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Giuliani's Media Blitz Creates Confusion; Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 31, 2018 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes, then the president said he's prepared to sit down.

[07:00:10] REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: If he thinks he can pull off a meeting with the supreme leader of Iran without any prior discussions, good luck.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we don't get border security, I would have no problem doing a shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be a mistake, and I don't think it's going to be necessary.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: We'll have to take more steps towards funding the government in a timely manner.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. John Berman is off. David Gregory joins me.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: It's summertime, which means we have extra time to try to understand what Rudy Giuliani really means.

CAMEROTA: Extra daylight. I like that. You're so right.

Well, the first trial connected to Robert Mueller's investigation is set to begin this morning. President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, faces tax evasion and bank fraud charges in Virginia.

The trial will not, though, focus on the president or Russian interference. However, it is the first test for special counsel Robert Mueller's team in federal court.

GREGORY: And we'll be watching that. But the media and everyone is really still talking about your interview and others with Rudy Giuliani representing the president the way it played out here on NEW DAY is so in confusion about the Russia investigation.

Giuliani insisting that collusion is not a crime and apparently revealing a planning meeting two days before that now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between the Trump campaign and Russians who were promising to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Did that other meeting really happen? And why would Giuliani reveal it now? We have it all covered this morning.

Let's begin with CNN's Abby Phillip. She's live at the White House with more.

Abby, good morning.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning, David.

And despite Alisyn's valiant attempts yesterday to sort this all out, Rudy Giuliani's media blitz really only added to the confusion. He tried to defend his client but caught some in the White House by surprise and left them wondering what exactly he was trying to accomplish.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIP (voice-over): A White House official distancing the president's press team from his outside lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, telling CNN they are not coordinating after Giuliani's aggressive and confusing media blitz.

Since the start of the investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, the message from the president's team has been the same.

TRUMP: There is absolutely no collusion.

There was no collusion.

There's no collusion. No collusion.

PHILLIP: But Monday, Giuliani appeared to open the door to a different line of defense.

GIULIANI: I don't even know if that's a crime, colluding about Russians.

CAMEROTA: OK.

GIULIANI: You start -- you start analyzing the crime. The hacking is the crime. The hacking is the crime.

CAMEROTA: That certainly is the original crime.

GIULIANI: The president didn't hack.

CAMEROTA: Of course not. That's the original crime.

GIULIANI: He didn't pay them for hacking.

PHILLIP: Giuliani also pushing back on allegations that then- candidate Trump knew in advance and approved his campaign's 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. A claim sources tell CNN that Mr. Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is willing to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators.

GIULIANI: We said there was a one-on-one meeting that Donald Jr. came in and told him about the meeting was about to take place. Well, there are two witnesses who say it didn't happen.

CAMEROTA: The president and his son.

PHILLIP: The president's lawyer also bringing up the possibility of another previously undisclosed meeting before then saying it did not happen either.

GIULIANI (via phone): There was (ph) another meeting that has been leaked but hasn't been public yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

GIULIANI: That was a meeting, an alleged meeting three days before. He says there was a meeting with Donald Jr., with Jared Kushner, with Paul Manafort, with Gates and possibly two others, in which they, out of the presence of the president, discussed the meeting with the Russians.

We checked with their lawyers, the ones we could check with, which were four of the six. That meeting never, ever took place. It didn't happen. It's a figment of his imagination or he's lying.

PHILLIP: Giuliani telling CNN that reporters have been asking him questions about this alleged second meeting and he was trying to get ahead of the story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Cohen, how are you today?

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Doing great. Yourself?

PHILLIP: President Trump ignoring multiple questions about Cohen and the Russia investigation.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, do you feel betrayed by Michael Cohen, sir?

PHILLIP: Despite lashing out at Mueller over alleged conflicts of interest over the weekend. Giuliani conceding that he was unaware of what the president was referencing.

