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Trump Meets with U.K. Prime Minister After Attacking Her; Protests in London as British P.M. Meets with Trump. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 13, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. it is Friday, July 13. I'm John Berman live in London. Alisyn is in New York.
Alisyn, can you hear it? Kaboom. That is the sound that went off overnight here in London. A political explosion set off by this. This article, this interview that President Trump gave to "The Sun." He's meeting with the British prime minister, Theresa May, very shortly at Chequers, her country estate, maybe trying to pull the knife out of her back that he put there. Or maybe not.
In this extraordinary interview with the British tabloid "The Sun," owned, not coincidentally, by the president's friend, Rupert Murdoch, the president directly undermined the position of Theresa May at a moment when her position hangs in the balance.
The president criticized the way May is trying to move the United Kingdom from the European Union. He said he would do it differently and that she is not taking his advice.
What's more, the president lavished praise on May's chief political rival, saying that Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.
The president ripped London's mayor for his stance on immigration. He said, "Europe is losing its culture." Think about that. I wonder what that means?
On top of all of that, the president is complaining about feeling unwelcome in London because of all of the public protests, many of them taking place as we speak. That Trump baby balloon -- you can see it right there -- is still flying. Not far behind me, where I'm sitting right now -- I can't see it; it's sort of hidden by Big Ben, but it's up there. That has caused quite a stir.
Thousands of people expected on the streets of London today, where the president conspicuously will not be. He says he feels unwelcome.
Let's go first to our White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins. She is live in here, in London.
Kaitlan, unclear what the president was trying to do with this interview, but what he did do was upend this two-day visit to the United Kingdom. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, there was
already going to be a fair amount of tension during this meeting between the president and Prime Minister Theresa May. And the president, with this interview, just undercut her on her own turf and said things that were about as politically damaging to a weakened prime minister here in London as you can get. The president criticizing her plan for Brexit, something that has caused two of her very senior cabinet officials this week to resign. He threw cold water on the potential of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal, and he praised her political rival in this stunning interview.
Listen to what he said about her plan for Brexit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't agree. She didn't listen to me.
I think the deal that she's striking is not what the people voted on. It's a much deal than the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum.
If they do that, I would say that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.
I was very surprised and saddened that he was getting out of government. And you lost some other very good people.
Well, I'm not pitting one against the other. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: But John, it wasn't just those bombshell remarks that the president made in that interview that are now on the front page of essentially every newspaper here in London. This is what the president had to say about immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think what's happened to Europe is a shame. I think the immigration -- allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe. And unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was, and I don't mean that in a positive way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now the White House is trying to do damage control. After this interview dropped last night, right after that dinner between the president and May, something they thought wasn't going to be published until today, those remarks that the president made, they put out a statement, John, saying that the president likes Theresa May very much, that he respects her. But certainly, you can't undo the damage that the president did with that interview. Now, today they are going to be spending a lot of time together,
something that surely is going to be quite awkward, with a lot of tension there. They've got a working lunch. They're going to do a joint press conference later, where they will surely face questions on the state of their relationship after this interview.
The president just arrived at Chequers, essentially Camp David for the prime minister, Theresa May, akin to that back in Washington. They did not open the greeting of the two leaders to the press, so we couldn't see what their first interaction was like after this interview dropped.
But John, you can bet that it was very awkward.
BERMAN: Very interesting, closed press for that first greeting after this interview. Kaitlan Collins, also interesting the timing of the release. The White House believed it wouldn't come out until this morning, so they wanted to get through the party, the pomp and circumstance, before delivering the pummeling.
So we have some live pictures from the streets of London. These are the protests that are popping up across the city. That, of course, is the baby Trump balloon, the blimp that is getting so much attention here. The president not in London. Chequers, where he is right now, is about 40 miles outside the city.
Want to bring in CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. He is live underneath that balloon with the crowds in Parliament Square.
Nick, what are you seeing?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's beginning to get going here, really. And what's key is that that balloon behind me has about on a 25-minute permission to be up in the skies. That permission was granted by London Mayor Sadiq Khan for a short window, and it caused Donald Trump to say in that interview with "The Sun" that he, quote, "feels unwelcome" and criticized the London mayor's stance on immigration, crime, you name it. Things he doesn't actually decide as London mayor, but still perceived in Trump's to be a weak spot.
I should point out next to me here, overheating slightly in his gorilla suit, is another likeness of Donald Trump. This isn't allowed, actually, on Abington Green behind mem itself, because it doesn't have permission as a protest.
[06:05:00] But still, regardless, the fact that we have two mocking images of Donald Trump here, the closeness that he or a likeness of him is going to get to Parliament, is extraordinary telling, John, because this is normally a place on lockdown for U.S. sitting presidents. To be able to move around and see Buckingham Palace and Parliament.
Instead, quite the opposite. He's not even remotely touching central London, apart from that U.S. ambassadorial resident in Regent's Park, where he touched down briefly yesterday afternoon and is going to overnight -- or overnighted yesterday. So remarkable change in the dynamic here.
And we saw two of the aircraft, the Osprey half-helicopter, half- planes that are ferrying his entourage around, fly over Parliament. You couldn't get a more stark contrast, frankly. The distance between the city, it's possibly going to erupt in protests in the hours ahead.
Now tens of thousands of people, the occasional spotted presence of pro-Trump supporters. There's two shirtless, tattooed men back there with a lady, expressing their pro-Trump views. Some people do find this display of a sitting U.S. president as a baby in a diaper to be disrespectful of the office, but still regardless, a busy day here on the streets. Police hoping it will remain calm.
Back to you.
BERMAN: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, underneath that baby Trump balloon in Parliament Square, not far from where I am right now. Nick, thanks so much.
Joining me now is Matthew Doyle. He was the political director for former British prime minister, Tony Blair. Also with me, CNN chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour.
And just moments ago, Christiane interviewed the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, very much at the center of this morning's controversy. We'll get to that in a moment.
But Christiane, I just want to make sure that our international audience and our American audience understand the significance of what I'm holding in my hands right now. This interview, which the president gave on Wednesday in Brussels, right, it was supposed to -- they thought it was going to be released today, but this hit like a giant political explosion here.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: For all the reasons you said. It's owned by Trump's friend, a very pro-Brexiter, pro-Trumper. He looks like he's got his talking points from Boris Johnson, all of that kind of thing.
But you're absolutely right. Look, we've already established that President Trump is not on the normal spectrum of diplomacy and -- and what foreign leaders do to each other and how they treat each other.
So just the fact that he gave that interview ahead of his visit, you know, briefing against the chief ally, right? The special relationship, if we still believe in that, briefing against the special relationship. Briefing against the major of London, with whom he's had a long-running feud, ever since he, as a candidate, said he would ban all Muslims from coming into the United States.
So that's the sort of context.
But I would say he's nothing if not consistent. He has upended both meetings. He arrived to the NATO meeting with this very unexpected full-frontal assault on Angela Merkel and Germany. Captive, controlled by Russia. That was just unprecedented language for every reason. And now he's doing the same thing with Theresa May.
Who knows? It may end up just fine in the end. They may chat to each other and come out and have a joint press conference, and it may be just fine. But those are his views. He is very concerned about a different colored reality in America and Europe. We have demographic realities. We have people who are not like back to the old times. It's not just a majority-white nation or world any more, and he's -- he's mourning that. You can see what he said to the "The Sun."
BERMAN: I want to talk about that in just a second, because I think those words are very, very important and notable. But I want to stick to Theresa May, if I can, for a moment. You said we don't know what we're going to see. Maybe they will come out, hand in hand, all smiles. I kind of doubt it, Matthew Doyle.
And the arrival at Chequers. We believe the president has arrived at Chequers. We thought that was going to be a public, for-camera moment, but they didn't show us pictures. And I don't know if that is because they wanted to perhaps hide the grimace that she might have been delivering.
MATTHEW DOYLE, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR FORMER PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: I mean, it's certainly unusual to have an arrival like that be off camera. Normally, that's one of your bog (ph) standard pictures that you'd expect to get on any trip like this.
I think the hope for Theresa May is that we're seeing is Donald Trump in his kind of role where he personifies both bad cop and good cop at the same time. So he's coming now like a wrecking ball before the trip to basically smash things up. And then he'll have the meeting with Theresa May and come out and say, "Oh, Theresa May has persuaded me that, actually, Britain is on the right path, and there's the potential for a deal."
I'm skeptical about that, to be honest, given the strength of the remarks that, even for him, it's hard for him to walk back from. And what's so incredible about this trip is that it does look like his script isn't being written by the National Security Council, the White House or by the State Department. His script is being written by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. These are precisely the domestic criticisms that Theresa May fears the most, in terms of attacking her Brexit plans and them not being able to deliver the sort of trade deals that people wanted.
BERMAN: Inside "The Sun" article, one of the things it does note by the writer there is that they didn't feel that the president listened to anyone anyway. It wasn't as if he was listening to his advisers. He did what he wanted, said what he wanted. He acted like an emperor, it says in this article. Brushing away Sarah Sanders when she said the interview was over. It was supposed to be ten minutes, ended up going 28. Fascinating.
[06:10:04] So Christiane, you spoke to Sadiq Khan.
AMANPOUR: I did. BERMAN: The mayor of London here. The president directly criticized him for what he considers crime and terrorism in London. But Sadiq Khan, the mayor, also directly addressed this confrontational approach the president has taken to Theresa May.
AMANPOUR: He did. He talked -- I mean, I specifically put to him, "How did you feel when you saw this today? And here is, coming to your city, sort of bypassing it, and he's going to meet the prime minister. She may be in a different political party, but nonetheless, what do you think of it?" This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: I think a lot of us were surprised, not just in relation to the timing but what he said during the interview. I went to bed last night, knowing there's this interview in "The Sun" and woke up to read the interview, and it must have been a very difficult evening for Prime Minister May at the dinner she had with him last night.
But I think some of the things he said during the interview will cause upset to militant (ph) and will explain, I suspect, why many Londoners -- and by the way, they include Londoners who are Americans -- will be protesting today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So he talked about that, but he did actually refer to the blimp and the baby, and this and that and the protests, as well. And when we asked about it, when I asked him, "Do you think it's disrespectful to the office? Why did you give them permission?" he said, "Look, we have a history. We're a democracy. We have a history of political protest. This is a political protest. Can you imagine," he said to me, "cancelling a political protest in New York, or Chicago, or San Francisco, or any such place?" And of course, reminded me that when President Bush came here, during the Iraq War, big protests. President Reagan, during the, you know, height of the antagonism during the Cold War, and wanting to put nuclear missiles in Britain and elsewhere, there were big protests.
But as he said, they weren't as thin-skinned and they, nonetheless, still came to the capital city.
BERMAN: I'm just getting updates, Matthew, in my ear about some of the things we understand the president has been saying so far this morning. He's at Sandhurst, which is the royal military academy. He visited there first before -- look at the troops before going to Chequers. And I understand he said things along the lines of "This special relationship is strong. The United States' relationship with the U.K. continues to be strong, and we look forward to having a meeting on a number of issues, including trade." And, I think, trying to make it clear that "Everything is normal. Nothing to see here, move along."
DOYLE: "It's all fine, you know. Yes, Theresa May is my best friend" and so on. But this is part of the problem with the special relationship. Partly
in the nature of the world today, no one country has a special relationship with another. America has strategic relationships all around the world, and rightly so. And sometimes this kind of obsession with a special relationship can be somewhat distracting as a -- as a piece of rhetoric.
But where it matters and where it comes into conflict is this is, essentially, an alliance of people and values that goes over generations. And what -- where it goes wrong is when it looks like there is a clash of the ideology and it becomes about the individuals that are concerned. I think that's why you're going to see so many Londoners protesting on the streets today.
And if my Facebook feed is anything to go by, it's not the usual suspects who will be going to these protests today, but people who normally wouldn't go on a sort of political protest, precisely because -- and Christiane was very diplomatic in her language, but you know, to be blunt, there are people in this country do regard the president's rhetoric as being racist and Islamophobic, in the way that he talks about the mayor individually but also what's happening in Europe as a whole.
BERMAN: Let's talk about that. And if we can, I want to play you the sound of what he said again, just so we fully understand what he's talking about here. When he says that "Europe, you are losing your culture." Listen to the president's statement there, first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think what's happened to Europe is a shame. I think the immigration, allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe. And unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was, and I don't mean that in a positive way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: "You're changing the culture of Europe, changing the fabric of Europe." Think about what that language is reminiscent of. Think about what he is saying and who he is saying it to, when the mayor of London is someone named Sadiq Khan; when the home secretary here is named Sajid Javid, who is -- his parents came from Pakistan.
So you talked about this with the London mayor.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and of course, he does, too. He is of Pakistan origin, but he you know, raised, born here and all the rest of it. In fact, when he went to Pakistan, and some snarky British journalist said, "Hey, Mayor, how's it feel to be home?" he said, "Home is in Tooting, mate." South London, you know.
I mean, let's be -- let's call a spade a spade. But I did talk to him about this. Remember, Sadiq Khan is the first ever elected Muslim mayor of London, the most prominent elected Muslim in western Europe, frankly, and all of this started around that time. So I asked him about precisely this statement that President Trump
made to "The Sun."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHAN: He's linking increased crime with increased immigration to Europe, having no evidential basis for that. But secondly, I'm not responsible for immigration policies across Europe, or even, indeed, in that country or city. In London and across the country, the U.K. government, Theresa May, is responsible for immigration in the U.K. And across Europe is, of course, the E.U. individual countries that are in the European Union.
[06:15:09] And so I'm unclear why he singled me out in relation to his concerns around immigration. I'll say this, though. Immigration has been a source of huge benefits to our city and our country, economically, socially and culturally. By that, I include Americans, who make our city the greatest city in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So there it was, you know, answering this thing by President Trump who said, you know, "He's been a bad mayor. He's been soft on terror. The crime has gone up," you know, et cetera.
I think it's really important, because we're CNN, we're facts first.
AMANPOUR: And it's important to know that many of the accusations President Trump makes about migration and crime are, in fact, not true. What he said about Angela Merkel a couple of weeks ago and that her immigration policies had caused crime to rocket in Germany is factually incorrect. I mean, it's down by 5 percent. It's factually incorrect. And the same here.
BERMAN: I just want to say, when you say, "You are changing the culture of a place, changing the fabric of the place" --
AMANPOUR: Well, you know what that means. It's very ugly.
BERMAN: That is a dog whistle, Matthew. You are saying --
DOYLE: Well, it's not just a dog whistle, it's a full-on alarm call. I mean, this is like the sort of language that we thought had gone from our politics. And that's why, as I say, I think so many Brits are troubled about the way in which --
BERMAN: I just want to say, this apparently is tape that we are now seeing of the president's arrival at Chequers from moments ago. That will be playing. Continue.
DOYLE: And I think -- look, the British people are a pragmatic people. We see that in the polling when it comes to the trip. They understand the need for us to have a relationship with America that is based on trade, that is based on the values that we share. What they can't stand and what the polling is clear is any sense that
we are honoring this individual, this particular president, with the red-carpet treatment. And in particular, the numbers show that people are not happy that he's getting the treatment and meeting the queen today at Windsor Castle.
BERMAN: Again, when I hear, you know, "losing your culture, changing the fabric" -- people may agree with this -- I just want to note that it's not dissimilar to rhetoric you have heard over the centuries with all different kinds of immigrants.
AMANPOUR: And it will be a very --
BERMAN: Hang on one second here. I do want to note that President Trump and Theresa May, they did meet face to face, and we did get a picture. I just want to say, we were getting incorrect reporting on that. This is the picture of the arrival at Chequers from moments ago. There are little mumbles, exchanging a few words and a handshake there before they go in for their bilateral meeting.
AMANPOUR: And she did get a heads up, we understand, about this at the dinner last night.
BERMAN: Well, what we were told is that Sarah Sanders alerted the prime minister's office that there was an interview, but it isn't clear in any way that they gave them an accurate depiction of the problems it would cause. "Yes, we gave an interview. We talked about the president's stances." But I don't know that they said, "By the way, we gave a somewhat tacit endorsement of Boris Johnson who just quit your cabinet."
DOYLE: So I spoke to Tom Newton Dunn this morning, who deserves credit for the interview that he did and the answers that he managed to get out of the president.
And normally, interviews like this by a president coming into Britain's best-read tabloid, "The Sun," is not unusual. You would not expect the U.. president to do that.
However, normally such interviews would be part of the plan. They would be jointly facilitated with the No. 10 press office. In this case, none of that happened. And this was an interview that was done unilaterally between "The Sun" --
BERMAN: Hang on one second. Hang on one second. Again, this is actually a photo-op prior to their bilateral meeting, and I think we're going to hear them in a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you had a chance to talk about the interview this morning?
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) (END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I can't hear what she is saying. Can you tell me?
TRUMP: And I worked very hard in NATO. They were an incredible two days. It has never been more united. People are paying. We are two of the five that are totally paid up, but others are coming along rapidly, I think. It was a very, very productive two days. And we arrived here last night, and we had a dinner where I think we probably have developed a better relationship. We spoke for an hour of an hour and a half, and it was really something.
And today we're talking trade. We're talking military. We just looked at some incredible antiterrorism things that are being done here in junction with the United States.
[06:20:17] And the relationship is very, very strong. We really have a very good relationship. And I think we're going to do a news conference in a little while, so we'll answer your questions then. And right now we're going to be talking about some other things that are taking place in the Middle East and elsewhere. OK?
Thank you all very much. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, you just saw the British prime minister, Theresa May, and the U.S. president, Donald Trump, prior to their bilateral meeting. This was the first time they had a chance to be face to face since the explosive interview the president with the British tabloid, "The Sun." We had a little bit of a difficult time hearing exactly what they are saying.
However, they talked about the fact they've had good meetings over the last few days on NATO but did not seem to directly address this interview, which is highly controversial and will create problems for the British prime minister.
Joined again by our White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, who got a little bit more clear of a read out about exactly what those words were -- Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Yes, John, you hear the president there saying that the relationship between the United States and the U.K. is very strong. That's pretty stunning, given the interview the president had last night that dropped that really shocked all of London, criticizing Theresa May, the woman sitting next to him just there, over her Brexit plan, saying that she didn't listen to him, that he wouldn't have executed it the way that she has proposed.
So quite stunning to hear them say that their relationship is strong. And it's the first time we are seeing those two leaders interact since this stunning interview came out, where the president completely undercut Theresa May here on her own turf in London. They are in that meeting as they were getting started their day of
meetings, where they're going to have a working lunch and a joint press conference. We are told by reporters who were in the room that they did ask the president about those comments he made in that British tabloid.
He didn't answer, instead telling the pool, "Thank you," essentially a signal for them to leave the room. But they were asked about it, and you saw the two of them, their body language as they were sitting there.
Certainly, the -- what we are told by diplomats here is that, really, British -- British officials have been reeling since that interview dropped last night, where not only did the president criticize Theresa May, saying that her plan for Brexit was poorly -- going to be poorly executed, which is essentially the worst thing you could say about her, because she is in a very politically weak state right now. But he also praised her arch rival, Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary who resigned in protest of her Brexit plan.
So certainly, going to be quite an awkward day for the two of them. But that was the first interaction we had seen of those two leaders since those comments were made and that interview was published late last night, John.
BERMAN: All right. Kaitlan Collins for us, helping understand what we just saw and heard. What we saw was maybe a little bit of an awkward first meeting since the article came out between the British prime minister and the president.
Christiane Amanpour, the president says this relationship has never been stronger. Is it stronger than it was before that article was published?
AMANPOUR: Look, the relationship -- look, the two nations, yes, if you go onto the ground, if you see what they're doing -- militaries, and NATO, and this and that, trade is happening, all of the rest of it. But look, the personalities also make a difference.
I will say, being a woman myself and having a certain E.Q., I noticed that the prime minister was actually trying to make the president feel comfortable. He was standing there feeling -- I don't know what he was feeling, but he was very rigid, and she was actually looking to him, trying to make him feel comfortable, even though what he had made, what most people believe is a massive diplomatic faux pas.
Ad you know, we'll have these talks, and we'll see where it goes. It is very critical for this country, which is why even people who disagree with this president say we cannot ban him from coming to the country.
BERMAN: And Matthew, we brought up in jest yesterday when we were just talking, well, will she pull the Hugh Grant moment from "Love, Actually." We may play that later in the show. But for people who don't remember, in this fictional movie, he plays the British prime minister and, during a news conference, directly confronts a U.S. president, and I think it's become a moment that a lot of people in the United Kingdom feel like they would like to see in reality.
DOYLE: Sure. I remember that very distinctly, not least because the movie came out when I was working at Downing Street, and you had the relationship between Tony Blair and George W. Bush. And of course, there's a desire from certain parts of the public to see you stand up and have that moment.
But of course, the question then comes up after it, "And then what?" You can have your moment in a movie, but in real life, diplomacy does go on. And that's the hard part.
[06:25:04] To be fair to the prime minister in this situation, whatever you think of Donald Trump personally, there are a number of issues, if you look across the world, where the relationship with the United States is vitally important in terms of trying to make progress on those. Look at the fact that she is going to be the last world leader to speak to him before he goes off to his meeting with President Putin. That's actually a good position for the U.K. to be in to try and exert some influence. And that role is traditionally played as a bridge between America and Europe.
BERMAN: And you pointed out to me, Matthew, that a majority of British citizens want those two in that room having that meeting right now, even if thousands of people are out protesting on the streets and even if the president just made that meeting a lot more complicated by this interview he just gave.
Matthew Doyle, Christiane Amanpour, a lot more to discuss over the course of this morning.
Alisyn, I'm going to go back to you. The president and the prime minister, they are in that room for a while now with a lot to discuss, and perhaps even more to discuss, more delicately than they had anticipated.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, if you thought that there was drama in the U.K. in the last 24 hours and what you're watching over there, you should have been on Capitol Hill. The political spectacle that played out during this Peter Strzok open hearing, we will play you the highlights and the low lights, and get analysis from Maggie Haberman, next.
CAMEROTA: So looking ahead, embattled former FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, is expected to meet with members of Congress today behind closed doors. Now, yesterday was a different story. Yesterday, the FBI agent, Peter Strzok, and Republicans clashed in this epic, very public heated House hearing.
CNN's Evan Perez is live for us with the recap in Washington.