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Trump Demands DOJ Find Out If FBI Spied on campaign; Funeral Held for Exchange Student Sabika Sheikh; Former Education Secretary Urges School Boycott Until Gun Laws Change. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired May 21, 2018 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: For a long time, we've been told there's some kind of an infiltration.
[07:00:21] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A very autocratic style move on behalf of this president.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I want to make sure that the Department of Justice did not try to change the outcome of the election.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Revealing information about this individual could compromise people's lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Giuliani says Mueller could end the obstruction probe by September if the president agrees to an interview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really contingent on whether Trump gives an interview to Mueller.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the most beautiful, loving person I've ever met.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not about the guns. It's about us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will get through this.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow is here. And lucky for that. I need you this morning.
President Trump raging on Twitter, demanding the Justice Department investigate whether it or the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign. The department asking its internal watchdog to look into the president's concerns.
Meantime, the president's lawyer -- one of the president's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, says the special counsel investigation of Mr. Trump -- that's a key part there, of Mr. Trump -- could wrap up by September if the president agrees to an interview with Mueller's team. Giuliani says he got that impression during negotiations with the Mueller team over a possible sit-down.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Meantime this morning, of course, we are remembering Texas. The city of Santa Fe, Texas, still reeling from Friday's high school shooting that left 10 people dead. This morning, the governor is calling for a statewide moment of silence to honor the victims.
Meantime, Texas's lieutenant governor taking some heat this morning for saying the culture of violence is to blame for a school shooting in these tragedies, not guns. Let's begin with our Kaitlan Collins, though she is at the white House for us with all of the headlines, and there are many this morning, Kaitlan.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There are indeed, Poppy. It was a weekend of venting for President Trump, who tweeted nearly a dozen times about his political enemies, the Department of Justice, and the special counsel's Russia investigation.
But it was his last tweet that is getting a lot of attention, because the president crossed over from his usual tactic of airing his grievances online and into pressuring the Department of Justice to do his bidding, which is a place that very few presidents have ever gone before.
COLLINS (voice-over): President Trump making good on his threats to get involved at the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes. And if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama administration."
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: I'm not seeing any evidence of that kind of truth of the claim the president's made. The first thing you learn when you get involved with the intelligence community is you have to protect sources and methods. People's lives depend upon it.
COLLINS: Hours later, the Justice Department announcing it's asked its internal watchdog to expand the ongoing inquiry into surveillance during the campaign to address the president's concerns. With Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noting, "If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."
President Trump's stunning move coming after "The New York Times" reported that a confidential intelligence source interacted with Trump campaign advisors Carter Page and George Papadopoulos during the 2016 election. "The Times" describing the confidential source as an American academic who teaches in Britain.
U.S. officials have told CNN that the source wasn't embedded in the Trump campaign, despite statements from the president and his allies suggesting otherwise.
GIULIANI: For a long time, we've been told that there was some kind of infiltration. I believe if there was an embedded person, that person cleared us.
COLLINS: The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, telling CNN that Mr. Trump won't be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators until he has more details about the source.
Giuliani also is saying that, during negotiations with Mueller's team over the potential interview, investigators said their obstruction probe could wrap up by September 1, if the president agrees to sit down and answer questions.
This as a "TIME" reports that Mueller is looking into another controversial meeting at Trump Tower, involving the president's son three months before the election.
Prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince arranged the meeting with Gulf emissary George Nader, who told Trump Jr. that princes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win the election.
Israeli social media specialist Joel Zamel also attended the meeting, pitching a multi-million-dollar proposal to help elect Trump. His lawyer denied he offered or received anything. A source tells "The Times" that the president's son responded approvingly to Nader, who became a close campaign ally.
[07:05:13] But Donald Trump Jr.'s lawyer tells CNN that the president's son "was not interested, and that was the end of it." President Trump responding to the report by sending a flurry of tweets, criticizing Mueller's probe, insisting the witch-hunt finds no collusion with Russia, so now they're looking at the rest of the world.
COLLINS: So Chris and Poppy, we are now seeing the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, trying to set, essentially, a deadline for Mueller of the midterms, communicating that it would be political if the special counsel's investigation is going on past that.
But we should note the president today is going to go to Langley, the CIA headquarters, to swear in his new CIA director, Gina Haspel. And so far, there have been no tweets about the special counsel's investigation yet.
CUOMO: The irony alert that Donald Trump doesn't want this type of investigation to get involved during an election, after all the drum beating he did about the Clinton probe.
Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much. Just weeks before the election, he couldn't talk about it enough.
Let's bring in CNN political analyst David Gregory; and CNN legal analyst, Anne Milgram.
Professor, legally, what are the issues here? The president is the chief executive. He oversees the DOJ. He has a legitimate question. I guess he could just pick up the phone and say, "Come in and brief me about this," but he's doing it in more loud fashion. Legal issues?
ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So you know, it's unusual to see a sitting president say, "I want the Department of Justice to do an investigation." And there are rule of law questions around that. The president -- you know, the Department of Justice has to be apolitical. They're career men and women who work there. And you don't want a political director running an investigation. So there's something strange about a president saying, "I want you to do an investigation into whether there was politics in another investigation" when the president himself really should not be involved in the day-to-day of the Department of Justice.
HARLOW: I mean, David Gregory, the ranting that the president has done about the Department of Justice, about the FBI, talking about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok and saying, "It's all political, it's all political. These folks have to go. Everyone on Mueller's team is a Democrat." Which by the way, is not true.
It's all because he said there are politics involved in a place where politics should not be involved. Now he is inserting politics into a place where he says politics should not be involved blatantly.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and he's got his own people. Jeff Sessions, his choice for attorney general, you know, a rock-ribbed conservative Republican, early Trump supporter. What did he do when all this went down? He did the right thing. He recused himself. He understands that the office is bigger than him. The independence of the Justice Department is part of what makes our democracy so strong.
Christopher Wray, the president's choice to be FBI director, doesn't agree with him about all of these conspiracy theories about the deep state. He stands by what the FBI has said.
I think what the president doesn't do, because he doesn't care to, is sit back and say, "Wow, Vladimir Putin is really getting his money's worth here. He meddled in the election. Don't know if it had an impact on the result. But he certainly whipped up a lot."
And now he has got the president of the United States undermining democratic institutions, which is what Vladimir Putin does in what is left of a democracy, which is not much, in Russia.
So that's part of the problem here. What makes this so completely inappropriate. And to Chris's point about we shouldn't interfere in the election, of course, that's hypocritical on the part of the president, who was beating the drum against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race.
But he's also right. And I think Mueller is wary of having the investigation go on too long. But I think it's amazing that the president doesn't look in the mirror and accept some responsibility for what he's doing to the Republican Party and how he's imperiling the party in the midterms.
CUOMO: And you've been around these negotiations before. What is the chance that Mueller's team would say, "If you sit down, we will wrap up the investigation into you at this time"?
MILGRAM: I'm incredibly skeptical of that, because you have to imagine that the president could walk in and say 50 things that the special counsel's team has never heard before. They would run down every single one.
So to put a time limit specifically on that strikes me as really complex and difficult. Now, I do believe the special counsel may have said after September 1, the midterms are going to happen. So we would -- you know, any investigation wouldn't be closed until after that. That could be sort of a drop-dead date for finishing things before the midterm.
The only thing that makes me think there's a possibility that the end of summer could be real is that, as a rule, you would investigate, you would interview the person who's at the top of the pyramid. You know, you always sort of work your way up. And when it comes to the obstruction conducted by the president, it would be the president. So the fact that they are interviewing him, he may be one of the last steps.
But again, I don't think Mueller -- it would be tough to put a specific time -- time stamp on this.
And also, again, remember that the president still hasn't gone in for an interview. The longer this goes, the more impossible that seems to me.
GREGORY: Another question about that for me is I would tend to believe that he is one of the final steps. And depending upon how he handles certain questions, that becomes fodder for what will ultimately be a report to Congress.
[07:10:14] Because if there are prosecutions that are separate from the president, that can go on, you know, for a long period of time. But this is -- this is kind of that inner circle that we've been talking about this morning that's just about the president and his conduct that may be informed by all the other people the special counsel has talked to. So I would think he would be kind of the end of the process. It still becomes a question of when he's interviewed, how long it takes to produce a report and the impact of that report on a congressional race that's already so -- so divisive.
HARLOW: And we now know, courtesy of "The New York Times," that Don Jr. had a second meeting with -- you know, with representatives of foreign governments. Maybe not adversarial foreign government like the Russia meeting, but now we know that he met three months before the election with this emissary for the UAE and Saudi Arabia, along with this Israeli guy who bills himself as a social media manipulator. On its face, anything illegal that could have taken place by either of the parties here?
MILGRAM: So on its face, it's incredibly problematic. Foreign governments and foreign individuals cannot be involved in U.S. elections. And so that's against the law, right?
And -- and so just that he takes that meeting --
HARLOW: To just take the meeting, he could have broken the law?
MILGRAM: I don't know if I would say he broke the law, but it is an incredibly bad idea to even walk in the room with folks like that, who are clearly trying to influence an election.
The other thing we know, because this is now, of course, a conduct and a pattern, we -- there's no question that they were looking for every -- the Trump campaign was looking for every possible advantage they could get, any possible help they could get.
Whether or not they got it and the foreign government actually -- or the foreign individuals actually influenced the election -- I'm sorry, actually assisted the Trump campaign, that's a question for a criminal inquiry, whether there was anything there. But just to walk in that room, it's an incredibly bad idea.
