Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY

Giuliani: "Undermining" Mueller Probe Is Part Of White House Strategy; 1968: A Pivotal Year; New PBS Documentary Shows What It's Like To Go To War; One Person Missing As Flash Floods Ravage Maryland Town. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 28, 2018 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:56] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They're giving us the material. I couldn't do it if I didn't have the material. Of course, we had to do it in defending the president.

Look, we're defending -- to a large extent -- remember Dana, we're defending here -- it is for public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeach-not impeach.

Remember the Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents, so our jury is the -- as it should be, is the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: All right.

Rudy Giuliani confirming all the tweets and divisive comments from President Trump about the Mueller investigation are part of the bigger P.R. strategy they hope wins in a court of public opinion.

Let's discuss this with Rick Santorum, CNN senior political commentator and former U.S. senator. And, Nina Turner, former state senator from Ohio and CNN political commentator.

Good morning to both of you. Thanks for --

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning.

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (D) FORMER STATE SENATOR, OHIO: Good morning.

BRIGGS: -- starting your Memorial Day with us.

Senator, we'll start with you. Is it an effective strategy, is it a fair one? Is it how you should defend an innocent client?

SANTORUM: Well remember, the special prosecutor is not going to indict Donald Trump. I mean, that's -- I don't think anyone believes that's going to happen. The reality is that the President of the United States is not going to be indicted, but the President of the United States could have issues brought by the special counsel that lead to potentially, an impeachment.

And so what Rudy Giuliani is saying is look, the trial that we're worried about here is not a trial with -- not a grand jury. It's not a -- it's not a judicial process. The process here is a political process and that's what impeachment is.

I mean, if you go back the last time impeachment was tried back in the mid-1990s -- I mean, Bill Clinton ran a public relations campaign. I mean, he made political arguments as to why he shouldn't be impeached even though there were certainly substantive arguments as to why he broke the law.

The question is not whether he broke the law or not, it's to whether that breaking of the law rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, which really rises to the level of is there enough political support for -- to maintain him in office. And that's what -- that's what -- the Trump campaign is taking a lesson out of Bill Clinton's playbook.

BRIGGS: Nina, is this a stunning bit of transparency from Stormy to now strategy from Rudy?

TURNER: I mean, certainly, Mayor Giuliani laid it out and they are just hiding in plain sight. I mean, he made it very clear yesterday morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" what the play is. It is to win over the hearts and minds of the citizens of this country.

They are absolutely muddying the waters in the minds of Americans and it is really quite stunning to see -- well, I shouldn't say that it's stunning. They're doing exactly what they are supposed to do.

On the other hand, it is up to Democrats, which they are fighting very hard to continue to push this out front.

But it's not just this. It is the impact that this presidency has had -- the strain that this presidency has had on the hearts and minds of the citizens of this country.

BRIGGS: Senator, what else was said by Rudy is that they give us the material so we're just doing what we can with the material.

But here's what Marco Rubio said about exactly what that material is. Is it actually spying or is it simply a source? Here's his take, Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: But up to now, what I have seen is evidence that they were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning, and that was appropriate if that's all that happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: OK. So is it fair that -- there is no actual evidence, according to Marco Rubio, so what about the strategy given that, Rick?

SANTORUM: Well, one person's informant is another person's spy. I mean, as -- that's how you sort of characterize. I mean, we all have a little liberty here to characterize how people -- what people are doing and I don't think that there's any question that someone who goes into an organization looking for information to inform the authorities -- you know, if you're the -- if you're the person being looked into I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that that person's spying on your organization.

They -- again, it is hyperbole, yes, but I don't think it's out of the realm of -- it's not making it up. I mean, the reality is that this person was looking to see whether the people -- some people involved with the Trump campaign were involved in some sort of illegal activity and the campaign was not made aware of it.

[07:35:08] I'm not -- you know, you want to take a step back and you say well, of course, an investigator would never let the person know -- the campaign or the organization know that they were -- you know, they had an informant in place. That would ruin the whole idea.

We're talking about someone running for President of the United States, that there might be some illegal activity or some collusion or whatever was suspected. I disagree.

I think if this was Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Obama administration suspected something was going on, of course, they would tell Hillary Clinton.

Why? Because they would have suspected that she wouldn't want anything to do with it and that she would try to help them ferret it out as opposed to what was done here with Donald Trump, which was well, we don't really know whether Donald Trump and his organization would actually cooperate with us.

I think it's a fundamental difference in how -- in how the Clinton campaign would have been treated and how the Trump campaign was treated.

BRIGGS: Nina, is that fair?

TURNER: I mean, this is just deflection, deflection, deflection. The bottom line here is that Papadopoulos -- drunk, having a conversation -- talked about the information that he had received from Russians, period. All of the president's men are followed, from Gen. Flynn to Papadopoulos, to Bannon -- all of them.

