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Iran Promises Severe Response To New Sanctions; Haitian Americans React To Trump's Racist Remarks; Haitian American's React To Trump's Racist Remarks; WSJ: Trump Lawyer Arrange Payment To Porn Star. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired January 13, 2018 - 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: Are you racist?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 racial uninformed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we need more Haitians? And then he went on when he started to describe the immigration from Africa, calling the nations they come from shitholes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, Haiti is not what he calls it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should hear from some of the Republican House members who were in that oval office meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times are you going to be required to go up and say no, I don't agree with what the president said, and then move on to the next question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time.

TRUMP: Well, but if it's every day, no, no, I don't think every time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it make you say, maybe I'm not going to vote for Donald Trump this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crude, but I can live with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are always so grateful to have your company. Welcome. We want to talk about this morning the global backlash against President Trump here. World leaders, organizations, slamming his comments as "racist, shameful and outrageous".

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The African Union is demanding an apology from the president after he reportedly asked why the U.S. needs more immigrants from, as he described them, shithole countries in Africa. World leaders are now calling in U.S. diplomats, demanding they come in and explain the president. Democrats are leading an effort to officially censure, which is just the public reprimand of the president.

PAUL: We're covering the story from all of the angles. We want to start with CNN's David McKenzie, he is in Johannesburg with the international reactions to the president's comments. What are you hearing this morning, David?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christi and Victor. Yes, it certainly is a swift and harsh reaction, very unusual for African countries, or in fact, any countries to explicitly criticize a president of the United States, because of the economic ties because of the foreign aid that's coming to some African countries, but criticize they have. This from U.N. ambassadors, African ambassadors to the U.N. saying, it's extremely appalling -- appalled, and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist, and xenophobic remarks attributed to the president. And perhaps even more strident, from Botswana, a country just the north of where I'm sitting, saying: "We view the utterances of the current American president as being highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist." So, certainly, strong remarks and not being afraid to point the finger directly at Trump and call him a racist.

PAUL: All right. David McKenzie, we understand -- I mean, we know that you are in that -- in that country, in that continent, and you know it extremely well. Help us understand the context of what he's saying and what it means to the people there.

MCKENZIE: Well, certainly, Christi, it's shocking to many Africans, you know, I'm from South Africa. I've reported in more than 30 countries. People have been posting on social media what they say, my shithole, and excuse the phrase that is being repeated frequently from the -- attributed to the U.S. president. But they're posting these pictures and here's some of my own that of our travels throughout the African continent. So, the fear here is this will just add more to the kind of racist or stereotypical tropes that are talked about when referring to the African continent.

This is more than 50 countries, a very diverse group of countries, sure there are certainly big problems in these countries like in any other part of the world, but they're also a huge growing economy, faster than the U.S. in this country -- in this continent, as well as strong connections both in terms of people and in terms of policy between the U.S. and the African continent. This will make the job of State Department officials that much harder to try and reach out to the equivalents in these countries. And one must remember the U.S. government is really pushing the war against terror in some countries in Africa and that will also not be helped by the president's attributed statements.

PAUL: Very good point to me. David McKenzie, so grateful to hear from you today. Thank you. BLACKWELL: All right. Let's go to Abby Phillip now. Abby is in

Washington. The president is back at his beach resort. Abby, to you, we've heard from dozens of Republicans and Democrats, as David has talked about, world leaders as well, but we have not heard much from Republican leadership in Washington.

[07:04:59] ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. There's been a bit of a mixed reaction from Republicans, most of it, silence. We did hear from House Speaker Paul Ryan who gave an interview on this subject and called the comments unfortunate and unhelpful, and he referenced his family's own history of being immigrants from Ireland, but at the same, you did not hear a kind of strong condemnation of the president's comments, a call for an apology as some other Republicans have and from other Republican leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, there have been no comments whatsoever.

