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NEW DAY SATURDAY
World Leaders Slam Trump's Racist Comments; African Union Demands Apology, Retraction; WSJ: Trump Lawyer Arranged $130K Payment For Porn Star's Silence A Month Before 2016 Election; Seven Missing As Rescue Crews Search For Trapped Survivors; Trump's History Of Racist Comments, Actions. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired January 13, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Are you racist?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that President Trump is a racist. I think President Trump is racially ignorant or racially uninformed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we need more Haitians? And then he went on and he started to describe the immigration from Africa calling the nations they come from shitholes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, Haiti is not what he called it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should hear from some of the Republican House members who were in that oval office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. It is the beginning of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. It's dedicated to justice, equal rights, opportunity for many, but the president of the United States is facing growing international backlash for comments that are racist.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The African Union is now demanding an apology from President Trump after he reportedly said the U.S. didn't need any more immigrants from quote, "shithole countries" in Africa.
World leaders are slamming comments and summoning U.S. ambassadors for questioning and Democrats are now leading an effort to officially censure the president. All of this as the president spends the weekend at his Florida resort.
BLACKWELL: CNN's David McKenzie is live in South Africa getting more international reaction to the president's comments. We're going to start with CNN's Abby Phillip in Washington. Abby, the president now has gone to his beach resort, but Washington still reeling after these comments on Thursday.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. Once again, the president's comments are deemed not safe for children after he called these African countries a slur and referred to Haiti by saying that the United States doesn't need more immigrants from countries like that.
Now this issue has once again thrust this question of whether the president himself is racist, whether he repeatedly says racist comments from the office and I think for some other people more importantly, whether he's seeking to shape the immigration system in a way that excludes people based on their country of origin.
The White House has pushed back on this a little bit, but in a really unusual way, Victor, instead of denying totally that it was said, they're now pointing us to a statement from two of the Republican senators who were in the room with the president who don't say that the president didn't say what he's alleged to have said.
They say something a little bit different. Let me read you a little of that statement. Senator Cotton and Senator Purdue said, "We do not recall the president saying these comments specifically, but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest."
This comment from these two senators are in direct contradiction to some of the other comments we're hearing from a Democratic senator, Senator Dick Durbin, but also from another Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, who said this in his own statement.
"I said my piece directly to him yesterday." This is referring to President Trump. "The president and all of those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people, but by its ideals."
So, Graham there really strongly suggesting that there is truth to these allegations and that the president did in fact say something that required him to -- to confront him in that meeting.
This is a really tough situation for the White House with a lot of Democrats on the Hill now calling for Congress to censure the president, but Victor, it seems very unlikely that something like that will gain any traction because a lot of Republicans remain silent on this issue, particularly Republican leaders.
They are using the strategy that they have used for much of President Trump's political life, which is simply ignoring the most controversial of his statements and instead hoping that the problem will just simply go away over time.
BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you very much. Abby Phillip there for us in Washington. We'll talk more about that effort to censure the president a little later this morning. PAUL: Yes. And meanwhile, the president's racist comments are getting worldwide condemnation. Many African leaders are demanding an apology and a retraction.
BLACKWELL: CNN international correspondent, David McKenzie joins us live from Johannesburg. He's reported from more than 30 African countries. David, the president's comments have really created this international incident and now the African Union is responding.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Victor. Good morning. You know, it's very unusual for the African Union to go out like this and directly criticize the president of the United States.
[06:05:04] This now just in from ambassadors of the A.U. to the United Nations saying it's extremely -- they're extremely appalled and they strongly condemn the outrageous racist and xenophobic remarks attributed to the president of the United States of America as widely reported.
And this, Victor, from the government of Botswana, just north of where I'm sitting now, again, extremely unusual saying, "We view the utterances of the current American president as being highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist."
I think there's very little debate on the African continent today of whether the American president is a racist or not frankly -- Victor.
PAUL: So, David, we know that you have lived there for quite some time. Help us understand what it is like there and put this reaction into context for us.
MCKENZIE: Well, certainly I'm from South Africa and have worked and reported here for many years. Now there is a real sense from Africans on social media saying that in fact, this is not a shithole place, they've been posting their own pictures online.
