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Rudy Giuliani Says President "Probably" Does Have Power to Pardon Himself; Political Civility in Decline; Has the Republican Party Gone Dormant?; First Lady Not Attending Summits Amid Prolonged Public Absence; Parkland Students Graduate Without Four Other Classmates; Several Stranded by Lava Despite Evacuation Warnings; America's Closest Allies Slapped with Tariffs in Trump's Trade War; President Trump Tries Fitness Without the Exercise. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 3, 2018 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: -- questions about the power of the president. And just how much it can protect him in the Russia investigation that has dogged him from day one. According to President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that presidential power probably is enough to allow the president to wipe away any charges filed against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: He's not, but he probably does, he has no intention of pardoning himself but he -- that doesn't say he can't. I mean, that's another really interesting constitutional law. Can the president pardon himself?

I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The notion of a presidential self-pardon came up again this weekend because in a confidential letter sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the president's lawyers insist that Trump can shut down the Russia investigation whenever he wants and use his power to pardon.

Our correspondent Boris Sanchez is at the White House.

Boris, it has come up before. This idea of the president pardoning himself, but it's never been done. How left field is a scenario where the White House would seriously consider it?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is highly unlikely, at least according to the president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani. He sort of admitted that in a theoretical sense it could be worth arguing but that it is not something that President Trump intends to do in part because of the potential political uproar that it could cause.

I did get a chance to ask Sarah Sanders and other press officials here at the White House if the president was aware that Rudy Giuliani had made those comments and if the president had any reaction to the idea of a self-pardon. We have yet to hear back.

I did want to point out something else that Rudy Giuliani was asked about this revelation coming from the letter that was sent from the president's legal team to the special counsel that was published yesterday in New York times. The suggestion that President Trump dictated that response to" The New York Times" following news that his son, Donald Trump Junior, met with Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016 at the height of that campaign.

Initially what we heard from the White House, from Jay Sekulow and Sarah Sanders from here at the podium was that the president had little to no involvement in that statement. After all, there had been numerous denials from the administration that any contact was had between Russians and key figures within the Trump campaign at that time.

We're finding out that in fact the president dictated that entire statement. Here's what Giuliani. Listen to how he spins it as a reason for the president not testify before the special counsel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: I mean, this is the reason you don't let the president testify. You know, our recollection keeps changing or we're not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption. In my case I made an assumption then we correct it and I got it right out as soon as it happened. I think that's what happened here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And it keeps changes. I should point out it wasn't that long ago that Rudy Giuliani was asked about other discrepancies coming from the White House given to the press in light of all the facts that have come up because of these investigations. Giuliani essentially argued that he didn't not believe that the president had mislead or mischaracterized and he said in any event lying to the press is not a crime -- Ana.

CABRERA: Our recollection keeps changing. It's almost laughable. That's what I would expect to hear from my 6-year-old son making an excuse for something, and I call BS on that. It's just so funny to hear it from the president's own lawyer.

But, Boris, the president meantime has moved on now, tweeting about his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was indicted by Mueller.

SANCHEZ: That's right. The president today tweeting twice about his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort seeking to put some distance between himself and Manafort who of course is facing a slew of serious charges including a number of financial crimes.

The president's tweets essentially signal that he believes that the FBI, the Department of Justice should have told him that Paul Manafort was under investigation before he was hired as the campaign chairman. Further he goes on to suggest that Comey and the boys were doing a number on Paul Manafort. Of course that doesn't line up with the timeline. We know it's been widely reported that surveillance of Paul Manafort didn't begin until after he had left the Trump campaign so how the FBI or Department of Justice would have known to tell then candidate Trump that Paul Manafort was under investigation, it simply would have been impossible -- Ana.

CABRERA: Thanks for laying out the timeline there, too. Thank you, Boris Sanchez at the White House.

I want to get straight to our panel now. CNN senior political analyst David Gergen has advised four U.S. presidents, both Republican and Democrat, and Douglas Brinkley is a CNN presidential historian.

So, David, have any of the four U.S. presidents you worked for, specifically Nixon and Clinton, I'm thinking, did they believe they could pardon themselves?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I never heard it discussed. It's the first time. I do believe that President Nixon argued as he told David Frost after he had to leave office that he thought, you know, whatever a president does in the legal field is by definition legal.

[18:05:06] And the president is -- you may say the president is above the law but he has a right to call off an investigation and not answer questions and all the rest. And that's exactly the audacious sort of claims now that the -- we have coming out of the Trump administration and this now famous letter that has been sent to Mueller.

CABRERA: Yes, this letter Trump's legal team sent to the special counsel argues the president can't obstruct justice because the president is the ultimate law enforcer. Essentially that he's above the law. As you mentioned that sounds somewhat familiar, David. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: But when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: By definition?

NIXON: Exactly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Douglas, that of course was Richard Nixon in 1977. We know how that turned out for him.

GERGEN: Well, we sure do. And I think that -- I don't know quite why the Trump lawyers will claim so close to the edge. But they are making these extraordinary audacious claims and I assume it's part of the strategy that when they actually do act, they will act somewhat short of those claims so people will be relieved that the president didn't pardon himself but at the same time he may do exactly what he really wants to do and that is to pardon a number of people so they don't flip.

CABRERA: What's your take, Douglas?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, you know, I'm here in Louisiana and Huey Long, the great demagogue, he once did an imaginary article about what he would do if he was president and he said I'd pardon hundreds of people, even thousands of people.

These are -- this idea of using pardons as a way to score political points is very unseemly. It is true we've had presidents that have done pardons that are controversial. I mean, Bill Clinton with Mark Rich we've been mentioning the last few days. But Clinton got hammered for doing that.

We're seeing Donald Trump creating a strategy. Giuliani is like a dog chasing his tail in both directions. But there's a strategy behind it all which is we're not going down. Donald Trump saying no matter what, come hell or high water, I'm not leaving office. I'm not quitting. And at the end of the line if I have to pardon myself, I'll pardon myself. It's way to tell the alternative right, his base that he's here for keeps and it's a way to kind of keep the morale going in the Republican Party in a midterm election year that if he has to pardon his son, Donald Trump Junior, he'll do it. Bill Clinton pardoned Roger Clinton.

CABRERA: You reached for Bill Clinton. David, of course, you worked for him. He was impeached for obstruction of justice. Listen to what he said about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I think if the roles were reversed and they're just talking about it based on my experience, if it were a Democratic president and these facts were present, most people I know in Washington believe impeachment hearings would have been going on already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there were a Democrat in power right now?

CLINTON: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: There are 42 current Republicans members of Congress who voted to impeach Clinton for obstruction.

David, do you think their silence now is hypocritical?

GERGEN: Well, I do think that they ought to be frank about it, that they believed that the president could be impeached over obstruction of justice because what we just heard from the Trump lawyers is that a president can't -- cannot be impeached over obstruction of justice. He by the definition did not obstruct. Whatever he did was legal.

And, you know, I think that they -- you can't have it both ways. These 42 are going to be playing games. They're going to ultimately have to answer the question to voters. Listen, you voted for impeachment against a Democrat. Are you really going to argue now that you can't impeach a Republican?

CABRERA: Douglas, this letter also admits that the president, his lawyer and his press secretary lied about the involvement of the president with that Air Force One statement on Trump Tower, on the meeting in Trump Tower, that he in fact did end up dictating that statement.

Does a lie like this matter, Douglas?

BRINKLEY: In normal times it certainly would but Donald Trump is impossible to fact check. He lies constantly. "Washington Post" has documented thousands of them. What he's doing and what this letter, which I believe was leaked by the Giuliani legal team or one would suspect it was, is just start getting ahead of thing. Don't be in cover up mode. You're seeing now Donald Trump on the offense. And they did it very effectively with Stormy Daniels. Eventually Giuliani said yes, well, 130,000, I guess the president did pay it. I'm getting my story mixed up.

You're getting that again here. They're trying to make sure that nobody gets an "I gotcha" on Trump. That he has a kind of transparency to him based on lying and misdirection.

[18:10:02] And so it's confusing people. To the end of the line the people aren't sure what's going on right now. What's real and what's not real. And that sense of chaos is what we always talk about Trump's trademark. And all of these pieces are part of it. The pardoning, the letter being leaked. They are now getting ready because Mueller reports probably getting to the end of the line and even throwing today Manafort under the bus, Donald Trump.

They probably have leaked to the president that Manafort is somebody squealing. Somebody that is telling stories about you. So they're already setting him up to be a boogey man while trying to encourage people to stay loyal to him. Particularly Michael Cohen.

CABRERA: David, Giuliani in some ways, that's the reason why they don't want Trump to sit for an interview because his, quote, "recollection keeps changing." Is that a strong argument?

GERGEN: No, it obviously is not a strong argument. Well, I do find it intriguing argument that Rudy Giuliani has been making is that the president and his -- that Mueller has -- is working off a false narrative. That his understanding of what happened is actually false. So if the president has to answer questions, he will tell the truth and in telling the truth they will then say well, you're lying. You're lying under oath. And we're going to charge you with that. Therefore we don't want to answer questions.

That's a really intriguing argument. I've never heard that before. They are imaginative. You have to give them credit for that. But I think most people are going to say come on. Let's just get with the program. This notion, you know, as a California law journalist been asserting, the notion the president is above the law, are you going to assert that if a president murders his valet, he can then call off the investigation and go scot-free?

Is that the way you really think the world works? Is that the way you think our Constitution works. Nobody else has ever believed that, who, you know, high up in the legal position? And you're only saying that because you're going to want to do anything to avoid a, you know, final judgment in all of this.

CABRERA: I, too, found it was really interesting in that letter, this argument that the truth in some ways is not black and white, Douglas. And what David was alluding to is sort of what I interpreted the argument to be which is they have a lot of information from James Comey from his side of the story and how he interpreted things, perceived things which he believed to be the truth but that's the president's interpretation of things may be a different truth from the president's perspective. Does that make some sense to you, David or Douglas?

BRINKLEY: Yes, I mean, Ana, the big thing is it's going to be a national argument. What is obstruction of justice. There's Trump's version of it, which is, I'm the I fired guy. I fired Comey. There is no obstruction. Very well, the Mueller report may sow a very clear case for obstruction, but so what? I mean in the end, that's going to come down to interpretation. It will be more part of the cultural wars that we're fighting now.

So the big moment is going to be this midterm election because if the Democrats take control of Congress, they will continue to invest Donald Trump. And if the Mueller report points to obstruction of justice, they'll follow up and go with it. But as David knows, I mean, Nixon got done in by his tapes but he also was done in by the Republican Party when senators like Barry Goldwater went and came after Nixon's. So we have to see if Republicans are willing to hold Donald Trump to some kind of standard once the Mueller investigation comes to a head point.

CABRERA: And we're going to talk a little bit about that in the next block, David, so stand by because you're back with me.

GERGEN: OK.

CABRERA: Douglas Brinkley, thank you so much for your thoughts, and your perspective.

Coming, prominent Republicans speaking out saying their party is now dormant. Has the GOP lost its way or is this just the new party of Trump?

Plus, where is Melania? Questions abound about the first lady after 24 days without seeing her.

And trapped by lava. A dozen people in Hawaii stranded after a volcano cuts off their final escape route. We're live on the big island.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:18:23] CABRERA: Swears, slurs, insults, these days it doesn't seem like anything is off limits in today's political climate but the question is what impact is it having on the country.

CNN's Nick Watt takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Samantha Bee calls the first daughter a feckless (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who the hell talks this way?

WATT: And Roseanne Barr likens Valerie Jarrett to an ape on Twitter.

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, they should have never had a show to begin with.

WATT: And that's just this week. The cussing is nothing new. President Obama once said this of Kanye West before an interview began.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jackass.

WATT: George W. Bush once caught calling a reporter this on a hot mic.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Asshole.

WATT: But the incivility is now more blatant. Kathy Griffin posing with an effigy of the president's severed head. And it's more bilious. White House staffer Kelly Sadler joking Senator McCain's opinion doesn't matter because he is dying anyway. And there is now even more exaggerated, pearl-clutching for political point-scoring on both sides. As one commentator tweeted early this a.m., "Good morning, Twitter, what shall we pretend to be outraged at today?"

Now we all have a platform. I mean, without social media, how did anyone vent when Harry Truman called General MacArthur a dumb son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

Trump tweeted early this a.m., "Why aren't they firing no-talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show?" "A total double standard, but that's OK."

Double standard? Because Roseanne's show is canceled after the Valerie Jarrett tweet?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is pointing to the hypocrisy in the media, saying that the most horrible things about this president and nobody addresses it.

[18:20:05] WATT: Yet he's called Mexican immigrants rapists, mocked a disabled reporter, mocked Heidi Cruz's looks, called Chuck Todd --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a sleeping son of a bitch, I'll tell you.

WATT: Crickets.

Incivility is not an impeachable offense. In fact, Trump supporters spin it into a positive after the president called a bunch of countries (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

Hang on, I can't say that on TV?

SANDERS: One of the reasons that he won and is sitting in the Oval Office today is because he isn't a scripted robot.

WATT : Economics might not be trickle down but incivility just might be.

TOM ARNOLD, ROSEANNE'S EX HUSBAND: They do it because we have a white trash racist president. That's a fact.

WATT: Too strong, Tom. Too strong. I demand you apologize and are fired.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: David Gergen is back with me now.

And, David, on this idea of civility, we've had so many things that Trump himself has said that's been somewhat jaw-dropping and we keep hearing you can't normalize this. This is not normal and now we have Rudy Giuliani, I'm just getting this crossing the wire here, telling the "Huffington Post" that Trump could have shot Comey and still couldn't be indicted for it.

GERGEN: Wow. We were just talking about that.

CABRERA: Yes.

GERGEN: The "California Law Review" saying, you know, he -- the president murders his valet and he can make this argument? And now Giuliani is making that argument? It's pretty incredible, isn't it?

I think to be fair, Ana, it is -- we should point out that the coarsening of our public conversation and the disappearance of civility began long before Donald Trump became president. You know, we were already concerned about civility. I remember a conference that I went to about how do we restore our civility well before Donald Trump. But the decline has accelerated under this president and I think the -- under the current politics we've become much more tribal and we look at each other as members of different tribes and we increasingly assign to the other tribe a sense they are different.

They are marginalized. They -- we shouldn't trust them. They're not friends. They're enemies. And I think this has led to a -- the divisions that, you know, it's really, really hard to govern and hard to pull the country together. What we do know is that the president who succeeds, and Dan Meacham has a new book out on this president who succeeds in pulling us this together are ones who offer hope and offered greater civility.

They are unifying figures, not divisive figures. And what we have now are a lot of divisive figures. And it may take a full generation to recover from all this.

CABRERA: Listen to what former House Speaker John Boehner and Ohio Governor John Kasich have to say about the current state of the Republican Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOEHNER (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: There is no Republican Party. There's a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I think the Republican Party has gone dormant. I don't know where the Democrats are. I can't figure out what they're for. But what I can say to you is this rise of people who are disrupters is heartening to me. It gives me hope for the future of the Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: David, is that a valid critique?

GERGEN: Absolutely. And I think it comes in part from the hallowing out of the middle so that people like John Kasich and John Boehner who are right of center but not far right have -- you know, are losing some of their grip on American politics. We'll see if Kasich has -- wants to have a future. We'll see. But that's happening on the Democratic Party as well. And what it has led to is I think it's particularly threatening for the Republicans.

Here's a threat, Ana. It may not come in this midterms, but the millennial generation, which is the biggest generation in American history, is going to have a massive influence over the future of our politics, has turned increasingly away from the Republican Party and is much closer Democratic Party. And we know that when people in their youth embrace a party and vote a couple of times in a row for a president of that party they've embraced, they tend to stay in that party for years and years or after.

CABRERA: President Obama's longtime adviser Ben Rhodes just released a new book describing how President Trump's 2016 election victory really shook Obama, and it quotes the former president of saying, "Maybe we push too hard. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe. Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early."

What's your reaction to that?

GERGEN: Well, it was fascinating. In some ways he may have been ahead of his time. We've seen other progressive politicians who seem to be ahead of curve and then later on were seen as, you know, they were right for their times, they just weren't appreciated. And I think there hasn't been much appreciation of Obama in recent months. You don't see a lot of Democrats -- you don't see an Obama Democratic Party the way you see a Trump Republican Party.

[18:25:08] But I -- I think president -- I think what he was being reflective about is maybe he miss the move because remember when he first ran, he had such a feel for the mood of the country, he captured and rode that wave of hope and optimism. And toward the end, as Maureen Dowd pointed out in the "New York Times'" today in her column, he seemed to sort of move away from and not be seen as quite the force for hope that he once was.

CABRERA: Interesting. David, always good to have you on. Thank you so much.

GERGEN: Ana, it's good. Thank you. Thank you.

CABRERA: And welcome back.

Coming up, just in to CNN. The first lady will not attend the G-7 after not being seen in public for 24 days. Are questions about her whereabouts fair game?

Plus, did his super hero movie roles prepare him for this moment? Actor Benedict Cumberbatch swoops in to save a delivery man from would-be attackers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:58] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You probably know him as the fictional crime fighter Sherlock Holmes or the Marvel superhero Dr. Strange. Well, now, Benedict Cumberbatch is being hailed for his bravery in real life.

The 41-year-old actor reportedly jumped out of his Uber when he saw four men mugging a deliveryman in Central London. And according to the British newspaper, "The Sun," Cumberbatch pulled the attackers away and shouted, leave him alone.

The victim's delivery company, Deliveroo, later put out this tweet thanking the actor for his bravery.

And just an interesting little side note here, this apparently happened near Baker Street which is, of course, Sherlock Holmes' London address.

This just in to CNN. We've learned first lady Melania Trump will not attend the G7 Summit alongside her husband, this week, or his trip to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong-un the following week.

And this comes as speculation continues to build as to why we have seen so little of the first lady. She skipped the going to Camp David trip with her husband and step kids this weekend, meaning that the last time we caught a glimpse of her was on May 10th. That's 24 days ago or more than three weeks ago.

It was around that time that the first lady checked into Walter Reed to undergo a procedure for what the White House called a benign kidney condition. We were told there were no complications. And doctors familiar with this operation say, usually, it's done as an

outpatient procedure. However, Mrs. Trump stayed in the hospital for nearly a week before returning back to the White House and hasn't been seen since.

The President was asked about his wife earlier this week. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's Melania?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's doing great. Right there. She's doing great. Just looking at us right there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Reporters say when they looked up at the window the President was pointing at, there was no one there. And her absence will continue as the first lady, again, is not going to attend either of these upcoming summits, the one in G7 and the one in Singapore.

Joining us now, Jane Hampton Cook, a presidential historian and author of "The Burning of the White House."

Jane, good to have you with us. The first lady isn't an elected official, of course, so should people be asking where she's at and what she's doing?

JANE HAMPTON COOK, AUTHOR, "THE BURNING OF THE WHITE HOUSE: JAMES AND DOLLEY MADISON AND THE WAR OF 1812": Well, I mean, I think it's fair to ask, you know, how she's doing, what -- you know, when is she going to make her first public appearance, et cetera? But I also think we all maybe shouldn't make too much of it either.

I mean I look at this from a historical perspective and a personal perspective. I've had two major surgeries in the past two years, and I really wasn't up and out and feeling my best for about six weeks. So it really varies from person to person and procedure to procedure. So, you know, that's the practical personal look at it.

But from a historical look, I looked back at when Nancy Reagan had breast cancer. She kept a very full schedule, found out she had cancer, 10 days later had surgery. And right before the surgery, the day or two before, the American people found out.

And she did not make her first public appearance for about seven weeks. And in that time period, Nancy Reagan's mother died. So then she had this very deeply personal thing going on.

And, you know, yes, the first lady is a public persona, but she's always got a private world. She's the mother of a child who is still in -- you know, who is school-aged. Not all first ladies have had that, and so we don't know what the end of the school is like.

We also don't know how much of what's going on in Baron's world. It's maybe why we're not seeing more of things in Melania's world as well. So we just don't know.

CABRERA: Right. And while she hasn't been seen, she has tweeted, and I quote -- I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am, what I am doing. Rest assured, I am here at the White House with my family, feeling great and working hard on behalf of children and the American people.

I guess the big question there is, if everything is fine, if she's working hard, why forego public appearances?

COOK: Well, you know, I don't know the answer to that question, but I did look back at -- I know from working in the White House that the first lady works months in advance on big events.

[18:35:05] They're deciding in the summer what the Hanukkah Party is going to be like in December and the holiday and Christmas decorations. So there really is actually a lot of work that a first lady is doing behind the scenes, day-to-day, that the public does not see for months.

So let's say, if there's state dinner coming up in the fall, she's probably already working on that and doing the research for that now. So we -- there is a lot of behind the scenes work that the American people don't see.

CABRERA: Yes.

COOK: But it's still, you know, an interesting question to ask.

CABRERA: What's your take on just the fascination people have with the first lady and her absence?

COOK: Well, I think part of it, too, is that Melania Trump is a more reserved person. She's not an Eleanor Roosevelt who was out and about, you know, throughout her first ladyship. She's just more reserved. She has a different personality.

She and Donald Trump, you know, are quite the opposite in terms of personality. He's the outgoing, motor-driven kind of guy, and she's not seeking the limelight. And so I think that's part of it. It's just her personality is a little different in -- than him and more reserved.

And that has its advantages. And so, you know, I like to give first ladies a lot of latitude. I think that that's -- they didn't choose this and -- often. And so giving them the latitude to make the role their own is an important thing to do.

CABRERA: And we know Melania Trump was not necessarily really excited about moving to Washington, D.C. and being in the spotlight, as you point out.

Thank you so much, Jane Hampton Cook, for your take. We appreciate you joining us.

COOK: Thanks for having me. CABRERA: Coming up, a bittersweet day. Months after the mass

shooting in Parkland, Florida, the senior class of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduates without four classmates. A look inside their emotional ceremony, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:41:34] CABRERA: Graduations are always a time of joy and celebration, but for the students who survived the February mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, today's ceremony was also bittersweet as they held on to the memory of four classmates who should have been there with them as they don their caps and gowns.

Our Dianne Gallagher joins us now from Florida.

And, Dianne, this was an emotional day with so many tributes and also a surprise guest. Tell us about that.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. And really this was a day that, for a lot of these students, they said that they were looking forward to it because of the past four years.

But because of the past four months, some of them were dreading graduation day because of those students who weren't going to be there -- Carmen Schentrup, Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, and Meadow Pollack.

And the school did what they could to make sure that they honored the memory of those students while also honoring the hard work and the celebratory nature of a graduation.

Now, the parents of Joaquin Oliver came to accept his diploma. His father, Manuel, ran through the aisle, had kids standing up and cheering. They wanted it to be known that they were happy about what their son had accomplished up until he was killed on February 14th. His mother stood up, had a shirt on that said, "This should be my son."

Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow, said that he couldn't come. He didn't want to be there, but her brother and her longtime boyfriend accepted the diploma. Family friends accepted Carmen and Nicholas' diplomas.

And the student body, as a whole, sat there. They held hands. They cried as some of their fellow classmates, underclassmen, sang a song that's kind of become really synonymous with this movement from this school. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- tighter. We can love a little more, laugh a little harder. We can stand up and roar. If we all come together, it will be all right. Stand up for one another, and we'll never give up the fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GALLAGHER: Yes. And I mean, again, these students have worked so hard to kind of come up to this day here.

One of their grand marshals, Jeff Foster -- he's the A.P. Government teacher, has been working behind the scenes because he wanted there to be an uplifting moment.

And I will promise you, we've been trying to keep this secret here. The kids did not know, Ana. They were so surprised inside during that graduation when the "Tonight Show" host, Jimmy Fallon, came out to the podium to deliver their graduation speech.

In the cities (ph), they usually have one. We have a class here of almost 800 kids that needed to graduate. It's usually the principal and the student body or the senior class president, the salutatorian, valedictorian speaking. This time, they got Jimmy Fallon.

He cracked some jokes, but he also made sure that those kids knew that he was inspired by them and that they were leaders. And he thanked them for being leaders after tragedy in their community.

CABRERA: Very cool. Lots of smiles there. Thank you, Dianne Gallagher. We appreciate it. We'll be right back.

[18:44:41] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Emergency airlifts are now happening in Hawaii. Despite the warnings to get out, nearly a dozen people who chose to stay put are now stranded, cut off by the fast-moving lava. And now, authorities are having to airlift those people out.

So far, we're learning they rescued at least three people. CNN's Scott McLean is staying on top of the latest developments for us.

Scott, what can you tell us?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana, that's right. We know that three people were rescued early this morning, local time, by the civil defense officials by helicopter. We know that two of them were men and there was one woman in the group as well.

Though we don't know the exact circumstances of why that rescue took place, but the bottom line is that area that has been cut off by lava is not a very nice place to stay. You know, despite the fact that you may be in your own home, you don't have power, water. Landlines don't work. There's no cell service out there either.

And so, really, you're cut off from food and water and even communication. So even if you did want to be rescued out, you'd have to send smoke signals up in order to get the authority's attention.

[18:50:05] We've heard helicopters going by every so often. Those are going out to monitor the lava flow but also to check on some of those people in coastal communities to see if any of those dozen or so people who have stayed, in fact, would like to be rescued.

The lava has not yet reached the ocean, though. The last word is that it's about 400 yards offshore.

So why has it cut it off? Well, the fact is there's no highway in that area, and so you wouldn't be able to take a car through there. And even if you, as a person, wanted to go through, you'd have to trudge through some pretty heavy bush in order to get there. So right now, people are stuck, at least for now.

And that lava showing no signs of slowing, so it's not clear when they will be able to rejoin the rest of the island.

CABRERA: How frightening. How are the people who have evacuated doing? What do you know about how they are and where they are staying?

MCLEAN: Yes. There's this amazing spirit on the island that you hear over and over again, Ana, and that's that people just sort of -- people kind of just say, well, if it takes my house, it takes my house, or this is just how it goes. They sort of are not quite as upset as you might expect them to be.

But there is another issue, and that's at the summit of Kilauea, about 20 miles away from where we are. They've been seeing earthquakes there.

So, yes, there is an issue with evacuees on this side, but it's important to point out that, on that side, air quality earthquakes, they're a big problem as well and no one really knows when all of this will end.

CABRERA: All right, Scott McLean, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Thank you.

Coming up, the President known for having a strange theory about exercise talks to kids about the importance of fitness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:56:47] CABRERA: Welcome back. In this week's "Before the Bell," the Trump trade war begins as the White House tries to shake up what it calls a broken system. Here's Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the laser focus this week on any trade developments with steel and aluminum tariffs slapped on America's largest trading partners and retaliatory moves already facing U.S. companies, a trade war may be inevitable.

The aim of the tariffs is, of course, to boost employment in metals manufacturing, a sector that has seen significant job losses over the past decade. But with the jobless rate at an 18-year low, finding workers may be difficult.

In fact, markets rallied Friday morning after a solid May jobs report. The economy added 223,000 net new jobs in May. The last time unemployment was below 3.8 percent was all the way back in 1969.

And wages are also ticking back up, rising 2.7 percent over the past year. This is what full employment looks like. The economy is humming.

Companies are turning solid profits, but more headlines on trade could pose a risk to the stock market this week. Watch for that.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.

CABRERA: Thanks, Christine.

Tonight, President Trump is working some new muscles, or is he? Here is Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only thing on the President that got a real workout? His hands.

The event was organized by the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Three things not instantly associated with the President.

Though he did start a race and swing a golf club as he mingled with sports stars like pitcher Mariano Rivera.

TRUMP: Does winning get boring to you, Mariano?

MARIANO RIVERA, FORMER PITCHER, NEW YORK YANKEES: No.

TRUMP: Never, right?

RIVERA: Never, never.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS (voice-over): But the President may think his diet has gotten boring. Five months ago, Dr. Ronny Jackson proclaimed --

DR. RONNY JACKSON, PHYSICIAN TO THE PRESIDENT: I think a reasonable goal over the next year is to lose 10 to 15 pounds.

MOOS (voice-over): And now we're hearing the President is occasionally trading in a steak --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super golden.

MOOS (voice-over): -- for a Dover sole and leaving off the top bun when he eats a burger. The chefs in the White House kitchen have been told to reduce calories and fat.

MOOS (on camera): Keep in mind that this is a guy who has expressed the view that exercise is bad for you.

MOOS (voice-over): Some call it the energizer bunny theory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still going.

MOOS (voice-over): Trump's apparent belief cited in "Trump Revealed," the human body was like a battery with a finite amount of energy which exercise only depleted.

He once suggested to Dr. Oz that rallies are a workout.

TRUMP: I'm up there using a lot of motion, and I guess that's a form exercise.

MOOS (voice-over): From the kiddie lift to the fist pump to the half toss, we've seen no indication President Trump is hitting the White House gym. As he once told Reuters, I get exercise. I mean, I walk, I this, I that.

Not to mention --

JACKSON: And he has incredible genes.

MOOS (voice-over): -- to keep him running like the energizer bunny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To keep going and going and going.

MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And going, and going, and going, and going.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:00:00] CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And tonight, President Trump's legal right-hand man making some outrageous promise a short time ago about how immune the President of the United States is to legal action.