Now, there's a little bit of a back and forth between the Republicans and the Democrats who were present in that meeting. Some of the Republicans saying they don't recall the president saying those comments and others saying we confronted the president in that meeting. Lindsey Graham saying he spoke directly to the president after he made those comments. And Dick Durbin being the most forceful of all Democrat calling out the president's comments as racist. Now, yesterday, the president had a Martin Luther King Jr. event at the White House, and I just want to play a little bit of what Martin Luther King's nephew, Isaac Newton Farris Jr., said about President Trump right after that meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISAAC NEWTON FARRIS JR., MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S NEPHEW: I don't think that President Trump is a racist in the traditional sense as we know in this country. I think President Trump is racially ignorant or racially uninformed, but I don't think that he's a racist in the traditional sense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Not exactly a ringing praise there from someone who was at the White House with President Trump yesterday. And, of course, right after that event, the president was peppered with questions by reporters about whether his comments were, in fact, racist. Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Abby Phillip for us in Washington. Thank you, Abby.

PAUL: So, Antonia Okafor, Conservative Commentator and Trump Supporter, whose parents are from Nigeria with us now, as well as Wendy Osefo, Political Commentator and Race and Culture Research at John Hopkins University. Ladies, we appreciate you being here. Thank you.

ANTONIA OKAFOR, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Thank you. PAUL: Wendy, of course, was born in Nigeria. So, Antonia, I do want to start with you, because I know that you've defended President Trump's past comments on immigration. In fact, it's so just last month. Let's play a part of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OKAFOR: This really goes out to this narrative of perpetuating that Donald Trump is racist. And I think people -- the American people are sick of this perpetuation when they haven't seen anything that has really shown anything of the sort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: After hearing these latest comments, do you still feel that same way?

OKAFOR: Well, yes, you know, as a proud daughter of Nigerian immigrants, I feel like it's important to educate the American people. And I think, first of all, with Nigerian immigrants, they are the most educated immigrant group in America. They tout of the most advanced degrees in America. They also make $10,000 more than the average White family in America as well. So, I think it goes to show that -- and Wendy also can personally attest as well that Nigerian immigrants are very educated. They come from a country that produced has the best and the brightest, and they come here to America because of that.

PAUL: But when you hear the president call it a shithole country, then, how do you reconcile those two things?

OKAFOR: Well, you know, if the reports are true, then I've never denied that -- the reports are true, then of course, the president should absolutely apologize, and I'm just sorry to show that, you know, it's not just the president if the reports are true that are ignorant when it comes to comments or to things like that. I think there are a lot of people in America who still thinks that Nigerian people or African people, unfortunately, come from a place that is not as developed as where they went to, and that's true. And there are a lot of aspects of that that that's true. But I think that the wording, the vernacular, that's unfortunately right now we're starting to deal with and we're starting to talk about.

PAUL: So, are you saying that you agree with -- you agree with Martin Luther King Jr.'s nephew who said he believes the president is racially ignorant?

OKAFOR: I believe that there are a lot of people who are ignorant when it comes to the fact that there are people who are not doing very well.

PAUL: But what about the president? Based on the verbiage that he used, do you think the president is either a racist or is racially ignorant?

OKAFOR: No, I don't think he's racist, because when it comes down to, it's the policies, it's what he actually does, his actions that take place, that shows what he does.

PAUL: But he was talking about policy, he was talking about why are we letting people from these countries into the U.S.? He was talking about immigration policies.

OKAFOR: If we're going to talk about, you know, what people are saying as well, then, I guess Hillary Clinton who told Black men like my father --

PAUL: But this isn't about Hillary Clinton. She didn't call them shithole countries.

OKAFOR: Well, let me finish. Black men were superpredators, and here we're not talking about that.

PAUL: OK. Well, we have talked about that.

OKAFOR: I think it's fair to say that we should --

PAUL: Antonia, we have talked about that. I'm sorry. I just --

OKAFOR: -- both come from both sides.

PAUL: I want to give Wendy a chance to chime in here. Wendy, your reaction.

[07:10:04] WENDY OSEFO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND RACE AND CULTURE RESEARCH AT JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. There's no gray area here. As a Nigerian immigrant, I am deeply offended by the president's racially charged comments. Not only are his comments racially charged, they're also susceptible dubious. When we look at the figures, we see that 19 percent of White Americans have bachelor's degrees compared to 37 percent of Nigerians; and then 11 percent of White Americans have advanced degrees compared to 25 percent of Nigerians.

So, it's not just about saying comments that are offensive, it's also about saying things that are incorrect. And when we look at being a racist or a bigot, that's a moral issue. But when you transpose those same characteristics to the leader of the free world, then you have an administration who sets forth policies that nefariously impact Black and Brown people. We see this with DACA. We see this with the rollback of civil liberties, with the DOJ. We also see this with the Muslim ban. So, this is not about calling a group of people from a geographic location, shitholes, this is about the shithole policies that coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, that's the issue.