So to sit up here and blame and deflect this on the Obama administration or to blame Democrats, it is actually the people who surrounded President Trump who got this wicked, deplorable party started in the first place, and they have to own up to it.

Furthermore, the president should just allow this investigation to just run its course. If he is innocent as he says he is, if all the people who surround him haven't done anything wrong, then let nature take its course. But no, that's not what he's doing. So, no, it is not fair to say that.

BRIGGS: Senator, is that not a fair point? If he did nothing wrong why not let it take its course? Ignore all the noise.

SANTORUM: Well, the reality is that the investigation has taken its course.

I mean, Bob Mueller has proceeded along, has gotten lots of cooperation with the Trump campaign as well as the administration, and has gotten the documents and evidence. And other than interviewing the president, has gotten pretty much access to everything he needs. And guess what we've shown -- no collusion.

So the whole idea of this investigation, as Donald Trump said repeatedly, it was phony. I mean, there is nothing here. And he knew it because obviously, he was never involved in any of these things.

And all they've been able to pick out is a few underlings who were shooting their mouth off or had a meeting or two that actually turned out to be nothing.

And what is really being focused on -- and this is why the Trump -- the Trump administration is fighting back, is what happened afterwards. Was there attempt to obstruct justice, was there -- and again, that's a legitimate area for the president to push back on.

BRIGGS: OK. If there was no wrongdoing this is a long list. You've got 13 Russian nationals charged, three Russian entities charged, three Trump campaign workers actually cooperating with the investigation.

Nina, your rebuttal to the senator.

TURNER: I mean, you know, now they're underlings. Before, they were top officials working for the president's campaign.

So the point -- the point -- the fundamental point here is that the president, along with all the folks who are supporting him, are trying to muddy the waters and deflect, deflect, deflect.

The bottom line is that whether it's Russia or any other foreign entity that the constitution that he took an oath to uphold that he would protect this country from all threats, both foreign and domestic, this is part of that.

And as much as he doesn't want to hear this because he's making this personal towards whether or not he's a legitimate president, he needs to step back from this, allow this to -- this investigation to continue, and stop trying to label and brand everything. He is the master brander at this and that's exactly what he's trying to do.

BRIGGS: Yes, well --

SANTORUM: He's an effective brander.

TURNER: Manipulate and the --

BRIGGS: We are going to set this aside for one minute, to both of you.

I want to play something that Senator, you said on Sunday. When Rick Santorum speaks on a Sunday show, Twitter listens and they responded.

They were very fired up about what you talked about regarding 1,500 missing immigrant children -- that they can't be accounted for. Are they lost or are they something more?

Here's what you said on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: This isn't a -- this isn't well, we've lost these kids. No, they were placed in vetted homes and for some reason or another these parents are not -- are not -- these people aren't communicating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they're not lost, what are they? Where are they if they're not lost?

SANTORUM: The question is they haven't had communication with these previously-vetted sponsors. Does that mean that they are lost? No, that means that there is a process that's going on right now to try to find why these -- why these sponsors haven't checked back in to give us their location.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[07:40:02] BRIGGS: Now, this is all regarding the Trump administration policy of separating children from their legal immigrant parents.

Senator, you saw the brushback there on Twitter. What's your response today?

SANTORUM: My response is simply this, that what -- the Department of Health and Human Services does not have custody of these children. They place them in homes -- and most of them, by the way, are relatives. The vast majority of them are relatives.

Let's just be honest. A lot of those -- a lot of those kids, just like a lot of other illegal immigrants, don't show up for their deportation hearings. Don't stay in touch with the Department of -- with immigration services. They hide into -- they go into the country and they disappear.

This is the -- this is the consistent problem with people with the -- who -- through this system of catch and release.

TURNER: (INAUDIBLE).

SANTORUM: They don't go -- for their court date. They disappear. And so we're -- that's the process --

TURNER: The most inhumane -- absolutely inhumane.

SANTORUM: And by the way, we're not talking -- we're not talking --

TURNER: It's absolutely inhumane. You're putting these children in detention centers --

SANTORUM: We're not talking about children --

(CROSSTALK)

BRIGGS: Let her get a word in edgewise. Let her get a word in edgewise.

TURNER: I mean, it is absolutely inhumane. It is a policy position that is being pressed by this president. We can talk about past administrations but President Trump has the power right now to do something about this.

So he's always talking about what's beautiful and what's good. Well, this is rotten to the core to treat these children like this, to make them vulnerable, to further traumatize them.

And this -- and another point here, that there is a profit motive here. We should not forget the profit motive here of private prison industry. The millions of dollars that they make off the backs of these babies and others in the prison industrial complex.

