Return to Transcripts main page


Discussion on Trump's Personal Doctors Statements; Trump and Giuliani Comment on Mueller's Questions and Testimony; Air Force Plane Crashes in Georgia; Southwest Airline Emergency Landing. Aired 1:30- 2p ET

Aired May 2, 2018 - 13:30   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: He didn't actually write it. Instead he said it was dictated to him by then Candidate Donald Trump himself. Well let's discuss with CNN Politics Reporter Editor at Large Chris Cillizza. He's over at the magic wall for us. Chris, explain why this revelation is so deeply concerning.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: All right Wolf. Thank you. So, on it's face that's letter that came out in December of 2015 was a little bit ridiculous. It said that Donald Trump would be the healthiest person ever to be elected President. It seemed odd but his doctor, had been his doctor for a very long time stood by it and said, yes I said it. Donald Trump just happens to have great genes and is very healthy. Well we now learn that after having his files about Donald Trump seized, taken from him he is not happy about it.

He feels as if he is hard done. He's made some I think very impolitic comments about how he felt having those documents taken from him. And he has now admitted that, well in fact Donald Trump told me what to say in that quote. Now why is it important? It's important because Donald Trump used that one statement as evidence that he was healthy, that he was ready to be President. And let's remember Wolf, this is someone who is the oldest person ever elected to a first term as President, 71 years old.

This is someone who has been dismissive of exercising, diet throughout his life. But that statement was used in many ways as evidence that well, even though he has not lived exercised diet, that kind of life that a doctor might recommend, he's fine. Well it turns out that's not the case and I'll remind you of one other thing. Remember that Donald Trump was attacking Hillary Clinton relentlessly for her endurance his words and stamina. He repeatedly talked about that during the campaign especially after that moment, September 11th Memorial in New York City when she wobbled a bit getting back into her car. That the after effects her campaign said of pneumonia.

Donald Trump used that, said something was going on there. She didn't have the endurance. She didn't have the stamina to be President of the United States. Well it turns out the doctor who was telling us that Donald Trump had the endurance and the stamina was named Donald John Trump. It speaks I think Wolf to a broader thing that we've known about Donald Trump which is he is willing to say and do anything to win. The -- the way he gets there justifies whatever -- is the end result.

That is concerning. I'm not sure that it is anything particularly new. But that he is willing to do something like this, dictate a statement to his personal physician, say it was from his personal physician that says that he is the healthiest person who would ever be elected President of the United States. It has to raise some eyebrows. I mean it shouldn't just elicit a chuckle. There's -- there's more serious stuff at work here that we should pay attention to. Back to Wolf.

BLITZER: Good point. Chris Cillizza, thank you very much. This medical drama involving the President may sound comical but it also raises as Chris just pointed out -- pointed out some very serious questions. And it comes even as some Republicans are now starting to call the President out over his history of false statements. Listen to this. This is the former Republican U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.


RICK SANTORUM, FORMER U.S. SENATOR FOR PENNSYLVANIA: The President says things that don't comport with the facts.

UNIDENTIFED MALE:: What does that mean?

SANTORUM: You want to call it a lie, call it a lie. I mean --


SANTORUM: I don't like calling people liars but the reality is this President has a problem. And I've said that over and over again. I wish he wouldn't do those things. I wish he wouldn't go out and say things that -- that don't comport with the facts.


BLITZER: Santorum's now a CNN Political Contributor as well, let's bring back David Gregory and April Ryan for their insight. Some Republicans especially Republicans David who are not seeking re- election, they are speaking out. But a whole bunch of others aren't speaking out. You know, referencing the President's misstatements.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLTICAL ANALYST: You know, the -- the President's got to be held accountable for lying. I mean, he just does. All Presidents lie but he seems to do it far more routinely and demonstratively so. And I think, you know, even supporters of the President who may not like criticism of him, may not like the news media's coverage. If they're going to hold us accountable then they ought to be holding him accountable as well. For -- for lies that speak to real insecurity, you know, that raise such credibility questions. And that are easily exploitable.

You know, when we talk about the influence of the Russians. You know, these are tactics that the Russians have used, that Putin has used to discredit factual reporting within Russia. We see the President doing things like this in the course of the campaign. It becomes not just as Chris Cillizza says, something you said, oh well I'm not really surprised by that. But we can't become numb to it. It's such a credibility issue.

BLITZER: I'm anxious April to get your thoughts on -- now this Doctor Bornstein in New York, the President's personal physician for 35 years says, you know that glowing report that he released during the campaign. The President dictated those words to him.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's -- it's sad. You want to trust your President. But it goes to several issues. One, this is not about prescriptions for male pattern baldness. This is about fitness for the office, the Presidency of the United States.