PAUL: You have said, Wendy, that the president is a racist, that he owes Nigerians, and others an apology. What would that apology have to be for you to accept it?

OSEFO: For him to own up, not just to the comments that he has made, but the systematic infractions he has made towards Black and Brown people during the tenure of his presidency. Let's talk about him not giving credence to La David Johnson when he passed away, a fallen star hero. Let's talk about him saying Charlottesville, that there were people on both sides of the aisle. Let's talk about him trying to attack NFL and NBA players. He had systematically gone against Black and Brown people in this country. And as the leader of the free world, we need to know that our leader does not sit here and segregate people. We need a unifier, not a divider in chief, and that's what he is. So, he owes myself an apology.

PAUL: Antonia, let me ask something.

OKAFOR: He's actually done a lot for the African community, more than I would say, President Obama, which I voted for twice, I will say. Because -- and I stopped because I realize that his policies, the ones that he was implementing, were not actually helping the African- American community. In fact, poverty levels went through the roof when he was president.

PAUL: So, Antonia, let me ask you something.

OKAFOR: That is true.

PAUL: Antonia, as an African -- as an African-American woman, how do you feel supported by President Trump?

OKAFOR: I feel supported in the fact that he is for all Americans. My family came from Nigeria here for a better life. And regardless of the vernacular, the wording that people have been using right now, it was not a country that my family decided to stay in; they left everything behind and came here because America was the place where they were able to have the American dream. That to say as well, I think it's important that we show that those values that I have that have maybe who I am today -- I'm also conservative values and I'm going to support a president that's going implement conservative policies.

OSEFO: You cannot support a president that doesn't like people who look like you.

OKAFOR: -- out of poverty, particularly African-Americans, particularly Nigerians like me in American.

PAUL: OK. Wendy -- Wendy, go ahead.

OSEFO: You cannot support a president who does not support people who look like you, and that is the issue. He has talked about a judge not being qualified because of his Hispanic ancestry. He has talked about people. And then, he further went ahead and said, we want people from Norway. So, this is clearly an issue about race, and there is no way for you to delineate that or cut that. That is what this president is doing. He's trying to speak to his base. But what he's doing is he's continuing to wedge a divide within our society to make it an us versus them type of narrative, and anyone who supports that is supporting the wrong side of history.

OKAFOR: If anyone is really making a divisive statement or really going to perpetrate like I said before, the divisive nature right now between race is really stations like CNN that continuously talk about whether Trump is a racist, whether they have anything to back it or not so.

OSEFO: He is a racist.

OKAFOR: I think that people, the American people kind of are tired of that, that constant leader is --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: We have the government in South Africa calling him a racist today based on what he said. So, we just -- we are trying to get through this conversation and figure out how we can all move forward and what that's going to take. Antonia, Wendy, we appreciate both of you, taking time to be here. Thank you.

OSEFO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Iran, says the president has crossed the line with new sanctions, but President Trump is promising to go even further -- we will tell you why.

[07:14:42] PAUL: Also, the president asked a group of bipartisan lawmakers: why do we need more Haitians coming into the U.S.? This morning, Haitian-Americans have an answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, Iran says President Trump has crossed the line with new sanctions, and they're promising a "severe response".

BLACKWELL: The president has, again, recertify the Iran deal, but this time, he says it is the last time. And now Russia says, their worst expectations are coming true. Joining us now from London, CNN Senior International Correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, with us. Nick, you have some new information a little later you're going to get to what's coming from Iran as well.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Let's just deal with all of this in one go, guys. On a separate story, the shithole issue, Donald Trump. Javad Zarif, the Iran Foreign Minister has stepped forward and called those remarks unbelievable and unacceptable. Unfortunately stayed ahead of government in the U.S. as so ignorant as to use the foulest language about nations, which is unacceptable and even unbelievable. Now, that just one nation's response. Separate to that, though, is the broader, frankly, you might say, actually, the more consequential issue certainly for Middle East peace of Iran's own nuclear program, and what was announced yesterday by the Trump administration.