CUOMO: I mean, you get a little cover of law here, because there is no, like, attempted, you know, conspiracy. There can be in certain contexts.
Where do you write this off, David Gregory? Is this ignorance on the part of Don Jr. and the people around him who would have said this is a good idea? Or is it arrogance? "We'll do it, and we'll get away with it"?
GREGORY: I think it's both. I think it's both. I mean, I think you had a number of people who didn't have any idea what they were doing. And there weren't enough experienced people to say, "You don't do that ever." Because this is a long game.
You don't play footsie and flirt with Vladimir Putin and think you're the first person who ever thought about this. You know, Putin is playing a much longer game in how he's trying to manipulate the west generally. He'd already interfered in other elections in Ukraine and taken down part of their critical infrastructure. So he's got experience doing this
And the Trump folks thought, "Oh, we can just, you know, flirt with him and say he's a great leader and call on him publicly to hack our e-mail system of a political rival," not understanding how that -- how you be can played and how this administration was played by that.
And it goes to these other meetings. You know, Don Jr., who is the son of the president and a senior adviser, is taking meetings with foreign representatives who want to potentially influence the administration and thinking that's OK. Again, the arrogance with which they just ignored more seasoned advice is something that even supporters who like that he breaks the mold should be really worried about.
HARLOW: All right. Thank you both, David Gregory, Anne Milgram. Appreciate the expertise on a lot of topics this morning.
We're going to turn to Texas, because the entire country is thinking about Texas this morning. Remembering those eight students and two teachers murdered in Santa Fe on Friday. A moment of silence statewide is taking place this afternoon.
The community is trying to lay the victims to rest, just beginning that process. Let's go to Nick Valencia. He joins us live in Santa Fe this morning.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy.
Talking about one of those students who was laid to rest over the weekend. Sabika Sheikh, she's a Pakistani foreign exchange student. And at her funeral service, there was a call of action -- or call to action for the students here in Santa Fe to pick up where the students in Parkland left off. There is no indication, from what we've seen, though, in the days that we've been here, that there will be a gun- control movement.
One of the outstanding questions that we're still awaiting answers on is motive. What led this 17-year-old to allegedly open fire on Friday?
We haven't heard much from police, but we did talk to a mother of one student who was killed on Friday. And she says that her daughter was harassed for at least four months by the alleged gunman, and that she -- that he was targeting her because she rejected him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIE BAZE, DAUGHTER DIED IN SHOOTING: My daughter was going up to my mother, telling my mom in the past four months and my brother that he had been making advances on her and that she finally stood up to him, because her younger sister was being bullied in school. And she was showing her, "Look, this is what you do. You've got to stand up to them and tell them that, no, it's not right." And this is the outcome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:15:04] VALENCIA: What investigators cannot definitively say is if all of those shot on Friday were shot by the gunman. They said that will be made clear after the medical examiner finishes the autopsies -- Chris.
CUOMO: And just so people understand -- you've been explaining this very well throughout the weekend, Nick -- there was so much gunfire there. They had two resource officers that had weapons. The cops were on scene very quickly. So they're going to have to figure it out. There were 1,400 kids in that school. It was a really, really serious situation. Nick, thank you very much.
All right. So the former head of the Education Department, Arne Duncan, he wants to get involved here. He says he has a radical plan to get lawmakers to act to end school shootings. Why he wants to keep millions of kids out of the classroom, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: It's not any one issue. But we -- again, we have to look at our culture of violence. Just our violent society.
OLIVER NORTH, INCOMING NRA PRESIDENT: Turn on the TV. Go to a movie. If you look at what is happening to young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:20:08] CUOMO: The lieutenant governor of Texas was the first man. The second man is the incoming president of the NRA. You may recognize his face. It's Oliver North. They blame our violent culture, prescription medications. That's why we have the school shootings, not guns.
The education secretary under President Obama, Arne Duncan, is backing a different idea, and he has a radical method for bringing about change, for forcing change.
Duncan replied to a tweet suggesting that America's 50 million school parents pull their kids out of school until gun laws are improved. He called the idea brilliant and tragically necessary, adding his family is all in.
Arne Duncan joins us now. Arne Duncan --
ARNE DUNCAN, FORMER U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: Good morning.
CUOMO: What do you think the chance is that this happens?
DUNCAN: We'll see. But what has happened to date is nothing. We, as parents, have failed to keep our kids safe, and we have to create a tension. We have to think differently. We have to think radically if we want to actually create, as a society, a country in which children aren't living in fear every single day.
CUOMO: The political reality makes your method almost impossible, because my kids would be out of school for months. And not only would people have tons of, you know, home life issues about who's going to watch these kids, but lawmakers would take forever to do this. We haven't seen any indication you could pressure them.
