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Rudy Giuliani Discusses State of Russia Investigation; Meghan Markle Will Walk Unaccompanied Most of Aisle for Royal Wedding; Interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 18, 2018 - 8:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[08:00:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like the Trump campaign may in fact have been surveilled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will make any claim that serves the president. They are not backing up any of these claims with facts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people have a right to know the entire scope of an investigation into the guy they elected president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day that we can't protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump owes it to the American people to answer questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had the first hopeful communication. I think it was a good faith attempt to really narrow the focus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The excitement is growing here in Windsor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The newlyweds will be met by thousands of their fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For a woman who is biracial to marry into that family, it represents a real change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful picture of Alisyn Camerota's summer home there. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday, May 18th, 8:00 in the east. Alisyn is in Windsor, England. She's going to be covering the royal wedding. Wow, what a great assignment. You look great. It's a beautiful day. Give us a taste.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Chris, we've had all sorts of breaking news here in the past hour. There was all sorts of speculation about who would be walking Meghan Markle down the aisle after her own father decided not to come here to Windsor because of health issues and other problems. And so it was, will it be her mother? We found out a couple of hours ago that it would be Prince Charles. But now we've learned it will only be Prince Charles for part of the way.

And Meghan is going to do something very unprecedented. She's going to walk herself most of the way down the aisle unaccompanied. And of course the message there, is why does a man need to give her away? She's an independent, accomplished woman. She is going to walk herself down the aisle. And then when she gets to the main part of the chapel where the guests are seated, it's called the quire, q-u-i- r-e, that's where Prince Charles will join her, but then he will stop before handing her off to Prince Harry, so he will not be giving her away. He will just be accompanying her for part of the way.

Listen, this sends a big message. That's unconventional in any wedding, never mind the royal wedding. She's really breaking with convention. So we'll get into all of that and how they're preparing for this here today.

CUOMO: I love it. It's her wedding. And supposedly if the reporting is right, this is one of the reasons they fell in love. She has her own mind, she has her own way, she doesn't need anybody to walk her down the aisle. But she will meet the man at the end of it that will make the rest of her life as they come together and start a family. Great reporting. Thank you, Alisyn.

If you missed last hour of NEW DAY, you missed a lot. We had a very deep, comprehensive interview with President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani. He really did I think the deepest job so far of letting you inside his head and the president's head of why they believe what they do about the Mueller investigation. He gave us new information about a potential interview, that there really is negotiating going on if you are to hear it from Rudy Giuliani. Some things have been taken off the table. He made very strong legal arguments about what he thinks Mueller's power over the president is legally and is not.

He also tried to zero in on this reporting from "The Washington Post," "The New York Times," CNN and others about this alleged FBI informant. The president says, and Rudy seemed to echo, that they believe the campaign was spied on. Did he make a compelling case? Let's bring in CNN legal analyst and former Watergate special prosecutor Richard Ben- Veniste, CNN political analyst Michael Zeldin who worked as Robert Mueller's special assistant at the Justice Department, CNN political analyst and editor in chief of "The Daily Beast," John Avlon, CNN political analyst -- you get it twice there, John. They have you listed twice, that's how important you are. And CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman.

All right, so we have this dovetailing of law and politics and objectively I couldn't ask for better guests for this. Maggie, I start with you. Rudy came here ready to go and to lay things out differently, more deeply, and more aggressively than I've heard. Your take.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I have the exact same take. I was struck, it was a very long interview. I know that he was giving you some grief at some point, saying this was very unfair. I don't think it was unfair, number one. But number two, I actually thought that it was one of the more comprehensible interviews that he has done in terms of what they're trying to do. He kept returning over and over again when you guys were talking to Comey.

CUOMO: Comey is a liar, he found nothing, he was corrupt.

HABERMAN: Well, he said something that was very interesting, which was it's going come down to whether they believe Mueller, meaning whether they believe Comey or the president.

[08:05:06] And I found that fascinating, because, as we know, Comey has been interviewed by Mueller's people. Comey has also been out public, very public, with a book tour, and he talks about all of this in his book, he's given interviews about it. So that told me where their mindset is. There's sort of two tracks going on here. One is this Nunes/White House/DOJ push in terms of the scope of the Mueller probe. And then the other is the actual nitty-gritty of what would happen with a Trump interview if there was one. And that was what Giuliani returned to over and over.

CUOMO: And he said more about what kind of negotiating they have. I believe Rudy. I believe things are being narrowed. I think things are being taken off the table. I think he is working to get a deal there. We'll see if he can make one. But you understand Rudy Giuliani very well. You worked for him, you know him personally. What did you pick up?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, this is Rudy in lawyer mode. He is trying to defend his client. You were zeroing in on would Rudy the mayor, would Rudy the U.S. attorney have been attacking law enforcement, FBI in this way? Rudy tried to draw a distinction there, but there's no question using language like "storm troopers" is out of his usual parlance.

