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Former Stenographer on the Record; All Star Game Update; Trump Claims Misspeaking. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 18, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:58] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Special Counsel Robert Mueller seeking immunity for five potential witnesses slated to testify against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. At this point Mueller is not disclosing the names or identities of these individuals. His office says they have not been charged. The move would prevent the witnesses from invoking their Fifth Amendment rights to stay silent on certain questions. Manafort's bank fraud trail begins next week.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN projects Republican Congresswoman Martha Roby has survived a runoff challenge in Alabama. Roby was seen as venerable to a primary challenge after she insisted then Republican nominee Donald Trump step aside after that infamous "Access Hollywood" tape went public. The four-term incumbent has since mended fences with President Trump and supported his agenda. The president, in fact, endorsed Roby on Twitter last month.

BERMAN: This is what makes Republicans so nervous about crossing the president.

Very good, breaking news. Look at this picture. Would you believe this possible a few weeks ago?

CAMEROTA: No. I would never have imagined.

BERMAN: This is the Thai soccer team and coach that were so dramatically rescued from the cave just last week. Wow. They were discharged from the hospital moments ago, a day ahead of schedule. They're scheduled to make their first public appearance at a televised news conference very shortly. A Thai health official says that all 12 boys and their coach are healthy physically and psychologically. They look great there. You can see a live picture right now from the news conference. We're waiting to hear from them very, very shortly. We'll bring you an update of what they have to say on NEW DAY.

One does speak some English, so we could get, you know, an account of what it was like to be in that cave.

CAMEROTA: OK, because we are dying for that. I mean we need to know how they survived, what they did during those 18 days, I mean what they were thinking in there. It's so remarkable, John. I mean, look, there were so many moments where we thought it would just go -- turn in a much, much different way than this.

BERMAN: And they look like just regular kids now going out for a ride right now.


BERMAN: Who would think that for 18 days they were in a cave.

CAMEROTA: Their global prayers were answered.


CAMEROTA: That is such a great story.

OK, here's another great story.

There's a former White House stenographer. She has a new book out about why she had to leave the White House and how President Trump feels about having his conversations recorded.


[06:37:18] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They didn't put in what I said about the prime minister. And I said tremendous things. And, fortunately, we tend to record stories now so we have it for your enjoyment if you'd like it. But we record when we deal with reporters. It's called fake news. And we solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument.


CAMEROTA: Well, not exactly. President Trump, last week, denied that he criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May in a newspaper interview, but that interview was recorded, which forced him to then have to apologize.

That's a blunder that a former White House stenographer says could have been avoided if only the president allowed records of his meetings to be recorded.

Beck Dorey-Stein is the stenographer. She worked under President Obama before resigning in the first months of the Trump administration. She shares her story in her new newly released memoir called "From the Corner of the Oval."

Beck, that is a great title, number two.


CAMEROTA: And, number two, you have a great story.

So just tell us -- explain to us how that embarrassment with Theresa May could have been avoided if, what, a stenographer had been present? DOREY-STEIN: If a stenographer had been present or if a stenographer

was present, President Trump could have just said, hey, check the transcript. This is exactly what I said. During the Obama administration, President Obama would always just say, check the transcript, there's context.

CAMEROTA: Explain all of this. Explain what a -- you have a -- you had a fascinating job, OK, that you were always in the corner of the Oval. So you were unobtrusive, but you were recording everything. And explain, before President Trump, historically, why that was so important and how, for instance, President Obama used you.

DOREY-STEIN: Sure. So White House stenographers are basically the first line of defense against the press to make sure a reporter doesn't exit the Oval Office and misquote the president. So stenographers would go in, we'd put our recorders down on the table, we'd find our side -- our chair on the other side of the Oval Office, and we'd get to sit and listen. And so for President Reagan through President Obama, the White House really utilized stenographers to make sure there was a record of everything the president said to the press.

CAMEROTA: And is it just for the press? Are stenographers just there as that check and balance on the press or are stenographers present for all Oval Office meetings.

DOREY-STEIN: Not all Oval Office meetings because we did want the president to be able to speak to other heads of state with a sense of honesty and not having to have everything on the record. There needed to be some sense of like, this is just between us. But, at the same time, President Obama was really good at not speaking on the record unless he was speaking on the record. Whereas President Trump likes to say, oh, this is off the record or this -- there -- you know, there's recording of this, or we record everything. He's just constantly going back and forth backtracking.

[06:40:08] CAMEROTA: So then what happened when President Trump took office and you were still a White House stenographer? Then how did things change?