I have some of my own here for you and it's not just the landscapes of Africa that are breathtaking, it's obviously the people that are important and many people view the reported statements of the president not just as insulting to the place, but really taking a broad sweep at the people.
And I think what's important for Africans and Americans as well to note is that this is a very important region for the U.S. diplomatically. Here in South Africa, we don't have a U.S. ambassador yet. It's more than around a year into the presidency and there's been a real sense of statements and hints coming out of Donald Trump's mouth that he doesn't really regard the continent very much.
This is a real headache for the State Department working to build relationships here in Africa as well as the American military, which is engaged with African allies in the fight against terror.
So this is kind of an own goal from the perspective of the president when it comes to relationships with Africa, and many telling me, well, perhaps President Trump should visit the continent to see what it's really about.
PAUL: All right. David McKenzie, thank you so much for helping us really get a look at the personal side with you. We appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: All right. Iran says President Trump has crossed a line and they are promising a severe response. The president has recertified the Iran deal but as part of the deal he agreed to hold off on key sanctions for what he said was the last time. And as he certified that deal he announced new sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and entities and Iran called the move hostile and illegal.
Let's turn now to this new report from the "Wall Street Journal." It says a lawyer for President Trump arranged a six-figure payment to an adult film star.
PAUL: This reportedly came just before the 2016 election. As for why it was allegedly paid, well, here's CNN Washington correspondent, Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The big new claim in the "Wall Street Journal" is this, a woman was paid $130,000 a month before the presidential election to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Donald Trump.
According to the story Trump had this encounter with an adult film star who goes by the name of Stormy Daniels in 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament. The journal says this new report of hush money comes from people familiar with the matter.
But the president's long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, is hitting back hard saying, "These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels."
Cohen did not directly address the idea of a payment, but he did give CNN a statement. He says it's from Stormy Daniels saying, "My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more. When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and everyone in my presence.
Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is these stories are not true," she says.
CNN has tried to reach Ms. Daniels for independent confirmation. We've not spoken to her yet and Trump's lawyer have not provided contact information for her. If the alleged event did nonetheless take place it would have occurred the year after he married now First Lady Melania Trump. The White House however is calling this old, recycled news, strongly denied prior to the election.
PAUL: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you so much. So, the White House says the president, he's in excellent health after his physical exam. There's a group of medical professionals that sent a letter asking for his neurological health to be evaluated as well.
[06:10:11] BLACKWELL: And crews are searching for seven missing people in those deadly mudslides in Southern California. We'll tell you what emergency workers are doing to find and rescue survivors.
BLACKWELL: This morning crews are looking for seven people missing in Santa Barbara County, California. Now this is going on during those mudslides. People have already died, 18 people dead and officials expect that number to increase.
The rivers of -- look at this. The mud and huge rocks, boulders flooded neighborhoods near Montecito. Trees that have fallen. Power lines are down. These roads are just impassable.
PAUL: But listen, there are two local tourist boating companies that have found a way to help here. They're transporting people through the mudslides from Ventura to Santa Barbara. There's one company that can transport about 140 people on a boat and it's running six boats a day.
[06:15:07] So meanwhile, first responders are working around the clock trying to, you know, find and rescue the people that they believe are indeed still trapped. CNN's correspondent, Paul Vercammen, is in Montecito.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A week of endless challenges for tireless first responders when a mountainside fell on to a community. The destruction so vast it covered 30 square miles in rock and mud.
RACHEL ROSS, GREW UP IN MONTECITO: There are no roads. There are no houses. It's just -- I'm so devastated by what I'm seeing.
VERCAMMEN: Rescue teams using Bearcats, brand-new unmarked SWAT vehicles to pluck people from second story windows. This family finally rescued from the upper level of their home after trying to ride it out on their own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought about staying and then we were fine. We have -- we have power and we got internet going and we went to our hot spot on our phone and we have water. Then the power went out.
VERCAMMEN: These Bearcats four-wheel drive and running high above the mushy ground can go where no other vehicles can. This team alone has pulled more than 30 people from danger.
