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Trump Takes on Harley-Davidson; CNN Correspondent Heckled; Marine Finds Peace Through Yoga; Newcomer Ousts 10-Term Congressman. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired June 27, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CLYDE FESSLER, FORMER HARLEY-DAVIDSON VP OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Is evolving from a national company, an international company, to a global company. And -- and just like Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, they all have plants all over the world. So Harley- Davidson is probably pursuing that type of a strategy.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Do you -- you came in -- you were brought in to help turn this company around in the '80s. Do you believe that in 2018 this is the right move?

FESSLER: In 2018, I think that then Harley-Davidson -- and I've been retired for 15 years --

HILL: Right.

FESSLER: I think it's a good move for them. And -- but there's one thing that people don't realize, and that's the heart and soul of a Harley-Davidson is its engine. And that's the -- you know, it's a potato, potato, potato. As long as those engines are made in Milwaukee with those skilled workers and with the technology they have in Milwaukee and ship those engines throughout the world, it's still the spirit and the soul of Harley-Davidson that's going to be going on those motorcycles.

HILL: In terms of those workers, the International Association of Machinists and Arrow Space Workers saying this is a slap in the face to the loyal, highly skilled workforce that made Harley an iconic American brand.

You also helped to lead the establishment of HOG, the Harley Owners Group, more than a million members at this point. Could this thwart the company here at home?

FESSLER: I don't believe so. I think that the soul of Harley-Davidson is still -- it's an American brand. It's an American icon. And I think that's what we're selling. We're not selling a motorcycle. We're selling -- I say we -- I've been retired for 15 years -- so they are selling a lifestyle. And that lifestyle exists throughout the whole world.

HILL: Can it be the same lifestyle if part of its made overseas?

FESSLER: I'm sorry, I didn't hear that.

HILL: Can it still be that same lifestyle that they're putting out there if part of those bikes are made overseas?

FESSLER: Oh, I -- yes, I think, when it comes to fenders and gas tanks and it comes to wheels and brakes and things like that, it's a world sourcing situation right now. And I think the -- Harley-Davidson will always be an American icon because of its location and the heartbeat of it being in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

HILL: Harley was pretty clear about the reasoning for this, the financial reasoning behind it. As we look, though, at the president's response to this, look, based on your experience in business over decades, is there a broader implication, not just for other companies to follow suit, but perhaps for other countries to worry about the threats that we're seeing from the president, to tax Harley like never before? How much of an impact could that have?

FESSLER: I don't think it's going to have much of an impact at all because I think what we're talking about now is a lot of storm that's floating around that's going to settle down sooner or later. I think this is the passage of time. The president, Donald Trump, is a businessman. He's not a Republican. He's not a Democrat. You know, and he's a realist that's trying to really approach business problems that are out in the field. And the problems are in the office --

HILL: So do you think that threat is just his way of making a deal?

FESSLER: I think -- I think President Trump is a master negotiator because he's coming from a business standpoint instead of a political standpoint.

HILL: And so this is part of his negotiation you think, with Harley or with the broader business community?

FESSLER: I think he's positioning himself with the broader community throughout the whole world and it's time that somebody stands up and really looks that this tariff situation that we've been having for the last 30 years and let's equalize things and eliminate all the tariffs. I think Harley would be in favor of that and I think the president would be this favor of that. As the European Union is now suggesting, let's eliminate all the tariffs on all automobiles, motorcycles and all products.

HILL: Clyde Fessler, appreciate your time. Thanks for taking the time this morning.

FESSLER: You're welcome. Good talking to you. Bye-bye.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So a day in the life of Jim Acosta, our senior White House correspondent, heckled at a Donald Trump -- a presidential event, but at the same time remarkable moments of civility and humanity. Jim will tell his story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:38:15] HILL: President Trump is hitting the road again today for a campaign rally in North Dakota. Earlier this week he held a rally in South Carolina, where CNN's Jim Acosta got quite a welcome from the crowd.




HILL: That's a -- that's a chanting "go home, Jim," in case you couldn't make that out.

Joining us now, chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

We actually never let you go home, we just make you keep working. So thanks for not going home and being here early.


HILL: You -- you wrote a great piece about this, I'll have to say, and I encourage people to read it on, about the reception you got and, you know, I know you're used to this in some ways, but it was such an interesting mixed bag.

ACOSTA: You know, that's right, Erica. And, you know, there was a -- there was that lady there that famously told me to get the f out of that auditorium. A nice elderly woman who was not happy that I was there. I simply told her, and I told a lot of the folks there at that rally that, listen, we're reporters. We're going to do our jobs. We're not going to be shouted out of an auditorium by an angry mob. And that's because we have these rights protect under the Constitution of freedom of the press.

But at the same time, we had people come up to us and say, listen, I want to apologize on behalf of the people of South Carolina. I even had a gentleman come up to us and asked for a chair. I gave him my chair. He came back with his mother and said, this chair was for my mother. She wasn't feeling well at this rally. Thanks a lot. Your mother must have raised you right. And I said, well, she tried.

But, you know, listen, you know, one of the things that -- one of my big takeaways from this rally, guys, is that, you know, it is sort of a mixed bag. You go to these rallies. You see a lot of hostility. But there -- I think there are a lot of people there who are even shocked by the environment, the climate that they're put in day in and day out when the president comes to these rallies.

[08:40:02] BERMAN: You know, it's not easy being Jim Acosta. It never has been easy being Jim Acosta.

ACOSTA: That's true.

BERMAN: But I do think it was interesting. And you had extra time to talk to people because the president's plane was late because there was a bad storm and he was circling. And I think that that dialogue that you had from people was really revealing. I really do.

ACOSTA: It was. It was. You know, one of the things I asked folks there is, let me ask you a question, folks, are you that mad at us because of the coverage you watch on CNN, or are you watching our coverage through other filters, through other prisons? Are you getting your information about CNN on Fox News or other conservative outlets that I affectionately refer to as the MAGA-phone? My suspicion is, is that many of those folks are watching CNN's coverage through rival outlets, through conservative outlets, that just would rather see the destruction of CNN, to be quite honest. And I saw a lost people nodding and saying, you know what, you have a point there.

But, at the same time, I do think there are some people who have to sit back and ask themselves some hard questions and do some self- reflection. I had a lady come up to me and say, be decent to Sarah Sanders, be decent to President Trump. You know, we might have a civil war in this country, we might have people shooting at each other. Those ideas are in conflict with one another. You know, civility starts at the top. The tone is set at the top by the president of the United States. And when he goes around saying that Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals, when he equivocates over neo-Nazis down in Charlottesville, when he whips up a crowd into a frenzy calling us fake news and the enemy of the people, which he said again the other night, obviously that's going to have an effect on the people in the crowd.

You know, one of the things I get asked a lot is, you know, well, how come you don't realize why people are so upset with your coverage? And I say, well, yes, if you had the president of the United States, Fox News and the rest of the MAGA-phone coming after you on a daily basis, that might have an effect on people's perceptions of what we do.

AVLON: But, Jim, you know, God knows I love me some South Carolina hometown, but the state knows what it's talking about when it evokes civil war.


AVLON: That woman comes up to you, says, we might have a civil war and then says it's incumbent upon you to be decent, how do you square that circle? And you indicated some folks in the audience seemed to get that it's a bit of a professional wrestling type act, this war on the media. But potentially serious consequences.

ACOSTA: That's right. You know, the gentleman who I gave the chair too for his mother, he looked back as the president was calling us fake news and the enemy of the people to sort of indicate, yes, I get this is an act.

My view is that the president, when he goes after the press, that it's an act. He used this as a device, as a wedge in his culture war to try to maintain dominance over the political scene here in the United States.

But the thing I asked these folks in the crowd, and, my goodness, one of the things I do want to say is, we have to over and over and over again talk to these folks, hear what they have to say, hear their concerns. But, at the same time, you know, the thing I said to them is, listen, you got kids coming across the border being put in cages, being ripped away from their parents and being put in cages. Don't you expect me to ask questions about that?

You know, another lady objected to me asking about Otto Warmbier at the signing ceremony with Kim Jong-un in North Korea. Well, I'm sorry, that was an American citizen who was killed by the North Koreans. You know what, I don't -- I don't regret that at all. Shouting questions at dictators is what I like to do.

And so, you know, I -- my message to folks there was basically, we're not going to back down. We have a job to do. And I thought, you know, the thing that I took away from this, John and John and Erica, is that, you know, there was a lot of nodding there. I think when people had a chance to see us one-on-one, human-to-human, American-to- American, they understood that, you know, we have an important job to do that's protected under our Constitution and it's the American way to ask hard questions. And, you know, my attitude is, we're going to keep doing it.

One other funny thing that I thought was amusing is one gentleman said to me, it was interesting to see you do the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the national anthem as the rally was getting going. I was like, well, yes, my goodness, I'm an American citizen. I went to elementary school. I know the pledge of allegiance. But people are sort of trapped in this -- in this world where they've been, you know, inundated with hate messages aimed at the press. And to some extent I felt as if I was trying to, you know, break them out of that. And to some extent it was working, maybe not for everybody, but we'll try it again next time.

BERMAN: Yes, one of the few professions actually protected specifically within the Constitution.

ACOSTA: Right. Right.

BERMAN: You know, nothing more American than being a good reporter.

Jim Acosta, great to have you.

ACOSTA: Right, John.

BERMAN: Maybe the only reporter who's ever shouted a question to Kim Jong-un. Read Jim's piece on

HILL: Yes. It's a great piece.

BERMAN: It's a really, really interesting story.

Jim, great to have you here this morning.

ACOSTA: Appreciate it. Thank you.

BERMAN: The president of the United States, who you will remember, I'm old enough to remember, just a few days ago said there was no point in Republicans trying to push for an immigration bill.

HILL: No, a waste of time was the -- was, I believe, the phrase.

BERMAN: Moments ago, I guess changing course, now saying the Republicans should pass something and today. Stick around. We'll tell you all about it.


JUSTIN BLAZEJEWSKI, VETOGA FOUNDER: I stumbled upon yoga to save my life basically and I knew that I found something special. I knew I had been given a gift and it's taken me on a totally different path than I originally planned.

[08:45:06] I served in the Marine Corps for five years. After 9/11 I joined up as a contactor with a lot of different government agencies were I was traveling extensively to Iraq, Afghanistan and some other countries.

I was a long distance runner. I ran marathons to get rid of my stress.

Getting attacked in the middle of the night one time, a mortar came through the roof, I tripped and hurt my ankle. When I couldn't run and couldn't deal with my stress, it was piling up and it was taking me to a dark place and suicidal thoughts were creeping in.

And that's when I found yoga. I felt just relaxation for the first time in over a decade. And I knew that there was hope out there for me.

I dove into my daily practice and then I took my teacher training.

So I created Vetoga, which is veterans yoga. We're a non-profit that brings yoga, meditation and healing arts to military veterans and their family members.

My life has changed for the better and the more people I help, the better I feel about myself. Seeing these people, hearing their stories of how yoga saved their life just keeps my flame lit and it keeps me doing what I'm doing.




[08:49:58] BERMAN: We have some small, breaking news.

The president weighing in on the immigration debate in the House of Representatives. This is what he wrote. He said, House Republicans should pass the strong but fair immigration bill known as Goodlatte 2 in their afternoon vote today, even though the Dems won't let it pass the Senate. Passage will show that we want strong borders and security while the Dems want open borders equals crime. Win!. Now, I want to take a ride in the way back machine because it was way back last Friday when the president effectively sort of killed the immigration discussion in Congress. This is what he wrote. Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressman. And he goes on and on and on.

So, Friday, don't waste your time.

HILL: Wednesday.

BERMAN: Today -- is it -- I don't even -- waste your time.

HILL: I think it's Wednesday, right?


AVLON: Yes. It is in fact Wednesday.

HILL: Focus all -- focus all your time on it. Yes.

AVLON: But, you know, when he puts out that tweet on Friday, they pulled the bill. I mean, you know, presidential leadership matters, particularly when you're herding cats in Congress. And there's a lot of different opinions. And if the president commits to this, he's got enough sway over his caucus that it may not pass the Senate, but you can get something done.

He's been sitting MIA. That's been frustrating folks in Congress. So this tweet is some degree of progress, even if it's a total contradiction. And even if he can't resist saying, you know, repeating a lie about Democrats supporting open borders at the end. Backing this, the day it's scheduled for a bill, and it appears to be the Goodlatte bill that puts forward e-verify, which is an employer verification system, that may help get some action on The Hill. That is a positive step.

HILL: It's some cover, but, I mean, the question is, is it enough, especially if, you know, we know how things happen with this president, that things turn on a dime.

AVLON: It's still early.

BERMAN: If he had juice, you know, he could have used it last week.


BERMAN: I think the juice on this subject may be gone given where this immigration bill and the discussion has been for the last few weeks.

HILL: And we're also missing 2,047 children.

BERMAN: Right. Right.

HILL: Well, I shouldn't' say that, the children are not missing, they have not been reunited with their parents. It's still not clear, though, where -- where they all are. AVLON: Yes.

HILL: Not part of the bill, but anyway, kind of important.

AVLON: We apparently track property as a government better than children.

HILL: We do.

BERMAN: All right, overnight, in case you miss it, something we really have never seen before. The late night hosts colluded. There is actual collusion. We are finding the collusion this morning.

HILL: Real collusion.

AVLON: Found it.

BERMAN: But it's in late night comedy. They sort of joined together in response after the president, at a political rally, instead of talking about immigrants who were separated, you know, from their parents, he talked about problems in late night comedy. So there was Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and a cameo from someone else overnight. Watch.


STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Got it. It's surprising Trump is orange because if you ask me he is bananas. I'm done. Great monologue.


COLBERT: Hey, lost soul. What are you up to?

FALLON: I'm doing anything.

COLBERT: Be a man.

FALLON: I'll try. What are you up to?

COLBERT: Oh, I'm busy having no talent.

FALLON: Did you see Trump's rally last night?


FALLON: Me either. I heard he said some pretty bad stuff about us.

COLBERT: Really? That doesn't sound like him.

FALLON: I heard he said we're all low talent, low lives, lost souls.

COLBERT: Well, that's not right. That's Conan.

Hold on. I'll get him.

CONAN O'BRIEN, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, hey, guys, what's up? FALLON: We were just talking about what President Trump said.

O'BRIEN: President who?


O'BRIEN: Donald Trump? The real estate guy who sells steaks? He's president?


O'BRIEN: Wow. How's he doing?

COLBERT: Not so good.

O'BRIEN: Oh. Well, guys, give him time, OK? And, remember, please, be civil. If we're not careful, this thing could start to get ugly.

Hey, I'm about to start shaving my chest. You guys want to watch?

COLBERT: No thanks.

FALLON: Hey, are we still on for lunch?

COLBERT: Yes. Where do you want to eat?

FALLON: Red Hen.



BERMAN: The Red Hen obviously the restaurant that Sarah Sanders was asked to leave. You know, they knew what they were doing right there.

AVLON: Oh, yes.

HILL: It's not their first rodeo.


HILL: No. It was nice to see Conan back.

BERMAN: You know, like, that was the funniest part.

AVLON: That was.

BERMAN: For sure.

AVLON: Yes. No, well, and also that rally took place in South Carolina, Stephen Colbert's home town -- home state. He took it personally. But Donald Trump bringing people together. Bringing the two late night rivals together with Conan, bridging divides left and right.

BERMAN: Well, but, look, I mean there's something to be said for the fact the president is engaged in a battle with late night talk show hosts, as if that matters, really? As if that is something that a president of the United States should be spending time doing, he's doing it and he does it a lot.

AVLON: Yes. Well, I think it's both -- it's a hobby for him. He would rather have a slap fight with celebrities than deal with the substance of policy. The problem is, as you pointed out, as Admiral Ackbar Ward (ph) knows, it's a trap.

BERMAN: It's a trap.


BERMAN: IT's a trap.

[08:54:51] All right, that does it for us. CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow picks up after a quick break.


[08:59:06] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone.

This morning, a stunning upset raising serious questions about the future of the Democratic Party and who has the momentum heading into the midterms. One of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, New York Congressman Joe Crowley, losing his primary last night by double digits to a 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialists who worked for Bernie Sanders. Last night even she was surprised by her lead.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't let you -- she's looking at herself on television right now.

How are you feeling? Can you put it into words?



HARLOW: But this is not about a single House race. It's about the struggle for the future of the Democratic Party. The heir apparent to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi losing to a relatively unknown opponent with 1/10 of the funding that Crowley had. And for Republicans, the winning streak for Trump-backed candidates continues, including an easy win for Mitt Romney in Utah.

Our Harry Enten is with me now.

And, Harry, you, a, have been up all night, so thanks for being with us.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Oh, it's primaries that get me going.

HARLOW: It's primary night. You get so excited.