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Plans for Trump-Putin Summit; North Korea Upgrading Nuclear Facility; Strzok Testified before House; Wray and Rosenstein Testify Before House; Germany out of World Cup; Justice Kennedy's Impact. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET
Aired June 28, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: NATO summit in Brussels.
Our Frederik Pleitgen live in Moscow with the very latest.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John.
And we literally just got some information a couple of minutes ago. The spokesman for Vladimir Putin, for the Kremlin, saying that he expects that this meeting will be announced at around 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. So just a couple of hours from now.
And, of course, we expect that the summit will probably take place in Helsinki, Finland, but Vienna in Austria is still on the table as well, apparently.
As far as the topics are concerned, it was interesting, because National Security Adviser John Bolton was obviously here in Russia yesterday and he said he believes election meddling in the 2016 election will also be one of the topics.
Now, President Trump spoke about this yesterday, and he was not that specific. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we'll be talking about Ukraine. I think we'll be talking about many other subjects. And we'll see what happens. So, you never know.
QUESTION: Election meddling?
TRUMP: You never know about meetings, what happens, right? But I think a lot of good things can come with meetings with people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: You never know about meetings, he said.
He also said that he believes it's very important for him to speak to the leaders of countries like China and like Russia. He says it's better for America and it's better for the world.
Of course, we know that European leaders don't necessarily see it that way. They see President Trump fracturing old alliances with old allies and moving towards countries like North Korea, Russia and China as well.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Fred, appreciate it.
We'll be continuing to follow those developments coming, again, more in the next couple hours.
Meantime, these satellite images raising new questions about North Korea's pledge to denuclearize. The photos reveal the reclusive regime appears to be upgrading the infrastructure at a major nuclear facility.
CNN's Will Ripley is live in Beijing this morning with more on that.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean put this into context. The sanctions are really taking a toll on North Korean construction. We've seen photos from Pyongyang of residential apartment buildings where construction has been stopped for months. And yet now, new satellite images released by 38 North (ph) are showing North Korea investing its scarce resources in rapid upgrades at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, the only known reactor in North Korea that fuels that nation's nuclear program. This happening despite Kim Jong-un's pledge at the Singapore summit with President Trump to move towards complete denuclearization.
Nonetheless, we're seeing upgrades to the cooling system of the plutonium production reactor. Two new buildings put up on the site. Could they be for inspectors? Could they be for VIPs? We simply don't know because the United States has yet to sit down with the North Koreans to negotiate a verifiable nuclear deal to move them towards denuclearization.
The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is saying now there is no timeline for when North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons. He is also contradicting statements made after the summit by President Trump. Remember, President Trump said that the North Korean nuclear threat was over after his meeting with Kim Jong-un. Secretary Pompeo now saying that the nuclear threat remains but it has been reduced.
There's no comment from the South Korean Unification Ministry or U.S. defense officials about these satellite images. We know that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis just arrived in Tokyo. He'll be talking denuclearization with his Japanese counterparts in the coming hours.
BERMAN: All right, interesting pictures. What do they mean?
Will Ripley in Beijing, thank you very, very much.
Peter Strzok, the FBI agent at the center of the Clinton e-mail investigation, then part of the Russia investigation, grilled behind closed doors for 11 hours about his anti-Trump texts. What new information did he reveal?
[08:37:46] BERMAN: The FBI agent who sent anti-Trump text messages in 2016 was grilled by lawmakers for more than 11 hours. Peter Strzok was involved in both the Russia and Clinton e-mail investigation. He met in a closed door session with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, again, 11 hours long.
Want to bring in CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates.
Phil, I want to start with you.
The big news that came from this, in so far as we can tell, and it was a closed door hearing, which is also a real problem. It would have been nice had we been able to see what went on in there. But the big news that has been leaked from it is that when Robert Mueller found out about the anti-Trump texts, apparently he didn't ask a lot of questions about it or didn't press Strzok for more information about them. He just fired him.
This is being looked on, I suppose, two different ways. I think Republicans on the committee are saying, well, how come Mueller didn't look into it more? How come he didn't press Strzok for more about what his intention was? And Democrats are saying, what more do you want, he fired the guy right away?
