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Israel Defends Border Crackdown; Trump Caves on China's Demand; Celtics Survive Game; Markle's Father Has Heart Surgery; Royal Wedding Party. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 16, 2018 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[06:31:35] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Israel and the U.S. face intense condemnation over Israel's handling of Palestinian protests that have left at least 60 people dead at the Gaza border. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, defying much of the world by praising Israel's restraint.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is live in Gaza with the latest.

What is the situation there this morning, Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The situation this morning, Alisyn, is quiet. It appears that there are no protests planned at the moment. And it's important to keep in mind that tomorrow is the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims refrain from drinking any liquids or eating from sunrise to sunset. So it's not expected during that period that there will be a resumption in any major form of the protests we've seen that took place -- have been taking place every week since the 30th of March. So the situation is calm.

Now, as far as Nikki Haley's remarks to the United Nations yesterday regarding Israeli restraint, well certainly it's important to keep in mind it wasn't just -- it was the day before yesterday that around 60 Palestinians were killed. But since those marches began on the 30th of March, the death toll is around 110. And certainly having been to those demonstrations, restraint isn't quite how one might describe the Israeli attitude because, for instance, they are flying those drones that are spewing tear gas well inside Gaza. Not the area immediately adjacent to the fence that separates Gaza from Israel, but rather 500, 600, 700 meters inside Gaza. We saw yesterday one of those drones dropping tear gas on an area where there was a children's playground as well. So there isn't much credence being given to the idea, at least here in Gaza, that Israel is practicing restraint.

Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, not an easy place to be for the people on the ground or your team. Please be safe. It's calming now, but who knows what happens later in the day.

China reportedly giving the Trump administration a list of trade demands. What do they want and what President Trump has already given them, next.

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[06:37:54] CUOMO: "The Washington Post" has obtained a list of demands from the Chinese government to the U.S. ahead of high level trade talks. "The Post" reporting the demands range from reasonable to kind of ridiculous. President Trump has already caved on one of those demands, instructing his Commerce Department to help the Chinese tech company ZTE get back in business.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst and columnist for "The Washington Post," Josh Rogin. Key booking. He broke this story and got the list we're about to show you. And American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Derek Scissors. Now Derrick doesn't just have an amazing name. He also consulted for the Trump administration on China policy in the past.

Gentlemen, thank you.

Josh, congratulations to you. Important information.

Let's put it up on the screen. All right, it's a big list of different things. But here -- there are four pages of different things, all right, and we'll scroll through them.

Josh, do us a favor and give us the flavor of the kinds of things China is looking for.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, basically what the Chinese government has demanded is that the U.S. government and the Trump administration abandoned its project to confront China's economic aggression and hand over the keys of the U.S. economy to the Chinese communist party and its related industries. And you look at these demands and the -- sort of the sheer audacity of them.

I mean let's take the first one, eliminate the Tiananmen Square sanctions, which would require the Trump administration to certify that China is a good actor in human rights, which flies against all facts in evidence that exist. I mean it's just preposterous.

And then if you go down the list more, you see that they want to be involved in our infrastructure projects and they want to be able to have free reign over our technology sectors. And these are things that the Trump administration, if you had asked me Saturday I would have said there's no way that they would to. But then on Sunday, we get a tweet and all of a sudden Trump has seems to have agreed to one of their key demands, which is to let one of their worst actors, ZTE, off the hook for busting sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

And that raised the question both inside and outside the administration of what the heck is going on here? What is the Trump administration doing? And it sends a signal to the Chinese that the Trump administration doesn't have the stomach to fight this long economic battle that is definitely coming with China. And it's bad negotiating. It sort of sends mixed messages and just leaves a lot of people scratching their heads. [06:40:10] CUOMO: All right, so let's engage that scratch a little bit, Derek.

The idea of why is the Trump administration doing something like helping ZTE when have -- you have these extant issues of them abusing intellectual property and doing things that they're not supposed to do to create unfair advantage. Do you believe this is about a larger strategy, or do you have questions about whether or not there's some length between Chinese funding of Trump projects and his now newfound leniency towards them?

DEREK SCISSORS, RESIDENT SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: I don't think there's a link to the funding of the projects. That project is several years old. There was Chinese involvement in it several years ago. It still hasn't gotten off the ground. I don't think that's the story here.

I do think the story here is the president made a serious mistake. First of all, he interfered in a U.S. legal process, which he should not do while you're bargaining with the Chinese. They shouldn't be able to change how we're going to apply U.S. law. And, second, he gave away the one action that the Trump administration has taken that has actually hurt China before the negotiations have started. That doesn't sound like art of the deal.

So we have a -- we have a bargaining mistake and we have a political mistake. I don't think there's any connection to the Chinese participating in a project in Indonesia.

CUOMO: Well, why would he do something, Derek, that is so obviously inimical to the momentum you had before and the stated proposition of what would create balance?