Now, they agreed to continue waiving the specific sanctions in place for that -- the kind of the reward for Iran, agreeing not to continue its nuclear research and elements that say -- they say, it award to getting a nuclear weapon. But there was a very strong in that. The administration said that this is the last time they will issue such a waiver. And that given the European allies, an interesting tactic, they're not negotiating directly with Iran, they're going to let the Europeans negotiate a better deal with Iran. Now specific things that don't like: some of the clauses seem to expire after a period of time when the White House is due, and the White House wants to see missile technology lumped in with nuclear technology, so they can't, for example, test long-range missiles and not have consequences for that.

Now, this is already being disparaged by the Iranian foreign minister, saying that the agreement is not something that can be renegotiated. It's going to be tough in the months ahead, because the European allies, the Trump administration are asking to renegotiate this deal very publicly said. Just last week, in photo opportunities with the Iranian foreign minister that they are wholly behind the deal as it stands. So, we are now into a complicated situation where the U.S., (INAUDIBLE) yesterday is ramping up sanctions against different parts of the Iranian government, specifically Ayatollah and (INAUDIBLE), a key figure in the Iranian judiciary, who they sanctioned specifically as an individual because of alleged human rights abuses in their announcements yesterday.

They continue to ramp up sections in other areas that are not the nuclear sanctions and try and keep the deal going. The problem is they're putting a rift between themselves and their allies. Tehran will probably exploit that. Tehran will probably not take European requests for a tightening of the deal that seriously because they know they're not really made in earnest. And slowly, month by month, the kind of fabric of the deal begins to fall apart. Many are particularly concerned, the pressure is certainly on, but the Trump administration have to possibly might say to follow through on this threat on the next deadline or it becomes (INAUDIBLE). Back to you.

PAUL: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So the question, why do we need more Haitians? The person asking it, the president of the United States. President Trump's remarks now really outraging people across the world, Haitian- Americans specifically. Why do they say they are deeply hurt by these comments?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I just read it, I feel so outraged but also sad. I cried.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:26:41] PAUL: So glad to have you with us. 26 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: So, there are world leaders this morning condemning President Trump for calling African nations shitholes during a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform this week.

BLACKWELL: But he did not stop there, he singled out Haiti in the meeting, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that Caribbean nation should be left out of any immigration deal, saying: "Why should we need more Haitians? Take them out." This morning, the Haitians and the community in Florida, especially, are reacting. Here's CNN's Kaylee Hartung.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: I'm running to be president of all Americans. That's everybody, and whether you vote for me or you don't vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion and I will be your champion.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN REPORTER: That was then-Candidate Donald Trump, speaking in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood just months before the 2016 election.

TRUMP: The Haitian people deserve better, and that's what I intend to give them. I give them --

HARTUNG: But in the wake of reports that the president complained about immigrants coming from "shithole countries", among other disparaging comments, residents here in the largest Haitians community in the U.S. agree -- they deserve better.

SARAH LARUE, HAITIAN: When I just read it, I feel so outraged but also sad. I cried.

HARTUNG: Sarah Larue, a Haitian living in Miami under temporary protected status or TPS, gave candidate Trump the benefit of the doubt and took him at his word. But she said the president has now shown his true colors.

LARUE: So, this is how he treats us. We can see that now; we're seeing the real face of Donald Trump and this is the face of hate, of racism.

HARTUNG: Larue is one of the more than 20,000 Haitians living in South Florida, now facing deportation after the Trump administration announced it would end the country's TPS status.

TRUMP: And the Senate.

HARTUNG: Trump reportedly made the demeaning comment during immigration policy negotiations on Thursday. He had denied saying anything derogatory about Haitians. In a tweet Friday morning, he claimed that he had a "wonderful relationship with them".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're telling me that you have a great relationship with Haitian people? How is that possible?

HARTUNG: Little Haiti came out in masse on Friday. An event originally intended to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the island nation and killed as many as 300,000. But with the president's slur so fresh, a solemn memorial at times resembles an anti-Trump rally.

UNIDENTIFIED: We are here to tell President Trump, Haiti is not what he calls it. Haiti is a proud nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, for the president, who said he would be Haiti's greatest champion, by the way, to stand up and make such a comment at this time, it just leaves me reeling. It leaves me angry. It leaves me offended. It leaves me hurt. And it leaves me wanting justice.

HARTUNG: Justice perhaps to be delivered at the ballot box.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to make sure that we work to remember what he said in the midterm elections of this year, 2018. And clearly, we will not have short memories in 2020.

