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Trump To Announce Climate Decision At 3PM ET; World Rails Against Trump's Plants To Pull Out Of the Climate Deal; Candidate Trump Vowed To Scrap Obama Legacy; Candidate Trump On Obama: "He's Been A Disaster"; Lewandowski To Republicans: "Get On Board"; Trump Campaign Promise: Drain the Swamp. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired June 1, 2017 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:02] NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: You don't have to have one or the other. And I think that's what everyone internationally needs to know. We're not going to start polluting and creating problems in the world. What we are going to do is balance it out.
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT (through translator): That's not how it works. The Americans can't just leave the climate protection agreement. Mr. Trump believes that because he doesn't get close enough to the dossiers to fully understand them.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: The real danger, he's not to set once the economy that comes from acting. It is instead, the risk, wants the economy by failing to act.
And the message is simple. The sustainability train has left the station. Get on board or get left behind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Up to the last minute you hear, yesterday, the President was withdrawing. Today, you hear, well, he's withdrawing. But what is he going to do when he walks into the rose garden? Is there any chance that he walks to the rose garden and says, I'm staying?
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Sure. I think there's -- I think that this is going to be today.
KING: At 12:30 --
KING: It's 12:31 p.m.
PACE: Yeah. When I left the White House about an hour ago, the word from advisers was that he is still leaning toward withdrawing, with some caveats on the language, they're particularly concerned about blow back from the business community, which has really come out in force for the Paris agreement.
But, every adviser that I talked to said that they won't know until he walks into the rose garden and says that. And that's how fierce the divisions are internally. That's the pressure he's getting down to the wire.
KING: I assume there's a teleprompt with him -- for him to deliver these important remarks. I assume somebody has to write them. I mean, I look through the Clinton presidency where they were scribbling until the last possible minute, but not on the decision. Often, on what the president wanted to say about a decision.
But this is new. Let's put it that way to be polite, in the sense that yesterday, senior administration officials, people who work as about as close to the president of the United States and the people in this room say he is withdrawing. Then you get e-mails from other administration officials say, well, be careful about that.
What is it about this White House that they think this is OK?
NAFTALI BENDAVID, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think there's not much question with the president himself operates on sort of an emotional, visceral, sometimes impulsive maybe way of doing things. It also wouldn't be the first time that he seemed to be going in one direction and went in another.
I mean I'm thinking of NAFTA where he was talking about pulling out of NAFTA completely. Now, it seems like there will be some relatively modest adjustments. But in this one in particular, some of the people who wanted to stay seem to include his daughter, his son-in-law and the business community.
And this is really unusual. You know, the Trump administration has been pretty much in favor of deregulation and have the business community on its side. Here, you have a very a large percentage of the business community urging him not to do this and it creates a very different dynamic.
JACKE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: And yet, that the people that are pulling him back are people like Steve Bannon, your more populists parts of the White House, and Pruitt at the EPA and his base, his base who he promised he would throw this out. And that's a very strong pull for a president who gets a lot of his energy from those folks who voted for him and who believed him.
KING: You make a key point. As this lobbying plays out, yes, there are people who can walk into the president's office who disagree of this. Who have offices within 10, 15, 20, 50 yards from the president who can walk in or disagree about this.
But Scott Pruitt, remarkable, went on television a couple months ago saying, I think we should get out. Because a lot of the administration officials know the way to get the president's attention is to be on television. The Republican national committee chair woman, to your point about the base, is on T.V. this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIRWOMAN: I think they're going to want him to pull out. I think they want him to put America first. They want him to look -- and I'm not going to -- I don't want to step on the president's toes, but I'm all over the country. I think they're looking at every deal and saying this is the president who's going to put America's interests first, and that's what they're going to expect for him to do with the Paris agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENDAVID: I mean I think another aspect of that is, you know, there are several promises he does not appear that he's going to be able to keep. I mean he couldn't get rid of Obamacare on day one. You know, he's not going to apparently move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. You know, there's a few things like that.
There's not going to be a Muslim ban. He's not going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. This is a thing maybe he can do. And I think he's under some pressure right now from the base, from the people we heard from, to come out and say something like this.
KING: But, if you listen, you -- I saw your face when the president of the European Union and that sound byte, that's with the president that he doesn't get it. He's not smart of it. He hasn't read about it. He doesn't get it.
Listen to this from China today. One of the big conversations here is if America steps back, who steps up? China says it will stay in. President Putin at that press conference we showed you earlier said Russia will stay in. They all stay, if the largest economy, the United States steps back though, who knows what other -- Let's listen to China Global Daily, which reflects the views of the government, "A reckless withdrawal from the climate deal will waste increasingly finite U.S. diplomatic resources. And the U.S. selfishness and irresponsibility will be made clear to the world, crippling the country's world leadership. Trump and his team should know this. Hopefully the reported withdrawal is a false alarm and Trump's decision on Thursday will be one acceptable to the world."
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Part of this harkens back to things that we were talking about last week, which is that Trump is, in many ways, learning on the job when it comes to these sorts of international things, right?
And so, there's two things that play here, right? One is what he wants to be able to do, you know, domestically to keep a promise to his base to have a win, so to speak, in places where he's had to as he learn on the job decide not to do things he promised, you know, because it would be too dangerous or too destructive or too risky.
[12:35:14] But then on the other side, there's the question of, is this something that he's learned that maybe would be too risky to just rip up and walk away from. Or, is it the fact that people are now kind of insulting him and his ability to run the country and make these decisions with Trump -- sorry for using that word. But he doesn't like being insulted that way. He likes being appealed to.
And that's not what's happening here. So the diplomacy of this have shifted in a way where it may not mirror that he's learning on the job and has to change his decision making process from things he promised on the campaign trail because of what he's come to find out is more risky.
PACE: And one of things that was really fascinating when we were on the international trip last week, when we were in Europe, is that the European leaders were appealing to Trump to stay in the Paris accord, not because of the environment, not because of the impacts of climate change. They were talking about U.S. leadership and they were saying, look, the U.S. is the most important country in the world.
Appealing to this part of Trump that while he does focus on this idea of America first and wants to focus on U.S. jobs, he does not want to lead a weakened America. He does not want to be the leader of a country that's in retreat.
So they were appealing to the ego of Trump. And say, you know, you are the most important leader in the world. If you are not at the table, then this is ineffective. And that was said to have some impact on him. Whether if that carries him through in this decision and he does decide to stay in or stay in with some modifications, but I don't think we know yet, but that was a fascinating dynamic that the European leaders were playing into.
KING: Which is why it was so interesting that Scott Pruitt and others who want to pull out rushed to the White House and had meetings with the President after he got back.
And to your point, you know, you see these other foreign leaders essentially saying that the president of the United States isn't that smart and doesn't get it, which is stunning that they say it publicly. You have people who work for this cabinet secretary saying, as long as I'm the last person who talks to him, because he's the last person he talks to, that's what he will do. That's equally signed. These people work for the president.
Up next, as Naftali noted, now, the president had a lot of promises about reversing Obama's initiatives. Well, we'll you give you a report card. The Paris accord, just one item on a long list of Trump promises he said he would wipe away from his predecessor's legacy.
Plus, there you go, a photographic evidence on the top agenda item checked off, Justice Neil Gorsuch, he's been on the bench for a little bit now. But today, the proof, the Supreme Court's new class photo, nine Justices, it's all full. We'll be right back.
[12:41:31] KING: Welcome back. Make America great again, of course, was President Trump's signature campaign slogan. Reverse just about every big thing President Obama did would have worked too, but that's lot harder to fit on a hat or a bumper sticker.
DONALD TRUMP, USA PRESIDENT (R): We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement. I'm going to rip up those trade deals and we're going to make really good ones.
We will cancel Obama's one sided Cuban deal made by executive order.
As far as Iran is concerned, I would have never made that deal. That is one of the worst deals ever, ever made by this country. It is a disaster.
On my first day in office, I am going to ask Congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace, I just said it, Obamacare.
KING: So, as we await today's big climate change announcement, let's give a little report card on some of those other big reversing Obama promises.
Well, Obamacare, the president promised, you heard him there on day one they introduced the bill. Obamacare still the law of the land. The president hasn't kept that promise, at least not yet.
Rip up the Iran deal? No. This administration has actually certified. Iran is in compliance. That's a promise not kept.
Deport the dreamers? The president has walked away from his promise to reverse the Obama administration's policy, protecting younger undocumented, so-called dreamers. That one is not kept.
Undo regulations where Congress has not, as the president wants, reversed Dodd-Frank. So, that one is a promise at least not kept yet. Keep an eye on that one. The administration promises to do some of that through regulation, so that grade could change in the months ahead.
Yes, the president did pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a big international trade deal. They are easing energy regulations big time in the Trump administration. That's a promise kept.
And we are told soon that the president will reverse President Obama's opening to Cuba. So, we'll see how this goes.
As president, he hasn't been able to keep all of these promises, at least not yet.
Remember, as a candidate, one of Donald Trump's signature proposals to voters was "Look at me. I'm the anti-Obama."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: By the way, have you seen what's been happening within our country in the last two or three days? Have you seen? And we have a president, we have a president that doesn't even want to talk about what's really happening.
I never thought he'd be a good president. I thought he'd be a great, really, healer. I thought he'd bring the country together. I thought he was going to be a good cheerleader. He's been a disaster cheerleader. He's divided the country, wealthy, less than wealthy, white, black, he's absolutely been the great divider.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I'm nothing like Obama and I will change just about everything he did was a big part of his appeal, especially in that crowded Republican primary where he broke through talking like this. But as Naftali noted in the last look as president, he's at a minimum, been slow to keep those promises and, in several of them, it looks like they'll never be kept.
PACE: Yeah. And that's because when you actually start, you know, assuming the op-ed and you start getting briefed on the implications of some of these actions, you realize that they're a lot more complicated.
I mean, a perfect example is earlier today, he signed this waiver that will keep the U.S. embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv instead of moving it to Jerusalem. And that's, in part, because officials at the Pentagon at the State Department talked about the regional impact of that, what that could really mean for the safety of the people in that area. And you saw that with the Iran deal. They are certifying that Iran is continuing to meet the standards of the nuclear agreement.
I think the question is when you come to Trump's base and you get into the midterm elections and a lot of the boxes stay as they are and aren't check, what do they do? Do they say, oh, he's just another politician who made these big promises and can't fulfill them? Or, does he continue to get what we can continue to hear from voters, which is this benefit of the doubt that, you know, for whatever reason, they believe that he continues to make decision in their interest even if they are not the fulfillment of campaign promises.
[12:45:21] KING: Or they blame, especially Trump voters, much more likely to blame Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell of the Republican Congress than they are of the president of the United States. Healthcare is Exhibit A. And then the president tweeting this week, "Hopefully Republican senators, good people all, can quickly get together and pass a new repeal and replace health care bill and save dollars." That's what the president says he wants to happen, but there's been pretty much zero progress.
Now, they are meeting in private, but there's been zero public progress anyway since the House passed its bill a long time ago.
DEMIRJIAN: Well, Senate Republicans just don't like that bill. I mean, there's too many problems with it. There's a lot of people.
When you're a senator from a swing state, you have a lot of people they have to represent that are not necessarily going to just fall right in line with how you vote as compared to when you're a congressman from a district that doesn't actually challenge you that much.
And there's a lot of implications of this health care bill that are actually going to take money away from people that need and potentially coverage away from people who need it. And so, there is -- there was a real reticence to pick up on the support line for that house bill even before it passed.
So we always knew that that was going to be dead at the door of the senate. But they want to do it their way. They have little help coming from the White House on how to craft it their way. So, they're going to take their time and do it the way they do it in the senate which is slow.
KUCINICH: And while you don't get three wishes when you go into the White House, you do have clout with congress, especially at first, you do have some juice to get things through. And this White House has kind of squandered that very early on by how they've worked with congress.
They tried to bully them. They tried to sweet talk them. But, they haven't really done the hours. They haven't done the work on the road that you saw even President Obama do with his health care bill.
He was out there all the time. Trump gets out there, he says one word about and it and then he starts talking about how he won the election. So, the fact that he hasn't really worked with congress, he hasn't tried to work with congress in the way that they're used to be worked with, he can't just break the system if other people involved in this government that will help you with your goals if you go through the process.
KING: And you mentioned, win the election. One of the things that people say, has the president inclined to walk away from Paris as opposed to some of these other Obama things he's left in place is because he looks at the map of how he won the election, and he looks at central Pennsylvania, and he looks at southern Ohio, and he remembers winning huge in West Virginia, and he thinks somehow coal jobs are part of his political strength.
I want to you to listen to this. This is Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager. There's some talk where Lewandowski may come back into the White House as part of this Russia investigation war room.
But to your point about the election, this is Corey Lewandowski not working with Republicans to sell the Trump, but essentially saying, get in line or else.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's very simple, you know, President Trump was elected to change the country. And you can get on board that train or you can lose your next election because I can promise you this, the Democrats have a different agenda. They have forgotten about the middle class. They have forgotten about infrastructure. They have forgotten about the people who voted for Donald Trump for change.
And if you don't want to provide that change, in 18 months, we're going to have another election. And what that means is if the Democrats take control of the House, the agenda that this president has outlined on the campaign that continues to try and implement will be gone.
KING: So, if you're Ted Cruz or Ryan Paul or Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski and you are the key people involved in whether or not the senate can get a health care bill up to the floor, and then we figured out if they can reconcile with the House. But even just to that, when you see that, essentially, you know, hey idiots, do what the president wants.
PACE: It's a great audition.
KING: Is it? To the president maybe, but is that the way to coalition build, which is necessary to pass hard legislation?
BENDAVID: I mean, I think it's really not. And it also really depends on what state these folks come from. And a lot of them do come from swing states. But I think the other thing that the president is learning is it's not just about congress. He is having trouble even doing regulatory things within the administration. These things take years.
Then there's the courts. The courts have also presented an obstacle. So, it's not just that they he can't figure out how to work with congress, a congress controlled by his own party. It's also that regulation and the courts have to be dealt with and we've seen those, the obstacles, very much as well.
KING: The government is not a small family health business. It's complicated.
Up next, candidate Trump promised to drain the swamp. Now, we find out the administration, well, we might say isn't exactly delivering on that pledge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[12:53:43] TRUMP: And we're going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. And that's what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: It's hard to forget that Trump campaign promise. Also, harder it appears to keep it.
Seventeen Trump appointees have been granted waivers from conflict of interest rules in the first four months of the new administration. That 17 number equal to the number of waivers granted in the entire eight years of the Obama administration. Those granted waivers include four former lobbyists now doing government work related to their former clients. And the list includes some familiar faces, including the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, and the Counselor, Kellyanne Conway. It's hard to drain the swamp. The swamp fights back. But part of this is they're having trouble hiring people. And so, when you need somebody to do Puerto Rico policy, you end up hiring a lobbyist who had a policy, someone who's willing to come in.
You talked earlier about the Trump base being largely supportive even as he veers from the campaign, and in some cases, abandons campaign promises. This one, the change Washington, drain the swamp, shake things up, this is sort of the core of the foundation.
PACE: Yes, this will be interesting to see how his supporters react to it because Trump represented more than anything just a shakeup to Washington. Someone who was going to go in and wasn't going to play by the old rules, was going to bring new people in, and wouldn't get caught up in these kinds of ethical dilemmas where you hired people doing work for companies that they had just made money for, and now, we see examples of exactly that.
[12:55:08] And the problem will only get bigger for Trump if he does decide to follow through on some of these promises of a staff shakeup because the pool of people that he would be drawing from are people who frankly are making a lot of money off of their connections to him right now.
But, you know, the base has been loyal to Trump. They really have and it will be up to Democrats, I think, to try to hammer this point if they want to try to breakthrough here to make this clear that Trump promised to drain the swamp and it has been a failed promise in a way.
BENDAVID: And so much of his persona has been about calling people crooked or lying or fake or dishonest with the implication being that he's a guy who's straight and telling it like it is. And this raises a lot of questions for a lot of people. But his strongest supporters just seems to believe that he's on their side, he has the right enemies, he has the right ideas, he's with me. And so I think he may be able to withstand some of the stuff at least with his base.
DEMINJAN: He's also just got a slogan from the other side. It's a lot harder to explain why he hasn't drained the swamp because this lobbyist has this tie and this history, et cetera. It takes too long than saying drain the swamp, which he's very good at doing. And it's already been shown that his base doesn't care about the people who are rich. I mean, Trump is extremely rich and, you know -- and so it's not the money thing that's going to gets them. It's the ties and that takes longer to explain.
KING: Right, especially if one of these people gets caught in some shenanigans. So to) Reince Priebus point, his waiver allows him to do business with the Republican National Committee where he was former chairman. I don't think anybody watching has issues with that (inaudible). Kellyanne Conway's allows her to do business with political groups that she used to work for as a pollster and as a strategist.
You know, on surface, nothing wrong with that unless somebody gets involved in some shady business. KUCINICH: Well, exactly and it runs counter. He kind of boxed himself in. Because he said draining the swamp but he also said I'm going to hire the best people. Well, a lot of some people who might be the best in their profession, as Julie said, have their own shop, are making a lot of money and, you know, might -- that that would be a huge blow to them financially to go into the White House. So it's a tough promise.
KING: It's a tough promise. All right, everybody, thanks for joining us Inside Politics. Remember, the president's announcement on the Paris Climate Accords, 3 p.m. in the Rose Garden. Stay here for that.
Wolf Blitzer in the chair after a quick break. Among his guests, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. Have a great day.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. Its 1 p.m. in here in New York, 8 p.m. in Moscow. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
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