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Trump Orders Russians Out; Citizenship Question on Census; Dow Jumps As Trade Fears Cool; AT&T Merger Trail; Trump Hushed on Stormy Daniels. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 27, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Sixty Russian diplomats have just a week to leave the U.S. after President Trump ordered the largest ever expulsion of Russian officials. It's part of a coordinated effort by nearly two dozen nations -- they're on your screen right now -- to punish Russia for the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England.

Joining us now is Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.

Always good to see you, congressman.

Do you like this move?

REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I do like this move. It's absolutely appropriate that we respond to these Russian acts of aggression against our friends and allies. It's the right thing to do.

CUOMO: Bully pulpit. President hasn't spoken about it directly. Should he?

DENT: Absolutely. The president needs to give a much fuller voice to defending western values. And I think that's been an issue where -- while the administration has done many good things with respect to Russia in terms of providing lethal weapons, defensive weapons to the Ukrainian government, pushing back here with the mighty expulsion of the diplomats. The president has not been forceful in his own voice defending western values, condemning Russia for trying to undermine NATO, break up the European Union and essentially undermine American power and influence anywhere in the world. I think the president needs to be speaking more forcefully and treating Russia as the -- as the foe that it is. It's a bad actor. It's becoming a bit of a pariah state, frankly, I think we should be doing more on the cyber side.

CUOMO: Right. You're -- yes, right, because you want to put on that list the unprecedented interference on our election and the intentionality therein.

But -- so what's the answer to the big question. Why doesn't he do what you're suggesting?

DENT: Well, it causes lot -- well, because he has been somewhat voiceless in respect to his lack of condemnation of Vladimir Putin, it forces people to speculate about, you know, what the Russians may have on him in terms of, you know, maybe some kind of financial entanglement that could be (INAUDIBLE) --

CUOMO: What's your answer? I'm sure you don't believe that.

DENT: I don't know. I mean --

CUOMO: Just, you know, just the letter after your name alone would suggest that you don't believe that.

DENT: I don't know. Well, look, I don't know what the issue is. I -- seeing that the president has been too accommodating and too kind in his language toward autocrats, whether it's Vladimir Putin or Erdogan in Turkey or in the Philippines, wherever the case may be, he's been too quick to engage in fights with our friends and allies, whether it be Canada, Mexico, Germany, the U.K. and much more silent with respect to folks who are really trying to undermine western values in many respects. And I think that is what's so -- so --

CUOMO: Yes. So what's that -- what's that about? I mean this guy's the head of your party. He's the president of the United States. And he seems to make a determined effort to not cross swords with Vladimir Putin, who is unanimously seen by your party and the other side, one of the few things that unites you guys, as a bad actor where the U.S. is concerned?

DENT: Well, Chris, I think you have to look at this kind of as -- in a broader sense. I mean we see this not only happening in the United States, but we see it happening in other countries where with see these -- I'll say you might want to call them ultra nationalist movements. You know, we had UKIP (ph) in the U.K., alternative for Germany, Le Pin in France.

[08:35:03] CUOMO: Le Pin, sure.

DENT: Le Pin. Yes, we've seen this. And so that where there are -- there are ultra nationalist voices in many western countries that have had sympathetic views towards Putin and Russia.

I reject it. I don't understand it. But it's part of a broader phenomenon, what we're seeing here. Maybe, you know, President Trump is a manifestation of that phenomenon here in the U.S.

CUOMO: But aren't we better than that? Hasn't America always stood against that? And hasn't our leadership always echoes that?

DENT: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean the one beautiful thing about this country since the Second World War, we've had a bipartisan consensus on foreign policy with respect to the former Soviet Union and certainly since the Cold War and its words towards Russia. And I agree with the president, we all want better relations with Russia. But Russian behavior must change in order for those relations to improve. Again, Russia is trying to essentially undermine the things that we work so hard to develop over the last several decades.

CUOMO: Look, I hear you. You make a compelling case. It's as compelling as it is obvious. How about getting an answer from the president about this? Doesn't your curiosity need a conclusion in this?

DENT: Well, of course it does. And I suspect maybe the Mueller investigation with respect to Russia might reveal some things that we currently don't know. But I'm hesitant to speculate too much --

CUOMO: Right.

DENT: As to, you know, why the president, you know, might be, you know, less inclined to what to condemn Vladimir Putin.

CUOMO: Congressman, let me ask you about something else while I have you. Putting the question back in the 2020 census, about whether or not you're a citizen, controversial. Are you in favor?

DENT: I'm sorry. The question is what?

CUOMO: Putting back in the 2020 census questionnaire, are you a citizen, putting that question back in, are you in favor?

DENT: Oh, I have no objection to that. I really don't. It's important that we get accurate counts of all people in this country, whether they're here legally or illegally. I don't have a problem with putting that question in. I mean I know there's some people who object to it, but I think it's (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: We've got two -- two bases of pushback. One is chilling effect. You ask that, people will not come forward. Some -- along the lines, same thing as when you have an ID requirement, people don't have an ID, they don't want to come forward. Here, if they're not citizens, they won't want to come forward. And not having the right numbers has played to GOP advantage in the past in terms of underreporting and what you were able to do with redistricting as a result. What do you make of those criticisms?

DENT: Well, I've noticed something, too, that there are states like mine, Chris, that have a large percentage of our state's population are citizens. There are some states, say, like California, where you have larger non-citizen populations, and there's an argument that if you actually did redistricting based on the number of citizens, you know, states in the rust belt, you know, would not have lost as much representation in Washington because we count based on number of people. And we should count all people. But in terms of congressional representation, we have lost disproportionately relative to states where they have larger non-citizen populations.

So I kind of understand the argument. But I guess I would say to you, I don't think there's anything wrong with just trying to find out how many people are citizens and how many people are non-citizens. There are a lot of people who are in this country who are here legally. They're legal permanent residents or they're here on visas, and we should count them.

CUOMO: And, of course, you know, it will be interesting to see what happens when this question is asked and you do have a huge part of the people and the populations that are not citizens. It will really magnify the need to do something about these people and figure out whether or not the idea of expulsion is the main route of dealing with that population is even practical.

Congressman Dent, thank you very much for joining us. Always appreciate you coming on the show.

DENT: Thank you, Chris. Great to be with you.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Fears of a trade war leading to the markets plummeting and soaring again. Will this roller coaster ride continue? We'll preview the opening bell on Wall Street, next.


[08:42:58] CAMEROTA: A toxicology report obtained by the Associated Press shows that pop star Prince had an exceedingly high concentration of fentanyl in his system when he died. Last week the lead prosecutor investigating Prince's 2016 death said he would make a decision in the near future of whether to charge anyone in this death.

CUOMO: A desperate plea from the grandmother of a Sacramento man who was shot and killed by police in her backyard. Officers say they thought Stephon Clark had a gun when they opened fire. He only had a cell phone. A sobbing Sequita Thompson calling for criminal charges against the officers.


SEQUITA THOMPSON, STEPHON CLARK'S GRANDMOTHER: My great granddaughters don't have their daddy. (INAUDIBLE). Why didn't they shoot him in the arm or shoot him in the leg, send the dogs, send a Taser? Why? Why (INAUDIBLE) do that?


CUOMO: All right, you're going to have fact questions here. But there is another issue that you're going to have to pay attention to. The officers muted their body cameras moments after shooting Clark. And I'm saying that very slowly and deliberately because you need to have it sink in. The body cameras are only as effective as they are in operation. Sounds simple. But this is not a standard that is all over this country and it makes no sense.


CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, Arizona is suspending Uber's self- driving car tests. This move comes after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian a week ago. An Uber spokesman says the company halted all of its self-driving cars from the roads following this deadly accident.

CUOMO: Investors counting down to the opening bell on Wall Street, less than an hour away. The roller coaster was going down and then it went up yesterday. What about today?

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans in our Money Center with more.

What have you got? I want to bet on your knowledge.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean it looks like you're going to see a continuation moving up today in stocks. Wall Street, Chris, is living and dying by every trade deadline. That's why it's so crazy. And yesterday that headline was the U.S. and China are negotiating to avoid a trade war. The Dow jumped 669 points, it's third biggest point gain ever.

[08:45:12] And it's a rebound from that recent correction, that 10 percent fall from an all-time high. The S&P 500 also up just shy of 3 percent. That bounce spread into global stocks. And right now futures are continuing it.

Last week President Trump proposed tariffs on Chinese exports caused Wall Street's worst week in two years. Investors feared a trade war. A clash between China and the U.S. could slow global growth. It could be devastating for American consumers and companies. Starbucks, Boeing, Apple, Intel, a lot of other companies rely on China for a huge portion of their sales.

But right now Trump's proposed tariffs look more like a trading or negotiating tactic. And recent history shows that his bark is worse than his bite. Remember those sweeping tariffs on aluminum and steel imports? The final product was watered down granting exemptions to allies like Canada, Mexico, E.U. and South Korea.


CAMEROTA: Very good context, Christine. Thank you so much for all of that.

So, courtroom drama in a high stakes media merger trial. Why the judge nearly blocked a key witness from testifying at the AT&T-Time Warner trial. We have all the latest for you, next.


[08:50:21] CUOMO: All right, we are in day three now of the high- stakes media merger trial. The Justice Department trying to block AT&T from buying Time Warner. Time Warner, obviously, the parent company of CNN.

However, what happened? We saw a slip-up by the government's lawyer, nearly wound up keeping a key witness from testifying. Why? What happened? Let's discuss.

We have CNN's senior media correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter, and CNN Politics media and business reporter Hadas Gold.