SCISSORS: Well, I agree with you that it is inimical. I mean there's a phrase in the president's tweet, too many jobs in China lost.

CUOMO: Right.

SCISSORS: You know, the whole idea was to bring those jobs back to the United States. That's what he ran on. So there's definitely a mistake here.

I think he's been listening to people who are afraid of a confrontation with China, people within his administration. I don't know that. It's speculation.

ROGIN: I know that.

SCISSORS: And we've been speculating for a while that a group -- Josh knows it -- speculating for a while that a group led by Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin does not want the confrontation with China that the president has ran on and talked about and they may have won the battle temporarily.

CUOMO: All right, Josh, help us. Put some meat on the bones here. We started off with Trump calling China a rapist. And that was a huge part of his muscled-up campaign talk, right? And now he's doing something that I don't think we would have seen any of the last couple of administrations do. Make sense of it.

ROGIN: Look, President Trump has been saying this since 1989. He believes in his heart of hearts that the Chinese government is screwing us on trade and all sorts of other things. And that's -- that's something that he hasn't changed his mind on.

What's going on inside the White House is all-out warfare between a camp led by Secretary Mnuchin and National Counsel Director Larry Kudlow on one side, you know, USTR Lighthizer and Peter Navarro on the other side. Wilbur Ross is back and forth and it's hard to tell exactly where he is on any given day and they're fighting for Trump's attention and for control over this policy. And each of them represents a big set of interests. And when you talk about something as consequential and as generationally important as the overall protection of the U.S. and international economy from Chinese economic aggression, big interests -- big money interests are involved.

And the finance community is very risk averse. Wall Street doesn't want to see a trade war. The national security community is very concerned. They don't want to see Chinese technology in American telecom, for example, OK. And both sides can't win. And eventually Trump is going to have to decide whether or not he has the stomach for this fight. And my opinion is that he -- we have no choice but to fight it. And that means engaging with China in these kinds of talks to try to get them to change their behavior. And then if they won't change their behavior, messaging to them clearly that we're going to defend ourselves. And we're not quite there yet. And this was a huge step back in that regard and one I think that the Trump administration already regrets.

CUOMO: And are you on the same page with Derek, that you don't buy the China's financing Trump's deals so he's being nice to them theory?

ROGIN: No, I think there are hundreds of things going on. And I do agree with Derek, there are hundreds of things going on in the U.S.- China relationship. They're not all related all the time. And, you know, because this is such a complicated and big project, we have to be careful not to see boogeyman under every single deal. It's possible there's a connection. Until that's proven, we should be careful but we should keep our eye on the prize.

CUOMO: Josh, thank you for bringing us the information.

ROGIN: Any time.

CUOMO: I mean just how bold their asks are give you a good window into what they think their leverage is in this negotiation.

ROGIN: Exactly.

CUOMO: And, Derek Scissors, nice to add you to the mix. Good to have you.

All right, Alisyn. CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk sports.

A huge night for LeBron James. But was it enough to beat the Celtics. We'll find out in the "Bleacher Report," next.

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[06:48:48] CUOMO: LeBron James says he wasn't concerned after losing game one. Is he concerned now? He's in an 0-2 hole despite a monster game by him.

Lindsay Czarniak has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report."

It ain't one on five. That's not a recipe for success.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't always work, right, unfortunately.

And we knew that he would come out on fire because that's what LeBron James does after he suffers a loss like we saw the Cavaliers have in game one. But it wasn't enough for the win because he did not get the help he needed. And the Celtics are really, really good.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

When I say LeBron James took over, he basically played Boston solo for the first quarter, like Chris said. He scored 21 points the first quarter. A playoff high for James. That was halted by a scary moment then in the second quarter. LeBron, you see it here, forced to go to the locker room after taking a Jayson Tatum shoulder to his jaw. He would come back, though. The Celtics were able to pull away, however, with a 36-point third quarter. Six Boston players scoring in double figures. They're 9-0 at home in the playoffs. Now, though, they go to Cleveland for game three. That's Saturday. LeBron James knows his team has a lot of work to do after Boston made the most of those first two games.

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LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: They did what they had to do, and that was protect home. And now it's our -- and now it's our time to try to do that as well. So, you know, we have a few days, like I said, and, you know, we all -- let's see what we're made of on Saturday.

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[06:50:13] CZARNIAK: LeBron James has trailed two games to none in a series six times in his career. He has come back to win that series twice. So it's an uphill battle, but we'll see.

CUOMO: Uphill?

CZARNIAK: Uphill. Wait --

CUOMO: Like Kilimanjaro is uphill. CZARNIAK: Potentially. Sure.

You know, I mean, it's sports, you've got to keep both sides going (ph).

CUOMO: And you think they get a game?

CZARNIAK: I think they get a game because I find it very hard to believe that they would go back to Cleveland. I mean he hasn't done that. This would be a horrific embarrassment for him if that happens.

CAMEROTA: All right, we shall see.

Lindsay, thank you very much.