DUNCAN: Well, I think we've got to try some different things. And think about it if we came back after Labor Day that first week in September. Thought about this. Took a couple of days. Kids have walked for their safety. Teachers have walked out for better pay. The question is, what have we as parents done? What have we done? And what if we took a couple days, see what happens. If we get actions, fantastic.
If not, we've got the elections coming behind that in November. We go to the voting booth and have our voices heard loud and clear.
CUOMO: Provocative, provocative. I have to test it, because you know, that's what I do here. But it is provocative.
Let me ask you about the larger issues that were made by north and by the lieutenant governor down there in Texas. It's not just guns. We have a culture of violence. We have more of these than anyone else. Just put up the graphic. I can't believe anybody needs to be reminded of this.
Two hundred and eighty-eight. Look at the other countries. It's just -- it's so outsized. And people will look at this -- that and say the only difference between us and everybody else is our gun culture. But what about the idea of them pointing to the complexity of saying there's a lot of reasons these happen, not just access to weapons?
DUNCAN: Well, this is straight out of the traditional NRA playbook. And they want to talk about Ritalin. They want to talk about video games. They want to talk about culture. They want to talk about anything except easy access to guns. Why is the United States such an outlier? It's because guns are so readily available. We have four percent of the world's population, 42 percent of guns.
Easy access to guns is what's creating all this heartbreak, all this trauma. Think about cars. Cars now have seatbelts. You have speed bumps. You have technology. No one has taken away anyone's cars. They've simply made it safer. That's all we want to do here with the gun industry.
CUOMO: Are we ignoring common ground by fighting on just that one issue? I mean, hardening up schools as targets.
DUNCAN: Let me stop -- let me stop you. Hardening up schools makes no sense whatsoever. Think about this for a minute. How do you harden recess? How do you harden dismissal? How do you harden summer? That's impossible.
And in fact, what's so infuriating to me is there's tremendous common ground, tremendous common ground around background checks for all. Tremendous common ground around banning assault weapons, weapons of war. Tremendous common ground around basic research behind the impact of gun violence. So there's lots of room the entire American public backs, 75, 80, 85 percent of American citizens. Why haven't we gone there? Because we have lacked the courage and haven't created the tension that we have to to make politicians move.
CUOMO: But why -- but why be so -- look, the second part of what you say is 100 percent. The polls show it. There is common ground that gets ignored because of the polarization when it comes to the gun issue. But --
DUNCAN: It's not because of polarization. I just beg to differ. It's because the NRA has owned politicians on -- to be clear, on both sides of the aisle. This should be the ultimate bipartisan issue. We have done a terrible job of keeping our kids safe. We have failed. This is every parent's worst nightmare.
CUOMO: Arne, let's blame the NRA. Let's be honest. When you look at the list of lobbyists, they're not even a top three in terms of money. They do a good job of organizing their people to go to the polls and hit you in races that matter. You can argue with their politics. You can criticize what their goals are. But this is on the lawmakers, not them.
You know, if you have to stop the lobbying efforts in order to get politicians to have clear consciences, they should all get the hell out of the business.
DUNCAN: Well, let me be clear, I don't even think it's on the lawmakers. I put it on us as the voters. We as voters have been passive. We have been complacent. We have felt helpless. We've felt hopeless. And it's time for our voices and our votes to make a difference.
[07:25:11] Our young people are leading the country where we need to go. We as adults, we as parents, need to partner with them and create an America that is much, much safer so that our children can live free of fear.
CUOMO: Anybody partner up with you yet on this idea for what to do after Labor Day with the kids?
DUNCAN: We're just starting to think it through. And again, to be very clear, we recognize it's wildly complicated. It's difficult. I would argue it's wildly complicated and difficult to have children go to school and be shot and killed. It's wildly complicated and difficult to go to church and be shot and killed. It's wildly complicated and difficult to go to movies or concerts and be shot and killed. We have to do something differently. We have to confront this issue, and we have to create the kind of tension necessary to move the American public.
CUOMO: Well, nobody can argue that it's not a problem. That's sure. My own kid this weekend I heard talking to her friends about how, "Yes, this could happen at our school. I wonder what I would do. I wonder who it would be?" With such a nonchalance of the recognition of a new normal that is just intolerable.
Arne Duncan --
DUNCAN: How tragic is that? How tragic is that? We can do better.
CUOMO: It's tragic, and it's -- and it's too real. It was too easy for them to have that conversation.
Thank you for the provocative idea. Thank you for testing it on NEW DAY. We'll talk to you going ahead.
DUNCAN: Thank you so much.
HARLOW: All right. Good discussion.
Ahead for us, he served as the director of national intelligence during the 2016 election. So what does James Clapper make of President Trump's demand for an investigation into whether or not the DOJ or the FBI, in his words, spied on his political campaign for political purposes? We ask him next.