DOREY-STEIN: Well, President Trump, we quickly learned does not like microphones near his face, which is difficult because as a stenographer we often had to do that. And so his White House and his press office often didn't include us in meetings with the press. So his first interview, there was no stenographer present. And even since then, even if a stenographer is present, he doesn't often say, check the transcript, because the transcript will reveal the truth.

CAMEROTA: What happened when Bill O'Reilly came for an interview at the White House?

DOREY-STEIN: Bill O'Reilly came for an interview. I covered that. And Hope Hicks came down and actually retrieved Bill and he went and spent an hour with President Trump before doing the interview. And this had never -- I had never seen anything like that with five years of President Obama. Never, during the day, would President Obama use the sitting president's time to talk to an interviewer before the actual interview.

CAMEROTA: And it defeats the whole purpose of you being a stenographer if they're going to go behind closed doors and have this entire meeting. Then what's the point of ever recording it for posterity.

DOREY-STEIN: That's right. It also makes the president vulnerable because then the press can say whatever they want. And that's why I loved whenever President Obama said, check the transcript, it was like -- it was basically saying, check the truth, we have a recording of it.

CAMEROTA: You write in an op-ed, a "New York Times" op-ed, Mr. Trump likes to call anyone who disagrees with him fake news. But if he's really the victim of so much inaccurate reporting, why is he so adverse to having the facts recorded and transcribed? It's clear the White House stenographers do not serve his administration, but rather his adversary, the truth.

What do you mean?

DOREY-STEIN: I mean if the president -- if President Trump was really interested in fighting fake news, he would have a stenographer present and also would have that transcript ready to go and say, hey, here's this, we have the transcript, we can just refer to that, and that would quickly shut down any accusations about fake news. Instead, he leaves himself venerable to it by having off the record interviews with Bill O'Reilly and then having an recording of -- about talking about Theresa May and then disputing it later.

CAMEROTA: Why did you quit?

DOREY-STEIN: I quit because I couldn't be proud of where I worked any more. I was so proud to serve under the Obama administration. And I felt like President Trump was lying to the American people and also not even trying to lie. Like not even trying to tell the truth. He wasn't even going the extra mile to have the stenographers in the room.

CAMEROTA: Beck Dorey-Stein. The book is "From the Corner of the Oval." It's a great read. You have a great story. Thanks so much for being with us.

DOREY-STEIN: Thank you for having me.


BERMAN: A really interesting way to look at how president's usually handle the truth and facts.

It was a record night at the all-star game. Here's a hint what happened. Members of the Boston Red Sox played a huge, crucial role. Decisive, I would say. A full update, next.


[06:47:19] BERMAN: So it looked like the home run derby all over again at the all-star game.

Andy Scholes gives us the latest in the "Bleacher Report."


Yes, the all-star game this year was a great representation of baseball in 2018. It was basically all strikeouts 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. And then the Yankees Aaron Judge getting the fireworks started in the second inning with his first ever all-star home run.

Now, the game would be tied in the tenth inning when the world champion Astros come to the rescue. Alex Bregman, a solo home run to give the American League a lead. And teammate George Springer would then follow him with a home run of his own. They go back to back. AL wins for the sixth straight year, 8-6. And in his first all-star game, Bregman wins the MVP.


ALEX BREGMAN, ASTROS: Being able to be on the field, let alone be able to hit the go ahead homers, it's -- I'm on cloud nine. Just to have my family here, it was really special. A dream come true.


SCHOLES: Now, for winning MVP you get a choice and your choice of a sports car or a truck. And Bregman said his dad wanted the truck and his mom wanted the sports car. And as you can see by the picture, Alisyn, he went with the sports car. And I think he made the right decision.

BERMAN: Shrewd.

CAMEROTA: I agree. Good choice. Always go with the sports car, I feel.

Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: OK, so, President Trump says that he misspoke, but his former ghost writer says, nope. We'll hear more, next.


[06:53:12] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't." The sentence should have been, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia," sort of a double negative. So you can put that in. and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.


BERMAN: Sources tell CNN President Trump lead the crafting of this clarification, or perhaps non-clarification, for the comments he made in Helsinki standing side by side with Vladimir Putin. But our next guest says we should not believe the president's words.

Joining us now, Tony Schwartz. He is Donald Trump's co-author on "The Art of the Deal."

Tony, always great to see you this morning.


BERMAN: We, on this show, for the last hour have said we're not going to parse the "would" versus "wouldn't" here. That seems to be a mute discussion here. And you say there really is no debate over what he said.

