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CNN NEWSROOM

FBI Surveilled Trump Adviser Carter Page; Is Trump Backing Away From Steve Bannon?; Spicer's Hitler Remarks Fallout; Police Suspects Terrorist Involvement in Dortmund Bus Attack; Trump Slams Russia for Backing Bashar al-Assad; United Airlines CEO Apologizes; Cat Disturbs Marlins Park Game; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 12, 2017 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:02] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You're listening to Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intel Committee, the Ranking Democrat on that committee, talking about the latest in their investigation into Russia's hacking of the election and any alleged ties to the Trump campaign. We're going to keep monitoring that, bring you more as it develops.

Joining us now is our panel, Abby Phillip, senior political analyst and reporter for the "Washington Post," Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator, and Patty Solis Doyle, CNN political commentator, former manager for the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Nice to have you all here.

Abby, let me just begin with you and get your take on this reporting out of your newspaper, the "Washington Post" this morning, reporting that essentially the intel community, the FBI got this FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page's communications for months, and obviously that is relevant because he billed himself as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, even though he never met with the president. The campaign is certainly now distancing themselves from him. But, you know, it's a huge deal because a judge would have had to have been convinced that Carter Page was acting on behalf of an adversary to get this.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And importantly, taking a little bit of a step back. The only reason Carter Page is relevant to begin with is because the president himself, now President Trump, then candidate Trump, named him as a foreign policy adviser at a time when he was being pressed to sort of name who he was consulting with to come up with his foreign policy during the campaign. One of those people was Carter Page.

And over time the White House has never really explained and the campaign never really explained how Carter Page ended up on that list? How did he first become associated with the campaign and why? And why did the distance start to happen?

What this revelation really illustrates is that to the extent that there was surveillance of associates of the Trump campaign it would have been because there was probable cause and probable cause in the case of these secret warrants is not easy to come by, it's something that requires a lot of evidence as James Comey, the FBI director points out. It requires a sort of tome that's about the size of your wrist that needs to be presented to a judge. So this is not something that would have been frivolous and it raises a lot of questions, probably more questions than answers at this point.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Kayleigh McEnany, you know, Harvard Law graduate, probably cause, that Carter Page was working as a Russian agent, those are pretty scathing words for a political organization.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, I think it's important reporting. Of course you have to convince a FISA court if you want to monitor a U.S. citizen that there is some evidence of wrongdoing or you think there is on probable cause as Abby mentioned. It's important. I don't think it's evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia at all. He was a brief adviser on the campaign. The campaign trying to distance themselves from him. We don't have all the facts.

BERMAN: After the fact. In fact, I mean, before Donald Trump walked into the "Washington Post" during an ed board meeting and one of the first advisers that he said he had on foreign policy was Carter Page.

MCENANY: Right. But, look, I don't think we have any evidence to suggest that President Trump knew that this guy was a foreign agent and he wanted him on his campaign because he wanted to collude with Russia. That is another step that you have to make and I don't think there are facts there to show that.

HARLOW: Let's get to this news on Steve Bannon. You know, someone that has had the president's ear -- you know, hardly anyone closer to the president especially in the last six or eight months.

Patty, to you. So the president gives an interview to "The New York Post" last month and here's what he says about Steve Bannon. "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and governors. I didn't know Steve. I'm my own strategist and it wasn't, like, I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary."

Do you think that Bannon's days are numbered?

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Without question. That's not a good quote to be getting from your boss in the media, but, you know, I know a little something about infighting and dysfunctionality in political organizations. As you mentioned, I ran the Hillary Clinton '08 campaign and towards the end there when we were losing there was a lot of infighting and backstabbing in the media and outside the media, and the reason it happened then is because we were losing and that's why it's happening now.

You know, President Trump has had a really, really bad first 80 days. A lot of failures and people are looking for people to blame. So that's one thing. That's why it's happening and then the second thing, you know, if I were Steve Bannon, the last person I would go after is the president's son-in-law. Just a little word of advice.

BERMAN: Yes, family, it's tough. In any organization let alone a political organization.

Brian, want to come to you on Sean Spicer in just one minute, but one last question on Steve Bannon to you, Kayleigh, you know, because you are loyal to the Trump administration. Do you think that Steve Bannon plays a crucial role? What would you miss if he were to go?

[10:35:04] MCENANY: A lot. I think when you look around the Trump White House you see these factions, you see more of a moderate voice with Ivanka and Jared and Reince Priebus. The only person that I know of in the administration with the exception maybe Kellyanne Conway that stands up for the base and the concerns of the base is Steve Bannon.

I agree with the president putting out the statement because I think these suggestions that Steve Bannon is manipulating and/or is the real president are ludicrous. President Trump calls the shots at the end of the day, bottom line, and I think that's why he put out the statement.

HARLOW: It is interesting, though. You know, even the "SNL" skit about him really being the President Bannon, that was, like, you know, two months ago and he's doing this now for a reason after the infighting between Kushner and Bannon has certainly escalated.

All right, Brian Stelter, to you. So Sean Spicer really stepping in it yesterday when he basically said that some things that Assad is doing is worse than Hitler. He came full circle, full apology not only with Wolf Blitzer last night on this network but then again at the museum. But there is also this reporting by our Jeff Zeleny that it's not clear yet if the president will fully accept this. What do you think this means for Sean Spicer?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Buzz about Steve Bannon, now buzz about Sean Spicer's future. Here is Spicer's latest apology. What he said a few minutes ago at the museum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I made a mistake. There's no way to -- I mean, there's no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn't have and -- and I screwed up. On a professional level it's disappointing because I think I've let the president down, and so on both a personal level and a professional level that would definitely go down as not a very good day in my history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: So now the question becomes, is it enough? I think Spicer's humility, his subdued nature, he seemed to recognize that his job is at stake and that there's speculation about whether he's become too much of a liability for President Trump and for this White House. I think, guys, this comes down to two related issues both of which

were on display with this Hitler-Assad thing. Number one, just outright falsehood or inaccuracy. And some of what Spicer said was just inaccurate but also sloppiness. Whether it's mispronouncing Bashar al-Assad's name, whether it's getting facts wrong or mixed up. This kind of sloppiness has a corrosive effect on Spicer's credibility and that's clearly on the spotlight again today because of this.

BERMAN: Saying sorry the way he did is not easy. It wasn't sorry but or sorry and, it was just flat-out sorry.

STELTER: True.

BERMAN: So that in it of itself is notable. All right, guys, Abby, Kayleigh, Patti, Brian, thanks so much for being with us. A lot more going on. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:41:56] HARLOW: So moments from now we could hear from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart. They just wrapped up a four-hour, very tense meeting in Moscow, and as we wait to hear from them, the president this morning slamming Vladimir Putin's relationship with dictator Bashar al-Assad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person, and I think it's very bad for Russia. I think it's very bad for mankind. It's very bad for this world, but when you drop gas or bombs or barrel bombs and they have these massive barrels with dynamite and they drop them right in the middle of a group of people and in all fairness you see the same kids, no arms, no legs, no face, this is an animal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. CNN's Clarissa Ward on the Turkish border with Syria right now.

And Clarissa, there are these meetings going on in Moscow right now between the United States and Russia about the Syrians, about the people that you've spent so much time with covering. Now there was some support for the actions taken by the U.S. last week, but as they're watching what's going on in Moscow right now, what are the people caught in the middle of this? What do the Syrians want?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think if you talk to anyone, John, who supports the Syrian opposition, there is a feeling of frustration that the Trump administration has not gone any further than that one night of strikes that we saw on that regime air base. It's very much inside rebel-held Syria business as usual by which I mean that the regime has been dropping bombs. There have been air strikes across the area, more attacks today according to activists in the town of Kahn Sheikhoun. That is actually the town where the chemical attack took place.

There's also been reports from activists inside of the use of cluster bombs. Again, we can't confirm all of these, but it gives you a sense that it is very much day in, day out, the same levels of violence. There hasn't been a real shift on the ground and what you start to see as well is the danger, perhaps, of some of the rhetoric that we're seeing coming from the Trump administration becoming more vocal about their opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, more vocal about the idea that there could be no peaceful, stable Syria with him still in power, and you run into the same problem you saw the Obama administration running into which is if you keep saying that President Assad cannot be future, if you keep saying that he is evil, that he is ruthless, that he is the dictator of the most dangerous variety, who is slaughtering his own people, then it becomes incumbent upon you at some point to do something militarily to intervene and help achieve that goal.

So far what we're hearing from the Trump administration is very much, no, we don't intend to get more involved, the focus is still ISIS, but with the ratcheting up of this anti-Assad rhetoric, you do start to get into that slippery slope that the Obama administration found itself on some years ago -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Clarissa Ward for us right on the border of Syria. Clarissa, thanks so much for your reporting. Really, really appreciate it.

The CEO of United Airlines with a radical promise.

[10:45:04] People who pay for tickets will no longer get dragged off overbooked flights. Much more on this promise and the uproar next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: So this morning United Airlines CEO is apologizing again for the forceful removal of a passenger from one of their flights. This time he calls the incident shameful and a common-sense system failure. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSCAR MUNOZ, UNITED AIRLINES CEO: It was a system failure. We have not provided our frontline supervisors and managers and individuals with the proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use their common sense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. So some lawmakers actually want an investigation into this whole situation. Listen to what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on "NEW DAY."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[10:50:02] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Who do you blame for this ugly incident? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: United. Listen, and I have

unique knowledge on this because, you know, Newark Liberty International Airport is a United hub. They control 70 percent of the flights in and out of Newark, and if I could tell you, I could fill a book with all the complaints I have about United Airlines from constituents.

I don't think United has ever really recovered from their merger with Continental. I don't think they've ever established a culture. And you can tell that, Alisyn, from listening to their CEO who had three different tries to try to say what everybody could see here which is this is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Here to discuss someone who knows the airline business really, really well. The former CEO of Spirit Airlines, Ben Baldanza.

Ben, let me just ask you. When you saw the video like all the rest of us, your first reaction?

BEN BALDANZA, FORMER CEO, SPIRIT AIRLINES: Well, I was shocked just like probably all of you were, as well. It seemed such a crazy escalation for what was essentially a relatively simple issue.

HARLOW: You know, you have said, you have been forthright about mistakes you made when you were CEO of Spirit, saying you guys didn't do anything right. I mean, you had a number of lawsuits and customer complaints, but now hearing Oscar Munoz's apology, something we didn't play for you there but it's important, he said he was ashamed when he saw it and he also guarantees the American public that never again would a passenger be forcefully dragged off a plane for a seat that they -- that they booked. What else needs to change?

BALDANZA: Well, I think his interview on "Good Morning America" was really on target and was good, and it's unfortunate that it took three times to get to that, but, you know, the only -- the only thing that makes sense to me about security on airplanes is when there is really a security issue.

This was not really a security issue. This was a bad airline planning issue, and the CEO Oscar Munoz seemed to recognize that in his interview this morning.

BERMAN: So, Ben, Chris Christie, among other things and other people, calling on a temporary freeze. The government is stepping in and saying to the airlines, you can't do this overbooking thing anymore. You can't sell more tickets than you have seats for on a plane. Do you think that's a good idea?

BALDANZA: I think it's a mistake for two reasons. First of all, this incident was not caused by overlooking. The flight was not overbooked by selling too many seats. It was overbooked -- it became an oversold situation because they decided to move crew seemingly at the last minute. It wasn't customers that didn't fit. It was airline crew that didn't fit and they had other options.

The second thing is that if overbooking were eliminated it would raise fares probably somewhat significantly for all consumers. I don't think customers realized how many people really do not show up for flights and how much money overbooking keeps fares a little bit lower than they would otherwise be.

HARLOW: So that's interesting because when you were CEO of Spirit, you guys had some of the lowest customer satisfaction ratings in the business. I mean there was one year at least when you guys came in dead last. But you still thought that did not matter as much as keeping costs low and therefore planes full. Is this sort of another example of that, that ultimately you have to do what is going to economically make sense for the airline?

BALDANZA: Well, the reason -- the reason that I was less concerned about complaints as the CEO of Spirit was that a lot of our complaints weren't related to the airline not delivering on its core promise. It was related to people being frustrated with the fact that we charged for bags or charged for water or things like that, and that was something I thought that we just needed to be more transparent about.

So I believe that the industry needs to be transparent about what it does, but also highly empathetic when it doesn't deliver on its core promises.

BERMAN: Right. And not being dragged out of an airplane by force.

BALDANZA: Of course not.

BERMAN: That's a core promise? That's a core promise. So that's different than an overhead bin.

All right, former Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza, great to have you with us. Thanks so much for your expertise.

HARLOW: We didn't even each show the ad.

BALDANZA: Thank you, John and Poppy. I appreciate it.

HARLOW: We didn't even show the ad where you were in the overhead. That was just priceless. There you go.

(LAUGHTER)

HARLOW: There he is. Ben, thank you very much.

All right. Coming up for us, catlike quickness on display in the Miami Marlins outfield not by a Marlins player, but by --

(LAUGHTER)

HARLOW: An actual cat who crashed their home opener last night. Coy Wire has more on the "Bleacher Report" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:58:03] BERMAN: All right. New this morning, German authorities say they suspect the attack on a bus carrying a soccer team to a key Champions League quarterfinal game, they say it was terrorism.

HARLOW: Coy Wire joins us with more in the "Bleacher Report." Good morning.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy and John. German authorities assuming terrorist involvement based on the type of detonator and the type of explosion. There are two suspects, one has been temporarily detained, but modus for the attack on the Dortmund team bus still unclear. Police found a claim of responsibility whose text indicates a possible Islamist connection. Three devices were detonated. There was a fourth that did not go off. No fatalities but one player, 26-year-old Marc Barta was injured.

The blast shattered windows on the bus, rocked the bus but Barta had to have surgery to treat a broken forearm, debris and shrapnel in his hand, but check out this picture sent out just moments ago from his team. He's wearing a cast and giving a thumbs up. So that's a good sign there.

Now attacks like this are brought about by the worst in those responsible, but they can bring out the very best in others. Check this out. Fans and members of the Dortmund community reached out to Monaco fans who had traveled to go see the match. They tweeted #bedsforawayfans. They opened their homes, shared their spare beds with the out-of-town fans who now had unexpected stays there in their community. That's good stuff.

All right. It's only Tuesday. We want to bring some levity to your morning. Yesterday was only Tuesday, but it felt more like cater day at the Marlins home opener. The game put on halt because of a little cat trying to take a nap in the outfield and yesterday was National Pet Day of all things. Players, security guards, trying to get this little character. Clearly no one had a laser pointer or some catnip. It kept running, jumping up the screens on the outfield there, you know, it was not a perfect game, guys, but a good one for the Marlins. They did beat the Braves 8-4.

A little fun for you there this morning.

BERMAN: I like to say a cat on the lamb. Coy Wire, thanks so much. Great reporting. Appreciate it.

HARLOW: Thank you so much for being with us this morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: John and Poppy, thanks so much.