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NEW DAY SUNDAY
NYT: President Dictated Son's Russia Meeting Statement; Kim Jong-un's Growing Guest List; Man Killed After Car Speeds Onto Little League Field; NYT: Trump Lawyers Say the President Can't Obstruct Himself; Foundation Announces $50 Million Plan for Gun Violence Research; Angry Allies Square Off with America Over Tariffs; USGS: Volcanic S'mores Aren't Worth the Risk. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired June 3, 2018 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:01] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn't dictate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the first time the president's attorneys have acknowledged that Trump dictated the statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump was, obviously, lying to his lawyers if the lawyers are now being honest about what went down.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We're so grateful you're keeping us company here.
This morning, we want to tell you about a leaked letter to "The New York Times" acknowledging for the first time that the president dictated a statement about a controversial Trump Tower meeting, despite repeated denials that he did so in the past.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: More on that in a moment.
Also coming up this hour, the breaking news that Kim Jong-un's guest list is growing. Syria's president, yes, Bashar al Assad, is the latest to court the North Korean dictator.
PAUL: And authorities are trying to figure out why a woman drove onto a field at a Little League game on Friday, killing a 68-year-old man.
BLACKWELL: Also, so many questions online. The USGS is forced to officially do tell people, do not toast marshmallows over volcanic lava.
BLACKWELL: Yes, people apparently asked.
Well, President Trump's lawyers say their client cannot obstruct justice because he is the president and that means he is in charge of all the investigations.
PAUL: Well, according to "The New York Times," President Trump's lawyers made their case in a letter to Robert Mueller's office. This happened back in January, arguing their client should not have to sit down with the special counsel.
BLACKWELL: They say as president, Mr. Trump can grant pardons and fire an FBI director or end an investigation and, this is a quote, at any time and for any reason.
PAUL: CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood is with us now.
Sarah, what are you hearing from Washington about this discrepancy? He, you know, repeatedly it has been said that he did not dictate this letter. This letter, however, or the letter originally from his son.
BLACKWELL: Yes, the statement.
PAUL: But this completely dictates or rather distracts from what he said before.
WESTWOOD: Absolutely. One of many things we learned from this letter written by two of the president's lawyers at the time, Jay Sekulow and John Dowd. It represents a remarkable attempt to assert broad executive privilege over parts of the Russia investigation. It was hand-delivered to the special counsel's team in January and it lays out a detailed argument about why President Trump should not have to submit to a subpoena as Mueller decides to compels Trumps testimony.
They argue why Trump did not and according to them, cannot obstruct justice because of his constitutional authority over the Justice Department. Obviously, that's an assertion that is likely to be challenged if Mueller uncovers evidence of obstruction or decides to press ahead with a subpoena.
Now, the letter does shed some light on the preparation of a misleading statement that the president's son Donald Trump Jr. issued last year after his meeting with the Russian lawyer in Trump Tower came to light. In the letter, Dowd and Sekulow write, the president dictated a short but accurate response to "The New York Times" on behalf of his son Donald Trump Jr. That statement you'll recall described the 2016 meeting as one primary focused on adoption, but we know the meeting was presented to Trump junior as an effort by the Russians to pass on dirt about Hillary Clinton.
Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow, and the White House have repeatedly denied that the president had anything to do with writing this statement.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP'S LAWYER: That was written by Donald Trump Jr. and I'm sure in consultation with his lawyer. So, that wasn't written by the president. The president didn't sign off on anything. But the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.
SANDERS: He certainly didn't dictate but, you know, he -- like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now, the argument's Trump lawyers laid out in the letter are ones we've been hearing them make privately for months. CNN reported on this letter last month, but we're now getting a detailed look at how the president's lawyers are pushing back against Mueller -- Christi.
PAUL: All righty. Sarah Westwood, we appreciate it so much, thank you.
Also have breaking news this hour. Kim Jong-un is getting ready to meet, apparently, yet another world leader. According to the North Korean News Agency, Syrian President Bashar al Assad is going to visit Pyongyang soon.
