Return to Transcripts main page


Attorney Goes on Racist Rant in New York Restaurant; President Trump Speaks Out on North Korea; Who Did Don Jr. Call After Trump Tower Meeting?. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired May 17, 2018 - 15:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I'd like to see Syria come back. I think we have gone a long way to helping it with what we did with respect to the Iran deal.

And you will see what I mean by that over time. A lot of things will happen.

QUESTION: Mr. President (OFF-MIKE). A lot of your supporters said that you deserve Nobel Peace Prize with what is happening with North Korea.

What do you think you have to achieve in the coming -- upcoming summit to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know.

Look, I want to have peace in the world. That's what I really want, more so than the Nobel Peace Prize or any other prize. I would like the see peace in the -- ideally in Middle East, but in the entire world.

And I think we have a chance of doing it. North Korea is going to be very important. It is a tremendous part of the world. I think it has got tremendous potential. I think it has got tremendous potential for its leader and for its people.

But we will see how it all works out. Right now, we are dealing with them. We are dealing -- as I said just a little while ago, we are dealing as though nothing happened. They are dealing with us. We are dealing with them. They are working out times and meeting places and everything.

But in the meantime, if I read your various media, I find -- the various media -- I find that maybe it is a not going to take place. If it doesn't take place, that's fine. And if it does take place, I think some tremendous things can happen. We will see what happens.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) pull the U.S. out of the Iran deal (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Yes, I think it is a great thing that the U.S. is out of the Iran deal, because it was a ridiculous deal for the U.S. and it is a ridiculous deal for the world. OK? QUESTION: The president of the E.U. said yesterday about you, with friends like that, who needs enemies? How do you respond?

TRUMP: Well, I could reverse that.

Look, the European Union has been terrible to the United States on trade. They have been terrible to our workers. The European Union last year, we had a trade deficit of $151 billion.

And I know Jean-Claude very well, and I know Donald very well. And I like them both. But they are very tough. And we never had anybody negotiating for us.

And, frankly, the European Union, outside of China and a couple of others, treats us on trade as badly as you can be treated. They have trade barriers. Our farmers aren't allowed to a large extent to sell their product into the European Union.

It is very hard for us to sell our cars into the European Union. But the European Union, in this case Germany, has its Mercedes and its BMWs and its cars pouring into the United States with no barriers.

They pay a tiny tax, whereas the European Union charges a massive tax and doesn't even want the tax. They don't want the cars. They don't want the product. So we lost $151 billion last year dealing with the European Union.

So they can call me all sorts of names. And if I were them, I would call me names also, because it's not going to happen any longer.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.


TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. Say hello to Jean-Claude.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you have been listening there to round two of President Trump next to the NATO secretary-general.

Here, he talked Iran, he talked immigration, trade negotiations.

I do want to start with North Korea, because President Trump talking at length really for the first time since Kim Jong-un threatened to pull out of next month's nuclear summit in Singapore, the president contradicting his national security adviser, John Bolton, who has proposed the -- quote -- "Libya model" for North Korea. Listen.


TRUMP: The Libyan model was a much different model.

We decimated that country. We never said to Gadhafi, oh, we're going to give you protection, we're going to give you military strength, we're going to give you all of threat things. We went in and decimated him and we did the same thing with Iraq.

But the model, if you look at that model with Gadhafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now, that model would take place in we don't make a deal most, likely. But if we make a deal, I believe Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. I really believe he's going to be very happy.

But this is just the opposite. And I think when John Bolton made that statement, he was talking about if we're going to be having a problem, because we cannot let that country have nukes. We just can't do it.

So that's the way it meant. So, it's just the opposite, because if you look -- again, if you look at Syria, that was a total decimation.


KEILAR: All right, let's unwind these rhetorical gymnastics with Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent, Jim Sciutto with us as well. He's CNN's chief security national correspondent, and CNN political analyst Brian Karem us as well.

OK, so, just to be clear, what happened was John, Bolton, his new national security adviser, said, we're looking at the Libya model. Libya hands over its -- some nuclear parts. It's a very different situation than what North Korea has.


And sanctions are lessened. Of course, Gadhafi got taken out by rebels backed by the U.S. and allies.

So, Kim Jong-un hears that, he freaks out, right? North Korea cites these comments as something that is really upsetting to this whole process. Then the talks are endangered.

And Trump there is saying actually, no, no, no, no. He completely throws John Bolton under the bus and says, but if these don't work out, maybe that is that model.


