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I.G. Report On FBI's Handling On Clinton Probe To Come Out Tomorrow; Mueller: Russia Intel Agencies To Meddle In 2018 Election; Trump Declares North Korea Is "No Longer A Nuclear Threat"; Conservatives Praise Trump-Kim Summit After Slamming Obama. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 13, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But it's also about Comey. I mean, do you think that James Comey is going to be in trouble after tomorrow?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: You know, I expect it to be critical of him. I think none of us are perfect but he has been consistent in what he did.
And he has -- he has actually been willing to sit in a chair, answer questions, raise his right hand, and go under oath. And he's told an uncontroverted story of what he did with respect to the Russia investigation and the pressure the president put on him to try and make it go away. The president has been unwilling to do that.
CAMEROTA: Back to Russia for a second.
Robert Mueller is trying to send a warning. He has said that Russian intelligence agencies are trying to meddle in the midterms, meaning today.
"They are trying to meddle in the midterms," Mueller's office asserted in a Tuesday court filing. "The claim of active election-focused intelligence operations came as prosecutors moved to block more than a dozen Russians who are criminally charged in the prior effort from gaining access to evidence gathered as the case was assembled."
So what are we to make of this that has happened today? Is Congress paying attention that it's happening in the here and now?
SWALWELL: They never left. They never left after 2016. They didn't see the unity here.
They didn't see a president who was willing to confront their leader and say we know that you did this. We're going to do all we can to stop it or you're going to pay.
And so they feel emboldened and they're going to go at us again. And I fear, though, that others may not come onto the playing field and say hey, if Russia can do this why can't we?
And now --
CAMEROTA: And are we helpless? Can we do anything?
SWALWELL: No, we're not helpless.
And actually, Democrats asked Republicans last year, and we reiterated it just recently. We said why don't we just sign a no-use truce that if materials are stolen or hacked we won't use it against you, you won't use it against us, and that way we can at least show that we have unity.
And they won't take us up on that deal. I don't know why but it certainly doesn't protect us.
Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you --
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
CAMEROTA: -- for telling us about all of that and for being here in the studio. Great to have you.
CAMEROTA: OK -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump coming under fire for concessions branded to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. So will they be worth it?
Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell weighs in, next.
[07:35:57] HILL: President Trump declaring this morning North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. This, of course, after his meeting with Kim Jong Un. Is that possible, though, after a 4-hour meeting?
Joining us now, former Senate majority leader and special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. Sir, good to have you back with us today.
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE MIDDLE EAST: Thanks.
HILL: So we saw that from the president this morning -- there's no longer a nuclear threat that we need to be concerned about. He went on to say in another tweet that we can all sleep well tonight.
Do you agree?
MITCHELL: No, I don't. I think his statement, most charitably, can be called premature. There's a long way to go.
We must all hope and pray that he is right that it does turn out to be no longer a nuclear threat. But I think it's unwise and premature to make that kind of declaration at this stage in the process. HILL: Celebrating too early, you think?
MITCHELL: Oh, way too early.
HILL: We spoke a short time ago with former director of national intelligence James Clapper, who said look, we are in a better place today and part of the reason that we are is that the rhetoric has changed a bit.
I want you to take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER (RET.), CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: In my observation, certainly when I was there, was the North Koreans were clearly stuck on their narrative and we were kind of stuck on ours.
And emblematic of that were the talking points that I was assigned to recite to the North Koreans, first one of which was you must denuclearize before we'll talk to you. Well, that was a non-starter.
So, President Trump, to his credit, has changed that narrative I think. And in a dilemma like this, only the bigger partner -- meaning the U.S. -- could do that, so that's a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Does this put us on a better path and was the U.S., to Director Clapper's point, handicapping itself by insisting on sticking to that language which he says he was handed.
MITCHELL: Yes. Well, my feeling is that the most significant aspect of the statement that was made following the meeting was the omission of the words verifiable and irreversible.
MITCHELL: Secretary of State Pompeo repeatedly, including just before the meeting, said that's the American standard.
The fact that North Korea says it favors denuclearization without further definition of that word is not new -- it's 20 years old. In fact, Kim Jong Un's statement at the summit simply referred back to his prior statement. He said he -- his statement in April.
