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Markets Open after Jobs Report; Trump Talks About Samantha Bee; Bannon Speaks Out; Hand-Delivered Letter to Trump. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired June 1, 2018 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Announced.
Cristina Alesci on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Good morning. What's it looking like?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
Investors definitely in a better mood today after being spooked yesterday by those aluminum and steel tariffs. We're opening higher, 164 points higher. That's a remarkable rebound from yesterday. The Dow was down 350 points, Poppy.
Look, some of this positive sentiment was helped by the jobs report, which came out at 8:30 this morning. It was a strong jobs report. About 223,000 jobs added. Unemployment was at a record low, an 18-year low of about 3.8 percent, Poppy. So that's helping this positive sentiment. We're going to see how this plays out through the rest of the day.
But the president will likely take credit for this rally. We've already seen him tease to the jobs report this morning before it came out. And this is a goldilocks report, really. It shows that the economy is still strong, but not too strong so that investors worry that the Fed will raise rates faster than expected.
This is why the business community and your -- to your point about your interview with that CEO, this is why the community doesn't understand why the administration would want to muck things up right now by picking a trade dispute, a war, with our biggest allies at a time when things seem to be going along just fine, Poppy.
HARLOW: It's a -- it's a head scratcher for sure. But thank you for the opening bell. I know you'll be there -- be there all day keeping an eye on what the markets do. We appreciate it.
ALESCI: Thanks, Poppy.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this morning, Poppy, President Trump is asking why comedian Samantha Bee has not been fired after she called Ivanka Trump a vulgar word that begins with "c" on her show.
The president actually linking her crude comment to the racist tweet that got Roseanne fired, calling it a double standard.
I want to bring in senior media correspondent Brian Stelter to talk with us about this.
It seems, Brian, like the president's following a lot of conservative pundits who are jumping on this double standard bandwagon.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he absolutely is. He's tapping into a very potent strain of grievance politics. Something that we hear almost every day on the president's favorite Fox News talk shows. He's tapping into the idea of conservative victimhood. That conservatives are treated in a worse way than liberals. In this case, Roseanne Barr treated worse than Samantha Bee.
But let's be honest here, these two cases are very different. One was a case of a racist remark. Sam Bee's case is about a hateful remark. Something that crossed the line. So they are very different cases, although they're being lumped together because they're happening on the same week.
The similarity between the two is that the two corporate entities involved are ignored the president. I'm really struck by this. Earlier in the week, when the president attacked ABC and said, why didn't Disney apologize to me for nasty things said about me on ABC, Disney ignored him. And this morning I'm told TBS is also ignoring his tweet where he's saying, why hasn't Sam Bee been fired? TBS, of course, like CNN, owned the same company, Turner, a division of Time Warner. It's interesting here to see TBS trying to lay low today now that two advisers have publicly said they don't want to be a part of Bee's show. They've pulled out. We'll see if that ad boycott grows today or not.
HARLOW: Brian, we have seen some pointing to Ted Nugent, who a long time ago, '94 I think it was, in an interview to a magazine, called Hillary Clinton, before she was running for president, before secretary of state, called her the "c" word. And then this picture of President Trump with Ted Nugent at the White House.
STELTER: Right. Right.
HARLOW: So, what do you think, hypocrisy? That was a long time ago? How do you see?
STELTER: Another case of selected outrage by Trump. I think that's the right way to put it. You know, Roger Stone, one of the president's long-time allies, also created an anti-Hillary group a couple of years ago that essentially was this "c" word.
Look, we're used to the president picking and choosing when it comes to outrage. If I could take a point of personal privilege, I wish he'd be more outraged about that new Harvard study about the shocking death toll in Puerto Rico --
HARLOW: Thank you.
STELTER: There are a lot of issues the president always chooses not to tweet about. And when he leans into these controversial controversies, Disney, earlier in the week, now Samantha Bee, it's because he knows it's very effective among some of his most loyal fans. But he is missing some, frankly, bigger stories.
KEILAR: I wonder what you think, Brian, whether this is something that would have registered? I mean I know -- I personally think that a comedian taking aim at Ivanka Trump and using the "c" word probably would have registered, but maybe not as much as it has because of the Roseanne scandal. I wonder what you think.
STELTER: Yes, I think you're absolutely right. It's because these stories have come back to back that Samantha Bee is getting even more attention. But, regardless of Roseanne, take her out of the equation for a moment, what Samantha Bee was saying was absolutely wrong, unnecessary. We should be able to debate the president's immigration policies without resorting to this kind of language.
And I do think Bee recognized that. I mean her statement seemed sincere yesterday. Now she has a few days to think about what to say on next week's show. I suspect she'll want to talk about this controversy.
[09:35:02] But, in the meantime, you know, why can't we be easy on the people and hard on the ideas. Eric Wemple, of "The Washington Post," said earlier today or last night, it feels like we're seeing the country's decency erode in real time, whether it's Roseanne Barr or Samantha Bee or these other cases. It's up to public personalities and celebrities like Samantha Bee to help keep the bar high rather than raise it even lower.
HARLOW: Yes. It's a really good point.
Brian, thank you.
KEILAR: Brian Stelter, thank you so much.
And up next, why the president's former chief strategist says the president is all wrong about the way he's handling Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We'll have more of this CNN exclusive interview.
HARLOW: All right, this morning, a CNN exclusive. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon sits down with our Fareed Zakaria and they talk about a lot, including his time in the White House, the Russia investigation and why Bannon says the president is flat out wrong about some things. Listen.
[09:40:01] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Donald Trump now says he wishes he had picked another attorney general. Is Donald Trump right? STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: I think the
president is wrong. I think the president is wrong -- has been wrong from the beginning about -- if I can respectfully disagree with the president of the United States, I think that -- I think the whole concept of recusal is not even an issue. I think that Rudy Giuliani, or Chris Christie, or Jeff Sessions, anybody associated with the campaign would have had to recuse themselves before Grassley's committee even voted them out to go to the floor for a vote. So I think the recusal is an issue --
BANNON: Yes, an issue that was dealt with and had to be dealt with. And whether you picked Rudy or Christie -- and, by the way, this thing about Sessions was not the first pick. Rudy was always the first pick. Jeff Sessions and Rudy, all of them wanted secretary of state, OK? So even Rudy knew at the time there was going to be this issue of recusal. So I think the president's wrong.
I think if you look at what Jeff Sessions has done on immigration, on migration and all the key issues of the Justice Department, I think Sessions has personally done an excellent job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Joining me now, CNN political analyst Joshua Green.
And why is we here? Because we like him, but also because he wrote this book, "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Nationalist Uprising."
So, I mean, it's not the first time, especially after Michael Wolff's book, that we've heard Steve Bannon criticize the president. But what did you make of this on Sessions?
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's really not a surprise on Sessions. You know, one of the -- one of the passages in my book is that long before Donald Trump came along, Steve Bannon tried to convince Jeff Sessions to run for president. And the reason he wanted to do that was to elevate the issues of trade and immigration restrictions. He thought that if Sessions ran, that those issues would take overs the debate in the Republican Party. Sessions didn't end up running, but Donald Trump did. And by elevating Sessions to attorney general, Bannon essentially got what he wanted. If you look at where the focus of news coverages is, if you look at where the energy in the Trump administration is, it's in cracking down on immigration and starting trade wars. And so Bannon wants to keep Sessions in place, along with a lot of other conservatives.
HARLOW: You wonder what Bannon would think this morning when he sees the tariffs on our allies, higher -- you know, more than the tariffs on China, because he's been such a vocal voice on China, China, China.
Let me get you on some other things that he said too to Fareed Zakaria.
He talked about the Mueller probe and support of the investigation. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BANNON: I've been a big proponent of Mueller. I was the guy that said, don't fire Comey. This thing's petering out. I said it's the -- it's the c block on Anderson Cooper. Nobody's interested anymore. It will be done in 90 days, then we'll be done it, OK? But --
ZAKARIA: I have to protest (ph) that lots of people watch the c block on Anderson Cooper but never mind that.
BANNON: No, no, but I'm saying the energy, by the time you get to the c block, when Anderson's got something, it's on the a block. If you -- if you -- if you fire him you're going to get a special prosecutor.
I've been a big proponent of Mueller. I've got to be part of that as a witness of fact. I have always said, you know, he's a combat marine, a great individual. That ought to play out as it's going to play out.
Now, where I have a problem, and a huge problem, I was the guy that said publicly that Ty Cobb should be fired, OK? He gave the president, I thought, terrible advice. And I actually think lied to the president consistently about what the nature of this investigation was and the timing of it and giving overall all our documents. Remember, unlike all the precedents set with every other precedent, we willing went and gave over a million pages of documents and allowed the White House Counsel, the chief of staff, the chief strategist, the head of communications --
ZAKARIA: But he wanted to continue --
BANNON: To be -- to be -- to expedite this, which I thought was not wise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: What's your read on that?
GREEN: Well, you know, Bannon, from the outset, his not -- was not among the crowd that said, let's try and fire Mueller.
GREEN: He said the same thing about Comey, that you can't fire the FBI. And I think -- I think events have proved that he's right about that.
HARLOW: Worst political decision ever I think he's said about Comey. Remember that?
GREEN: Exactly. He did. That's right.
GREEN: But, more recently, over the last couple of weeks, I think he has come out and said that the investigation has gone on too long. He's been among a group of outside Trump supporters who have been trying to put pressure on Rod Rosenstein or pressure Trump to fire Rod Rosenstein. So it surprises me to hear Bannon saying that the Mueller investigation is valid because he's not singing from the same hymnal as most other Republicans are these days who are trying to create space for Trump to fire Mueller by saying that the investigation is invalid or that it's gone on too long or that, you know, Mueller is some kind of a crypto Democrat or all the other silly Republican attacks.
HARLOW: Well, but not most -- I mean there are Republicans that have even put forward legislation to protect the special counsel. But I hear you.
Also, finally, I just want to get you on this because he has a very clear, a very strong opinion when it comes to the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BANNON: I think the question with Rosenstein, particularly when you get the southern district of Manhattan involved and this whole Cohen thing, it looks like the southern district of Manhattan's involved in the Trump Organization. Now they refuse -- he refuses to give some sort of briefing to the Gang of Eight. They refuse to give these documents to Nunes.
[09:45:08] I think now that Rosenstein ought to be -- I think he ought to be given a direct order, very simple, you turn every document associated with this spy over in Cambridge and whatever foreign institution was involved, whether it's MI-5, MI-6 or anybody else. You give whatever the FBI did. You give whatever the CIA did. You see Clapper and these guys on TV every night, and Brennan, they're just bitter old men. You turn over every document. And if he doesn't turn it over, you give him 24 hours. If he doesn't turn it over, I would fire him. And that's not obstruction of justice. That's giving a law enforcement officer a direct order, turn over documents to Capitol Hill. And if he doesn't do it, I would fire him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That, to me, Josh, was the most striking part of the whole interview. And you can just imagine the president listening to that, mulling that over in his head.
GREEN: Well, exactly. The idea that Trump would force Rosenstein to turn over all the documents in an investigation into his own campaign's potential collusion with Russia is just unheard of. And you could tell, you know, the subtext of what Bannon was saying there was, if he doesn't do it, which he presumably wouldn't because it would be improper, that then becomes the forcing mechanism for Trump to justify firing Rosenstein, which is what a lot of Trump supporters, Trump Republicans, want the president to do. And they want to create a pathway for that to happen, one that Bannon laid out very neatly in that interview with Fareed Zakaria.
HARLOW: Quickly, 30 seconds, before we go, what's up with Steve Bannon right now? What's he doing? That interview was in Rome. So clearly having some good pasta. But other than that, what is -- what is Steve Bannon up to these days?
GREEN: Well, he spent the last couple of weeks in Europe meeting with right wing nationalist political leaders, Viktor Orbon (ph) in Hungry, some of the populist parties that have just taken over Italy, sewing the same kind of right-wing nationalism over there that he did over here. So Steve Bannon is up to his old tricks.
HARLOW: Josh Green, thanks. Appreciate it very much.
GREEN: Thank you.
HARLOW: So you can see that full interview with Steve Bannon, a fascinating sit down that Fareed had, it's tonight, right here, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.
Ahead, sometime today President Trump will be handed a letter, a personal letter from Kim Jong-un. What it could mean for their on again-off again meeting.
[09:51:46] KEILAR: North Korea's former spy chief is on his way to the White House to hand deliver a letter from Kim Jong-un to President Trump. This is one day after Kim Yong Chol met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And the question is, is this summit between the president and Kim Jong-un going to be salvaged?
Michelle Kosinski live at the State Department with more on this.
What indications are you getting, Michelle?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, we don't know what is going to be in that letter. And when you think about this visit, though, you could see it as something of a victory for Kim Jong-un. I mean sending this person out, somebody who's been sanctioned by the United States, somebody who's accused by South Korea of sinking a ship and killing 46 sailors, he's now coming, we presume, to the Oval Office to meet with President Trump and deliver this letter from his boss, Kim Jong-un.
So if the letter -- for all we know it could be simply pleasantries in response to that letter from President Trump where he canceled the summit. Now, the summit might be back on depending on all of this. But even if in this letter Kim Jong-un says, we are committed to denuclearization, that still might not be enough at this point because that gap, we know remains, between how the U.S. sees denuclearization, how it wants it to proceed, and how North Korea does, that there needs to be something more, from the U.S.' point of view, something really solid, some big gesture towards denuclearization for them to feel like things can even progress. At least we think so.
I mean over the past two days, we've been hearing from the president, we've been hearing from the secretary of state, who's been meeting with this vice chairman, Kim Yong Chol. And as much as they've been saying that there is progress, they've also been saying there's a lot of work that remains to be done. There's still a lot to do. This could maybe be two or three meetings, not just one meeting. So it is possible if they want this summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un to take place, they may have dropped their standards. I mean the U.S. could decide that they don't need this big gesture right away, they just want the summit to take place.
So it really depends on what they're expecting, what's in that letter, maybe what this vice chairman discusses with Trump, maybe that is going to be the determining factor as to whether we see a Trump/Kim summit.
And then, of course, there's the bigger question of what will come out of that. Where these two sides are exactly, there is some promising signs, but there are also some concerning signs, especially when you see, for example, the Russian foreign minister meeting with Kim Jong- un yesterday and saying, you know, denuclearization is going to have to be a phased in process with sanctions lifted on North Korea. It seems like Kim Jong-un is in agreement with that. But that is the opposite, remember, Brianna, of how the U.S. wants it done.
KEILAR: Yes, it's a very good point.
Michelle Kosinski live for us from the State Department, thank you so much for that report.
HARLOW: All right, still to come, we are watching Wall Street. Will the tariff fight between the United States and its key allies spook investors, or is that goldilocks job support enough to keep Wall Street soaring.
[09:55:05] KEILAR: Plus, presidential pardons. Will President Trump start pardoning more celebrities? We're following all of this.
KEILAR: Good morning. I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington.
HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. So glad you're with us this morning.
The breaking news, the U.S. unemployment rate matching the lowest point in a half century, 3.8 percent. This morning's jobs report also showing employers added 223,000 jobs last month. That's far more than economists expected, but largely in sync with a presidential tweet that is now raising some eyebrows. More on that in a moment.