GIULIANI: I can't tell you. I'm not sure I know exactly what the conflict is. I have a good idea what it is. It's one that would have kept me out of the investigation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIP: So we will all be watching today to see what the day brings in terms of the president's defense from his attorneys. Meanwhile, President Trump is leaving Washington today, heading down to Tampa Bay, Florida, for a work force development event and then also later in the day a campaign rally -- Alisyn and David. CAMEROTA: Abby, thank you for laying all that out for us.

Joining us now to try to dissect it, we have CNN Politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

So collusion confusion, as it's been called, Jeffrey. They've gone from "no collusion," which we saw written in big, black Magic Marker on the president's speech to "collusion is not a crime." Is that significant to you?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I was in the studio with you, Alisyn, yesterday when you were doing that interview with -- with Giuliani. And I -- it seemed to me that was more sort of stream of consciousness of his part than some sort of concerted strategy to move the goal posts. Maybe I'm being naive.

But I mean, he really seemed to be just sort of riffing on what was off the top of his head. I mean, it is true that there is no such crime called, technically, collusion. There are criminal conspiracies that could include assisting the Russians interfering in our elections.

So I mean, to a certain extent, we're talking semantics here, but I mean, you tell me. You were talking to him. Did you think this was a concerted strategy of what he was doing?

CAMEROTA: I did not. No, I did not. I mean, it's interesting to see all the post-game wrap-up and people who think that he's sowing confusion. That was not my impression. I mean, that wasn't even my impression about the meeting when he was talking about this second, previously undisclosed meeting. It seemed to me that he was trying to knock down something that he'd heard from the Cohen camp in order to, again, malign Michael Cohen.

GREGORY: And that's what I think is important is that, you know, here is the specter of Michael Cohen. He's an inside guy, close to Trump. He is now saying something, reportedly, that would implicate Trump and knowing about contact with Russians that is potentially really damaging, perhaps criminally so.

It seemed to me that Giuliani was just trying to undercut him as he'd been doing throughout the interview, calling him a scum bag and a liar and on and on. But Chris Cillizza, there's still a larger point to me, which is that Giuliani seems to be making an argument here that I think we could see a lot more of down the line when there is a report to Congress by the special prosecutor, which is this is all a matter of interpretation. Obstruction of justice, matter of interpretation.

You know, the idea -- Trump said before, "Look, what's wrong with getting dirt on your opponents?" So there may have been, you know, ignorance, or it may have been arrogance, but he wasn't actively trying to work with the Russians to meddle in the election. I could see that being, you know, an ongoing argument that they make.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: And I think first of all, David, yes, I totally agree. And I think at the end of Alisyn's interview with Rudy Giuliani, it's literally right at the end. He says something that is essentially that, which is they, meaning Mueller and the special counsel team, will tell their story. We'll tell our story, and we'll let the American people decide which one they believe.

What he's doing there is essentially putting on the same plane a special counsel probe initiated by the Department of Justice and the Rudy Giuliani/Donald Trump road show of P.R. and spin about that investigation. One is an investigation. The other is an opinion.

But I think that is a preview of what they will do, which is no matter what Mueller finds, unless it's complete exoneration --

GREGORY: Right.

CILLIZZA: -- no matter what Mueller finds, they will say, "Look, 13 angry Democrats. They -- this whole thing was a sham from the start." And you're seeing everything that will be the pushback against the negative finding.

CAMEROTA: You're so right, Chris. And I mean, I just want to -- want to dive in, because that will make the 18 months or however long this has gone on of interviews and evidence gathering, and pouring over documents and all of this stuff to gather evidence, which are facts, which is real and tangible -- you're right -- the same as the opinion. "Well, we don't put any stock in this."

TOOBIN: And this is especially likely because whatever Mueller does or finds with regard to the president, it's not going to wind up in a courtroom.

GREGORY: Right.

CILLIZZA: That's right.

TOOBIN: The president is -- the special counsel, Mueller, is barred under Department of Justice policy from indicting the president. So anything he does is going to be in the form of a report, either to Congress or to Rod Rosenstein or some sort of written document that lays out his findings, not an adversary proceeding in a courtroom.

A report is just that. It's something that can be picked over and argued about, and that's what's going to happen. And I anticipate that the same splits that we've seen about everything regarding Donald Trump, it's going to be about 60/40 against Donald Trump. Every -- every poll comes out the same way, no matter what you ask.

GREGORY: But Jeffrey, can I just follow on that point? Obviously, Mueller is anticipating all of this. And the question is how do they anticipate this?

Because what's happening is that, you know, here you have Giuliani in the stream of consciousness, the part where he's certainly intentional, is saying look, this investigation is over, because if they had something they would have put up so they should shut up. And that is resonating.

You made this point last night. That is getting into the ecosystem of Trump supporters who will repeat this over and over again to the point where a lot of people will just take that as fact when we know that, in fact, the investigation is not over. We don't know what we don't know about what he's got.

[07:10:10] TOOBIN: Right. But I also think, you know, Mueller is not going to worry about that sort of stuff. You know, it's not Mueller's job. He's not a P.R. person. He's not running for office. He's not, you know, trying to change public opinion. He's going to put his findings out there, and people are going to do with it what they will.

I just don't think that's how prosecutors approach these questions, which is appropriate. They're not politicians.

CAMEROTA: So Chris --

CILLIZZA: And Jeffrey is right. He is going to do that, Mueller. He should take that approach. And that makes it even easier if you are trying to run a P.R. campaign against it.

I mean, one of the things that I think Donald Trump has been successful with here is "13 angry Democrats," "no collusion," "witch hunt," "hoax" because this isn't a campaign. It's not -- Donald Trump said this. What does Robert Mueller respond? Mueller doesn't respond.

TOOBIN: That's a good point.

CILLIZZA: Nor should he. But the point is, is that it's uneven ground from a public relations perspective. So the ground has already been ceded in Trump world to -- all the buzz words are out there to dismiss whatever is found here. Jeff is right. I think your -- 60/40 believe him, Mueller, but 40 percent don't believe him, no matter -- despite it's an investigation commissioned by the Department of Justice, no matter what it finds.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

TOOBIN: I just think Chris is so right about that one point, that this is a one-sided conversation. You remember when Mueller was appointed, polls showed both Democrats and Republicans thought highly of him. Thanks to Giuliani and, of course, the president, this is now a partisan matter where Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of -- of Mueller. And I think that was a very calculated and effective strategy.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, war veteran, sterling credentials, you're so right. And all of that, you know, has been eclipsed by what they're saying now.

Should we do one last interpretation of the meeting that didn't exist but that he spelled out the guess at the nonexistent meeting? This is the one that got a lot of attention, so listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: Lanny Davis just added that there was a meeting two days before the meeting took place with Donald Jr., Jared, Manafort and two others, Gates and one more person.

He says there was a meeting with Donald Jr., with Jared Kushner, with Paul Manafort, with Gates and possibly two others in which they, out of the presence of the president, discussed a meeting with the Russians. We checked with their lawyers, the ones we could check with, which was four of the six, that meeting never, ever took place. It didn't happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Jeffrey, I so appreciate his efforts to remember the meeting that was nonexistent and the people who were at the nonexistent meeting. That was helpful?

TOOBIN: We're in a very meta moment here. We have Rudy Giuliani responding to something Lanny Davis did not say about a meeting that never took place, and we're debating -- I mean, I guess there was no meeting.

CAMEROTA: No wonder he can't remember who all was there.

TOOBIN: The number of meetings that did not take place is really infinite when you think about it.

CILLIZZA: And by the way, just on a serious note, I do think it is a -- it's a little bit of a red herring. Jeff mentions this. It's a little bit of a red herring to say, "Well, Cohen is not credible, because he said a meeting that took place didn't take place."

The reporting that CNN has, at least, on Cohen, Cohen said several people were in a meeting in which he attended in which Don Jr. told Donald Trump in advance of the Russia meeting. Several people were on the meeting. So Giuliani is on this, it was a one-on-one, never happened, Cohen is not credible. I don't -- he may be privy to more information, but my gosh, he didn't communicate it very well.

GREGORY: Jeffrey, Paul Manafort starting trial, this is not directly related, but of course, they are joined. So spell out what he's facing and why it matters.

TOOBIN: Well, it's -- you know, he's looking at the rest of his life in prison, potentially. It's a case involving tax evasion and money laundering --

GREGORY: And ties -- and ties to Russia.

TOOBIN: And illegal lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government, the faction of the Ukrainian government that's very closely tied to Vladimir Putin.

They say this trial is estimated to take three weeks. This trial is in Alexandria, Virginia, the Eastern District of Virginia, which is known as the rocket docket. So if they say it's going to take three weeks, I bet it's actually going to take closer to two weeks. So this thing is going to move along pretty quickly.

GREGORY: And it's interesting. That's known as a district that's pretty pro-government, but you have -- you have a judge -- you have a judge who's spoken out and said some pretty tough things about the government's case.

TOOBIN: Right. But you know, the government lose -- I mean, first of all, it's worth remembering that, in federal court, the U.S. attorney's office around the United States win about 90 percent of their cases.

[07:15:14] In a place like Virginia, it's over 90 percent. That's why so many defendants plead guilty and don't go to trial.

CAMEROTA: All right.

TOOBIN: Because you get a better deal, and you're going to get convicted anyway.

CAMEROTA: Chris, we only have a few seconds left. What are you watching for?

CILLIZZA: Well, look, this is the leading edge, right? This is Mueller's first test. It is not directly related to the Russia investigation, but Manafort was, no matter what the Trump people say now, he was a critical cog in Donald Trump winning the nomination and the pivot to the general election. He was the -- he was the campaign chairman. But he was effectively, again, no matter what else spin is out there -- I remember covering it -- he was the campaign manager. And that is not an insignificant thing, given that no one knew that Paul Manafort did what was alleged.

But he was not someone that people thought was squeaky clean when Donald Trump hired him. So if Paul Manafort was such a bad guy that Donald Trump now says, why did he hire him in the first place?

CAMEROTA: Oh, that can be asked over a few -- of a few people. OK. Chris Cillizza, Jeffrey Toobin, thank you both very much.

OK. President Trump now says he is willing to shut down the U.S. government if he does not get funding for his border wall. We've heard this before. Is this an idle threat or what's really behind it? We're going to speak to one of the president's top advisers, who has just left the administration. So that will be an interesting conversation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:20:42] TRUMP: As far as the border is concerned and personally, if we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK. For a second-straight day, President Trump threatens to shut down the federal government if he does not get funding for his border wall and stronger immigration laws. But Republican leaders in Congress say they are working on a deal with Democrats that they want to punt until after the November midterms.

Joining us now is Marc Short. He is President Trump's former director of legislative affairs. He is now a CNN political commentator.

Marc, great to have you here.

MARC SHORT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Alisyn, thanks for having me on.

CAMEROTA: You -- you are so important to us, because you're going to peel back the curtain and let us know what happens in the White House when the president threatens a shutdown. You were the guy who had to field the calls from the Republican leaders saying, "What's happening?" What would you be telling them today?

SHORT : Well, I think the president doesn't require a lot of peeling back the curtain. He pretty much tells the American people what he thinks, and I think that he's sincere about a showdown here.

But a couple points to keep in mind. Last week on Wednesday, Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan were at the White House to talk through this and to talk through how we're going to make sure we avert a shutdown right now.

CAMEROTA: So why didn't that one take? Why didn't that conversation stick and now the president is threatening?

SHORT: Because I think we're talking on two different timelines. September 30 is the end of the fiscal year. And honestly, Alisyn, it's been 22 years since Congress actually completed an appropriations process on time. They will likely fail again this year, which means you'll have a continuing resolution to punt this to December.

I think likely in December is when you'll see the showdown over funding for a wall.

I think it's important also to keep in mind that Democrats supported a wall in 2006 in the Secure Fence Act. The vast majority of them supported it. The plan the president is putting forward is actually a very reasonable plan by Customs and Border Patrol career agents. It's what they need to secure at the border.

CAMEROTA: Well, hold on one second. Because as you may remember, Democrats say they gave the president his border wall funding back in February. They gave him $25 billion. But -- but he didn't take it. In fact, he lobbied against them ultimately.

SHORT: Well, quite contrary to that perspective, I recall being in negotiations during the big omnibus bill, and the president was very willing to trade the $25 billion to help find a solution on DACA. By that point, Democrats felt they were winning in court and no longer

anxious to try to negotiate on legislation. They were walking away because they felt the courts would side in their favor on DACA, and they said, "We don't need a legislative solution anymore."

CAMEROTA: That's not what they say. I mean, they say that the president --

SHORT: That's fine.

CAMEROTA: The president after giving him what he wanted, they -- he then didn't take it.

SHORT: And what I -- what I can tell you is you asked me to be on the show because of inside perspective. I was in the room negotiating with Democrat leadership on exactly that point. And they're the ones that walked away from it, because they said, "We're winning in court."

CAMEROTA: So is this an idle threat from the president?

SHORT: No.

CAMEROTA: When you say that he's being serious, he's really going to shut down the government?

SHORT: I don't think it's an idle threat. I think he believes that 63 million Americans voted for him to be president of the United States in large part because he promised to secure our border. And he's very sincere about that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but there are polls suggest that people would blame the Republicans now, who control every lever of government, for a government shutdown.

SHORT: And I think it's one of the cases probably that Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell said about the timing of this and say, "Let's get through some of these appropriations bills so we can focus on a homeland security bill later in the year past September."

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about tariffs. Let's talk about the real-world impact of tariffs.

Tyson Foods, their stock is down 26 percent this year. They say the demand has fallen for American pork because Mexico and China have placed large retaliatory tariffs on them. So it's starting to hurt people. Was that the intention?

SHORT: Of course it's not the intention. What the president has said all along is he actually wants zero tariffs. He wants to eliminate all trade barriers.

The question of debate is what's the way to get there? And the president's viewpoint is that these punitive tariffs are a way to help get other countries to reset their trade negotiations altogether.

I think something important to watch, Alisyn, is just this week, Mexican representatives are coming back up to meet with Ambassador Lighthizer to try to finalize a deal before the end of August in trade with Mexico. That would be an important sign is where the president is heading.

I think a lot of Republicans in Congress want to focus on China. They believe that China is the one that's had the greatest intellectual property theft, manipulating currency. And they've asked the president to say, "Help us isolate China. Let's clean up some of these trade deals with Mexico, and Canada and the E.U." I think that's probably what you're going to see Lighthizer pushing for this month.

[07:25:09] CAMEROTA: I think that people do understand that China has been a bad actor and not been playing fair. But what would you, when you were the legislative aide, say to the Iowa lawmakers who would call you and say, "This isn't working for us"?

SHORT: You know, a lot of people in Iowa continue to stand by the president. A lot of farmers do, because they believe the president has the same objectives, which is ultimately to lower barriers to trade and to lower the tariffs. And they're willing to give him time to help get to that point.

In many cases legislatures don't have the same sort of patience, honestly. But I think the farmers in many of these states are standing with the president knowing where he's trying to get on this.

CAMEROTA: The Koch brothers, you used to work for them, yes?

SHORT: I did.

CAMEROTA: You were their -- please stand by and I'll tell you what you were -- you were a key aide to them. So you understand them. You were, I assume, likeminded with the Koch brothers.

Here's what they've said about this. Billionaire Charles Koch has said, "The greater the level of trade restrictions, the greater the risk of severe economic fallout. It depends on the degree. If it's severe enough, it could,' Koch said, 'Any protectionism at any level is very detrimental. Every nation that's prospered is one that didn't engage in trade wars."