SGT. JOE SCHMIDT, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: That first day Tuesday morning was very surreal. We couldn't really comprehend the devastation until we got to the area and saw areas of homes that were wiped out and rubble and debris everywhere.
VERCAMMEN (on camera): Look at some of the obstacles first responders had to deal with. Massive boulders that came rolling down the hills as if they were bowling balls and in some instances, you can see just over my shoulder, rocks and mud up to the rooftops.
(voice-over): The round the clock hard work of first responders not lost on residents here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just going to put my hand out and say, I want to say thank you for your sacrifice.
VERCAMMEN: The serial handshakers, John Griffith, stopped at a staging area to give thanks for the dignity first responders showed the victims.
JOHN GRIFFITH, THANKED FIRST RESPONDERS: They stood at attention. They covered the body. They took their hats off. They shed a tear and they treated that body like it was one of their own.
VERCAMMEN: The shoreline looks peaceful until a little perspective reveals muddy mayhem is everywhere. The first responders restoring paradise seems endless, sundown to sundown. Paul Vercammen, CNN, Montecito, California.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Paul.
The president's racist remark about African countries is infuriating people and their governments around the world. So why are we hearing little to no reaction in some cases from Republican leaders here in the U.S.?
PAUL: And take a look at your screen for a second. See that map? That's how widespread the flu is this season. Yes, so expansive it has already hit 49 states. So, what does that mean for our ability to fight it? We're going to have that conversation.
PAUL: It's so good to have you here. It's 22 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you. As the president wakes up at his beach house in Florida, the stench of his shithole remark has wafted around the world and it is infuriating leaders.
During a meeting about immigration reform with Republicans and Democrats, President Trump asked why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here referring to African nations. And he appears to have no plans to diffuse what's happening now. Sources tell CNN the president loves the controversy surrounding his comment.
Let's bring in CNN political commentators, Ben Ferguson and Marc Lamont Hill. Now, gentlemen, first, good morning to you.
Second, this is not the first time as we know the president has said something that is at least racially insensitive. Here is just a sample of what citizen and then candidates I should say private citizen candidate and now President Trump has said over the years.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had anything to say. Maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If the state of Hawaii says this is official. He was born in Hawaii on this date. Why do you deny that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): A lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate. A lot of people -- his mother was not in the hospital. There are many other things that came out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haiti had sent 15,000 people, they all have AIDS, the president grumbled. Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added once they had seen the United States, they would never, quote, "go back to their huts in Africa."
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You look at both sides, I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either.
I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.
BLACKWELL: Congressman John Lewis should help on fixing his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we go back in history, this is the same man who was sued by the Department of Justice and used to put a little C on black people's applications for color.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He insisted to CNN that the so-called "Central Park Five," the young men wrongly convicted of raping and assaulting a jogger in Manhattan, Central Park in 1989 were still indeed guilty. At the time, Trump took out full-page ads in newspapers calling for New York to reinstate the death penalty.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If they're found guilty, which the woman died, if the woman died I think they should be executed.
When somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He's fired.
Negotiating with Japan, negotiating with China, when these people walk in the room they don't say oh, hello, how's the weather? It's so beautiful outside. Isn't it lovely? [06:25:12] They say we want deal. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some, I assume are good people.
We're building a wall. He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico.
BLACKWELL: Ben, let me ask you the first question here. Is the president -- is the president racist?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think he can only be the one that answers that. I think these comments were clearly insensitive if they were said the way they've been reported. I think they were wrong for a president to refer to any country in this capacity or way.
As soon as I heard them, I said, look, if this is what he said this is beneath the presidency. It shouldn't have been said. I also know that the president of the United States of America is an extremely blunt talker.
I don't know if everything that you say whether it's right or wrong has to automatically considered to be racist. I think these comments are clearly wrong if he said them. People to immediately say I'm going to throw the racism on there because of where he was talking about in the world.
I think Donald Trump probably wasn't thinking that far ahead in those comments. He probably clearly thinks about it the way he's been talking consistently which is he wants to keep America first.
BLACKWELL: Do you have to think ahead to political office when you're thinking about the equality between people? I think it's a phenomenal answer. I mean, remarkable I should say, to start your answer with well, only he knows if he's a racist. How do you -- let me ask you this. How do you know a racist when you see one?
