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President Trump Meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May; President Trump Gives Interview to British Tabloid ahead of Meeting British Prime Minister; Protesters against President Trump March in London Streets. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired July 13, 2018 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday, July 13th, 8:00 in New York. That is where Alisyn Camerota is. I'm in London. I can't do math so I don't know what time it is here, but the president of the United States, President Donald Trump, off to a political explosion here, slamming the British prime minister in this tabloid interview that published minutes after he had dinner with her last night at Blenheim Palace. She rolled out the red carpet, he pulled it out from underneath her.
The president and prime minister are behind closed doors at this moment. This is the photo opportunity they had at the beginning of their meeting. They're sort of acting like nothing happened with this tabloid interview, but the president does look a bit uncomfortable and he refused to answer a direct question about the interview. We do expect to hear from the president and prime minister again very shortly. They will hold a joint press conference in just minutes. They will be asked, both of them, about the impact of the president's words.
This extraordinary interview with the British tabloid "The Sun," which we should note is owned 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 remove the United Kingdom from the European Union. He said he would do it differently. He said that she's not taking his advice.
What's more, the president heaped praise on the prime minister's chief political rival, saying that Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister. The president also ripped into London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, for his stance on immigration. He said Europe is losing its culture. Those are loaded words with historical significance.
So I just spoke with the reporter who interviewed the president. I spoke to him a few moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM NEWTON DUNN, "SUN" REPORTER WHO INTERVIEW PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't really think that the president wants to come here and bring Theresa May a wrapped hand grenade as his welcoming present, which is what he has certainly done. I think he was being honest. You guys know him better than we do. He talked straight and he answers a straight question. Most of the time perhaps not to CNN every now and then, but he is not a normal politician. He's refreshing. Our politicians talk in riddles most of the time when we ask them questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I do not think the British prime minister finds him refreshing this morning with that wrapped hand grenade. The president also said he feels unwelcome in London because of the public protests. Many of them are taking place as we speak. I want to begin our coverage with CNN's chief White House reporter Jim Acosta. He is at Checkers, the prime minister's country estate about 40 miles outside of London. Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, that's right. President Trump still making waves across Europe, making a big splash with this interview he gave the "Sun" newspaper. He criticized Theresa May's handling of Brexit, her approach for a soft Brexit, and questioned whether or not that would impact trade deals with the United States. He also, as you said, speculated about the possibility of Boris Johnson, the ex-foreign secretary, becoming prime minister.
It was fascinating to listen to some of these excerpts from the interview because they made such a huge splash across much of the U.K. One of the tabloids here in London said that the president's trip could be summed up this way, "The ego has landed." But listen to how the president spoke to the "Sun" newspaper about Theresa May and her handling of Brexit. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 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 with -- she didn't listen to me.
I think the deal she's striking is not what the people voted on. It's a much different deal than the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum.
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. I'm not pitting one against the other, I'm just saying I think he would be a great prime minister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now interestingly, we should point out, the president was asked about that interview that he gave "The Sun" newspaper when he was sitting next to the prime minister just before a bilateral meeting here at Checkers, and the president did not answer that question. He looked visibly irritated, sort of rolled his eyes and breathed out of his mouth with some disgust when he was asked the question about that.
But John, the president made some other explosive comments, as you mentioned, in this interview. On the subject of immigration, continuing to use some of the loaded language he uses back in the U.S. when talking about the immigration issue. He used similar language when talking about immigration coming into from other parts of the world. Here's what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:05:06] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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)
ACOSTA: And the president will obviously be asked about this we suspect at a joint news conference within the prime minister coming up within the next half hour or so. That is going to be what they call a two plus two press conference, so it should not be as wild and woolly as what we saw after the NATO summit in Brussels when the president took a number of questions from a whole slew of different reporters. We expect to have two questions from the foreign press -- I guess I should call us the foreign press, the American press, and two questions from the British press.
But John, getting back to the president's behavior and some of the comments he's been making, I should tell you, I've been talking to some British diplomatic sources over the last several days, and what they've been saying to me essentially is that the prime minister tries to look past some of the president's remarks when he makes these kinds of uncomfortable comments. They say they try to focus on the policies at stake and the special relationship that exists between the U.S. and U.K. and not so much the personalities.
Of course, Prime Minister Theresa May is on rough footing here in the U.K. when it comes to her political standing because of the way she's handled the Brexit deal. And so the president going in here, very uncharacteristically of an American president going to a foreign country and almost really meddling in the political affairs of that country. It will be interesting to see whether or not Theresa May breaks away from that typical British stiff upper lip and really lets us know what she thinks about the president's comments and behavior because they've had a whole load of it, as you might say, over the last couple days here over in Europe, John.
BERMAN: Jim Acosta at Checkers. Jim knows it's just two and two press conference, but the British press, they are on fire this morning over this interview, so rest assured there will be questions for both the president and prime minister on that.
I have some live pictures for you. These are protests on the streets of London. These are happening right now. Earlier this morning that balloon, which has received perhaps too much focus, disproportionate I think to its size, only 20 feet, it was flying. It was down now. It was only up for two hours. CNN's Erin McLaughlin live with the protesters on the streets of London. Erin?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. Let me move out of the way so you can see this scene. This is what organizers have called the carnival of resistance. This is the woman's march, marching through regent street, a main shopping center here in London. The women's march seen as the precursor to the larger march, the Stop Trump march, which is expected later today, organizers tell me that it's fitting that these marches begin with the women.
and as you can see, Londoners have gathered on the streets to see this march. People have come out of their workplaces, people have come out of their shops. There are tourists here. This is also -- right over that way is Piccadilly Circus. You can see crowds of people gathering just to take a look at this march.
And what they've been chanting is "London, make some noise" as they've been progressing down Regent Street. And really organizers tell me that their objective here is twofold, to send a message to President Trump that his policies are divisive and not welcome here, but also to send a message to British Prime Minister Theresa May to keep British values in mind when she sits down with Trump at the table today.
It's a whole cross section of people here, young and old from all over the United Kingdom. Some 35 groups involved. I've also talked to plenty of Americans including Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti. He told me he was invited by organizers here, that he's here to show Londoners that not all Americans feel the same way as Trump, that he doesn't speak for the entire country. So it seems that even some of the president's foes have followed him across the Atlantic, John.
BERMAN: The presence of Michael Avenatti perhaps the least surprising thing we've seen here in London. Erin McLaughlin on the streets of London where these protests are taking place at this moment.
Joining me now is Matthew Doyle, former political director for former British prime minister Tony Blair, and Nicholas Kristof, "New York Times" columnist. Nick, I want to start with you here. I had a chance to speak to the political editor of "The Sun," Tom Newton Dunn, who wrote this bombshell article. He used the metaphor it was a hand- wrapped grenade. You used the same metaphor. You say the president rolled a grenade into the office of the British prime minister.
[08:10:01] NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": That's right. I don't think it was wrapped at all. And essentially he's leaving rubble in London just as he left rubble at the NATO summit and earlier at the G-7 summit.
I think poor Prime Minister May is regretting that she ever thought it would be use to feel bring president Trump to London. She very carefully organized things so that he would not be subjecting to these protests that you just saw, and arranged this dinner at Blenheim, at Churchill's own childhood estate. And I think the idea was to compare Trump with Churchill. But the essence of Churchill's leadership was to try to preserve and protect that special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. And president Trump has just done the opposite.
And of course this sets up the summit with Putin in Helsinki because if one tries to think what Putin's aims are, then he's obviously very concerned about the benefits that the U.S. has from all these relationships, the security relationships, the trade relationships, and the special relationships with countries like Britain. And it seems to me this is very much serving -- this is Putin's dream to blow up these relationships.
BERMAN: The timing here is so very important. I should note if you look at Checkers right now, we have some live pictures, we see the two lecterns set up. We will hear from the president and the British prime minister very shortly. They will hold a joint news conference. They were both asked about this bombshell article that was published overnight. Neither wanted to discuss it. The president was conspicuously quiet about that, Matthew Doyle.
And just so our American audience understands, the positions that the president took overnight on Brexit, suggesting that it should be a hard Brexit, not a soft Brexit, and then suggesting that the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson would make a great prime minister, these are exactly what the prime minister did not want to hear.
MATTHEW DOYLE, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR, FOR PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: Correct. What President Trump has got is a script that is straight from Theresa May's domestic political opponents. The pressure that she's got from people particularly on the right of the conservative party who feel that ultimately she isn't delivering the sort of strong Brexit deal that people were promised in the referendum.
Of course there's a whole other debate about the definition of the Brexit referendum, and we can talk about how you do define what the public wanted in that referendum. And I think the problem is that fundamentally the deal that the public want is undeliverable, which is part of the problem Theresa May is coming across.
But let's be clear, this is not a normal intervention. This is an American president intervening in U.K. domestic politics. And the reason why you're going to see people who would otherwise champion the special relationship on the streets of London today is precisely because of the personal rhetoric of this president. It's not a reflection of people's views about America's nation. It is a reflection of what people regard as the misogynist rhetoric of this president in particular.
BERMAN: Nick, I want to ask you a question, because you say what the president did in Brussels, and that was with NATO, obviously that crucial international organization, what he's done here in the U.K. with the special relationship, it's taking an ax not just to these organizations, it's taking an ax to the entire post-World War II international order. That's your statement. I guess my question to you is, do the president and his supporters think it's time to swing that ax? KRISTOF: Yes, and I do think Oresident Trump is -- we have to look at
this larger pattern, that what is happening in Britain is part of this broader effort, I think by president Trump both vis-a-vis his domestic audience to criticize, to undermine these structures of the western alliance since the post -- since World War II, and also to raise real questions about U.S. support for them around the world.
And it's not just the special relationship with London. It's NATO which has been the bedrock of our security relations around the world for 69 years. It's trade, the World Trade Organization. It's the relationships with close allies like Canada, like Britain. And the basic question I think we have to ask is why can't President Trump show the same respect for Justin Trudeau or Angela Merkel or Prime Minister May as he does for Kim Jong-un or Vladimir Putin?
BERMAN: It's not just respect, it's deference. It seems to be at times actual deference, a very different way of treating Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un than the British Prime Minister Theresa May who he will be appearing with very shortly. And again if we can put that picture up so we can see the microphones. They're going to speak at this news conference very shortly. And there's a question about how the British prime minister should react. How do you react when a foreign leader, or the president of the United States in this case, undermines you and undermines your political position?
And Matthew, a lot of people in this country, a lot of movie fans in the United States think back to "Love Actually." You know, that famous rom-com where Hugh Grant plays the British prime minister and he takes on the U.S. president. I want to play a clip of it but there's a real point I want to make here, so let's just play it and watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGH GRANT, ACTOR, "LOVE ACTUALLY": A friend who bullies us is no longer a friend, and since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the president should be prepared for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Now you have heart palpitations when you see this because you actually worked for Tony Blair when this movie came out, and this was a bit of a commentary on him. But people who think they're going to see the prime minister walk out in a few minutes and stand side by side with President Trump and go all Hugh Grant on her, it's not going to happen.
MATTHEW DOYLE, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: It's not going to happen. There's a reason why it's a good movie and you don't see it in the real life because ultimately the question that always comes, and what next? Because otherwise you end up essentially doing exactly the same as President Trump. If we somehow say that we're pulling time on the -- calling time on the relationship with the United States, then where do you go next? The fact of the matter is that for all of our criticism of this
current president, the strategic relationship with the United States is vitally important not just to the UK but to so much of the Eastern world when it comes to those shared issues, whether you take anything from the Iran deal to Syria to relations with China to any number of questions that you could answer, and so the reason why ultimately the prime minister is going to have the frankly suck it up today and put a brave face on what is a pretty humiliating experience on the back of this interview is because this is a relationship that we still need to make work, although goodness knows how hard it's going to be.
BERMAN: Nick, I want you to put this in perspective for us right now because we've laid out what was said, we've laid out what is happening, what is going on with these relationships but what is at stake here? What do you see as the risk in the consequence of this over the next few days, months, or years?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, if you look at China and Russia, for example, then Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have some strengths but their great weakness is that they don't have a network of friends, of alliances around the world. They don't have institutions that support their efforts. And the great strength of the United States for the last 70 years has been that we do have those friendships, those alliances, and those institutions that allow us to reject influence and power around the world.
And the larger point here I think is that President Trump is undermining, in some cases perhaps rupturing, raising deep questions about those friendships, those alliances and those institutions. And the obvious question is so what happens next in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin?
BERMAN: All right. We're going to watch that very, very carefully.
Nick Kristof, great to have you with us. Matthew, thank you so much for being here.
Alisyn, I'm going to go back to you in New York.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, I don't know if I've mentioned this but there was this Peter Strzok hearing in front of the House committee yesterday and it was very heated and then one lawmaker got personal and everyone went bananas. So one of the lawmakers involved joins us next.
[08:22:15] CAMEROTA: FBI agent Peter Strzok and House Republicans met in public yesterday so Americans could see the fireworks in Technicolor. Then things got personal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: How many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lie to her about Lisa Page?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous.
GOHMERT: The credibility of a witness is always an issue --
REP. BONNIE COLEMAN WATSON (D), NEW JERSEY: Shame on you, Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Chairman, please.
CICILLINE: You know, Mr. Chairman, this is intolerable harassment of the witness.
COLEMAN WATSON: What is wrong with us? You need your medication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline, he was one of the voices you just heard shouting down that question.
Congressman, good morning.
CICILLINE: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: How do you define what we all saw play out for 10 hours yesterday?
CICILLINE: It was a colossal waste of time and part of an ongoing effort by my Republican colleagues to undermine the very serious criminal and counterintelligence investigation that's under way.
The Republicans brought Peter Strzok before the committee. They weren't actually interested in hearing his answers to any questions. They were trying to promote a narrative and to the extent that he tried to refute their narrative they cut him off. It was -- there were no rules in the committee, the chairman was making them up as he went along.
I think it was an embarrassing day for the committee and it was really -- you know, with all the issues before the Judiciary Committee we have a number of bills on commonsense gun safety legislation, some bills to drive down the cost of prescription drugs, legislation involving this horrible family separation policy at the border.
We didn't take up those issues. We had another hearing on the Clinton e-mails. I think it was really a disgraceful day.
CAMEROTA: Well, to illustrate your point that not all of his answers were allowed or given time, breathing room, here's another moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER STRZOK, FBI AGENT: The information we had which was alleging a Russian offer of assistance to a member of the Trump campaign was of extraordinary significance. It was credible, it was from an extraordinarily sensitive and credible source.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: OK. No, sorry, that's not -- that's actually the substantive answer that he gave. So let's deal with that for a second because that was the heart of the matter. I mean, that was where he was explaining the predicate for the Russia investigation. Did you learn anything new yesterday?
CICILLINE: Well, no, Mr. Strzok was obviously not allowed to -- and rightly so -- speak about the ongoing criminal and counterintelligence investigation and in fact my Republican colleagues attempted to gather some information about that and he made it very clear that under Department of Justice and FBI rules he is not permitted to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation and in fact the inspector general's report that also found Mr. Strzok's text did not in any way contribute to any of the decisions that were made in this case or any bias or prejudice so there is an IG report that confirmed his testimony.
[08:25:13] But the biggest finding in that IG report was that Director Comey violated those rules by talking about the Clinton e-mail investigation once it concluded. So they were asking him to violate the rule that was articulated in that IG report and they knew he couldn't answer those questions but this was -- this was about trying to distract from a very serious investigation that's closing in on the president's inner circle and the Republicans on the committee sadly acted more like members of Trump's defense team than members of the House Judiciary Committee with serious oversight responsibilities.
CAMEROTA: OK. So here's the moment where you felt that he was not having the chance to answer the questions. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STRZOK: Sir, it is as frustrating to me as it is to you. I can tell you, sir, I would love --
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: But, you know what, Agent Strzok?
CICILLINE: Mr. Chairman, may the witness be permitted to answer? You --
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The gentleman will suspend.
JORDAN: If it's so frustrating, answer the question.
CICILLINE: If you'll allow him to, I'm sure he will.
JORDAN: He has never answered the question.
CICILLINE: Well stop interrupting him. The witness can't be directed not confer with his attorney.
GOODLATTE: The FBI is not his attorney. His attorney is seated behind him.
CICILLINE: He's an employee of the FBI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: There were moments where you all were doing more talking and sort of haggling over all this than he was. But here's my question to you, Congressman. You've now met with Peter Strzok twice, once yesterday in this very public fiery hearing and about two weeks ago behind closed doors, and you're now fighting to have those behind closed doors transcript released to the public. Why? What would we see in that one that differed from what we saw yesterday?
CICILLINE: Well, I don't think you'll see a lot that differed. I mean, Peter Strzok was questioned by the committee for 11 hours in a closed-door session and then yesterday for about eight and a half or nine hours. I think the public has a right to see and I think what they'll see in those -- in that transcript is consistent with what he said yesterday, and that is that, although he expressed some opinions in his text messages they didn't contribute in any way to any of the decisions made in this investigation regarding Hillary Clinton's e- mails, that's confirmed by the IG report.
I think the public has a right to know that. The Republicans seem to not want to release that transcript. I'm not sure why other than maybe some of them are embarrassed in the way they behaved in that hearing but his testimony was consistent. I think the public has a right to know that.
I've asked the chairman if there's some reason I can't release them, if there's a rule, please let me know, I've heard nothing from the committee chair and so we've asked the FBI to review it, Congressman Raskin and I, to make sure there's nothing in it that's classified or inappropriate and then we'll release it as soon as that review is done.
The public has a right to know this stuff but it is -- has been incredibly frustrating. Mr. Strzok tried throughout the hearing to answer questions and frankly the Republicans on the committee were just not interested in hearing him. This was about theater or it was about promoting a narrative and they were not interested in his refutation of their narrative and ongoing effort to undermine the investigation of Robert Mueller that is under way that is very important that we protect.
CAMEROTA: Congressman David Cicilline, thank you very much for your perspective from being inside that room to share with us. Thank you.
All right. So as the immigration crisis in America heats up in Washington, former president George W. Bush said he's, quote, "disturbed" by this entire spectacle and debate taking place. Mr. Bush says, "it undermines the goodness of America," end quote.
Meanwhile, there are new stories of families separated by the U.S. government now being reunited including that young girl whose cries were heard around the world in this audio clip you'll remember.
OK. So we are happy to report that that 6-year-old girl is now back with her mother and CNN's Gary Tuchman was there for the reunion. He joins us live from Houston.
So how did this go, Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it was really something else. It was exactly a month ago today that 6-year-old Allison Jimena Madrid and her mother Cindy Madrid were separated from each other after crossing the U.S. border after a journey from El Salvador. The mother was brought to a detention center in south Texas, the daughter was brought to a shelter in Arizona. The mother had absolutely no idea where the daughter was. But they have been united.
Just a few hours ago 3:00 a.m. local time here at the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport that's where the reunion happened. Hand in hand it was amazing watching the emotion, the happiness, the hopefulness, the gleefulness, the gigantic smiles on the mother and this daughter.
How did it all happen? Well, the mother passed her credible fear interview two days ago as she was released from the detention center. The daughter was released from the shelter in Arizona yesterday and then the daughter, Alisyn, was put on an airplane and flown from Phoenix to Houston.
I know a lot about the airplane ride because I was on the airplane with her. She had a window seat, she had her doll, she had her book bag, she had her coloring book and as you might expect, you won't be surprised to know it was her first plane flight, she looked out the window, and she saw above the clouds, she thought it was amazing and then she conked out as she slept for the rest of the two-hour-15- minute flight.