This is shameful, it is immoral, and America should be ashamed by this ploy that the president has used to further divide us.

BRIGGS: I think we started a whole new debate and one we do not have time for -- sorry.

Senator and Nina, thank you both for being here. We appreciate it -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right.

It is the year that changed America. We'll take a look at how civil rights activists shook up the country in 1968. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:45:42] CAMEROTA: Nineteen sixty-eight is a year remembered for seismic shifts in American politics, social movements, and conflicts abroad. Five decades have passed since those tumultuous 12 months changed America forever.

Tonight, CNN's new original series event "1968" explores the icons and milestones of that pivotal year.

Here's Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outrage over racially- charged deaths, violent clashes between police and the African- American community --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All black man don't have to die.

FOREMAN: -- and demands for fair, equal treatment, all part of a struggle for social justice now. But that modern movement owes much to the 1960s when a great many similar scenes unfolded.

Throughout that decade, friction had been building over integrations, voter rights, and disparities in education, work, and housing opportunities.

MALCOLM X, AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSLIM MINISTER, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Freedom comes to us either by ballots or by bullets.

FOREMAN: The slaying of Malcolm X, and the appearance of the Black Panthers, and a rising sense of African-American identity saw in 1968 the landmark book "Soul On Ice" appear. U.S. Olympic sprinters raised their fists against racial inequality. And it all came to a head --

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., BAPTIST MINISTER, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights.

FOREMAN: -- when the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis triggered an outpouring of grief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three persons have been treated for injuries. Among them, several policemen and firemen.

FOREMAN: Protests ripped through dozens of cities. The nation's capital, Washington, D.C., exploded into four days of fury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At one point early in the evening, more than 100 fires were burning, some of them in an area just 20 blocks from the White House.

FOREMAN: Today a monument to the slain civil rights leader stands near the very spot where he led marches and prayed for nonviolent change, not far from the Smithsonian's new African-American history museum.

FOREMAN (on camera): They are both tributes to the past, but also for many civil rights advocates, they are reminders, too, that the passionate calls for change in 1968 are echoing still.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: And you can tune in tonight for two all-new episodes of the original series event, "1968." It starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN. All right. So on this Memorial Day, a new documentary shows the aftermath of going to war. Journalist Sebastian Junger is here with his thoughts, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:30] CAMEROTA: On Memorial Day we honor the brave men and women who died serving our country.

A new documentary called "GOING TO WAR" airs tonight on PBS. The film features firsthand stories from troops and war correspondents. Among them, filmmaker Sebastian Junger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEBASTIAN JUNGER, JOURNALIST, AUTHOR, AND FILMMAKER, FEATURED IN PBS DOCUMENTARY, "GOING TO WAR": War is heroic, it's scary, it's horrifying. It's courage, loyalty, brotherhood and sisterhood, and all these things that have made humans human for a very long time.

We like to think that war is an aberration but there's scarcely been a culture or a time when we've not been at war. It's universal.

We try really hard to keep combat at a distance but when we talk about war we're talking about what it means to be human.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Sebastian Junger joins us now. Sebastian, great to see you.

JUNGER: You, too.

CAMEROTA: Now you've -- I mean, just in that little clip you already raise really provocative ideas that we think of it as an aberration but it's been with us forever -- war.

JUNGER: Yes. I mean, if you talk to anthropologists, psychologists, like -- obviously, war has been part of the human experience for a very long time.

CAMEROTA: And so, what will we learn tonight in this PBS documentary?

JUNGER: Well, there's a particular psychological, emotional experience that people go through in preparing for war. That's true in a small-scale tribal society and for an industrial society like our own.

There's a particular experience to fighting war and that's whether you're in a combat unit or the other 90 percent of American soldiers who are in support units. And for both of those kinds of soldiers, it's very hard to come back.

You're going from a close communal organization, your platoon, to this sort of individualized modern society that's basically hard on everybody. And I think a certain amount of what we call PTSD is actually -- part of it is just this transition from a close human environment in combat to this, which has its upsides but frankly, it's pretty disconnected.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And so, what's the answer for them?

JUNGER: Well, the answer for them is the same as the answer for all of us. Like, we need -- we need to figure out how to have the blessings of this amazing modern society but reconnect with our communities. We need to live in communities. That's what we're wired for.

And when veterans -- veterans are sort of the canary in the coal mine because they've experienced that closeness and then they lose it when they come home. We never experienced that so we don't know what we're missing.

But really, it affects all of us. We know as affluence goes up in society, the suicide rate goes up, the depression rate goes up. That's the society that veterans are coming home to.

CAMEROTA: That is so crazy. I mean, again, that paradox.

[07:55:00] But it's also -- isn't it also just the intensity and how do you recreate that intensity in your regular life?

