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Trump's Clarification after Summit; Wisconsin Voters on Summit; Thai Soccer Team Speaks Out. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired July 18, 2018 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:03] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: On Monday, President Trump threw America under the bus as he stood side by side with Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, he tried to explain why he did that.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. It could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there.


CAMEROTA: Now, a few hours before that statement, Anthony Scaramucci, former comms director, told us that the president should reverse course immediately and issue a statement.

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is back with us now to tell us if he is satisfied with that statement.

Thank you for coming back, Anthony.



CAMEROTA: You don't -- you didn't think he threw America under the bus?

SCARAMUCCI: No, I don't think he threw American under the bus at all.

CAMEROTA: You don't think he blamed America first in Helsinki?

SCARAMUCCI: I think he made a mistake. I think he misspoke. I think he went to the cabinet room yesterday, told the American people --

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Hold on, Anthony. Hold on. When he said, I blame America -- let me read to you -- in fact, we have it. Let's just play what the president said in Helsinki so we're all on the same page of what he said about America. SCARAMUCCI: OK, let's -- let's play it.

CAMEROTA: Let's -- let's play it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago. A long time, frankly, before I got to office. And I think we're all to blame. I do feel we have both made some mistakes.


CAMEROTA: The United States has been foolish. We've all been foolish. We're all to blame.


CAMEROTA: You think that was representing America well?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes -- well, I -- because, again, we have to now apply context to that. What he's basically saying, over the last three presidencies, the tension and the anxiety as it relates to our relationship with Russia has gone up immeasurably. And so even --

CAMEROTA: This was about interference in the 2016 election. Do you think we're to blame for that? You think we're to blame for our interference?

SCARAMUCCI: No, I didn't say -- but now you're taking it out of context.

CAMEROTA: No, that's what the question was.

SCARAMUCCI: OK. But I -- OK, Alisyn, I'm trying to explain what the guy did. I understand what the question was, but I also understand the president pretty well. I understand what he was trying to say. And so I'm just going to explain it to you.

He basically was saying there that the tension has been risen and there's -- there should have been more dialogue on both sides. And I think what he was trying to do is make a conciliatory gesture there by saying, look, I'm not going to be blaming one side. We know whether it's a marriage, we know whether it's a relationship, a diplomatic relationship, that it's never 100-0. And I think that's all the president was trying to say there.

CAMEROTA: Well, the way you're -- you're framing it now, Anthony, is different than how you said it yesterday. But, furthermore, why would that -- why would the --

SCARAMUCCI: Well, that's different. No, no, you talk -- you're talking about the intelligence agencies.

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Why would the way you're framing it now have upset so many Republicans, so many Americans?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, so -- so I don't think -- I don't think --

CAMEROTA: Clearly he said something that felt as though it (INAUDIBLE) --

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I don't think that's what it was that upset everybody. I can tell you what upset me. And I can tell you, you know, again, I'm very loyal to the president, but I also want to be very honest because I want to help the president. OK, you -- I'm a patriotic American. I love the president. And I've said that too many times from the press box when I was at the one day press conference.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I remember that.

SCARAMUCCI: But I do really like him and I want to see him do very well.

What I was upset about, and I think what most Americans would be upset about if they analyzed it, is knocking the national intelligence agencies.


SCARAMUCCI: That's what I'm upset about.

CAMEROTA: That was a problem.


CAMEROTA: And so --

SCARAMUCCI: Not what he said about, there's problems on both sides of the relationship. We've got to -- we have similar relations (ph).

CAMEROTA: OK. So you have your own beef about what he said?


CAMEROTA: Do you think that that one, grammatical fix he meant "wouldn't" instead of "would," do you think that changes his message?

SCARAMUCCI: So -- so I was -- I was watching Maggie Haberman in the green room. And I think Maggie Haberman's instincts are right on this. This was a lot like the "Access Hollywood" situation. I was present for the "Access Hollywood" situation. And I've seen the president now apologize twice. I've known him for 20 years.


SCARAMUCCI: He apologized to his wife and the American people in the "Access Hollywood" situation. He apologized to Theresa May last week. And he just walked this thing back. And so, they're good (ph).

CAMEROTA: Hold on a second. I just want to make a point right there. You've known him for 20 years. SCARAMUCCI: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And in those 20 years you've seen Donald Trump apologize twice.