OK, now to the royal drama. It continues to ramp up. TMZ reports that Meghan Markle's father will not attend the royal wedding. We'll bring you all of the latest, next.

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[06:55:01] CAMEROTA: The royal wedding happens on Saturday. And TMZ, the celebrity gossip cite, is reporting that Meghan's father will skip the nuptials because he's having heart surgery today. This comes after a lot of drama with the Markle family.

So here to discuss, we have CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter.

Victoria, great to have you here.

My goodness, I mean weddings, all weddings, most weddings are such times of stress and family drama. And having all of this play out on the national stage is just really regrettable, it seems. But is Mr. Markle, Meghan's father, having heart surgery today?

VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, you hit the nail on the head, this has been the most extraordinary 48 hours with will he, won't he, will he. It appears today we are back on, he won't. Because, according to TMZ, none of this has been corroborated, but TMZ is reporting that Mr. Markle has informed them that he's going to be undergoing heart surgery today, which, of course, will leave him too ill to attend the wedding on Saturday.

We're hoping that this is the final, definitive answer because, of course, for Meghan this has been an incredibly stressful week in the buildup to what should be a very happy occasion. So hopefully this is the final answer so that we can all move on and Meghan can start to enjoy the friends and family that have started flying into town.

CAMEROTA: I mean it's hard not to think, Victoria, that this is somehow the result of this very stressful week that he's had. Just to catch people up, as you know, he made this -- what he says was a regrettable decision to participate with a -- to sell photos, staged photos, of himself, you know, preparing for the wedding to the paparazzi. And he then thought that the photos looked hammy and corny and he regretted it. And -- but, you know, I mean, look, it sounds like he was trying to

control the narrative after the paparazzi had been following him around, showing him purchasing beer and things like that. You know, Meghan Markle's older half-sister, with whom she's not close, hasn't spoken to in years, went on TV yesterday to try to defend her father. So listen to this moment.

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SAMANTHA MARKLE, MEGHAN MARKLE'S HALF-SISTER: I feel that the red carpet should have been rolled out for him. I was never jealous or judging or meaning to hurt or criticize her, but I love my dad. I've been his daughter since 1964. And, you know, I've got to say, I think a lot of daughters would rise to dad's defense. And I feel like she could have been doing more early on. The paparazzi would have never gotten to him and a lot of this perhaps would not have happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: I don't know if the paparazzi would never have gotten to him.

But, Victoria, what has -- what has Harry and Meghan's response been to all of this, or Buckingham Palace's?

ARBITER: Well, Kensington Palace simply released a very short, minimal statement the day this story first break -- broke, just saying that they were pleading for respect and understanding for Mr. Markle. But it's incredibly difficult to feel sympathy for Samantha Markle. She has been a train wreck since this engagement was announced. She's changed her narrative. She's changed the story. She seemed to love playing the victim, which is grossly unfair to Meghan. I think she and Harry have tried to support Mr. Markle as best they can, but I think he made some poor choices, some bad decisions. He got caught up in a situation that was bigger than him and I think probably didn't fully understand the repercussions. He now has to live with those consequences.

But I'm not sure that the Markle family really deserve our sympathy. Mr. Markle certainly, if he is going through a health crisis, he really needs everyone's support and respect and I'm sure some privacy over the coming days. But you do have to feel very sorry for Meghan this week because, as you rightfully pointed out before, this is happening on the global stage. It is deeply humiliating, deeply embarrassing. She's marrying into the royal family. She's very conscious of keeping respect for the queen. And I think she's just embarrassed that her family has led to this catastrophically enormous story.

CAMEROTA: And then, of course, there's also the tragically ironic piece of this, which is, once again, the paparazzi, you know, ruining something -- well, not ruining, but certainly getting in the way of something. And, of course, it just brings up the specter of what happened with Harry and Princess Diana and the paparazzi's role in all of that. And it just feels -- that is just a sad note.

So on a happy note, Victoria, let's end on what the palace has put out in terms of who --

ARBITER: Yes, let's end on a happy note.

CAMEROTA: OK, who will be in the bridal party. They've just announced it this morning. And these two cutie pies that we're about to pull up, the bridesmaids will be children, I guess, led by Charlotte and the page boys will also, obviously, be children led there by George.

What else do we know?

ARBITER: Well, we have 10 children ranging in ages from two till seven. So can you say organized chaos, albeit the adorable form of chaos. The party is made up of six bridesmaids, four page boys. They are godchildren of the couple. They're family members, George and Charlotte, niece and nephew of Harry, and also they're children's friends -- friend's children. The Mulroneys have got three children included in this bridal party.

So I think it's going to be a lot of fun. There is not an adult bridesmaid as we know going to be there corralling these children. So I think they're going to -- perhaps if anyone's going to upstage the bride, it could be this group of ten. But they're going to be very sweet.

[07:00:12] CAMEROTA: OK, Victoria, I will look forward to seeing you in a couple of --