Hadas, what almost happened and why?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Chris, it was really fascinating yesterday in court. The entire morning was taken up with the two counsels conferring with the judge and the judge turns on this white noise machine so nobody in the court can hear what's going on. And later we find out that the president of Sling TV, which is one of these over the top live TV streaming services, he was sent the transcript of the testimony of the witness before him by his own Sling counsel, which is not allowed in court. The witnesses are supposed to sort of be in this vacuum. They're not supposed to know what the questions were to the other witnesses.

The DOJ's lawyers immediately let the judge know that this was the case. And then the judge had to decide whether he was going to strike this witness from even testifying. And that would have been a huge blow to the DOJ because Warren Schlichting, the president of Sling TV, made some compelling points. He said, listen, if Time Warner and AT&T become one, they're going to always be in a win-win situation with us when we negotiate to try to carry places like CNN on our platform, because if they raise the prices, then we make less money, they make more money. If they decide to just -- if we can't reach a deal and we can't put Time Warner content on our platform, then our subscribers will potentially walk to DirecTV and then AT&T wins again.

CUOMO: The burden for the DOJ will be to show that other mergers of this kind have created exactly that kind of imbalance. Tough call for them.

So, in terms of what this might mean, how do you see it at this stage?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's almost as if the TV business model is on trial here because the entire history of cable television, dating back to the '80s, is a tug of war between programmers, like Time Warner, which owns CNN, and distributors, like DirecTV or Comcast. Now, increasingly, you know, Comcast now owns NBC, wants to be in both businesses. AT&T is a distributor and wants to be in both business and ants to have control over content, as well as distribution.

But this tug of war, it's been going on for a decade. And each side wants to have more muscle in order to get little benefit until the next side finds another benefit. It's on and on and on, this tug of war. And what the government's doing here is saying, this tug of war is broken. This would give too much muscle to AT&T by owning Time Warner.

But it is notable. We've seen this before. Comcast and NBC came together almost a decade ago. Some people in the government have regrets about how that deal worked out. However, Comcast would tell you, it worked out just fine. NBC has improved our company. We've done a lot of cool things together and it's pro consumer. It really all comes down to pro consumer versus anti-competitive, anti-consumer.

CUOMO: Well, the judge had an opportunity, gave a generous ruling that allows the DOJ to make its fullest case.


CUOMO: So we'll see what that yields.

Hadas, Brian, thank you.

What do you think, a little Tuesday "Good Stuff"? Always a nice touch, next.


[08:57:21] CUOMO: "Good Stuff."

All right, we have some students with special needs. They opened up a coffee shop at their school in Iowa. Why? Because they're learning amazing life lessons that they can use once they graduate. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These students, when they do leave high school, transition to that job.


CUOMO: Good for them. They were even able to open up a second location because of some generous sponsors. This student could not be more happy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You like doing that?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clients and my teachers and very nice people here.


CUOMO: We learn time and again, when you give people who have some developmental challenges opportunity, they blossom.

CAMEROTA: That is a great story.

All right, meanwhile, a little laughs. We mentioned that President Trump has been unusually silent after Stormy Daniels' tell on interview to "60 Minutes." CNN's Jeanne Moos explains why his Stormy silence speaks volumes.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The president is taking a licking when it comes to Stormy Daniels. She's water cooler conversation.

But you know who isn't talking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you watch "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Mr. President? MOOS: President Trump is waving, pointing, smiling, posing with babies, but when it comes to that hush agreement meant to keep Stormy quiet, well, it's the president who's been hushed lately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Story Daniels a liar, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal lying about the affairs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Karen McDougal telling the truth, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, any comment on Ms. McDougal.

MOOS (on camera): Stormy Daniels' attorney is literally taunting, daring, provoking President Trump.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: Let the president take to the podium and call her a liar.

I mean we have a president that will tweet about the most mundane things.


AVENATTI: Known to mankind, but for some reason he can't come out and deny the affair.

You know why he won't tweet about it? Because it's true.


MOOS (voice over): The president's only stab at a post "60 Minutes" tweet was generic, so much fake news, never been more voluminous or more inaccurate. He's leaving the spin to his spokespeople.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So why haven't we heard from him?

RAJ SHAH, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, that will be up to the president.

MOOS (on camera): Donald Trump doesn't always zip it when facing accusations by women.

MOOS (voice over): For instance, the "People" magazine reporter who said Trump pushed her up against a wall and put his tongue down her throat.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look at her, look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so.

MOOS: But if the president insists on keeping a stormy silence, he's got to hope that "60 Minutes" doesn't become 60 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More details from Stormy Daniels --

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

AL ROKER: We still stay a little on the stormy side.

MOOS: New York.


CUOMO: The word forever changed.

[09:00:01] CAMEROTA: What did Al Roker do wrong?

CUOMO: I know.

CAMEROTA: How'd he get in that (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: The president's like, fake weather!

CAMEROTA: Exactly. All right, on that note, it is time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman.

CUOMO: Fake John.