Do you agree with him or with the president?

SHORT: Alisyn, I'm not so sure that you can't agree with both. Here's why. The president said he wants zero tariffs. He wants zero trade barriers. The point is, what are the mechanisms to get there? And that's where Charles and the president disagree, is whether or not tariffs are an effective way to get there.

The president is trying to get to a point where we can have more access for American products overseas.

CAMEROTA: It sounds like Charles Koch, to me, is saying that the road that he's taking will be so detrimental that it's not worth it. SHORT: There's a lot of Republicans who don't agree with the road

being taken.

CAMEROTA: Do you like the road the president is taking?

SHORT: I think that tariffs typically end up raising prices for American consumers, but I also believe that the president is anxious to try to lower those tariffs across the board.

CAMEROTA: Here is what Donald Trump is saying about this this morning on Twitter. I don't know if you've read this yet, but I'll read it for everybody. "The globalist Koch brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against strong borders and powerful trade. I never sought their support, because I don't need their money or bad ideas. I love my tax and regulation cuts, judicial picks and more. I made them richer. Their network is highly overrated. I have beaten them at every turn." He's just really heaping and piling on here. "They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed. I'm for America first and the American worker, a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America great again."

Do you stand with the Kochs or with the president?

SHORT: I think what -- what is important for media and America to know is Charles and David never wanted to be Republicans. They never wanted to be Democrats. They've always been more libertarian independents. And so yes, he says in his tweet, they supported the president on his tax forum. They supported his judicial nominations. They break on several issues. They're not mainline Republicans. And they have all along.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's talk about -- I mean, I really do want you to help us peel back the curtain. I know you say that President Trump is transparent. True in some ways. But I do want you to help us understand how it works in the White House.

So the president has just said that he will meet with Iran without any preconditions. Then his secretary of state, Pompeo, laid out a whole list of preconditions before the president would sit down. What happens inside the White House when that goes on? Who -- who is managing that message?

SHORT: Well, I think that the president is very open when he has that press conference yesterday and very open to say, "Yes, of course I'd be willing to meet with them." He says that even during the campaign trail. He said he thinks that we should have more engagement with these international leaders who have been rogue nations.

CAMEROTA: Right. With preconditions or not?

SHORT: It's important to keep in mind, he has one of the best national security teams around him. And Mike Pompeo, Jim Mattis, Ambassador Bolton, they've been very severe on Iran. They got us out of that terrible Iran deal that the previous administration had. Iran's currency is crumbling. You may have seen those news stories over the weekend. There's a lot of chaos in Iran. They need to have some sort of coming to the table with the United States.

And so the president offered to have a sit-down. But have no mistake that this president is going to continue to be very severe on Iran, because --

CAMEROTA: I understand.

SHORT: -- they're continuing to murder innocent Americans and other westerners across the Middle East.

CAMEROTA: People understand that, but in terms of who the American public should listen to, the president with no preconditions or Secretary of State Pompeo with a lot of preconditions?

SHORT: I think that, of course, you should listen to the president, but I also think he has a terrific national security team that S going to make sure he's prepared for any of those meetings.

CAMEROTA: Who does the president listen to most?

SHORT: On national security, I think he listens to -- it depends on the issue, Alisyn, which should be the case. On national security he's got a great team in Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Mattis, Ambassador Bolton.

CAMEROTA: And does he listen to them?

SHORT: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: But again, it's hard to -- I mean, I know you say this definitively, but it's hard for us to understand when he says something different than his secretary of state.

SHORT: Well, he is the president of the United States. And so he's somebody who's going to lay it out there for the American people. I think that's one of the reasons the American people were excited about his presidency, because it is a nontraditional presidency. And he's somebody who came to Washington, D.C., to disrupt the way Washington works. I think that was one of the driving messages for many people, is they were so frustrated with the way that Washington was just tangled up. So yes, he's going to speak freely and candidly to the American people.

CAMEROTA: Who do you think has his ear? Who do you think, really, he listens to?