CAMEROTA: This is a man who is reluctant to ever admit wrongdoing.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, because that's been part of a strategy in his life that has made him very, very successful, OK. Maybe it came from Roy Cohn. Maybe it came from his dad. I don't know where it came from. You'd have to interview him and ask him where it came from. But his strategy has been to always operate off the ball of his foot, not operate off his heels, and not be a guy that apologizes. And so, listen, I took the Dale Carnegie course when I was at law school and --

CAMEROTA: How to win people over?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. And the first thing they told you was that if you're doing something wrong, apologize, OK? So I'm an easy person to get an apology from. The president is not an easy person to get an apology from.

CAMEROTA: So then what happened yesterday? What changed?

SCARAMUCCI: That's his nature.

CAMEROTA: The fact that he walked it back yesterday, that's right where --

SCARAMUCCI: He's also been unbelievably successful in his life. Just look at his life.

CAMEROTA: OK. Yes, he's president, so obviously he did something right.

So what happened yesterday then since he -- this is somebody who was so resistant to ever admitting wrongdoing. What changed in the White House?

[08:35:03] SCARAMUCCI: So I think that his super loyal people, OK, the people that are super loyal -- you know, it's one thing if you're telling me, you're working for me and you're telling me I'm tall and right, we'll, I know we're going to have a problem, right, because I want to be told that I'm short and wrong. You understand that?

CAMEROTA: I do understand.

SCARAMUCCI: Because once you're telling me the truth, then I know I can work with you, OK. And so I don't know who it was, but there's probably a cadre of guys, men and women, around the president where they said, what do you think, and he said, look, I've got to be honest with you, you've got to walk this thing back because you love the rank-and-file people in these intelligence agencies. You're upset with a few people at the tippy top that politicized these agencies. But you really do love the rank and file people. And we -- and we're spending billions of dollars and, Alisyn, we're losing lives all over the world to gather this intelligence. OK, so --

CAMEROTA: That's what you wanted him to say yesterday, Anthony. Your statement yesterday on NEW DAY --

SCARAMUCCI: That's right.

CAMEROTA: Of what you prescribed for him to say --


CAMEROTA: Was so much stronger --


CAMEROTA: And went so much farther than what he did say.

SCARAMUCCI: But that's me.

CAMEROTA: You wanted him to say that they sacrifice their lives. You wanted him to say, to really show heart in supporting the intelligence agencies, and he said he meant to say "wouldn't" but he said "would." That satisfies you?

SCARAMUCCI: And so -- so from a symbolic perspective, it does satisfy me because I think what the president is basically messaging to people is that he got the thing wrong. He's a reluctant guy to walk things back. He walked it back.

CAMEROTA: But he -- hold on, Anthony, just one second.

SCARAMUCCI: Let's move on. Let's move on.

CAMEROTA: He got his grammar wrong or he got his mind-set wrong?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I said yesterday that this was not an issue related to words. This was an issue related to strategy and this was an issue related to broad-based policy, OK?


SCARAMUCCI: And so he went in a direction to go from "would" to "wouldn't." And that is a step in the right direction. So I'm not going to sit here --

CAMEROTA: But do you really believe that was the problem?

SCARAMUCCI: No. I -- I -- and, again, I've said this. I'm a pretty open person. I said that I would have said it differently, but I'm not him and I'm not the American president. And so I want to say this, I think this is --

CAMEROTA: I understand. But you don't think the problem was the grammar, do you? SCARAMUCCI: I don't think the problem was the grammar, but I do think

that we have an escalated situation with the Russian government that he is trying to deescalate. And I think we have to give him credit for that. We have an escalated situation with the North Korean government that's lasted almost three decades. He's trying to deescalate that. We have to give him credit for that.

You know, we may not like the messaging. You know, there's an expression in basketball, sometimes people are playing the man when they need to play the ball, OK? And so we may not like his messaging, we may not like the coarseness of his rhetoric, but this guy's got amazing political instinct. He knows we have to right side the trade situation. He knows that we have to right size and fix the international community as it relates to our alliances. We have to strengthen them. We have to --

CAMEROTA: But he doesn't seem to believe his intel agencies over Vladimir Putin. That's the bottom line.

SCARAMUCCI: No, I think he does. He said that --

CAMEROTA: And what makes you think that?

SCARAMUCCI: Well -- well, he said -- said as much in the cabinet room. I think he was probably reluctant --

CAMEROTA: He was sticking to his script. You say him reading there a script, which was so different than what he was riffing in Helsinki. That -- which one was the real Trump?

SCARAMUCCI: That's -- well, they both are the real Trump. That's -- that's why you guys -- that's why your ratings are up, OK, he's a fascinating guy, OK. Both of those things are the real Trump.

CAMEROTA: But how can you believe Vladimir Putin --

SCARAMUCCI: Can I -- can I -- can I --

CAMEROTA: No, hold on, let me ask -- ask my question.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, OK, go ahead. Go ahead.

CAMEROTA: How can you believe Vladimir Putin when he's so strong and so powerful in his denial.

SCARAMUCCI: You're going into Chris Cuomo territory, just so you know.

CAMEROTA: That's what the president said.


CAMEROTA: And believe your intelligence communities. They're diametrically opposed.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, if you go to some of the rhetoric that President Obama said in December of 2016, sort of similar -- CAMEROTA: I'm talking about President Trump. How can you believe both?

SCARAMUCCI: That the president of the United States, whether it's President Obama or President Trump, they are on a tightrope and they are negotiating and threading a needle between trying to figure out a way to get along well enough with Vladimir Putin so that we can deescalate it, and also address the fact that they're meddling in our elections and we have to figure out a way to curb the elections.

The White House put out a whole thing -- list of things that the president has done in the last 18 months to strengthen our ability to block people, whether it's Russia or other people --


SCARAMUCCI: From meddling in our election.

CAMEROTA: So let me ask you this, Anthony. Just -- how -- how do you recommend to Democrats or Republicans or just human beings who are having a hard time unhearing what they heard the president say in Helsinki, who are having a hard time unhearing the president blaming America. How are they supposed to move on and believe that the president feels differently?

SCARAMUCCI: So what I -- what I -- what I would -- what I would say to everybody is that we probably, on both side sides, frankly, we have to dial back the rhetoric, we have to dial back the polemics. I think when someone's saying that the president's treasonous, I disagree with that. When they're comparing this to Kristallnacht. If you really understand what happened in November of 1938. That's a stupid thing to day.

CAMEROTA: No, of course. Of course you have to dial all of that back. But in terms -- but you're saying that we just have to understand that the president will say things on different sides of the issue?

[08:40:05] SCARAMUCCI: I'm -- I'm saying that -- and I'm actually praying for this, that the White House, the president has phenomenal political instincts. He's got very good judgment on a lot of these issues. If they can marry very good communication and they can marry a better delivery mechanism of what he's trying to do --


SCARAMUCCI: And explain it better to the American people --

CAMEROTA: What does that mean, stick to the scripts, stick to the prompter? (INAUDIBLE)

SCARAMUCCI: No, what that -- what that -- what that means is that, you know, like, as an example, I don't want to be a Monday morning quarterback. But as an example, in Helsinki, if the president said, listen, we have a little bit of a disagreement here on the meddling situation. It's not collusion. But we're talking about Russian meddling. Our intelligence agencies believe they did. It didn't happen on my watch. I've explained to the Russian president that we can't have this happen in 2018 or 2020. And if it does happen, we're going to have to be very strict in terms of the sanctions that we apply.

CAMEROTA: Anthony, do you know how different it is than what he said.


CAMEROTA: What he had -- if he had said that, people would have been comfortable.

SCARAMUCCI: But, I mean --

CAMEROTA: He didn't say a shadow of that.

SCARAMUCCI: I understand that. But let's get there. We can get there. OK, you --


SCARAMUCCI: We can get there.

CAMEROTA: Who do you trust in the White House to get him to that point?

SCARAMUCCI: You put me on the spot yesterday. Look, I've got a lot of friends in the White House, but I've obviously got some people in the White House that don't like me. So I don't want to mention names and then the people that don't like -- those people -- here's what's going on in the White House that I don't like. Everybody's siloed (ph) in. Everybody's afraid of each other. And then the people that don't like each other, they run outside the White House and they grab their cell phones and they leak bad information on the people that they don't like to the outside world. So, you know, I've got adversaries inside the White House.

Washington is very different from New York, OK.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but --

SCARAMUCCI: In New York we're about collaboration. Washington's a zero sum game.

CAMEROTA: I get it. But is there any -- here's my question, my last question. So anybody --

SCARAMUCCI: So I'm not going to -- I'm not going to tell you who I like and dislike in the White House. I like the president.

CAMEROTA: Is there anybody in --

SCARAMUCCI: I like Melania, too. I think she's great.

CAMEROTA: All right, is there anybody in the White House --

SCARAMUCCI: And the vice president is a great guy.

CAMEROTA: Who can do what you're suggesting, which is --


CAMEROTA: Tell the president when he's wrong and who is that person?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. There's members of the cabinet and there's members of the White House. And so, you know, you're putting me on the spot, Alisyn, in a way that I don't want to answer the question.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I see that.

SCARAMUCCI: Why am I -- why am I going to make the -- why are we going to put their people --

CAMEROTA: Because it's a complement. You'd be complimenting somebody that they are powerful enough to tell the president.

SCARAMUCCI: I -- I love -- I love complimenting people, but I know the adversarial nature of this thing, OK? I -- I bore witness to it in, you know, in my 954,000 --

CAMEROTA: Hours --


CAMEROTA: Oh, seconds.

SCARAMUCCI: No, I was only 954,000 seconds I got taken out for being a little bit too honest, right?

CAMEROTA: OK. So you've learned your lesson.

SCARAMUCCI: So let's -- so let's --

CAMEROTA: There you go.

SCARAMUCCI: You know, for the first time in my life, I'm going to hold my tongue. How about that?

CAMEROTA: All right. It's inconvenient for me, but it may work for you.

Anthony Scaramucci --

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, but it's the right thing to do.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for coming on. We appreciate seeing you.

SCARAMUCCI: Appreciate being here


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, listening to Anthony Scaramucci, listening to John Kennedy, Republicans reacting to the president's cleanup effort. What do swing state voters think about the summit? We sent a reporter to find out. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:46:46] BERMAN: So the impact of President Trump seeming to side with Russia against America's own intelligence community and his attempted clarification is already making impressions where it counts the most. Swing state voters are paying very close attention.

And CNN's Kyung Lah talked to voters in Kenosha County in Wisconsin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): 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.

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: The man is an embarrassment to us all. I voted for him. I will not again.

O'DONNELL: 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.

LAH (on camera): Do people here care?

TONY VALENTE, SPANKY'S BAR & 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 knocking 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 peddling, the would versus wouldn't, she says, quote, that's total BS. She says her opinion about the president has not changed one bit.

[08:50:03] Kyung Lah, CNN, Kenosha, Wisconsin.


CAMEROTA: Fascinating, as always, to take the pulse of the voters.

OK, so obviously our favorite story of the past I don't know how many months is the fact that the Thai soccer team got out alive. And look at them today. They are healthy. They are out of the hospital. And they're speaking out. We'll be right back with what they're saying.


CAMEROTA: OK, time now for "The Good Stuff."

The rescued Thai soccer team and their coach are now out of the hospital and they are speaking directly to the press for the very first time.

So let's bring in our Asia correspondent, Jonathan Miller. He's live in Thailand.

Tell us everything they're saying, Jonathan.

JONATHAN MILLER, ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a wonderful evening of hearing these stories of camaraderie and survival from these boys who lasted 18 days down in that cave and came out to tell the story. And, boy, have they been telling it tonight. We've heard very moving accounts of how they thanked the Navy SEAL who died in trying to rescue them. We've heard wonderful stories and joking about how much they were looking forward to eating everything from fried chicken to snake sausage.

[08:55:14] But the boys have been relating all the worries that they had about their moms and dads and how mad they would be at them. Here's the account of Adun (ph), the Christian Burmese boy who was down there, about what happened with him when he first saw those British divers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And we heard a human voice. So we want to rush to see them so that we -- they can see us and give us help.

When they got out from the water, I was a bit surprised. So I just greeted them. I thought this really a miracle.


MILLER: Well, doctors have declared the boys physically fit and mentally fit. It might be a little bit preemptive to say that just now. There are concerns about the onset of post-traumatic stress. But, for now, they're going home on vacation.

CAMEROTA: Jonathan, thank you so much. A day that so many people thought would never happen. Thank you.

BERMAN: Wonderful to see them doing well.

A lot of news this morning. We are going to see the president again over the course of the morning a couple times.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow picks up after this quick break.