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Trump: No Need to Prepare for North Korea Summit, 'It's All About Attitude'; Trump Heads to G-7 Summit Amid Feud with World Leaders; Senate Staffer Arrested for Leaking Classified Information. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 8, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He's walking into the lion's den. This is a president who's going to be isolated by our allies.
[05:59:17] LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR: We're talking everything through. I'm always the optimistic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Macron is now speaking to Trump via Twitter. He's dragged Macron down to his level.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think I need to prepare very much. It's about attitude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a complete mystery to me why he has so much confidence in his own ability.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm very confident the president will be fully prepared.
KIM KARDASHIAN, REALITY TV STAR: He was sympathetic to her. He said this is the right thing to do.
ALICE JOHNSON, SENTENCE COMMUTED BY TRUMP: I love Kim. And I'll never forget this.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is no process here. We're living in an ongoing reality show, and this now is "Celebrity Pardon."
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, June 8, 6 a.m. here in New York. It's been a long news week.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It has. And there are some big meetings in store for the president.
CAMEROTA: OK. So let's get right to it. Here's our starting line. In just hours, President Trump will reluctantly head to the G-7 summit in Canada. That's where he will come face-to-face with U.S. allies who he is very publicly sparring with over new tariffs. CNN has learned that the president will cut his time there short. He will actually leave before the climate change portion of the event to head to Singapore for the historic meeting with North Korea.
President Trump sounds optimistic ahead of this summit with Kim Jong- un. He says that he does not have to prepare very much because, quote, "It's all about attitude." If all goes well, the president may invite the North Korean dictator to the White House.
BERMAN: A major development in the Trump administration's efforts to crack down on leaks. A longtime Senate committee staffer arrested for allegedly lying to federal investigators about the leaking of classified information. This raises new questions about dragging journalists into legal investigations.
"The New York Times" says the Justice Department seized one reporter's e-mail and phone records in this case.
And a CNN exclusive with Kim Kardashian West about her central role in convincing President Trump to free a convicted drug felon. You will hear what she told Van Jones about meeting with the president and the moment she learned that Alice Johnson would be freed.
As we said, we've got a lot going on today at the end of a very important week. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Boris Sanchez, live in Quebec City. This is the site of the upcoming G-7 summit, a somewhat shorter summit for President Trump, Boris.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. Good morning to you and Alisyn.
Despite assurances from some of the administration, President Trump is eager to attend the G-7. The administration announcing late last night the president was cutting his trip short, not attending a number of sessions on climate change and the environment.
Today the president is expected to hold bilateral meetings with his French and Canadian counterparts, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron. Sources indicate the president is going to be aggressive in defending his "America first" policies, some which the United States' closest allies have called insulting and offensive.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): President Trump cutting his time at the G-7 summit short amid a public war of words with the leaders of two of America's closest allies. One source telling CNN that, as late as Thursday afternoon, President Trump was questioning why to even attend the summit at all, asking aides what the point would be after President Macron sent this pointed message, quote, "The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be." The president's advisers told him that canceling the trip entirely
would look like he was backing away from a fight that he started. So one source says Mr. Trump told aides he'll enter the talks swinging.
A short time later, President Trump firing off a number of tweets, writing, quote, "Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging massive tariffs and create nonmonetary barriers" before noting, "Look forward to seeing them tomorrow."
KUDLOW: We're talking everything through. There may be disagreements. I regard this as much like a family quarrel. I'm always the optimist. I believe it can be worked out.
SANCHEZ: President Trump also calling Trudeau indignant after the Canadian prime minister vowed to confront Mr. Trump over tariffs.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): I think his actions are hurting his own citizens. It is American jobs which will be lost because of the actions of the United States and its administration.
SANCHEZ: The harsh rhetoric in stark contrast to the optimism President Trump is expressing ahead of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
TRUMP: I think I'm very well-prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done.
SANCHEZ: But President Trump also reiterating that he's willing to walk away from negotiations.
TRUMP: If they don't denuclearize, that will not be acceptable. We cannot take sanctions off.
Maximum pressure is absolutely in effect. We don't use the term anymore, because we're going into a friendly negotiation. If you hear me saying we're going to use maximum pressure, you'll know the negotiation did not do well, frankly.
