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Mnuchin and Navarro Feud; Pentagon Releases Niger Video; Look at Meghan Markle's Life. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired May 17, 2018 - 09:30   ET

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


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[09:34:14] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: The president's trade team and Chinese officials are meeting today again for negotiations. Behind the scenes, though, sources tell us it's getting pretty tense among members of the president's own team. Peter Navarro and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin not getting along.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, there was cursing. There was shouting. And this all happened in Beijing earlier this month.

Jeremy Diamond, part of the team breaking this story.

Jeremy, what have you learned?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right, guys.

Well, Peter Navarro and Steve Mnuchin have been on opposite ends of the trade debate for as long as they've both been in this administration. But those tensions hit a new boiling point it appears during the trade negotiations that they had in Beijing earlier this month. Both of the men were part of a U.S. delegation negotiating with the Chinese to try and avoid the trade war that seems to be heading our way.

[09:35:00] But two sources tell me that Peter Navarro erupted at Steve Mnuchin on the sidelines of these talks. There was shouting. There was cursing. Navarro was apparently frustrated with the direction that Steve Mnuchin, who was leading negotiations, was taking them in, and at the fact that Steve Mnuchin was setting up more one-on-one negotiations with his counterpart, the vice premier of China, Liu He. So, you know, instead of having more of these group negotiations between the U.S. and the Chinese teams.

One source does stress, though, that these -- this confrontation happened outside of a government building out of the view of Chinese officials. But it really just underscores the extent to which the administration remains at logger heads internal over the direction of U.S. trade policies. Peter Navarro, of course, is the more nationalist voice of trade policy in this administration. Very much in lock step with the president oftentimes. Whereas Steve Mnuchin has really disagreed on -- with the president on some of the trade tariffs. He argued against those steel and aluminum tariffs that the president and Peter Navarro both advocated for. But the timing of this is also notable, guys. Liu He, the Chinese vice

premier, is in Washington today for the next round of trade negotiations. And as of now, Peter Navarro was not listed, as well as Larry Kudlow, the chief economic adviser. Neither of those men were listed on the list of the official U.S. delegation for these talks. A senior White House official told us he will still be participating, however. But it is notable given the timing of all of this what the direction of these talks will take now that it appears that Peter Navarro has been, you know, clipped a little bit in some of these discussions with his U.S. counterpart, Steve Mnuchin.

HARLOW: Jeremy Diamond, thanks for the reporting. Appreciate it.

Also this just into CNN, U.S. officials say that they've largely come to the conclusion that Kim Jong-un was posturing ahead of the summit plan for June 12th and that that meeting isn't really in jeopardy. If it is scrapped, though, they're saying they think it will be on the part of Kim, not on Trump.

BERMAN: Yes, they think -- that's how they're spinning it. They think it will be Kim's fault, not the president's.

Aides claim they're bracing for more threats from Kim to pull out of the talks. They do see this as a reality check for the president and the president, you have noted also, has not been on Twitter recently.

HARLOW: About this. About this.

BERMAN: Has not commented on it. And has tried to dodge questions about this or be circumspect on it. They are looking -- well, OK, let's move on.

HARLOW: Take a look at this. Video just into us reviewing new details on the ISIS ambush in Niger that killed those four U.S. soldiers.

And also some really horrifying video out of a restaurant in New York. Vicious comes to mind as a word to describe this, venomous and viewed by millions. Wait until you see what this man said.

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[09:41:59] BERMAN: This morning, new video released by the Pentagon reviews details of the deadly ambush in Niger. Four U.S. soldiers were killed in that attack last October.

HARLOW: A portion of the 23 minute video provided to CNN shows the recovery of Sergeant LaDavid Johnson's body just two days after he was killed.

Let's go to the Pentagon. Barbara Starr is there with more.

What more are we learning now that this video is out there?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning.

You know, the Pentagon had a press conference about all of this last week. They still, until last night, had not provided to the public the full amount of information that they had, including this video.

I want to tell everyone, Sergeant LaDavid Johnson's family has seen this video. They are aware of it.

And the part that is so compelling is you see the Nigerian, the local troops, finding his body under a very dense thorn tree where he was killed by ISIS militants and they take his body, they put it on a helicopter so it can be returned to his family.

One of the key things this tells us, according to the Pentagon, is Sergeant Johnson, 25 years old, was not ever alive in the hands of the enemy. He made his last stand heroically fighting ISIS by himself under that thorn tree. Such difficult news to hear.

But there are other elements of the video that are also giving us more information about how valiantly this team of American and African troops fought to save each other. There were a team of survivors that made their way into a sort of wooded, swampy area. They were eventually recovered. You see the helicopters moving in.

But those men, including the Americans, thought they were going to die. And we now know the Americans at least were able to write messages home to their families on their personal devices. They didn't believe they were going to make it out alive. And one American troop making his way into a clearing waving an American flag to signal to helicopters that they were friendly forces.

Nigerians, local forces, moved in again, but that fire you see there, they did not understand right away that they were Americans and they actually fired on them for about 40 seconds. Thankfully no one was hurt.

The big message here remains, how did all of this happen. The troops were originally sent out to look for a high value ISIS target. They were neither trained, equipped or authorized to do that mission. The investigation is done, but there are still many questions about whether there will be disciplinary action against troops, how this all turned into such a disaster.

John. Poppy.

BERMAN: And, again, the family of LaDavid Johnson has had a chance to see this dramatic video.

STARR: Indeed.

BERMAN: Barbara Starr, thanks so much for being with us.

STARR: Thank you.

BERMAN: In just minutes, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will try to get a stalled sexual harassment bill on the fast track. The bill overhauls how harassment complaints are handled on Capitol Hill. The senator is planning this rare procedural move that would get it on the floor, bypassing the committee. What she's trying to do is spotlight the Senate's inaction on the issue. All of this is happening 100 days since the House passed its version of legislation.

[09:45:07] The latest twist in all the drama before the royal wedding. After days of will he or won't he attend, it does seem that Meghan Markle's father will not be going. We'll tell you why, next.

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BERMAN: All right, new this morning, it is now official, Meghan Markle's father will not walk his daughter down the aisle this weekend. He is recovering from heart surgery. Meghan Markle released this statement. Quote, sadly my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.

[09:50:04] HARLOW: In the meantime, wedding preparations are in full swing. Take a look at some of this, the military rehearsing for the procession down what's called the long walk.

Our national correspondent Jason Carroll has more on Meghan Markle's story.

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JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Meghan Markle's life began here in Los Angeles. It's the city where she was born. Her mother, Doria, a social worker, is African-American, and her father, Thomas, an Emmy Award winning lighting director is white.

CARROLL (on camera): Even at an early age, while growing up in Los Angeles, Markle started showing early signs of speaking up about issues that would later help define her as an adult, namely her biracial identity and gender equality.

MEGHAN MARKLE: I don't think it's right for kids to grow up thinking these things that just mom does everything.

CARROLL (voice over): Markle was offended by an Ivory dish washing detergent commercial because it focused on women doing housework.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women are fighting greasy pots and pans.

MARKLE: And I said, wait a minute, how could somebody say that?

CARROLL: So, the then 11-year-old Markle wrote to Procter & Gamble.

MARKLE: So I was wondering if you would be able to change your commercial to people all over America.

MARKLE: Her letter worked. Procter & Gamble changed their commercial.

Around that same year, Markle took a stand on her racial background. She told "Elle" magazine that while in class she was asked to check a box for the census, Caucasian or black. She wrote, my teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian because that's how you look, Meghan. Markle refused. Her father later telling her to draw her own box. CARROLL (on camera): Markle's parents eventually enrolled her at

Immaculate Heart. It's a private all girl middle school and high school. And some of her teachers here still have fond memories of her.

MARIA POLIA (ph), MARKLE'S FORMER TEACHER: My first thought actually was, he is so lucky.

CARROLL (voice over): Maria Polia was Markle's theology teacher. She talked about Markle wanting to volunteer at a soup kitchen in downtown L.A.'s skid row and the advice she offered to help Markle overcome her fear of volunteering in a dangerous neighborhood.

POLIA: You need to simply put the needs of others above your own fears. And Meghan says that she's remembered that conversation ever since.

CARROLL: Markle ended up volunteering on skid row for years.

She also performed in school plays.

This rare footage is from her sophomore year solo as Little Red Riding Hood in the production of "Into the Woods."

Markle went on to Northwestern University, where she continued her love of drama. She double majored in theater and international studies. But acting was her passion. And once back in Los Angeles, she landed minor guest roles in shows like "CSI: New York" before being cast as a regular on the USA drama "Suits" in 2011.

MARKLE: I don't care who knows.

CARROLL: Shortly after the show's launch, she married long-time boyfriend, film producer Trevor Engelson. They divorced less than two years later.

In 2016, a mutual friend of Markle's and Prince Harry set them up on a blind date.

PRINCE HARRY: We met once and then twice, back-to-back, two dates in London. It was, I think, about three, maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana.

CARROLL: The two bonded while camping in Botswana. And after about a year and a half of courtship, came the proposal.

MARKLE: It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.

PRINCE HARRY: Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was an instant yes from you?

MARKLE: Yes. As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. I was like, can I say yes now?

PRINCE HARRY: Yes, (INAUDIBLE). CARROLL: Markle has since become a household name, a fashion icon. Style watchers closely eyeing every look.

Not all has been well. English far right tabloids have attacked the 36-year-old because she is American, divorced, and biracial. Prince Harry and the palace have defended Markle and called for an end to the public abuse of her and her family.

Markle has won the hearts of millions, including the heart of the one that matters most.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Jason Carroll for that.

And this video just in. Dramatic, new pictures of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arriving at Windsor Castle right now. You can see the cars moving. I would say at a brisk pace. An appropriate pace. I would say appropriate pace.

HARLOW: Thank you for your analysis of this, John Berman. It's a great play by play.

BERMAN: Well, no, I just want to make it seem as important as it is.

HARLOW: I just --

BERMAN: They're -- they're arriving at Windsor Castle. And here's a rear view.

HARLOW: I'm very excited for them. And I wish people could just let -- you know, stop focusing on the drama and start focusing on the big day that is ahead, that we will cover around the clock, you can bet. The royal wedding coverage starts 4:00 a.m. Eastern on Saturday. So get up early.

[09:55:03] BERMAN: Congratulations to them in advance.

HARLOW: Meantime, the president is slamming the Russia probe today on its one year anniversary. The president mocking it, writing, congratulations, America, while reiterating his usual phrases, witch hunt, no collusion, no obstruction. The latest and a new tweet from the president, next.

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BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

A lot to get to this morning, including the greatest witch hunt in American history. That's the message from the president today on the one-year mark of the Mueller probe. He writes, we have had the most successful first 17-month administration in U.S. history. That's the latest.

[10:00:09] This as the president is also --