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Trump Repeats Unproven Claim Of FBI Spying In His Campaign; Senator Ron Johnson Right to Try Bill; NBA Player Tased And Arrested By Police Over Parking Dispute; Justice Department To Brief Congressional Leaders On FBI Source. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired May 24, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He's been great for --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We always appreciate him coming on, even despite the technical audio gremlins that we often have.
CUOMO: That's what I do when they tell me to wrap. What? What'd they say?
CAMEROTA: Sorry, lost you.
CUOMO: Go longer?
CAMEROTA: Lost you.
CUOMO: All right.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson wants to talk to more than 30 current and former FBI and Justice Department officials about the Russia investigation. What does he want to know? Does he believe in the deep state?
The senator makes the case to you, next.
CAMEROTA: And, 1968 was one of the most consequential years in U.S. history. Don't miss this special two-night CNN original series starting Sunday at 9:00 eastern.
CUOMO: President Trump's new secretary of state, the former CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was taking questions about the deep state during his testimony before Congress. Please listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Do you believe there is a criminal deep state at the State Department?
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't -- I haven't seen the comments from the president. I don't believe there's a deep state at the State Department.
LIEU: OK, thank you.
You formerly served as CIA director. Do you believe your colleagues at the CIA are part of the criminal deep state?
[07:35:04] POMPEO: You know, this term 'deep state' has been thrown around. I'd say this. The employees that work for me at the CIA, nearly uniformly, were aimed at achieving the president's objectives and America's objectives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Joining us now, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Senator, thank you for making the time. Appreciate it.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI), MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, CHAIR, HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Good morning, Chris. So you wanted me on one last time in the morning to duke it out, huh?
CUOMO: No, I want you on many --
JOHNSON: I appreciate that.
CUOMO: -- more times. The offer stands. Transferring the offer from morning to night.
You are always welcome to come on and make the case to the American people. We need --
JOHNSON: Well, good news. That time slot is before my bedtime so we'll try and make that happen, too.
CUOMO: Good. Thank you, Senator.
Let's start at what should be a point of agreement.
No question that there are legitimate questions to be asked about how the Clinton probe was handled, how the Trump probe was handled, and I get you want to ask those questions.
But, the president's idea that it is rotten to the core, that it is a deep state, do you believe that or do you believe Mike Pompeo, the man who has reason to know the truth?
JOHNSON: Well, as you said, there are a number of questions and there certainly are potentially some bad actors. There are some, as I've said before, possible corruption at some of the highest levels.
After I said that we got the Office of the Inspector General report on Andrew McCabe that pretty conclusively proved that he lied repeatedly under oath to his own FBI investigators.
So, you know, that's why it's so important Chris to get all this information out in the open. We have to restore the credibility of the FBI and the Department of Justice in the eyes of the American public and right now that's under question. CUOMO: Well, but largely, it's under question because the President of the United States keeps saying that they are all rotten. Now he's pulled back on that position but that's why I want to start with our operating premise.
Do you believe in the Department of Justice, the FBI, the CIA? Do you believe in them as institutions?
JOHNSON: Oh, the vast majority of people working those agencies are patriots. They're trying to keep our nation safe. They're risking their lives to do so, and I truly believe that's what the president believes as well. But again, there are some serious questions.
And Chris, I have a different perspective on all of this. I was actually in the briefing in September of 2016. We were brief by Lisa Monaco, Director Comey, and Sec. Johnson, and they were -- they briefed the big 12 at that point in time.
And they were telling us that they had evidence of Russian interference. They tried to hack into voter files.
The entire tone -- what they requested in that meeting is they had it under control, they were dealing with the states, and they wanted us to go out and communicate that this was going to be a legitimate election because they had it under control. That was exactly what they were trying to do a couple of months before the election.
But then, basically from their perspective, the wrong person got elected and all of a sudden this is the greatest threat to our democracy that's ever occurred.
So there is a fair amount of hypocrisy that's occurred during this time line which is, again, why I would say it's so important to have the public understand exactly what happened.
It has been like pulling teeth under the Obama administration, even currently, to get the information to Congress. We are the body that investigates and reveals this to the public. That public exposure is the only way we're going to restore credibility.
My whole problem with the special counsel -- once you have a criminal investigation, that information gets locked up and this thing drags on. It's been over a year now and we still have all these questions and more and more credibility is being to question.
