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NATO Leaders Reeling After Trump Attack; Rescued Soccer Team Recovering in Hospital Isolation; Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired July 12, 2018 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Trump's tirade against NATO allies. The president accusing Germany of being a, quote, "captive of Russia." He called NATO members delinquent on defense spending, insisting they increase it immediately. The president's tone leaving diplomats dumbfounded.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: One senior European diplomat telling CNN, "It's like the world has gone crazy. Trump's performance was beyond belief."
On policy, the president demanded member countries double their commitment for defense spending.
For the very latest let's turn to international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The president said that they're delinquent, they haven't been paying their bills, which is not exactly accurate. It's not as if there's, you know, monthly dues to be in the club. But he has secured more commitments to increase their defense spending.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He has. And this is something that no recent U.S. president has been able to do in fairness to NATO nations. They decided pretty much over the past couple of years since Russia annexed Crimea that there really was a problem on NATO's doorstep and they really did need to listen to what U.S. presidents have been saying for some time, which is they needed to increase their defense spending.
But only a handful of nations, only five including the United States, meet that 2 percent. President Trump said U.S. is committing at 4.2 percent. It's actually about 3.57 percent, and it's not a pot of money that the U.S. holds per se. These are percentages of Gross Domestic Product that each nation individually spends on defense spending. So it isn't that these nations here, these allies are not giving the United States or NATO that money.
But some nations, you know, Luxemburg, for example, he has 1,000 troops. So its span of GDP is only 0.55 percent. Host nation Brussels -- Belgium at 3.9 percent. So there is disparity. And President Trump is finally turning that engine around, if you will.
ROMANS: The next stop then for the president is the UK for that long awaited visit to America's closest ally. What can we expect? ROBERTSON: We can expect the president to get a raucous reception on
the streets of London. Not that it's going to be on the streets of London very much. He will be staying at the ambassador's residence in London. It has been ring fenced by security, heavy barricades put in place because there are expected to be these massive street protests on a baby President Trump mini blimp floated in the air.
So I think President Trump may see some of that as Air Force One -- rather Marine One lands on the grounds at the ambassador's residence in Central London. But his time in the UK is going to be spent mostly outside the capital. A sumptuous almost state dinner at Blenheim Palace, the home of Winston Churchill, somebody President Trump has expressed respect for in the past. That will be held this evening.
Tomorrow he'll have tea with the Queen and then lunch with the prime minister. Perhaps the prime minister not his favorite pick of politician to spend time with, but it is important to reaffirm for the British sake at the very least this sort of special relationship, special alliance. But meeting the Queen that is something President Trump has said for a long time that he's wanted to do. His mother who of course grew up in Britain. She, he said, respected the Queen very much. So he is looking forward to that we're told.
ROMANS: All right. We shall see. I know you're probably on your way as well as soon as things wrap there up there in Brussels.
Nic Robertson, thank you so much there.
ROBERTSON: Taking the train.
ROMANS: Taking the train.
BRIGGS: The optics of that meeting in terms of decorum will be fascinating. Trump and the Queen. But you've got to be wondering what the tone is like in the UK. England is out of the World Cup, which had that entire -- everyone's attention. Now it focuses on President Trump and Theresa May, the turmoil that she faces. Will he reaffirm his support for Theresa May or will he meet with Boris Johnson? It's going to be an interesting time there.
ROMANS: That would be remarkable if he met with Boris Johnson. That would be seen in traditional diplomatic circles as undermining a leader of an ally, which is just something that's not done. This is a president who does things that are not done like the breakfast yesterday, for example, where he dressed down secretary-general of NATO.
BRIGGS: Yes. But should anyone be surprised by the harsh rhetoric that the president brought to the NATO summit? Let's ask someone who is there. "Washington Post" Brussels bureau chief Michael Birnbaum.
Good morning to you, Michael.
ROMANS: Hi there. BRIGGS: Look, we should all be surprised that --
BIRNBAUM: Good morning.
BRIGGS: That Kylie Jenner is on pace to be a billionaire by age of 21. Should anyone be surprised by harsh rhetoric of the president of the United States bringing to our NATO allies, and what does it mean that he does it on Twitter and to Jens Stoltenberg but not to Angela Merkel?
BIRNBAUM: Well, so, no one should be surprised about this harsh rhetoric. It's something that he has pushed ever since he was candidate for the presidency. Started a couple of years ago. He's long said that he feels as though NATO allies are taking advantage of the United States, that they are not spending enough. Even as they are, you know, spending a lot to -- in this case invest in gas pipeline with Russia, in Germany's case.
[04:35:11] So this is something we've seen before and it's something that a lot of allies were worried about. We saw yesterday, though, that he was interested in the harshest rhetoric, the toughest line, when he was on camera or on Twitter making a public point. Not when he was inside these private meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others. So it really does seem to be something for a wide audience, perhaps for domestic audience that he is taking a hard line. Not with these leaders here.
BRIGGS: And if there is a pattern that goes back to the beginning of this presidency is the president loves confrontation, but not face-to- face.
BRIGGS: Look at the firing, the change his presidency. He fired the FBI director James Comey with a note through an aide delivered when Comey was out of town.
BRIGGS: So loves confrontation, doesn't like delivering it in this context.
ROMANS: You know, it's interesting because the "Wall Street Journal" has a story about Trump and the Russia pipeline business. Bluntness rather is underrated as a diplomatic tool. And Berlin deserves its Trumpian embarrassment over its pipeline follies. The main regret over his comments is that he undermines their diplomatic impact but his many other less helpful fulminations on European affairs.
Do you think the president's bluntness is a -- you know, it's strategy that will work?
BIRNBAUM: Well, it has been working in some cases. Certainly NATO allies are scared of what he could do if they do not significantly increase their defense spending. And we do see a continuation of defense spending increases that started under President Obama but have continued under President Trump and accelerated under President Trump.
We also see real backlash in Germany and elsewhere in Europe where Trump is tremendously unpopular and when he says something often domestic audiences want their leaders to do exactly the opposite. And so that's something that is a struggle for Merkel and for others as they try not to offend Trump too much but also want to continue winning their own elections.
BRIGGS: OK. So up next, the president heads to the UK where the song "American Idiot" from Greenday is topping the charts because of a social media campaign. What's the wild card there when the president meets with Theresa May and meets with the Queen? What's the one thing we're watching?
BIRNBAUM: Well, he's going into a meeting with British prime minister who is severely weakened. Just within the last week two of her biggest Cabinet ministers resigned including Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who is one of her most important domestic political rivals. Boris Johnson is someone who has met with Trump, who Trump has said he likes. And Trump on the outset of this trip said he might want to meet with Johnson in London while he is in town. That's something that would really be seen as a boost to Theresa May's biggest rival and could really cause a lot of turmoil in British politics. So we're watching to see what happens there.
ROMANS: On Monday, the president will meet with Vladimir Putin. There will be translators, but pretty much nobody else. These two men --
BRIGGS: Right. No official record.
ROMANS: No official record really. What are we expecting from that? And how do you think this NATO summit that we've seen and the president's performance there is viewed by the Russians right now?
BIRNBAUM: Well, on Russian state TV yesterday as Trump blasted Germany for being too close to Russia, being controlled by Russia because of its energy interests, Russian state TV took actually aim at Donald Trump complaining that he was being too harsh on Russia. So that is an interesting turnabout. Generally they've been quite positive about the U.S. president. As we go into the meeting with Vladimir Putin, a lot of NATO allies are concerned about what kinds of concessions he could make. Whether he could stop U.S. military exercises in eastern Europe which would be similar to what he did when he met with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.
Both the Russian side and White House appear to want to have some sort of deal that they can announce just for the public relations boon that it would produce. So something will probably come out of it. Might be about Syria. Might be with Ukraine. It is still to be seen.
ROMANS: Michael Birnbaum, nice to see you in Brussels. Busy day for all the reporters covering --
ROMANS: Covering NATO and the alliance. Thank you, sir.
BRIGGS: All right. FBI agent Peter Strzok testifies publicly today and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page could be right there alongside him. Strzok and Page were having an affair during the presidential campaign.
[04:40:03] Their texts have fueled Republican claims of an anti-Trump bias at the bureau. Strzok appears before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Page defied a subpoena to appear privately before the committees yesterday.
ROMANS: House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows said the Judiciary Committee plans to give Page two options, appear for a closed-door interview later this week or testify alongside Strzok in public today. No confirmation yet whether she plans to take up either offer. Even the president tweeting about this at 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time on his way to a NATO meeting, he said, rhetorically, he asked rhetorically, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions would get involved.
BRIGGS: Breaking news overnight. Thousands of asylum seekers may be turned away at the southern border because of a new Trump administration policy. Border officers who evaluate asylum and refugee applications have new guidance. It orders them to reject claims based on fear of gang and domestic violence. Officers also now allowed to reject asylum claims by immigrants who cross the border illegally, even if they have a legitimate fear of persecution.
ROMANS: Administration officials say they expect reunifications to be finished by early this morning for children under 5 separated at the border. Now that excludes the 27 parents deemed ineligible because of criminal backgrounds or other issues. And a reunion appears imminent for this little girl in this audio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLISON XIMENA VALENCIA MADRID, CHILD SEPARATED FROM MOTHER: Dad. At least can I go with my aunt? I want her to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: The recording, a big part of events that forced the president to reverse the border separation policy. 6-year-old Allison's mother Cindy Madrid was released from a south Texas detention center last night. She now heads to Arizona where she hopes to see her daughter as early as tomorrow pending DNA results.
ROMANS: I cannot overstate how big of a change that is for American immigration policy. When you talk about not allowing claims for gang violence or for -- or domestic violence.
BRIGGS: Asylum claims. Yes.
ROMANS: Asylum claims. Right. It's a big reason that's driving many -- many people we've been interviewing on the air, this women from Guatemala and from Central America are fleeing --
BRIGGS: El Salvador.
ROMANS: -- terrible, terrible conditions in their hometowns where they just cannot live and raise their children.
BRIGGS: In particular those two things. Gang and domestic violence.
ROMANS: And traditionally we have been an open society, an open country for those kinds of refugees, for those kinds of asylum claims. But this is the personification of the just don't come here Donald Trump immigration policy.
BRIGGS: Yes. Yes.
ROMANS: All right. Stormy Daniels, 42 minutes past the hour. She was arrested overnight. We will tell you why and why her lawyer says it was a set-up.
[04:46:50] ROMANS: Breaking overnight. Stormy Daniels arrested at a strip club in Ohio. Michael Avenatti, her attorney, tweeted that his client was taken into custody for allowing a customer to touch her while she was on stage. That appears to be a violation of an obscure Ohio law. Avenatti claims her arrest was a set-up and politically motivated.
CNN has reached out to the Columbus Police Department for additional information.
BRIGGS: Trouble this morning for the brand new White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine. CNN's K-File uncovering explosive new audio of his wife Darla Shine, mocking victims of sexual harassment. She's been under scrutiny for reportedly making racially charged remarks and spreading baseless anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. Listen to these comments from a audio show in 2009 about how women in the military should expect to be sexually harassed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARLA SHINE, BILL SHINE'S WIFE: Why on earth would you fight to go on a submarine ship for months on end? You know, there was just a story with these women who are upset that they're sexually harassed in the military. What do you think is going to happen when you go on a submarine for 12 months with 4,000 horny soldiers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Darla Shine did not respond to requests for comment. The White House did not respond to whether Bill Shine agrees with his wife's comments.
ROMANS: To say nothing of the fact you could never fit 4,000 people in a submarine but that's beside the point.
America's trade war with China is hurting America's farmers. Last week, China slapped 25 percent tariff on soybeans. Pointed retaliation after the U.S. hit China hit with tariffs worth $34 billion. Yesterday the price of soybeans hit a 10-year low, down 13 percent since the beginning of the year.
China is the world's largest buyer of American soybeans. U.S. farmers sell about a third of their crops there. They have warned the Trump administration big tariff will hurt them in an already rocky time for the farm economy. And those tariffs are designed to hurt them. 18 states grow the majority of U.S. soybeans. All but two voted for President Trump. The Trump administration pledges to protect American farmers, but hasn't provided any details.
The AG secretary, Sonny Perdue, wrote in a June op-ed there are tools to support farmers, faced with losses that could mean using government money to boost crop prices if you're going to make farmers whole. But that's a tactic the "Wall Street Journal's: editorial board slams. Trump wants taxpayers to bail out farmers hurt by his trade war. How about not hurting them in the first place.
BRIGGS: The former wrestling coach at Ohio State coming to the defense of Congressman Jim Jordan. Jordan accused of ignoring allegations of sexual abuse against the team doctor when he was an assistant wrestling coach at the university. Rex Hellickson, the former head coach, says he finds the whole situation disheartening, adding, quote, "Athletes who I cherished and a coach who I respect to the highest possible level are being torn apart by semantics. Jim Jordan gave his heart and soul to the athletes. This is being driven by hysteria in politics.
ROMANS: House Speaker Paul Ryan now the most high profile Republican to publicly support Jordan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I have always known Jim Jordan to be a man of honesty and a man of integrity.
[04:50:02] I also want to make sure that Ohio State conducts the review of this doctor and what he did. That's important so that campuses are safe. And I'm glad Jim is supporting that review.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Congressman Jordan denies knowing or being told about the team doctor's abuse while he worked at that school.
BRIGGS: There's how video of George Clooney's crash in Italy showing the moment his scooter hit an oncoming car. Wow. Security footage obtained by an Italian newspaper shows the actor riding a scooter up a road in Sardinia on Tuesday. You can see it collides head on with a dark colored car there. The impact sent Clooney high into the air then smashing to the ground. The 57-year-old was taken to the hospital and later released. He's not recovering at home.
ROMANS: It looks like he was riding with a friend. Looks like somebody else was right in front of him.
BRIGGS: It appears that is the case. Yes.
ROMANS: All right. Yes. Ouch.
BRIGGS: But a tough man. That looks like it would have been much worse than reports suggest.
ROMANS: All right. 50 minutes past the hour. Papa John's founder is in trouble again. Apologizing for using a racial slur on a conference call that was designed to stop future PR disasters. CNN Money next.
[04:55:49] BRIGGS: Joyful tears flow as family members of that rescued Thai soccer team get to see the boys through protective glass. The boys recovering at a hospital isolation unit after spending 18 days trapped underground. Some details of their harrowing rescue only now coming to light.
Matt Rivers has the latest from Thailand.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of new video here that we're seeing for the first time coming out in northern Thailand, videos released by the Thai government. And let's start with the rescue attempt. The Thai government releasing clips from the video they shot inside that cave, which showed just an absolutely treacherous path for rescuers to try and carry these kids out.
What you see in that video is rescuers braving very dangerous conditions, carrying boys out on stretchers. At some points, they actually have to hoist the stretcher up onto a pulley system because parts of that cave were so steep that rescuers couldn't carry the stretcher safely. So they actually had to hoist the stretchers up to get the boys out.
You see running water, you see how murky it is, just an incredibly difficult task for rescuers. You also see them giving initial medical treatment inside that cave. So really good insight that we didn't have before into how difficult this rescue operation turned out to be for the brave volunteers and the Thai military and the international military that came here to get these boys out.
So between video of the rescue attempt and video of the hospital, we are getting more and more insight into this situation overall here in northern Thailand -- Christine, Dave.
ROMANS: All right, Matt Rivers. Thank you.
BRIGGS: OK. Croatia will make its first trip to the World Cup Final. They defeated England 2-1 in extra time in yesterday's semifinal in Moscow. Mario Mandzukic scoring the deciding goal. Need 109th minute, after the match he called the outcome a miracle. Croatia will meet France which last won the World Cup in 1998. And finally 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday.
ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Money. U.S. stocks fell yesterday. The Dow down more than 200 points. The U.S. announced new tariffs on China worth $200 billion. This time targeting a whole bunch of consumer goods. Beijing vowed to fight back, escalating trade tensions outweighed optimism for a strong earnings season kicking off this week. S&P 500 profits should be about 20 percent higher than last year. Right now global stocks in the U.S. futures are higher.
If you are on Twitter, don't be surprised to see your follower account drop. Twitter is purging tens of millions of suspicious accounts. Most people will only lose about four followers, but big accounts like Dave's will see a more significant drop.
ROMANS: Twitter said this move will make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversations. It's part of a broader effort to fight trolls, fake news and disinformation on the platform.
Papa John's founder in trouble again. John Schnatter resigning now as chairman for using a racial slur on a call, a conference call designed to stop future PR disasters. Schnatter used the N word during a role playing exercise. He complained in this exercise that Colonel Sanders used the term without facing backlash. He used the term when he said that. He said that when he was growing up in Indiana racists drive black people from their truck. Schnatter's comments were supposed to show he is against racism, but the people on the call were offended. Schnartter apologized, investors were not impressed. The stock fell nearly 5 percent.
Last year Schnatter stepped as CEO after he said Poppy John's sales will hurt by the NFL anthem protest -- remember that?
BRIGGS: I do indeed.
ROMANS: He said that their pizza sales were down because of the way the NFL handled the players who kneel.
BRIGGS: A real man PR nightmare. A lot of people could not see what the connection could be between, you know, how many pieces you buy and whether a player is, you know, snapping.
That Twitter story in connection to the president. All eyes on the president's Twitter account because he has 53.3 million followers but many feel that tens of millions.
BRIGGS: Could be gone as well as President Obama's Twitter account as well.
EARLY START continues right now with the latest from the NATO summit.
ROMANS: The president wrapping up meetings with the NATO summit today. Just a day after the president's tirade against --