So, two very contradictory messages from the president. I have to say, sometimes, it's -- a lot of times it's the president's aides cleaning up for him. I think in this case -- I can let you guys talk about the substance of what he meant, but just in terms of the approach, the strategy and the sort of diplomacy attempt here, it is him trying to say, oh, no, don't worry, Kim Jong-un, I got this.

What upset you about what my very new national security adviser said, by the way, the same guy who has been very openly until he came into the Trump administration against the notion of sitting down with the North Koreans, very hard-line on the North Koreans, never mind what he said.

And so, look, I think that this is, as I said, his way of cleaning it up. The other thing that he tried to do is get it back on track with his rhetoric by saying, everything's fine, we're going ahead with this, we haven't heard anything different in the back channel. But that was certainly a pretty remarkable moment.

KEILAR: It was unbelievable.

And then so he says over and over, but we decimated Libya, we decimated Libya. We didn't say that we would get protection to Gadhafi. We didn't say he would have military strength.

And he seems to be saying to Kim Jong-un, you will have adequate protection.

It's stunning to hear the president say that.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president doesn't know what the Libya model is, right?


SCIUTTO: He's confusing two different things.

What John Bolton was referring to was a deal prior to the 2011 U.S.- backed invasion or air campaign there, where -- this is several years before, where the U.S. negotiated and European partners for him to remove his nuclear program at the time top to bottom.

What followed several years later was a military intervention in Libya with European backing, because the concern at the time was that Moammar Gadhafi was going to decimate some minority populations there, this kind of thing.

So what John Bolton was referring to was the nuclear agreement that removed Libya's nuclear program, not to the air campaign that followed several years later. So, either the president doesn't know what the Libya model is or he was mixing up two different things.


KEILAR: But isn't Kim Jong-un hearing Libya model and going, Gadhafi is dead, right?


SCIUTTO: No, but the point -- why it's relevant is that it was a mistake for John Bolton to bring up the Libya model as a good one--

KAREM: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: -- because Libya did get rid of its weapons and several years later he was removed by -- Gadhafi was removed by Western force.


SCIUTTO: That's why the Libya model -- first of all, get the facts right on it first, which is something we often have to do, but, second of all, why that is an uncomfortable association for Kim if you're trying to make a deal with him.

KAREM: All you have to do is see a picture of Gadhafi when they were pulling him out when he was dead for the people in North Korea to go time-out for this important commercial message.

KEILAR: Because regime change is the fear.


KEILAR: Kim Jong-un wants the guarantee that this is not about regime change.


KAREM: What you just said, the president today was playing clean-up. The idea of Trump playing clean-up is frightening.

SCIUTTO: But he didn't clean it up.


KAREM: He didn't clean it up. That's my point.

He's trying to clean up something that Bolton did. Neither one of them got their facts straight. And you got North Korea panicking over what is -- what may or may not happen.


KAREM: So, at the end of the day -- and, see, I think this is all -- we're all talking politics in a vacuum, actually, because we really don't know what this president or the administration is going to do at any given minute.

It will change on a dime, and we're left trying, without having adequate access -- and these meetings that you see, these sprays, are not adequate access to find out what's really going on.

KEILAR: No. Sure.


KAREM: It's a smokescreen to keep us from finding out what really is going on, because I still think that, at bottom line, they're still flying on the seat of their pants, making it up as they go along.

KEILAR: Jim, you have extensive experience in China. It was really interesting to hear the president blaming the Chinese president, basically saying, well, look, Kim Jong-un made another trip to China, and the next thing you know, things are falling apart was kind of what he was saying.

What's his calculus there?

SCIUTTO: It's hard to say, because it changes so quickly. On one days -- a few days ago, we were talking about how the president

was willing to make an enormous concession to China, which is to rescue ZTE, which is a company that all of U.S. intelligence chiefs say is being used as a tool to surveil the American population, in effect, right?

He was willing to make an agreement to rescue that company for, as the president tweeted, Chinese jobs. Now, a couple of days later -- and this is partly life in Trump world, right? You're his best friend or you're his worst enemy, depending on what issue he's talking about, now making a threat there.


And you have to wonder how officials in Beijing ride out those ups and downs and try to read the president to see where he actually stands on these issues.

KEILAR: But on the saving of jobs through ZTE, he's also -- he's so sensitive to that, because he's come out and said we need to save these jobs, and then he gets so dinged for it because there are a number of problems with ZTE.

BASH: Yes. He should be sensitive to it.

KEILAR: Sure, he should be. You have got DOD saying this should be a national security risk.

BASH: Sure.

KEILAR: They're not selling their phones on military bases. They think they could be compromised, also because they took U.S. parts and sold their product to Iran and North Korea, in violation of American law.


KEILAR: OK, he's focusing still today on, but there a lot of U.S. jobs, there are a lot of U.S. jobs that are connected to ZTE, which also kind of speaks to this globalization that he's -- he and those around him kind of reject. And yet he seems to be admitting it right there.

BASH: Right.

I don't think there has ever been an accusation that this White House or this president is highly consistent. I mean, there's just no -- there's no other way to say it.

KEILAR: Consistently inconsistent.

BASH: Consistently inconsistent.


BASH: Having said that, what is one thing that we have seen a pattern of and knowing how the president operates now, after we have all watched him in this capacity for two-and-a-half years, since he's been a candidate, is, kind of like the way that he doesn't say he's sorry, he doesn't back down even if and when a move that he makes is clearly wrong.

And the ZTE move was clearly wrong on a policy level, on a P.R. level, on an economic -- I mean, all across the board.

Now, he's had supporters saying it's a game of chess. He is trying to explain it away. And that's what that is, even if it contradicts the notion of his fear about globalization and sort of pooh-poohing the idea that does help American jobs.


KAREM: And words have -- words have -- the problem with all of that, as he explains all this away, and we're sitting here discussing it, is, words have consequences, especially in the international community, where they're not used to seeing an American government this chaotic or this despotic.

And so the problem that he has as he tries to explain it away, when you look at it from outside the U.S., when I talk to people from outside of the U.S., they're always saying they don't see what is going -- they don't know what's going on, what -- and we have to say, neither do we.

SCIUTTO: And it causes real concern.


SCIUTTO: As you see the president there next the head of NATO, just a couple of days ago, the head of the European Council, who used to be the prime minister of NATO ally Poland, said that Europe can no longer rely on the U.S. anymore, as you have the president there saying, well, listen, countries who don't meet the 2 percent limit, maybe we will abandon them.

But that's a -- as you say, those words and those threats have real meaning.


KEILAR: Jim, Brian, and Dana, thank you so much to all of you.

Next: Who was Donald Trump Jr. calling moments after that now infamous meeting at Trump Tower? We now know from newly released transcripts that Donald Trump Jr. called someone on a blocked number, and yet the president's son can't recall who it was.

We will have more on that next.


[15:17:22] KEILAR: The president today slamming the one-year anniversary of the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. He called the Russia probe in a tweet -- quote -- "the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted witch-hunt."

Moments ago, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders added this:


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president knows that there was no collusion in the campaign, and he has been quite clear about this.

It's gone on for over a year. They have found no evidence of collusion and still strongly believe that it's a witch-hunt. I'm not sure how we could be any more clear and certainly not sure how the president could be any more clear about his beliefs and his opinion.


KEILAR: Now, the Mueller anniversary happens as we get new details on the infamous Trump Tower meeting when Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign members met with Russians five months before the election.

We now know from newly released transcripts that Donald Trump Jr. called someone on a blocked number twice, three days before the meeting and once just after it happened. And yet the president's son can't remember who it was. Now Democrats are demanding answers.

And, in the meantime, Rudy Giuliani is trying to downplay the point of the meeting, which for the Trump campaign to get a smoking gun against Hillary Clinton. Well, that failed to happen.


QUESTION: The headlines today, CNN, all these others, Don Jr. admits he was looking for dirt on Hillary from the Russians.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Oh, wow. And they weren't looking for dirt on Donald Trump? Even if it comes from a Russian or German or an American, it doesn't matter. And they never used it, is the main thing, never used it. They rejected it. If there was collusion with the Russians, they would have used it.


KEILAR: Joining me now is former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.

Elie, we do -- according to Donald Trump Jr., who is unaware of who this -- or he says he doesn't recall who this was that he spoke to who has a blocked number, does that matter when it comes to the special counsel? Is the special counsel still able to piece this together?


I mean, the special counsel certainly is going to be looking right at these calls to the blocked number. Any time you have an important event in a criminal investigation, a meeting, a phone call, any incident, the first thing you want to know is, who did the participants talk to before, during and after?

You get the person's phone records. Here, they see these calls to the blocked number. And now there seems to be good evidence that that was probably President Trump.

And so investigators are going to want to know what was said, what was the reason for the call. This could well be evidence of collusion.

KEILAR: Well, and the telephone company, as we understand it, it's not a secret to them who this number was. Right? So, is that something the special counsel could get?


HONIG: Absolutely.

It's something that I'm sure, if I had to bet, Robert Mueller and his team are already working with the phone company, I'm sure -- I would guess served subpoenas, trying to figure out who the actual holder of that blocked number is.

The fact that someone has a blocked number certainly is not the end of the inquiry. There are other ways you can get that information. And I assure you the Mueller team is very interested in finding out who that is.

KEILAR: But they don't know what was said, right? They don't know what was said.

And Donald Trump Jr. is even saying he doesn't even know if this was his dad. We do know from Corey Lewandowski his dad, at the time at least, had a blocked number.

He -- does that matter to the special counsel, if it's -- if they're unable to tell what was said?


HONIG: It does matter a lot.

Look, Donald Trump Jr. has said, I don't remember who it was, I don't remember what was said. At some point, the team may get an interview or have Donald Trump in a grand jury under subpoena. I'm sure they will ask him.

If I had to bet, I would bet he will say the same thing, I don't remember, I don't remember if that was me and I don't remember what was said.

A reality of being a criminal investigator is sometimes you can't know. If that phone call wasn't for some reason recorded, which seems very unlikely, then it may well be that only the two participants, the only two people who know what was said were the two participants. And if they both say they don't remember, then it could be a dead end.

KEILAR: All right, Elie Honig, thank you so much. Really appreciate you being with us.

Coming up: A racist rant goes viral.


AARON SCHLOSSBERG, ATTORNEY: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers, when they should be speaking English.


KEILAR: The shocking video of a man berating people inside of a New York restaurant for speaking Spanish, instead of English to each other.



KEILAR: A Manhattan attorney goes on a racist rant about people speaking Spanish, and it's all caught on video.


SCHLOSSBERG: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers, when they should be speaking English.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, sometimes they do.


SCHLOSSBERG: Every person I listen to, he spoke it, he spoke it, she's speaking it. It's America.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is America. It is America.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's very ignorant, and he shouldn't -- shouldn't be allowed here.

SCHLOSSBERG: I will be following up. And my guess is, they're not documented. So my next call is to ICE (OFF-MIKE) of my country.

(CROSSTALK) SCHLOSSBERG: -- come here and live off of my money. I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they could do -- the least they can do is speak English.


SCHLOSSBERG: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) running a place in Midtown Manhattan, your staff should be speaking English, not Spanish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of people like you, our nation--



KEILAR: Now, the attorney, identified by CNN as Aaron Schlossberg, became upset while he was in line there at the Fresh Kitchen cafe.

That's when he overheard people ordering in Spanish. And that's when he exploded.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on this attorney and other incidents, alleged incidents, I should say, involving him.

Polo, what can you tell us?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, in that video, that is what set him off, according to the woman who shot that footage, is that there was a customer and also some of the employees there that were speaking Spanish.

He then confronted those employees, according to those witness accounts, accused them of being undocumented, and then threatened to call immigration authorities.

What is Aaron Schlossberg saying about this? Well, we just don't know. He's remained silent about this right now, refusing to comment about this incident and others as well, as you mentioned there. He's also been seen in footage on social media in the past.

Back in 2017, for example, this same gentleman was seen shouting at some ultra-Orthodox Jews against Israel at a protest that was against this -- against an event that was taking place here in New York.

And then in 2016, this same individual approaches Willie -- an individual by the name of Willie Morris, a consultant here in New York, accusing him of being a foreigner, to put it lightly,.

Well, that so-called foreigner spoke out online and said he's actually born in Massachusetts and lives here in New York. That's the gentleman that you see there in the video that was confronted by this individual that is now again captured on video on Tuesday.

We do know that there is a New York representative that has been speaking out right now who has requested that the state of New York suspend Schlossberg's license to practice as they continue to investigate exactly what happened.

But, again, Brianna, we have not heard from him at this point, not anything about this incident that was captured on Tuesday or the ones in 2016 and the 2017 incident as well.

But a reminder, this is taking place in New York. It's obviously one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. This is happening in 2018.

KEILAR: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that report.

Now, CNN has called. We've left messages at the law office that Schlossberg apparently owns. We have not heard back yet.

Joining me now is Isaac Saul. He's lead editor and columnist at He said he had a run-in, actually, with Schlossberg last year at a protest outside of his office. That's this video of this encounter that we just showed you. Schlossberg is the man there in the middle of your screen in the black jacket and blue shirt.

Also here, Chenjerai Kumanyika. He's an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University. He has a podcast called "Uncivil," which focuses on the history of the anxiety related to immigration.

Isaac, to you first. Tell us about what we see in this video, what was happening.


KEILAR: And by that, I mean the video you -- I mean the video you shot. We have obviously seen the one in the restaurant.


This protest actually happened right outside my office here in Midtown.

Linda Sarsour was supposed to speak at a CUNY commencement ceremony.