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Trump Angers U.S. Allies Over Tariffs Ahead of G-7 Summit. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: These tariffs are totally unacceptable.
[05:59:33] LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR: There may be disagreements much like a family quarrel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The G-7 is now G-6 versus 1. Because the other six are allied against the United States.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do. That has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I've seen no evidence to the contrary.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president feels strongly about this. And I think he's got some real reasons to be concerned.
ALICE JOHNSON, PARDONED BY TRUMP: I want to thank President Donald John Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is prone to people giving him an emotional appeal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has been stymied. This is something where he just say it and it happens.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY, Thursday, June 7, 6 a.m. here in New York. This is our starting line.
The president reportedly grumbling about meeting with America's major allies, because he won't be sufficiently feted or treated special enough. That's one of the suggestions that a brand-new report from "The Washington Post," that the president is all kinds of grumpy about attending the G-7 summit in Canada tomorrow. Among other things, he reportedly thinks this is a distraction from next week's historic meeting with Kim Jong-un.
Then there's this. CNN has learned exclusively the president had a heated phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade, where he blamed Canada for burning down the White House in the War of 1812. Just one of the problems with that is Canada didn't.
Meantime, top members of the president's own party, including the speaker of the House, breaking with the president, saying the FBI acted appropriately in its handling of a confidential source. Now the Justice Department is set to show top lawmakers classified materials on that FBI informant.
CAMEROTA: OK. And there's more news. CNN has learned that President Trump has prepared paperwork to pardon at least 30 more people. The president has commuted the life sentence for Alice Marie Johnson, who was sentenced in 1996 on charges related to cocaine possession and money laundering. And we will have her on the show later.
This moves comes just days after Kim Kardashian West met with the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, pushing for her release.
Also, this disturbing video to show you out of Arizona. Four police officers placed on administrative leave after being caught on video beating an unarmed man.
So let's begin our coverage of all this news with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is live at the White House. What's the latest there, Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, it's not just back in Washington that the president is getting stiff pushback to his latest trade moves. He's also expected to receive quite a chilly reception when he travels to Canada this weekend to meet with some of America's closest allies, a meeting that some are predicting could be more tense than his meeting with Kim Jong-un.
KUDLOW: The president wants to go on a trip. The president is at ease with all these tough issues.
COLLINS (voice-over): The White House insisting that President Trump is looking forward to this weekend's G-7 summit in Canada, despite mounting tensions after America slapped its closest allies with new steel and aluminum tariffs.
KUDLOW: There may be disagreements. I regard this as much like a family quarrel.
COLLINS: "The Washington Post" reports that President Trump has complained about having to attend and thinks the two-day trip is a distraction as he prepares for next week's summit with Kim Jong-un. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea looks
like it's moving along very well.
COLLINS: The president will hold bilateral meetings at the G-7 with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron after recently having phone calls with both leaders. Sources tell CNN that during the May 25 call with Trudeau, he pressed Mr. Trump about justifying the tariffs as a national security issue, to which Trump quipped, "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?" a reference to when the British, not the Canadians, attacked Washington during the War of 1812.
TRUDEAU: The idea that we are somewhat a national security threat to the United States is, quite frankly, insulting and unacceptable.
COLLINS: President Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, ahead of next week's North Korea summit. CNN is learning that officials have laid the groundwork for a potential second day of talks. The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, weighing in on the historic meeting.
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and needs and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put them in.
COLLINS: This as a growing number of top congressional Republicans break with President Trump on his unproven claim that the FBI planted a spy in his campaign.
SANDERS: The president feels strongly about this and that it should be fully looked at. And I think he's got some real reasons to be concerned.
COLLINS: House Intelligence Committee member Tom Rooney telling Politico, "What is the point of saying there was a spy in the campaign when there was none? It's like let's create this thing to tweet about knowing that it's not true. Maybe it's just to create more chaos, but it doesn't really help the case."
Senate Intel Committee Chairman Richard Burr and House Speaker Paul Ryan throwing cold water on Trump's claim, saying they, too, agree with Trey Gowdy's assessment of the FBI's use of a confidential source to obtain information related to the Russia investigation.
GOWDY: I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they get the information they got and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
RYAN: I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate. I think -- but we have some more digging to do.
[06:05:07] COLLINS: Paul Ryan also said there that he didn't believe President Trump should ever pardon himself if it came down to that. Now, back here at the White House today, the president is going to
meet with the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, someone who is pressing Trump to take a hard line when he meets with North Korea's Kim Jong-un next week. We'll see if that is the case and what comes out of that summit.
CAMEROTA: OK, Kaitlan. You've certainly given us a lot to chew on. Thank you very much.
Joining us now, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and CNN political analyst John Avlon.
So Dana, let's just start with these alliances, these long-time American alliances that seem to now be, I don't know, not unraveling but certainly challenged. And it seems as though the alliances with Canada, with Britain, with Germany are about the president's personal preferences for who he likes talking to.
And somehow, he's more comfortable with his Kim Jong-un summit coming up -- and we certainly know that he's -- he would be excited about talking to Vladimir Putin, as he's said many times -- than going to Canada or going to the summit with Canada. What's going on here?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's so many things going on. Let's start with just his personality.
He is obviously somebody who feels that he can charm a snake and that the relationships that he is building with China, with North Korea, I guess -- Russia is a completely separate issue -- that he can do something that people haven't done before.
And with regard to the allies, you have that built in, but also the idea that he genuinely, for decades, way before he was in public life, in private life, has felt that America's allies and foes have taken advantage of the U.S. on the economic front, on, you know, multilateral trade deals from NAFTA and beyond. And so that is really playing into this.
And these countries are -- expected this as a possibility when Donald Trump was elected. It took a year and a half, but now it's playing out. And they're standing up to him and to America with the tariffs that they're putting on.
BERMAN: You know, they wished (ph) it away for a year and a half, and now it's no longer staying away.
BERMAN: For whatever reason. The other thing is, look, the North Korea meeting is going to make a splash. I mean, that's a splashy meeting. The G-7 in Canada, you know, with all respect in Canada, not that splashy. I do want to do a dramatic reading --
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Please.
BERMAN: -- from the "Washington Post" on the article where this all came out. Part of this is that the president doesn't like the G-7 summit, apparently, because it's not special enough, right? And says, "Trump is a homebody president, preferring to sleep in the White House -- or at one of his signature properties -- than in hotels so he is generally reluctant to take long journeys. Furthermore, he prefers visiting places where he is feted -- such as on his trips last year to Beijing, Paris, and the Saudi capital -- over attending summits where the attending leaders are treated as equals."
AVLON: You know, everything's wrong about that sentence. I mean, first of all, you know who fetes well? Dictators. Really large palaces that make you feel special.
But if you feel insulted by a sense of co-equals with your closest allies in the world, the post-World War II world may seem not like a very special place. U.S. leadership matters. It's absolutely insane that he feels a need to be celebrated rather than work as co-equals with the G-7.
CAMEROTA: I think this is also beyond thread count. I mean, I really do. I understand that he's a homebody, and he doesn't like sleeping in --
BASH: He can bring his own sheets.
AVLON: He liked his pillow.
BASH: Very much.
CAMEROTA: But my point is that this seems to sometimes be about personal vendettas. What he said to Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada. Let me just read our CNN reporting that you know very well.
"According to sources, Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a national security issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, 'Didn't you guys burn down the White House?' referring to the War of 1812."
He's trying to settle a score from 1812.
BERMAN: He's still upset about that.
BASH: Which -- by the way, I don't want to give -- to take any time away from John Avlon, because he's been dying to talk about the War of 1812.
CAMEROTA: You're right. You are the expert on the War of 1812.
AVLON: First of all, who doesn't love a good 1812 joke? And second of all, the president probably just told -- you know, learned about that incident just a short time ago, because he is not a student of history. That is laugh out loud, because it's certainly inappropriate.
BASH: But we have to say, speaking of history, we can say the Canadians didn't burn down the House.
CAMEROTA: And there's that.
BASH: Just to lay that down on the table.
AVLON: That's the best.
CAMEROTA: They don't burn things down in Canada on purpose.
AVLON: No. And then they apologize right after. No, it really is -- I mean, the president is reciting verses from "Blame Canada." I mean, he -- you know, the song --
BERMAN: From "South Park: The Movie."
AVLON: "South Park: The Movie." I mean, this is absurd. Of course, first of all, of course, Canada is not a national security threat. This is a pretext to push through the tariffs he wants. I do appreciate historical humor, but the president has never read a history book.
[06:10:00] So, you know, Justin Trudeau is absolutely right to take offense. It's absurd to be treating Canada this way. And the best part of the family feud is they didn't actually burn down the White House.
BERMAN: You know, talking about history, you mentioned the War of 1812. The president has made historical references before. Here are some of the greatest hits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job as being recognized more and more, I notice.
African-Americans vote for Democrats, for the most part. You know, the vast majority. They've been doing it over 100 years.
Abraham Lincoln. Most people don't even know he was a Republican. Right? Does anyone know? A lot of people don't know that.
People don't realize -- you know, the Civil War. You think about it. Why? People don't ask that question? But why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?
We have leaders like Susan B. Anthony. Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony?
BERMAN: Let me ask you, have you heard of Susan B. Anthony? Let me ask you a serious question now, because that's unserious, decidedly unserious, what the president said --
CAMEROTA: Why doesn't he know history?
BERMAN: That's a good point.
CAMEROTA: I mean, what --
BASH: Everybody has their strengths, Alisyn.
AVLON: But -- but Professor Trump, what I love about Professor Trump's lectures to the American people is that he's -- his excitement nobody knew what it really is. I had no idea.
BERMAN: The deal with North Korea is so important to this president.
BERMAN: I do understand why he doesn't want to be thinking about anything else --
BERMAN: -- before next Tuesday. Because that is important to him, not just diplomatically and around the world, but it's so important personally and politically in a domestic sense, as well.
BASH: Absolutely. In every way. He staked a lot on this, which is historic. That should not be taken away from him.
Having said that, in a normal diplomatic world, a president would go to a G-7 and talk to world leaders about his upcoming meeting, get advice, have consultations. That's not the way this president works.
BERMAN: I hope he does not mention how the North Koreans burned down the White House in the War of 1812. That won't go over well.
CAMEROTA: No, he will not actually do that.
BERMAN: That would be awkward.
CAMEROTA: Guys, there's so much news. We need to move on. Thank you very much.
So top Republican lawmakers breaking with the president on his false claim that the FBI planted a spy in his campaign. So does this put an end to the conspiracy theory? Where we are with that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:16:08] MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you agree with Trey Gowdy?
RYAN: Normally, I don't like to comment on classified briefings. Let me say it this way. I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate, I think. But we have some more digging to do. We're waiting for some more document requests. We have some more documents to review. We still have to answer questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: More Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan breaking with President Trump on this unproven claim that an FBI spy was planted in his campaign.
This happens as CNN -- CNN has learned the Justice Department will allow top lawmakers to see highly-classified materials on that FBI source.
Joining us now CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN legal analyst Anne Milgram.
Look, it was very interesting to me that Paul Ryan chose yesterday, as did Senate intel chief Richard Burr, to come out and say, "You know what? We agree with Trey Gowdy. There's no 'there' there." And other people came out, as well, too. That's a political decision.
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice is saying, "You know what? We're going to show more evidence as soon as today about all of this. We're going to show some of these documents."
What do you make of it?
ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, there are a couple of points that are important. There were some follow-up questions about the information and the briefing from the prior week. And the bipartisan Gang of Eight has asked to see this information, as well.
So what I think is really important in seeing Speaker Ryan and Trey Gowdy come out, is there was never evidence that there was a spy case here to begin with. And so they're basically, I think, doing the right thing to basically say, "Look, this is an attack on the FBI that's unfounded." And I think the Department of Justice is opening their doors to say there's nothing here.
They shouldn't have to do it in the way that they're doing it. But I think they're trying to just put this to rest.
CAMEROTA: But John, it is notable -- OK, it is notable that top Republicans are now breaking with the president, because there's been a host of other opportunities for them to do so, and they haven't.
And so when Richard Burr and Trey Gowdy -- here's another one. Here's what Congressman Rooney, a Republican of Florida, says: "What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the campaign when there was none? You know what I'm saying? It's like let's create this thing to tweet about, knowing that it's not true. Maybe it's just to create more chaos, but it doesn't really help the case."
AVLON: I love that. Maybe to tweet out this thing that just isn't true to create more chaos. Maybe. Quite possibly.
CAMEROTA: But he's saying it for the first time. All of these Republicans coming out. AVLON: I think the Republicans who realize it is in their political
and personal self-interest that they care about their reputation, to not simply go along with everything the president says if it's not supported by facts. When Paul Ryan step up and backs Trey Gowdy, that's significant. When Rooney sort of, you know, pulls the curtain back, that's significant.
And remember, you know, you have the conservagentsia singing chapter and verse how Spygate was worse than Watergate, which was self- evidently insane. Now some of the key characters of their drama are saying not so much.
BERMAN: I am curious about why they chose -- what was it -- Wednesday, June 6, to all collectively make that statement when it's been going on for some time. It was odd to me that they chose yesterday. Or maybe something they don't know.
CAMEROTA: So you think it's coordinated? Suddenly you --
BERMAN: I don't believe in coincidences like that in Washington, not when Paul Ryan does it like she did yesterday. He's too careful not to come out before but to come out yesterday. I'm curious about that.
Another -- speaking of unanswered questions. Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, has refused to explain why last August she said the president did not dictate that response to the Trump Tower meeting. The president's lawyers now say he did dictate it. Sarah Sanders has refused to explain the discrepancy.
Our friend Chris Cuomo, on "CUOMO PRIME TIME" last night, really tried to get an answer to what's going on here. Here's some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are purposefully walling ourselves off and allowing the outside counsel to do their job. And we're doing ours.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But you did initially answer it, right?
SANDERS: I did. And, again --
CUOMO: Do you regret that?
SANDERS: No, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's interesting. "I don't regret it," given that it was false at this point. I give -- I give Sarah Sanders a huge amount of credit for answering questions from Chris Cuomo. I think that was great.
[06:20:08] CAMEROTA: Sure, she came on the show, and I think that that's great. But she says, "We're walling ourselves off." She didn't wall herself off when she first answered it, so what's happened? What's changed?
MILGRAM: Completely. I mean, I think the problem is that you can't have it both ways. You're either going to be a part of the special counsel and the outside counsel conversations or you're not. And she's chosen to pick and choose when she answers questions, which is extremely problematic.
BERMAN: She's got to be getting legal advice. It's got to be a legal thing. The lawyers have to be saying, "If you just go up there and say, 'I made a mistake,' you're opening yourself up to questions about who told you that?" I mean, they're concerned legally.
MILGRAM: I'm sure that's right. I'm sure she's also been interviewed. And so she's been offered information. And they're trying not to put her more in the middle of it. But at the end of the day, you know, she has answered some questions and not others about the special counsel investigation, and that's probably --
AVLON: I mean, look, the other thing is, in this Trump White House, there's less strategery than meets the eye. This is -- and I do think, in the Rudy era of the president's defense, I think there has been a deep separation between his public statements and the White House for reasons of sheer necessity.
The reason she won't apologize or regret it is because one of the Trump principles is never complain, never explain.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about pardons.
BERMAN: Speaking of apologies.
CAMEROTA: Because there are apparently a tidal wave coming. The president -- we've been told through reporting, likes this because this doesn't have to go through Congress. There is no gridlock here. He can, with the stroke of a pen, pardon people. And so that's some of what we have seen.
Kim Kardashian went to the White House. She lobbied on behalf of Alice Johnson. Alice Johnson's sentence -- it was a life sentence for drug trafficking -- was commuted. So she served 21 years. Here's what she said when she was released.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I want to thank President Donald John Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woo!
JOHNSON: Thank you. Thank you for giving me another chance at life. I want to thank Kim Kardashian West. My little angel. Thank you, thank you. Kim, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Future voters for a Kanye-Trump ticket, because they are so happy, obviously, about this. And you can argue that a life sentence was too much. A life sentence
was too much or a first-time offender, and that President Obama had considered, I guess, commuting it. But the Department of Justice had recommended he not do that, because it was connected to a drug cartel.
MILGRAM: Right. I mean, I think that this is one of the cases where I think it is right to commute her sentence and others like her. Because our sentencing practices in the United States, we are incredibly harsh. We've seen a 200 percent increase on three things.
No. 1 is the war on drugs. So this is a part of what we see nationally. The problem here is that how he's picking and choosing. He's completely circumventing the United States Department of Justice longstanding process of how you do this. And you have to have standards when you do it. Should you only commute her sentence when there are countless others like her? I mean, the answer has to be no. And there are systemic issues they have to deal with.
BERMAN: You came armed with a quote here.
AVLON: Well, our fellow CNN contributor, Keith Boykin, had a great tweet about this. He said, "This is perhaps the up side of white privilege. Imagine if President Obama had commuted the sentence of someone convicted for drug trafficking after meeting Kim Kardashian in the Oval Office. There would have been a great outcry."
But now this has gone forward, and it seems to be justice in her case. But as Anne was saying, the larger issue is not everyone imprisoned unjustly can have a celebrity advocate for them. And that's why we've got processes.
BERMAN: We'll see what happens in the days and weeks ahead. There may be more coming. Maybe the system will be equalized going forward.
CAMEROTA: But, I mean, that sentence -- what you just pointed out, that exercise of when you say imagine if President Obama had done it, is a valuable one that we'll come back to today.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.
MILGRAM: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK. Coming up if our 8 a.m. hour, we will have Alice Marie Johnson. She's going to join us with her reaction, how she's feeling this morning to President Trump commuting her life sentence. What is her connection to Kim Kardashian? We have lots of questions for her and her family. BERMAN: And tonight we can get the other side of that. Van Jones
sits down exclusively with Kim Kardashian West. That's at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. That will be fascinating.
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, Samantha Bee apologizing again, this time on her show, for that crude comment about Ivanka Trump. So what is Samantha Bee saying and what's her plan moving forward?
[06:28:32] CAMEROTA: President Trump visiting FEMA for a briefing on the hurricane season, but he never mentioned the new death toll from Hurricane Maria. The estimated 4,600 Americans who were killed in Puerto Rico. The president, instead, praised FEMA while making a claim, without proof, about Coast Guard rescues in Texas during Hurricane Harvey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The brand of the Coast Guard has been something incredible, what's happened. Saved 16,000 people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is. People went out in their boats to watch the hurricane. That didn't work out too well. That didn't work out too well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, insists that he has not seen any information about Texans needing to be rescued from their boats while watching Hurricane Harvey. And the Coast Guard says there is no evidence to support the president's claim and no way to verify that.
BERMAN: Two top aides to embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have resigned. Sarah Greenwalt, senior counselor to Pruitt, and Millan Hupp, his director of scheduling. Pruitt approved raises for both earlier this year, despite the White House rejecting the pay hikes. Hupp recently testified before lawmakers that she carried out personal tasks for Pruitt.
CAMEROTA: Comedian Samantha Bee returning to her show, "Full Frontal," with a fiery apology about making a crude joke about Ivanka Trump. Bee says, quote, "I crossed the line. I regret it, and I do apologize for that."
Bee came under fire last week after mocking a picture of Ivanka Trump holding one of her children, as Bee took on the Trump administration for separating immigrant children from their parents.
Bee now says this.