Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Reportedly Reluctant to Attend G7 Summit; Rudy Giuliani Claims Stormy Daniels is Not Credible Due to Her Career; Commerce Secretary Announces Deal with Chinese Company ZTE; Interview with Sen. John Kennedy. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Let's begin our coverage with Josh Dawsey. He's the White House reporter for the "The Washington Post." Josh, great to see you. Give us the headline of your new reporting.
JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So our reporting is on the G7 summit in Canada. President Trump is supposed to go to Canada obviously tomorrow for meeting with Canada and Germany and all of our other allies. And what he's frustrated about is that a lot of the other ones agree with him on tariffs, on trade and a whole host of issues, and he doesn't see it's going to be useful. He doesn't like being lectured. He doesn't like when Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron and others lecture him. And he's not looking forward to going somewhere where he is in the minority, and he just doesn't think it's a good use of his time.
The trip to Singapore next week, our reporting indicates the president is quite excited about that. He still remains very optimistic about the Kim Jong-un summit even as some of his aides, John Bolton and others around him, are not so sure that North Korea will actually do what they say they're going to do.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's interesting, Josh, because you say that there were discussions over time about whether there was a way for the president to get out of this, right, because he did get out of that summit in south America, but ultimately he's going to Quebec, right?
DAWSEY: Right, he is going to Quebec, or at least that's what his aides tell us. But the president enjoys more of these unilateral trips where he goes to China or he goes to the Middle East and meets with foreign leaders one-on-one. These conferences are not necessarily his forte because you have a whole host of world leaders united in some of their criticism of him. It's not something he enjoys sitting around doing in these long meetings and conferences. He likes the pageantry, he likes the one-on-one settings. He likes making deals, and in the G7 summit in Canada he tweeted a few minutes ago that he's going to go and try to reverse some of the worst trade deals in history, at least according to his estimation, but it's hard to do that when every other country there is almost unified in their opposition.
BERMAN: You also note he won't be feted quite enough in his mind. He likes some of these unilateral settings, like Saudi Arabia, going to China, because they throw these big lavish welcoming ceremonies. He's just one of several in Canada tomorrow.
DAWSEY: When he comes back from those trips like Saudi Arabia and China, he talks to his aides for days about the treatment. He loved the Forbidden City in China. He thought no other U.S. president has gotten this kind of treatment. He loved the sword dancing and all of the dinners in Saudi Arabia. I don't know if you remember those classic scenes of all of Trump aides there as they dance with swords in the middle of the grandiose ballroom. That's what the president loves. He enjoys that part of the job. He thinks that's how a president should look and how you play the part.
He does not enjoy as much these summits. And in some degree, it's understandable. If you're the president and you have very defined views that many of the United States allies do not agree with, and to his credit he won the election by espousing some of these views. A lot of his supporters love these views. It's a little bit harder to get excited about going where you know everyone is going to try to talk you out of what you think.
CAMEROTA: That's fair, but is there any concern among his aides that his own personal preferences for sword dancing over actually diplomacy with the closest allies like Angela Merkel or Theresa May or Justin Trudeau will fray the longtime relationships?
DAWSEY: I think many of the folks in the White House say the president is angling for a better deal with these people, and some of these early on tensions and exacerbated problems, China retaliating on trade, Canada -- more Canada and France and others than China. But these countries getting mad at the president are just part of the growing pains of getting better deals.
But most of the folks in the White House are inured to his way of behaving now, and I think they expect anything can happen at these sorts of meetings. There's not an expectation that he will do one thing or the other. In fact, they don't know. So you can say what you want if you're them, but you go and you watch and hope for the best.
BERMAN: Josh, scoop machine. We have a very short time with you left. You have another story in "The Washington Post" overnight about what the president said after the camera stopped rolling during his FEMA meeting, less talking about natural disasters, hurricanes Puerto Rico, more talking about Donald Trump.
DAWSEY: Right. When the cameras stopped rolling at FEMA headquarters yesterday, the president went into a litany of recitation of his successes. He talked about the economy, his approval ratings, the power of his endorsements, how he's helping the Republican Party. He talked about how he's such a good negotiator, his business acumen. And it was around the room of FEMA officials and first responders days into the hurricane season. So when the cameras were rolling he talked a little bit about storms, but when they stopped rolling and he was behind the scenes, it wasn't a discussion of Puerto Rico or any of the other --
CAMEROTA: Or the death toll. DAWSEY: Or the death toll in Puerto Rico.
