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Trump Meets with U.K. Prime Minister After Attacking Her; London Protestors Gather as Trump Meets with P.M.; FBI Agent Behind Anti-Trump Texts, House GOP Clash in Fiery Hearing. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 13, 2018 - 07:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[07:00:04] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm John Berman, live in London this morning, Alisyn in New York.

President Trump, he set off a political explosion here in the United Kingdom, slamming the British prime minister, Theresa May, in this tabloid interview that published minutes after having dinner with her last night at a palace. She rolled out the red carpet; he pulled it out from right underneath her.

At this moment, they are meeting behind closed doors, this bilateral meeting. You're looking at pictures from just moments ago. The president doesn't look all that comfortable as he was dealing with the prime minister, who maybe tried to ease the tension just a little bit.

The president insists that the U.S. relationship with the U.K. is very, very strong. They are meeting at this moment, talking about military issues, he says, and trade.

It comes after this extraordinary interview -- I have it right here -- in a British tabloid, "The Sun," owned, not coincidentally, by the president's friend Rupert Murdoch, where the president directly undermined the position of Theresa May at a moment when her position hangs very much in the balance.

The president criticized the way the prime minister is trying to remove 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, gushing praise on May's chief political rival, saying that Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.

The president ripped into London's mayor for his stance on immigration. He said Europe is losing its culture. "Losing its culture," reminiscent of some words we've heard before, historically speaking. The president also complained about feeling unwelcome in London because of all the protests that we are seeing on the streets, some of them taking place at this moment.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who has been following the president across Europe. She is live for us now in London -- Kaitlan. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, I can't

understate [SIC] what this interview is like and the effect that it is having here in London and on this relationship between the president and the prime minister, Theresa May.

You just don't do something like this, where you go to a country where you are being hosted, as President Trump is being hosted by the prime minister here, and completely has undercut her with a stunning interview that dropped last night that the White House thought was going to be publishing today, not last night, shortly after the president finished a dinner with Theresa May, where he said that they spoke for nearly an hour and a half.

In this stunning interview, the president criticizing her plan for Brexit, saying she didn't listen to his advice. Doing that while praising her political rival, Boris Johnson, who resigned from the cabinet this week.

Several stunning remarks in this interview. Also that one about the potential of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal, throwing cold water on it. That is something Theresa May was really counting on.

But listen to how stunning these comments are from the president about Theresa May's plan for Brexit.


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 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'm just saying I think he'd be a great prime minister.


COLLINS: So the president there saying he's not pitting Theresa May against each Johnson, but that Johnson would be really good at Theresa May's job. So that harsh criticism there, John.

But also, the president said this about immigration in Europe.


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.


COLLINS: Now, John, Theresa May and Donald Trump just came face to face for the first time since this interview dropped, this interview that we are told by sources has British officials reeling. They were sitting there, the president stressing the U.K. and the U.S. have a very good relationship, despite the fact that he undercut her completely in this interview.

But when the president was asked by the American reporters in the room if he regretted the comments he made during that interview or if he believed that Boris Johnson should take Theresa May's job as prime minister, the president didn't answer but looked visibly annoyed, rolled his eyes, shook his head a little bit, John. Clearly, the president not wanting to comment on this when he was sitting there face to face with Theresa May.

BERMAN: Yes. He won't be able to avoid it, Kaitlan, a little bit later. We've seen the lecterns being set up. They're going to hold a joint news conference after this meeting. And the British press nor the U.S. press will let this one slide. It will be very interesting to see how the president responds.

[07:05:07] You're looking at live pictures. You know what? They're sweeping up -- they're sweeping up the stage right now. Perhaps they'll be sweeping up the mess after, as well.

On the streets here in London, there are protests, protesting the president's visit earlier this morning. That balloon mocking the president flew above the city. Our Nick Paton Walsh live with the crowds in Parliament Square -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, important to remember that this is right next to the houses of Parliament where you would normally expect the focus of a U.S. sitting president to actually have his visit, in the guided hands of the prime minister. Instead there they are, far out of the capital city. And instead is a satirical likeness -- or was a satirical likeness of Donald Trump, an inflatable version of him as a baby in a diaper, clutching a mobile phone. That was only allowed up for two hours here, by permission from the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.

That led Donald Trump to refer to how he felt, quote, "unwelcome" in London and criticized Sadiq Khan's record on immigration, crime, terrorism, things that have nothing to do with his job, in charge of the local authority here. That's central government issue.

But for those of you who are getting accustomed to the sight of it, there will be a smaller version, we understand, returning in the hours ahead, which can stay up here longer.

And the day is just getting underway here. There are stages being erected. There are people expressing their displeasure in all sorts of creative ways. A police tape with expletives across it, various stickers, someone dressed as Charlie Chaplin, someone in a Trump mask and a gorilla suit, as well. But it is towards this area of Central London that we'll start seeing tens of thousands of protestors move in the hours ahead as that political turmoil just heats up outside of Central London -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Parliament Square. Nick, thanks very much. We're going to keep our eye on the protests.

The president also attacked London's mayor in that tabloid interview with "The Sun," blaming him for terror attacks in the city. Now Sadiq Khan, the mayor, is fighting back.

Our chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour, spoke with the mayor earlier. She joins me now.

And you, Christiane, had a chance to ask the mayor, and the mayor has been going back and forth with Trump from before the time he was president about what it's like and how to choose to stand up to him.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, I think so. Look, the mayor has -- has responded to what President Trump has been doing. He told me, "It takes two to tango to have a feud. I don't have a feud with him. He has a feud with me," he said about Trump.

Because Trump talked about banning Muslims. Trump talked about blaming Sadiq Khan for some of the terror violence. You know, we've lost dozens of people over the last year in four major terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, and he said this is not something to be playing politics with.

And so he -- he's written a newspaper article saying that "When we have the special relationship, we have to be able to be honest and talk about a special relationship and what makes it special and be honest with our best friends."

So I asked him, you know, there are very few leaders who, when criticized and tweeted against by Trump, actually respond. They tend to do the flatter and appease label, and that's not what Sadiq does. So this is what he told me about that.


AMANPOUR: Do you feel that you're one of the few public officials who actually does speak up for those values? I mean, NATO leaders have been berated. G-7 allies have been berated. None of them really speak out.

SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: I just think, you know, we shouldn't cower to people whose views we disagree with, particularly if they're close mates. I wouldn't dream of being scared to express to my best friend my views about something he or she was doing that I disagreed with.

Similarly, I don't understand why our prime minister and others across the world are afraid to say to President Trump, "You know what? We agree with you on many, many things, but we think you're wrong on this. This is why we think you're wrong." And I think it's important more of us are courageous.


AMANPOUR: Yes, and you know, he's also responding to this newspaper where President Trump really singled out Sadiq Khan and accused him of his migration policy upping the crime here in London. And Sadiq Khan said, "First of all, it's not my migration policy. The U.S. -- the U.K. government's. And our crime is not up."

BERMAN: All right. I want to bring in Ian Bremmer into this discussion, editor at large at "TIME" magazine.

Ian, thanks so much for being with us.

The big picture here-- and again, I want to make sure people understand -- now, and the big picture here, what a firestorm this newspaper article, this interview has caused overnight directly undermining the British prime minister, whom the president is behind closed doors with right now.

Ian, you've been looking at this relationship over the last few days and this interview. And you say something pretty stark. You say there is no special relationship anymore. What do you mean?

IAN BREMMER, EDITOR AT LARGE, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, I mean, clearly, it's not relevant to the Trump administration and to President Trump. I mean, his interest in maintaining any sort of decorum with key allies, including the United Kingdom, has been effectively zero.

Pretty much every major policy on foreign policy that he's taken over the course of has been opposed by the U.K., whether it's leaving the Paris climate deal or whether it's unilaterally leaving the Iran deal or the way he's engaged on NATO.

[17:10:05] Most recently, of course, the way he's showing up to Prime Minister May hosting him on the worst week that she's had as prime minister thus far. I mean, literally, losing members of her cabinet, and of course, facing the England loss from the World Cup, which doesn't matter here in the United States very much, but my God, everyone is talking about it there in London.

BERMAN: Right.

BREMMER: Then to pile on and say, "Actually, I really like Boris Johnson. I might meet with him while I'm there. He'd be a great prime minister. And this deal that you're talking about, working trade with the U.S., by the way, is not relevant today or near term at all. The U.K. can't begin to negotiate it until after they actually formally exit, which is a ways off. They don't have the trade capabilities in terms of negotiation to do it."

So it's not like anyone really needs to talk about this issue. This was gratuitous on the part of President Trump to jump all over an E.U. that he doesn't like, that he feels constrains the United States, and a Brexit that he wants to be as hard as possible, supporting folks like Johnson and Nigel Farage, the former head of the U.K. Independence Party.

BERMAN: Yes, I guess this is not pouring salt in a wound, Christiane. It's, you know, dumping a salt mine all over a wound, to an extent.

AMANPOUR: Well, I think it is, and I think what Ian Bremmer said is actually very, very apt. At the very beginning, he said this sort of special relationship is kind of irrelevant. And I know that in the corridors of power in Washington, in the halls of diplomacy, unfortunately, Britain made a choice to pulled itself out of a major alliance, the E.U., which together make a very, very strong block.

And unfortunately, Britain's capital has decreased since then. Its weight not as hefty as it used to be. And Britain always used to be punching above its weigh, but now it's going to be punching below its weight because of isolating itself from the other big block, which is the E.U. that underpins the western democracy. So I think that's a real problem.

And then, of course, when it comes to Boris, you know, Boris Johnson has been accused by many now in his own party of caring only about himself, of having no judgment, no scruples and no conscience. And one correspondent wrote in "The New York Times" that his allies are saying the weight of history is going to come collapsing down and bury him.

BERMAN: I mean, it's interesting. Just -- the parallel would be as if someone came to the United States, a foreign leader, and said, "Hey, Marco Rubio, he'd make a great president. I'd love to see Marco Rubio president, Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton." That's sort of what President Trump just did --


BERMAN: -- with Boris Johnson.

Ian, I want to talk about immigration, if I can, and not just immigration but statements that President Trump made about the fabric of Europe. He said that Europe is losing its culture. And let me just play it again -- it's just 17 seconds -- right now. Because I want this to sink in for people.


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.


BERMAN: This is the language in -- of the far right. And I'm not even sure that some of the far right would go this far. Marine Le Pen in France might be more careful in saying those things.

The phrase "losing its culture" seems to me to mean very specific -- it harkens back to some language that has been very damaging in European history.

BREMMER: I think Marine Le Pen would be very comfortable with that language. Donald Trump is the one modern president that I've ever seen, when he talks about "my people," he's not talking about all Americans. He's not talking about black Americans. He's talking about Trump supporters. And he's more than willing to couch that, when useful, in identity politics terms.

You're absolutely right that this hearkens back to unfortunate periods in European history, but it also points to the momentum politically today. If you ask who is momentum with right now, Theresa May or Donald Trump, it's Trump.

Let's be very clear. Trump's popularity ratings in the United States right now are higher than May's. They're higher than Macron's in France. They're higher than Merkel's in Germany. They're only lower than President Putin's in Russia, not exactly a democracy.

And the willingness to actually bait on saying, "You are ruining European values, because you're letting all these Muslims in, these dark people who won't integrate. There are whole parts of your cities that didn't even exist before, that are no-go zones, that exist now and didn't before. That's not OK."

That's "The Sun" readership in the U.K. They love it. That's absolutely what you saw in making Merkel much weaker in her recent elections, why the alternatives for Deutschland have done so well. It's why Italy now has a government that is quite excited about Donald Trump, and their new prime minister, coming to the White House, is absolutely going to be on board, because he won on this anti-migrant message. He said, "Close down all the ports. No more Libyans coming in."

[07:15:00] BERMAN: The president says there are people in Britain who support him. He says there are a lot of --

AMANPOUR: Well, of course there are people who support him, and they are the Farage, hard Brexiters, the Boris Johnsoners. There are people who support him. There are precisely the people that Ian Bremmer references who support him. This is what happened with Brexit. It was, to a large extent, an anti-immigrant vote, as was happened in the United States.

If you look at the U. Penn study, it was about wanting to keep the U.S., as Trump says, what it used to be: white, Christian-dominant. And the really important thing we have to say, because what Bremmer brings up is really important, that this is the dog whistle tribal identity politics that are winning today.

But the facts don't support the -- the rallying cry that Muslims or immigrants create more crime or disunity or ruin a culture. In the United States it's not true. Those areas that are dominant migrant are lower on crime. In Germany it's not true. Here it's not true. So we have to be clear about the facts and the politics that is going on around migration. That's the poison, is the politics not the facts.

BERMAN: And it's interesting when the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the home secretary, also the child of immigrants, a very direct comment about what is happening in this country.

Ian Bremmer, thank you so much for being with us.

Christiane, to you, as well.

Alisyn, it is very fascinating to see here this morning and see it all play out, particularly with the president and prime minister behind closed doors. Very curious to see how friendly they are when they walk out of this meeting.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, indeed, it will be. It's great to have you on the ground. And I see your drama, and I raise you drama, John Berman, because beyond all of the epic, incendiary grandstanding that went on during this House hearing between the FBI agent Peter Strzok and lawmakers, what did he actually reveal about what the FBI knew during this Russia investigation? We'll tell you, coming up.


[07:20:46] CAMEROTA: All right, so it was a very fiery hearing involving FBI Peter Strzok, whose anti-Trump text messages had GOP congressmen taking him to task. Watch this.


REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Your testimony is Bob Mueller did not kick you off because of the content of your texts. He kicked you off because of some appearance that he was worried about?

PETER STRZOK, FBI AGENT: My testimony, what you asked and what I responded to, was that he kicked me off because of my bias. I'm stating to you it is not my understanding that he kicked me off any because of any bias; that it was done based on the appearance. If you want to represent what you said accurately, I'm happy to answer that question, but I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed.

GOWDY: I don't give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok. I don't appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations during 2016.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now to discuss this and more, we have Senator Ben Cardin. He's a top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator, thanks so much for being here.

So that was the grandstand -- well, that was some of the fiery exchanges. We also saw grandstanding yesterday during this hearing. It was extremely fiery. Yet there was also substance. And so let me play for you a portion of the moment where Peter Strzok explains, basically, the predicate for why they opened an investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign. Here is that moment.


STRZOK: The information we had, which was alleging a Russian offer of assistance to a member of the Trump's -- Trump campaign, was of extraordinary significance. It was credible. It was from an extraordinarily sensitive and credible source.


CAMEROTA: OK, there was a lot that he couldn't say, but Senator, what did you hear at this hearing? What did we learn from it?

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Alisyn, this was clearly a show put on by the Republicans.

Mr. Strzok has certain views. That's -- he was very open about that. The question is not his personal political views. It's how it -- how it affected his responsibilities as an FBI agent, and there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that it affected his way of participating in the information. In fact, none of that was made available before the election, so if he was interesting in affecting the Trump campaign, clearly, he didn't -- that didn't happen.

So I think we're really being distracted by this hearing, and I think that was probably the main purpose: to try to raise questions again about the Mueller investigation, rather than having any substance at the hearing itself.

CAMEROTA: That point came out so loud and clear yesterday. Where, yes, he clearly had personal bias. The text messages revealed that in, you know -- in a stunning way. But he never told anybody or disclosed or leaked that they were investigating the Trump campaign.

And yet -- and of course, you could argue because the public knew that there was an investigation into the Hillary Clinton campaign, that that was, in some measure -- helped President Trump win.

And so the -- but your Republican colleagues seem to be -- I mean, if yesterday is any example -- more focused on investigating the FBI than looking into what the FBI is investigating.

CARDIN: Well, they're trying to distract from the investigation itself or discredit the investigation rather than dealing with any substance.

We all bring our own views and biases into our work. That's normal. If it interferes with our judgment, that's a different matter, or if it interferes with our official work, that's a different matter. But there's no evidence that Mr. Strzok did anything to compromise the investigation itself.

CAMEROTA: OK. You wrote a letter to President Trump last night. Can you share with us what it said?

CARDIN: Well, it was to remind President Trump that I issued a report six months ago on behalf of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that outlined all the ways that Mr. Putin has used weapons against democracies, in Europe and in the United States. He's not our friend. He is trying to compromise our system of government.

It was basically to tell Mr. Trump that when you meet Mr. Putin, make it clear that you cannot tolerate that type of action against America: the attack on our free election systems, the way that he interfered in Europe.

[07:25:14] And yet, we lead up to this meeting, we've seen Mr. Trump really giving our allies so much problems and the way that he handled the NATO summit now in U.K., and he embraces Mr. Putin.

So it's really a warning to the president: please look at the facts and understand that -- that our friends are our European friends, and Mr. Putin is not our friend.

CAMEROTA: It's an open question, obviously, of what President Trump will talk about with Vladimir Putin or what message he will deliver to him. One of the reporters from Reuters asked the president yesterday about what might be possible and what President Trump might agree to when he's in the presence of Putin. So listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this follow-up to the NATO meeting today, will you suggest to him or would you consider stopping military exercises in the Baltic states, if that's something that he requests?

TRUMP: Well, perhaps we'll talk about that.


CAMEROTA: Senator, what will come out of this meeting with Putin?

CARDIN: Well, Alisyn, that has me worried. Of course, I'm also worried that there's going to be just a one-on-one meeting. I'm worried that he'll make concessions in regards to the Ukraine and Crimea. I'm worried that he'll make concessions in regards to the security of NATO in the Baltic states.

All that is of major concern, that the president may very well give Mr. Putin certain assurances, and that would be extremely dangerous to our national security interests.

CAMEROTA: All right. We will see what happens. Senator Ben Cardin, thank you very much for your perspective on all of this.

So let's go back to the U.K., where John Berman is ably manning the station there, there watching all of the drama unfold from President Trump's visit -- John.

BERMAN: Indeed, all the drama from this bombshell interview he gave to a British tabloid, a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch. What is the impact? Can the British prime minister survive? We'll discuss. Fareed Zakaria joins us next.