SANCHEZ: The president suggesting that the summit could be extended and that he would not hesitate to invite Kim to the White House if the talks go well.
TRUMP: I think it would be well-received. I think he would look at it very favorably. So I think that could happen.
SANCHEZ: And President Trump heads directly to Singapore from Quebec tomorrow before his summit with Kim Jong-un. Notable that perhaps some of the brightest diplomatic fireworks may actually happen on friendly territory here in Canada during the G-7 -- John and Alisyn.
BERMAN: All right. Boris Sanchez for us in Quebec City. We'll be watching that arrival very, very carefully to see, you know, how warm --
CAMEROTA: And body language.
BERMAN: The body language.
[06:05:11] CAMEROTA: We are very into the body language here. Will there be another manshake that they enjoy?
BERMAN: Maybe they can separate their physical from their emotional relationship. I'm just saying. There are people who can.
All right. Joining us here to discuss, CNN political and national security analyst Sanger. He's also the national security correspondent for "The New York Times." And reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza.
CAMEROTA: And body language expert.
BERMAN: Body language expert.
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Noted. Noted.
BERMAN: The president going to Quebec, going to the G-7 for a much shorter time. Well, at least a little bit of a shorter time than previously anticipated. Obviously, deeply uncomfortable about what may happen in the next 24 hours.
SANGER: Well, you know, I've covered G-7 summits now for a few decades. I've never seen a leader leave early with no clear outside reason. I've been to some where a terrorist incident or something caused people to leave.
But in this particular case, it's clear that the president, first of all, didn't want to go. Secondly, doesn't want to get into this argument. And thirdly, is incredibly angry at two leaders with whom he thought he was building up a good relationship, Trudeau and Macron. And he's had pretty harsh conversations with the two of them. And they were sort of the last two who thought that they could actually go deal with him.
He's also leaving before any of the discussions on environment, any of these issues that are central to what the other six members of the G-7 have in mind. So imagine what's happened here, which is basically, the president is saying, "I'm going to come in to lecture you, and then I'm going to leave."
CAMEROTA: Chris Cillizza, the fight is already under way. We don't have to wait until we see -- until we read the body language. It's already happening and playing out on Twitter.
Here's what the president said yesterday at 7:44 p.m. about Justin Trudeau: "Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things. But he doesn't bring up the fact that they charged us up to 300 percent on dairy, hurting our farmers, killing our agriculture.
That was preceded -- before that Macron had tweeted this: "The American president may not mind being isolated but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be, because these six countries represent values. They represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force."
Well, this will be interesting.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes. I mean, Donald Trump is in, I think, pretty simple to understand if you don't overthink it. Which is he likes people who say and do things he likes, and he doesn't like people who say and do things he doesn't like. You know, I just don't think it's that much more complicated.
I think David hits on a good point, which is I think you're seeing a little of this sort of temper, "I'm going to take my ball and go home" played out even more with this, because he thought that Trudeau and Macron were two people who were going to do what he wanted, right?
He knows that Angela Merkel in Germany, for example, they've never had the warmest relationship. He does -- he has low expectations there. But for these two, they got along great. They had nice visits at the White House. Everything went perfectly fine. Remember, he -- he was at Bastille Day with Macron.
So I think it's -- it's a combination of them not doing what he wants and him expecting that they would do what he wants. I just don't think it's more than that. He's incredibly transactional, and those transactions are based on how people treat him personally.
BERMAN: The stunning discrepancy between what we saw with Macron and the president earlier, and we can put that up so you can see the pictures. You know, these men have a fond, close relationship. There was hugging. There was kissing. There was dandruff picking. Holding holding.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
BERMAN: Look, you can make light of it, but the bottom line is here that both President Trump and Emmanuel Macron went out of their way to show, literally show us how close they are. And now, David Sanger, Emmanuel Macron is talking about subtraction. International diplomatic subtraction. Make the G-7 basically the G-6 plus one. That is a major development in the U.S. relationship with its closest allies.
SANGER: John, it's even beyond that, because the G-7 always had the United States at the center of it as the world's largest economy. And then it was essentially the countries arrayed around it, all trying to come together first in common economic policy and then in common political efforts.
You will remember that, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was then expanded for a while to the G-8. And it was going to bring in Russia as a full partner. Well, obviously that fell apart.
And now you really have the sense of America first being America alone. When you see a statement like Macron's that says, "We're perfectly happy to have a statement come out from the G-6 who share common values," the implication being the United States does not share those values. And that gets a little bit beyond a family breach.
CAMEROTA: All right. Chris, let's talk about what President Trump does seem to be quite optimistic about, and that is the summit with Kim Jong-un. So he was asked how one prepares for a historic summit like this. And here's what the president had to say about his preparation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think I'm very well-prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done. But I think I've been preparing for the summit for a long time, as has the other time. I think they've been preparing for a long time also. So this isn't a question of preparation. It's a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we'll know that very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Chris Cillizza, this reminds me of when John and I were on the quiz show. John prepared by studying history --
CAMEROTA: -- presidential history, American history. I decided to go big on personality.
CAMEROTA: Attitude, yes. And I won the first one, with a little help from Jake Tapper, and then John cleaned up for the rest -- all the rest of them, basically. So which one wins?
CILLIZZA: John is always doing his book learning, Alisyn.
You know, Donald Trump has made a lifetime out of street smarts over book smarts. I would say, if you needed three words to describe him, "It's about attitude" is three pretty good ones. He has built a brand both sort of in the marketplace and now in the political marketplace on this idea that eggheads and nerds are the ones who need to study policy briefings. He goes by his gut, his instincts, and that's gotten him elected president. The 2016 campaign is his ultimate validator there.
I do think it is a different thing when we are talking about nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula and a -- you know, a historic meeting. No American president has ever sat down with a North Korean leader. But it's not surprising. I think it's odd but not surprising. This is who this man is. He has utter confidence in his ability to do anything and everything, even when the facts suggest he might not -- should have that confidence.
BERMAN: David Sanger, we have a short time left, but tell me where the line is right now on what may be the crucial thing here, which is certifiable, you know, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.
SANGER: It's a great question. Because when we're out in Singapore next week, John, this is really the only test.
And I think what's going to happen in the summit, is you have two leaders coming in who very much want the summit to be a success. So they will talk about peace. They'll talk about peace agreements. And they will leave the details of what irreversible denuclearization, verifiable denuclearization is all about to Mike Pompeo and other negotiators. And the risk here is that that's always where agreements with the North Koreans fall apart.
CAMEROTA: All right. David Sanger, Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for giving us.
BERMAN: I have two words, football scholarship. Just don't go all like -- you know --
CAMEROTA: That's what you got? You got going to that school you call Harvard.
BERMAN: All right. Football scholarship.
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, a veteran Senate staffer arrested in a leak investigation as Justice Department officials seize e-mail and phone records belonging to a "New York Times" reporter. What are all of the implications here? This is a big story. We have a lot more on it next.
[06:17:58] CAMEROTA: A longtime Senate Intel Committee staffer has been arrested for lying to FBI agents in this leak investigation. The indictment is against James Wolf, and it details his contacts with three reporters, including a "New York Times" reporter that he acknowledges having a personal relationship with. The Justice Department has seized years' worth of her e-mail and phone records during its investigation.
Let's talk about this. Chris Cillizza is still with us. And joining us now is CNN political analyst Brian Karem.
So Brian, what do you --
BRIAN KAREM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
CAMEROTA: What do you make of this story?
KAREM: Well, it's dangerous. It's a continuing policy from the Obama administration and from others. They have -- Obama administration jailed whistleblowers. And Trump has, while he likes to disagree with Obama on many things, on this he's definitely in agreement with. It's scary, because as you know, I spent time in jail --
CAMEROTA: I remember.
KAREM: -- for this type of stuff. It's not -- it's not pleasant, and it's very frightening and very chilling for the First Amendment.
So the president has continued his march towards, you know, his kingliness and demanding information from reporters. And in this case it's particularly onerous, because they went -- they went behind someone's back and seized things without even a subpoena.
Now, Alisyn, that's scary when it comes to what you're allowed to do and what you shouldn't be doing as a member of the government. And it is prior restraint, and it is also very chilling for anyone who wants to be a reporter in this country. It's frightening. I can't think of enough words to describe how doggone bad it is.
BERMAN: Let me read you a couple statements. First from the Justice Department, the attorney general stated that "Investigations and prosecutions of unauthorized disclosure of controlled information are a priority of the Department of Justice. The allegations in this indictment are doubly troubling, as the false statements concern the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and confidential information."
The flip side of that is the statement from the attorney of Ali Watkins. Ali Watkins is a reporter for "The New York Times" now. She was at BuzzFeed before, Chris, when these articles were published. The statement from the attorney is, "It's always disconcerting when a journalist's telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department through a grand jury subpoena or other legal processes. Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges."
[06:20:11] I'm surprised the president hasn't commented on this yet, because he is on a crusade against leaks of all kinds, Chris.
CILLIZZA: I would say just wait, John. I think -- my guess.
KAREM: I love you, Chris.
CILLIZZA: My guess is that we will hear from him in the very near future.
I think Brian makes an important point, which is the Obama administration prosecuted leakers very -- and whistle-blowers very aggressively.
CAMEROTA: So this is not a Donald Trump policy, but we do know from Donald Trump -- and John, you mentioned this -- he is -- he has put emphasis on the leaks of what he believes to be classified information. In the James Comey case, it's not clear the information was classified. But what he would call classified information.
Remember John Kelly was brought in, at least in some level as chief of staff. His main thing that he talked about coming in was "I'm going to limit leaks. These leaks are damaging. These leaks, in many cases, are illegal. This is the natural extension of that policy.
KAREM: One of the things, John, that you should point out, is the prosecutor, what he says, those are very common words used by prosecutors when they want to go after reporters. That's not -- you know, I wouldn't even look at that language and take it seriously, because the simple fact of the matter is the government believes that they can get information that they want from us whenever they want it. And of course, that's not true or should not be true.
And while you may have a leak or a whistle-blower in the government -- and by the way, there should -- there is such thing as a Whistle- blower's Act to protect those people -- the simple fact of the matter is going after reporters sends a chilling message. And this administration has already declared it's the enemy of the people and fake news, and they'd like to continue that.
BERMAN: I'm glad we have you here to lay this case out so clearly, Brian.
CAMEROTA: So obviously, we'll follow this as we get more information.
We want to move on to something that Rudy Giuliani, a bit of a stir that he caused yesterday, Chris, with his words in Israel, where he was saying, you know, really denigrating things about Stormy Daniels and why she wouldn't be credible because of her line of work.
He also, during that, said you know, basically, "Look at Donald Trump's three wives and how wonderful they are. Why would you ever believe someone who claims to have had an affair with him?" He said this about the first lady. This is what Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer said: "She believes in her husband. She knows it's not true. I don't even think there's a slight suspicion that it's true."
OK. Then the first lady's office put out this interesting response to that: "I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani."
Now, this is notable and interesting on many levels, Chris. Because why would she feel the need to issue a statement when all Rudy Giuliani said was she believes her husband? Why not just leave it at that?
CILLIZZA: Yes. I would point -- some people are saying, well, it's just a factual statement. She hasn't talked to Rudy Giuliani.
I would say the "she has never talked to him about anything" is the tell there. In terms of what that -- that was meant to be a shot across the bow. There's just no two ways about it.
Rudy Giuliani is freelancing all over the place. Whether it's about Melania Trump, whether it's about North -- his comments about North Korea and Kim Jong-un, his comments about Stormy Daniels. He is freelancing. That he continues to do so suggests to me, at least in the near term, the president of the United States supports what he is doing. He likes to throw lots of stuff at the wall.
KAREM: That's the bottom line.
CILLIZZA: And see what will happen.
BERMAN: In this case, though, I think the key here is that -- is that the first lady's office chose to put out a statement. They might as well have put the flame emoji on it. I mean, this was absolutely to say, "Rudy, you back off here. You are not talking for me."
CILLIZZA: "You don't know me."
KAREM: Yes. I think the bottom line, Chris makes the point, the bottom line factor, Rudy Giuliani is the court jester. And the president and him may have talked about what to say. And I guarantee you that Rudy Giuliani and the president have -- his freelancing is an appearance.
Now, they may not have talked to the first lady. But I guarantee you that Giuliani and the president are talking. Because as a court jester is useful, look over here, don't look over here. While Rudy Giuliani is ranting and raving at Betsy DeVos tearing down the Department of Education. You've got Scott Pruitt.
BERMAN: Let's talk -- let's talk about Scott Pruitt. Because I know Chris Cillizza, our senior lotion correspondent. I mean --
KAREM: He's like a character out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
BERMAN: A story which -- honestly, I came in early.
CAMEROTA: Can't get enough of.
BERMAN: I came in early for this story. "The Washington Post" reporting that Scott Pruitt, who is the EPA administrator, a member of the president's cabinet, asked his security council to go find a certain kind of lotion that he likes.
[06:25:12] CAMEROTA: Did you say lotion?
BERMAN: What I want to know is when does -- when does, you know, dry skin become a security risk? Is it dry skin, cracked skin, chafed skin? When does the security detail need to be involved.
CILLIZZA: The issue he has -- I mean, it is amazing to me he still has a job, not based on anything other than even the most --
KAREM: He's doing what the president wants him to do.
CILLIZZA: -- fundamental rules of Washington. He should be gone. Right. The reason is he continues to do -- he continues to execute on
Donald Trump's vision of what the EPA should do and should not do.
KAREM: That's why he's there.
CILLIZZA: But it is him trying to obtain a Chick-Fil-A franchise is not the biggest -- while in office -- is not the biggest story of the week.
KAREM: No. And while we're looking at that. Again, while we're looking at this blue smoke and mirrors, the G-7 is going on, Mueller's investigation is going on, he's sitting down with a despot from North Korea, we're laughing and looking at the side show. And that's OK with Donald Trump. That's what he wants us to do.
He does not want us to look at the facts and look at the issues. He'd rather have us talking about Chick-Fil-A and, you know, the lotion in the basket.
And I mean, but the reason why he remains there, Pruitt is there to destroy the EPA. He's doing it. There are people in the EPA I've known for years who are disgusted and scared as to what's happening.
It's the same with Rick Perry. It's the same with Mulvaney, destroying everything for consumer protection.
The Trump administration has an agenda, and it's to tear down protections. It's to destroy regulations. It's to tear down the federal government. And the people he's assigned to do it are doing it. And we're laughing and looking at the side show while, at the same time, they're continuing on their agenda. That hasn't changed. And there's a bit of madness, but there's also a bit of brilliance in how you do that.
BERMAN: Well, we're laughing, just to be clear, the lotion is one part of this ridiculous list, ridiculously long list.
CAMEROTA: I think we can actually do both.
KAREM: Yes. We can laugh and look.
CAMEROTA: Yes. We can laugh and look.
BERMAN: There are so many things listed on the screen.
CAMEROTA: I haven't seen demands like this since Mariah Carey's greenroom. It is very similar, in terms of the kind of water he wants, the kind of lotion he wants, the kind of lunch he wants, where he wants to eat, the kind of thread count, the kind of mattress. It is -- it truly -- I was thinking what is this reminding me of when I was looking at all the demands? And I thought, oh, yes, the leaked reports of Mariah Carey's greenroom.
CILLIZZA: You've rarely seen a politician who has -- remember, he's been -- they've been there for 16 months. That list is 16 -- it's is not four years' worth. That is 16 months. You've rarely seen --
KAREM: That's last week.
CILLIZZA: -- a politician or a cabinet member so overtly use the power of his office for sort of potential personal gain and then just violate the boundaries of what is professional.
CILLIZZA: To ask your staff, that the government pays your salary. And the lotion ask, which is clearly not professional.
BERMAN: Chris Cillizza --
KAREM: He is merely the most corrupt individual to ever be in government office. And I've been covering government for 30 some-odd years. I cannot see anything more loathsome than Pruitt.
BERMAN: Whether or not that is true, he has soft skin. Brian Karem, Chris Cillizza, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.
CAMEROTA: On this show, we do both. We look at the policy and the side show, the lotion side show.
BERMAN: The lotion side show. I think I went to that once in Vegas.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my God.
BERMAN: President Trump heading to hostile territory next hour, the G-7 summit in Canada. How will U.S. allies greet him in the midst of this widening trade war?