So again, that is the problem. That's why we need this all exposed.
CUOMO: All right, but you can't blame the institutions for the negativity that you guys are putting on it. The reason that their credibility is in question is because there are continuously assumptions made about them being in bad faith.
You said the president believes it's just a few bad apples. Senator, you know he consistently --
JOHNSON: No, no. I said -- no.
CUOMO: -- doesn't say that. He consistently damns the entire institution, consistently.
JOHNSON: Chris, don't put -- don't put words in my mouth. I said I believe the president believes the vast majority of people who work in the FBI --
CUOMO: I know, but I'm asking you why you think that when he says the opposite all the time. Where are you giving -- why are you giving him the benefit of the doubt when he says the opposite?
JOHNSON: Because I believe that's exactly true.
When Sec. Kelly, for example, restored the moral of CVP and ICE coming in here -- and I listened to Gen. Kelly talk to those folks and the president has the exact same type of attitude.
But again, what we need to do is we need to find out who the bad actors were and exactly what happened. We need to get that out in the public as quickly as possible to bring this to a close --
JOHNSON: -- because we have -- we have serious issues -- North Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia. We have some real problems in this -- in this world.
CUOMO: So you want these questions investigated. You do not think they should be the subject matter of a special counsel though, correct?
JOHNSON: I just think special counsel was appointed too soon because once you have that criminal investigation it is very difficult, for example, for people to come forward. I was really expecting all kinds of informants coming forward. That's what we heard.
If James Comey was going to exonerate Hillary Clinton we thought there was going to be basically a mini-rebellion within the FBI. But because there's a criminal investigation, because people want to protect their jobs, we haven't had that.
[07:40:07] We're getting some indications now there's some FBI agents who want to come forward.
Please, come to my committee. I want to know because I want to restore the credibility of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is the goal of my investigation.
CUOMO: Why would FBI agents come forward when the President of the United States is looking to smear as many of them as possible?
JOHNSON: Hopefully, to tell the truth so the public can understand exactly what happened and we can get this entire sordid episode behind us. CUOMO: But why would they have confidence in the process when we're looking at today. You were going to have just your side go in and talk to intelligence officials and get a reckoning of whether or not there was a spy in the campaign when they've already said there wasn't.
JOHNSON: Chris, I -- when you say I was -- I was -- you said --
CUOMO: Then you say all the institutions are run by Republicans.
JOHNSON: You said I was -- I have nothing to do with that. But trust me, whistleblowers can come to our committee. We have protected all kinds of whistleblowers coming forward.
I am the Senate Oversight Committee. We rely on whistleblowers to get this information out to the public. So please, come forward. We will protect you.
CUOMO: Do you think it was wrong for them to try to do this in a one- sided way?
JOHNSON: No. Listen, I'm glad it's being done in a bipartisan way.
Again, I was part of the "Gang of 12" --
JOHNSON: -- that met with the president -- President Obama's team in September 2016 and that's the way this should occur.
CUOMO: Let me ask you about something else.
You have a bill that you believe the president is going to sign into law. It's called the "Right to Try" legislation. Now, this is very important and has been controversial.
It gives terminally ill patients a way to access drugs that are still experimental. A lot of them are often called orphan drugs, where there isn't enough need for them for the companies to want to put them out in a big way. There's not enough profit motive, really.
What will this bill do to help those types of people in extremis?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, they have to be drugs that have already passed phase one, the safety approval of the FDA and still, they're in the approval process which means the companies think they have enough potential that they're going to spend millions to try and get final approval.
But no, Chris, that was a big win for terminally ill patients and their families. It has restored a little bit of freedom, a little bit of hope. So now, it's those patients and their doctors that can have -- that can make that decision to try something when they have no other options.
They don't qualify for clinical trials, they've exhausted all other forms of treatment. They are -- they are desperate and we are just returning a little bit of freedom and hope.
And by the way, this is a big win for President Trump, too. Had it not been for his public support and private support I don't think this would have ever passed the House. So again, this is a big win primarily for those patients that have advocated for it.
And listen, I was in the gallery with, unfortunately, victims of ALS, muscular dystrophy. It was tears and hugs all around when that bill passed the House on Tuesday.
CUOMO: Good for you. Good for all of you down there for finding a way to seek some common ground and act on it and help the American people. Good for you, Senator.
