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President Trump Downplays 2016 Trump Tower Meeting; Rep. Debbie Dingell On Escalating Trade War With China; Violent Sunday In Chicago: 44 People Shot In 14 Hours; Venezuela Makes Six Arrests In Alleged Hit On President Maduro. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 6, 2018 - 07:30   ET

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


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[07:33:49] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sources tell CNN that President Trump is growing increasingly concerned about his son Don Jr.'s legal exposure in this Mueller probe. Trump defended his son and that infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

He tweeted this over the weekend. "This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics."

Is it?

Let's discuss with Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell from Michigan. Congresswoman, great to see you.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI), MEMBER, HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Good morning, Alisyn. Good to see you.

CAMEROTA: All right, we want to talk about this as well as so much more, including tariffs with you. But what did you think when you read the president's tweet about that meeting?

DINGELL: One of the things I don't understand is how he can flip-flop on something that's so critical. So there are about 10 different issues.

I agree with you that we need -- I'm not going to get into it. I'm going to let the lawyers and Mueller do the investigation and interpret whether having that meeting was a potential gift.

But let's just talk about the perception. You're sending your son, a family member, to talk with a foreign government that is an active enemy or potential adversary, at least, of this country to talk about information that you could use against your opponent?

The optics of that are absolutely terrifying and very disturbing.

[07:35:02] CAMEROTA: And to be clear, we don't know if the president sent his son. I mean, we don't even know if the president knew about it beforehand because their story has changed so much. There's been several contradictory stories.

DINGELL: We don't know what the facts are.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we don't know what the president knew. But we do know that now everyone agrees it was actually to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

DINGELL: And he said it. I mean, in that tweet he acknowledged his son went to a meeting with representatives of a country that has been an adversary of this country. That is something that's very disturbing, period. The optics are very bad.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about something that affects so many people in your state of Michigan. Obviously, you are ground zero of the automaking industry.

So, the president's tariffs -- are they helping or hurting the people in our state?

DINGELL: So, it's very complicated like so many things are in this administration. Obviously, the auto industry and the suppliers are concerned. I think you've got to begin to -- I think the way -- the chaotic way, which is the way that this Trump administration does things.

He has not consulted with the Congress, he has not consulted with the companies that he's impacting. He just kind of -- kind of throws it out there and then you've got to deal with this chaos.

I think that there are -- you know, come into my district and there are workers that are saying thank God this president's doing something.

We do need to do something with China. We have yet to discuss currency, I might also add.

But steel companies have seen some benefits of these tariffs. Yet, we are -- the industry is in a period of great uncertainty.

And I'm going to tell you something you need to watch. I think NAFTA may get negotiated by the end of this month and that you will be surprised what the reaction is going to be, both from the companies and the workers if it continues along the path that it is.

So I think it's all being done chaotically. I've told the president -- I've said this. If you do something that helps my workers, helps the people of my district -- the autos and the UAW are happy -- then my job is to support those workers.

CAMEROTA: And what has the president's response been? I mean, I know you've been on our program before and talked about how you'd like a seat at the table since it so directly affects your constituents. And what has the White House response been when you've tried to explain how all this will affect Michigan?

DINGELL: You know, I tend to not deal directly with the president obviously, though I've talked to both the secretary of Commerce and the USTR trade representatives and I think that they have been trying to fight for the American worker in some ways, but it's been absolutely done in a chaotic way.

And, you know, it's the way that so many things happen at the White House. The president tweets something and then they've got to go deal with it.

But I do think -- I mean, the chaos of this is really what part of the problem is and you know, it's the art of the deal. What's going to come out at the end of this is the question.

CAMEROTA: But just to be clear, on balance would you -- I mean, I know that you said that the steel companies have seen some benefits from the tariffs. So on balance --

DINGELL: U.S. steel companies.

CAMEROTA: Yes, U.S. steel companies. And so, on balance, would you say for your state -- and I know it's complicated but have the tariffs been --

DINGELL: It is complicated.

CAMEROTA: -- right now today, helpful?

DINGELL: No, not right now, and I think we've got to wait and see what comes out of NAFTA. The farmers -- not only are the farmers in Michigan, I went to Iowa and I couldn't believe how upset -- those farmers are traditionally Republican -- how upset they are.

And I do think partially, Alisyn, it's the way that it's being done. It's being done chaotically, not in a formal way. We do need to take some of these issues on.

I'd like to see us talk about currency in both Japan and China. Companies in America can't compete with the Bank of China.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I know. You've always talked about this on this program, that you think that --

DINGELL: And I haven't changed.

CAMEROTA: -- China should be reined in and so those are good impulses by the president. But, of course, there are unintended consequences for some of your constituents and that you're not sure the White House has completely thought through.

Let's move on very quickly because there's an interesting primary happening tomorrow in your state for governor.

So it seems -- and there's also some interesting candidates and it seems as though it's a bellwether because they run the gamut in the Democratic Party from establishment, more traditional kind of Democrat -- to along the more progressive spectrum -- to a candidate who is being supported by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

So, which way do you think the voters in your state are leaning in terms of what they want out of a Democrat? DINGELL: Well, you know, I've been out there a lot and I have a district that represents all of those candidates. One of them lives in my district, one of them is closely associated with my district, and I've known all of them for a very long time.

I've been everywhere this weekend. I probably did 30-40 of them this weekend. People are excited, people have strong feelings, people are passionate.

[07:40:00] Clearly, the progressive candidate has picked up steam. And like I said in the primary with Hillary Clinton and everybody else, this is not a 24-point race. I think it could be far more competitive than people think that it's going to be.

Detroit's absentee voters -- A.V.s are down but you've seen an increase in A.V.s around the state. Some of those are women, some of those are progressives. So I'm not sure who's going to totally vote tomorrow.

But what I am excited about is that people are engaging in many places that they didn't engage two years ago, and for democracy, that's a good thing.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point. Yes, there is certainly a high degree of public engagement given everything that's happening in politics right now.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, thank you very much. Great to talk to you.

DINGELL: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: John --

DINGELL: Good talking to you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good discussion there.

A risky rescue from a car engulfed in flames. We have video from the policeman's bodycam. That's next.

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BERMAN: During one 14-hour stretch in Chicago on Sunday, 44 people were shot. Forty-four people shot, five killed.

CNN's Ryan Young live in Chicago with this deadly, dangerous weekend -- Ryan.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, just a tough story.

[07:45:00] Of course, the city in mourning after this so we're kind of struck by the headline in the paper. It says less than seven hours after midnight Saturday, 44 people were shot, just like you were talking about the numbers here. But when you think about the carnage and you think about the young people who were in involved in this, you had a 13-year-old, you had a 14-year-old, an 11-year old all shot during this, this is very upsetting, of course, to a lot of people across the city.

You've had over 5,000 illegal guns picked up off the streets of Chicago this year. The crime rate is down but then you have a weekend like this where it was so hot -- they had multiple shootings.

At one point one of the things that stood out to me was the scene outside one of the hospitals here. One of the largest hospitals here in the city had more than 50 people standing outside, all waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones in a mass shooting.

There were several parties over the weekend and it seems like, according to police, that gang members targeted some of these parties and shot them up. Multiple people getting shot and taken to the hospital to try to survive.

We believe the numbers will actually go higher. There will be a news conference this afternoon where we'll learn more information.

But when you think about what police have done over this last year, the crime rate has fallen tremendously because of some of the actions they have been taking. But you can see this weekend how things can spike.

I can also tell you the fact that this summer they took 30,000 kids to work for a summer youth job program. They wanted to make sure kids were off the street.

But you see on a weekend like this that gun violence knows no bounds, especially on the south and west side.

This is a city where we've seen people take to the streets protesting the violence. It seems like so many answers are not coming in terms of what should happen next.

We heard the mayor even talk about there needs to be a cultural change, but also a chance to get those illegal guns off the street -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, Ryan, the numbers there are staggering. Of course, there has to be an answer there.

YOUNG: Heartbreaking.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

So an investigation is underway into the deadly crash of a small plane in Southern California. Officials say this twin-engine Cessna had declared an emergency before it dropped onto a parking lot in Santa Ana killing all five people on board.

This happened just about a mile away from the John Wayne Airport. No one on the ground was injured. BERMAN: Police are looking for a gunman who they say opened fire inside a community-run radio station in Madison, Wisconsin. Officials say a disc jockey suffered what is described as non-life-threatening injuries after several shots were fired inside the studio.

Police can't say how the assailant entered the building early Sunday but there are signs of -- there are no signs of forced entry.

The motive for the shooting is still unclear. Early indications suggest it does not appear to be random so there is no risk, they say, to the public.

CAMEROTA: Singer Demi Lovato is speaking out for the first time since her apparent overdose.

Last month on Instagram she wrote, "Addiction is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not yet done."

Lovato says she now needs time to heal and focus on her sobriety. She ended the post with a vow to keep fighting.

Well look, so many people -- I mean, including young people -- are following what happened with Demi Lovato because she has been outspoken about her addiction and when she overdosed -- or what appears to be an overdose -- that was so upsetting to everybody.

But I think she makes a great point. Addiction doesn't go away.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: You just learn how to manage it maybe from day to day.

BERMAN: I think what everyone should want here is that Demi Lovato gets the space to work through her own issues here and to get better. But also, for her to be as transparent and open as she can be because there are so many young people who I think would benefit --

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

BERMAN: -- from knowing about this.

CAMEROTA: No, it's really helpful to bring out this -- what is this stigma out into the public. It's really helpful.

BERMAN: All right.

Atlanta police releasing body cam video of an intense fiery rescue. Officers racing against time to save a passenger from a burning car after hitting a utility pole Sunday morning.

Look at that. The engine already engulfed in flames -- was already engulfed in flames when they arrived. One officer tried to pry the door open and grabbed the fire extinguisher to douse the flames while a second officer pulled the passenger out through the driver's side. A total of three people were taken to the hospital. One of the officers did suffer minor scrapes and bruises but otherwise, they were OK. Thank goodness for that.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, they're so brave. They're so brave going up there --

BERMAN: It was remarkable.

CAMEROTA: -- and going to that car.

BERMAN: Just go, go, go.

All right.

The fallout from an alleged plot to assassinate the Venezuelan president -- this remarkable scene caught on video with allegedly an explosive-laden drone involved here. We'll give you the latest, next.

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[07:53:30] CAMEROTA: OK, we have some breaking news out of Indonesia. The death toll rising to 98 people after this 6.9- magnitude earthquake struck the island of Lombok on Sunday. Indonesia's Natural Disaster Management Agency says at least 209 other people are injured.

So, residents had endured more than 100 aftershocks. You can see what -- some of what this quake looks like on your screen.

Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated from Lombok and surrounding islands, and hundreds more are still waiting to be rescued. Thousands of home have been destroyed. Officials say at least 20,000 residents have been displaced.

BERMAN: I think you can expect that death toll to rise as we learn more.

Authorities in Venezuela say six people are now facing terrorism charges in connection with the alleged attempted assassination of President Nicolas Maduro over the weekend. This happened as he was delivering a speech live on television.

Reporter Stefano Pozzebon live in Caracas with the latest -- Stephano.

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Yes, John. We're still waiting to hear what the attorney general will refer to the press as he will speak later today at approximately 12:00 p.m. here in Caracas.

He will give us the latest updates on specifically those six people. We're yet to know who these six people are -- the six people who have been arrested in relationship with that incident on Saturday and what charges are they facing.

And we expect Alisyn that the attorney general will link these six people to the Colombian government and specifically, to the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos who right now the Maduro government is personally blaming to be the mastermind or to be behind this attack.

[07:55:08] But we're still -- many questions still need to be answered here in Caracas. How many drones were in the air? Who was allowed to fly a drone at such a closed military event?

So we're sure that we will closely monitor that press conference and we will speak with authorities to try to understand all this black points that are still -- that we're still facing -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Stefano, this is crazy. I mean, I don't know if you've seen the video -- I'm sure you have -- but what we're playing right now for our viewers is you see the drone exploding in the sky. And then you see all these kinds of black tarps being put up or thrown over the -- over the president.

Do you know what -- how it was happening on stage here?

POZZEBON: Yes, exactly, Alisyn.

We see the president being evacuated from a closed military event. Just look at -- you know, let's try to analyze what happened and what we know happened to understand the serious of the fact.

The president was speaking at a very, very closed military event. It was the anniversary of the foundation of the National Guard. It was held in one of Caracas' most central avenue and a drone exploded up in the air.

Now, it's very hard to fly a drone here in Caracas. I personally wanted to fly a drone since I moved here and getting a license, it's very difficult.

You have to be closely connected with the state. State T.V. has a drone, the civil rescue service have drones, but not many private people have a drone.

And that drone, like that one, costs approximately -- it costs thousands of dollars. Even for a normal Venezuelan, it's close to impossible to be able to even purchase such a drone like that, Alisyn.

Venezuelans earn about $5.00 to $10.00 per month. How can he earn a -- how can he buy a $5,000 drone and let it blow up, up in the air?

So it's a very close number of people who could have orchestrated such an attack and so close to the president that we could see Venezuela -- we could have speaking -- we could have been speaking in very, very different terms if that drone was a little bit closer to the stage, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point.

BERMAN: Now, there are conspiracy theories, correct? I mean, there are people suggesting this whole thing was a set-up. Where are they?

POZZEBON: Exactly, John. And also, let's remind our viewers a little bit about the history of Venezuela. Both President Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, who ruled this country for 13 years -- they both claimed many times they were targets of assassination attempts or a coup plot.

Both people from within the Socialist Party are now challenging Maduro's leadership or the opposition are saying or arguing that this -- it could have been an inside job or yet, there are still many questions unanswered. And it always often happens here in Venezuela, it's very hard to understand who's saying what. Like, what's actually the truth?

You may remember last year in June, a commander pilot stole a helicopter and threw grenades at the Supreme Court. And that fact also left many questions unanswered.

And we're still waiting to hear from the attorney general what he will update us later today, John.

BERMAN: All right. Stefano Pozzebon in Caracas for us following this strange story with remarkable video.

CAMEROTA: And that was wonderful context that he gives as how expensive it is and how hard it is to fly a drone. It's not like here -- really helpful.

All right. Meanwhile, we're following a lot of news so let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now know from the president the purpose of the meeting was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I had bad information at that time. I made a mistake in my statement. That happens when you have cases like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That meeting in Trump Tower could present major legal issues for Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adoptions were discussed. Obviously, other things were discussed, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looks absolutely uncredible, as does the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She helped file supply numbers so that Manafort could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have a person on the stand who has an immunity deal, obviously you attack them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real question is what are we going to hear from Rick Gates?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, August sixth, 8:00 here in the east.

A lot of news this morning. The president admits now flat-out that his son met with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton -- dirt that Donald Trump, Jr. was told flat-out was part of the Russian government effort to help his father.

The president wrote this over the weekend. He also called the Trump Tower meeting totally legal and done all the time in politics, adding "I did not know about it."

CAMEROTA: Well, what does the law say? We'll tell you.

It says it is a crime to accept anything of value from a foreign person for the purpose of influencing an election. And now, sources tell CNN the president is concerned about Don, Jr.'s legal exposure for his involvement in that meeting.

BERMAN: All right. The president and his son have contradicted themselves over and over again in trying to explain this Trump Tower meeting. Let's just walk you down that --