FERGUSON: I think everybody can be racist in a different way. I think some people can be straight up in your face. I think some people can do it quietly. So, imply that everybody's racism exactly the same way, Victor, I think is naive. Can you agree with that?
BLACKWELL: Everyone's racist in the same way?
FERGUSON: No, in a different -- to say that everyone is racism in the way they show racism is going to be exactly the same way. There are a lot of people that are racist who aren't walking around as KKK members. It can be in a subtle way. People can be racist in very different ways.
BLACKWELL: But my question was to you how is the president racist, the question is, is the president racist?
FERGUSON: I'll say it again. I don't know if he is racist. You may not like that answer, but as I said before these comments and what he said, I believe if in fact he said this it is absolutely wrong put it this way.
BLACKWELL: All right. Marc, is the president racist?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. The fist time you didn't say you didn't know. You said only he would know which implies that only person who is racist would be able to decide whether they're racist.
And that's where the confusion comes in because to me it's not the person who thinks about themselves, it's about what do, it's about how the world reads them. Is Donald Trump racist? Absolutely.
We just gave two minutes of video and sounds it felt like of all the ways Donald Trump has demonstrated through his words that he's racist and through his actions. When you talk about for example denying people to housing because they have a C on the application and the C refers to color.
That to me is not just about your belief, it's about taking your prejudice and turning into power. When you say that the judge doesn't have the capacity to be objective because he's Mexican is making a claim about someone's ethnicity and race and linking that to the intellectual ability. That is racist.
When you refer to Africa and Haiti, African nations and Haiti as blank hole countries that is an example of racism and to say yes, maybe he wasn't thinking about race, I find it hard to believe that the president wasn't thinking about black people when he mentioned Africa of all places. That's a bit of a stretch.
BLACKWELL: And suggesting that more people should be coming from Norway. This is John Kasich with Jake Tapper responding to some of the stronger statements we've heard from Republican members of Congress. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don't have to be, you know, viciously attacking him or personally attacking him, but these comments are inappropriate and frankly, the party ought to say it's inappropriate, so what?
Frankly he ought to apologize for it. OK it's not a big deal. I had to apologize to somebody that I did something inappropriate to, not that I'm the saint of everything or that, you know, all these answers, but it just takes a little I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Mark, it takes just a little I'm sorry. That could clean this up and the governor there saying it's time to move on.
HILL: Well, the irony is for someone like Donald Trump saying I'm sorry would be like the biggest deal in the world because he doesn't do that. But no, saying I'm sorry isn't enough. It doesn't move things on. One, because he's denied it up to this very moment. So, it would seem like a forced and political apology. But more importantly, this is about not just of his own individual prejudices about the world, it's about the fact that he's in the highest office in the land and through that high office he has the ability to enforce and leverage his prejudice in ways that can hurt people so I want to have a conversation.
That's what Donald Trump believes. And I just want to (INAUDIBLE) Donald Trump. I want to figure out how we can make this different in a way that leads to change.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Ben, let me come back to you with what we're hearing and not hearing from Republican leadership. After the -- and I went back and read their comments. After the "Access Hollywood" tape was released, Speaker Ryan said he was sickened by what he heard. Cancelled a joint appearance. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell "Access Hollywood" comments repugnant.
After Charlottesville, Ryan said there are no sides and the president messed up in saying there were good people on both sides. McConnell said there are no good neo-Nazis. And Ryan called the president's shithole comments from the Oval Office unfortunate and unhelpful and nothing from McConnell so far.
Why are we hearing so little from Paul Ryan and nothing from McConnell?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, to be honest with you I don't know. I don't know what the downside is of just saying what something is. I've always said that if you disagree with something and you're an elected official you should come out and explain why as I did from the very beginning.
I think that these comments, if the president said them the way they've been reported, are wrong. I think the president should come out and say that his words were poor choice of words, that he's sorry that he put these countries in this perspective, that this came out this way and he should apologize for that, and I think any other Republican out there should not worry so much about maybe necessarily protecting the president and his words.
