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Trump Says Trump Tower Meeting Was About Clinton Dirt; Trump Supporters: Clinton & DNC Broke Law Buying Info from Russians; Trump Blames California Environmental Laws for Wildfires; Iran Responds to Sanctions Restored After Nuke Deal Exit; Source: Strong Possibility of 2nd Trump/Kim Summit as Evidence Shows North Korea Not Denuclearizing; GAO Warns Trump about Wasting Money on Border Wall with Mexico; Deadly Weekend in Chicago. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired August 6, 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: So what kind of jeopardy do you think his son, Donald Trump Jr, is in after this revelation from the president?
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think you have a conspiracy here. And a conspiracy is a crime. It's based upon an illegal act that is obtaining information from a foreign government. Opposition research is extraordinarily expensive. Hillary Clinton spent a lot of money on the Steele document. That's another issue. Let that be set aside. In this case, the opposition research, provided the meeting was about what the president said, adds up to an illegal act. If one or more people are involved, you now have a conspiracy. You have two crimes going on. You have an election law and a conspiracy. This is a very, very serious matter. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives and the Senate -- well, at least the House of Representatives is simply in the going to go into this. That in itself is an affront to our democracy. We need to know exactly what happened. We need to make it very clear that henceforth, there will be no involvement by any foreign government, friend or foe, in the American election process. And here we are today with five of our intelligence chiefs all saying Russians are here, they're involved yet again. And the president says that's fake news. This is just plain wrong.
BLITZER: Let me quickly get you respond to what the Trump team, the Trump supporters are saying, that Hillary Clinton, by her campaign, the DNC spending money to get opposition research on Donald Trump through the Christopher Steele dossier, as it's called, going to Fusion GPS, the P.R. firm, and getting that, was that a violation of the law, trying to get that kind of information? Because a lot of that information in the dossier originated with Russians.
GARAMENDI: Two wrongs do not make a right. If, in fact, it is wrong, it is wrong. And if there's a crime, it's a crime. That should be dealt with separately. Whether it is or not, I couldn't say. But I do know that in this situation in Trump Tower, we have evidence that, a, the Russian government was directly involved, that their representatives were at the meeting, and that it was specifically to obtain something of enormous value. That is dirt on Hillary Clinton. That's the issue at hand right now. If you want to take up the Hillary Clinton Steele dossier as a crime, go ahead. Take that up later in a different form. But right now, we're talking about the president of the United States and his campaign. We have yet to learn -- and this is something that I think will be found out in the very near future, that the president himself was aware that this meeting was going to happen, and he was given information about what happened at that meeting. The blocked telephone call from Donald junior to whom? I'm quite sure Mueller knows to whom that blocked call was placed. We'll see. All of this is going on.
I think perhaps there's another thing underlying this, Wolf. That is the president is beginning to clean up his statements because he is going to face Mueller with an interview. I think he's in the process of trying to put aside all of the previous lies so that he doesn't put himself in perjury.
BLITZER: Let me quickly on a totally different subject, because you're in California.
BLITZER: You're in Sacramento. Your district not far away. Let me ask you about the tweet from the president blaming the California environmental laws for the current wildfires in your state. Your district, as I said, just south of the largest of those fires. At least six people are dead. What do you think of the president seemingly ignoring the death, the destruction, and taking a direct swipe at your state, California, a state that clearly, obviously, didn't vote for him?
GARAMENDI: Well, first of all, Lake County, where this 250,000-acre fire is currently burning, is my district. Those are my constituents, some 20,000 of them that have been evacuated. Fortunately, not too many homes, but a lot of people whose lives are disrupted. One example, I was at the evacuation center a couple days ago. There was a woman sitting by herself at one of the tables at the center. I sat down next to her and chatted with her a while. She said, "I think my mobile home is gone." I just came back from the hospital. I said, what happened? Are you OK? She said, "I just found out." I said, what did you find out? She said, "I found out that my twins are actually triplets and I'm six months pregnant, and I don't know that I have a home." She gave a hearty laugh, stood up, and said, "I'm going to go to dinner now." Very, very brave. Extraordinary people that are in harm's way that are being cared for by their neighbors, volunteers for the Red Cross, 20,000 in my district. Further north in the Redding area, seven people have died already in that fire, and it's still going on. A thousand homes. It's very, very tough, very difficult.
[13:35:08] BLITZER: But what do you say to the president? The president is blaming California's environmental laws for a lot of the problem.
GARAMENDI: Wolf, it's one more display of his ignorance, his gross ignorance. Water flowing down the rivers out to sea has nothing to do with these fires. If I'm ignorant, that's a problem. If the president is ignorant, it's a crisis. And it goes on and on and on. His ignorance not only about water flowing out to the sea but about the maintenance of the forest. We do have a new law in place that will provide better forest management in the future. But the president's ignorance in this is just astounding. And when he's ignorant, it's a crisis for this nation and could very well be a crisis for the world.
BLITZER: Congressman Garamendi, thanks for joining us.
GARAMENDI: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, in a new interview, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says President Trump's calls for direct talks are meant to create division inside Iran. This, as new U.S. sanctions kick in later today.
And sources tell CNN there's a strong possibility of another summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-Un. But as North Korea allegedly continues to develop missiles, what could come out of another summit? We'll discuss that and more. Stay with us.
[13:41:04] BLITZER: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani opening up in a new interview about President Trump's call for direct talks. The timing of interview no coincidence. The U.S. now re-imposing sanctions on Iran this week after pulling out of the nuclear agreement. Iran is also facing an economic crisis as its currency continues to plunge.
Joining us now, senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, and Karoun Demirjian, CNN political analyst and congressional reporter for the "Washington Post."
Michelle, this is clearly a sensitive moment right now. Iran is going to have to make some major decisions. The U.S. is going to have to make some major decisions. The European allies are going to have to deal with this as well.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is when it gets real. The U.S. left the Iran nuclear deal. There was all of the backlash and reaction to that. But now sanctions are actually snapping back. This is the first round. There will be another tougher round in 90 days, which will affect Iran's oil sector, energy, central bank. This is the U.S. saying, this is serious. It's going to hurt you. We're serious about this. But at the same time, we want to talk to you at any time without preconditions. So you can see that Iran's reaction is exactly as expected, angry and saying, you know, what is this, this is U.S. hypocrisy. It's unclear how this can bring Iran back to the table to give up something more than it already did in the actual existing Iran nuclear deal, which, by the way, U.S. allies want to keep.
BLITZER: The administration, the Trump administration, Karoun, insists they're not working for regime change in Iran, but the country right now is going through some very difficult moments economically in particular.
KAROUND DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is the difficulty when you're talking about countries like Iran that have, you know, people in power that have worked for the United States but not everybody in power really wants to. There's hardliners that would be more difficult for the United States to work with. You'd think that, OK, when there's uprisings, maybe things will liberalize. That's not always the case. It's a very precarious situation right now. I don't think the Trump administration could be working for regime change because there's not really a regime change that would be in their interest to work towards. So they're basically trying to put the squeeze on Iran. It's an opportune moment in a way because there's already internal pressures that make the economic situation very, very delicate, in which case, when sanctions are re-imposed, it would have a real -- they'd really feel it there more so than, let's say, maybe a place like Russia would feel it directly. But you don't quite know where that's going to end up. You hear Rouhani today saying come back to the JCPOA. Everybody else wanted it but you. Please lift the sanctions and then we'll talk. Clearly, that's not the way the United States is playing their cards. It's really not clear where this is going to go.
KOSINSKI: Yes. Also, sanctions don't necessarily lead to regime change --
KOSINSKI: -- which we've seen for such a long time with North Korea, Cuba and --
BLITZER: Speaking of North Korea, now there's talk a second summit between the president and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. What are you hearing?
KOSINSKI: There needs to be a second summit since the first one didn't really go anywhere and didn't really define what even the outlines of what each side wants will be. So it's possible that this could be before the end of the year. Location is not established. Would it be in Pyongyang? Would it be in Washington? We know they've been communicating by letter. So it's possible this is progress. I mean, you know the administration wants to call even the fact they're talking progress. But if they do meet again, I mean, it's time for there to be some kind of structure around where this is going in both the short-term and long-term.
BLITZER: What are you hearing?
DEMIRJIAN: You have to kind of keep hope alive in these talks because there's so much buildup at the outset. Nobody expected this could happen quickly. And nobody who's on the expert side of it had much faith until they reached the point of which, OK, North Korea is actually putting in a full list of all of their nuclear -- not just the places where they produce these things but all of the materials and parts as well. Until we get to that point, this isn't really real. But you're never going to get there overnight. Look at past administrations too. At this point, there was a lot of -- I don't want to call it bluster, but there was a lot of pomp and circumstance at the beginning about what would be happening here. It hasn't happened yet. You need to get people excited about another summit again, potentially to keep that pilot light going.
[13:45:20] DEMIRJIAN: Maybe a do-over.
BLITZER: We'll see if that meeting takes place.
Guys, thank you very, very much.
Coming up, the first lady, Melania Trump, contradicts her husband once again, praising Lebron James for his charitable work as her husband attacks him. So what is she trying to do?
Also, the Government Accountability Office is now warning the White House that it is at risk of wasting billions and billions of dollars on the president's border wall with Mexico. You're going to hear the explanation when we come back.
[13:50:15] BLITZER: A shocking warning to the White House by one of the president's key campaign promises. A government watchdog reports says the Trump administration is in danger of simply wasting billions and billions of dollars on the border wall with Mexico.
CNN's government regulation correspondent, Rene Marsh, is working the story.
Rene, what are you learning?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRSEPONDENT: Well, the Government Accountability Office is just not holding back. They say that DHS, Department of Homeland Security, has not done a full analysis to determine how much this border wall would cost. They actually say that the DHS does not consider costs when it is building.
But the harshest part of this report we have -- I want to put it on the screen here -- the watchdog report says that, "By proceeding without key information on costs, acquisition baselines and the contributions of previous barrier and technology deployments, DHS faces an increased risk that the border wall system program will cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected."
As you can imagine, we are starting to get reaction in. One of the ranking members on the House Homeland Security Committee, Danny Thompson, is saying that this is the perfect example of the administration being so committed to a campaign promise without thinking about costs. DHS, for its part, it wrote in the report that it disagrees with much
of what is laid out here, saying that they have been properly following policy as this process goes through. However, CNN did reach out to the department for additional comment, and we have not yet heard back from them.
BLITZER: The GAO, likely Trump administration basically has simply given up on this notion that Mexico will pay for the wall?
MARSH: Clearly. And they are not very happy with what they are seeing as far as the calculations being done as far as how much this will cost and whether the limited resources that DHS does have, if they are using it in the most cost-effective manner. GAO not convinced that is happening.
BLITZER: We don't even hear the president insisting any longer that Mexico will pay for the wall.
BLITZER: He did throughout the campaign.
Rene, good reporting as usual. Thank you very much.
At least 12 people are killed, more than 60 people shot across the city of Chicago over the weekend. Another deadly weekend in Chicago. We are going there. Shocking story, indeed.
Also, CNN goes inside one of the world's biggest motorcycle gatherings and talks to bikers about politics and President Trump. You are going to see what happened.
[13:57:24] BLITZER: A truly staggering number of shootings in Chicago over the weekend. Counting nearly 70 people as victims, 70 people shot. A dozen, 12 of those died in the rash of violence, the youngest just 11 years old.
Let's go to our national correspondent, Ryan Young. He's in Chicago for us.
Ryan, people are watching this all over the world. They are finding it hard to believe that a dozen people are shot and killed over two days in the city of Chicago. Nearly 70 other people are shot. What is the mayor saying? What are they doing about this wave of shootings in a major American city?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, great question. We are outside of district 6 where they had this news conference. This is one of the troubled areas they had issues with over the weekend. I can tell you, 66 people shot. Of course, 12 dead.
Something I want to highlight here. There were 14 people under the age of 18 shot. Two of those died. This has been a summer where they have had some sort of success. Not
only did they have success, some of the numbers dropped dramatically. But they had a weekend where a lot of people have been talking about gang violence, mass shootings. People having parties outside. After a funeral, someone showed up and started shooting. At sometimes, some of the shooters just walked away, didn't even try to run. There was a lot of emotion at the news conference.
Listen to what the mayor had to say in talking about the weekend's violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAHM EMANUEL, (D), CHICAGO MAYOR: We can talk about the weather, but the weather didn't pull the trigger. And you can talk about jobs, and they count. But in parts of the city where there aren't jobs, people did not pull a trigger. There are values. There are too many guns on the street. Too many people with criminal records on the street. And there's a shortage of values about what is right, what is wrong, what is acceptable, what is condoned, and what is condemned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Wolf, think about this. They confiscated over 5,000 guns off the streets here in Chicago. And there's still a number of illegal guns out there. On top of that, the mayor had a summer program where over 30,000 kids were attending the program just this summer. But still, despite all of that, one of the things that we heard in an overall theme was for was for people to start calling in and give tips to get some of the shooters off the street. That's one block that hasn't been jumped as yet. Because, unfortunately, people stay silent about the shootings. We have seen the community taking to the streets. Two times this summer, we have seen people protesting against violence. More needs to happen. After this weekend, Wolf, it's tough to see the numbers that we've seen, especially with all the young people involved -- Wolf?
[14:00:11] BLITZER: A war zone in parts of Chicago right now.