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Trump Won't Say If Putin Is A Friend Or Foe, Instead A "Competitor"; President Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh To Supreme Court; President Trump Speaks At White House Before Leaving For NATO Summit; All 12 Boys And Soccer Coach Rescued From Thai Cave. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 10, 2018 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:33:50] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, a little breaking news for you.

President Trump speaking moments ago on the south lawn of the White House as he heads to the NATO summit. We are awaiting tape of his comments.

But in the meantime, we have gotten word from reporters there that Mr. Trump was asked if Vladimir Putin is a friend or foe, and the president says he cannot say right now, but he did call Putin a competitor.

So we have this talk about and so much more with CNN senior political commentator and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum. Rick, how are you?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Would you say that Putin is a friend or foe?

SANTORUM: I'm sorry?

CAMEROTA: Would you call Vladimir Putin a friend or a foe?

SANTORUM: Oh -- Oh, he's a foe. I mean, a competitor is a nice way of putting it.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, why can't President Trump say that he's a foe?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, he went into his negotiations with Kim Jong Un in the same way, just trying to use his personal relationship with these -- with these men to try to -- to try to move the needle from a foreign policy standpoint.

CAMEROTA: So --

SANTORUM: You know, he -- that's a consistent theme of the Trump administration and --

[07:35:01] CAMEROTA: It is.

SANTORUM: -- we'll wait and see how it turns out.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I understand. But, I mean, so you think that he pulls his verbal punches in order to curry favor or whatever -- to -- I don't know what the word is -- act more conciliatory towards people who are established foes of the U.S.?

SANTORUM: Yes. I think what -- I think -- you know, Trump has taken the approach that the traditional way of doing foreign policy isn't -- hasn't been successful for America. And he's a businessman and this is what he's done to be able to be successful in his career, and he's going to apply those same tactics that led to success in an area that you just don't see. And certainly, you don't see it from a public --

I mean, look, every president when they talk to foreign leaders schmoozes them and creates --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

SANTORUM: -- tries to create a relationship, but you usually don't do it in a public setting. And you sort of have maybe a little tougher, more principled words in public.

Trump has sort of abandoned that and said it doesn't work for him and we'll wait and see how it's -- how it succeeds.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, the question is, is it effective?

And with Kim Jong Un, that is still an open question since what President Trump thinks he got out of that meeting is different than what the North Koreans think they got out of that meeting.

What do you want him to walk away with from this meeting with Vladimir Putin?

SANTORUM: I'd like to see the president, in his private conversations, address the issues that are important to the security of our alliance.

I think the president hopefully, will be very key on stressing that the United States is going to stand behind our friends in Eastern Europe. That is -- that is the most important thing that I'm concerned about and we've got a lot of -- a lot of really fledgling and strong and growing democracies in that area and they need the United States' protection to make sure that Russia doesn't do what it did in Crimea and Ukraine.

So, this is an important opportunity for the president.

CAMEROTA: And in the U.S. I mean -- I mean, don't -- do you want to hear him also get more than just a sort of, I don't know, passive denial that he meddled in the U.S. elections?

SANTORUM: Look, I think he's -- the president is probably -- he may bring that up. I mean, I know that members of Congress who just visited there recently did bring that up and certainly, that has been a focal point.

It may be a bridge too far for this president to bring that up. I think that's just not something he's particularly comfortable with.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

SANTORUM: But I hope he does do it. Whether he does, I'm not sure.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about the president's pick, Brett Kavanaugh, for the Supreme Court. What's your objection to Judge Kavanaugh?

SANTORUM: I don't have an objection to Judge Kavanaugh. I think Judge Kavanaugh is a -- is a -- is a brilliant man. I think he'll be an excellent Supreme Court justice. I think he certainly checks all the boxes when it comes to that.

My concern is that he just -- he just looks like every other Supreme Court justice that's been nominated by every Republican going back as far as you can go back and it's sort of the inside --

CAMEROTA: And what's wrong with that?

SANTORUM: Well, because Donald Trump's a different kind of animal. Donald Trump has said I'm here to sort of shake up the traditions. I'm here to try to put some people in positions that are going to reflect more the -- you know, the broad swath of the United States that has been sort of ignored in the past.

I mean, he had three other judges there who didn't come from Yale or Harvard and who didn't -- you know, didn't -- didn't do sort of the Washington insider kind of track and he decided to go with the insider.

