Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Will Make An Announcement At 2:00 pm Eastern Tomorrow On The Iran Agreement; White House Says John Kerry's Contact With Iran Will Have Not Impact On The Deal; Trump's CIA Pick Embattled; Giuliani Says Trump Could Plead The Fifth To Avoid Testifying, Trump Says Doesn't Read Many Books. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 7, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We have some breaking news, President Trump just tweeting that he will make an announcement at 2:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow on whether the U.S. is going to leave the Iran nuclear agreement. And CNN has taken a closer look at the biggest losers if Trump does decide to abandon that nuclear deal. If you drive a car, brace yourself. Gas prices are certain to rise as it becomes more difficult for Iran to sell its oil on the international market. And puts a dent on global supply.
Also, bad news for Boeing and Airbus who may have to scrap plans to modernize Iran's aging fleet of airplanes. General Electric received millions of dollars last year for its oil and gas business and Germany's Volkswagen had only just announced that it had planned to sell cars in Iran for the first time in 17 years. And then finally, airlines, hotel groups who receive tourism dollars thanks to the lifted sanctions may also take a hit. We have Jake Tapper are CNN chief Washington correspondent with us and the anchor of "THE LEAD" and "STATE OF THE UNION" with us to discuss this. He is the author of the new novel, very good novel, "The Hell Fire Club" which will debut at number three on "The New York Times" best seller's list this Sunday. Congratulations. Quite a big accomplishment.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thank you so much.
KEILAR: So, as we look towards tomorrow at 2 PM, do we know anything about what we're expecting to hear?
TAPPER: No, we don't know and obviously with President Trump, nothing is firm until he actually goes out and does it. That said, you can look at the tea leaves. One, the prime minister of France Macron came to the United States and tried to convince the president to stay in the Iran deal. He left Washington seeming to think that President Trump was going to withdraw. And in fact, he's been out there subsequently talking about how he thinks that this will more likely lead to war in the region. So that's one.
[15:35:00] Two, the national security adviser John Bolton is much more skeptical of the Iran deal than the previous national security adviser Lieutenant General HR McMaster. And three, everything the president has said in recent weeks suggests that he thinks that it is a bad deal, he thinks it's a disaster and he doesn't support it. So, reading the tea leaves it looks like he will withdraw. But who knows ultimately what he'll do.
KEILAR: "The Boston Globe" out with a story about how John Kerry has been working back channels, in touch with Iran's foreign minister, with allies with the U.S. and it is something that has ticked off the president, this idea of shadow diplomacy. What has Kerry been up to?
TAPPER: "The Boston Globe" did an extensive report and I don't have anything to add. But one thing that he has been doing is trying to tell members of congress what will happen if the deal is ripped up because he supports the deal, he helped negotiate the deal. He even was on capitol hill last week, he met with House Speaker Paul Ryan in February to try to make the case that the deal as it exists, however flawed it might be, is better than ripping up the deal. So, he has been out there, you hear a lot of Republicans talking about maybe this is against the law, maybe this is a violation of the Logan Act. But whatever it is, he is clearly advocating for this agreement.
KEILAR: And I want to ask you about Senator John McCain. Great story in "The New York Times" as he is talking to friends, tying up loose ends, even making plans for his funeral as he battles brain cancer in Arizona and spends time with his friends and family. It turns out and CNN has confirmed that he does not want President Trump at his funeral, that this is something that actually those close to him have communicated to the White House. What do you make of that?
TAPPER: Well, Barbara Bush conveyed the same thing to the White House. Look, John McCain has been and continues to be in his new book and elsewhere very critical of President Trump and perhaps more importantly Trumpism, what it stands for in terms of trade, what it stands for in terms of immigration. And in addition, you might remember when Donald Trump was initially running for president, he denigrated John McCain's war service. He said he's not a war hero. He's a war hero who was captured I prefer people who were not captured.
Which is an incredibly callous and rude thing to say whatever you think of John McCain's politics. That said McCain is talking about having both Barack Obama and George W. Bush as speakers at his funeral, those are both individuals who defeated John McCain. So, in that, I see as a long time McCain observer a symbolism of bringing together former opponents to memorialize him as a way of talking about this country and how people can come together. I'm not sure that this information about uninviting Donald Trump was supposed to get out there, but it is out there. And it can be seen as a true reflection of his feelings about President Trump.
KEILAR: Yes. Jake, thank you so much. Congrats on the book. It is very good. I've started it.
TAPPER: Great. Cool.
KEILAR: I bought it. I actually bought it.
