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INSIDE POLITICS

Giuliani Wavers On Whether Trump Should Testify; House Chaplain Meets With Ryan After Strange Week; N.Y. Attorney General Resigns Amid Abuse Allegations; Key Indiana Primary Could Come Down To Trump. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 8, 2018 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:02] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: -- felt completely flat-footed -- this is going to back to last week when he was first on Fox --

(INAUDIBLE)

BASH: I know. And his response was, I don't work for them. I work for the President. He's my client. I mean, even suggesting that it's maybe not even appropriate to coordinate with them. And even as recently as Sunday after Giuliani met with the President, he came away with a very, very positive view of their conversation. At least, that was what he was saying to myself and a few other reporters, that it was -- that the President is pleased with where they are, they're on an offensive footing, they're on offense, and that they're feeling better, and that the President was going to maybe stay in his lane, focus on Iran and North Korea and not the legal strategy.

And then of course the very next morning the President tweeted four tweets about the legal strategy Giuliani said he wasn't going to --

JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: He didn't really think he was going to keep the President on twitter.

BASH: And can I just -- just one fun fact. I don't know -- well, a fact. The Dallas Morning News reported a couple days ago that Giuliani was going down to Dallas today -- he's there today, I believe -- and what he's doing -- this has nothing to do with the President -- is he is attending a party for a big builder there to help them. It just so happens that that builder three years ago built a house for Stormy Daniels. And the worlds all collide.

KING: The worlds do all collide. Look, one of the substantive points here though, the Wall Street Journal reporting that legal team led by Rudy Giuliani hopes to decide by May 17th, that's a little more than a week away, whether to have this conversation with Robert Mueller. Rudy Giuliani in another one of his interviews tells to Journal, "Every day we swing a little different. The President's initial position was, what do I have to lose? I'm telling the truth, Mr. Giuliani said. Mr. Giuliani he came into the case last month skeptical about letting Mr. Trump testify. Mr. Giuliani said prosecutors seemed reasonable as to the ground rules. That he came away believing that an interview had gone up in possibility. A safe course for the President is to decline to testify, Mr. Giuliani said." You read his thoughts in this interview and he's like he's having a running debate with himself, but on the record with the reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With somebody else, you know.

BASH: It sounds familiar.

SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: What Giuliani has been doing somewhat of his media tours maxim (ph) or as a political NPR strategy than a legal strategy. At least you can draw a theory there, nothing is going to work. But to undermine the investigation to attack after trying to discredit it, we know the President is becoming more confrontational and more, you know, forthcoming about his distaste and hatred of it.

This could backfire spectacularly if the public decides that he's going too far and that he should let Robert Mueller do his job without full frontal attacks. But if he does convince as a potential number of voters, potential portion of voters especially in his own party, that this is unfair and they are up to get him, that will impact how Congress handles this and how they respond. And I can't stress it enough, it's probably going to be Congress that have the last word.

Big legal question as to whether a sitting president can be indicted by the long thriving charge.

KING: So the public --

JONATHAN MARTIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We just have to point out real fast just how matter this is, John, that we're here on cable news talking about the President's reaction to what's been said on cable, and often times what's being said on cable is, you know, a reaction from previous things that were said on cable.

This is the all cable news coverage presidency. It's a gift for the gods for cable news. And, you know, I think someone the other day said that, you know, the journalist or whatever, I mean, has there a better time especially on cable TV to cover something? You got Rudy Giuliani out there without a net, Flying Wallendas saying whatever he wants to say day after day after day.

President Trump making news every single day too. It's extraordinary to watch. And I think we lose sight of it sometimes, but Rudy Giuliani with no coordination with the White House, out there doing a media tour, saying whatever pops into his head every day, it's just a sight to behold.

BASH: I love that plug (ph) for cable news from the New York Times.

MARTIN: A sight to be hold.

KING: We'll take it.

Coming up, the President CIA nominee on Capitol Hill trying to win Senate votes. A pro-Trump group helping her, out in states for senators who might be up for re-election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:38:14] KING: Topping our political radar today, two leaders with plenty of big things to talk about. Earlier today President Trump had a phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping. The White House says the two men spoke about trade and about Xi's meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. That meeting is today and of course it's ahead of that expected summit between Kim and President Trump.

With those stories starts coming up, the rhetoric dying down. A new poll shows many Americans less worried about North Korea now than they were just last fall.

Now Speaker Paul Ryan doing some friend's meeting (ph) today with Father Pat Conroy. You might remember he is the House Chaplain who resigned and withdrew his resignation last week. Father Conroy insisting suggesting in his letter that Ryan's chief of staff told him he had to step aside in favor of a non-catholic. The chief of staff insists any comments along those lines must have been misconstrued. Speaker Ryan had a meeting the chaplain today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Father Pat and I had a good cup of coffee this morning. We talked about how to improve the services going forward. We're going to keep talking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The President speak for CIA director back on Capitol Hill meeting with more senators who support, she needs to win confirmation. For hearing -- confirmation hearing is tomorrow. Gina Haspel will face tough questions about the CIA black sites she ran back where prisoners and there were some harsh interrogation techniques, torture, critique say.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is among those who could prove pivotal (ph). He is inclined to vote Haspel, but a pro-Trump group is giving an extra nudge to this ad back over to West Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gina Haspel is the leader (INAUDIBLE) distant service needs because she has the experience to defend America in this dangerous world. Call Senator Manchin. Tell him to support Gina Haspel for CIA Director.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I think Senator Manchin is already a yes. That might have been money they might want to stable for a lit down the road.

[12:40:00] But let's talk of this mystery of this showdown between the Speaker and the House Chaplain. He said they had a cup of coffee today. Bless me, Father, for we have sin. It's been one week since your resignation. Can you please just forget about it?

MARTIN: That was good.

KING: I mean, this is a strange one.

SAPUR: Right. Well, so it all started after, you know, the Chaplain gave a speech on the House floor that was interpreted as an indictment of the tax laws. You know, consider what you're doing, who ends up getting this wealth, we share the prosperity, that sort of thing. And there was a controversy there that was behind the scenes for a while.

All of a sudden, you know, he is fired and it traces back to the speaker's office. He is asked him to step down. He offered his resignation thinking how to do it then realized he didn't have to do it after Democrats jumped to his defense and after a bunch of Republican Catholics in the House as well said this was wrong. It just turned into a massive controversy for Speaker Ryan that I think became untenable. He decided, let's move on, let's undo it.

MARTIN: This is the critic of Paul Ryan that you've heard quietly for years from folks in his own party. Numbers guy won't really sharp -- may have been more of a natural fit as the chairman of the Budget Committee on Ways and Means and wasn't really a natural political leader. And you heard this more openly when he abruptly resigned -- or not resign, what said last month he was going to retire in the midst of a tough midterm year. Where is the political kind of savvy there? And you see it again when it comes to this issue of the House Chaplain. This is, you know, creating unneeded distractions for the party that just aren't helpful at all.

KING: It's just a few months away for having a Guinness next to the former House Speaker, John Boehner, and his Marlow and saying we're not dealing with this anymore.

Up next for us here, the New York Attorney General resigning after allegations of assault and physical abuse from several women. Team Trump, sounds gleeful.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:46:00] KING: Today is the New York Attorney General's Eric Schneiderman's last day on the job. In the first day, they have a new investigation that could land the one-time Democratic rising star in prison. Schneiderman resigned last night after New Yorker exposed saying which four women detailed horrific allegations of physical assault and abuse of power. Schneiderman insists he was role playing in consensual relationships, but the accounts are detailed, credible and sickening.

Including allegations he slapped and choked women and then warn them not speak out because of his powerful position. Even if you don't leave in New York, you may have heard of Schneiderman before today. He's among the Democratic attorneys general most critical of President Trump and he has put himself forward as a champion of the Me Too movement. One of the women who came forward to the New Yorker put it this way, calling Schneiderman, quote, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde figure and sent the praise of his role in the Me Too movement made her, quote, feel sick.