CAMEROTA: He didn't mention the death toll, the new estimated 4,600 Americans killed.
DAWSEY: I was listening to his audio last night behind closed doors to FEMA and it was very striking to one of his rally speeches. And he ticked off kind of the same things you would see him say in a big arena with 5,000, 10,000 people there. It's not what you expect to hear from a president at FEMA, but it's a style and it's what he's comfortable doing obviously.
[08:05:08] CAMEROTA: Josh Dawsey, thank you so much for sharing your scoops with us.
DAWSEY: Thank you.
BERMAN: Scoop machine.
CAMEROTA: That is what we're going to call him now. Scoop machine Dawsey.
President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is making some controversial comments about the adult film star Stormy Daniels. So Daniels, as you know, says that she had an affair with President Trump, which the president denies. So speaking at this conference in Israel, Giuliani, the president's lawyer, says that Daniels has no credibility because of her line of work. That's not all he said. Here's more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Excuse me, when you look at Stormy Daniels, I know Donald Trump and look at his three wives, right, beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels? So, I think --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to respect on the stage every woman.
GIULIANI: Yes, I respect porn stars. Don't you respect porn stars? Or do you think porn stars desecrate women? Do you think that porn stars don't respect women and therefore sell their bodies?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Joining us now we have CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and CNN political analyst Josh Green. Dana, you just spoke to Rudi Giuliani. You felt that some of his comments needed a little more explanation. You called him. What did he tell you?
DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, I should say you saw those comments. He was in Israel. He is still in Israel. So I called and said that this has become a thing. And he didn't realize how big of a thing it was. And I explained why, and he initially pushed back, saying, well, in my day feminists didn't like porn because they thought it was demeaning to women. And then he said, I still stand by what I said. And I said, well, take the feminism aside and just talk about your
main point, which is that she doesn't have credibility as a witness. And he said he completely stands by that. Let me just give you part of our conversation. He said the following, "If you're involved in a sort of slimy business, it says something about you, it says something about how far you'll go to make money. A person who would say no isn't going to do something very demeaning like that for money. A person who would do that for money, our real point about her is she's not just generally un-credible, she's credible from the point of view of want to go get money. She's a con artist."
So we had a pretty lively back and forth on the phone about this notion about how women are viewed today versus how they used to be viewed, and he said -- because I said to him people listen to what you say and it sounds antiquated about how women should be viewed based on what they do for a living, whether it's a porn star or not, whether that means they have credibility. And he said, well, I like the way I view it better.
CAMEROTA: OK. I'm just curious, what does he think of men who pay for that slimy business or married men who have sex with a porn star without using any protection, are they trusted and credible as witnesses? Hypothetically, I'm saying hypothetically if that situation --
BASH: I hypothetically asked a question of Mr. Giuliani about, first of all, men who participate in porn, whether they have credibility, male porn stars, if they would have credibility issues on the stand. He said yes.
CAMEROTA: They would he credibility issues.
BASH: They would have credibility issues. It's gender neutral in the porn world apparently for him. But then on the issue of men who sleep with porn stars, I asked him that question, and he said you're trying to suggest the president here. And I said, yes, and he said he denied it.
CAMEROTA: But I'm not trying to suggest it. I'm just saying if a man did that, a married man did that under those circumstances, if you would think that person had credibility on the stand.
BASH: We didn't get that far.
BERMAN: And Karen McDougal, also, the playmate which the White House and Rudy Giuliani has not addressed in a long time.
CAMEROTA: Because she said that the president offered money.
BERMAN: And they had a long relationship, too, not just one time.
BASH: Exactly. And I think it's important also to take it up to 5,000, 10,000 feet here. We've having a conversation about whether a porn star is credible and about the president's lawyers/political strategist, Rudy Giuliani, standing by those comments, comments that are now taking hold and are not -- are not contradictory to what the president's strategy is, to continue to takedown his political opponents, and he now has somebody in Rudy Giuliani who is likeminded and very willing to do it.
BERMAN: Josh Green, you have been listening to all of this. You care to weigh in?
JOSH GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think what's really going on here with Giuliani is something we've seen consistently from the Trump administration, from Giuliani, from a lot of Trump's accusers, and that is an effort to discredit anybody who can say anything negative about Donald Trump.
