means to be U.S. president.
CNN special correspondent, Jamie Gangel, sat down with the book's author for an inside look at that incredibly candid conversation.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Former President Bush 43 told you when Trump entered the race he thought?
MARK UPDEGROVE, AUTHOR: He thought interesting, won't last.
GANGEL: Won't last? UPDEGROVE: Won't last. But when Trump started to rise, I think he
became concerned, because he saw this populism of Donald Trump getting in the way of America's position in the world.
GANGEL: He gave you rare insight though into his criticism of Donald Trump. What did he tell you?
UPDEGROVE: One of the things he said was one of the hallmarks of great leadership is humility. So when Donald Trump said I am my own adviser, Bush thought, and this is a quote, "Wow, this guy doesn't know what it means to be president."
GANGEL: What was his tone when he talked to you about Trump?
UPDEGROVE: I think it was restrained. The Bushes are very restrained. And I also think that they realize, they have a role to play as former presidents. And they have to be restrained. They have to be dignified.
GANGEL: He weighed his words?
UPDEGROVE: I think he did, yes.
GANGEL: President Bush 41 was a bit blunter. He said that he thought Donald Trump had, quote, "a certain ego," and then he told you point blank?
UPDEGROVE: He's a blow hard.
UPDEGROVE: He's a blow hard. And I don't like him. Plain and simple. And I'm not excited about him being a leader was his quote. And if you look at the Bush family, it makes perfect sense. Donald Trump is everything that the Bush family is not. George Bush grew up thinking about the greater good. Donald Trump, I think, is manifestly narcissistic. It's part of his brand. And that brand is the antithesis of the Bush brand.
GANGEL: How do you think these two men feel that Donald Trump is now the standard bearer of the Republican Party?
UPDEGROVE: I think it's pretty clear if you look at their records and their views politically. That I'm going to quote George H.W. Bush, they're "not excited about" Donald Trump being our leader. That's not a leap of faith. That's pretty clear. I think the most clear demonstration we get of that recently is Charlottesville. The Bushes came out with a joint tweet which they had never done in the past. Condemning bigotry and anti-Semitism and all the things on display in Charlottesville among the white supremacists. That was a clear betrayal of American values. I think that spoke resoundedly about the void of leadership they were seeing from the White House.
GANGEL: There are a lot of quotes from the Bushes that are going to make news in this book. Bush 43 talks about whether Vice President Dick Cheney had played an outsized role in his presidency. Something that gets talked about all the time. Was Dick Cheney too powerful. And Bush 43 told you?
[13:45:09] UPDEGROVE: Well, he was talking about the neo conservatives in general and specifically about Cheney and Rumsfeld. And he said, and I quote, "Cheney and Rumsfeld never made one (EXPLETIVE DELETED) decision."
GANGEL: That's the quote?
UPDEGROVE: That's the quote. I understand his frustration. Because at the time, there was the perception that Dick Cheney was the acting president. But in fact, George W. Bush had had a lifetime of making bold decisions. He had this preternatural belief in himself as a leader. If you talk to those around him, they have confidence in his leadership. This notion that Cheney was making the decisions is ludicrous.
GANGEL: When you started to write this book, let me guess, the title was not "The Last Republicans"?
UPDEGROVE: When I set out to write this in 2013, it was a very different time. But "The Last Republicans" became the right title during what has become the Trump years.
UPDEGROVE: Well, you know, George W. Bush himself said in 2016 privately and to me, you know, I fear that I'll be last Republican president.
GANGEL: He confirmed that to you?
UPDEGROVE: He confirmed that to me. It wasn't just about Hillary Clinton becoming president. It was because Donald Trump represented everything that the Bushes abhorred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jamie Gangel joining us right now.
Good to see you, Jamie.
GANGEL: Hey, Fred.
WHITFIELD: The Bushes offering very candid thoughts here on Trump, but these are thoughts from them during the campaign, right? In recent weeks, we did hear candid thoughts from Bush 43. So how have their thoughts evolved about candidate versus President Trump, do you think?
GANGEL: Right. First of all, for context, the interviews for this book were done during the campaign, but they are standing by them. No one is saying that they changed their mind. In some ways, this is a surprise because they've been very careful about going on the record. On the other hand, let's remember, neither of these men voted for Donald Trump. President Bush 41 voted for Hillary Clinton. President Bush 43 said none of the above at the top of the ticket. So I don't think it's a surprise big picture. I think they wanted to say these things. And they knew it was going to be out there.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jamie Gangel, thank you.
So the White House is now responding saying, quote, "If one presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had. That begins with the Iraq war, one of greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history. President Trump remains focused on keeping his promises to the American people by bringing back job, promoting an America First foreign policy and standing up for the forgotten men and women of our great country."
All right, still so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
But first, Anthony Bourdain visited Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria ripped across the island. He delves into Puerto Rico's complex patchwork, its diverse cultures and sensational cuisine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN (voice-over): Puerto Rico, you think you know it, maybe you grew up around Puerto Rican culture like I did in New York City. It's incredible. Incredible music, incredible food. Lovely people.
(on camera): I've been drinking a fair amount of this lately.
But Puerto Rico itself, it's sort of the dilemma.
(voice-over): Is it a state? Is it a country? Is it a commonwealth? Is it a colony?
(on camera): What is Puerto Rico? It's not a state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an unincorporated territory.
BOURDAIN: Unincorporated territory?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you know, what's that.
BOURDAIN: What is that?
(voice-over): Nobody can really give you a straight answer on where they're going. Where are they going? What will happen to this beautiful place?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:49:25] WHITFIELD: All right, catch "PARTS UNKNOWN" tomorrow, 9:00 p.m., on CNN.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Another actress is coming forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape. These allegations could lead to an arrest. Paz de la Heurta claims Weinstein raped her in her own apartment on two separate occasions in 2010. A source tells CNN, "This is the strongest case we have that fits within the statute of limitations." I was quoting there. So far, more than 60 women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault or harassment against Weinstein.
Joining me to discuss, civil rights attorney and law professor, Avery Friedman, and criminal defense attorney and law professor, Richard Herman.
Good to see you.
Avery, you first.
Do you think this latest accusation could indeed lead to an arrest?
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: That's the big question. The chief of detectives says the evidence is credible. As you said, well within the statute. And also the modus here. The fact is that we're heading toward an arrest, I believe, in terms of meeting the probable-cause standard. And I think that's really where police here in New York are saying it. Believe me, the media, the front page here on all the newspapers, except the "Times" I guess, is basically Weinstein is toast and a big wanted poster on another. From here, the sense is New York is going after this guy.
[13:55:24] WHITFIELD: Richard, what do you think? She did give these details to her therapist. Was inspired by other women who have their accusations as to why she's decided to share her account. This happening in her apartment, she says, twice.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Well, Fred, this is an event that allegedly took place seven years ago. No charges or complaints were filed then with law enforcement. It's very difficult to bring a case, seven years down the road, when -- in Miss de la Heurta's case where she invited him back and it allegedly happened again. If this is the best case, I think they're in trouble. I don't think her case is going to be enough to sustain a conviction because I think on cross-examination she's goes to get annihilated because of the two-week span, and it is happening again. I think consent will play into this as a defense. But when you use consent as a defense -- and I had a long talk about a famed attorney about this. That will allow in as prior bad acts to prove that.
HERMAN: Or in the federal system, 404B. In this case, the judge will probably allow in the prosecution to put six or seven or eight of these complainants that Weinstein physically assault them, and their stories will get played out. And then when get one on top of another, it doesn't matter anymore what Miss de la Heurta said. The evidence is there. The jury looks and says wow you must have done it, conviction. It's going to be in a tough bind. A lot of pressure for the D.A. to bring it because a botched case.
AVERY: That's right.
HERMAN: It may be. You're right. You're right.
WHITFIELD: So, Avery, even if there isn't physical evidence, because of consistencies in complaints or reports of accusations, that would potentially all be collected in a potential case against Harry Weinstein?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I think so. One of the important issues here is credibility. And at least according to the chief of detectives, it's there. Part of the reason for that is that it was reported concurrent with the events to at least two people. There may be more witness that is we don't foe about, but the bottom line is credibility is everything in these kind of cases, and at least according to NYPD here, they're saying it's there.
WHITFIELD: And then, Richard --
HERMAN: And the problem, when you talk, when people talk and give statement the and interviews in cases like this, you have the shrink she supposedly told at or about this time that this happened, the shrink's statement was she wasn't strong enough to say no. Well if she didn't say no, then it's consent.
FRIEDMAN: No, it's -- that's not consent, Richard.
HERMAN: It's a big, big problem in getting the conviction based on Miss de la Heurta's version. It's going to be the overflow with other testimony coming in. It becomes a side show and it may be overwhelming for a jury.
WHITFIELD: So, Avery, is it that simple, it has to be verbally stated no. And without that --
FREIDMAN: No. No. I mean look, look at the different in power. You've got a big-time producer, a young actress. In is the modus operandi being alleged. In a way, victims like this have a difficult time dealing with power. Like in this case, it takes time to surface with help. I don't think that's very credible in terms of what a defense is going to be here.
HERMAN: Two times, Fred, within -- within two weeks, and the promise of getting a play. I don't know, Fred. It's going to be tough to get a conviction. (CROSSTALK)
WHITFIELD: All right. Avery Friedman, Richard Herman, always good to see you both.
WHITFIELD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: The next hour in the NEWSROOM starts right now.
Hello, again, everyone. Thanks for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Right now, President Trump is in the air over the Pacific Ocean. Minutes ago, he and the first lady boarded Air Force One and departed Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu. He is en route to Japan, the first of five countries he's visiting across Asia. Much of the region is on edge as anxiety grows over a nuclear-armed North Korea and its bellicose exchanges with President Trump.