Jim Comey is a guy who also worked for Rudy, succeeded him as U.S. attorney at one point. And what Meg is pointing out I think is significant. He is absolutely engaging in a political campaign to discredit James Comey for reasons related to the larger investigation. That's clear, moth to a flame over and over.

In the narrowing of the subject area, you had the sprawling memo, 49 alleged questions, you can see he clearly said Manafort should be off the table. Cohen should be off the table, that should be southern district, nothing to do with us. Left unsaid is questions about the money and President Trump's red line that he mentioned to Schmidt and "The New York Times." And that's sort of implicitly being off the table too.

CUOMO: I pushed Rudy on that. And it's interesting. He didn't go red line. He went, well, Mueller says it's not part of his probe. If he's telling the truth, we're fine. So he's putting it on him as opposed to saying this is a no go for us.

AVLON: And he's not dealing with the contradictions of the president's own statements around Comey and the firing. And that's going to be a problem if he's pressing to an interview.

HABERMAN: The other things I was struck by in terms of -- and I do believe him in terms of this is what they are saying or some form of what they are saying to him. It is such a shift in strategy. I continue to be struck by this. There is nothing that would have been said by the president's former team about what they were hearing from Mueller. And the president is taking care of the antagonism. Giuliani is trying to be -- he's going back and forth between somewhat antagonistic and being very respectful, but he's basically just saying here's the information because he knows Mueller's folks are not going to confirm or deny it.

CUOMO: He's doing the same thing with the media. On the one hand he's saying we have to believe "The New York Times" even though the president always trashes them, and then came at me for being unfair, even though Rudy Giuliani knows that's not true. He comes to interview with me for a reason. He knows I'm going to be fair to him.

Richard Ben-Veniste, there was a lot of legal theory thrown out there, but his main points are they found nothing at the FBI, yet started a probe anyway, and that this probe is rotten from the beginning. Salient points, or do you have pushback?

RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absurd. What we have is documented evidence that the Russians interfered in our election. Is the FBI supposed to sit idly by in a corner somewhere with their hands folded and their thumbs in their mouth? This is the agency that we rely on to protect us against foreign enemies interfering with our basic processes. That investigation has turned up important evidence leading to indictments.

Now, it's not concluded yet, but Rudy, were he U.S. attorney or working in the U.S. attorney's office as we did together, would jump at the chance to investigate this. It is of utmost importance to continue that investigation and to its conclusion. What the president has masterfully done is create all sorts of diversions leading the public away from the central question, why won't he give testimony under oath? Why won't he answer questions? People need to use their God-given common sense to evaluate what's going on here and why he won't sit down, if he wants to end this investigation quickly, and provide answers to questions.

Well, Michael Zeldin, let me bounce it to you on Rudy's theory, which is I'll tell you why he won't sit down, because they're out to get him, because, as Maggie says, it's going to be Comey's words against Trump's and this is a perjury trap.

[08:10:00] Rudy said many times the president will tell the truth, but he echoed it by saying, and he will not deviate from what he said publicly already. The problem is he's bounced all over the place publicly on some of these main issues. So what was your read on that?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, my first read was that Rudy Giuliani should not be giving interviews, because he is not helping his client legally. And to reveal the nature of his communications, and I don't think it's him who's talking to Mueller in the first place, but to reveal the nature of the communications between the real lawyers on the team and Mueller I think does his client a disservice. They would be much better off talking in private about the narrowing of scope, the timing, the duration, all that stuff, and we can learn about it after they have reached a deal. He doesn't need to air the conversations at this point. So overarchingly I think he does his client no good coming on television. It's good for us, but it's not good for his client.

Second, with respect to the question of a perjury trap, we always have to remember what a perjury trap is. It's a form of entrapment where a prosecutor inappropriately brings a witness in for the sole purposes of getting them to commit perjury. That is not what is going on here. What is going on here is the bona fide desire of Robert Mueller to speak to a witness who has important information to provide regarding a counterintelligence investigation that he has taken over, and that is not a perjury trap. If he perjures himself in the course of that interview, that's perjury, and there's a very big difference.

CUOMO: OK, so Richard Ben-Veniste, let me bounce this back to you, though, because Rudy also said I ended lots of probes without interviewing people who were even at the center of it. This is no different. And it doesn't matter anyway because legally in terms of authority, the special counsel can neither indict nor really have criminal process, which would fit under the process of a subpoena to testify, with the president of the United States, so it doesn't really matter if they speak because he doesn't have any authority over him anyway.

BEN-VENISTE: That's a lot to unpack, Chris.

CUOMO: You're telling me. I listened to it and was I trying to deal with it and I've got a third of the brain that you have on your worst day, so help me out.

(LAUGHTER)

BEN-VENISTE: Well, first of all, the fact that Department of Justice regs don't allow for the indictment of a sitting president doesn't mean that a court has determined that issue and come to the same conclusion. However, you do an investigation until the logical conclusion of that investigation. And if there are answers to be had from the principal of that investigation, not the only target of the investigation, if the president can be considered a target at this point, you need to get all of the information you can. You owe it to the American public to be able to do that, and that's what he's doing.

These diversions that are being thrown up by Trump -- oh, there was somebody who may have been reporting on information going on in the campaign. Well, the FBI ought to be involved in running down any leads that suggest that our adversary, the Russians, have somehow permeated one of the political parties somehow. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Instead, this is being characterized as some dirty business and totally improper.

CUOMO: Understood.

BEN-VENISTE: The reverse is true.

CUOMO: Understood. We've got to leave it there. I want to get to Alisyn.

ZELDIN: May I add something?

CUOMO: I've got to leave it there, Michael. I don't want to shortchange Alisyn. We've got her in a special place this morning. This was very helpful. I know there's a lot more to unpack. We ain't even close to done. Thank you very much, everybody, for making us better.

Now to Alisyn, she is in England, the place to be.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Chris. I'm glad you didn't shortchange me because there's a lot to say and there's a lot of breaking news from Windsor, England. You can see the castle behind me down this beautiful path. And we're counting down to the big event, the royal wedding. It will be getting way in less than 24 hours from now.

So we gave you the breaking news a few minutes ago that Meghan Markle will walk herself most of the way down the aisle unaccompanied. And then Prince Charles, Harry's father, will join her at the section of the chapel where the royal guests will be seated.

This is unprecedented. Obviously in royal weddings, it's unconventional really in normal weddings. We've also learned that Prince Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip, will be at the wedding. There was some question about that because less than two months ago he had hip surgery, but he's feeling well enough to join. And Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland will have tea with the queen today at Windsor castle. This will be their first-ever meeting.

[08:15:00]

Ragland, we're told, has already been introduced to some of the royals, including Prince William, and Kate Middleton and their older children, George and Charlotte.

Now, Chris, thank you so much for loaning me the hat that you did.

CUOMO: Family heirloom.

CAMEROTA: It's fantastic. And thank you for loaning me the blouse because it matches so perfectly with this. And look at how well this fits. I don't know how you normally wear it, but I think jauntily askance.

CUOMO: I think those are actually the perfect words, that's why you're the writer. I actually wear it on the opposite angle because that's my good side. And I'm glad that you took the arms and the back of the blouse a little bit.

CAMEROTA: Do you mean you wear it like this?

CUOMO: Yes, a little bit more like a fedora. CAMEROTA: OK, all right. You know, it looks better.

CUOMO: Ralph Russo (ph) is making the dress. I have a cousin by the same name, so I feel more connected to the event.

CAMEROTA: First of all, we don't know that Ralph and Russo, that's the name of the house, Ralph and Russo (ph) is making the dress. Don't break any news before it's time. But this fascinator is fantastic.

CUOMO: Here's the only problem with it. Covering your face is a crime, a felony on several levels, fashion only being one of them.

CAMEROTA: Is it a fascinator felony?

CUOMO: I've got to go. Thank you very much. Don't lose that hat.

All right. The House took some really important action. You remember the move that was supposedly unanimous and was going to get done right away in Congress, that your money should not be used to pay sexual harassment claims by lawmakers? Guess what, the Senate bill is still stalled.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says that ain't right. She's on a mission to get it on the table. Let's hear her case, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:20:34] CUOMO: Thursday marked 100 days since the House of Representatives passed a bill to address sexual harassment in Congress. More specifically that your money shouldn't be used to pay their sexual harassment claims, kind of a no-brainer, right?

All right. That takes us to this moment right now. New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is trying to force the Senate to do the same thing. Advance this now stalled version of the bill.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Enough is enough. We should do better. We have waited 100 days and we should not have to wait any longer. So I urge my colleagues to do the right thing now, to support this bill. Fix this system here in Congress that is failing our staffers on this issue of sexual harassment. This one is as easy as it gets, so let's have a vote and let's pass it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, to be fair, isn't that what everybody was saying when this story first came out? Wasn't everybody saying that this has to be fixed?

And now, let's bring in Senator Gillibrand, joining us now to discuss that. No disrespect, Senator, you were saying what I believe all of America

was echoing when we first learned of this. And lawmaker after lawmaker came on this show, senators included, saying, oh, yes, got to fix this, got to show respect that we have to have transparency and can't pass these things off, certainly not on the voters' dime.