Let them stand for what he said but if you're asked about the same way that you did this morning, I have no problem saying that what the president said in that meeting clearly was inappropriate. It's inappropriate for the president of the United States of America to refer to any country in this capacity, in this way.
It's just not the way that you want the president to talk about any country in the world regardless of what's going on and that's where I think Republicans need to be very clear. Conservatives need to be very clear. There are certain things that it's absolutely OK to walk out there and say, I disagree with the characterization the president had today about this issue or about this country.
BLACKWELL: Yes. FERGUSON: And that is a healthy dialogue that should -- that should
be created. I also think, though, Victor, there are a lot of people that are -- they play defense because when you and I started this interview, you didn't like my first answer and you jumped on me for it and I think that's the reason why people shy away from being blunt because then they feel like people are going to pile on them and make it a bigger issue.
BLACKWELL: Ben, I'm sorry you felt like I jumped on you. But I asked you --
FERGUSON: Well, I mean, but I mean --
BLACKWELL: -- a clear declarative question, is the president racist.
FERGUSON: And I --
BLACKWELL: I think typically in any other administration there would be a clear yes or no especially from a member of the president's own party but for your answer to be well, only he knows if he's racist I thought that deserved a follow-up.
FERGUSON: Victor, here's what I'll say. In the clips that you showed setting up the piece about Donald Trump a moment ago, remember during the same time in some of the same moments when that was going on Jesse Jackson was giving an award to Donald Trump.
You going to call him out for that?
BLACKWELL: Is that the defense that Jesse Jackson gave Donald Trump an award so he probably isn't racist?
FERGUSON: No. No -- my point is this. Why did he give him an award when some of the things that you were showing were going on at the time were also in his past at that moment?
BLACKWELL: I don't know. Maybe Donald Trump wrote a check. I don't know. I don't know why Jesse Jackson gave him an award.
FERGUSON: So my point is this --
BLACKWELL: But if the defense is that well, he can't be a racist, Jesse Jackson gave him an award, he can't be a racist.
FERGUSON: No, that's not what I'm saying.
BLACKWELL: Ben Carson is the secretary of the Housing and Urban Development.
FERGUSON: Again, again, that's not what I'm saying.
FERGUSON: Listen clearly to what I'm saying. My point is this. BLACKWELL: Yes.
FERGUSON: If you're going to come out and mandate that every single Republican either say there's only one right answer which is that the president is a racist when I'm telling you, I don't know his heart, he's the one that knows his heart, I this think these comments right now are wrong and incorrect the same way that I don't know why Jesse Jackson gave him an award when some of the issues that you're talking about right now were going on during that time and I think it's unfair to say that --
BLACKWELL: I'm not saying -- I've got to get Marc in here before we wrap this up. But it's not like there's a right or wrong answer from you. I just wanted an answer.
Marc, finish it up.
LAMONT HILL: But this is also -- when has the conservative movement, when has the right ever looked to Jesse Jackson for moral authority on race? When have they ever said, well, Jesse Jackson said it's true, it's true? When has the right ever used Jesse Jackson as a piece of evidence? No matter what Jesse Jackson said, it's also really relevant.
The other thing here is that Jesse Jackson is not an elected official, as much as I love and respect Reverend Jackson. He's not an elected official. I'm not looking to him to speak on Donald Trump because he's not in office right now. He doesn't have the power of the Senate, he doesn't have the power of the House.
I'm asking Senate Republicans to denounce him because they're in power in the same way that I would ask Jesse Jackson if he were the speaker of the House or if he were the majority leader in the Senate but he's not.
[06:35:06] And to throw in that Jesse Jackson distraction is just bonkers to me and as far as his heart, I don't care what's in Donald Trump's heart. I'm worried about what Donald Trump says and I'm worried about what Donald Trump does. And in both areas he has shown himself to be racist. And that's what we should be addressing.
BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it there but you, Marc, have asked for Republican leaders to denounce the president. Denounce or defend. You are a leader, say something.
LAMONT HILL: Do something.
BLACKWELL: That's the request. Ben Ferguson, Marc Lamont Hill, thank you both.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the White House says that the president is in excellent health after Donald Trump gets his first known physical since taking office.
We're going to take a closer look at some unique dietary habits and his views on things such as exercise.
[06:40:11] BLACKWELL: All right, 20 minutes until the top of the hour now. It is flu season and look at this map. Every state in the country except Hawaii is seeing widespread flu activity and more than a dozen children, some adults have died.
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen shows us the problems across the country.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest flu numbers are in from the Centers for Disease Control and the news is that flu is widespread in practically every corner of the country. And the strain, H3N2, the predominant strain that's out there, is particularly severe. People are getting especially sick, particularly older people. Now unfortunately that doesn't mean that younger people are spared. About 20 children have died of the flu so far this year.
Now the season started particularly early and it's peaking hopefully right now. That's what the experts think which hopefully means that certain areas of the country will be seeing relief soon.
Now for those of you who got the flu shot the CDC says that was the right thing to do but the shot was only 30 percent effective. But still the CDC says 30 percent is better than nothing.
Back to you.
PAUL: All right. Well, President Trump got his first official medical checkup yesterday. The White House -- the first official I should say since he's been in office. The White House doctor said the exam went, quote, "exceptionally well," that the president is in excellent health.
The results are going to be released next week. More detailed results. For now, though, here's what we know already about the president's health. When he was running for president, Mr. Trump received an unusually glowing assessment from his personal doctor, Harold Bornstein. You remember this? In a letter the doctor wrote at the time, quote, "If elected Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," unquote.
Now when it comes to exercise, the president has an interesting theory. He told the "Washington Post" he believes the human body is like a battery and that exercise uses up too much of our energy.
Now the president does golf frequently, although he tends to rely on a golf cart rather than walking the whole way and he is no stranger to fast food admittedly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think all of those places, I can live with them. I had -- the other night I had Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not the worst thing in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So a book written by the former campaign manager for President Trump reveals more about his eating habits. In "Let Trump Be Trump," Corey Lewandowski writes that his typical fast food order is two Big Macs, two Filet O'Fish sandwiches and a chocolate milkshake. That's 2,470 calories. The recommended daily calorie intake for men is right at 2500 so it's close.
Now a new book is calling the president's mental health into question as well. In "Fire and Fury," remember, author Michael Wolff writes that people around the president believe he is mentally unstable. Well, President Trump fired back at these accusations on Twitter, saying, he is, quote, "like really smart" and then in his words, "a stable genius."
So the White House says the president's exam didn't include any psychiatric tests. The results are going to be released, though, like I said, on Tuesday.
So Julian Zelizer is with us, CNN senior political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University.
Julian, good to see you. I just want to reiterate that White House doctor Ronnie Jackson who did this latest exam said the president is, quote, "in excellent health." He's going to give us details on Tuesday. What details should we expect to hear?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Not many. You know, these releases are pretty controlled, so we might hear some basics about his weight, about his heart condition but we shouldn't expect to get everything and there's a long history where doctors didn't tell us everything that's going on with the physician so we should get the basics from a checkup and probably not much more.
PAUL: Well, and President Trump has the final green light essentially to --
PAUL: In terms of what will be released. Is that right?
ZELIZER: Absolutely. So this is like all information from the White House. It's somewhat controlled. This is not unique to President Trump. This is how the White House handles these kinds of health checkups.
PAUL: Yes. It is common place. So I wonder if this is common place and you tell me. 75 health professionals signed a letter urging the doctor to evaluate President Trump's neurological health and I want to read to you exactly what it says. It says, "Your examination should also include a basic dementia screen such as the Montreal cognitive assessment, and as thorough a neurological exam as you can perform."
Is it common for a group of doctors to lobby the White House to conduct specific tests?
ZELIZER: No, this kind of attention certainly on the mental fitness of the president is something many physicians have refrained from doing since the early 1960s when there is suggestions that the Republican candidate Barry Goldwater was mentally unstable and since then psychologists, for example, have stayed away from making any kind of diagnosis about someone.
[06:45:16] It's called the Goldwater rule. But because of the book, because more importantly of Trump's activities on Twitter and his statements doctors are weighing in that at least the physician with the president should take a look at this.
PAUL: So let me ask you this. If a health report was negative, if there was something alarming, would we know about it? Would it make any difference?
ZELIZER: We wouldn't necessarily know about it because this will be White House information. I think the more interesting question, though, that you're raising if we did know about it would it make a difference? And we are now in an era where it's not clear that bad news for the White House necessarily translates into bad political news for the president. So I'm sure if there was bad information that was released, negative information about a checkup, there would be ways in which the president and his advisers would spin this and his supporters would see it in a way that fits with the image of the president actually being healthy. So we're in a period where information doesn't always have the intended effect or rational effect based on what you'd expect.
PAUL: All right. Good to know. Julian Zelizer, thank you so much for that thorough description. We appreciate.
We're going to be right back.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
[06:50:42] BLACKWELL: CNN's new film "TROPHY" airs right here tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
PAUL: Yes. This film takes a look at big game trophy hunting and wildlife conservation, and the surprising way the two intersect. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you ever get attached to a lion? That it's hard to release it for a hunt? Is there some animal like that you like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All animals, doesn't matter what animals it is. If you love animals, you will get attached to them. You'll go out there every day, you see this animal, you're feeding him, the buffalo, of course, but there will be a time when you have to let go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN's Alisyn Camerota spoke with Jane Goodall, legendary conservationist and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Give me one animal that's ever gone extinct while farmers were breeding it and making money out of it.
JANE GOODALL, FOUNDER, THE JANE GOODALL INSTITUTE: Well, I mean, I can't answer that. I don't believe that one animal has gone extinct, but what I find so totally abhorrent is the idea of keeping animals alive and on this planet simply in order to make money out of their horns or their hides or whatever else it is.
CAMEROTA: And is there truth to that premise that the money from some of these big trophies goes into conservation?
GOODALL: Well, let's hope a little of it does, but from what I've been told by my friends on the ground and I have no firsthand knowledge of this but I'm told again and again that very little of that money either goes to conservation or to improving the lives of the local people who are very often drawn in and given jobs, temporary jobs, and they're left in poverty with a handout, perhaps a bit of meat.
CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about that case that grabbed the attention of so many Americans a couple of years ago and that was of Cecile the lion where the American dentist went to Zimbabwe and killed this renowned lion by luring him out of his sort of safety conservation area and, you know, everybody was so appalled by how this could happen and the dentist wasn't convicted of anything or seemingly held responsible. What are the rules?
GOODALL: Well, the rules can be bent if you have enough money. That's usually the answer, but, you know, I wrote about this considerably and I think one of the things that's important to realize is this lion caused an international uproar because he was named Cecil and he was part of -- he had a radio collar and he was part of some research. But just because he had a name doesn't make him different from all the other lions who were shot.
I think what's been happening with all this trophy hunting is that the hunter wants to go for the best and the biggest, the longest horn, the longest tusks, the most splendid mane and so this is bound to be having an effect from the long-term genetics of the species.
CAMEROTA: But as you may know, President Trump's sons enjoy hunting, trophy hunting and now President Trump is considering lifting the ban on importing elephant trophies. What would that mean?
GOODALL: Well, he did lift the ban but there was so much international outrage that he stopped lifting the ban and what it means is that it's even easier for the hunters to go and shoot these incredibly magnificent animals and import the horns or the tusks or the hides or whatever it is with no problem at all just to show off to people.
When you look at that list of animals that you can go and shoot and the price that you have to pay, it's utterly shocking. I find it not surprising that there's so much violence in our species when you think of the violence perpetrated against animals for no reason at all except to brag.
[06:55:09] CAMEROTA: So, Jane, what's the solution from where you sit?
GOODALL: Well, one solution is the Jane Goodall Institute has a program for young people who includes young people of all ages from kindergarten through university, and it's 100 countries. And so one of the things that's happening with this youth program is that in countries like China, other Asian countries where there is a demand for illegally poached rhino, horned elephants and so forth, and so working on reducing the demand, helping to educate the people that this ivory you're buying actually comes as a result of killing a beautiful animal. And a lot of people in China don't realize that.
PAUL: Be sure to watch CNN's new film "TROPHY." It's tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN. We'll be right back.