BLACKWELL: It's been a virtual parade. Let's list them off. Kim has already met with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and received an invitation to see Vladimir Putin in Moscow. He held a surprise summit with China's leader Xi Jinping a few weeks ago. He's been talking to South Korea's Moon Jae-in. And remember, we're just nine days away from this historic with President Trump.
CNN international correspondent Alexandra Field is live from Seoul.
A lot of people are trying to get some influence and Bashar al Assad is next.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christi, Victor, good morning to you. Yet another indication that Kim Jong-un is working to shore up his closest relationships before he heads into that all-important meeting with Donald Trump. Certainly, Syria and North Korea have a history of warm relations that stretches back to the 1960s.
[07:05:03] Kim Jong-un and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had exchanged congratulatory messages and messages of support before, and it was this past winter that the U.N. alleged a report that there was evidence of continued cooperation between Syria and North Korea on chemical weapons and ballistic missiles. Now, it seems that the Syrian president will be the first foreign leader to travel to Pyongyang, North Korea to visit face-to-face with Kim Jong-un.
North Korean state news saying that Assad said this: the world welcomes the remarkable events in the Korean peninsula brought about recently by the outstanding political caliber and wise leadership of Kim Jong-un. I'm sure that he will achieve the final victory and realize the reunification of Korea without fail. No date yes yet set for that meeting but the other big meaning between Trump and Kim Jong-un will happen on June 12th. In advance of that, you've got the U.S. secretary of defense in the region on other business. But he talked about the need to keep up the strong defenses against North Korea at this point going into meeting in order to allow the U.S. diplomats to negotiate from a position of strength.
Take a listen to what he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We welcome the Panmunjom declaration of peace and prosperity, reunification of the Korean peninsula that was announced in April. We can anticipate at best a bumpy road to the negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: A bumpy road, according to Secretary Mattis, ahead, clearly different in tone from President Trump who said that everyone is talking nicely and that there are good reasons to go ahead with this summit. But certainly, Christi and Victor, he has tempered expectations for what the summit can actually accomplish, the U.S. standing firm that its goal is complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.
But the State Department at this point is not willing to say what kind of elements could go into a deal like that, and what kind of shape that deal would take. The president, himself, saying the meeting on June 12th could be a starting point, one of many meetings like get to know you kind of meeting with Kim Jong-un -- Christi, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Alexander Field for us in Seoul, thank you so much.
PAUL: Gary Samore with us now, former nuclear adviser to President Obama and executive director for research at Balfour Center at Harvard.
Thank you so much, Mr. Samore, for being with us.
I want to start where she left off, Alexandra left off. Defense Secretary Mattis saying he believes a bumpy road. What do you think could be the biggest obstacles here?
GARY SAMORE, FORMER TRUMP NUCLEAR ADVISER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most basic issue that we want North Korea to give us its nuclear weapons and the North Koreans are not prepared to do that. So, that's a fundamental disagreement. I think the negotiations will focus on what kind of measures the North Koreans are prepared to take in the near term to limit their nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capability and what we would have to do in return in order for North Korea to take those steps. That's why these are difficult and protracted negotiations.
PAUL: We also have the news this morning that Syrian President Bashar al Assad is planning to visit North Korea and Kim Jong-un. If that meeting with Assad does take place with Kim Jong-un, how does that affect what the U.S. and South Korea have in store here?
SAMORE: Well, it's an important reminder one of the issues on the table for the U.S./North Korean negotiations is North Korean exports of weapons technology. In the past, they provided assistance to Syria's efforts to build nuclear weapons. There's an ongoing relationship in terms both missile technology and chemical weapons technology.
So, one of the issues the U.S. will be negotiating with North Korea are restraints and limits on North Korean export activity.
PAUL: So, if this meeting goes well, what would you have to -- how would you characterize is a successful meeting between the U.S. and this first meeting with North Korea? What has to happen?