The New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo reacting today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The revelations were so shocking and disturbing to me that I immediately called for two things. Number one, an investigation by an independent district attorney so there is justice for every woman in every situation. No one is above the law, no one should be afraid to come forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A lot of politics to this because of the tense relationship between Schneiderman and team Trump and the Trump family. Let's get to that in a minute.

BASH: Yes.

KING: This is a state attorney general who publicly passed anti- choking legislation, publicly went after Harvey Weinstein and his company, publicly presented himself as a champion of this movement, who is credibly accused to these women have the courage to go on the record and attach their names to this of slapping them, beating them, and then threatening hem, saying, you know who I am.

BASH: What is wrong with these guys? I mean, that's the question. What is wrong with somebody like this attorney general, now former attorney general, who, OK, allegedly, but as you said, the allegations are very, very credible, can have such a, you know, kind of -- try to have such a boy scout look on life and he wants everybody to have a view of him as somebody who is a champion for women, even to the point where he goes to try to push laws against the very thing he's doing in private.

MARTIN: Yes.

BASH: And you wonder why there is an outrage out there in the whole country against people who are in power, who are part of the machines, whether it's New York or in Red America. And obviously he does not represent all politicians in New York, but the fact is this is not the first time we've had something that has been untoward among a New York Democratic politician, and I think you just have to say, it just boggles the mind that somebody can behave like this, and unfortunately it's not the first time.

KING: And one would help, a swift response from the governor and other Democrats and Republicans in New York and nationally. But listen to the Ronan Farrow here, one of the reporters who wrote the story in New York and you should read it, and you should read the stories of these women and understand what they said they went through from a man who is the attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer of the state of New York. Listen here what some these women saying they were told by their friends and others, be careful you can't do this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NEW YORKER: A lot of their friends and loved family said, don't do it, don't speak out against him. And, in some cases, that was because they feared the risk of reprisals. You know, they described him threatening people using his office and his power to say, you know, he can wiretap people or he could come after people. But ultimately in some case, Ms. Alisyn, those friends warned them out of talking because they thought that he had the power to do too much good for the Democratic Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dear God, I hope that last part is misunderstood.

MARTIN: You know, I was just struck by that part of the story reading last night.

[12:50:03] And it's preposterous as though Eric Schneiderman was somehow going to take down the Trump administration and be the conquering hero for liberal America. It's New York State. There is not a lack of ambitious Democratic politicians who would like to be the voice of the anti-Trump movement and enjoy all of the publicity that goes with that.

You know, it just struck me as the weakest kind of pushback imaginable. But, look, to Dana's point, I think this and so many other stories like this help explain why you are going to see and are seeing in some of these primaries and special elections a surge of energy among female voters and candidates this year unlike anything we've seen for a long time.

KING: And a surge -- like a continued surge of interest in people who don't have titles. Because too many politicians and voters feel they have abused those titles.

SAPUR: And let's have to remember that journalism it's mainstream journalists who put out the stories. A lot of President's eyes are gleeful nap, but journalism matters and holding people to power to account for it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't know if they have every right to be. I mean, I think they've done a sexual assault allegation that they aren't going to ignore. The President has also been accused of sexual assault and some members of White House are taking glee in this which is disgusting. I would certainly not going to defend Schneiderman, I mean, these are horrible allegations but it's horrible no matter what party you're in. They should all be condemned and none of these people should be able to hold elected office.

KING: Amen to that.

Up next, the big Senate race in Indiana, the President has not weighed in, but he is the big issue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:55:36] KING: It's a big Republican Senate primary under way today in Indiana. The President does not endorse leaving his supporters in a state he won by 19 points split among the candidates. When we visited last week, we also found some of them wavering when it comes to their support of the President.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): The animals here are pets, not money makers, so excuse the humor.

BETH HENDERSON, TRUMP 2016 VOTER: Come on.

KING (voice-over): One of the cows is Big Mac.

HENDERSON: Kevin (ph) is hungry.

KING (voice-over): The pig, heaven bacon.

HENDERSON: Galli (ph), hey, hey, hey.

KING (voice-over): There are crops up the hill, one reason Beth Henderson has second thoughts about voting for President Trump.

HENDERSON: We're involved in an agriculture business, and so yes, tariff is a big deal.

KING (voice-over): It's much more than policy.

HENDERSON: I don't like his outbursts and his inappropriateness with the public and his scruples.

KING (on camera): What's scruples mean?

HENDERSON: His values and how he's so blase about, you know, some of his behaviors. It just doesn't bother him.

KING (voice-over): What hasn't changed is her sense that Washington needs big change. Husband Terry briefly joined Indiana Senate race but it got too expensive. The Hendersons now support another Washington outsider, businessman Mike Braun.

HENDERSON: I just think it's time again for, you know, to get someone else in there, new blood.

KING (voice-over): Braun's two opponents are republican congressman, cardboard cutouts to him in this primary campaign of gimmicks and insults.

MIKE BRAUN (R), INDIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: I've been a lifetime businessman and conservative and outsider.

KING (voice-over): President Trump won Indiana by 19 points, he is neutral in Tuesday Senate primary but he is the litmus test.

REP. TODD ROKITA (R), INDIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: I humbly stand before and asking for (INAUDIBLE) a pro-Trump conservative fighter to the United States Senate.

KING (voice-over): Congressman Todd Rokita called Trump bulgur (ph) in the 2016 primaries, but now says he'd be the most reliable vote for building a border wall and confronting sanctuary cities.

Raju Chinthala, he's another asset. Rokita was secretary of state and has won statewide.

RAJU CHINTHALA, ROKITA SUPPORTER: I think who will win in the November elections? That's most important.

KING (voice-over): Chinthala is a speech pathologist that helps Indiana expand ties with his native India. He doesn't like all the spending in Washington but is still solid with the President.

CHINTHALA: National Security I think he's doing a great job. Economy is a great job.

KING (voice-over): Greensburg Congressman Luke Messer's hometown. Story's diner, a local landmark. Messer needs big turn out here and hopes this helps.

REP. LUKE MESSER (R), INDIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: President Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize for what's happening in North Korea.

KING (voice-over): Renee Elliott was leaning Messer, now undecided because the final debate was mostly about loyalty to Trump.

RENEE ELLIOTT, UNDECIDED INDIANA PRIMARY VOTER: They never mentioned the carriers, they never mentioned my job, they never mentioned anything.

KING (voice-over): Her former job. Candidate Trump pushed carrier to drop a shift Mexico. But the company later did move a lot of the jobs.

ELLIOTT: He got a lot of vote.

KING (on camera): You feel burned?

ELLIOTT: Yes. Yes, I feel burned for a number of reasons.

KING (voice-over): Renee was here at Sully's when she got the bad news. She's still looking, keeps her phone close for job alerts.

ELLIOTT: He's not superman, he can't fix everything I'm sure, but he could have stopped this. You know, he was so vocal and so verbal and so adamant.

KING (voice-over): Carrier has fewer jobs here now. Nearby Richmond (ph) where Brian Bousum worked alongside his son shipped (ph) all of its jobs to Mexico.

BRIAN BOUSUM, TRUMP 2016 VOTER: I voted for President Obama twice. I will say this about President Trump. At least he brought it to the table. KING (voice-over): Brian is skipping Tuesday's primary. His hope for change fading.

Do you think that who you send to Washington makes any difference?

BOUSUM: Not anymore. No. I've kind of lost faith in that.

KING (voice-over): His plumbing job pays $9 less, but Brian is grateful for the work and not sure if he'll stay in the President's blue collar base.

BOUSUM: He's a politician now. Just like the rest of them, as he's saying one thing and doing another. Today, if you would going to ask me, do you support President Trump, I would say yes, but I can't tell you I will tomorrow. It just depends on what gets done.

KING (voice-over): Indiana is one of the GOP's most promising 2018 opportunities this week and again in November, a big test of the Trump effect.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Will thank those voters for their time and courtesy during a visit in Indiana. We'll be counting the results here tonight. Stay with us on CNN. See you back here for INSIDE POLITICS tomorrow as well.

Wolf starts right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. in Washington, 7:00 p.m. in Paris, 9:30 p.m. in Tehran. Wherever you're --