TAPPER: I would have given you a free one.
KEILAR: Well, you know -- TAPPER: I like the Amazon number going up because of you.
KEILAR: All right. Thank you so much were going to see you at the top of the hour on "THE LEAD." Right now, President Trump's nominee to be CIA director is meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Why her confirmation is far from guaranteed and what we're learning about the White House backup plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINA HASPEL, NOMINEE FOR CIA DIRECTOR: it was an excellent meeting, Sen., thank you so much. I'm looking forward to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking forward to all the concerns and yes and answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: Gina Haspel, the president's controversial pick to lead the CIA, on Capitol Hill at this hour in a last-minute effort to shore up support for her troubled nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Any chance that you withdraw from this nomination?
HASPEL: Hi, everybody. Looking forward to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That was Haspel responding to CNN's Manu Raju as she arrived to meet with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. This is a move that follows Haspel's offer to withdraw her name because of scrutiny over her role in Bush era torture tactics. Sources telling CNN that national security officials and Republicans are actually now preparing a backup plan should the nomination fall apart during her hearings this week.
CNN's Manu Raju is joining us live. Manu, one, Haspel super ignored you there. It seemed clear that she heard your question. The president though is publicly supporting Haspel on Twitter. What is the sentiment there on Capitol Hill?
RAJU: Well, right now it is uncertain whether or not she will get the votes to be confirmed largely because that confirmation hearing is Wednesday, it will be pivotal in determining whether or not she gets the votes to become confirmed because already there is one Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky who said that he will vote against her.
[15:45:00] If he sticks to that, they will need Democratic support in order to push her over the finish line. Joe Manchin after he left the 45-minute meeting with Gina Haspel said that he is quote, very open minded, and he is a moderate Democratic Senator, possible other moderate Democrats do support her as well, but one big fight is over records. Records over three-decade career at the CIA, there is a significant push to declassify some of these records about her role including for some Democratic critics on the committee like Ron Widen of Oregon who told me that what has been released publicly so far is insufficient.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON WIDEN, (D), OREGON: The more I learn about this matter, the more convinced I am that there is literally an A to Z coverup going on here. What you have is selective declassification, you have a public influence campaign being waged by the agency, and just a boat load of misinformation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, the CIA has been defending her nomination and she has also internally saying everything that happened during the Bush era was done legally and lawfully and she will abide by the law you now that outlaws torture tactics like waterboarding. But still, Brianna, and a significant move just moments ago Mark Warner top Democrat on the committee says that the certain release of more information to the committee by the CIA is unacceptable. He is demanding more records to be released and declassified before that Wednesday hearing. So, you are seeing this process play out and that could be significant if Democrats decide to hold -- withhold their support if the CIA does not provide more about her record.
KEILAR: Manu Raju. Thank you for the update. We do appreciate it.
The president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani now raising the possibility that the president may not comply with any subpoena from Robert Mueller and that the president could take the fifth. Find out what happens if he does.
KEILAR: Moments ago, the White House defended the president's newest attorney, Rudy Giuliani despite the fact the former New York mayor revealed the
president reimbursed a hush money payout and said there could possibly be more women paid off by Trump's attorney and said that Trump could defy a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and said that the president could plead the fifth to avoid testifying before the special counsel. Here now with the latest word from the White House on Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALES: Is the president pleased with the appearances of Rudy Giuliani over the past few days.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I didn't speak with him about his feelings about it. But certainly, feels that he's an added member -- added value member to his outside special counsel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:50:00] KEILAR: Joining me now, we have former federal prosecutor Joseph Moreno with us. So, if the president decides that he's going to plead the fifth, what happens then? What is the effect, the domino effect of that?
JOSEPH MORENO, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: We don't really know. Because it never really has been done. This would be considered kryptonite to any other president, so I think every effort would have been made not to get to this point and to negotiate some back and forth that a sitting president could live with to give the information he or she needed to give without being put in the position of being compelled and then having to plead the fifth. I say any other president, though, because this president has been able to withstand so much in the past and if it is a question between pleading the fifth and dealing with the political aftermath or putting himself in the cross hairs of a potential interview by prosecutors, I would take the former, Brianna, and I think this president could figure he could weather the political storm better than the legal one.
KEILAR: It's really interesting. So, Giuliani, the president's lawyer, also said that the president doesn't have to comply with the subpoena from the special counsel. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens if Robert Mueller subpoenas the president. Will you comply?
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR TRUMP: We don't have to. He is the president of the United States. We could assert the same privilege that other presidents have -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Is that true. He doesn't have to?