JUNGER: I mean, you can't. You can't recreate that intensity but that is something that we -- people should be able to process, right.

Just because something was intense and meaningful doesn't mean you can't move through it and beyond it, but doing that in a -- we're meant to overcome adversity within communities. We're not meant to do it alone and increasingly, this society requires us to do it alone or with our family and that's very, very hard to do.

CAMEROTA: And what about your personal experience. I mean, you've been a war correspondent, obviously, and so that's a little different than combat on the front lines, but not that much. You're right there.

JUNGER: Yes. I mean, of course, I've been exposed to trauma and you see harm come to other people if you -- if you have a near-death experience. It's traumatic.

But, you know, if you think about it in evolutionary terms, if trauma were psychologically incapacitating for an entire -- for a whole lifetime, the human race wouldn't exist. I mean, the human race evolves in very difficult, dangerous circumstances. So clearly, as humans we're wired to overcome trauma or we couldn't have survived.

CAMEROTA: And so, on this Memorial Day are we making any progress towards being a less war-torn universe --

JUNGER: (Laughing).

CAMEROTA: -- earth? JUNGER: Because of war, because of climate change I think, unfortunately, in the next 100 years or so there's going to be a lot of conflict in the world.

CAMEROTA: What do you want people to get out of watching tonight?

JUNGER: Well, we're -- you know, we're a very powerful, wealthy nation and over and over again in our history it's been necessary to go to war.

I think what people need to get out of this is that whether you agree with the war or not, the soldiers who fight these wars for us have been sent by us. It's our war. Even if you didn't vote for it, even if you don't like it, it is our war and the moral and emotional consequences of fighting a war are undergone by the soldiers -- by the veterans -- but they really should be owned by the country -- by the population.

And I think this film makes it clear like this is a one big group project and when people come back from war they have a lot of advantages other people don't have that didn't go to war, and they also have a lot of deficits. We have to understand those.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that's a really valuable lesson and I think that we've learned some of that after Vietnam and how people were treated. But we are -- we can be very distant, still, from the soldiers in our country who are fighting --

JUNGER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- the war, depending upon where we live and what our life is.

JUNGER: Well, you know, one way of distancing yourself from someone is over-heroizing them. Turning them into too much of a hero, right? You don't want to villainize them and you don't want to overdo the hero worship either.

They're human beings. They're right in the middle, right, and so what we need to do is engage with them as their actual experience.

Saying oh, you're a hero -- in some ways that's great, but in some ways it maintains that distance from you because you're not a hero. So like that -- what we need is closeness. We don't need those two extremes of what a veteran is.

CAMEROTA: Sebastian Junger, always fascinating to talk to you. Thanks so much for previewing it with us.

JUNGER: Sure.

CAMEROTA: So everybody can watch "GOING TO WAR." It airs tonight at 9:00 eastern on PBS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's devastating. It's heartbreaking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of them were trapped on the second and third-story floors. It was just terrifying to watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we all want to enjoy Memorial Day weekend but everybody needs to be safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got our clearest indication yet that this summit is going to go ahead.

RUBIO: It's all a show. It's a show. I remain convinced that he does not want to denuclearize.

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: The president's got the North Koreans in a place that any other president might not have managed to get done.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: There is concern that the president is laying the groundwork to move on Bob Mueller or Rosenstein.

GIULIANI: I'm not saying Mueller is illegitimate. I'm saying the basis on which he was appointed is illegitimate.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We have a deeply unethical president and there's only one remedy and that is to let the investigation go on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, May 28th, 8:00 in the east on this Memorial Day. Wishing everyone a peaceful Memorial Day.

Great to have you Dave Briggs --

BRIGGS: Good to be here.

CAMEROTA: -- here with me.

OK, so we do have breaking news for you because flash flooding has turned this Maryland town's Main Street into a raging river. Take a look at your screen. Cars have been swept up by the roaring, muddy water rushing through Ellicott City, Maryland.

Nearly eight inches of rain fell there in just six hours. Obviously, more than the streets could handle so the state's government has declared a state of emergency for this entire area.

Officials say one person is now missing at this hour and at least 30 rescues were carried out overnight.

Ellicott City is no stranger to this. Just two years ago, catastrophic flooding then left two people dead and caused millions of dollars in damages.

BRIGGS: And there's another severe weather threat days before the hurricane season is set to begin. The year's first named storm barreling toward the Gulf Coast. Alberto gaining strength, expected to dump heavy rain as it makes landfall later today.

Both of these weather stories we have covered for you.

Let's start though with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live in Ellicott City, Maryland. Good morning, Suzanne. All too familiar for those folks.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.

I know this area very well. My parents live in Ellicott City, Maryland. There were violent thunderstorms last night. Lightning actually struck in their backyard.