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Trump Cancels White House Visit for Philadelphia Eagles; Giuliani: Lying about Trump Tower Meeting 'A Big Mistake'; Bill Clinton Tries to Clarify Tone-Deaf Monica Lewinsky Comments. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired June 5, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's hosted multiple national champions. It's unfortunate when politics gets in the middle of this.
[05:59:23] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): There's no one more disrespectful to this country than the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fewer than 10 players were planning to attend. That's an attempt to try to embarrass the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a way of putting black players in their place. It's very, very disturbing.
JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: The president did not draft the response.
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: It was a mistake. I swear to God it was a mistake.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The president dictated that statement in order to mislead the American public.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prosecutors allege that Paul Manafort has been tampering with witnesses.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RAKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This desperate action says he is really concerned about going away for a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pressure is going to pick up on the Trump team.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You ever been disinvited to a party the night before?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: No, I would be tempted to cancel the party if none of my guests were going to come. BERMAN: Touche.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY, Tuesday, June 5, 6 a.m. here in New York.
The president says he hates when athletes kneel for the national anthem, but it's pretty clear what he hates even more is teeny, tiny crowds. Overnight, the president disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a scheduled White House visit to celebrate their Super Bowl win after it was clear that fewer than a dozen would attend.
One key point, as far as we can tell: no Eagles actually took a knee during the anthem at all last season, so the gross infraction they committed, in the president's mind, is disagreeing with him. The mayor of Philadelphia says the president is, quote, "not a true Patriot but a fragile egomaniac."
Also, a major development in the Russia investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has accused former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort of witness tampering in his federal tax and money laundering case. Mueller's team calling for immediate action that could land Manafort in jail.
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tells CNN that their legal team made a mistake denying that the president was involved in that misleading statement about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians. But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders refuses to explain her false statement on that Trump Tower meeting.
And voters head to the polls in eight states today. These primaries are considered consequential for Democrats as they hope to take control of the House and/or the Senate.
So we have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is live at the White House. What's happening there, Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, quite a lot. Less than 24 hours before the Philadelphia Eagles were supposed to arrive here at the White House for that celebration of their Super Bowl victory, the White House has cancelled that invitation from them coming.
Of course, when it became clear that not many were going to attend that celebration, the president issued a blistering statement, saying that they disagreed with him and were no longer going to attend, and there was, instead, going to be a celebration for the national anthem here at the White House.
Now, it doesn't take much to realize this all goes back to that fight over the national anthem, something the president has been more than willing to engage in since last fall. But we should note that no Eagles players were the ones who knelt during the regular season last year, and none of them remained back in the locker room during the national anthem either, though they did voice some support for those who did do it, other players in the league.
However, that led the president to issue a tweet last night, saying that the Philadelphia Eagles football team was uninvited from the White House. He said, "Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we cancelled the event. Staying in the locker room for the playing of our national anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry."
Of course, that comes on the heels of the NFL instituting that new rule that, if players aren't going to stand for the national anthem, they have to stay back in the locker room or risk being fined. Something that has been up for debate but something that a lot of people saw as them bending to the president for what he -- that debate that he had stoked over those players who did kneel during the national anthem. Something they said wasn't a protest of the anthem but a protest of other issues.
Now, the mayor of Philadelphia not pleased with the White House's decision here, clearly, also issuing -- issuing a blistering statement, saying that "Disinviting the Eagles from the White House only proves that our president is not a true Patriot but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party which no one wants to attend. City hall is always open for a celebration." That is from Jim Kenney, the mayor of Philadelphia.
Now John and Alisyn, this all got started last September. It was at a rally in Alabama where the president was supposed to be voicing support for a Senate candidate but instead, he made this remark about players who kneel on the field during the national anthem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He's fired. He's fired!"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, this has been a debate the president is more than willing to engage in. He thinks it sells to his base well. He enjoyed the debate over it last fall when there were several football players coming out, speaking out against the president for what he said about their decision to protest there.
Now back here at the White House today, the president said that 1,000 people are supposed to come to this event today, where he said it's going to be a celebration of America and the national anthem. That is to be determined, John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Kaitlan. Thank you for setting all of that up for us.
Joining us now to discuss it, we have CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was the White House press secretary under President Clinton and the former executive vice president of communications for the NFL.
Joe, we're getting our money's worth.
BERMAN: Nothing like being in the middle of every story on earth. Way to go.
CAMEROTA: We were psychic to have booked you for this morning.
CAMEROTA: You know everything about every story we're covering here.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So let's just get to it.
CAMEROTA: Let's get to it. What do you think about the fact that fewer and fewer Eagles were going to go to the White House and that President Trump decided to cancel it under possibly false pretenses?
[06:05:10] LOCKHART: A couple of things. One is, I think it's the latest example of the imperial presidency: how Trump sees himself as the president. Last time I checked, it wasn't his house. He doesn't get to decide -- you know, this is the people's house. And it shouldn't matter whether ten players or coming or 30 players are coming.
CAMEROTA: But wouldn't it have been embarrassing if only 10 players came and 70 were supposed to?
LOCKHART: Well, I mean, embarrassing? They would have an event. This is supposed to be about celebrating something that the country comes together for once a year. If there are these 1,000 fans, they would have loved to see ten players. It's only embarrassing, because that's the way Trump's mind works.
The fact that he picked the Eagles, you know, to embarrass him is important. Malcolm Jenkins, Tory Smith, these were the guys who were behind the social justice movement. And, you know, I was on a bunch of calls with them well before the season started where they were talking about using the platform to raise these issues.
They've now got $200 million almost earmarked for doing this, you know, from the league. They've raised consciousness around the country, and it drives Trump crazy. It absolutely drives him crazy.
And I guess the last thing, he thinks it's good politics for him. We'll find out.
BERMAN: Well, to those last two points, no Eagles kneeled last year, right? So this is punishing them for their thought. But this is being the thought police there, which I think is really notable and interesting there.
The second thing you said there is that the president thinks this is a winning issue, John. Republicans who don't even necessarily like the president think this is a winning issue for the president. JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The president loves the culture
war front. This is where he is most comfortable, and particularly on kneeling. Because he sees the NFL and the owners as his natural allies, and you saw from that clip that Kaitlan played, I mean, he's recreating Patton in his mind. You know, you get these sons of bitches off the field.
This is the fight he wants. This is actually where he is most comfortable. Where he is uncomfortable is policy, is geopolitics, is dealing with dissent, which is also a Patriotic virtue. But this is a fight he wants, but it makes him small. It diminishes the office.
CAMEROTA: And Joe, when you were there, did you encourage the players to speak their minds or to protest? Because, you know, we hear so many people who are fans of the sport say, like, "I just want my sport. I just want to watch it. I don't want to have to think about all of this other stuff." Where are you on that?
LOCKHART: Yes. I think -- I think the league understood that these players have a platform. And they have a platform to do good. And that's, I think, there were a lot of people uncomfortable with it being around the national anthem, and I think before Trump got involved. I think there were four or five players who were kneeling. Trump called them sons of bitches, 300 kneeled, including some of the owners with them.
BERMAN: But from the president's viewpoint, I think he sees that as he baited them into this.
BERMAN: And that, you know, NFL ratings were down. Television ratings were a little bit down last year, which the president claims credit for.
LOCKHART: It's more connected to the change in the way people consume content. The -- if you look at the value of the broadcast contracts, they're actually going up, even though ratings are down. FOX paid, I think, something like 30 percent more for Thursday night football. So the NFL is not hurting financially.
But I do think that, you know, the NFL is a -- is a company or a property that appeals to all Americans. And it's hard when you have a -- when you have someone baiting 10, 15 percent of your fans and trying to divide them.
AVLON: And dividing the players versus the owners and the racial undertones there.
But John, what you said also cuts to the heart of this. The president thinks far too much about ratings, still post-reality show, and not enough about the republic and uniting it. And that's his job. That's his job. And he doesn't seem to be able to get his head around that.
This is purely personally pique. This is "People weren't coming to my party so I'm cancelling it," and trying to slap a culture war political argument on top of it.
BERMAN: You can't dump me because I dump you.
AVLON: That's right. This is "Mean Girls" again.
BERMAN: This is "Mean Girls" again.
LOCKHART: And don't forget, he wanted to be part of the group of owners, and the NFL shut him down.
AVLON: That's right.
BERMAN: He was a USFL owner.
LOCKHART: He will never forget that.
BERMAN: The New Jersey Generals.
LOCKHART: He will never forget that.
BERMAN: He had Herschel Walker at the White House last week, no coincidence.
The Philadelphia papers actually had headlines that I think are worth looking at right now. One of the papers says "Trump Dumps Eagles, Because to Him Size Matters." And "Nixing Eagles Visit, Trump Again Plays Divider in Chief."
You know, it's interesting, right? I mean, the Eagles were a blue- collar team. Pennsylvania is a swing state.
AVLON: Which he won.
BERMAN: And Philadelphia is, you know, an urban area which didn't vote for him, but there are a lot of Eagles fans in the Lehigh -- you know, the Lehigh Valley and the counties around there. I don't know how this will play.
AVLON: Look, the politics of it -- I think we're searching for strategy where there's really just impulse. But is it a dumb idea to go after the Eagles when Pennsylvania helped win your state -- you know, helped win your presidency? Sure. It doesn't help.
[06:10:05] LOCKHART: I think he might be turning the Eagles into America's team, which will -- which will --
AVLON: And finally something will unseat Berman's Patriots for that. They unseated Berman's patriots. I was watching. Believe me. I saw the whole damn thing. I'm not happy about it.
CAMEROTA: Is that their name, Berman's Patriots?
BERMAN: Yes, that was the beginning of their demise.
CAMEROTA: Got it. Joe, don't go anywhere. Sit right there and you, too, John Avlon. BERMAN: Rudy Giuliani says he can explain why the White House keeps
changing its story about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians. Could the shifting narrative simply be a mistake? It wasn't a lie, two lies, three lies, ten lies? No. It was one big mistake, he says.
BERMAN: Rudy Giuliani says the president's attorney and White House press secretary did not lie when they publicly said the president did not dictate a misleading statement about his son's Trump Tower meeting with Russians. But we now know that the president did dictate that statement.
[06:15:08] Giuliani made his case on the world premiere of CNN's "CUOMO PRIMETIME" last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Why do you think they chose to lie about his role in drafting this statement about Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians?
GIULIANI: Chris, you think maybe somebody could have made a mistake?
CUOMO: That's a lot of mistakes.
GIULIANI: Why is it always --
CUOMO: A lot of mistakes.
GIULIANI: Why is it always that somebody -- you think Jay Sekulow lied? Maybe he just got it wrong, like -- like I've gotten a few things wrong in the beginning of the investigation. Meaning my knowledge -- this is a complex investigation.
First week or so, I got a few things wrong. And then it was clarified in a letter, and that's the final position.
CUOMO: Well --
GIULIANI: That's the danger of going under oath, that you can make a mistake. Please let me finish.
CUOMO: Please, go ahead.
GIULIANI: You can make a mistake. You can make a mistake and then, if you don't -- if you want to, you can say it's a lie. But it was a mistake. I swear to God, it was a mistake. The guy made a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: "I swear to God, the guy made a mistake." And we will note that Rudy Giuliani was in the holy land when he said that.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Chris pointed that out. And then Rudy seemed a little bit more circumspect. BERMAN: He backtracked a little bit. Careful about swearing to God
when you're in Israel.
All right. Let's bring back Joe Lockhart and bring in CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero.
Carrie, from a legal standpoint, I suppose you can make a mistake, but when you make that mistake four or five times yourself and when another official, Sarah Sanders, makes that same mistake a month later, it's hard to say it's a mistake, right? It seems to me someone lied. Either someone lied to them or they lied to us. It's that simple.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the bottom line is that the letter that the -- Trump's lawyers sent to the special counsel's office said that he dictated the -- dictated the statement.
And so, that seems to be -- it seems like it is most likely that that is the correct analysis, that he dictated the statement. Why they made public statements ahead of that saying that he wasn't involved in some way or maybe he was just involved in a little way, we don't know what individual people, like, for example, Sarah Sanders knew when they were informing the public, but we do know that the people who were involved in drafting that statement at the time -- and there were several people involved including spokespersons, Donald Trump Jr., the president himself -- they all knew what happened.
And so, the fact that so much time had gone by, it really just continues to draw attention to this meeting and why was it that the story keeps changing about this specific meeting which is so important to the investigation, because it was a direct contact, a direct meeting that was set up between members of the campaign and Russian surrogates which goes to the heart of the Russia investigation.
CAMEROTA: Joe, you have had Sarah sander's job.
CAMEROTA: So again you're the perfect person to talk to about this. Who knows if she intentionally lied. We can't get into her head. But we know it was a falsehood. And she said a falsehood from the podium.
BERMAN: It was a lie. Whether she was lied to --
CAMEROTA: That's the point, is that I don't -- who knows what the president told her? But what we all know and can all agree on, including Rudy Giuliani now, is that that was false. She made a false statement from the podium. Yesterday, she wouldn't sort of explain how that happened or why she did that. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the reason for that discrepancy?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Like you said, this is a letter from the outside counsel, and I direct you to them to answer that question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your basis for saying it in August?
SANDERS: Once again, I'm not going to get into a back and forth, and I would encourage you to reach out to the outside counsel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You literally -- you said he did not dictate. Now you say he did. What is it?
SANDERS: I'm not going to respond to a letter from the president's outside counsel. We've purposely walled off, and I would refer you to them for comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: How is that acceptable, Joe, for her not to take any responsibility for what comes out of her mouth?
LOCKHART: Well, it's not. I mean, it is possible that she was not on Air Force One sitting in that meeting, but a lot of people were in that meeting. It is not possible that, with all those people involved after she said it, when they were coming to grips with coming clean on this, that she didn't know. Which means she stood up there for months, knowing that she had put on the record that he hadn't done this and hadn't corrected it, and then yesterday made it worse by not addressing it.
So I think, you know, yesterday was sort of the watershed moment for her. She doesn't have any usefulness now. She either can't trust the president and her colleagues, or she can't tell the truth. And she's got to remember she doesn't work just for the president. She works for all of us. So, you know, I think she's got to figure out that it's time to go.
CAMEROTA: That's such an interesting point -- sorry John --that she works for the American people.
[06:20:03] CAMEROTA: That's who she's supposed to be telling the truth to. That's who she's supposed to be getting the information to. But as we've talked about so many times, there's a constituency of one.
LOCKHART: True. And that's -- that is the change. Traditionally, the job has been something where every day, you're sort of pulled in two different directions. You do serve the president, and you do try to advance his -- his or her agenda, but you also work for the press corps as the proxy for the public; and that responsibility, I think, a vast majority of press secretaries have taken very seriously.
That ended, you know, with -- on inaugural day when Sean Spicer got up and gave a very foolish speech about crowd size and the inaugural and, you know, I think from a personal point of view, if you're being lied to constantly and your credibility means something to you, you've -- you've got to make a change. Or if it doesn't and you're OK with lying, then you're not serving the public. There's no way forward here for her.
BERMAN: Maybe she's OK with lying. I'm just saying, you know, she -- there's no question that she's spread lies at this point.
BERMAN: I suppose that's a good way to say it, where we can agree on right now. Whether or not she was told the truth, I guess we don't know.
CAMEROTA: We don't know.
BERMAN: But she spread a lie, and she is the White House press secretary. And she spread a lie and allowed it to hang out there for months.
But even if she didn't know, all of -- many of her colleagues on the senior staff knew.
BERMAN: Hope Hicks. Hope Hicks was the communications director and her boss.
LOCKHART: These people knew and the fact that -- the fact that they let her go out here and do this, this was me, that, you know -- that would be unacceptable.
CAMEROTA: You would resign?
LOCKHART: In these circumstances absolutely.
CAMEROTA: You know, what is the responsibility of the press corps.
CORDERO: And John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead.
CORDERO: John and Alisyn, also, the reason John mentioned Hope Hicks. She has an important role. And the reason why I think we're seeing the accurate story come out is because Hope Hicks and other individuals have had to be interviewed by the special counsel's office.
And so, they simply, even if they wanted to keep a different narrative of what happened with the drafting of that statement, there are too many people who have had to go under oath or at least be interviewed where there's consequences, if you are not truthful to the investigators, that they would not have been able to protect a false narrative.
BERMAN: No. I think it's a great point. Alisyn made this yesterday. You can lie to the press, but when you lie to investigators, you're on the line right there, and they obviously didn't want to get caught doing it.
CAMEROTA: Yes. There had to be a reason why the story changed, why in that letter, they said something so different, and they said the truth about the president dictating it when that's not what we had heard. And so I think I believe that Carrie is right, that it has to be about something that's --
BERMAN: You want a good segue here?
BERMAN: On the subject of changing narratives, right, let's listen to former President Bill Clinton. Because all of a sudden he's back in the middle of all of this, in the #MeToo movement and what he feels now about his impeachment scandal. Remember, he was on "The Today Show" yesterday, where he acknowledged that he has never apologized directly to Monica Lewinsky. Some saw his answer as insensitive. He tried to clean it up last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS: Do you feel like you owe her an apology?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I do -- I do not -- I've never talked to her, but I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That's very different. The apology was public.
The suggestion was that I'd never apologized for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago. So first point is, I did. I meant it then, I meant it now. I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, and to the American people. The second is that I support the #MeToo movement, and I think it's long overdue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So obviously, Joe Lockhart was press secretary during the Clinton administration. We'll let him consider his response for a moment here and stew on this while we go to Carrie Cordero first.
Carrie, when you look at how the president is dealing with this issue now, does it appear that Bill Clinton really understands how times have changed over the years? Does he appear comfortable in his answers with this?
CORDERO: Well, it obviously -- look, those of us who actually, you know, remember this period of history, it -- it obviously brings up a very difficult time for him. He was impeached by the House of Representatives. And so -- and it was a very tenuous political time.
So I'm certain this is probably a topic that he doesn't want to talk about. But, you know, in addition to this, so much of the Clinton presidency is coming back into public view, because we're talking about impeachment again.
And so, certainly, he has an experience that's relevant from that perspective, but the -- there's a lot of differences between the political situation and the legal situation with respect to the White House that was different in the Clinton situation and is very different from this current investigation and political situation that we're dealing with.
[06:25:10] CAMEROTA: Joe, with the Craig Melvin questions, that NBC interview --
CAMEROTA: -- President Clinton seemed combative.
CAMEROTA: Could he possibly have been surprised by these questions?
LOCKHART: I don't know that he was surprised. I think what happened is he was there to talk about his book with James Patterson, which is a very light thing. It's not one of his --
CAMEROTA: It's a novel.
LOCKHART: Weighty tones about, you know, globalization and geopolitics, and I don't think he really heard the question. I don't mean literally. I think he heard, "Oh, you're bringing up -- that up again," and he got angry and did not hear the question. You saw a very different answer at night, but his answer was not right. And I think he understands that.
BERMAN: I'm not sure he hears the questions in a global standpoint. I'm not so sure, based on the way he answered it, even last night that he's truly introspective on this subject. Have you seen evidence that he is, Joe?
LOCKHART: No, I think he is. Listen, I was there when he gave the speech to the ministers about apologizing to families. Again, something you'll never see from the current president. That was sincere, and it was repeated over and over again both privately, with -- among us, the staff, and publicly at events.
So I do think that's real, but I think, you know, he succumbed to something yesterday which doesn't often happen in public of, you know, sort of victimization which is they -- these people, you know -- and I believe that the -- the investigation, particularly in the House, was a partisan exercise. It was about power, not about what he did. And he was, you know, victimized there.
But what -- I think that feeling sort of blotted out what Craig Melvin was asking. And -- and I think that's why you had the situation, you know, that we see now.
Joe Lockhart, we really appreciate your firsthand experience with all of this stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us.
LOCKHART: Happy to be here.
BERMAN: Carrie, thanks to you, as well.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
Sometimes I get so consumed with Joe Lockhart that I forgot --
BERMAN: I just wanted to thank Carrie, because I appreciate --
CAMEROTA: I do, too.
BERMAN: I appreciate Carrie Cordero.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
All right. Less than seven days until President Trump sits down with Kim Jong-un. We have new details about when they will first meet, who is in, who is out at this historic summit. John Berman is in.
BERMAN: I'm in.
CAMEROTA: We know that much.