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First Lady Breaks with President; Second Trump-Kim Summit; Documentary on Russian Interference. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired August 6, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:43] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news out of Indonesia. The death toll is rising at at least 91 after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Lombok. That happened over the weekend. Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency says at least 209 people are injured. One hundred and thirty-two aftershocks have been felt since the initial quake. More than 350 tourists have been evacuated from Lombok and the surrounding islands. Hundreds more still waiting to be rescued. At least 3,000 homes have been destroyed. Officials say at least 20,000 residents have been displaced.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Eleven children found starving in an underground trailer in a heavily armed compound in New Mexico. The local sheriffs says they looked like third world country refugees with no food or fresh water, no shoes, no personal hygiene. Authorities executed a search warrant on Friday and found the 11 emaciated children, aged one through 15 years old, along with three women believed to be their mothers. Two heavily armed men were arrested at the scene. Five adults face child abuse charges.
BERMAN: Hollywood, in fact the whole country, is mourning the loss of actress Charlotte Rae. Best known for playing the wise and loveable housekeeper Mrs. Garrett, first on "Different Strokes" and then she was so good at it, Alisyn --
CAMEROTA: Yes, yes.
BERMAN: So good they spun it off into its own series "The Facts of Life."
CAMEROTA: No way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLOTTE RAE, ACTRESS, "THE FACTS OF LIFE": Alex!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's the best mother in the world?
RAE: I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How come?
RAE: I've got the best son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mama.
RAE: Why didn't you tell me you were coming?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I wonder who that actor was in "The Facts of Life"?
CAMEROTA: Why didn't he go on to greatness is what I'm wondering?
BERMAN: And Tootie over there, in the corner there, did not play a major role in that scene. Charlotte Rae's son tells CNN she died Sunday at the age of 92 at her home in Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been raised. Rae's career took off, obviously, after landing that same role, Mr. Garrett, on "Different Strokes." And then as we just saw her in 'The Facts of Life." She went on to star in several other TV shows and movies. But for those of us who grew up on reruns and the like, there she is as Mrs. Rae. That's how she will be remembered. It really was quite a nice role.
CAMEROTA: Yes, she had a wonderful career. And, by the way, the picture of her later, years later --
BERMAN: She looked great.
CAMEROTA: She looks fantastic. I mean that's a beautiful picture -- we'll put it up at some point -- of her, completely white haired, smiling, and looking great.
There she is. Look at that. I mean that --
BERMAN: It makes you smile.
CAMEROTA: That pops through the screen.
All right, meanwhile, the first lady has, as you know, been showing an independent streak. She sometimes contradicts things that her husband says publically. Well, she's doing it again about LeBron James. We'll dive into that, next.
[06:38:31] CAMEROTA: First Lady Melania Trump is contradicting her husband publicly once again. On Friday, NBA star LeBron James was interviewed by CNN's Don Lemon about a school that LeBron founded in Ohio. That interview prompted the president to insult LeBron James' intelligence.
Well, the first lady's spokeswoman then issued this statement in response, which reads in part, it looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation. She, the first lady, would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron.
Joining us now is CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett, who covers the East Wing and got that statement. Good morning, Kate.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: Can you explain what we're seeing here? Explain why the first lady felt the need to weigh in to this imbroglio?
BENNETT: Well, you know, I think it's interesting that she felt the need to weigh into this one in particular. I think, you know, so many people were hash tagging their tweets back at the president "Be Best," which is, of course, the first lady's initiative and platform about practicing kindness and helping children. So, in a way, inevitably I think the question was going to come to her either way. I mean I certainly asked it, how does the first lady feel about people using "Be Best" in this manner?
You know, she's been expressing this independent streak, I believe, for quite some time. I cover her extensively for CNN. This is a first lady who clearly has her own thoughts and feelings and sometimes those are incredibly juxtaposed or in contrast to those of her husband. She took a lot of flak for supporting stopping cyber bullying, for instance, as part of her "Be Best" platform. There's social media -- practicing social media kindness. Certainly not something that her husband does. She took it on anyway.
[06:40:17] This, again, this LeBron James incident, I believe is another example of her, you know, just wanting to talk about how she feels. Clearly different from her husband. And I think that that's, quite frankly, OK.
CAMEROTA: It is OK, but it is also curious, just historically, when a first lady publically breaks with the president. And she's done it more than once.
We've compiled, just in our recent memory, some of the things that she has publically spoken out. So, she went to the State of the Union in a separate car from her husband. Is she allowed to do that? Sure. Is it unusual? Yes, it is.
Her "Be Best" campaign, as you say, promotes positivity and kindness on social media. Something that her husband does not follow. And, of course, that raises questions as to what impact her campaign is having if she can't get her husband to get on board with that.
And we liked that she watches any channel she wants statement because that was after the president discovered her channel tuned to CNN. She clearly has refined taste.
She rebuked the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in public after Giuliani said something to the effect of that the president had apologized or something to Melania about, I guess, Stormy Daniels. I'm forgetting that one. But she, in any event --
BENNETT: Yes, that's correct.
CAMEROTA: Yes, so she said that she had not spoken to Giuliani and she speaks for herself.
And when Ivana Trump came out and talked about that she was the real first lady, obviously then the true first lady, Melania Trump, decided to weigh in on that.
And so how does she choose, do you think, Kate, what she wants to get ensnared in and what she doesn't?
BENNETT: So the pattern I've noticed in terms of these sort of clap backs, as I call them, like the Rudy Giuliani one, where her spokeswoman said I don't think she's ever had a conversation with Giuliani, much less about her marriage or her husband's alleged infidelity. Those are when she feels people are speaking for her, putting words in her mouth, saying something. You know, when Ivana said, I don't want Melania to be jealous if I call the White House and speak to my ex-husband, clearly Melania was saying, you know, I'm not going to be jealous, I'm not here to sell books, you are. It was sort of a spicy comeback, if you will.
You know, the other stuff, taking on bullying, people often say, if she can't get her husband to do it, how can she take it on? Well, one, I sort of think that, who can get her husband to do anything, right? And she's said publically before, I tell him about the tweets. I tell him. Of course I do. He doesn't listen. He's an adult. He knows the consequences. So certainly she does try to do these -- these sorts of pushback to things, and she does them anyway.
And I think that that's what we're missing about this first lady sometimes is that in spite of. I mean, listen, remember, she had her kidney medical procedure and everyone said, where's Melania, where's Melania, and she just said, she didn't feel the need to come out and sort of smile before the cameras and show everyone she was OK. She said, I'll come out when I -- when I, quite frankly, feel like coming out.
It's just a very difficult vibe. This East Wing operates almost completely separately from the West Wing. There's not a lot of back and forth. There's not a lot of cooperation on both sides. Neither seem to mind, necessarily, but there's not a lot of communication between the two sides, and, therefore, Melania Trump is pretty free to do what she wants, and she does.
And, of course, I'll add that the State of the Union separate motorcade was very unusual. I remember when I got that tip, Alisyn, that she was going separately, I went to the (INAUDIBLE) and said, she's taking a different car, and the response was, no, no, no, they always go together. I said, no, no, no, you're not hearing me, they're taking -- she's taking a different car. That's how unusual it was. And, of course, that was in the midst of all the Stormy Daniels headlines back in January.
CAMEROTA: All of this is unusual, but we really appreciate, Kate, you giving us the inside perspective on how it operates there. Thank you very much for the reporting.
John. BERMAN: I think Kate's got a better read on this than any reporter in America. She watches this very, very carefully and notes when things are different.
BERMAN: And they just are.
CAMEROTA: There is no way around that, yes.
BERMAN: All right, so could another summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un be in the works? The answer is, perhaps. We have a live report, next.
[06:48:18] BERMAN: At midnight tonight, the United States will re- impose sanctions on Iran months after President Trump denounced he was unilaterally pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. The sanctions will target Iran's auto industry, steel and aluminum manufacturing and other medals, including gold. At least a dozen global companies have pulled out of the country in anticipation of the sanctions. State media says Iran's president will respond soon. He is set to be -- appear before his parliament to talk about the country's economic woes and he is expected to address President Trump directly.
CAMEROTA: So, North Korea is expressing interest in another face to face meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. A source familiar with North Korea's position says there is a, quote, strong possibility of a second summit sometime this year.
CNN's Will Ripley is live in Hong Kong with the latest.
What do you know about this possibility, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you look at what's been happening over the last week or so, this source is saying that things have been quite positive when you're talking about the relations between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. Not necessarily the U.S. and North Korea, which have been kind of ramping up the tension as of late with Secretary of State Pompeo over the weekend blasting Russia, saying they aren't enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions, calling on all nations to continue enforcing sanctions against Pyongyang, accusing North Korea of stepping up its nuclear program, not denuclearizing, as was pledged at the Singapore summit. And yet President Trump and Kim Jong-un have been exchanged letters. President Trump tweeted last week, thank you for the very nice letter, Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing you soon. And now this source is saying there's a very strong possibility on the North Korean side that there could be a second Trump and Kim summit at some point later this year. The North Koreans say they believe it's going to happen. They think that the only negotiates that are going to have any results are going to be directly between Trump and Kim.
[06:50:04] And if you listen to all the North Korean messaging, even as they blast the U.S., they have been consistent in their praise of President Trump saying that the United States' internal politics are getting in the way but that President Trump's intention is for North Korea and the U.S. to make a deal.
Now, this source also saying the North Korean's criticism of the U.S. could be a negotiating tactic to put pressure on the Trump administration and they're hoping that -- before the midterms if Trump and Kim sit down, they can get a deal favorable to them and Trump can walk away when he has a more substantive denuclearization plan.
BERMAN: And, of course, Will, the president thinks this meeting has helped him politically, so would not be surprising if he tried to get another one before the midterm elections.
Will Ripley for us in Hong Kong. Great reporting, as always, Will. Appreciate it.
So there's this new documentary getting a lot of buzz about the decade's long connections between President Trump and Russia. What new is in here? Stay with us.
BERMAN: So active measuring, an old Soviet terms for actions of political warfare. It's also the name of a new documentary that takes a deep dive into Russia's attack on the 2016 election. Now, the filmmakers claim they have uncovered some disturbing links between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the White House. Here's a look at the trailer.
[06:55:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin has worked to undermine democracies across the globe.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He made his way up through the KGB.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He learned how to maneuver politically.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russian mafia is an adjunct of the Russian government.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they helped maintain Mr. Putin's power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the point where Putin may well be the wealthiest man on the face of the planet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russians have a particular type of mark. They go after somebody who has business resources, shady morals, and political connections or aspirations. I've just described Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin realizes that if we're divided as a nation, we cannot protect ourselves from threats within and without. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what you have is probably the biggest
intelligence breach in the history of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So joining me now is Jack Bryan, the director, producer and writer of "Active Measures," which comes out August 31st.
Jack, thanks so much for being with us.
Obviously the Russia story, to an extent, has dominated the headlines for the last 18 months. So what new or different did you look to find out?
JACK BRYAN, DIRECTOR, WRITER AND PRODUCER, "ACTIVE MEASURES": Well, I think what we can sort of contribute to the conversation largely is the role of the Russian mafia in this. And particularly the role of one man who seems to be both connected to Putin and to a lot of money that is going into the Trump Organization, as well as a lot of the money that went to Manafort for years. That man's Simion Molavich (ph), who largely runs the Ukraine-Russian gas trade. And he is the money laundering king ping. He's been doing it for -- since the '80s. He's worth about $10 billion. Lives openly in Russia. He was on the FBI's 10 most wanted list for a while. And his lawyer is actually William Sessions (ph), the former director of the FBI. And he is a very powerful guy in a lot of the Russian money that is flowed out of Russia into America comes through him.
BERMAN: I want to bring up Donald Trump -- businessman Donald Trump's alleged connections to the Russian mafia in just a second there. But I do note, as I watched that trailer, I saw Hillary Clinton.
BERMAN: I saw John McCain. I saw Evan McMullin. I saw Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. A lot of people who were explicitly political foes of President Trump.
BERMAN: Is this sort of one-sided? Is this meant to be a hit job on the president?
BRYAN: Well, I mean, I would say it's a different perspective in the sense of we know Donald Trump's side of the story is no collusion. And so we wanted to fill the gaps of what the other side of it is. But we do also have James Woolsey, who was a senior foreign policy to him and was actually offered the job of CIA director until, according to him in our film, they asked him to basically kidnap a man in Pennsylvania and he decided it was illegal and also didn't want to report though Flynn to the White House. We also talk to Daniel Freed (ph), who was the U.S. sanctions coordinator. And he left when he felt that Trump was trying to lift sanctions on Russia. And so there were people that were within the organization but wanted to speak out now.
BERMAN: So you chart back then businessman Donald Trump's connections to some Russians. What were the earliest interactions that you found there and what were the nature of them?
BRYAN: Well, the first clearly elicit interaction we found is about 1984. A man named David Bogadon (ph), who was a Russian mobster, in Trump Tower, bought five condos from Trump directly, and the state attorney general rules that that was money laundering. And you see incidents of this happening throughout the '80s and the '90s. But really what happens is, throughout the '90s and early 2000s, he starts getting in debt. He starts going through bankruptcies. And it seems that 2004 is really the year that Mogalavich (ph) and the Russian mob make the move. Member -- people associated with the Russia mafia start working within the Trump organization and it changed the dynamic. Where the money is coming from.
BERMAN: Well, hold on. You're saying people within the Russian mafia are working within the Trump Organization?
BRYAN: Yes. Felix Sater, who is connected to (INAUDIBLE) seemed --
BERMAN: Felix Sater tried to make deals with Donald Trump, correct?
BRYAN: He not only tried to, he did. He was a senior adviser to the Trump Organization. He had a Trump Organization e-mail address. He was certainly -- he was in the building and he was putting together the money for the Trump Soho. It seemed a lot of money in the Trump Fort Lauderdale. And then separately you see sketchy -- very sketchy Russian money in the Trump Tower in Toronto. And that is through a man, Alex Snider (ph).
BERMAN: Do you see any evidence, based on your reporting, and I understand this is different than just the Mueller investigation, that the government is now investigating any of these things that you feel you've discovered.
BRYAN: I think that -- yes, I think through the Michael Cohen investigation, because Cohen and Sater go way back to their teenage years and I think that that investigation -- I think that's going to be a Southern District investigation mainly.
BERMAN: All right, Jack Bryan, the film is called "Active Measures," promises to be interesting to see, and it comes out in a few weeks. Appreciate you being with us.
BRYAN: Thank you so much.
BERMAN: All right, thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.
[07:00:04] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: President Trump now admitting the focus of that 2016 Trump Tower meeting was to get information on Hillary Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's concerned that this Russia probe is getting