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Interview with Rep. Ted Deutch (D), Florida; Wisconsin Voters React to Trump-Putin Summit; President Trump Claims Nobody Has Been Tougher on Russia Than Him. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired July 18, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Arguably tougher actions on Russia some would say than the Obama administration.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: Poppy, we had to drag the White House kicking and screaming to impose sanctions on Russia and if I can clarify, of course having good relationship with a country is always in our interest. But it's not in our interest to go on the world stage and to suggest that we're rolling over for a country that hacked our election, that commits cyber warfare, that interferes in governments all throughout the world, and to do so next to a murderous dictator like Vladimir Putin, no, that is absolutely not in our interest at all.
HARLOW: I think everyone wants to know what was discussed between President Trump and President Putin behind closed doors with just their translator. So Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy this morning on "NEW DAY" talked about his desire to have the U.S. translator, for example, potentially subpoenaed in front of Congress to talk about that.
Would you be supportive of that?
DEUTCH: I would love to know what happened. And I would love to get that information however we could. I think that my Republican colleagues should join me and should join all of us who are clearly following up on the president's own statements from four months ago that he wants to testify under oath before Robert Mueller. Instead of relying on the translator, I think we should give the president that opportunity.
He should come to Mueller. He should raise his right hand and then tell the truth about what he said in that meeting, about how it impacted our national security, about whose side he is on, and let him try to justify that horrifying and alarming display that we saw just the other day, one that we're going to be talking about for decades to come.
HARLOW: It's very clear, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you are very concerned about Russia's attack on our democracy and interfering in the 2016 election. Yes?
DEUTCH: Of course.
HARLOW: OK. So given that, on May 22nd, a few months ago, there was this classified briefing for all House members to talk about ways to protect our election integrity heading into the 2018 midterms. The people that ran it, big important names on that front. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI director Christopher Wray, DNI Coats. It was lightly attended by members of the House, 40 to 50 showed up.
HARLOW: Were you there?
DEUTCH: Right. I've had meetings with government -- with all of the government officials across the -- throughout the administration who are working on these issues through the work that we do on the Judiciary Committee. The problem is --
HARLOW: I hear you, Congressman. But let me just ask you.
HARLOW: Were you -- did you attend that meeting?
DEUTCH: The meeting that -- which meeting? The meeting with Nielsen? I wasn't --
HARLOW: May 22nd meeting with Nielsen --
DEUTCH: I was not -- right.
HARLOW: -- Wray and Coats.
DEUTCH: Right. I was not at the meeting -- I was not at the meeting with Nielsen. I have had repeated meetings with officials about securing our election. The concern that we have --
HARLOW: I understand that. But this was a classified briefing.
DEUTCH: Let me finish.
HARLOW: This was a classified briefing for all House members on election protection.
DEUTCH: Right. And we've had other -- right.
HARLOW: Do you wish you had gone?
DEUTCH: We have had other classified briefings as well. What I wish, Poppy -- and I've been very clear about this. What I wish is that the House Judiciary Committee took seriously the attack against our last election and against our democracy. What I wish is that we saw from the Justice Department and had an opportunity to question the attorney general again about steps that have been taken to secure our elections the next time. And most importantly, I wish that the president of the United States -- this is what I think all of us would like to see.
I wish that the president of the United States would acknowledge that we were attacked by Russia in the last election, that we have to understand what happened in order for us to fully prepare for what happens and what they try to do in the next election. That's how we can address this. We get briefed all the time. And I'm confident of the information I receive. I just need the president --
HARLOW: Well, the joint briefing from the DNI, the head of the FBI and the Homeland Security secretary is not something that happens every day. Shouldn't more than --
DEUTCH: We've head --
HARLOW: Shouldn't more than 50 members of Congress show up at that?
DEUTCH: Well, we actually have had -- we have had briefings with those officials before. But what we really need to do is see some commitment from this administration after that horrifying and alarming display by the president, Poppy, where he stood next to Vladimir Putin and talked about that close relationship that he sees with him.
HARLOW: We watched it.
DEUTCH: I know. And I'm sure that -- I'm sure that you were as troubled as so many of the rest of us who look --
HARLOW: I am out of time.
DEUTCH: -- at that and need to know what side the president is on. That's really what we have to figure out. We owe it to the American people and our own national security.
HARLOW: And we welcome him on this network any hour of the day to answer those questions.
Congressman Ted Deutch, thank you for coming on with us.
DEUTCH: Of course. Thanks so much.
[10:35:02] HARLOW: All right. President Trump says that nobody has been tougher on Russia than his administration while continuing to snub what he calls President Obama's inaction on Russia. We are fact checking that ahead.
HARLOW: So the president is facing fierce backlash over his summit with Vladimir Putin. But what do voters think in so-called Trump country?
Our Kyung Lah traveled to Kenosha County, Wisconsin, a county that went for Trump big time in 2016.
[10:40:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Dan O'Donnell Show.
DAN O'DONNELL, NEWSTALK 1130 WISN: So has Trump been arrested for treason yet? Has he returned to the United States in the brig of Air Force One? Welcome to the show. I am --
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The swing state of Wisconsin, the conservative base, circling the wagons around Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the reactions from the left yesterday were ridiculous.
LAH: But amid the outraged callers, one moved by the president's press conference with Putin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the man is an embarrassment to us all. I voted for him. I will not again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really.
O'DONNELL: Swing voters are notoriously difficult to predict. So there might be an issue like this that is all anyone talks about for the better part of a week. I don't believe that there is going to be any lasting impact.
LAH: Wisconsin's swing voters, many of them white working class voters, swung to Trump in 2016 in Kenosha County, just south of Milwaukee. Trump won here by just 255 votes, a county that hadn't voted for a Republican president since Richard Nixon. Like other parts of Wisconsin, Kenosha County has seen jobs leave.
This was the Chrysler plant. Spanky's Bar is a couple of blocks from that torn-down plant. Since Trump took office, the economy has only gotten better in Kenosha, says Anna Stewart. She voted for Trump in 2016.
LAH (on camera): Do you think that Trump will be re-elected by this county?
ANNA STEWART, TRUMP VOTER: I do. I do. I think he's just -- he's got the steam going. He's done a great job so far as president. He's shown us that he continues to persevere beyond the criticism and do what's right anyways because it's --
LAH: You're going to vote for him again?
STEWART: Oh, yes. Yes.
LAH (voice over): Tony Valente's conversations over the bar rarely focus on Russia.
(On camera): Do people here care?
TONY VALENTE, SPANKY'S BAR AND GRILL: I don't -- you know, I don't know. Their money -- the money's -- the economy's good. Money seems to be flowing pretty well. House -- you know, house prices are coming up. Interest rates are going up. I think people are pretty happy with that.
LAH (voice over): But the press conference with Putin did have an effect on Pam Anderson.
PAM ANDERSON, TRUMP VOTER: For him, kind of just push it off to the side and say, like he doesn't believe it, I think he's really mocking the whole system.
LAH: A swing voter now pushed away from Trump.
ANDERSON: I had voted for Obama. And this time around I went ahead and voted for Donald Trump. And I really regret that decision.
LAH (on camera): What's going to happen next time around?
ANDERSON: Not him.
LAH: You've already decided.
ANDERSON: I've already decided.
LAH: Pam Anderson says this about Trump's back pedaling, the would versus wouldn't, she says, quote, "That's total BS." She says her opinion about the president has not changed one bit.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Kenosha, Wisconsin.
HARLOW: Important voices to hear from. Thank you, Kyung.
So President Trump continues to say that, quote, "nobody has been tougher on Russia" than his administration. He continues to take jabs at his predecessor in the process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you know, President Obama was given information just prior to the election. Last election, 2016. And they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious to all. They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Let's fact check all of this with our senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt.
So, Alex, let's begin with what the Obama administration actually did when it comes to countering Russian aggression.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, when President Obama came into office, the priority was to reset the relationship, in fact one of the first foreign trips that he made was to Moscow just six months after he was sworn in. You might remember Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even famously presented her Russian counterpart with a reset button.
But remember, Obama was dealing with then-President Dmitry Medvedev, not yet Putin. And it was relatively smooth sailing until President Putin was re-elected for the third time in 2012. That was the year that Obama signed the Magnitsky Act after lawyers Sergei Magnitsky was killed in prison in Russia. That act froze assets and imposed travel restrictions on individuals accused of human rights violations, including some of the most senior people in Russia and in Putin's inner circle. This is still a major thorn in the side of President Putin.
In 2414, the year that Russia annexed Crimea and supported a pro- Russia separatist in eastern Ukraine, the Obama administration sanctioned banks, energy companies, Ukrainian separatists and defense companies.
Now let's fast forward to 2016 right before the 2016 election. Obama famously confronted Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit about Russia's meddling in the election. You might remember that famous picture of him staring Putin down.
[10:45:03] And then after the election, once President Trump won, in one of President Obama's final acts, the administration ordered 35 diplomats to leave the country. They shut down two diplomatic compounds and four more Russians were sanctioned, as well. By the time President Obama left office, U.S.-Russia relations were at their lowest point since the Cold War -- Poppy.