HARTUNG: Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:30:10] BLACKWELL: And let's start right there 2018 and 2020. Paris Dennard, CNN Political Commentator and Member of President Trump's advisory board is with us this morning. Paris, good morning to you.

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Good morning.

BLACKWELL: All right, so you've got millions of -- we have millions of African immigrants, hundreds of thousands of Haitian Americans in this country. American born blacks offended by the comments from the President. What does this mean for your Party?

DENNARD: Well, what this means for the Republican Party is that we've got to do what its original intent of that meeting was about, which was to get to the bottom of the immigration system. And put together a positive policy that is putting America first, securing our borders and fixing this DACA issue.

So, for the Party moving it to 2018, we've got to show the American people that we heard them, we hear them, and that we are serious about fixing the illegal immigration problem, one, and two, putting -- so that Congress can finally do their job and do something about DACA. That is what the Party has to do, we've got to get back on focus, back on message about fixing this issue once and for all.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, a legislative fix will certainly, and I'm sure everybody hopes that it happens before the government runs out of money so that the U.S. government does not shut down. But the damage created by the President's comments, the characterization of African nations as shithole countries or saying, why do -- or asking, "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out," what that means for the Party.

There is -- there's the damage created by the rhetoric aside from the policy, how does the President fix that if he's not even acknowledging that he said it?

DENNARD: Well, I think, you know, if you go to the sentiment about Haiti, I think -- and I guess we all wish we're in the room to hear context and hear all of what was going on and see how it was proposed to him. But if someone mentioned Haiti as being added to this and saying we need more Haitians, I think it's perfectly OK for the President to ask the question to the person asking him, why do we need more Haitians? And we don't know what his -- their response was. We do know the President said, he did not say take them out. But on face value for him to ask to the person why do we need more in a conversation about immigration is not in itself racist.

BLACKWELL: OK.

DENNARD: But the other comment --but the other comments, if they were said about the countries or about the country's governments or how they were run it's unfortunate, and like others it's not helpful and we see what this has done. So, instead of talking about getting closer to a DACA fix or coming to the table or talking about the economy, we're talking about this comment. So, clearly that's not helpful.

BLACKWELL: You mean, that's what the President said right there. That's what the President said, we wouldn't be talking about if the President didn't call -- if he didn't call African nations shitholes and then asked why we didn't need more Haitians. And I think it's important to pair it with what came after that, the second fragment of the thought. Why do we need more Haitians? We should get more people from Norway. Right?

DENNARD: Well, look, and I think it's important for us to not to say that all of this was in one stream of consciousness and one statement. We don't know that, but what we do know is that the President did meet with the President of Norway the day before. So, that Norway was top of mind and when you meet with a world leader, you go through all of the data, all of the statistics, the crime rate, the GDP, their economies and all those things. So, I think that's why Norway was top of mind because he had just met with the Norwegian President.

BLACKWELL: OK.

DENNARD: So, I think that's important to also note. But I'm not saying that -- but yes, I just think we should just keep that in mind.

BLACKWELL: So, let me -- let me play something for you from -- this is Isaac Newton Farris Jr., Dr. King's nephew who was at the event yesterday at the White House.

DENNARD: That was why I --

BLACKWELL: For Martin Luther King, as we can -- he was certainly -- let's just play the sound by and talk about it after wards, what he said about the President.

DENNARD: Sure, sure.

FARRIS: I don't think that President Trump is a racist in the traditional sense as we know in this country, I think President Trump is racially ignorant or racially uninformed. But I don't think that he's a racist in the traditional sense.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: That doesn't really sound like an endorsement of the President. What's your reaction to that?

DENNARD: Well, first, I was at that event yesterday. I've known Isaac for about a decade and I think he's a great person because he actually reaches out and wanted to have the President involved and was with the President in Atlanta. What the suddenly got he was here in Washington, D.C. and actually wanted to have the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee come to Atlanta but couldn't get ahold of her.

So, he is one who is a positive force in trying to reach out to not only this administration but he did --

BLACKWELL: But do you agree?

DENNARD: But he did the same with the Bush administration too. So to Isaac's point, look, I agree with him in saying that the President is not a racist because he's not a racist.

[07:35:01] BLACKWELL: But do you believe with the second half of that, that he is racially ignorant?

