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Donald Jr Suggests Democrat's Platform Similar to Nazi Platform; Intel Chiefs Rip Russia But Trump Rips "Russian Hoax"; Giuliani: Midterm Elections About Impeachment or No Impeachment; Trump: "Low I.Q." Maxine Waters New Star of Democratic Party; Unemployment Rate Falls as 157,000 New Jobs Added; Trump & RNC Go After Koch Brothers; Pompeo: North Korea Not Living Up to Vow to Denuclearize. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired August 3, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The president's eldest son drew the comparison in an interview with a right-wing commentator on the One America News Network. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was put out there as -- and you look at it compared to the DNC platform of today, and it's like, man, those things are awfully similar, to a point where it's actually scary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Joining us to discuss that and more, Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks, of New York. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus as well.
Congressman, what's your reaction to this obviously false equivalency that Donald Trump Jr is making between the Democrats -- and you're a Democrat -- here in the United States and the Nazis?
REP. GREGORY MEEKS, (D), NEW YORK: Absolutely, Wolf, disturbing and despicable. Here we are talking about a man who had an opportunity to denounce Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, and he said they were good people. Here we have a man who basically, if you just read some of the statements he made and compare it to what Mussolini or Hitler has said, they're very similar, who is trying to destroy our institutions, work around his own folks. For him to say that is absolutely disturbing and absolutely absurd.
BLITZER: Let's get to some other issues while I have you, Congressman. The Trump administration's entire national security team taking a very strong stand against Russian attempts to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections. The strong show of force we saw yesterday at the White House was green lighted, we're told, by the president, but he continues himself to refer to the whole Russian involvement as a Russian hoax, a witch hunt. He certainly didn't speak about it at that hour-long event he did last night. What do you make of the apparent disconnect? MEEKS: It is puzzling and also disturbing. It seems clear that his
secretary -- well, the head of the defense, Mr. Coats, and others are not on the same page with the president. And we need to hear from the president. Our allies and others want to hear from the mouth of the president what he really believes. But he keeps undercutting his own administration. And so I think, at some point, you have to take the president for what his word is. So he does not agree with his own administration on the threat that the Russian government presents to our own democracy, even today in dealing with our elections. And it's something, Wolf, that has to stop. We need a president to step up to the plate because clearly he's not defending America and our democracy against the Russian intrusion.
BLITZER: As you know, the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, your former mayor in New York, had this to say about the stakes in the upcoming midterm elections in November. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIUILANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have to say this, and I say this in my role not as a lawyer but as a concerned citizen and Republican, but this election is going to be about impeachment or no impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Because if the Democrats become the majority in the House of Representatives following the November midterms, you just need a simple majority in the House to go ahead with impeachment. Does it simply boil down to what Giuliani is saying?
MEEKS: No, Giuliani is trying to juice up their base. He knows what the Democrats are looking to do. We're looking to make sure we're all doing the work of the people. We want to make sure that people have health care. We want to make sure that we do and have a strong infrastructure built so we can rebuild our infrastructure in America and put people to work with good-paying jobs. We want to make sure that we're focused on those kinds of things that will prevent us from having a tariff war and/or having a trade war. What he's trying to do is really talk about trying to juice up their base. We're just going to let Mr. Mueller do the work he has to do, the work that the president and Mr. Giuliani want to stop immediately. Let Mueller do his investigation. If something comes up, it comes up. If nothing comes of it, nothing comes of it. We're going to take back the majority, and we're going to do the work of the people because we're for the people and what the people need.
BLITZER: One of the president's new favorite targets is Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters. He calls her the new star of the Democratic Party. I want you to listen to how he referred to her once again last night during that hour-plus rally in Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know who the new star, you know who that new leader is? Maxine Waters. (BOOING)
TRUMP: Very low I.Q. Low I.Q. No, no, Maxine Waters is like -- she's like their new star.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I want your reaction. She's a colleague of yours, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She's obviously said some very strong words against the president, and I know that his supporters are angry at her, but when he refers to her as someone with very low I.Q., what does that say to you?
[13:35:10] MEEKS: Again, he's playing the race card. Same thing he did with the Birther story on President Obama. Same things he's done to those of us in New York. We've watched him when he talked about the Central Park Five. We looked at what he did before even that with reference to redlining African-Americans in his business. We've heard the kind of hate treatment he's had against immigrants. He's just showing who he truly is. It gets to a point, Wolf, when you sound like a duck and you look like a duck, you're a duck. Well, here he's starting to sound like an individual that's playing the race card. So to the degree you're looking at that, then you've got to equate maybe he's a racist. But he's playing those cards. He continues to do it. He's done it on a continue us a basis. He did it in Charlottesville. We know who he is by what he says. There comes a time when you just accept who a person is because of their own mouth. He says, don't listen to anyone else. Even what he's saying with reference to the media is just don't listen to the media. Why? Because you're reporting the truth. There's one thing we know, Wolf, about this president. That he's done better than any other president or more than any other president, and that's lie.