That -- you know, it's not a matter of philosophy, it's not a matter of confidence. It's not a matter of any of those things.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

SANTORUM: It's just that -- to me, it's just -- you know, the president had a chance to sort of shake up the establishment a little bit here and put someone of equal competence and skill on the court and he just chose to go with -- you know, with the -- with the old -- with the old suitcase.

CAMEROTA: But -- so you think that Brett Kavanaugh's pedigree is too elite?

SANTORUM: Well, I think they're all too elite. I mean, that's sort of the -- that's sort of my rub.

I mean, John Roberts -- I mean, you go on down the list. I mean, they're all -- they're all, you know, elite. Yale, Harvard Law School, Supreme Court clerks. You know, did the -- did the -- you know, the inside Washington sort of track and --

CAMEROTA: And those should be disqualifiers in your mind? SANTORUM: No, they shouldn't be a disqualifier but maybe a little bit of a change.

And by the way, the Democrats have the same formula. I mean, this is -- this is sort of the inside -- this is sort of the Washington way of which you pick a Supreme Court justice frankly on both sides of the aisle.

And what I was hoping the president was maybe going to do something a little different. Maybe take someone who didn't go to Yale or Harvard, maybe take someone who didn't clerk at the Supreme Court and didn't have all of these friends in Washington lobbying and have all the -- all the major publications most liberally conservative. The Democrats and Republicans here both picked the same way.

I just -- I just expected Trump to do something more Trumpian and he didn't.

[07:40:04] CAMEROTA: All right. Let's move on to the next topic and that is Congressman Jim Jordan. Now, five wrestlers have come forward to say that when he was the assistant coach at Ohio State University he knew about the alleged abuse that they suffered at the hands of the coach who was basically sexually molesting them.

So how much trouble do you think Jim Jordan is in if any?

SANTORUM: Yes, I think they said that he should have known. I'm -- maybe they said he knew but I -- at least what I'm reporting -- hear reporting is that he should have known that things were going on.

And look, that's a very difficult thing for -- my heart goes out to both. I mean, obviously, if this happened it's a horrible thing and people should be -- you know, should be held responsible.

At the same time, my heart goes out to Jim because this is a 30-year- old allegation --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

SANTORUM: -- and it sort of -- the guy is dead. It's sort of hard to prove a negative, right? And so, you know, no, I didn't do it.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, just to be clear. The ones that we've spoken to say that he did know.

SANTORUM: Yes. Well again, he says he didn't know.

I mean, I -- these are the -- these are the difficult things. We see this more and more in the world today of people being accused of things and a lot of them are legitimate and need to be pursued. This obviously should be pursued.

How it -- how it -- how it plays out for Jim really is going to depend on sort of the weight of evidence. How much -- how much evidence is there --

CAMEROTA: Right.

SANTORUM: -- that would lead you to believe that he did know and I don't think we have that at this point.

CAMEROTA: Well, here's what the five wrestlers have said. This is just a little compilation of what they have said.

So, one of them was anonymous that we've spoken to. "This isn't a political thing for me. It's right versus wrong thing. He knew what was going. He was there."

The next is from Dunyasha Yetts, former OSU wrestler. "The wrestling coaching staff and the A.D. department knew about Strauss' inappropriate physicals on all levels, including Jim Jordan."

Tito Vazquez, former OSU wrestler, says, "I don't have anything coach Jordan, but he knew."

Another anonymous wrestler that we've spoken to, "They knew he was in the showers. We all knew what happened."

Mike DiSabato says, "I was close to both Jim and coach. We talked openly within our locker room about Strauss. In particular, that he was a serial groper."

Hold on -- hold on one second. Hold that thought.

We have some breaking news. President Trump just spoke moments ago on the south lawn of the White House. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's going to be an interesting time in the U.K. and it's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO. NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we'll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little. But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.

But the U.K., that's a situation that's been going on for a long time. So I have NATO, I have the U.K. which has been somewhat in turmoil, and I have Putin.

Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think?

But the U.K. certainly has a -- they have a lot of things going on.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: I have not. No, I have not. But, Boris Johnson is a friend of mine and he's been very, very nice to me -- very supportive and maybe we'll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson. I've always liked him.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: Well, that's up to the people. I get along with her very well. I have a very good relationship. That's certainly up to the people, not up to me.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: Well, we do have a lot of allies but we cannot be taken advantage of. We're being taken advantage of by the European Union.

We lost $151 billion last year on trade. And on top of that, we spent at least 70 percent for NATO and frankly, it helps them a lot more than it helps us.

So, we'll see what happens. We have a long, beautiful week.

I will say also last night was an incredible evening. Brett Kavanaugh's gotten rave reviews -- rave reviews actually from both sides and I think it's going to be a beautiful thing to watch over the next month. But he has gotten rave reviews.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: I really can't say right now. As far as I'm concerned, a competitor -- a competitor. I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing. I've said that many times for many years.

So we'll see. We're meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday. We'll see how that goes.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

[07:45:00] TRUMP: They didn't give it. I have it for him. They didn't give it but it will be given in a certain period. I actually do -- I actually do have a little gift for him but you'll find out what that gift is when I give it.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: No, I haven't. I really haven't. We haven't discussed it.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: Well, I have a solution. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That's the solution.

Don't come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: I'm saying this, very simply. We have laws, we have borders. Don't come to our country illegally. It's not a good thing.

And as far as ICE is concerned, the people that are fighting ICE, it's a disgrace. These people go into harm's way. There is nobody under greater danger than the people from ICE -- what they do to MS-13 and everything else.

So we ought to support ICE, not do what the Democrats are doing. Democrats want open borders and they don't mind crime. We want no crime and we want borders where borders mean something, right?

And remember this. Without borders, you do not have a country.

Thank you, everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right, you've been listening there to President Trump. That is just moments before he heads off to the NATO summit. He spoke about a lot of different issues and made a lot of headlines.

Let's just dive into some of them. Let's fact-check some of them.

Democrats don't care about crime was one of the things that he just said about the immigration issue. Obviously, that's not their sticking point with immigration.

And he talked also -- but I mean, look, there are a ton of headlines but he also said that his solution to what's going on at the border is that people shouldn't come here illegally.

A lot of people are not coming here illegally. Asylum seekers -- there's a time-honored tradition of how they can come here legally, which is what they -- many of them are doing.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Again, one of the headlines there, he had no solution. He was asked about how you're going to get kids back with their parents. He didn't even talk about that.

But I think the other major headlines have to do with this trip that he is going on. He's getting on the helicopter right now heading to Brussels.

He is going to the NATO summit, then going to the U.K., and then meeting with Vladimir Putin. He is meeting -- you're watching the president board Air Force One live right now.

Make no mistake. NATO, the United Kingdom -- America's greatest allies on earth. Yet, the president said that his meeting with Vladimir Putin might be the easiest of them all.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: That is the stunning statement. That is the headline because to cast -- you know, he hugged Boris Johnson --

BERMAN: We'll get to that in a second.

AVLON: But, Vladimir Putin -- to say that he's a competitor, to say that it's too early to say what his intentions are when we have plenty of documentation from the invasion of Crimea to interference in our election. This is the president continuing to keep Putin close and to say that

Putin is a friendlier, easier meeting than with our oldest allies in the world is simply jaw-dropping.

The president still doesn't get it. He is sticking to that line and you've got to ask yourself why.

CAMEROTA: He also said it might be the easiest thing of all. Who would think it? No one, Mr. President.

AVLON: Nobody.

BERMAN: No one.

CAMEROTA: No one would actually think that that will be the easiest exchange.

BERMAN: And then, wading into U.K. politics. We know that Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has had all sorts of problems.

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, resigned. Another Brexit secretary resigned.

President Trump said the future of the U.K. is up to the voters of the U.K. That may not be a controversial position.

However, he said he might meet with Boris Johnson --

AVLON: Yes.

BERMAN: -- someone who just quit the cabinet of Prime Minister Theresa May. President Trump said yes, he's a friend of mine. I might meet him when he's over there.

AVLON: He's been very nice to me. That's always the highest compliment from Donald Trump.

This is a foreign secretary, former mayor of London who is widely expected to be a potential challenger to Theresa May if there is a no- competence vote. So not only is he throwing himself into British politics, he's aligning himself with the Brexiteers.

Now, there's a deep relationship -- a troubling one some might say, between the advocates of Brexit and Donald Trump and the conservative populous here. But make no mistake, that will make news in England where he is going to spend time with Theresa May after that.

BERMAN: He just made her life --

AVLON: Yes --

BERMAN: -- even more difficult than it already is.

AVLON: -- and it's pretty difficult.

BERMAN: All right, we have two bits of breaking news here. Number one, we did just hear that the 12th Thai boy -- the soccer player -- was rescued from the cave.

CAMEROTA: A miracle has happened.

BERMAN: That --

CAMEROTA: A miracle that people could not believe for the past 18 days and it has happened.

BERMAN: I would not have believed it had you told me that on Friday it would be three days. We're going to get to Thailand in just a moment.

We also have with us Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin. He is from Maryland, the vice-ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman, you've been listening to the president. I want to focus you, if you can for a moment, on what he said about immigration.

The question today about immigration is how will this government reunite the some 3,000 children it separated from parents at the border? How will it get them back together?

[07:50:03] They are going to miss a deadline today. They had until today to get back together those kids younger than five with their parents.

The president did not address that directly. He said the solution is to keep people from coming over the border illegally.

Your reaction?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), VICE-RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: Well, most Americans consider it an emergency that there are so many kids -- hundreds or thousands of kids who are separating from their families, some of them as young as one or two or three years old, and it's scandalous that the federal government with all of its resources cannot unite them.

A federal district judge in Los Angeles yesterday ruled against the Trump administration's attempt essentially to scurry away from its obligations under the Flores agreement.

So this is a national emergency. We have got to reunify those families. And it's shameful just to change the subject and say don't come to the country illegally.

We have an obligation as our government to comply with the law, to comply with treaties, to comply with the Constitution. And we can't separate families and we don't do that in America.

BERMAN: Have you seen any presidential direction in terms of reuniting those children with their parents? RASKIN: Well, no. I mean, I think several dozens were reunified under the age of five but as many have not been. And then, you're dealing with lots of other kids who are just misplaced and lost.

And this should be issue number one before the president goes gallivanting over to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss presumably, 2018 campaign strategy or something. He should be working right now to reunify these families.

BERMAN: Look, I know you were making a joke right there or a jibe -- 2018 campaign strategy. The president and his --

RASKIN: I hope it was a jibe.

BERMAN: The administration has said that he will address -- we don't know how strenuously or to what extent he will address 2016 election meddling. He's also said -- he makes a point of saying Russia says it did not meddle in the 2016 election so we'll leave that there.

RASKIN: Well, wait a second. Yes, but I don't think we could be agnostic about that point because 15 U.S. intelligence --

BERMAN: I agree.

RASKIN: -- agencies have said that that absolutely happened --

BERMAN: Yes.

RASKIN: -- and that there was a concerted campaign by Vladimir Putin to --

BERMAN: And the --

RASKIN: -- destabilize the American elections.

BERMAN: And the Senate Intelligence Committee just reiterated that once again last week, so that's there. All I was saying is the president says he will address it. We'll see, we'll see.

We don't know if he will or not because he's going to be in the room with an interpreter and we're only going to have the words of the two leaders when they come out to figure out what actually happened inside that meeting.

I do want to get your take on something the president just said because this trip overseas includes a meeting with NATO, going to the U.K. to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and then, as you said, to meet with Vladimir Putin.

And the president just said that maybe his meeting with Vladimir Putin would be the easiest of them all -- the easiest meeting. That follows meetings with America's greatest allies. Meeting with Vladimir Putin might be easy.

RASKIN: Well, you know, all of this is taking place in the run-up to a rerun of what happened last August with neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville where the president couldn't tell the difference between the two sides and said that he saw good people marching on both sides.

I mean, what we're talking about is a major affront and insult to the allies that America has had on the side of democracy. And yet, he is then going to go over to meet with Vladimir Putin, who has been stirring up right-wing authoritarianism throughout up.

BERMAN: Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Again, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Thank you for rolling with the punches are we are getting breaking news left, right, and center here.

Thanks, Congressman.

RASKIN: It's my pleasure.

BERMAN: Alisyn --

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: And we do have breaking news at this hour of the best possible variety to bring to you. All 12 boys -- every child from that soccer team has been rescued from that flooded cave in Thailand after 18 days.

Let's get right to Ivan Watson. He is live in Thailand with all of the breaking details. What have you learned, Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am delighted to report Alisyn that our source -- part of the rescue operation tells CNN that he's seen the 12th and final boy from the Wild Boars soccer team brought out of the cave complex in the mountain behind me.

Been pulled out a distance of 2.5 miles from where they had been trapped for more than two weeks in a small cave -- in a small air pocket. Brought out by this remarkable multinational team of divers and rescue workers. Brought out in the waning hours here of Tuesday.

Now, we do not yet have word on the final member of the trapped team, the one adult who was with them when they got lost on June 23rd and that is -- that is the coach of the team.

CAMEROTA: Ivan, so sorry to interrupt. We actually do have -- we can tell you, Ivan, because we're getting word from our sources too on the ground that we can confirm that the coach has also been brought out. And so, every single person who was trapped in there --

[07:55:12] WATSON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- for 18 days is now out of that cave, Ivan.

WATSON: I'm just -- it's rare that I get to report such a wonderful and positive story, Alisyn -- that all of us in this business get to do this. And I think that there are an awful lot of people who probably expected the worst as the days counted and added up when this initial 13 people disappeared on June 23rd. But the incredible rescue team who have risked their lives to conduct this incredible operation -- and one of them did lose their life, a former Thai Royal Navy SEAL diver who died last week in that cavern in that network of tunnels.

They have done what appears to be the impossible which is to have brought these children, brought this coach out from what could have become their subterranean coffin and have brought them out into the light here after three days of remarkable rescues.

A helicopter just flew overhead. We know that some of the boys in the past days who have been rescued, they've been transferred by helicopter to a hospital about an hour's drive away from here.

And the first eight that were brought out on Sunday and Monday have been in remarkably good condition, physically and emotionally, according to doctors. They are vulnerable and they're in quarantine right now.

They were wearing sunglasses, for example, because they haven't seen natural light for more than two weeks. They are malnourished but the doctors say that they believe they're in pretty good condition.

We have not heard about the four boys and the soccer coach who have been pulled out throughout the course of today, a rescue operation that's been underway since 10:00 a.m. local time. That's more than eight hours. We have not heard about their medical condition and we bring you that update as soon as we learn it.

We also have not heard about the Thai doctor and three Thai Navy SEAL officers who have been in that small cave with the team for more than a week -- basically, since the authorities were first able to reach them -- taking care of them, keeping their spirits up.

And, of course, that is going to be very important for them to get out -- for all the rescue workers, the divers to get out safely from a tunnel -- a passageway that we're told has razor-sharp rocks, rushing water, and that also has claimed the life of one professional diver in the run-up to these remarkable three days of rescues.

But at the end of day, the news about this original 13 -- the Wild Boar soccer team from a rural corner of Thailand -- is all of them have thankfully and with the heroic work of the team of rescuers here been brought out to the light to safety.

CAMEROTA: Ivan, stay with us please because we do want to recap for our viewers. And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world that have been gripped for 18 days and praying and hoping against hope that every member of this soccer team would be rescued.

And this morning, at this hour in just the past few minutes, we are happy to report that every member of the Wild Boar soccer team and their coach is now out of that cave. It looked impossible for so many days there, John. BERMAN: Just remember, on Friday -- on Friday, they were concerned about monsoon rains on the way. The forecast looked bleak. They were afraid they'd have to launch this rescue operation before they were even ready.

On Friday, they were worried that the oxygen levels inside that cave, dropping so quickly --

CAMEROTA: And they were dropping.

BERMAN: -- that they were running out of time.

None of the kids, as far as we know, knew how to swim. They were all getting less healthy and malnutritioned (sic) by the day. Yet, they were able to pull off what one of our experts told us a moment ago is the Apollo 13 of cave rescues. Twelve kids and the coach now out of that cave.

These pictures we're looking at are some of the operations we've seen over the last few days. They were brought out -- four on Sunday, four on Monday, and the five remaining today. It is wonderful news.

You know, Ivan Watson cracked a smile. You know, I didn't know he had teeth.

CAMEROTA: Other breaking news.

BERMAN: I didn't know Ivan had teeth until this morning. But he couldn't restrain himself because this is such wonderful, wonderful news.

CAMEROTA: I mean, Ivan's been in the worst corners of the world where there's been such -- you know, obviously challenges to humanity. And today, we're all so happy to be a part of this rescue.

And Ivan, the Herculean effort -- global effort. There were Navy SEALs -- or SEALs that came from around the world to volunteer in that selfless way that heroes do to risk their own lives to go into that cave with blackout conditions --