HARLOW: And there was that October 7th, you know, Rose Garden announcement from the president that Russia was interfering in the election. Trump supporters and a lot of Republicans say, look, you didn't go far enough. The Democrats say, but, you know, McConnell wouldn't get on board and put out this joint statement. That's that and that's politics.
What about the facts of actions the Trump administration has actually taken against Russia?
MARQUARDT: Well, while we're comparing these two sides, what we're doing is comparing Obama's eight years in office with President Trump's 18 years in office with President Trump's 18 months in office. And in that year and a half, there is no doubt that the Trump administration has cracked down on Russia in response to their actions. Now this past December the Trump administration decided to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons, including anti-tank weapons which can be used against those Russian tanks in eastern Ukraine.
In February the DOJ indicted 13 Russians and three entities for alleged interference in the 2016 election. The next month in March after former Russian agent, Sergey Skripal, was poisoned in the UK by a nerve agent that is being blamed on Moscow, the administration ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence agents. They also closed the Seattle consulate.
And then a month later in April the Treasury Department sanctioned seven Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin, along with 12 companies that they either owned or controlled. And that was alongside 17 senior Russian officials who were also targeted. Poppy, we have to note that an administration stance is not just about
its actions but about its attitude, as well. Specifically the president's attitude. In the case of the Obama administration, the president's words reflected his administration's tough stance towards the Putin regime. However, in the case of the Trump administration it is so often the case that the president's soft language is really at odds with the actions that his government is taking, resulting in what can really often feel like two totally different Russia strategies -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Yes. Look, actions are important. Words are important. I think conservatives would point to that hot mic moment, though, with President Obama, right, where he said to Vladimir Putin, you know, things will get easier, less pressure, on me after the election.
So important to fact check this. Alex, thank you for doing it for us.
So baseball's best gathering in the nation's capital. Coming up we'll show you the all-stars that made history.
[10:52:10] HARLOW: It looks like home run derby all over again in the mid summer class. Andy Scholes has the all-star highlights in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
Good morning, my friend.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy. You know, the all-star game, it was a great representation of baseball in 2018. It was basically all strike-outs and home runs. A record 10 long balls were hit last night in D.C.
This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
Now before the game Major League Baseball honoring 30 Medal of Honor recipients on the field. Then the Yankees' Aaron Judge getting the fireworks started in the second inning with his first all-star home run.
The game was tied into the tenth inning when the world champion Astros come to the rescue. Alex Bregman, a solo home run to give the American League the lead. His teammate George Springer then steps up to the plate and also hit a home run. They go back-to-back. The AL wins for the sixth straight year, 8-6. And in his first all-star game, Bregman was named MVP.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX BREGMAN, ALL-STAR GAME MVP: Being able to be on the field, let alone be able to head to go and hit homers, I don't know, I'm on cloud nine. Just to have my family here. It was really special, a dream come true.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: For winning MVP you get a trophy and your choice of a sports car or a truck. Bregman said he was going with the sports car and giving it to his mom. Pretty cool.
All right. A blockbuster trade going down in the NBA this morning. According to multiple reports, the Spurs have traded superstar Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors in exchange for a package that includes DeMar DeRozan. Now Kawhi has been at odds with the Spurs since last season and has made it known he wants to play in Los Angeles. Now many thought Kawhi's final destination was the Lakers. But if he's going to team up with LeBron, he's going to have to wait at least one more season.
All right. Phil Mickelson having some fun during his practice round at the British Open. Check this out. Just a few feet away from this guy. And watch Phil again as he flops it right over his head.
I'll tell you what, Poppy, that takes a lot of courage to stand there, even though Phil is one of the best in the world at doing it, and let him hit that ball knowing that it is so close to your face. Man. I wouldn't be able to do it.
HARLOW: Yes, you would. Andy, thanks.
SCHOLES: All right.
HARLOW: Still ahead, we're finally hearing from those incredible, incredible boys rescued from that Thai cave. Hear what they had to say -- next.
[10:59:16] HARLOW: They were trapped underground in a flooded cave for more than two weeks with no food and just water dripping from rocks to drink. But today the 12 young members of Thailand's Wild Boar soccer team and their coach are all smiles as they left the hospital and they're telling the world for the first time what they went through and what they thought when they first saw those divers who found them deep inside the cave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADUN SAM-ON, RESCUED SOCCER TEAM PLAYER (through translator): When they got up from the water I was a little surprised so I just greeted them. I thought this is really a miracle and I didn't know how to respond to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Pretty incredible. The team also paid tribute to the Thai diver who died trying to rescue them and bring them oxygen canisters as part of this entire operation. You see that right there.
Thank you so much for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan begins right now.