BLITZER: Congressman Gregory Meeks, thanks so much for joining us.
MEEKS: My pleasure.
BLITZER: We'll have more on the breaking news that's just come into CNN. CNN has learned the Special Counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed the so-called Manhattan Madam, a close ally of Roger Stone. Are investigators focusing in on the former Trump adviser?
[13:41:21] BLITZER: More strong economic numbers released today here in the United States. The U.S. Labor Department says the U.S. jobless rate is now below 4 percent. Actually, 3.9 percent. And 157,000 new jobs were added to the economy last month. That was a bit fewer new jobs than most economists had been predicting. They thought maybe around 200,000 new jobs.
Joining us now, "Bloomberg" White House correspondent, Shannon Pettypiece, former Trump economic and CNN senior economic analyst, Stephen Moore, and CNN politics congressional reporter, Lauren Fox.
Shannon, these are pretty impressive numbers. Good news politically, certainly for the president.
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: Yes, they definitely are. The economy is one of the areas when you look at polling that he does very well in. There might be questions about foreign policy, about his truthfulness, about his temperament, but when you ask voters about the economy, he still does really strong -- he does very strongly there. But of course, there's just this nonstop amount of distractions coming out of this White House. His advisers and Republicans on the Hill caution him, could we just let these economic numbers be the news and not have all the other crises that continue to come out of this White House.
BLITZER: I know you're happy with these numbers. All the Trump supporters are happy with these numbers. They're very, very good numbers. The unemployment rate is low. The stock market is doing very nicely. The jobs created have been impressive. Here's what hasn't been good. And you know what I'm going to say. The deficit. The budget deficit.
Take a look at these numbers. We'll put some numbers on the screen so you can see where it's been. During the last year of the Obama administration, the annual budget deficit, $587 billion. First year of the Trump administration, went up to $666 billion. It's probably going to be about $700 or $800 billion this year. In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office is already projecting a $1 trillion annual budget deficit here in the United States.
Whatever happened to the conservative Republican doctrine of a balanced budget?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Did you really have to rain on this parade? First of all, let me say one thing about these numbers being a little disappointing. That's been the headline all day, the low expectation.
MOORE: Just one thing. They revised upward the numbers from the previous two months by about 60,000. So that's a really good number.
Look, what I used to always say to Donald Trump about these deficit numbers -- by the way, let's face it, under Obama the debt did go up by $10 trillion. It's not as if --
BLITZER: Well, there was a Great Recession in 2008.
MOORE: Yes. Yes. But you had trillion and a half dollar deficits and a weak recovery. My point is, what we've always said to Trump is get the economy moving at a faster pace. If you can get that growth rate up from less than 2 percent under Obama to 3 percent or 4 percent, you're going to get a lot of tax revenue. We're seeing the CBO projecting tax revenues will be stronger than expected. And --
(CROSSTALK) BLITZER: Why do they think there will be a trillion-dollar deficit --
MOORE: It's a spending problem.
BLITZER: It's a Republican majority in the House.
MOORE: I know.
BLITZER: A Republican majority in the Senate. A Republican president of the United States. Why is spending out of control?
MOORE: Because neither party, not the Republicans or Democrats, want to do anything about reducing the size of government. Look, I'm not going to defend the Republicans on the budget. I did talk to the president about the omnibus spending bill. I think he regrets not vetoing that bill to send a message to Congress. But given the fact spending is out of control, we better get the revenues up. A good way to do that is get people working.
BLITZER: It would be great to get revenues up. But if you cut the taxes, some people are going to pay a lot less.
MOORE; We'll see.
BLITZER: What's happening on the Hill? What happened to all those Republicans insisting there has to be a balanced budget?
[13:44:57] LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, I think one of the concerns on Capitol Hill has been they want to make sure that they get some spending bills done so there's not a government shutdown before the midterms. They know that the president threatened to veto the last omnibus bill. They're trying to move through the appropriations process. It's actually been a rare bright spot on Capitol Hill. They've been moving through these bills one by one and making sure that they're in a good spot to just have to do a continuing resolution on a small number of agencies. I think that moving forward is what Republicans are focused on. And they know that if they don't want a shutdown, they can't make major spending cuts right before the midterms elections to get that number down.
MOORE: One thing about this deficit number. During the campaign of 2016, what were the number one and two issues on the minds of American people? Jobs and the economy. So people really care about their personal finances and how they're doing in terms of their family. And when you talked about, you know, the bump-up in Trump's approval ratings, and I think they've hit the highest they've ever been now, it's because of the economy. It's because people are feeling better about their own financial situation.
BLITZER: It's the economy stupid, somebody once said. That was a significant statement.
BLITZER: That was said back in 1992, when he was helping Bill Clinton become president of the United States.
What's going on with the Koch brothers? All of a sudden, they've given a lot of money to conservatives out there, to conservative politicians, to conservative think tanks, conservative activist groups, and now the president of the United States is really going after them. We saw the Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, saying don't have anything to do with the Koch brothers any longer. It's pretty startling.
PETTYPIECE: But interesting to watch this relationship play out, not just now, but for the past two, three years. You know, the Kochs were not a supporter of Trump when he was a candidate. A lot of their agenda and policy items since he was elected have gone against the president's agenda. And I don't know if this feud is bad for the president politically because, in one sense, President Trump's brand is about being independent of big money and donors and the self- financed campaign. So being seen as someone who is an antagonist to the Koch brothers, even though it goes against these traditional Republican norms, might not be bad.
BLITZER: They're very conservative. They disagree on some of the free trade issues. Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan's big tent? The Republican Party is a big tent and we have a lot of different views among Republicans.
MOORE: It's a different Republican Party today than it was in the '80s when Reagan was president. I love Ronald Reagan. Trump has really turned the Republican Party more into a working-class party. Some of the elites in the party are not comfortable, you know, with the direction that Trump has taken the party.
Now, the two issues that Charles Koch has had big disagreements with Trump on are immigration and trade. If it weren't for Trump's position on immigration and trade, I believe Hillary Clinton -- and by the way, I'm pro-trade and pro-immigration, but those issues really -- I mean, you're from Michigan. In those states, that immigration issue really played well with voters.
PETTYPIECE: It's this question, too, I should note, is Trump a Republican? Is he a Republican? Is he a Democrat?
MOORE: It's his party now. He's got 90 percent.
BLITZER: He's certainly the leader of the Republican Party.
BLITZER: What I hear you saying is the Republican Party now is a little tent party. MOORE: No, I'm not saying it's a little tent party. I think the
party is very unified. But I'm saying it's different. The bigger part of the tent right now is you've gotten those Reagan Democrats. That's the reason Trump won, in those states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Those working-class Americans switched over to the Republican Party.
BLITZER: Guys, thank you very, very much. Good discussion. We'll continue this down the road.
Coming up, less than two months after a historic summit in Singapore, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now says North Korea is not living up to its vow to denuclearize. How does that square with the president's praise just days ago? We'll discuss.
[13:53:18] BLITZER: Any warm feelings between the U.S. and North Korea seem to be fading quickly. The latest sign came from the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling reporters that North Korea is not acting on its commitment to denuclearize and is in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.
We have also learned that President Trump received another letter from the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, this week as a follow-up to their June summit, but no specifics were given.
Let's go to our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, who is joining us now from Singapore where Pompeo is attending the East Asia summit.
Ivan, is this ongoing gamesmanship or is there a clear cooling of relations?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, I mean, it's very striking when you consider that President Trump had his historic meeting with Kim Jong-Un here in Singapore less than two months ago, and that the message that Mike Pompeo is bringing here is very different. It's not nearly as triumphant. There's no message, hey, people can sleep safely at night. Instead, he's coming, and he has told journalists on his flight to Singapore that he believes that North Korea is inconsistent with the pledge that he says North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Un, made to denuclearize and that North Korea is in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
He's also bringing a different message to the Southeast Asian nations that are gathering here, calling on them to continue to enforce United Nations sanctions and economic sanctions that are isolating North Korea for its ongoing activities in developing nuclear weapons and, apparently, according to some recent reports, ballistic missile technology.
So not the same kind of triumphant tone that we heard, for example, in a recent tweet from President Trump himself, who was thanking North Korea for releasing the remains of what we believe could be 55 U.S. soldiers from the Korean War, United Nations troops that were recently returned, and saying thank you for getting a letter from Kim Jong-Un, Wolf. Instead, Mike Pompeo recently has told U.S. lawmakers that he believes that North Korea is still making ammunition, fissile material that could be used for nuclear weapons -- Wolf?
[13:55:34] BLITZER: A different tone coming from the president of the United States on North Korea and the secretary of state on North Korea.
Ivan, thank you for that report.
Coming up, we will have more on our breaking news. The Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team interviewing the Manhattan Madam about her ties to Roger Stone. Why investigators are interested in getting her to testify before a federal grand jury. That's next.