[08:10:00] The central facts in the Stormy Daniels' matter aren't in dispute. Trump, or more specifically his lawyer, or maybe his former lawyer Michael Cohen, paid her hush money, $130,000, not in dispute. You don't generally pay somebody that kind of money if there isn't something you're trying to cover-up. And I think part of what Giuliani is doing here is taking a very weird tangent and going deep on porn, but big picture trying to discredit Daniels' accusations because they've become a political and potentially a legal problem for the president.
BASH: To be fair, he doesn't -- Rudy Giuliani doesn't represent president Trump on this issue. He was asked specifically whether he thought Stormy Daniels was credible.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I want to get to that point, because we've had on legal experts like Michael Zeldin who have said that they don't even think that Rudy Giuliani represents the president legally as a lawyer at all, basically that he was hired as a pit bull. He's likeminded with President Trump. They're old friends. He can speak Trumpian, and so he's his P.R. attack dog. Really that's what he's doing. Do you think that he's doing actual legal work?
BASH: Yes -- well, not in the White House, because he's outside the White House. But he consults and confers with the president's other lawyers on the legal team, Jay Sekulow and the Raskins and I guess now Emmet Flood. But there's no question -- and he's not shy about this. I did a story on this that he confirmed and said that it was right on the fact that he might be a lawyer, but he is absolutely doing the president's political work here in terms of trying to take down the credibility of the Mueller investigation. And if you look at the polls on that, if that is his goal, he's seeing success.
BERMAN: Josh, let me read you some breaking news here, Josh, because the commerce secretary Wilbur Ross just announced a deal with ZTE which is this Chinese tech company that had been sanctioned and really outlawed in the United States for working with shady organizations and countries. ZTE will pay the United States a $1 billion fine and put $4 million in an escrow account. Wilbur Ross just made those comments publicly. A deal has been reached. This is a political sticking point with members of the president's own party. Marco Rubio, he doesn't want a deal with ZTE.
CAMEROTA: He might if they're going to pay the U.S. $1 billion. BERMAN: I don't think it's about the money. It's about not trusting
ZTE. It's about the technology and the fears of what ZTE is doing here. I don't think $1 billion solves Marco Rubio's problems.
GREEN: That's right. There are big national security concerns and have been around ZTE. And one of the things that China hawks were very pleased to see several weeks ago was Trump essentially cutting off ZTE and bringing that company to its knees. They Chinese government was very upset about this, reached out to Trump to try and work something out. Now it appears they have.
However, paying a relatively modest fine and letting them go back about their business is something that's going to be deeply upsetting not only to Democrats in Congress but to Republicans who are considering passing some kind of legislation to try and block this. I think a lot of people on Capitol Hill are going to be very unhappy to hear that this is the settlement that the Trump administration has worked out.
BASH: Right, it's not just -- as you aid, it's not money. It's not just money. It probably isn't money at all. It's about intellectual property. It's about them stealing American secrets and technology --
CAMEROTA: But it's also about sanctions.
BASH: And about sanctions.
CAMEROTA: It's something with North Korea and Iran.
BERMAN: It's cutting a deal with ZTE before you might shake hands with Kim Jong-un where in the middle of that doughnut hole you're going to go and get in a fight with your closest allies.
CAMEROTA: I get that. Ever since the president tweeted about ZTE it set peoples' hair on fire on Capitol Hill because why was he defending this dubious company. I get it. But I think that the $1 billion fine is different then when he was just giving them a pass with nothing.
BASH: It is. And you mentioned the fact of this upcoming North Korea summit. That's an important point, because everything that the president can get vis-a-vis China saying good things to North Korea about working out a deal with the president he'll take, certainly I'm sure he thinks will help.
BERMAN: Before we let you two fine people go, I want to show you the new cover of "Time" magazine just out. Josh Green, "King Me" it says for those who can read the print there.
CAMEROTA: I think you're putting the emphasize on the wrong syllable. I think it's "King Me."
BERMAN: Who's right? Is Alisyn right or me, Josh?
GREEN: I'll let you two settle that dispute when we go to commercial. I think it's a wonderful cover and reflects Trump's sense of himself, but even more than that his desire to act as a king rather than as an executive who has to deal with the judicial branch and especially the legislative branch.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but very quickly, "Time" magazine is preaching to the choir. Not a single person in President Trump's base has read "Time" magazine for a long time, Dana.
BASH: Yes but you know who does like Time Magazine?
BASH: Donald Trump.
BERMAN: He likes real and not real covers.
CAMEROTA: The covers.
BASH: He likes all of them.
BERMAN: All of them which he'll ...
CAMEROTA: Great point.
BERMAN: ... put up in his golf club. That ones not ...
BERMAN: ... going to get up with the golf club. Dana Bash, Josh Green, thanks so much for being with us. CNN exclusively learning, the president blamed Canada, wrongly so, for burning down the White House during the War of 1812. Republican Senator John Kennedy, who knows the truth about the War of 1812, joins us ...
CAMEROTA: What are you suggesting?
BERMAN: I'm just saying, I'm just saying. John Kennedy has a lot to say about 1812.
CAMEROTA: Someone's (ph) not going to be happy with you.
BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news. Commerce Wilbur Ross announced just moments ago that the United States has reached a deal with the Chinese tech giant ZTE which has been banned basically from doing business in the United States sanctioned for doing business with Iran and North Korea. The United States has reached a deal which includes a one billion dollar fine for ZTE.
Joining us now to talk much more about this is Senator John Kennedy, Republican from Louisiana.
Senator thanks so much for being us. This is something that many Republicans including Marco Rubio have been concerned about, saying that the United States should not be giving relief to ZTE. Not allowing ZTE really back in the United States. How do you feel about the announcement of that deal this morning? SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, R-LOUISIANA: Well I've got to give it a little prayerful consideration. I'm not a big ZTE fan. I'm sure ZTE makes a fine cell phone but they're a little too close to the communist party of China, for my taste. And on top of that they cheated.
ZTE violated our sanctions and thereby helped North Korea. I'm going to read exactly the terms of the settlement, but color me doubtful.
BERMAN: Color you doubtful.
KENNDEY: About the wisdom of that.
BERMAN: It's a billion dollars, 400 million in escrow. They have to fire their board apparently or change them over and there's some kind of monitoring there. Does that get past your --
KENNEDY: It's not the money. It's the fact that ZTE helped Kim Jong- un and lied about it and it's the fact that ZTE -- some would argue they are a state-controlled, or at least -influenced company. And what does that mean? That means that their pretty close to the communist party of China. I wouldn't buy a ZTE telephone. I'm not saying it's not well made but I wouldn't buy a ZTE telephone. And allow my information potentially to be shared with president Xi Jinping and his party.
BERMAN: What does it tell you that the Trump administration is entering this deal with China and ZTE? At the same time it is slapping tariffs on U.S. allies, including Canada and Mexico?
KENNEDY: Well let me talk about the trade issue. I'm giving the president the benefit of the doubt. I think he is using the threat of tariffs and he may even implement to try to negotiate trade deals. I think the president's too smart to get us into a trade war. He knows that the only way to win a trade war is don't fight it. I think the president understands that global trade is not a zero sum game. All trade surpluses are not good and all trade deficits are not bad.
Just because you're running a deficit - a trade deficit with a country doesn't mean they're winning and your losing.
BERMAN: Hang on one second senator though, you said you trust him and you think he'll enter into good trade deals, but you just said you didn't like the ZTE deal. And to an extent --
KENNEDY: No, but I don't know whether that's part of a global trade approach or not. I just don't know the terms of it. I heard about it five minutes ago. But I - let me say it again. I don't trust ZTE, I don't - it's not the money. They're just a little bit too close to the communist party of China.
But in terms of the overall trade, I'm willing, for the moment, to give the president the benefit of the doubt. But let me say, I think he understands -- I hope he understand, I believe he understands.
BERMAN: Is Canada a security threat? Is Canada a threat the security of the United States?
KENNEDY: Not to me, no.
BERMAN: Are you still angry about the fact that Canada burned the White House in the War of 1812, which Canada never did?
KENNEDY: I think the president was probably joking. Everybody knows it was the Russians who burned the White House.
BERMAN: (LAUGHS) Absolutely Senator Kennedy. Thank you very much for that reminder. Historical reminder. Let me ask you about Bob Corker who's got a bill that he wants to propose to the senate right now which will restrict the president's abilities to enter into these tariffs. Do you see your self as possibly supporting Senator Corker's measure?