So it is positive that the meeting -- I agree with that, although I would have preferred the traditional diplomatic process of having earlier negotiations and then the leaders come in when there is some prospect for success. But this is the course the president has chosen and we must all hope and pray he succeeds.
But the optimism that he describes in these statements is completely unwarranted. And I think, to the contrary, we should be careful and insist in these negotiations that this gap between the definition of the two sides on what is denuclearization, and an equally large gap on the timing and pace of that denuclearization has to be closed.
HILL: Not surprising. We know that this is being sold slightly differently in North Korea, as we've heard from our reporters there in getting a sense of how media there is portraying about the concessions that the U.S. has given up.
That being said, moving forward, how do you bring verifiable back into the conversation? If this negotiation has gone about in a different way and what we're all used to, how do you bring it back?
MITCHELL: Well, that's up to Secretary of State Pompeo and those who are grappling with the details as opposed to the handshake and the general statements, and I think they have to be firm on that.
The president has set a very high bar for himself by denouncing the Iran nuclear agreement.
MITCHELL: That established the most rigorous inspection regime in history. There is no precedent for it. And to duplicate that in North Korea will be extremely difficult but, in my judgment, essential.
HILL: We're told by Jim Acosta, who was on Air Force One on the way back this morning with the president, that the president did, in fact, speak to Prime Minister Abe, that he spoke with President Moon as well.
[07:40:03] In terms of the assurances that Mike Pompeo needs to bring to the table today in South Korea beyond yes, we can get something perhaps verifiable, what else do those leaders need to hear today?
MITCHELL: Well, of course, their primary concern is that the United States will enter into an agreement with North Korea that will deal with long-range missiles and nuclear weapons to protect the United States and sacrifice their security. They're concerned about short- range missiles and other activities and the bolstering of the regime in North Korea.
They are our principal allies in the region. We can't abandon them in this effort. They have to be included from the outset and their concerns have to be taken into account.
And obviously, it would also be good for us if North Korea is prepared to take actions that would meet the security needs of South Korea and Japan.
HILL: You know, what we're not talking a lot about it here because it was not brought up in the meeting even though we heard that it may be at one point -- human rights issues, which cannot be ignored.
We heard President Trump say that Kim Jong Un loves his people. There are a lot of questions about that given what we know about the regime there in North Korea.
How much should that be a part of the conversation going forward?
MITCHELL: Well, I think it has to be an important part of the conversation, particularly since the president has repeatedly said we will guarantee his security.
We have security guarantees with others around the world, including South Korea and Japan and it has historically meant that if they are the victims of aggression we will come to their aid. But are we going to protect Kim Jong Un in the event that, unexpectedly and not likely, that his people rise up against him?
Keep in mind this is a totalitarian regime. There are over 100,000 political prisoners. He has ordered several assassinations of members of his own family.
So that has to be a factor. It can't be just swept under the rug.
Now, I don't think that it should prevent us from entering into an agreement. We deal with adversaries all the time. But when you get to the subject of security guarantees I think they have to be more precisely defined and more limited than they have historically been with respect to our traditional allies.
HILL: Sir, always appreciate you taking the time to join us. Thank you.
MITCHELL: Thanks for having.
HILL: Alisyn --
CAMEROTA: OK, Erica.
An FBI agent whose dance moves turned dangerous when his gun went off is now under arrest. The charges that he faces, next.
[07:46:18] CAMEROTA: Now, an update on Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has given CNN and another news -- other news organization access to this database of info on all deaths connected to Hurricane Maria. The database contains information on thousands of people who died after the storm hit in September.
Puerto Rico's official death toll from Maria stands at 64, but a Harvard study estimated more than 4,000 deaths are related to the storm.
HILL: Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is suing the Justice Department and the FBI for documents linked to his firing. In that lawsuit, McCabe's lawyer says his client's dismissal violated federal law and departed from rules and policies.
McCabe has been the subject of political attacks by President Trump and GOP supporters since the 2016 campaign. He was fired from the FBI in March, hours before his planned retirement. CAMEROTA: Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill admitting to using a private jet on her recent 3-day R.V. tour across Missouri. I'm not sure that is what the message of the R.V. tour is.
McCaskill claims the jet simply picked her up at the end of a full day in the R.V. to take her to the next location. She says the jet was also required when a new stop was added.
The Missouri senator faces a tough reelection bid and has been criticized in the past for failing to pay property tax on a private plane that she and her husband partially owned.
HILL: An FBI agent seen in this viral video dancing at a Denver nightclub now awaiting assault charges after his gun accidentally went off. He's being held at a Denver Detention Center.
Twenty-nine-year-old Chase Bishop's gun fell out of his waistband when he did that backflip. You see him then searching for it there. When he went to pick up the gun it went off, hitting one person in the leg.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. That could have been so much worse.
CAMEROTA: OK. Meanwhile, President Trump is getting plenty of praise in conservative media from meeting with Kim Jong Un, but what did these same commentators say when President Obama suggested doing it?
We dig up the old video out of a tape library to reveal the 180-degree turn on both sides.
[07:52:29] CAMEROTA: OK.
So, conservative media outlets -- many of them -- are praising President Trump's meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But that position was remarkably different than the one those same commentators took when President Obama dared to even suggest doing it -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE DOOCY, HOST, FOX NEWS "FOX & FRIENDS": Would you, as president, meet with the leaders of a country like North Korea? Obama, extraordinarily, said I'd meet with them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Obama makes his intentions crystal clear on the campaign trail.
BARACK OBAMA (D), THEN-SENATOR OF ILLINOIS: I will meet not just with our friends but with our enemies.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: President Obama likes talking to dictators. SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA, GOP VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He would meet with some of these madmen without any preconditions.
DOOCY: You know, I'm going to reach out to these crazy people around the world and try to get things done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS "THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW": I think that's a mistake.
DANA LOESCH, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Obama is bowing and scraping before dictators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. To be clear, there's hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle and we will get to that.
So, joining us now to talk about all of this, we have CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst Bill Carter. Great to have both of you.
OK, so that was then when Obama suggested that he might even possibly ever meet with North Korea with no preconditions.
So let's listen to how some of these same commentators now feel today --
BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Right.
CAMEROTA: -- after Donald Trump did it.
CAMEROTA: Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, LEGAL ANALYST, FOX NEWS: Donald Trump looked more presidential this morning than I have ever seen him look. This may very well be transformative for him as a person and for the office that he occupies.
HANNITY: By all accounts, this summit went very well, exceeding expectations.
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS "THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW": This is a great time to be an American. Like who else could have gotten us to this point?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
INGRAHAM: This is an amazing first step that he will never, ever, ever get an ounce of credit for. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Brian, I'm just curious. I mean, do they think that videotape doesn't exist?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": I feel like the most valuable thing in America today is consistency, yet it's so hard to find. It's so hard to find. All I think people are looking for is a little consistency, but you don't see that --
STELTER: -- in right-wing media.
CARTER: And also, it's always dangerous to make sweeping statements.
CARTER: You know, if you make a really sweeping statement about oh, this is an awful thing -- and then your team comes along and you have to go all the way back to then, it always is going to be embarrassing. And you look -- although maybe not embarrassing if you just think this is what I'm supposed to say and I'm going to say it.
CAMEROTA: Well, isn't that what it is?
CAMEROTA: Isn't it sort of Stockholm syndrome or just being such a part of your own echo chamber that you don't know that you're being hypocritical --
CARTER: Well, that's right.
CAMEROTA: -- or you just feel -- you're so on the winning team that --
[07:55:00] CARTER: That's it.
CAMEROTA: -- suddenly it feels so good to be on the winning team. But --
CARTER: Yes, but they say in sports you actually root for the laundry. Whatever jersey is on, that's who you root for. You know, it's not really what the content is, you're rooting for the jersey.
CARTER: And that's sort of what it's like. The content here is less important than it's our guy is doing it.
CAMEROTA: OK. It's not just Fox that has done this shapeshifting and completely changed their position. MSNBC commentators also have had examples of this.
So here is Rachel Maddow applauding President Trump for meeting with Raul Castro and then how she feels today about President Trump meeting with a dictator, so watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, MSNBC "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": In American history, we know that President Barack Obama will be forever the American leader who got done what every other Democrat since Jack Kennedy tried and failed to do.
No matter what they do with nuclear weapons they have forced or manipulated the rest of the world to see this dictatorship as essentially, legitimate and to see Kim Jong Un as a legitimate head of state, and that is serious as a heart attack.
As weird as this is and as almost as incredibly it is as a spectacle, this is a very, very serious line that the president has just crossed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What about that? So, Donald Trump legitimized a dictator, but not President Obama.
STELTER: And I think it's important to recognize this happens on the left as well because the right gets a lot of flack for these flip- flops and it is not exclusive to the left.
CARTER: No, it isn't. Again, if you're going to stake out positions like this you really -- I think you do have to be consistent.
I mean, it's OK -- I think it's OK to provide context. I mean, it's important to provide context because what's going on here is -- there's reason for skepticism about what's happening with Trump and North Korea. And you should provide a little context and say well, when it happened with Obama it worked out because of this.
I mean, I think it's fair --
CAMEROTA: Sure and there was reason, I think, for those false commentators to be skeptical when President Obama suggested it.
CARTER: Of course.
CAMEROTA: It was eyebrow-raising and --
CARTER: Skeptical is OK.
CAMEROTA: Skeptical, in fact, is what we're supposed to be --
CARTER: Exactly, yes.
CAMEROTA: -- as journalists, of both sides.
CARTER: Yes. STELTER: But I thought it was telling that even before the summit started, commentators on Fox were saying that Trump wasn't going to get any credit, and they were saying the media was out to get him.
STELTER: And the media was un-American, wanting this to fail.
STELTER: The bar was being set even before the summit started. And now, after the fact, what we see is this alternative universe that both President Trump and his supporters play into.
When the president, this morning, is saying the nuclear threat is resolved --
CARTER: Is almost, yes.
STELTER: -- it's over --
CARTER: Yes, yes.
STELTER: -- he's doing the same thing the Fox commentators do by trying to create this alternative narrative --
STELTER: -- where he's already the hero and he's already achieved victory.
CAMEROTA: I mean, speaking of bar, I was about to suggest the limbo bar for how limber some people have to be and the contortionism that they're --
CAMEROTA: -- shifting into.
Here is Mercedes Schlapp, who is part of the communications office. This is what she said in 2016 about President Trump going to meet with -- sorry, President Obama going to meet with Raul Castro.
"Obama shakes hands with dictator Raul Castro. Next, shakes hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un" -- she suggested, hypothetically --
CAMEROTA: -- and outrageously.
CARTER: What a horror.
CAMEROTA: And then yesterday, "Feeling great," she said. "Obama failed in his diplomacy when dealing with Cuba. Gave it all to Raul and expected nothing in return.
CARTER: Oh, gosh.
CAMEROTA: President Trump is the real dealmaker and is successfully moving North Korea in the right direction with maximum pressure campaign and working towards denuclearization."
CARTER: Well, this really is -- that sounds like a propaganda arm, absolutely. When you -- when you basically say our guy can do anything -- the other guys, everything they do is wrong. But our guy can do exactly the opposite of what I criticize for and I'll -- and I'll praise him for it.
CAMEROTA: All right. Bill Carter, Brian, thank you very much for explaining all of this to us today. It never ends.
CARTER: Good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: All right, we're following a lot of news. Let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JIM RISCH (R), IDAHO: He is absolutely committed to get airtight verification on this.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: This is the most anemic communique with very little substance on anything.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I support stopping the exercises but the money we spend training with our allies is money well spent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that we step back from the brink of nuclear war is a positive step.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's got a great personality. He's a funny guy. He's a very smart guy. He loves his people.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He obviously doesn't truly believe this guy's got talent. The president's trying to butter the guy up.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: Kim Jong Un is a butcher. You can do it but you have to do it very, very carefully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, June 13th, 8:00 now in the east.
John is still on his way back from Asia.
HILL: It's not a quick trip. CAMEROTA: It is not a quick trip. So he is headed back to us, but Erica Hill joins me in his stead and it's great to have you this morning.
HILL: Nice to be here.
CAMEROTA: So as we do all of this follow-up for what happened at this historic summit, President Trump is back in Washington after making history with that North Korean summit.
The president, this morning, declares that North Korea is quote, "no longer a nuclear threat" after his 4-hour meeting with Kim Jong Un.