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Mueller Pushes for Trump Interview; Trump's Toughness on Russia; McMaster Speaks about Russia; Investigating Cabinet Ethical Issues; Gowdy and Scott Book "Unified"; 50 Year Anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior's Death; AT&T Questions Research. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 4, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:59] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are back now with Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy from South Carolina. They are the co-authors of a new book, "Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country."

OK, let's talk about the news of the day.

We've learned that Robert Mueller has told President Trump's legal team that he is the subject, not the target, of the Mueller probe. Is that significant and should the president sit down with Robert Mueller given that?

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'll take those in reverse order.

I do think he should sit down with Special Counsel Mueller. I think he's uniquely well positioned to answer some of the questions that -- that not just special counsel but also the American people have.

I don't think that those terms, target versus subject -- the only word that matters to me in the criminal justice system is defendant. So if you're not a defendant, whether you're the target or whether you're the subject, I know the FBI gets really caught up in those two words. As a former federal prosecutor, they're meaningless to me because one witness can take you from being a subject to a target. And unless and until you've interviewed everyone and looked at everything, no one has been implicated and no one has exculpated. So those words -- I read the articles and I just kind of smiled because they're meaningless to me.

CAMEROTA: Isn't it risky for the president to sit down with Mueller's team?

GOWDY: Do I think he will?

CAMEROTA: No, isn't it risky?


GOWDY: Only he knows what he knows. So I would tell you, if you did not rob the bank, there's no reason for you not to sit down and talk to the FBI about the bank robbery. So only he knows what he knows. He's been adamant that his campaign did not collude with anyone, including other segments of his campaign to get out the vote in certain states. So if you've done nothing wrong, I -- look, I know I'm in the minority. Most of the so-called legal experts are telling him not do it. If you have nothing to hide, sit down -- assuming a fair prosecutor, a fair prosecutor, and I think Muller is, sit down and tell him what you know.

CAMEROTA: Senator, yesterday the president, in a little mini press conference, talked about how he thinks he's treated Russia. And I'll just paraphrase it. He says, probably nobody has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump and just about everybody agrees to that except very stupid people.

SCOTT: I certainly say that he has ratcheted up the aggression against Russia lastly, which is a positive move in the right direction. Of all-time? I'm not sure I'd go that far. I certainly think that our latest expulsions are positive. That we have to do everything possible to reinforce the fact that Russia should never ever again meddle in our elections. And we should use every resource possible to make sure that message is loud and clear and we send it.

CAMEROTA: Here is what H.R. McMaster, the -- as you know, outgoing national security adviser, said about this yesterday. Listen.


H.R. MCMASTER, OUTGOING NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Russia brazenly and implausibly denies its actions. And we have failed to impose sufficient costs.

We are acting, but we must recognize the need for all of us to do more to respond to and deter Russian aggression.


CAMEROTA: Are those the words of a man who knows that he is heading out and can speak more openly when he says we have failed to impose sufficient costs? That's different than what the president said.

GOWDY: Russia is not our friend. They're a regional power desperately seeking to become a world power again.

But I will - I would say this, it wasn't just H.R. McMaster. I mean President Obama kind of smiled when Mitt Romney said they're our number one geopolitical threat. So I think it -- on a bipartisan basis, people have underestimated Russia over the last 10 years.

CAMEROTA: And is that what President Trump's doing now?

GOWDY: I hope he's not. I hope -- you -- he cannot be tough enough on Russia to suit me. He cannot be.

[08:35:00] They tried to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy. I don't know how it gets any more serious. I mean you can expel diplomats. I mean, they tried to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy. I don't know how it gets more serious than that. And you can't be tough enough on them.

CAMEROTA: And do you think the president understands that?

GOWDY: I think he is trending towards that and I think Mike Pompeo and others are going to help him get all the way there.


You're on the Oversight Committee. Quickly about some of the ethical issues.

Is Scott Pruitt long for this position given what we know about his travel, et cetera?

GOWDY: I don't know. I know what I've read. I know Chris Christie, who at one point was really close to the president, he's a former U.S. attorney, said he's not sure how he's still there. Senator Scott and I were talking yesterday about how much we would enjoy a $50 per night condo access.


CAMEROTA: That is below market rate. So are you investigating this?

GOWDY: We have -- we have written letters on a number of cabinet level officials. In Washington, they want to have a hearing. My bias is towards getting the information and the facts first and then, if a hearing is warranted -- hearings are great at sharing information. They're not great at gathering it.