SAMORE: I think what we can expect is a very high level political commitment to nuclear-free Korean peninsula, to establishment of peace, establishment of normal relations between the U.S. and North Korea and then setting up a process of negotiations which will really be the difficult work after the summit. And as President Trump said, there could very easily be additional summits because these negotiations are going to take months, if not years, and it might be necessary for the leaders to intervene at various points in order to try to make progress.
PAUL: Do you believe that additional summits would be not just bilateral but possibly trilateral, that it would be more than just the U.S. and North Korea sitting face-to-face?
[07:10:00] SAMORE: I think South Korean President Moon Jae-in would like to participate in a trilateral summit, and if at some point, that seems to make sense in terms of where the diplomacy is and there's no problem with that. I think the more difficult issue as I suggested is the substantive disagreements between Pyongyang and Washington over the pace and scope of disarmament on what the North Koreans would get in return on the linkage between nuclear disarmament and peace and normalization, and then, of course, the verification issues which would be very challenging.
So, all of these issues are going to require very intensive negotiation over a long period of time.
PAUL: Gary Samore, we appreciate your time this morning, sir. Thank you.
SAMORE: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: The president is lashing out saying the special counsel will meddle in the midterm elections. The fate of the House and Senate are on the line. Will the GOP keep control? House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy joins Jake Tapper today, that's on "STATE OF THE UNION", to discuss, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
PAUL: So, this morning, police are revealing how they finally caught the suspected Golden State killer by collecting a DNA while he was shopping. We have details on that. BLACKWELL: Authorities in Maine are trying to figure out why a woman
they say drove onto a field at a little league game on Friday and killed a 68-year-old man.
PAUL: And breaking news in Hawaii this hour. Authorities say as many as a dozen people are now cut off by lava. They don't have power. They don't have cell reception, land lines, or water. What is being done for them now?
[07:15:27] PAUL: Dangerous situation right now in New Mexico. Take a look at these pictures. A fast moving wildfire is forcing residents to evacuate their homes. This is incredible video that was captured by people trying to drive away from the flames. The Colfax sheriff's office issued a mandatory evacuation order after this wildfire grew to 30,000 acres. Right now, there is zero percent containment, not contained at all. There is hope rain in the forecast is going to help those firefighters though today.
BLACKWELL: And what was a 25 acre brush fire is now 200-acres in California. The fire forced officials to issue mandatory evacuations in the city of Aliso Viejo. Those have since been lifted overnight. But evacuations are still in effect for Laguna Beach. Now, the Laguna Beach Fire Department tweeted to the people who live there: your safety will be our number one priority.
As of this morning, the fire is not contained at all.
Right now, police in Arizona are looking for the person they say shot four people in and around Phoenix.
PAUL: Police believe at least three of these are connected. Among the victims is a forensic psychiatrist. He worked on the JonBenet Ramsey case. Two others are paralegals who were killed in their law office and a fourth victim was found dead yesterday morning. Scottsdale police department working with Phoenix police to dry to discern if that victim is linked to the other three deaths.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. BEN HOSTER, PIO, SCOTSDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT: First two we've related, and this one, we're still trying to determine what involvement, if any, it has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Police have released this sketch of the suspect. They took this from witness testimony and they still are not sure of the motive of these shootings.
PAUL: So, this was interesting. It was DNA from a tissue and a car door that finally led to the arrest of the suspected Golden State killer. Newly unsealed arrest and search warrant documents detail how detectives pieced together their case against Joseph DeAngelo, who was a former police officer. BLACKWELL: According to the warrant, in mid-April, investigators
followed DeAngelo to a Hobby Lobby, this was in Roseville, California, and while he shopped, police gathered DNA from his car door handle in the parking lot and days later, investigators collected another sample of his DNA from a discarded tissue in a trash can outside of his home.
PAUL: The new samples were tested and matched crime scene DNA from decades ago. Here he is, 72 years old, suspected of committing at least a dozen killings and roughly 50 rapes between 1976 and '86. He has not entered a plea to the murder charges, we should point out.