How do you see it?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Let me summarize, having worked for four and a half years for Robert Mueller, what his response was, I suspect, when he saw the information about the e-mails. And then he sits up and says, look, this is going to be portrayed as a political event. He -- Mueller doesn't talk about politics, but he knows Washington. He's looking at this saying, a guy is trying to impress his girlfriend. What am I supposed to say? Son, you're out of here. Let move on and let me prepare for the political heat afterwards. I'm sure, as a trained investigator, he looked at this and made a quick judgment that there was not a lot of there there.
BERMAN: He fired him right away. Should we have, and, again, we're only hearing this through leaks from the committee hearing, if he did not press him more, should he have asked questions of Peter Strzok, what did you mean when you sent these anti-Trump texts? Did these texts ever color the investigation that you were working on for me?
MUDD: Well, first of all, I'm not sure he didn't. That's the press reporting. Having done a lot of closed hearing and seeing press reports after the hearing and seeing a lot of IG investigations, I'm not sure the press reporting is accurate. I'm also not sure that one of his subordinates, somebody else running
the investigation, wouldn't have talked to Strzok. I think somebody should have asked that somewhere along the line. We know the inspector general didn't, but somebody in the investigation, what did you mean? But anybody, I think, outside the political realm in this country, seeing a guy talking to his girlfriend on text saying I'm the big tough guy, I can make the world change in terms of the Trump investigation, looks at that and says, the guy's trying to impress his girlfriend. How many answers do you want?
[06:40:07] BERMAN: And, Laura, to an extent, the fact that we haven't learned more from this 11-hour closed door session I think does indicates maybe there were no bombshells inside. There was a lot more of the same things that we already knew. Strzok sent the texts. He didn't deny sending the texts. He says they didn't color the investigation. Republicans on the committee say that how can you be sure that they did? Where do you think this stops for Peter Strzok?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in large respect, the bombshell reporting came out of the IG report that essentially cleared him but that also vilified him in the same breath. And so I think that's where the main bombshell was.
Where it stops, I think, we're going to have to have more information. More information is going to come out about whether or not he remains with the FBI, to what extent he played in the previous interviews of people like Michael Flynn and other people who have pled guilty or have -- or have agreements or cooperated agreements with the government of the United States of America. So you have all these things at play. We need to have more information there.
But I think, ultimately, I think that he will be -- and the word scapegoat comes to mind, not because he's not justifiably critiqued for his behavior, whether it's talking to a girlfriend or trying to play the big, bad guy, it was inappropriate. I think he ultimately will be disciplined by the FBI, and should be.
BERMAN: Today we're going to hear from Christopher Wray, the FBI director, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. They are going to be pressed, not just on this, but they're going to be asked about various documents that haven't been turned over to the House -- various House committees yet. How do you think they will handle the situation, Laura?
COATES: Well, you know, all the different information -- we heard Christopher Wray give a press conference where he also explained that he was dismayed, but was talking about the integrity overall of the FBI. That's a really important condition to talk about here because ultimately the goal of both Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray will be to preserve the integrity and credibility of the overall process. It does not come down to one person's text messaging. It does not come down to one particular bureaucrat in an otherwise red tape constrained system. Their focus will be on whether or not it's appropriate to release, for security purposes or classified information purposes, all the information. But, Rosenstein's already made it very clear, John --
COATES: If there is an attempt here to get the information simply as a political ploy and extortion at the Department of Justice, he's not here for it. And he shouldn't be.
BERMAN: And, again, we're going to hear from both of them later today. CNN will, of course, be covering that.
Phil, what do you think we'll hear from the FBI director? What does he need to do? We have heard from him some on Strzok and other things. But what about going forward?
MUDD: He's going to have to go dumb early. The best advice I have -- some of the best advice I ever got in congressional testimony, that is you walk in, you say, we blew it. Read the report. I said this publically. He's been a -- he's already been fairly direct about former Director Comey. He didn't handle this properly. But the inspector general says there was no impact on the integrity of the investigation. So, I'm so sorry. Let's move on. Let's get out of this.
BERMAN: How big of a fight should Rosenstein and Wray pick about these documents the House wants?
MUDD: Big fight. They're not going to say what I'm going to tell you, but what they think is pretty straightforward. As soon as I get you these documents, you're going to leak them and, as Laura was suggesting, break the integrity of the investigation. Ain't going to happen.
BERMAN: Phil Mudd, Laura Coates, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
COATES: Thank you.
HILL: Just ahead, President Trump adding to his official inner circle with a former Fox Newser.
[06:47:21] HILL: Thousands of mourners attending the funeral for a New York teenager killed in a brutal gang attack last week. Mourners including the father of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz wearing Yankees jerseys. The team, Lesandro, also known as Junior, loved. Eight suspected have been arrested on murder, manslaughter and gang assault charges, including six extradited from New Jersey on Wednesday.
BERMAN: A source tells CNN that former Fox News President Bill Shine is expected to be named White House deputy chief of staff in charge of communications. Sean Hannity has been recommending him for months. Shine stepped down from Fox last year after scrutiny over how he handled sexual harassment claims at the network. Bill Shine, close to Sean Hannity, at the White House.
HILL: Yes, indeed. There's a lot going on there. Well, look, in some ways it just makes official what appeared to be a line of communication that we knew about already.
BERMAN: Sean Hannity calls the president constantly and now he can call his friend at the White House.
JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: There has never been a closer relationship between a partisan news organization and a president than this. And this just codifies it. And it's an organization that's dedicated to playing to the base, which has the impact of further polarizing America.
But for all the complaints about the media getting in bed with past administrations, for all some revolving door accusations, there's never been this deep a level of (INAUDIBLE).
BERMAN: Yes. I will say again, you know, people like Dooren Smith (ph), Jenny Carney (ph), there have been people who have worked at news organizations that have gone in to similar roles before. Shine's an ex-Fox News.
BERMAN: I will say, I think one of the legitimate questions here is, given all the accusations about his role and the various sexual harassment charges --
AVLON: Roger Ailes, yes.
BERMAN: That's something that the White House seems completely unconcerned about, which was notable to me.
HILL: But that's -- but that's the track record, right? I don't think this White House has ever been concerned about those kind of accusations, whether they involve the president or someone close to the president.
AVLON: Exactly right.
HILL: So --
AVLON: So now this just codifies that as well.
HILL: There we go.
HILL: And then there's this. A soccer shocker. This one's for John Berman.
Defending champs in Germany now out of the World Cup. Mexico squeaking through. It's been a good World Cup.
BERMAN: It may be the best of our lifetime. HILL: Wow. Andy Scholes.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I mean fantastic, guys. I mean just nail biter after nail biter. It's been so good to watch for the last few weeks. And, you know what, guys, every four years the World Cup, it brings countries together. Well, Mexico and South Korea and now friends forever after what happened yesterday.
SCHOLES: This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
You know, Mexico was playing Sweden at the same time Germany was playing South Korea. And in these -- while these games were happening, once Sweden took the lead on Mexico, Germany knew that they were going to have to beat South Korea in order to advance. And if that happened, then Mexico would be out of the World Cup. So it was just desperation time for Germany. Mexico's fans all around the world suddenly became the biggest South Korean fans. And in the 93rd minute, South Korea scoring that goal right there.
[06:50:06] And at that moment, word spread that Germany wasn't going to win and Mexican fans started to celebrate around the globe. Some even hoisting up Koreans onto their shoulders and carrying them around in Mexico.
Mexico now moves on to play Brazil in the knockout stage. Germany, meanwhile, out of the World Cup in the group stage for the first time ever.
England, meanwhile, faces Belgium later today and they may be dealing with a crisis at home. There may not be enough beer for their fans. Because right now beer is being rationed in England due to a carbon dioxide shortage. That's what gives beer its fizz. Just terrible timing for these soccer fans there, guys. And I'm guessing the pubs, while they're watching the game today, maybe a little less rowdy maybe.
HILL: Terrible timing, period. Listen, nobody wants a beer shortage ever.
BERMAN: You know, and I also just have to despite one thing. It's not carbon dioxide. It's God that gives beer its fizz. I mean I think beer is that important and that special and it has to be a higher power (INAUDIBLE) up there.
HILL: You're on a roll this morning, Berman.
BERMAN: I -- I --
HILL: I'm just going to say it.
BERMAN: I didn't get much sleep last night. HILL: Maybe he's got the Friday eve feeling going on.
BERMAN: Andy Scholes, thank you very, very much.
We've been talking about the huge impact of the Supreme Court retirement of Anthony Kennedy. Anthony Kennedy was the key vote and he wrote the opinions on the most important gay rights decisions of the last, you know, several decades. We're going to get reaction from one of the people at the center of one of those cases, next.
[06:55:40] HILL: Across the country this morning there is a focus on how President Trump's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will impact social issues. One of Kennedy's most important swing votes came in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Keep in mind, that happened three years ago this week.
Joining us now, the plaintiff in that case, Jim Obergefell.
Jim, good to have you with us this morning.
JAMES OBERGEFELL, PLAINTIFF, MARRIAGE EQUALITY CASE OBERGEFELL V. HODGES: Thanks for having me, Erica.
HILL: In that opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote in part that the Constitution grants the right of equal dignity in the eyes of the law. He specifically referenced the Constitution. Chief Justice Roberts said it wasn't about the Constitution, though, on that day. How are you feeling about it this morning?
OBERGEFELL: I don't think the word devastated is too strong of a word for how I feel upon hearing this news. I'm actually feeling somewhat despondent about what this means for LGBTQ community and marriage for millions of Americans.
HILL: The president, not long after he was elected, was asked specifically about marriage equality. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you support marriage equality?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I -- it's irrelevant because it was already settled. It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean, it's done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So even if you appoint a judge that --
TRUMP: It's done. You have -- these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They've been settled. And I think -- and I'm fine with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The president says it's been settled. Does that give you solace? OBERGEFELL: Not one bit. I'm not sure I believe anything that comes
out of the president's mouth because he says one thing one day, he says the exact opposite the next day. And I have to believe that there are people behind him pushing him that will force this issue and bring this back up for a vote and -- or for a hearing. And that really concerns me.
HILL: How does that change what you do then starting today?
OBERGEFELL: I just have to get back to making sure that I'm vocal, I'm fighting, I'm active. And making sure that all targeted community, all minority communities, we have to fight for each other. And if we lose marriage, what does that mean happens next? And we have to stand up and fight for every minority community. We have to be a team. We have to fight for our rights together. So that's my plan. I just need to stay vocal and be an ally for every minority community.
HILL: If you could get the president's ear, if you could have a conversation with him, what would you say to him?
OBERGEFELL: I would talk to him about my husband John and what our life together meant and what it was like and what it meant to me to be able to know John could live -- John could die in peace and know that I can always say that I'm a widower. The fact that my right to say I was John's husband and that I'm a widower, the fact that that right is now at risk scares me. And I would hopefully help him understand why same-sex couples and their families deserve the right to live their lives in dignity with the same respect and the same rights as any other couple, any other family.
HILL: Do you feel that Senate leadership understands that? I mean Justice Kennedy was very clear in terms of dignity and why dignity was important in equal protection. And those are things that he brought up continually as he was writing these majority opinions.
OBERGEFELL: Right. And that's one of the things, you know, as a gay man, I respected Justice Kennedy because he seemed to interpret the law with compassion. It wasn't just about the black and white letter of the law. He thought about things like dignity, respect, and compassion. And I'm worried that that layer, that important layer of compassion will now be missing in that court. And that's why I'm very concerned.
HILL: Compassion is a word that comes up a lot these days.
Jim, appreciate you taking the time to join us today. Thank you.
OBERGEFELL: Thanks, Erica.
HILL: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next.
For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very honored because he felt confident in me to make the right choice.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I have no hope that he will appoint anything resembling a moderate.
[07:00:00] SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not close to a potential election. We should move ahead on this.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The Democrats are facing an uphill battle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rowe v. Wade is dead today.