SCHWARTZ: Well, I think for journalists now, even spending time having a debate is the wrong focus of attention. There are 75 things Trump said while he was with Putin that he has not taken back. And the way in which he took it back was absurd. I don't even want to keep talking about it.

He said the truth. He is clearly a Russian asset of either directly or indirectly or formally or informally. He has sided with one of the most despotic leaders, if not the most, in the world. And he has sided against the west and against democracy. This is -- and I want to say it quietly so I don't sound hysterical, this is a national and international emergency. It's a -- I feel a little bit like Paul Revere trying to, you know, ride through the woods and say the British are coming.

[06:55:00] Trump is a danger to the future and the world as we know it. I've been saying this for two years. And if this week didn't prove it, there really is nothing that can prove it, short of his announcing that he is going to be declaring marshal law and shutting down a free press.

BERMAN: Let's stick to what you saw this week. This foreign trip capped off by the appearance side-by-side with Putin where he didn't criticize him, that's for sure. Didn't take him to task for attacking the U.S. election, that's for sure.

What did you see?

SCHWARTZ: Well, I saw him -- what I think is, that he is to Putin what Chris Christie wanted to be to Bruce Springsteen, which is, he reveres him. He considers him to be one of the very few people who both intimidates him and attracts him. And he attracts him because Putin has been able to mobilize total authority and that's what Trump wants. And in this actual -- what I saw was a man as president who completely disregarded the advice, not just of people who are opponents, but of his closest aides, about what to say because he has a reality -- Trump has a reality that he creates every day from inside his own head. It has nothing to do with what's going on outside. And the story he's telling himself is, this is the way the world is. But it is not the way the world is.

BERMAN: There was, I guess, an attempted walk back yesterday. I do not think he walked anything back, I think it's safe to say, if you listened to him. However, you know, he went out to accomplish something. He's done that before, but only very rarely. After Charlottesville he had to go out to try to walk something back. After the "Access Hollywood" tape, he had to go out -- and actually he did use the world "apologize" there. What forces him, whether you think it's a successful walk back or not, because you know him. You know his head. What are the trigger points for him to go out and try to correct something?

SCHWARTZ: You're going to lose your base. You're going to lose the people who actually are keeping you in office and keeping your above water. And that actually felt compelling enough for him to do what I would call a highly inauthentic walk back. He very purposely read the document in a way to make you feel that he was reading something, not saying something he actually believed. And then his off comments -- his comments that were off script were the ones that, in effect, rolled it back the other way, as he has done again this morning by saying how senior intelligence officials think that actually what he did over there was a good thing. And who are those senior intelligence officials? They don't exist.

BERMAN: So he'll come out and he'll say something when he's told he has to or he's made to believe he has to?

SCHWARTZ: I think in his gut he felt, oh my God, this actually turned out wrong. What he's doing, John, is every day he's pushing up against the limits of what he can get away with in the move toward taking an authoritarian posture. And this was one more example that failed.

BERMAN: Now, you -- you have a "sky is falling" view of this. Admittedly, you said you wanted to speak softly as to not be alarmist here. And you've been saying this for a long time. You have been coming out --

SCHWARTZ: Two -- two years exactly.

BERMAN: After Charlottesville, you came out and said, Trump's presidency is effectively over. Would be amazed if he survives till the end of the year. More likely resigns by fall, if not sooner. You said that in August 2017.


BERMAN: Clearly, and that didn't happen. If you think this is so bad, do you actually think it will have any impact?

SCHWARTZ: I am sobered by my own miscalculation. It's the one time, as I look back, that I made a pretty significant prediction that turned out to be wrong. And it was -- it was quite wrong. What I underestimated was how tenaciously he had -- he would hold on to this office and how much he had fallen in love with the prospect of being in absolute power. I do believe that Mueller will have far more evidence of wrongdoing, of criminal behavior, than any of us currently imagine. And that one of the things Trump is responding to right now so aggressively is his fear that he's on the verge of being caught.

BERMAN: One thing that is clear is, we don't know what Robert Mueller has. That has consistently been the case.

Tony Schwartz, great to have you with us. Thanks so much for your time this morning. I really appreciate it.

Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Trump is now going to say that he believes our intelligence community, he needs to start acting like it.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It could have been other people also. There's a lot of people out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you saw was an attempt to get it right, but he blew it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all misspeak on occasion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a leader who really betrayed his role as commander in chief.

[07:00:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot cut deals with the devil and you can never trust Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went there to engage with an adversary to try to make sure that this doesn't evolve into an aggressive