[13:35:14] RYAN: This is not about cholesterol but yet it is. It's about his fitness. What is there to hide? And it also makes you wonder when Dr. Ronnie Jackson was at that podium for that elongated period of time, you wonder what part did the President play in that, if the President played something in that. Because I've never seen a White House doctor, I mean, we've been on Presidential trips -- on numerous Presidential trips and had several White House doctors. We would normally get a piece of paper that says this, this, and this.

And then for him to talk glowingly about this President and how physically fit he is and he can go into another term. That just struck me as odd. And it makes you wonder if Ronnie Jackson was put up by the President to say that as well. So -- but this -- in all of this, even though the President may have -- have -- have dictated these words, it is about his fitness for the office, mentally, physically what have you. And what is he trying to hide if he has to dictate this?

BLITZER: You want to add anything on that?

GREGORY: Well I think it's one thing in a case like this in a course of a campaign to lie about something that I think, you know, just -- just makes you look so small. Well now he's run up against something in this Russia investigation. Where he's not going to be able to lie and get away with it when you're dealing with a special prosecutor and -- and you know very skillful folks that exposing those lies, and so a whole way of his doing things. And it also just undermines, you know, more serious work that the President's up to and that the Administration's up to and his inability to kind of get out of his own way.

BLITZER: Yes. We'll see what happens. Quickly I want to (inaudible). Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida, he now is suggesting David that the low ring of the corporate tax rate which was in -- in the Republican legislation which the President supported. He says he doesn't see a whole lot of evidence that it's, you know, really wind up helping average American workers.

GREGORY: Well this is a tough shot across the bow because at the moment this is the kind of argument that Republicans want to make on a campaign trail in these mid-term elections. Which is let's talk about the economy. Let's talk about the impact of tax reform of the conservative cause being advanced by this President and by a Republican Congress. If there's not a lot of evidence of it, people are going to feel like they -- they got left behind and -- and -- and it makes their case harder.

BLITZER: And Tom Price who was the Secretary of Health and Human Services who was fired as we know, he says the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate is going to result in higher premiums for a whole bunch of people.

RYAN: We've been hearing that for a long time. That is nothing new. But once it happens and once it kicks in, this President will be held accountable. And it's not going to be about Obama it will be about this President and going back to something David just said on that last piece. David was absolutely right but I can't wait now to hear what the President will tweet -- will start tweeting or saying. He will start calling Marco Rubio little Marco again, I'm sure.

GREGORY: Well I just want to -- the other point about what Tom Price is saying who is -- who is denying that -- he -- would have that impact if they rolled back the individual mandate. You know, Obamacare, the ACA cannot work unless young and healthy people are coming into the risk pool to balance out how much older and sicker people are utilizing it. And it's one of the reasons why these insurance companies have backed out of the exchanges because premiums are going up. They have to charge more because costs are going up with so many more people in the system.

RYAN: And the subsidies are leaving to help people to get into the pools.

BLITZER: A lot -- a lot of people who don't want to buy insurance and they -- they no longer have to buy health insurance. If they get sick, God forbid they go to an emergency room and you know who's going to paying for their treatments.

GREGORY: Well it's also, you know, in -- in talking to some of the pharmaceutical people. They really feel that they are at a breaking point in terms of access and affordability. And what happens, ultimately the government's going to be involved in regulation or in paying more and that's going to effect everybody as well.

BLITZER: All right guys. Good discussion. Thanks very much --

RYAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: -- for coming in. Meanwhile, there are new troubles that are surfacing for the embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt including more ethics concerns. Plus there's breaking news, we're learning a military plane has crashed outside of Savannah, Georgia. Stand by we have new information just coming in.


[13:43:36] BLITZER: Joining us now Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman I want to get to some breaking news. We're just getting in courtesy of the Washington Post. I want -- quickly want to get your reaction. The Washington Post reporter Robert Costa just tweeted this, "News Giuliani", that's the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani, "Minutes after the Ty Cobb exit goes on the record with the Washington Post (inaudible) Mueller interview.

Quote, this is quoting Rudy Giuliani, "Some people have talked about a possible 12 hour interview. If it happens that's not going to happen. I'll tell you that. It would be max two to three hours around a narrow set of questions." They haven't posted the full interview yet but what's your reaction when Rudy Giuliani, the President's now lawyer says if he does sit down with Mueller and there's no guarantee he will. It would be maximum two to three hours.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNEESEE, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I don't think Rudy Giuliani remembers that the Justice Department makes the decisions in determining how long an interview will be and whether or not the issue of subpoena. And a subpoena under the power of law and the law of the United States of America and everybody even Donald Trump has to reply to that subpoena and go through the process.

BLITZER: Well what if the President declines. And says, you know what I'm not going to do it. What happens then?

COHEN: I think that the -- if he declines the subpoena I think it's in court and I think the courts will order him to participate and give his responses to the questions that he's asked. No one is above the law in our country, not Donald Trump --

[13:45:14] COHEN: -- not Rudy Giuliani.