Why the stall?

GILLIBRAND: I don't know, but I know we're working very hard on a bipartisan basis to move this bill forward.

The reason why I used the Rule 14 procedure yesterday was because I wanted to elevate this issue. We've been waiting long enough. It's been 100 days since it passed unanimously in the House of Representatives. The bill that I've written with Ted Cruz and over 30 other senators has been a strong bipartisan bill that fixed the system.

And this system as it is, Chris, I don't know if you look it up, but it's ridiculous. Somebody who wants to report harassment might have to wait up to three months to actually report it because of mandatory mediation, counseling and cooling off.

CUOMO: Right.

GILLIBRAND: So that has to change.

And also, no taxpayers should be left holding the bag when a member of Congress engages in harassment and finds a settlement. It has to be their own money if they are found responsible for harassing a staff member.

CUOMO: Boy, and I'll tell you, when you hear Ted Cruz and Kirsten Gillibrand in the same sentence and it's not that you're at each other's throats, you're working on the same thing, it just lets you know what a no-brainer this is and the idea of having to cool off? Haven't we learned that the opposite is true, that time is the enemy of transparency? Time is the enemy of victims in these situations? That there should be urgency, not cooling off?

GILLIBRAND: Well, the current system is clearly designed, as many other institutions have designed their systems, to protect predators and to protect the powerful. As the Me Too movement has gone across this country, each institution is trying their best to change the rules, to hold perpetrators accountable, to create transparency and accountability.

And Congress should not be left behind on this. Congress should be at the forefront. So, that's why this bill is important. I have hope, though, Chris, because I know Senator Klobuchar and Senator Blunt have been working really hard to move this forward.

CUOMO: Right.

GILLIBRAND: And now we have an opportunity to reach a final deal in the next week and actually pass this deal. CUOMO: All right. So, help me understand a little bit of the

politics here. Look, I'm not one who likes to trash people in public service. Obviously, my family stands as a different testament to that. I believe that most of you are down there trying to do the right thing.

So, the politics seems to be that the leadership likes the Klobuchar bill and not your bill and they say we're already working on a bill? What is it?

GILLIBRAND: It's the same bill. It's all the same ideas. It's getting rid of the three-month delay. It's making sure that members of Congress pay for any settlement that's found against them. And so it's the same idea, it's the same reform. We are hoping that in this 11th hour that our Senate colleagues can come together and make a final decision about a final bill to vote on.

But make no mistake, it's the same bill. We've been working on the same issues for a very long time. And because it's widely bipartisan, it's something that we should get an up or down vote on, it's that simple.

CUOMO: All right. Look, we will stay on this. This is not partisan.

GILLIBRAND: Correct.

CUOMO: This is about people and protecting them. We'll stay on it. There has to be a vote, there has to be a debate, people have to be able to see it so you're welcome here any time, as is Senator Cruz.

[08:25:00] I'll pass that along to him as well. Please do the same.

One thing while I have you --

GILLIBRAND: Yes.

CUOMO: -- the change in funding by the government that may affect Planned Parenthood, tell us about it, what's your concern.

GILLIBRAND: Well, it's a direct hit on Planned Parenthood, which as you know, Chris, provides health care services for millions of Americans who desperately need it, particularly low income Americans. It's trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

And I think this is an issue that should enrage American public particularly woman, because this is an attack on them. I don't know why members of Congress feel like it's their job to tell women what to do with their health care.

So, it's really important that this is something we fight. We fight through all social media, that we fight at the ballot box --

CUOMO: And the defense that it's just an extension of the Hyde Amendment, Senator.

GILLIBRAND: Correct, for basic -- CUOMO: The extension that they're just doing what the government says

we can through law, which we don't fund things which provide abortions are provided.

GILLIBRAND: Right, but it's going much further. So, today, Planned Parenthood might send 3 percent of their budget on abortion services, everything else is reproductive care, birth control, cancer screenings. But because that entity provides it somewhere else and no federal money goes to it, this new rule will say if you provide it anywhere that you can't get federal funding.

It would devastate health care for women because those millions of people who receive health care through Planned Parenthood could be defunded.

CUOMO: All right.

GILLIBRAND: It's a serious blow. We should fight back, all of us.

CUOMO: Senator, understood. Understood. We will test it. We'll have people coming on who want it because that's a way for people to learn about it. You're welcome here to discuss it any time.

Thank you for joining us this Friday morning.

GILLIBRAND: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well.

Excitement is building worldwide. Tomorrow is the royal wedding. We've got Alisyn Camerota in Windsor, in front of her summer home -- no, that's castle. We're going to check in with her right in a moment. Please stay with us.