DENNARD: And the second half of that, I think the President have -- is understanding now that he's having to deal with issues that he's never had to deal with before. And deal with a lot --

BLACKWELL: He's understanding now, he should have understood that before he said, I'm running for President of the United States, right?

DENNARD: Well, listen, no President comes in here knowing every single thing. No President comes in having an understanding of every simple -- every --

BLACKWELL: And what's the evidence that he now understands that? Is the evidence that he called African nations shithole countries? Or that maybe we don't need more Haitians. When you say, now he's understanding that he's going to deal with a lot of issues, this is -- this is the -- a President who's been on the job for 11 months now. How long do you need to not be in office but be alive to know that the 54 nations of Africa are not shitholes?

DENNARD: Well, I will challenge you there. We don't know -- we don't know if there were specific countries named and he responded about specific countries.

BLACKWELL: Are there specific shitholes in Africa? Name them for us.

DENNARD: What I'm saying is, if you talk about the -- you can have an intellectual conversation without being a racist comparing Nigeria, like your other guest did and talking about the economy there, talk about the type of people who come here from Nigeria, there -- their -- what they contribute to this nation, their education, their -- the how much more they make than White Americans like she said, $10,000 more.

BLACKWELL: You certainly can have that.

DENNARD: And you can compare -- and you can compare them to other African countries that aren't doing so well. And (INAUDIBLE), and it have nothing to do with the people.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely, but in what context do you call one of them is shithole?

DENNARD: I -- listen, I'm not here to defend that comment. I would not have used that comment. Many peoples that will can say and not be deemed racist or not being against the President saying, sometimes he says things or tweets things that are the politically correct. Got it, does not make him a racist. And we should have that intellectual conversation.

BLLACKWELL: Yes, do you think that -- so, let me ask you this, you think that calling African countries shitholes is just politically incorrect?

DENNARD: I'm saying that the President can at times makes politically incorrect statements. I would not have said -- used that language to describe certain African nations. If that was that --

BLACKWELL: You wouldn't have used it, it was wrong for the President to use it. Can you at least go that far?

DENNARD: I'm not -- I don't think that I would have used it. And I think that the President --

BLACKWELL: Paris, I don't know that this is -- this is asking too much that to ask you, is it wrong for the President of the United States. And put aside your personal affinity for the man --

DENNARD: It's for the office.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about your respect for the office, is it wrong for the President of the United States to call the 54 nations of an entire continent, shitholes? That's a simple question.

DENNARD: I understand what you're trying to get me to do, but the notion that the President said that about all 54 nations is not true, and that would be wrong because as you're -- as you're -- as the other commentator talked about Nigeria, and the -- and the quality of the people that are coming here from Nigeria and what they contribute, that does not apply. So, I don't think he was talking about them.

So, no, I don't think it was right to say that about -- use that phrase. But I do think it is perfectly OK and not racist to have an intellectual conversation. When you're talking about immigration and making comparisons to say there are differences between one country and another country. One city in America and another city in America. The recovery in Mississippi versus the recovery in New Orleans --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

DENNARD: Based upon after Hurricane Katrina. You can do that and not be a racist. But I will say, I would not have used it and I don't think if -- that the President seeing how this is panned out would have used that because what I was saying about, what he's learning how to do and understanding is that, as President, you can't say certain things.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

DENNARD: You can't -- and you're -- and he's learning that, because this is a new thing for him and every President does this.

BLACKWELL: All right.

DENNARD: Every President has it. But to say he's a racist is wrong.

BLACKWELL: Paris, than you so much. Christi.

PAUL: All right, well, Wall Street Journal is reporting on an alleged porn star payoff. How much a lawyer connected to President Trump reportedly paid a woman and why.

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[07:43:49] BLACKWELL: A new report in the Wall Street Journal says, a lawyer for President Trump arranged a six figure payment to an adult film star.

PAUL: Yes, it reportedly happened just before the 2016 election. As for why it was allegedly paid, well, here's CNN's 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 this story, Trump had this encounter with an adult film star goes by the name 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 addressed the idea of a payment, but he did give CNN a statement. He says this 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 it 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, Cohen has 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. [07:45:49] PAUL: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you so much. We'll be right back.

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PAUL: There's a lot of you (INAUDIBLE) out there know what good posture means for your health. Well, in this would "STAYING WELL", CNN's Rachel Crane, has an app that talks about just that.

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RACHEL CRANE, CNN SPACE AND SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT: It's a small device that promises a big gains for your back health.

Oh, there I go.

Can you describe to me how this whole system works?

MONISHA PERKASH, CO-FOUNDER, LUMO BOYTECH: So, Lumo Lift, attaches to your shirt magnetically and when you slouch, it will vibrate to remind you to straighten up. Also it connects to an app on your smart phone and on that app, it will track your posture habits. It helps you to be aware of your posture, so that you can self-correct and develop the muscle memory to hold yourself in a good form.

Posture is so important to your general health. It's correlated with back pain, as well as good breathing, good digestion. It affects your energy level, it affects your confidence. Back pain is the second most frequent reason why people go to a doctor. It's outnumbered only by the common cold.

CRANE: While posture devices like this one may be helpful. Physical therapist Karena Wu, has concerns.

KARENA WU, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, ACTIVE CARE PHYSICAL THERAPHY: You have to remember to charge it, put it on, and actually use it. And then, you have to remember to attend to it because of how easily one can ignore sensory stimuli once you get used to it. It's more about making the conscious effort to say, oh, you know what? Let me set up with good upright posture because I know my health will be better in the long run.

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[07:51:44] BLACKWELL: President Trump recently tweeted he went from very successful businessman to top T.V. star. And he's right.

PAUL: He is right about it. His show, The Apprentice, was quite a success. And now, as President of the United States, he's proving, some will say that he's still a master at stagecraft from having the Republican leader stand behind him in -- what was a carefully staged photo op at Camp David and televising a cabinet meeting on immigration live, people were glued to that President Trump sometimes does try to change the conversation with a single tweet.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I call it shouting squirrel. Remember the scene from up where the dog is like paying attention from a shouts squirrel and the dog looks to the right.

PAUL: Distractions.

BLACKWELL: Yes, sometimes it is. Let me bring it in Michael D'Antonio, our CNN Contributor and Donald Trump biographer. Michael, good morning to you. And the President, it seems like it was so long ago, but the President was getting praise for that meeting, I believe it was Tuesday with bipartisan members of Congress discussing DACA. And then, Thursday, kind of changes it all around. It was another attempt yesterday to fix that, it didn't work.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN BIOGRAPHER: Well, it's all part of the showbiz approach, not just to the presidency but to life. You know, I think, we sometimes forget that Donald Trump has been doing this for 40 years. He began his professional life actually as a Broadway producer. It terrible play, but his first activity as an adult was to produce a Broadway play. So he is very much interested in stagecraft.

And this idea of veering from one topic to the next and one emotion to the next is classic Trump. He doesn't want us to get comfortable with anything, and is uncomfortable himself if that spotlight moves away from him. So, he'll say and do almost anything and I think that's one aspect of the current controversy that we often overlook.

PAUL: But there's no doubt it puts his Republican counter parts in very difficult situations. What is the behind the scenes there and how crafted and how intentional on Donald Trump's part are the tweets and the photo ops?

D'ANTONIO: Well, I think that my guess is that the positive photo ops are probably orchestrated by people working for the President. He might have an idea that he would like to soften his image or show that he's in command, but they're orchestrating it. I think the tweets and the strange declarations he'll make, you know, when he blasted the NFL players who are protesting, that was very well planned by the President himself. He thought of the line and thought about how he'd like to deliver it and then imagined the response. I think he did that this week with the racist comments about Africa.

You know, what's strange about all this is we have to try to decide whether he's playing a character, or this is the genuine man, or if there's any difference. And I think by the time you become President, there isn't any difference.

So, people saying, well, he doesn't know well enough or he hasn't been educated in something. I think they're missing the point, the point is that this is his character we're seeing. It's the character of a radio shock jock or a comedian who wants to insult people and get a rise out of the audience.

[07:55:20] BLACKWELL: All right, Michael D'Antonio, a CNN Contributor and Trump biographer. Good to have you this morning.

D'ANTONIO: Thank you, good morning.

BLACKWELL: All right, next hour of your NEW DAY comes up after a quick break.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you racist?

TRUMP: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person.

FARRIS: 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? Then many went on when we started to describe the immigration from Africa, calling the nations they come from shitholes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, Haiti is not what you called it.

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