BLITZER: But what if he pleads the 5th?

COHEN: I think if he pleads the 5th he can forget a second term. He can forget the House and the Senate in the 2018 elections. As he said in his opinion and it would be the ad that would run, a person that pleads the 5th is guilty. And to the President of the United States to plead the 5th like Carlo Gambino would be shocking and -- and something unique in American history. Jim Comey said it reminded him of a mafia family. The mafia is the group that's most known to plead the 5th and they did it before the McCarthy Committee Hearings which ironically was where Roy Cohn was the counsel, Donald Trump's mentor and guru.

And there's a great story in the New York Magazine by Frank Rich about how awful Roy Cohn was and the abuses Roy Cohn taught Donald Trump how to be abusive, how to lie, how to stonewall. And he's done it to an unbelievable extent to where he's become President of the United States even though Michael Bloomberg said so well at the Democratic Convention. He's a conman and I'm from New York and I know a conman when I see one.

BLITZER: As -- as you know the President is really going after the Justice Department in the face of some of your Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives demanding more information from the Justice Department. He tweeted this earlier today. "A rigged system", this is the President, "they don't want to turn over documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal justice?" He puts justice in quotes. At some point I have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved. That sounds like a threat. How do you react to that?

COHEN: Well, it's a threat. It's typical Donald Trump is to threaten, to boast, to brag, to make outrageous statements. He talked about North Korea being blown off the -- the face of the Earth. And -- and the --and -- and nothing of course happened. He's made threats to so many people and he doesn't follow up which is fortunate. He -- he doesn't -- this is reality television to him. And as far as the people on the House Committee that are trying to quote, unquote, "impeach" Rosenstein, they are acting liking Nunes was.

Not as Congressman, not as an independent branch of government, not honoring Article One that says all power first is in the -- is in the legislative branch representing the people. They are acting like they work for Donald Trump and they are giving up their oath of being a Congressperson who represents the people and puts a check and balance on a President. This is the most unlawful, embarrassing Administration in the history of our country. And those that support it and are complicit in it's existence will go down in flames at the polls in November of 2018.

BLITZER: Let -- let me get to some new reporting. We're just getting in from our Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta Congressman. He's saying that Ty Cobb, the President's lawyer in the White House, was quote "uncomfortable with the Mueller tweets" referring to the President's tweets about Mueller and the investigation, witch hunt, hoax, all those kinds of words that the President used. And that Ty Cobb didn't want to be part of all the mud slinging the campaign that's going on. What's your reaction to that?

COHEN: Nobody can stay around Donald Trump long who has a conscience and who has character and who believes in ethics. I think that's probably why Dowd left. That's why Ty Cobb left. And that's why Mr. Flood's time is limited. I would suspect Mr. Flood should consult with Secretary Pruitt and find a short term rental. Of course I guess he lives in Washington. He doesn't need a rental. But I don't think he should close his office up at -- at -- at Williams and Connolly because he won't be in the White House for long either.

This man is an uncaring, unethical individual who will bully anybody and takes borders and moves them down the field. And anybody with character or conscience cannot stay attached to him and if they do for long, they will be sullied and end up like Dr. Ronny Jackson with a questionable period in their life when they had none up to that point.

BLITZER: Congressman Steve Cohen, thanks for joining us.

COHEN: Thank you for having me Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up a rather scary situation on another Southwest Airlines flight. Another window cracking forcing the plane to make an emergency landing stand by for details. [13:49:33] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:53:54] BLITZER: There's some breaking news coming out of Savannah, Georgia right now where a U.S. military plane has crashed. Take a look at this. You can see the smoke coming from the crash site. The U.S Air Force says the plane is a WC-130 which is used for weather reconnaissance flights. Said the plane came from the 156th Air Wing in Puerto Rico. Normally by the way, the plane carries a crew of five people. A witness says he heard a very strange noise around 10 to 15 seconds before the plane crashed. We're going to bring you much more on this breaking story as we get more information stand by for that.

Another story we're following also pretty disturbing. A cracked window forces a Southwest Airlines plane to make an unscheduled landing. Passenger Linda Holly (ph) texted a picture of the broken window to her son. You can see -- you can see that window right there. The flight from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey was diverted to Cleveland. The FAA is investigating what caused this window to crack. And remember, the incident comes less than three weeks after an engine on a Southwest plane failed, broke a window and a woman died after she was partially sucked out of the aircraft through that window.

We're going to have much more on this story coming up in the course of the day --

[13:55:15] BLITZER: -- as well. Meanwhile there's more developments emerging on the big changes in the President's legal team. The stand off exploding between the President and Robert Mueller and the President's threat to interfere in the U.S. Justice Department. Much more on all of these breaking stories coming up. We'll be right back.