Authorities in Maine, meanwhile, are trying to determine why someone barreled on to a field, a driver, at a Little League baseball game on Friday, a 68-year-old man was killed. Players scattered as the car -- you see the cell phone video and listen. Listen to the people here and the panic. This car just swerving all across that field.
BLACKWELL: Police say the driver hit a man witnesses say was trying to protect children. Then the driver drove through the main gate and sped away from that field.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK STEWART, WITNESS: We were just trying to close the gate so she couldn't get out because you had the little kids across the field. So, thankfully, you know, that was -- she couldn't get out basically until she slammed through that gate and, like I said, he had nowhere to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Authorities say 68-year-old Douglas Parkhurst died from his injuries. A 51-year-old woman was later arrested and charged with manslaughter. By the way, none of those kids were hurt.
The president's lawyers say he can't obstruct justice because he is the president. Is that true? Will the legal strategy work there? We're going to ask a constitutional lawyer, next.
[07:24:00] PAUL: So glad to have you with us here. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
The president's lawyers say that he does not need a reason to grant pardons, fire an FBI director or even end an investigation because he cannot obstruct justice.
Here is the key part of their letter to Robert Mueller linked to "The New York Times." Here it is. The president's actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement enforcer could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired. Let's talk about it. Joining us now to discuss, Page Pate, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense -- so, criminal defense and constitutional attorney.
We're going to lean on that this morning. Page, welcome back.
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: So, you'll take on it and I'm going to pull this straight from the letter that the president can neither constitutionally or legally obstruct just by virtue of being president.
PAGE: I think that's incorrect. I mean, the president's lawyers do have a point. As the chief executive officer, the president determines what can happen in the Department of Justice.
[07:25:04] He is the guy on top. So, if he wants a particular investigation to end for a good reason or even for no reason, he can do that.
The difference with the obstruction of justice statute is it prohibits someone from ending an investigation or obstructing an investigation with a corrupt intent. And in this case, the corrupt intent would be to either protect myself as the president or people close to me, my family, my advisers, that sort of thing.
So, I think a president can commit the crime of obstruction of justice if he is doing anything in an investigation to stop it, hinder it or throw it off course with a corrupt intent.
BLACKWELL: So, the question, of course, is, will the president sit down with Robert Mueller or his investigators and have this conversation to try to get an understanding of what was going on the in the president's mind when he tried to -- or when fired the former FBI Director James Comey and any conversations with James Comey about letting the Flynn investigation go?
Can Robert Mueller's team get to an answer, a case on obstruction of justice without having a conversation with the president about what is going through his minds or can they lean on that May 2017 interview with Lester Holt in which he says, I was thinking about Russia at the time.
PATE: Well, here's why it's so important with the president: 90 percent of the time, an obstruction case is going to be proven when the prosecutor can show an individual tried to do something to stop the investigation, right? It's always with corrupt intent and why else would you try to stop an investigation?
What Mueller has to find out here, I think the only way he can do this is by talking to the president is, OK, you wanted to stop the investigation or you wanted to get rid of Jim Comey. Why? Was it to protect yourself? Was it to protect Michael Flynn, somebody close to you?
I think that the president has to answer those questions, at least in the special counsel's mind, for there to be enough evidence to show that corrupt intent. They can show he tried to stop the investigation without talking to him. But I don't think they can show the corrupt intent.
BLACKWELL: Do you think this is headed to a subpoena fight?
PATE: I think it's possible. But I also think the president's lawyers are banking on the fact that Robert Mueller is not going to push this if he thinks the president will refuse to do it because then you end up in the court system and then you end up, perhaps, with a constitutional crisis because if there is a subpoena requiring the president to appear and he says I'm not going to do it, how are you going to force the subpoena? You go to a court, you get the marshals out to go bring the president to a grand jury?
It's a very difficult scenario to imagine. So, I really think the president's lawyers ultimately are saying, we're going to call your bluff. If you give us a subpoena, we are not going to follow it. So perhaps they are banking on the fact that Mueller is not going to push it that far.
BLACKWELL: One other issue here from your analyst profile here. Sarah Sanders said in the White House briefing room that of the statement that was drafted on Air Force One in reference to an explanation of the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Don Jr. and other members of the campaign and several Russians, that the president weighed in, as any father would, but he certainly did not dictate.
What we learned from the letter published by "The New York Times" that the president did dictate there. This is not the first time Sarah Sanders has been exposed for saying things that were not true. I hesitate to call them lies because we don't know what she knew at the time she said it.
PATE: At the time, right.
BLACKWELL: But how does she keep that job and keep credibility? Why would she want to keep that job?
PATE: I cannot imagine it. And as far as credibility, I don't really believe that most people and this is certainly true in connection with the investigation, believe anything that's coming out of the White House. And I think that's one of the things that the special counsel as office has watched from the beginning of their investigation, how is the White House responding when there is an issue that is raised either by the media or by someone within the Department of Justice?
And if it's further obstruction, obfuscation, lies, if you will, or false statements, that can be further evidence of obstruction if it relates to the subject matter of the investigation.
BLACKWLEL: You know, Jay Sekulow said the same thing several times that the president didn't dictate but he weighed in. He even once said that he didn't write the statement but he works for the president, it's his personal dollar. PATE: Sure.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Sanders works for the federal government, the people's money.
One more thing -- aside from the subpoena fight, do you expect that there will be a time when President Trump is sitting down with Robert Mueller and answering questions?
PATE: You know, they have been back and forth on that. What we have heard from Giuliani I think is somewhat inconsistent. Is he going to do it or not do it and will dough it only if he can decide what questions is he going to answer?
BLACKWELL: Or if he gets the information about the informant that --
BLACKWELL: -- was focused to members to his campaign.
PATE: It has nothing to do with the special counsel's investigation.
PATE: So, I think ultimately, yes. I think there will be a limited number of questions. The president's team will decide how we are going to answer those questions and ultimately because of the reason we talked about before, I think Robert Mueller will accept that.
[07:30:00] Look, if all I can do is get some response from the president personally, I'll do my report based on that information. I wish I could do more, but I don't think he is going to push it to the point we are going to see this fight in court.
BLACKWELL: You don't see a Fifth Amendment --
PATE: I don't think so because I think before he goes into that interview he knows what questions are coming and so he'll be prepared to answer those questions.
BLACKWELL: If he can stick to the script.
PATE: That's going to be the interesting --
BLACKWELL: Page Pate, thanks so much.
PATE: Thank you, Victor.
PAUL: You know, as seniors graduate today from Marjorie Douglas Stoneman High School. A look at how their activism could lead to answers. One man says they inspired new research into new gun violence.
BLACKWELL: Plus, toasting marshmallows. It's fun. It's delicious. Just not over an active volcano. Why the USGS has now been forced to put out an official warning, do not toast your marshmallows over lava?
[07:35:15] PAUL: As seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas walk across the stage to graduate here in just a few hours, four of them are going to be missing. So, we want to remember them.
Meadow Pollack, Nicholas Dworet, Carmen Schentrup, and Joaquin Oliver. They were killed along with 13 others in the Parkland shooting back in February, and since then, so many of their classmates have been working to try to prevent shootings from continuing.
Well, their activism has inspired a financial boost. Here's what we're talking about, a $50 million initiative from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation designed to fund research into gun violence.
Jeremy Travis is with us. He's the executive vice president of criminal justice at the foundation.
Jeremy, thank you so much for being with us.
What specifically inspired this foundation to take this route?
JEREMY TRAVIS, EXECUTIVE VP OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, LAURA AND JOHN ARNOLD FOUNDATION: Thank you for having me.
We, like most Americans, I think, were quite stunned by the event in Parkland and inspired by the students and their activism. And within our foundation, we had a discussion initiated by Laura and John Arnold, our co-founders, as to what we could do. And we are a foundation, a relatively new foundation based in Houston that funds research and data and evidence.
And we believe producing good research can improve policies, so we looked around and realized that, unfortunately, for many years, more than two decades, the research on gun violence has been stymied by the inability of our federal government to fund research through the normal research institute. So, we decided to step up and announced last week that we were making a $20 million commitment from our foundation, asking others to join us to bring together a total of fund of $50 million to fund research on this public health crisis that has really rocked our country.
PAUL: Well, part of the need for this is because the dollars are lacking because Congress just can't do anything about this. Is that what I understand? Because of current laws that have taken place and have pulled some of the resources from the CDC?
TRAVIS: Yes, if we go back in our history to 1996, Congress passed a provision called the Dickey Amendment which prevents the Centers for Disease Control from engaging in advocacy on behalf of gun control. That was interpreted, wrongly we think, to prohibit the Centers for Disease Control from conducting research on gun violence.
There's recently been a modification of that understanding in the most recent budget that says that actually the secretary of health and human services can authorize that search, so there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic and maybe there is some movement, but let's put this in perspective. Last year, in the budget now in place, our Congress, through bipartisan enactment, increased the research budget of the National Institutes of Health by $4 billion. We added another $100 million for research on flu vaccine, another 400 million for Alzheimer's.
So, we can do this. We know how to fund research to improve policy on health crisis. But there is a stalemate in Washington and our hope in this way we are trying to draw attention to this is that this will help the government move in that direction.
PAUL: Jeremy, I only have a minute left and I want to get this question out to you. I know you're a nonpartisan group. What specific answers are you looking for when it comes to -- when we say gun violence, a study on that, that's very broad -- specifically what kind of research are you looking for?
TRAVIS: We want to fund research that will help us develop policies to reduce both homicides and suicides. Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides. We don't have a particular agenda. That's just the point. We want to find a way towards developing research that will promote policy that will save lives.
PAUL: All right. Jeremy Travis, we appreciate you being here. Thank you, sir.
TRAVIS: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about the big meeting in Canada, the G7. Why some of America's closest allies and biggest trade partners say they are ready to retaliate in a showdown against U.S. trade tariffs?
And tonight on "PARTS UNKNOWN", Anthony Bourdain is headed to one of his favorite cities, Hong Kong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN: Hong Kong, the city always in transition, always moving forward, money mad, unapologetically modern. But there's another side, a beautiful one, endanger of disappearing entirely.
[07:40:03] We look at city through the eyes and lens one of the greatest cinematographers who ever lived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, the energy is the north, is the people. I mean, the films we made are only this way because we made them here.
BOURDAIN: A long time resident known abroad as Chris Doyle and on Hong Kong streets as (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our job as artists is to show you the world that you think you know and celebrate it. I really believe my job is beauty. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Watch "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[07:45:18] BILL MORNEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: What did we ask secretary -- treasury secretary to do? We said that we were collectively hoping that he would bring the message back, the message of regret and disappointment at the American actions and concerns that they are not constructive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Regret and disappointment, that's the reaction to President Trump's trade tariffs from some of the U.S.'s closest allies and they are sending this message back to Washington by way of the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, ahead of the G-7 summit this week.
But Mnuchin is pushing back. He says the U.S. is not abandoning its leadership in the global economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUNCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Obviously, trade is an important issue that President Trump has focused on and rebalancing our trade relationships. Obviously, trade was a big focus of the last few days here. And speaking to all of the members of the G7, and I've already spoken to President Trump and reflected some of the comments and look forward to speaking to him more when I get back.
This was the G7. Anybody who made the comment, you know, I think there was a comment there that the G6 plus 1, it was not. It's the G7. We believe in the G7.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now is Stephen Moore, CNN senior economic analyst and former Trump economic advisors.
Stephen, I know these tariffs were not the result of your advice. So, let's understand this morning why. Let me make the president's case and can you try to knock it down.
You simply make as the president with these tariffs, you make imports more expensive, encourage the purchase of domestically produced steel. You know the rust off the Rust Belt, you protect more than 100,000 steel producing jobs.
What's wrong with that?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, look, I did advise the president on economics. He knows that I disagreed with him on this tariff policy. I would make the case -- I'll make the case what Trump is doing better than what you did.
Look, I think he does care about these manufacturing workers in the Midwest and states like Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania. And, you know, when I campaigned with him in these states, this trade position was very popular with these voters. They are concerned about losing their factories to China and other nations.
And, look, one of the things I would say about Trump's policy is that the indignation of these other nations about these proposed tariffs, other nations have much higher tariffs on the United States than we impose on them and that is especially true along a lot of these Asian countries and especially China and Japan.
But when it comes to the steel and aluminum tariffs, the case I would make to the president is, look, you're not going to save jobs by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum because you'll make all of our other manufacturing less competitive in the global economy as they have to use steel that's more expensive than other countries are. So, I'm not even sure it's going to save the factory jobs the president would like to see.
BLACKWELL: Now, there are some members of his party who, as you know, disagree with this on Capitol Hill. We've got Mitch McConnell. We've got Orrin Hatch, Ben Sasse, Ryan as well.
BLACKWELL: And this is a tweet from Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker. Let's put it up on the screen. He tweeted about the tariffs. I'm working with like-minded Republican senators on ways to push back on the president using authorities in ways never intended that are damaging to our country and our allies. Will Democrats join us? That's probably a yes that Democrats will join.
But the question here, is the president willing to go to war with his own party in the final months ahead of crucial midterm election over these tariffs?
MOORE: Just one word about the Democrats. You know, look, I'm in favor of free trade. I think the push over the last 25 years has been to freer trade and it's been good for the entire world, including the United States.
But let's not forget Bernie Sanders, who is one of the leading Democratic contenders and is now considered a leading Democratic nominee for president in the next election, he ran as a trade protectionist as well. So, this is an issue where --
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the Republicans. You got a list of high ranking Republicans who don't like this.
MOORE: That's Trump is taking on his own party in this.
Now, look, I think what a lot of Republicans are saying to Donald Trump and it's kind of the advice that I and some of his other economic advisers have given to him is, look, let's concentrate on the bad actor here on the global scene, and that is clearly China. China is stealing $400 billion, $500 billion a year of our intellectual property. I talk to CEOs all the time who say, American CEOs who say it's so difficult now to penetrate the Chinese market and that's one of the reasons they are just not buying our stuff.
So why antagonize our allies in Germany, in Canada, Mexico, other countries? When we really want to concentrate on China because that really is where we are going to need -- we are going to need real concessions from China if we are going to have free and fair trade with nations like that.
[07:50:06] BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Canada and Mexico.
BLACKWELL: Of course, the ongoing discussions over NAFTA and a renegotiation, something the president said on Friday that it wasn't headline because, of course, the conversation was about the summit coming up in nine days. But the president said that he wouldn't mind disabling NAFTA to go into bilateral agreement with Canada and with Mexico. You think NAFTA is in trouble.
Is the president likely to back out of it?
MOORE: Well, one thing on trade that I have noticed in trade in talking to the president about this is, you know, this -- you have to understand his book, "The Art of the Deal". He is negotiating. He is trying to use these threats of tariffs as a way to get other nations to lower their tariffs.
Now, NAFTA, in my opinion has been a huge success for the entire North American continent. It has been good for Mexico. It's been good for Canada. It's been good for the United States.
And incidentally, we're not running a trade deficit with Canada. So, you know, why are we picking a fight with them?
I want to see NAFTA maybe modernize. We need a new NAFTA. But let's make it even stronger, because the whole -- you know, the geopolitical situation in the next 25 years is going to be what continent is the economic superpower? Will it be Asia? Will it be Europe or will it continue to be North America?
So, the other thing is why is it that the president is doing this now at a time when the United States economy is the envy of the world? We just got this blockbuster jobs report and growing now 4-1/2 percent growth. It's something a lot of economists never thought was possible.
You know why upset that apple cart? We'll see. I've got my fingers crossed that this turns out for the best, but there are a lot of nervous Nellies out there right now.
BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see what happens next week and come back. Stephen Moore, thanks so much.
MOORE: Thank you.
PAUL: I have some new body camera footage to show you here. This was released by the Athens-Clarke County police department in Georgia. Apparently an officer hitting a suspect with his patrol car. Take a look.
The department says Officer Taylor Salters and a partner, it's hard to watch, Salters and a partner spotted a man that had a felony probation warrant. When they tried to make contact, the suspect ran. You saw him there running.
And now you see what's happened here. An officer followed on foot. Salters attempted to block him with his patrol car ended up hitting him. The man suffered some minor scrapes and bruises.
After an Internal Affairs investigation, though, Officer Salters was fired. Very swift action from what we are seeing here.
BLACKWELL: Breaking news, this is in Hawaii. Authorities say as many as a dozen people are now trapped by the lava. They may need to be flown out of there. We've got details next.
[07:56:57] PAUL: Some breaking news we want to tell you about this morning: a dozen people are stranded by lava on the big island of Hawaii. They don't have power. They don't have cell reception. There are no landlines and they don't have water.
Authorities are planning to air lift these people out if that lava continues to spread.
BLACKWELL: Now, Friday, they told people if they do not evacuate, they will be arrested and emergency crews have no plans to rescue anyone who stayed behind.
CNN correspondent Scott McLean has the latest for us.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After an entire month, Kilauea continues to erupt, cutting off roads and destroying well over 80 homes so far. Now, most of the lava flows are being fed by one single fissure, which at times has shot some 200 feet into the air. In fact, you can see the smoke from that fissure in the background several miles away.
Now, new video, though, shows that the fissure is not sending lava as high anymore. Still, the massive amount that it is producing continues to cause problems. This afternoon, a lava flow some 300 yards wide cut off a main highway near the coast. The last remaining escape route for some communities.
Meanwhile, at the Kilauea Summit, things have been usually quite in recent days. Brand new drone footage shows that the main crater of the volcano has been blocked by boulders and debris. Geologists say that the lack of activity could mean one or two things: either this cycle of explosions and eruptions is coming to an end, or there could be pressure building under the surface which could lead to a much larger explosion than the road. Experts aren't sure which outcome is more likely and so, the national park that houses that crater will remain closed indefinitely.
Scott McLean, CNN, Pahoa, Hawaii.
PAUL: We'll keep you posted. Now, here is the thing. Common sense goes a long way, I think you probably agree with this. But maybe not risking your life to toast a marshmallow over the active volcanic vents is a good idea.
Apparently, it's a thing.
BLACKWELL: It's a thing. The USGS is warning people don't try it for several reasons. Some of them are obvious. The fact that the lava is more than 2,000 degrees, that's one.
The USGS explains there is more to it than just scorching molten rock. Twitter user tweeted USGS saying is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents? USGS tweeted back, we're going to have to say no, that's not safe. Please don't try.
If it is emitting a lot of sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide, they would taste bad and if you add sulfuric acid and volcanic smog for example to get sugar, you probably get a spectacular reaction.
PAUL: Not one that you probably want to talk about.
PAUL: And, by the way, we debated this morning, is it toasting marshmallows or roasting marshmallows?
BLACKWELL: It's toasting.
PAUL: Is it?
BLACKWELL: It's toasting.
PAUL: But you roast -- you roast --
BLACKWELL: And I got a little --
BLACKWELL: A little research. Roast means to expose to heat and cook it all the way through. Toasting is just browning the outside.
PAUL: You got us. All right. I hear in the background, ooh! All right.
BLACKWELL: Facts first, friends. Facts first. PAUL: Facts first, yes.
Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. We are always appreciative of you. And we hope you make good memories this weekend.
BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" starts now.