MORENO: It dove tails to what I was talking about. There are three strategies the president could deal with if he is faced with a subpoena. He could comply, he could fight it in the courts, he would probably lose, but that could buy him some time, or he could plead the fifth. And basically, say look I am not going to put myself in criminal jeopardy by complying with this subpoena.
So, the mayor is off when he said he doesn't have to comply. He has to comply. But those are his options and one of them could be simply, opting not to put himself in that position.
KEILAR: So, he might have to comply but then his off-ramp is pleading the fifth.
MORENO: That is right.
KEILAR: Joseph thank you so much. Joseph Moreno with us, we appreciate it. And next President Trump as book promotor using Twitter again to support a book that paints him in a good light despite the fact he said he doesn't have time to read.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: Among President Trump's many tweets today surrounding the Russia investigation there was a promotion of a new book with distinct political bias by a pundit who supports him and while the White House press office has a tradition of revealing what a current presidents are reading, especially during the summer months when they might have more time or pretend to, no president has pushed for sales about political books about themselves and policies quite like Trump. Joining me now politics reporter and editor at large, Chris Cillizza. This isn't the first time the president has promoted a book about himself.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Absolutely not. Let's go through a few. Up here, the first of December 16th, 2017, this is the book Cory Lewandowsky, former campaign manager and still political gad fly, "Let Trump be Trump." He liked that book because his name was in the title twice. And another one. Highly respected author Christopher Bedford came up with a good book, "The Art of The Donald, Lessons from America's Philosopher in Chief."
Now the chances that he read this book are somewhere between zero and zero percent. But he likes it because it is about Donald Trump. I'll note, since February of this year, these two are last year, since February of this year, seven tweets about a variety of different books, including one this morning about a book about the campaign and the populist uprising that it fermented. It is interesting for a couple of reasons but most notably because Donald Trump isn't self- admitted. Not a big reader. Listen to what he told Megyn Kelly in May of 2016 about his reading habits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Favorite book, other than the Bible or "The Art of The Deal."
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Um, "All Quiet on The Western Front."
KELLY: What was the last book you read? Do you get any time to read?
TRUMP: It is so long -- I read passages, I read areas and chapters. I just don't have the time. You know, when was the last time I watched a baseball game. I'm watching you all of the time --
KELLY: l I knew it.
TRUMP: I'm watching O'Reilly all of the time. I'm watching Hannity. But I don't have the time. I would love to sit down and read a book.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CILLIZZA: OK. So first ever all, one big takeaway, he watches a lot of table television no matter what he said, but the lack of reading and lack of interest in reading is a big contrast to our last two presidents. So here we've got -- this is George W. Bush and what he read -- I believe it is summer reading list at one point. So, you have a very traditional presidential mix. "Salt, an Oral History," whatever floats your boat. "The Stranger," Albert Camus, a French modernist book about the great flu and then Lincoln.
Let's go to Obama, a similar list. The biography of George Washington, between the world and me and everyone on earth, myself included has read "All of The Light We Cannot See" an absolutely amazing novel. Now you see this. Now go to Trump. Now there is something you'll notice in here. Trump -- Trump, Trump, Trump, this is about -- the book I talked about today," The Great Revolt Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics," doesn't say Trump on it but that is where it gets to. Very different.
[16:00:00] Here is the through-line of the books that Donald Trump tweets about. They're about either him or about the campaign he ran. They are written by friends or people -- journalists who are favorable to him, tell the story he wants to be told. Remember, good in Donald Trump's book means good for him. And his reading habits or lack there of speak to that very thing. Back to you, Brianna.
KEILAR: Real quick, Chris Cillizza, what are you reading?
CILLIZZA: So, I'm reading the Ulysses Grant biography which I really like. And I'm reading a mystery novel because you have to have guilty pleasures. I'm also reading "Let Trump be Trump" -- no, I'm not reading that.
KEILAR: I'm reading "The Hellfire Club." I actually am.
CILLIZZA: I've already read it, Brianna. Hi, Jake.
KEILAR: I know. It's assigned reading. Chris Cillizza, thank you so much. So, we're getting a look -- I want to show you this. This is the destructive power of that volcanic eruption in Hawaii. That is time lapse video of molten lava showing how fast the lava flow rolls across the city street and eventually destroys a car. So far you have 35 structures that is 26 homes included and destroyed authorities are now pleading with tourists and sightseers and saying avoid this neighborhood where the lava and the fumes are seeping through giant cracks and these giant fissures in the ground. And the "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper begins now.