And thanks for being on the show, as always.
JOHNSON: Good luck. I look forward to joining you in the evening.
CUOMO: We'll be there. We'll be getting after it and I will be calling you frequently. Let's put it that way.
Take care, Senator -- Alisyn.
JOHNSON: OK, take care.
CAMEROTA: All right.
President Trump has a new target for tariffs -- cars. How could it affect your family? "CNN Money" is next.
[07:47:33] CAMEROTA: It's time for "CNN Money Now."
President Trump preparing his next trade battle -- cars -- threatening tariffs on foreign automobiles and parts.
Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is in our Money Center with more. What does this mean, Christine?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": You know, the Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, Alisyn, claims car imports have eroded our domestic auto industry. He plans to investigate if that hurts national security.
Now, a similar probe led to steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year.
This follows Trump's promise to U.S. autoworkers. He said this. "After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries you have waited long enough!" -- calling the auto industry critical to U.S. strength.
The investigation will cover auto parts, as well as cars, SUVs, vans, light trucks.
Any tariffs would hit Asian automakers the hardest. About a third of all U.S. car imports are from Asia.
And the announcement sparking a big sell-off overnight for the likes of Toyota, Honda, Hyundai. The biggest loser, Mazda, down more than five percent.
Mazda does not produce cars in the U.S. but many foreign automakers do have plants here. However, they also export parts and cars to the U.S. from Asia, Mexico, and Canada.
Auto tariffs will be the next front for the White House's trade battles, including those ongoing talks with China.
This also puts new pressure on Canada and Mexico, you guys. NAFTA talks have stalled and guess what, mainly due to auto provisions, Chris.
CUOMO: Christine Romans, appreciate the insight as always.
So, here's a tease for you. An NBA player tased in a parking dispute. There's video. We will show you what happened.
After this, the police forced to apologize. The athlete saying not enough. Facts, next.
[07:52:43] CUOMO: LeBron and the Cavs on the brink of elimination.
Lindsay Czarniak has more in the "Bleacher Report."
LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: This is the first of three big sports stories today, right?
LeBron -- he's not old, he's only 33. But last night, he looked worn out at times and when you're playing against a team with three of the starters under 24 -- I mean, it's bound to wear on you.
This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford -- going further so you can.
No one has been able to stop the Celtics on their home court in these playoffs. That includes a tired LeBron. Rookie Jayson Tatum led the way last night with 24 points. They are now just one win away from a trip to the finals.
And to the NHL. Game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals -- Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Washington has the biggest star on the court in Alex Ovechkin, but until this year he had never made it past the second round. He came out on a mission, scoring just over a minute into the game.
Washington wins four-nothing, advancing to the final for the first time since 1998.
And, NFL owners announcing a new National Anthem policy meant to end player protests on the field.
Under the new policy all team personnel, including players, must stand for the Anthem on the field though players do have the option to remain in the locker-room if they choose not to stand. Anyone who does not stand during the Anthem while on the field will be fined by the league.
And I'm told the Players Association did find out, guys, about this news on a newswire so you can imagine that just adds to their fury, not being consulted.
CAMEROTA: Right. I mean, they're not happy with it and who knows what they'll do next -- what their next move is. I mean, it sounds sort of --
CZARNIAK: They investigate and figure out what they can do, right?
CUOMO: Well, we've had one team come forward -- the Jets.
CUOMO: Their -- the brother of the owner. Woody Johnson is the owner.
CUOMO: He's actually the ambassador to Britain right now in the Trump administration.
His brother said we'll cover the fines. And it will be interesting to see if all the other teams follow suit.
CZARNIAK: Yes. That's an interesting comment by him, too.
CZARNIAK: Thank you. You got it.
CAMEROTA: All right.
New bodycam video just released shows police in Milwaukee handcuffing and tasing an NBA player over a parking dispute. The police chief says the department disciplined the officers involved but the player says he is taking legal action.
CNN's Ryan Young is live in Milwaukee with more. Ryan, what have you learned?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Look, the reaction to this video has been pretty swift. It was even churning on Twitter last night.
The big question now is why did a simple parking violation lead to a tasing and arrest?
[07:55:03] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
YOUNG (voice-over): Milwaukee's police department is apologizing over this incident from January --
POLICE OFFICER: Taser! Taser! Taser!
YOUNG: -- which ended in Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown being tased. You can see via the newly-released bodycam video Brown's car double-parked across two handicapped spaces.
The officer approaches and asks for Brown's I.D.
POLICE OFFICER: How you doing? Got a driver's license?
YOUNG: A back-and-forth ensues after the young basketball player is told to back up.
POLICE OFFICER: Back up. Back up.
YOUNG: Then the officer calls for reinforcements.
POLICE OFFICER: Can I get another squad here?
YOUNG: Around eight minutes into the video one of the officers yells for Brown to get his hands out of his pockets.
POLICE OFFICER: Take your hands out of your pockets, now.
STERLING BROWN, GUARD, MILWAUKEE BUCKS: Hold on. I've got stuff in my hands.
YOUNG: Four officers then grabbed Brown and wrestle him to the ground --
POLICE OFFICER: Get on the ground.
YOUNG: -- and tase him.
POLICE OFFICER: Taser! Taser! Taser!
YOUNG: You can hear Brown grunting.
BROWN: Oh, oh.
YOUNG: The encounter resulted in Brown's arrest but the basketball player was never charged.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett calls the video disturbing.
MAYOR TOM BARRETT, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN: No citizen should be treated this way. The actions I saw also demand accountability.
YOUNG: In a statement, the police chief said, "I am sorry this incident escalated to this level" and notes that unnamed officers were recently disciplined after an internal investigation. The footage comes just a day after Brown's lawyer announced that the rookie would be filing a civil rights lawsuit against the city's police force.
In a statement posted to his Twitter account Brown says the incident, which he believes should have ended with a simple parking ticket, shows racism towards the minority community, the abuse of power, and the lack of accountability for officers involved.
The Bucks also released a statement saying in part, "The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee police was shameful and inexcusable."
The video release coincides with a new NFL policy stating that teams will be fined if players on the field kneel during the Nation Anthem, a step players took to protest excessive police force against people of color.
YOUNG: Chris, still a lot of questions in this case. In fact, we were are the news conference yesterday where the police chief was talking about making sure to reach out to the public. But then, he wouldn't take any of our questions -- Chris.
CUOMO: Listen, you've got to stay on every one of these. We need the transparency, we need the truth, and we always need the video.
Ryan, thank you very much. Appreciate it as always.
Well, just before 8:00 there's a lot of news. What do you say, friends? Let's get after it.
CAMEROTA: And, good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, May 24th, 8:00 in the east.
One hour left of your time on NEW DAY. It's been the long goodbye here since it was announced a while ago. But still, now it's just sudden. It feels after -- after a long time of knowing this coming, today it feels sudden and sad.
CUOMO: You tried to put it off but it had to happen.
CAMEROTA: I guess so.
CUOMO: I've waited as long as I could, you know.
CAMEROTA: Yes, it's time for you to go to primetime.
CUOMO: That's it.
CAMEROTA: All right.
Well, we have a lot of excitement coming up for you as we say goodbye to Chris in this hour. Meanwhile, in other news, in just hours a bipartisan group of top congressional leaders will be briefed by the Justice Department about the FBI's use of that confidential source to determine if Russia was colluding with the Trump campaign.
The bipartisan classified briefing comes only after Democrats complained the White House was politicizing intelligence by first offering the briefing only to Republicans.
CUOMO: All right. We're also following breaking news out of North Korea. Reporters, including CNN's Will Ripley, witnessed the regime supposedly blowing up tunnels that would be used otherwise for nuclear testing.
This comes as the war of words between the U.S. and North Korea is escalating again. A North Korean official says it's ready for a nuclear showdown if talks with the U.S. fail.
CAMEROTA: All right.
Joining us now to talk about all of this, we have CNN political analysts Josh Green and Jonathan Martin. Great to see both of you.
OK, Josh, here's the thing. The president has admitted -- well, no. The "Associated Press" has reporting --
CUOMO: I was going to say, what?
CAMEROTA: Yes. The "Associated Press" has reporting that a source says the president admitted to that source that he came up with the term spy. He concocted it because he knows it's sort of easily digestible -- sound nefarious.
CAMEROTA: And yet, despite that --
OK, here it is. Trump told one ally this week that he wanted to brand the confidential informant a spy, believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public. OK.