So whether it is Tom Price, whether it is private e-mail use, whether it's Ryan Zinke, who happens to be a friend, but whether there are questions about the spending of money on doors or dining room table, we have an obligation to ask those questions.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, very quickly, what's so funny here? What are you guys -- you guys seemed to really enjoy writing this together and being on this book tour together. So what is it like, senator?

SCOTT: It has been a blast. I'll say that "Unified" has really brought to mind our friendship and how incredibly funny he is. One thing you see on TV is the prosecutor who's cross examining, and it feels like he's pulling your skin off sometimes. But the fact of the matter is, when you put a bipartisan group of Congress members or senators together, he's the funniest guy at the table. He has jokes all day long. And typically they're self-deprecatory, which is good because he can -- he can hit you where it hurts, if he wants to. But, literally, you'll have Joey Kennedy, you'll have myself, you'll have Gabbard, Tulsi Gabbard there, Kevin McCarthy. You'll have this group of bipartisan folks that no one sees on TV who are sitting there and he is cutting jokes the entire time.

CAMEROTA: Trey Gowdy, laugh riot, that is one of the surprises in the book "Unified." It's such a great book and it's your vision for how we can all do this better as a country.


CAMEROTA: Senator Tim Scott, Congressman Trey Gowdy, thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to both of you.

SCOTT: Thank you, ma'am.

GOWDY: Thank you.



We're marking an important anniversary today. Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated. We will talk with his family about his enduring legacy when we come back.


[08:41:16] GREGORY: It was 50 years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated outside his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. The family of the civil rights icon is carrying on his legacy now and the dream.

We are joined by his son, Martin Luther King III, who joins us, along with his wife Andrea, and their daughter Yolanda.

Welcome, all.




GREGORY: Martin, let me start with you and ask you, you were 10 years old at the time your father was assassinated. And what we all, of course, remember is the prophetic nature of his final remarks in Memphis where he talked about longevity having its place, that he was not afraid tonight, that he did not fear any man, invoking the Biblical narrative of Moses seeing the promise land but understanding he may not get there. That sense of fatalism was something that was certainly in his heart and on his mind.

How do you remember that period? Was this a time when you and the rest of the family were fearful, particularly fearful for his life?

M. KING: I would have to say that -- yes, I was 10 years -- I was a 10-year-old kid. Dad was dad to me. And I can't say accurately that I consciously knew, but I would say subconsciously there were concerns certainly. And I'll give this one example.

On one of the last trips that he had to Memphis, my brother and I encouraged him, dad, don't go, don't go. We want you to be here. And he told us, I'll be back. And, of course, as we know, when he came here last yesterday, which, 50 years ago on April 3rd, he did not return home.

And so I -- again, I say subconsciously. But consciously, we did not -- mom and dad sheltered us very well. We understood the work that he and mother were involved in. And we understood that maybe we thought that something could happen, but we certainly didn't expect it.

I remember this time April 4th, you know, 50 years ago and watching on the news the evening about 7:01 p.m. Atlanta time, 6:01 Memphis, and it flashed across the screen that Dr. Martin Luther King Junior had been shot. Obviously that was a moment that was, oh, my God, what has happened? And my brothers and sisters and I ran back to mom and dad's room to kind of get an explanation of what was happening and mom was preparing to come to Memphis to be by dad's side.

GREGORY: Andrea, I'm one who studies the Bible in part because I understand the resonance of those ancient stories to our lives today. They are not long ago stories, they're stories about how we should live today in our lives. And I'm wondering, as you think about legacy, how you think Dr. King would be living today? What would he be saying today? Where would he be active today?

A. KING: I think, first of all, he would be so charged by all of the movements that are underway today from, of course, the Enough is Enough, as our daughter said movement dealing with gun violence, and also the Me Too movement. There are so many people that are on the move doing wonderful work right now that I can't help but think that he would be inspired by what we're seeing around the nation and the world.

[08:45:05] GREGORY: Yes, you mentioned your daughter Yolanda. And we're so happy you're with us here as well. You are nine years old and you've already had a prominent, public role, as we saw during the March for Our Lives.

Let me play a little bit of that and ask you about it on the other side.


Y. KING: My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun free world, period.


GREGORY: Well said, Yolanda. What -- that's a big stage to step onto and invoke the memory of your grandfather.

Why did you do it? What does this moment in time mean to you?

Y. KING: Well, I was actually -- I actually want to help for the -- for there be to no guns in the world. I've actually been interested in that since second grade because in 2016, when my parents -- when we met the president to look at my grandfather's statue on (INAUDIBLE). And so we went to the Oval Office and my parents told me I had to prepare a question for the president. So I asked him, Mr. President, what are we going to do about these guns?

GREGORY: And what --

Y. KING: So I've been really interest --

GREGORY: You've been interested since then.

Well, it's a question that a lot of people are asking and there's a lot of momentum behind that question. And you -- you added -- you added a very eloquent note to those protests.

Martin, let me conclude with you and ask you about what the -- what the meaning of this anniversary should be, what the -- what the resonance of this anniversary should be in terms of your father's public role. You know, at the end of his life, he was, in parts, unpopular, as Jesse Jackson writes about him in "The New York Times" today, among some Democrats taking on obviously poverty, his role -- his stance on the Vietnam War. This isn't even -- this is -- I should say it's a toxic time of a different nature today. What should we learn from his example as we -- as we deal with the toxicity of today in our politics, in our national life?

M. KING: Well, first of all, what I hope is that -- first, we are living in a culture of violence. We have created and allowed violence to persist. Whether it's domestic, whether it's gang violence, whether it's one-on-one violence, violence in the corporate communities. Just yesterday, tragically, we saw again violence at YouTube.

But what dad would want us to do is to create a culture of nonviolence. He talked about a -- he talked about a revolution of values. When we have a revolution of values, we can create a nonviolence community.

He lived and died in a nonviolent way. That is what we need to be engaged in. And I'm excited about these movements that exit.

And the final thing I'll say is that very soon this year we're going to be launching an initiative, a global initiative, around nonviolence with a member of the Gandhi family and a member of the Mandela family and, of course, in the United States, South Africa and India, we'll be launching this initiative so that young people can use nonviolence to resolve conflicts as these students, these high school students have done -- are doing.

We've not seen a movement like this led by high school students for 55 years. In 1963, 3,000 kids were arrested in Birmingham. And so I'm very excited about the future. Even though there seems to be toxicity, we can get past toxicity. We are a great nation. We can, we must and we will do better.

GREGORY: Martin, Yolanda, Andrea, thank you all for joining us very much. We appreciate it. M. KING: Thank you.

A. KING: Thank you.

Y. KING: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Yolanda, future president. Very adorable and well spoken.

So research used in the U.S. government's case against the AT&T/Time Warner merger is now coming into question. We explain why, next.


[08:53:17] CAMEROTA: Attorneys for AT&T and Time Warner questioning some research behind the U.S. government's effort to stop their mega merger. Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.

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

So, Hadas, what's the problem with this research?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: So the government -- or the government brought forward this research that helped a government expert witness, this economics professor, determine that there would be a price increase should AT&T and Time Warner come together. However, AT&T lawyers pointed out that that initial research, that there was a key number that was changed, that was made higher in a newer version, which was then sent to the government economist, who then determined the price increase.

Had that government economist used the initial number, that lower number, they would have found no price increase after the merger. And so that's why the AT&T lawyers are saying, hey, why was there this change of the number? Why was the methodology different? This could completely alter the government's case.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. OK. So that's a bombshell, Brian.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is all at the heart of this big question about the impact of a deal of this size, what would happen if AT&T owned Time Warner's channels and could use that power in the marketplace. Essentially AT&T is saying that it would not use that power in a harmful way, that the estimates of damage to consumers are overblown and overstated. In fact, at one point, Turner, which CNN, TBS, TNT, et cetera, offered to have arbitration in the future so that competitors would be able to go ahead and resolve disputes over carriage and over price.

However, the government taking a hard line here, being very skeptical of those officers, of those claims. They feel that Comcast and NBC made similar promises almost a decade ago and some government lawyers feel they were burned by that deal. That's why this case is being fought over in court as opposed to settled privately.

[08:55:09] CAMEROTA: Hadas, what do you expect today?

GOLD: We're expecting today Vince Torres (ph). He's an AT&T executive in charge of entertainment and mobility. And actually the next few witnesses are likely going to be from AT&T and Time Warner. We heard lawyers mention that during yesterday's proceedings. So there's going to be a lot of what we call a hostile direct, where it's not a witness who is necessarily on the plaintiff, on the government's side. So it should be a pretty contentious questioning for the next few days.

CAMEROTA: It sure sounds like it. OK, we will look forward to you giving us an update tomorrow.

Hadas, Brian, thank you both very much.

STELTER: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: And thank you, David Gregory.

GREGORY: And I -- I've just gotten word that you've allowed me to come back tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Hmm, have I? All right.

GREGORY: Wait, was that not your signature on this --

CAMEROTA: You've won me over. You've won me over. All right, I'll see you tomorrow. It's been great.


CAMEROTA: CNN "NEWSROOM" with Erica Hill begins after this quick break. We'll both see you tomorrow.