KENNEDY: I don't know how I'm going to vote. I've talked to Bob about it. I don't see it. On the one hand, I do not see it as impinging upon presidential power. All of it says is that congress has a say. If the president invokes section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, congress gets to weigh in on it. It doesn't say a president can't do it. We just get to have our say. On the other hand I don't want to step on the president's toes as he is trying to renegotiate these trade deals. And let me say it again, I think that's what he's doing. He's using the leverage that we have, the threat of tariffs, to try to get better trade deals.
He's not - he's too smart to get in a trade war.
BERMAN: We'll see.
KENNEDY: If we get - if we get in a trade war that's a whole different ball game.
BERMAN: We'll have you back. Let's - we'll pre-book that for you to come back in if it does develop.
BERMAN: I want to ask you about the president's treatment towards two members of his cabinet yesterday and get your take on each one because he has - he had his members around him. He had something very short to say about Jeff Sessions and something quite effusive to say about others including Scott Pruitt, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Thank you Jeff, thank you very much. Administrator Scott Pruitt, thank you, Scott, very much. EPA is doing really, really well. And you know somebody has to say that about you, a little bit. You know that Scott. But you've done - I'll tell you the EPA is doing so well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So gush -- two things happened there. Number one he had like half a sentence on Jeff Sessions compared to an effusive phrase for everyone else. People saw that as a slight to the Attorney General. Just one more slight, people say.
And then Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief who we just found out, you know had an aid contact Chick-fil-A to see if his wife could set up a franchise.
You say that Scott Pruitt has been - I think the exact quote is acting like a moron. Am I right?
BERMAN: What did you mean by that?
KENNEDY: Well I support many of the new policies at the EPA. They're not Mr. Pruitt's policies, they're President Trumps polices. I don't know Mr. Pruitt, I'm not commenting on his professional judgment. I'm commenting on his personal judgment. But my entire career, I spent most of my career in state government in Louisiana. I have fought the waste of tax payer money. I've fought the influence - the appearance of in propriety. And I've found in propriety. And I think these things that Mr. Pruitt is alleged to have done, I mean they continue.
The hits just keep on coming and I think he's hurting the president and therefore he's hurting the country. And I did - some of these things that Mr. Pruitt apparently has done, I know some of them are allegations, some of them are facts. He is acting like a moron. And he needs to stop it ...
BERMAN: Senator Kennedy ...
KENNEDY: -- it's not personal but he just needs to stop acting - misbehaving in this way.
BERMAN: Senator Kennedy, you have some legislation. You're very concerned about Face Book and some of the rules involved with Face Book going forward. Will you tell us what you are proposing?
KENNEDY: Yes - Senator Klobuchar and I -- from the great state of Minnesota -- have a bill. It deals with social media platforms, in particular Face Book. Look Face Book is a fine American company. But we all know it's no longer a company, it's a country. It influences a third of the world. It has the ability to influence what we buy, what we believe, how we vote, what we own, what we buy, what we believe. And it doesn't do that just by looking at the stuff we post on Face Book. Face Book can follow us around on the Internet.
It can spy on us one click at a time. We just found out that Face Book shared data with Huawei. That is the largest tech company in China which is also very close to the communist party. I'm not trying to put Face Book out of business. Here's what I want Face Book to do. I want Face Book in clear, unmistakable terms, plain English, to tell people who sign up on Face Book. Here's what you get, free service, here's what we get. Here's all the data we're going to collect on you. Here's who were going to collect it from and here's everybody we're going to share with. If you don't want to do that, opt out. If you opt in and you change your mind later, you can opt out then. If somebody steals your data, we'll notify you in 72 hours. And if Face Book will do that and really make sure that people understand. I'm cool, I trust the American people.
KENNEDY: They can use Face Book if they want. But right now they don't have the information.
BERMAN: Senator Kennedy, thanks so much for being with us. Please keep us posted on your concerns there. Appreciate sir.
KENNEDY: I take back the part about the Russian burning Washington.
BERMAN: To late it's out there. Senator thanks very much. Alisyn.
KENNEDY: All right bye.
CAMEROTA: That wasn't historical, that was hysterical.
BERMAN: It was awesome.
CAMEROTA: President Trump, as you know commutes the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson after she spent 21 years in prison. Alice and her daughter join us live next with what their relationship is with President Trump. Kim Kardashian and what she does with her life now.