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Royal Watchers Line the Streets; Charles to Walk Markle Down Aisle; White House Communications Team. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 18, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:23] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I am here in beautiful, sunny, Windsor, England, where the excitement is palpable. Roughly 24 hours from now, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will say I do.

In the past hour, we've had some big, breaking news. Prince Charles will walk Meghan down the aisle. There was all sorts of speculation, you'll remember yesterday, about who would play that role after Meghan released that statement saying that her father will not be attending the wedding because of medical issues, and she was sad about that. Meghan's mom is here in Windsor. Her name is Doria Radlan. And she is set to meet with the queen for the first time today at Windsor Castle, that you see behind me.

We're also learning some more new details about the royal nuptials.

So CNN's Jason Carroll has all of the developments.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Royal watchers have lined the streets surrounding Windsor Castle, anxiously waiting for the moment Meghan Markle and Prince Harry say I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a member of the royal family. It's Diana's youngest son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy for Harry. I'm happy -- no, happy for Meghan as well.

CARROLL: Before the ceremony, 1,200 specially invited guests will gather on the grounds of Windsor Castle so they can see the arrivals of the bride and groom. Guests like 11-year-old Lily Hey and her family.


CARROLL: Hey's family received a letter inviting them after Kensington Palace learned the Hey's had raised money for cancer research following the death of Lily's eight-year-old brother.

L. HEY: When I first read it, I was like, what? And so I had to get mom to read it over and explain it properly to me. SUSAN HEY, LILY HEY'S MOTHER: The last thing you expect, any of us,

never mind at 11, to be receiving the invitation of the year.

CARROLL: This ceremony, now just hours away, will happen inside St. George's Chapel. Just 600 guests, mostly family and friends, will have a seat here. The ceremony is expected to last about an hour. Then, the royal procession begins.

Security is asking us to stay back a little bit. But what you're looking at right now is a rehearsal for the Household Cavalry. This is the military guard that's going to be escorting the newlyweds through their procession through the streets.

Once outside these gates, the carriage carrying the newlyweds will be met by thousands of their fans. Some are already here. They'll then head down Castle Hill. Then the procession will turn left to the High Street.

CARROLL (voice over): The procession will circle streets around the castle, packed with souvenir shops stocked with plates, cups and flags bearing the image of the royal couple.

CARROLL (on camera): You're here now. You're here early.


CARROLL (voice over): It's for fans like Ivanka Siolkowsky have camped out for days.

SIOLKOWSKY: I was at the first one, like William and Kate's as well. I actually wasn't going to come out. And then last Wednesday I thought, oh, come on, I have more connection to these two than the last ones.

Siolkowsky worked alongside Markle. She was an extra in the final episode of "Suits," the TV series that made Markle a star. That's her holding the glass of champagne in the scene.

SIOLKOWSKY: Where she was dancing was about -- we were this far away. So just a simple hello. But she was very pleasant.

CARROLL (on camera): Yes.

SIOLKOWSKY: And it was nice to see her.

CARROLL (voice over): Final stretch of the procession will take place on The Long Walk. It's a picturesque tree lined avenue in Windsor Park that ends where it will all begin Saturday at Windsor Castle.


[06:35:00] So, Alisyn, I'm not far from where you are. I'm out here on High Street, where there is some disappointment from some royal watchers who were really hoping to see Markle's mother walk her down the aisle. But out here there's also a lot of excitement. People are packed here on the streets, camped out, still waiting -- still waiting for that moment that the procession comes right down this street. They've got some of the best seats in the house for the procession and the festivities now just a few hours away.


CAMEROTA: And, Jason, we are going to talk about that. Why isn't it her mother giving her away? So we'll get into that.

And, by the way, The Long Walk that you just addressed is right behind me. This is the beautiful sort of pebbled path that you see behind me. And that's where their carriage will be coming down tomorrow.

So, how will Meghan Markle change the monarchy? One of our favorite royal watchers, Victoria Arbiter, joins us next.


CAMEROTA: We are almost 24 hours away from the royal wedding. And we do have some breaking news about the big day and all of the preparations.

[06:40:00] CNN royal commentator, Victoria Arbiter, joins us with the latest.

Victoria, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: So in just the past hour, the big, breaking news is that Prince Charles, Harry's father, will be giving Meghan Markle away after her father, you know, after a series of just unfortunate events, including a health scare, could not be here. I don't know if I like this idea. Why isn't her mom walking her down the aisle?

ARBITER: I think everyone -- I think Doria Radlan was definitely the popular choice for so many reasons. First of all, she's going to be Meghan's only blood relative in the chapel. She's the only family member that has not sold her out at any point during this entire process. And I think given the bond that the two women share, it would have been an amazing moment. Perhaps Doria didn't feel she was up to it, even though I think she's a very strong woman, being on a global stage like that is quite something.

CAMEROTA: But do you think that's what happened? I mean, in other words, or did the palace decide who was going to be walking her down the aisle? How does this work?

ARBITER: The palace doesn't make those decisions. It's interesting because this week people have said the queen has to approve the wedding dress. That's not true. The queen didn't want Thomas Markle to come. That's not true. The palace is very keen for the key players, the principle players, to make their own choices, particularly on a very personal event like this.

I think Harry and Meghan will have done a lot of soul searching and really talked it through together and it would have been a mutual decision between the two of them. And actually I think maybe Prince Charles would have even said, if you need me, I'm here, because, frankly, the royal family has been criticized heavily and there's been a lot of conjecture that they're racist and they don't approve of Meghan. Well, what better way to show their approval then to have the Prince of Whales escort his future daughter-in-law.

CAMEROTA: If it really was her mom not feeling comfortable on a -- on a global stage, then I feel better about it. And then there is the symbolism of him -- of Prince Charles getting to walk her down the aisle. He doesn't have a daughter. And so there's something nice about it, if that's how it all unfolded.

ARBITER: Yes, Prince Charles has talked oftentimes about how much he would have liked a daughter. He did walk a friend's daughter, Alexandra (INAUDIBLE), down the aisle in 2016. So he's had one stab at it.

But Harry and Charles and Willian, they're all very close. And, again, Charles doesn't get the credit I think he's due for the type of father he's been. And I think it's going to be incredibly emotional for him walking his future daughter-in-law, but looking at his son standing at the altar after everything they've been through as a family. I think it's going to be quite an emotional moment.

CAMEROTA: That is really poignant when you think about all of the history just playing out tomorrow.


CAMEROTA: Other bit of breaking news. We know that Prince Philip, the queen's husband of course, will be attending the wedding. He is going to be 97 years old next month. He's, you know, not been in the greatest of health. But he's feeling well enough to come.

ARBITER: This is great news. I think Prince Philip, in his mind, there was no way he wasn't going to attend. He too is a grandfather who's very close to William and Harry. He was there up at Balmoral to support them when they lost their mother and he's always been behind them. He's also incredibly proud of their military accomplishments. And I think there was no way he wasn't going to be there. He's got an iron will. He's that generation that's very stoic and very proud. So I expect to see him without a walking stick, unaided. He is going to march down that aisle, maybe slowly, but he'll be there.


So let's talk about the preparations. We know that today Doria Raglan, who is Meghan Markle's mom, is going to be meeting for the first time with Queen Elizabeth. Is that going to be awkward? What's that going to look like when they meet for the first time?

ARBITER: It must be an extraordinary week. Just think, Doria Raglan Wednesday straight to tea with Charles and Camilla. Yesterday, rehearsal with William, Kate, George, and Charlotte. I mean her mind must be reeling on top of the jet lag.

But the queen this year marks 66 years since he ascended the throne. She is very skilled and very well versed in making people feel comfortable. She's been faced with captains of industry that have just come completely unglued in her presence and yet she knows how to make them feel comfortable.

I think it will be a very relaxed affair. I would expect Harry and Meghan will accompany Doria too just so that she's got their moral support around her. But the queen, in public, she seems very sort of austere and stern. She's not like that behind the scenes. She knows that her every facial expressions is going to be interpreted by the media, hence the neutrality. But behind the scenes she's got a great sense of humor. She's very warm and welcoming.

CAMEROTA: That's fantastic.

Well, there will be all sorts of breaking news throughout our program and throughout the day because we still need to know what dress she'll be wearing, et cetera.

So, Victoria, thank you very much for giving us all of your great insight into what's happening tomorrow.

ARBITER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, of course, tomorrow we will be live for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's big day. Royal wedding coverage will begin tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN. I will be here for that, Chris, as you know, and then we will be on for the next many hours to watch this couple tie the knot.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I will be watching and fishing. Best English accent, go.

CAMEROTA: You know what, I'm already developing an English accent. I've been here a few hours. This is what happens when you get here. I almost introduced Victoria Arbiter, she's here with us now.

CUOMO: Oh, very good. You went much deeper. I was going for a Madonna affect. But you're well beyond it already. Check in in a little bit.

CAMEROTA: No, I truly am. Cheerio.

[06:44:51] CUOMO: All right, the White House is cracking down on leakers. You remember this aide's morbid comment about Senator John McCain. Well, when that went public, they had to deal with it. They didn't apologize for it, but now they have a strategy of how to deal with leaks, next.


CUOMO: Two officials tell CNN the Trump administration is weighing whether to shrink the size of its communications staff. Why? Because of the latest damaging leak about this time obviously about Senator John McCain. You know what was said. There's no reason to go back into it.

But let's discuss what they're going to do about these things. We have CNN political analyst and "New York Times" White House correspondent Maggie Haberman.

Good to see you, as always.


CUOMO: The idea of apologizing off the table because that's not what Trump and Trump Co. does --

HABERMAN: Correct.

CUOMO: Even though it was a layup to make this situation better.


CUOMO: So now they're focusing on the source instead of the leak itself. What are they going to do?

HABERMAN: To your point, they almost always focus on the source as opposed to the information that came out. It's always who did this?

Right now they are discussing shrinking their coms team. I've head as many as a dozen people could go. Remember, we have heard before, Chris, that there are going to be changes in personnel in this White House after leaks, after the president gets upset about them, and it has very rarely happen. I can think of maybe on a count of one hand the number of people who have actually been pushed out.

[06:50:10] This time does feel a little different. So among the interim steps they've taken is they have canceled this large morning communications meeting, which is the meeting where this comment was said. That it -- and it leaked out of. There used to be about 30 people who were in this meeting. It did not take place for most of the days this week. I don't believe it's taking place again today.

Part of the reason I was told is because they're trying to streamline things. They are trying to be more effective in how they are conducting these meetings, making them more strategic and making them just sort of less free-for-all.

However, other administrations have had this type of large 30-person coms meeting and not had this information leak.

CUOMO: And that's the key. You know this. You relayed it in your reporting. And it will now be truth for all to behold. It is not population, it is motivation. It's, what is that team chemistry, where is the loyalty, where is the fealty, you know, to use an arcane but accurate word. Who owes who what in there and how much do they believe in the cause.

HABERMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: This is just a symptom. The population is just a factor. It won't change.

HABERMAN: No, that's exactly right. And, look, the tone does get set from the top. I think that the president is understandably concerned about people who are leaking from the White House. I think any president would be concerned. And it isn't -- he's been very focused on the coms shop. It is not just the coms shop in the White House that has this issue.

He himself has a problem with information flow. He tends to say things he shouldn't say. And when staff members don't feel as if there is a consistent tone or that they are being heard or they are being respected or they work in a place where being seen as powerful and famous is more important than what the work you're actually accomplishing, that trickles down.

CUOMO: And one thing that is also true, ain't never seen a White House leak like this.

HABERMAN: No. I mean this is shocking.

And one of the things Katie Rogers, my colleague and I reported on, this leak culture and also just the president's history of being paranoid. But the fact that he's not unjustifiably so here. One thing that we learned from several people was that there was one incident where a junior aide had taped the president in some meeting of some kind and had played it for friends outside the White House. That's really something. And that speaks to a huge lack of respect for the personal (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Right, bozo no-no and being somewhat enamored of the celebrity.

HABERMAN: That's right. That's right.

CUOMO: So they're going to deal with that, that way, OK.

HABERMAN: And whatever -- whatever way that is. Yes, (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Yes. And -- but, look, it's not going to stop. They probably know this.


CUOMO: Let's take one step sideways. I just want you to clear my head about something.

They are trying to run down the Mueller probe, period. That's objectively true. The latest salvo is, they were spying, which is a pejorative and is going to certainly perturb people in the DOJ.


CUOMO: And for Rudy Giuliani to use that word, he's going to have to answer for that and he will very soon on the show this morning. Stay tuned.

HABERMAN: We'll be -- we'll be watching.

CUOMO: However, if the president wants to know what happened, am I wrong to speculate that he just needs to pick up the phone and say, how did you do this? Who did you use? Tell me now. I'm in charge of all investigations.

HABERMAN: Look, he's not supposed to interfere. But since he has told us that he does have that power, that certainly is one option and it is a less public showy option that you have seen consistently literally since Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. You have seen efforts by either the president literally beginning that weekend when he claimed that his phones were wiretapped in that famous tape.

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: Obama had wire tapped Trump Tower. Up till now you have seen efforts to try to find some way to discredit the investigation by suggesting he was being improperly spied on. We don't even know the details. We don't know who they're talking about, how this came about. We don't know that it's improper. They're also -- the flip side is -- and I've heard you in the previous hour, we don't know what we don't know, right? So there -- there may be legitimate questions that --

CUOMO: But he could. That's all I'm saying.

HABERMAN: But he could know. He could know and instead he's choosing this very public route where you've got outside allies in Congress who are leading this charge very loudly to help rail against the -- his own government's FBI. It's really something.

CUOMO: But don't they get that it undermines the strength of the criticism when the president of the United States, who could know the answer with a phone call, is quoting a Fox News source who's using qualified language like apparently. That's the best he can do to get to the truth of the situation?

HABERMAN: It doesn't undermine it with his supporters certainly. And there have been recent polls that have shown that he has successfully planted a seed of doubt amongst at least Republican voters --

CUOMO: True.

HABERMAN: About this investigation. And so I don't think that they're interest historically (ph).

I mean I think one thing we get hung up on is, we talk a lot about how either the White House is telling falsehoods, or they are taking things out of context and -- or they are uninformed. All of those things have been true at various times. The through line is, they don't care. They're not looking to be seen as, you know, making this credible argument. They are just looking to get a win.

CUOMO: It's just, you know, just one of those common sense moments that we want (INAUDIBLE).


CUOMO: Maggie, always great to have you.

[06:55:01] You get where I'm going with that? It's like, you know, you hear that something happened in your house. Well, you have the ability to just ask your kids what happened and you would know right away. That's not happening here. Odd.

Now, when we come back, we're going to be joined but President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. How does he explain what's going on with this attempt to infect (ph) the probe? Stay with us.



RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: This goes back 100 days before the election. They had spies in -- in the Trump camp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have seen no evidence to back that up.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If there is any truth to that, it should certainly be looked into.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To out a source of vital intelligence for the FBI is just an unacceptable course of conduct.

CUOMO: Rudy Giuliani says a potential interview between the president and Mueller looks more hopeful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would think if he can clear himself, he would want to go in there and do it.

[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just one day away from the royal nuptials.

People have already started to camp out along the procession route.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact of someone black being married into the royal family represents a widening and a diversity it's never had before.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris --