Return to Transcripts main page


Trump on Cohen Flip; South Africa Calls Trump Misinformed; Vigil to Remember Tibbetts; Meyer Suspended for Three Games. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 23, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Audible guffaw (ph), why?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Wow. The president of the United States just freelancing on what his code of law would be in the United States where flipping, or ratting out, as mobsters might say, somebody, that would be the real crime, not actually telling the truth after stonewalling after months. It -- that is stunning. And he's really just freelancing his own vision of what the law would be. And it's -- it's a -- it's, you know, stoolie pigeons, you know, they really get the -- they get the shiv, not people telling the truth under duress.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He says flipping should be a crime.

AVLON: Yes, the president of the United States just said this.

BERMAN: The president of the United States just said --

AVLON: That just happened.

BERMAN: Flipping should be a crime. Not directing one of your lawyers to spend money to help you win an election, not bank fraud, not tax evasion --


BERMAN: Not money laundering, flipping.

AVLON: Not trying to (INAUDIBLE) an election.

BERMAN: Flipping.

CAMEROTA: Shan, your thoughts?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's not likely to be a new addition in the -- in the criminal code. That's my thoughts.

AVLON: No. What (ph) a great understatement. But that is absurd and unprecedented to have the president of the United States say something like that. WU: Yes, that's the -- it is quite outrageous. And, again, I think it

reflects his complete lack of understanding of the criminal justice system and his lack of interest in understanding it as well.

BERMAN: Or his disdain -- or his disdain --


BERMAN: For the criminal justice system and his disdain for justice, which he offer refers to with quotation marks when he tweets about it.

CAMEROTA: All right.

BERMAN: I'll leave that there.

BERMAN: Panel, thank you very much for all of your expertise.

OK, so we are also following some more breaking news for you. A deadly knife attack near Paris. We have all the details for you, next.


[06:35:43] CAMEROTA: We are following some breaking news for you.

ISIS is claiming responsibility for a knife attack that killed two people in Trappes, France. That's just southwest of Paris. Authorities say the two victims were the mother and sister of the attacker who was then killed by police. Another person was seriously injured as well. In a statement, the terror group said it carried out the attack in response to appeals targeting nationals of coalition countries.

BERMAN: A spokeswoman for South Africa's president says that President Trump is, quote, misinformed, after he criticized the country's new land reform policy, claiming white farmers are losing their property and getting killed. President Trump directed the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into it in this tweet hours after the accusation was first made on Fox News.

CNN's David McKenzie live in Johannesburg with what's really going on here.



Let's start with a fact check on that Fox News report. No, there aren't wide scale, even any seizures of land here by the government at this time. And the murders of white farmers, while tragic, aren't at particularly high levels at this time compared to previous years.

This issue, John, is a lightning rod for white nationalists around the world. The facts are this. So Africa, obviously, as you know, has a racist past. Some 70 percent of the land is owned by white South Africans. And the government and the opposition is trying to work through that with a very methodical land distribution policy. And something like this, they say, from President Trump really doesn't help them.

This tweet from the South African government very quickly saying they totally reject this from President Trump and that it divides the nation. A spokesman told us that it's unfortunate and that these kind of comments are hysterical, John. You know, while this could have been just discarded, because he says that the secretary of state should look into this issue and formally investigate it, that has been taken very seriously here in South Africa. They've called the leader of the embassy, there's no ambassador here yet for a dressing down, and it really has caused outrage. This very sensitive topic, wading in with President Trump on an issue that he appears not to be looking at the facts of the matter.


CAMEROTA: David McKenzie, we appreciate you looking at the facts and fact checking, which apparently sometimes involves fact checking other networks as well. Thank you very much.

So the Democratic National Committee now says the attempted hack of its voter database that prompted calls to the FBI was actually an unauthorized simulation and not an actual attack. The DNC alerted the FBI Tuesday after it detected a fake version of a log-in page used to access the party's voter file. DNC says the page was built by a third party, but would not identify who. The DNC says no critical data was compromised.

BERMAN: "The New York Times" reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to use federal funds to arm teachers. This unprecedented move would reverse the federal government's current position and undermine Congress' school safety efforts. DeVos has said guns for teachers should be, quote, an option following the massacre at Parkland in February.

CAMEROTA: All right. There was a vigil overnight for Mollie Tibbetts after a suspect was arraigned for her murder. Of course, she's the University of Iowa student who so many people had searched for around the country and throughout Iowa. So we will have one of the students who's been covering this story for her school paper, next.


[06:43:19] CAMEROTA: Hundreds of people gathered at the University of Iowa last night to remember Mollie Tibbetts. The 20-year-old was murdered last month while jogging near her home. An undocumented immigrant is charged in her death. One of Mollie's friends speaking at the vigil decried how politicized Mollie's murder has become.


BRECK GOODMAN, FRIEND OF MOLLIE TIBBETTS: I don't want her death to be used as propaganda. I don't want her death to be used for more prejudice and for more discrimination. And I don't think she would want that either.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Gage Miskimen. He's a senior at the University of Iowa and editor-in-chief of the school's student-run newspaper, "The Daily Iowan."

Gage, thanks so much for being up so early, to tell us about this vigil last night and about how the community is reacting to all of this now playing out on the national stage.

So start with the vigil. Tell us -- tell us about it last night.

GAGE MISKIMEN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE DAILY IOWAN": Right. So, thanks for having me on.

Last night, you know, hundreds of people gathered at Hubbard Park, which is right across from the Adler Journalism Building where the "DI" is located. And, you know, a lot of community members and faculty and students came together to, you know, remember Mollie and lit candles. And President Bruce Harreld, at the university, spoke out and our UISG president spoke at it as well.

CAMEROTA: Gage, President Trump has just commented on this again. I know you haven't had an opportunity to hear this sound yet, nor have we. But I want to play it for you right now. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She was killed by a horrible person that came in from Mexico, illegally here, found by ICE, our great ICE, who's abused by the Democrats and the left, and without them, you might not be sitting here so comfortably right now.


[06:45:10] CAMEROTA: Gage, what's the feeling in the community about how this has become -- Mollie's murder has become politicized. It's become sort of an illustration, I guess, to the president of the battle between immigration or illegal immigration and, I guess, native-born Americans and what he thinks should happen with ICE.

MISKIMEN: Right. Well, the feeling I gather around campus from talking to students, getting e-mails from students, scrolling through Twitter and seeing University of Iowa students' feeds, they simply, for the most part, want this story to stay about Mollie. And, you know, I've gotten feedback that -- from some students that they are disappointed in politicians for bringing up issues regarding immigration and other things. But for the main -- for the main part, they want -- students I hear from want to keep it about Mollie. And, you know, last night at the vigil, the whole theme was about the town and the university coming together in this time and staying a community.

CAMEROTA: Look, that's obviously a really positive outcome of this, you know, of the tightness of the community and all of the love and outpouring from Mollie's family. And we've heard that sentiment from her family.

But aren't people enraged at the finding that this was an undocumented immigrant, that this didn't have to happen, that this person didn't have to be here? Have people expressed any of that?

MISKIMEN: For sure. Yes, we've gotten comments on stories like that as well, and e-mails as well. Most of those comments are from outside the Iowa City area, more in the rest of the Iowa area. But a lot of the Iowa area, and students here question whether or not the immigration status of Mr. Rivera matters. But, like I said, they want to keep it about Mollie and the importance of remembering her.

CAMEROTA: Mollie's aunt said virtually the same thing in this FaceBook post that I'd like to read. She said, please remember, evil comes in every color. Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship, and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

What a gracious note from someone who is obviously still mourning and suffering so much. How's the school going to go on this semester?

MISKIMEN: Of course it's our first week back to classes. So as people are adjusting to campus already, you know, with this story coming out, people have to adjust even more it seems like the feedback I've been getting from other students. So, like I said, the vigil, the main focus was coming together as a community. Mollie's brother, Jake Tibbetts, talked about -- he made everyone introduce themselves as someone new and make a new friend at the vigil last night, which he said was something Mollie would have wanted and Mollie would have done. So I think that's going to just be the theme is the community.

CAMEROTA: That's really a lovely gesture from, again, her brother, who is in the middle of pain right now.

Well, Gage, thanks for sharing with us what's happening on campus. And, obviously, we're thinking of all of you as you begin your school year there in Iowa.

Thanks so much for being here.

MISKIMEN: Thanks for having me.


BERMAN: All right, Ohio State's head football coach, Urban Meyer, suspended for mishandling allegations involving a former assistant. Details coming up in the "Bleacher Report."


[06:52:54] BERMAN: Ohio State has suspended football coach Urban Meyer for the first three games of the season.

Lindsay Czarniak has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Lindsay.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, guys. Basically this is sort of a joke, this is what a lot of people feel, because he also showed very little remorse during this investigation. Urban Meyer can return to work for the final two weeks of his suspension, but not coach the games.

This "Bleacher Report" is brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

The university board of trustees met for 11 hours yesterday before coming to its decision. The investigation surrounded Meyer's response, or lack thereof, to spousal abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith. The board found Meyer failed to take, quote, sufficient management action against Smith despite having knowledge of the accusations. Meyer offered an apology to fans, but this was his response when given an opportunity to apologize to the victim.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What message do you have for Courtney Smith?

URBAN MEYER, OHIO STATE FOOTBALL COACH: Well, I have a message for everyone involved in this, I'm sorry that we're in this situation. And I'm just sorry we're in this situation.


CZARNIAK: So he would not use her name. That is what has a lot of people this morning upset at these findings. Meyer admitting he knew about a 2009 abuse allegation made by Smith's ex-wife, but he said he was, quote, not aware of a 2015 incident until last month.

Now, Zach Smith has denied the abuse allegations. He was fired from the team in July. Smith's attorney told CNN that his client should not have married Courtney Smith, adding, quote, vengeance against her ex- husband resulted in collateral damage to Urban Meyer, athletic director Gene Smith, and the Ohio State University.

So the reason, you know, two weeks, he's suspended three weeks, he can come back for those final two.

You know this, that means nothing. He's not there to coach the games. That doesn't matter because he can coach them up, you know? So that's another reason that this whole thing just seems really poorly handled.

BERMAN: He's there for all the game plans. You know, he's probably watching. And who knows what he's doing during those games.

CZARNIAK: Exactly.

BERMAN: And it's just amazing when somebody is still so tone deaf after everything that we've gone through with high-profile cases.

CZARNIAK: Yes. Right. You think about how different it would be perceived had his reaction been a little bit more feeling, thoughtful, right?

[06:55:05] BERMAN: His concern was for "we," I'm sorry we're in this situation, not her.

CZARNIAK: We. We. And winning. And so that's what they're after.

CAMEROTA: Lindsay, thank you.

CZARNIAK: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right, so President Trump says in a new interview that he believes what Michael Cohen did should be illegal, but not the paying off of a porn star part to influence an election. Something different bothers the president. All of that ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you considering pardoning Paul Manafort?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great respect for what he's done in terms of what he's gone through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the president were to try to exercise his pardon power, it would be a gross abuse of power.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has done nothing wrong. There are no charges against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would bet on the fact that Mr. Trump was deeply involved in this inappropriate payout (ph).

TRUMP: Well, it turned out he wasn't a very good lawyer, frankly. I would see him sometimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Democrats take over the House, this charge is enough for them to run an impeachment.

[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All we know about it is, that he's pled guilty. Everything else is speculation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ought to be able to put your country over your political party. This is serious. (END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone.