Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Report: Trump Takes Photo with World Leaders; Trump Wants Russia In the G7; New Manafort Indictment for Witness Tampering. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 8, 2018 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Erica Hill today in for Brooke Baldwin. Happening today, the only group photo President Trump would not give a thumbs up to. He's in Quebec for the G7 meeting. All those in attendance is about to take what is of course known as the family picture. While president from every standing with him for a picture, we know that when it comes to policy he's in many ways standing alone define North American and European nations.

On the Iran nuclear deal, on the Paris climate accord, on the U.S. imposing trade tariffs, which has led to a Twitter spat with France and Canada. And now there is a new reason observers are saying the better name for the G7 is G6 versus 1. Today the president said Russia should be included in the summit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love our country. I have been Russia's worst nightmare, but Russia should be in the meeting and should be a part of it. You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: They threw Russia out but let's remember why Russia was forced out. This happened after it seized the land of another nation in 2014, a conflict that has led to at least 2,500 deaths, Crimea no longer a part of Ukraine. Jim Acosta, the president did just speak with French president Emmanuel Macron.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We have a little bit of video of that to show you. That was tweeted out by the French president Emmanuel Macron. They are rather cozy with each other, sitting next to each other on the sidelines of this G7 summit, sort of the OMG7 summit, mainly because of the comments. When he talked about bringing Russia back into the G7, the U.K. minister said we remember why Russia was kicked out of the G8 because of the invasion of Crimea, the annexation of Crimea and Ukraine.

There are other destabilizing acts from Russia, the meddling in the 2016 election and the U.K. prime minister focusing on the poisoning on British soil. This is why the president is somewhat an outcast at this G7 summits. There was supposed to be an official bilateral meeting with Emmanuel Macron this morning but because the president was late to the summit, that didn't happen.

He's going to sit down with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at about 5:00. But of course, they've been going at each other over the last several days because of the issue of the U.S. slapping tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel. That erupted in a nasty phone call we were reporting on exclusively a couple of days ago that, phone call late last may when the president said to Justin Trudeau, well, didn't you burn down the White House in the war of 1812, trying to justify the national security reasons for slapping those tariffs on Canada.

The president is leaving the summit somewhat early. He's going to be missing some of the sessions taking place tomorrow afternoon on climate change and what's happening in the world's oceans and he's going to be leaving to go to Singapore. He indicated yesterday he hasn't been preparing very much over the summit with Kim Jong Un. The president saying this morning before leaving the White House he's been preparing for this all his life. As we know, the president before he became president of the United States was in the real estate business and was not exactly preparing for nuclear negotiations with a global menace like North Korea. So, I think we're going to have to wait and see at the end of the summit.

As you've been saying, even the French have been describing this as a G6 plus one. I think there's a good chance you may see some agreements coming out of this G7 without agreement by the United States. It's pretty alarming to see the president engaged at a summit where he's not exactly welcome and seen as somebody who is leading the world. As you were saying a few moments ago, it feels very much like he's an outcast in some of these summit events.

[14:05:00] Of course, the day is not over. We'll see how things play out with Justin Trudeau. He'll have a chance to brush past Angela Merkel and the British prime minister and so on. Tomorrow I think we'll have a better sense as to what was happening behind the. A much frostier G7 summit than we've seen in American administrations past, Erica.

HILL: That is for sure. Appreciate it, thank you. I want to bring if for a closer look at what's happening, Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent. There really is a lot to tackle. One of the things that stands out is what Jim just pointed out there, that we are now covering a G7 or G6 minus one --

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: It's a G7, the president is still there.

HILL: But in a way where the president is not as welcomed as years past and may be seen as none even leading on some of these issues. What's the impact in terms of the U.S.'s standing?

AMANPOUR: I think it's really huge. This is an unprecedented development here. I was speaking to the former chief of staff, of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair just yesterday, who described it as Donald Trump uniting the world against him. This is a real problem. Because although he wants to make America great again, the things that he is doing for instance, slapping tariffs not just on adversaries, in fact he hasn't slapped them on adversaries, but slapping them on allies is going to hurt the American people.

Every economist tells you that and the fact is that it's true. He may be able to say I've tried to get them to be more fair but in fact tariffs are a tax that hurts the American people. So, there's a big problem. Then you have the unprecedented situation where President Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have said publicly they would not be able to sign the traditional end of summit joint declaration unless they see progress from the president of the U.S. on key issues, on climate and on these tariffs. The Europeans have cited their national security for being upset with the president at slapping and threatening to tariff and to sanction their own businesses doing business with Iran.

So, this is a major, major, major problem in the relationship between the global allies who have set up the international rules of the road for the last 70 years, Erica.

HILL: There's also the issue of we heard the president talking about Russia should be invited back, brought back into the G8. That just brings up the question of not only whether or not the president has a clear understanding of what happened in 2014, but also what is the relationship between this president and Vladimir Putin? How much of a concern is that for the six other nations right now?

AMANPOUR: I think as you heard, even the British prime minister, who is the leader of the country with the special relationship of the United States being quite strong and stiff and cross about it, do you remember why Russia was thrown out?

Because Russia broke the main international rule of the international road, which is a big country does not invade a small country, which is what Russia did. It invaded Crimea, annexed it and has said this is a forever deal and we're not going to give it back. So, for that reason and the other reasons interfering in eastern Ukraine, the little green men who turned out to be Russian soldiers, all of those reasons are why Russia is not in the G8.

But I think another really important issue to look out for is Iran. And it seriously has left international observers, not to mention the Iranians, scratching their head to try to figure out what President Trump was talking about when he said, hey, you know, in the last three months my actions have caused a marked and demonstrable shift in the Iranian behavior. No evidence of that at all.

That is a big problem. What did he mean? Are they getting out of Syria? Are they disassociated from Hezbollah? Are they not joining -- well, backing the Houthis in Yemen? Not that wear aware of. The arms agreement now is practically on its death bed because of the United States. They can pull out if they want but threatening to sanction European and other businesses for doing business with Iran.

[14:10:00] Because the key issue is to give Iran sanctions relief for what it is doing which is complying with the nuclear deal. So, you have a lot of problems ahead.

HILL: More than a few things to discuss. Christiane, appreciate it as always.

We are just learning, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has just filed a new indictment against Pres. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. I

want to get straight to CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez who has the latest on this. What do we know about this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: These are new charges that have just been filed in federal court here in Washington against Paul Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign. And we also have a new defendant, Konstantin Kilimnik. He has been previously cited in court documents without being named as somebody who the FBI believes was closely tied to Russian intelligence. He worked very closely with Paul Manafort.

And the two new charges against both Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik are obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. These are

new charges in addition to the five that Manafort already faces here in Washington. Years before Paul Manafort was hired to run the Trump campaign, he was actually working for the Ukrainian government, the pro-Russian at the time Ukrainian government. And that's where all his problems really stem from in these indictments.

He also faces similar charges in Virginia. He's supposed to be on trial. He's scheduled to go on trial in Virginia and later this year here in Washington. These are new charges that really add to the pressure to Paul Manafort and whether or not he's going to strike a deal with prosecutors, which is what would really be the way for him to get out of this and perhaps provide evidence that the special counsel needs or wants against other people that are under investigation.

Obviously, the big person there that everybody thinks about is whether or not there's information that Paul Manafort has against other people inside the Trump campaign, perhaps against the president himself. We do not know there's a great deal of pressure being brought to bear against Paul Manafort. We were expecting to hear from the lawyers of Paul Manafort to respond to the charges of witness tampering. They allege that Manafort was trying to reach out to witnesses and getting them to commit perjury in their testimony to the special counsel. Instead we've seen the special counsel bringing new charges against Paul Manafort, Erica.

HILL: Evan Perez with the very latest for us. We'll have more on the breaking news for you in just a moment.

[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: And what you're looking at now are live pictures coming to us out of Quebec where you're seeing the leaders make their way up for the family photo, of course, at the G7. We've been waiting for this moment to see them all together there, as we see these seven very important leaders making their way up there. What will be happening, what could the conversation be? Oh, to be a fly on someone's shoulder there. Christiane Amanpour is with us now. People love to dissect a photo like this but especially here there's going to be a lot of attention paid to who is where.

AMANPOUR: Well, you can see president Trump walking up to stand in line. With him was the new prime minister of Italy and also the leaders of the European. Standing next to him, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau and the outside left of screen is Donald Tusk of the EU, Theresa May, Angela Merkel, who is jolly upset with President Trump and is going to get more upset with President Trump -- oh, dear, that was quick.

HILL: That was quick.

AMANPOUR: Lordy!

HILL: I don't know if there was time for a picture to be taken.

AMANPOUR: That speaks volumes, doesn't it? That was obviously President Macron and others. But I think look Macron is noticeably not putting his arm around Trump but around a different leader. This is only to say that the Europeans feel -- I'm sorry, that is the prime minister of japan. The Europeans feel, and the Canadians feel, and others feel that they have over the last 16 to 18 months of Trump's presidency, while he talks to Angela Merkel, and she's one of them, they believe they have done the right things as allies. They have bent over backwards to understand that he's the president of the United States, he's the de facto leader of the alliance.

[14:20:00] He's the most powerful leader of the world of the most powerful country, with the most powerful economy and the most powerful military. They know that's the way of the world. So, you've received hugs from Macron, you'll see attempts at all sorts of flattery, certainly from Shinzo Abe, all these people who have been told that the way to get to Donald Trump is to flatter him, you know, to understand his campaign promises, his policies and see where they could work together. The problem now is that that amount of flattery of working with him has turned out to amount to a hill of beans as far as the allies are concerned.

They have begged him with letters, with minister and experts who have been able to show why it's important to stay in the Iran nuclear deal because there is no plan B, they have said they would try their best as the allies are concerned. They have begged him with letters, with minister and experts who have been able to show why it's important to stay in the Iran nuclear deal because there is no plan B, they have said they would try their best to accept Donald Trump's views on other issues that other people also agree with, what are Iran's behavior when it comes to missiles, when it comes to other destabilizing regime, Syria, Hezbollah, all the other stuff that people want Iran to quit doing. They say Yes, sure, we do, too. Let's try and figure it out in another series of negotiation negotiations in deal, the nuclear deal, was the only arms control deal that we have, and we can never get a better one. That's what they believe and that's what an Iranian official told me

yesterday. We will never give up enriching uranium. That was the basis of this deal. We only got to this deal because the allies, including the United States, said we could continue enriching to a certain level. We will never give it up. Where's the negotiating? On the tariffs, imagine the allies being hit by a tax when they have, you know, they're citing their own national security reasons for not having those tariffs. They said ahead of the summit in letters, in tweets, in phone calls that unless there is improvement on all these issues like the climate as well, they wouldn't be able to sign the joint declaration. We will see whether they actually don't sign that joint declaration, but that's what they've said. President Trump seems to like the autocrats. But Russia has to do what it has do to be invited to that table. What they have to do is un-invade and un- annex --

HILL: Crimea.

AMANPOUR: Yes, the territory.

HILL: We'll continue to follow it. We always appreciate your insight.

Up next, a new indictment against President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort. This just coming out in the last few moments. We have the details next.

[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: I want to bring you back to our breaking news now. Prosecutors have filed a new indictment against Paul Manafort. Joining us CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers. As we look at all of this here, Paul, these two new -- so this is obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice. This all relates to witness tampering.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it did. Earlier in the week we heard that the special counsel was going to seek to revoke Manafort's bail or his home confinement situation because he was tampering with witnesses in the case. We were anticipating a spirited argument about that in court today. Instead what the prosecutor has done is he's gone to his grand jury and had an indictment handed down that relates to the witness tampering. So, the obstruction of justice count is you're obstructing justice by attempting to tamper with a witness and you've engaged in a conspiracy to do that. It also does something else, it adds Kilimnik, this much-mentioned alleged Russian intelligence operative who was allegedly part of Paul Manafort's lobbying efforts in Ukraine, as now a named defendant, he was thought to be person A listed in prior indictments.

HILL: Does that change anything that he's actually named now?

CALLAN: It does change it because he faces serious jail penalties now if he's in the United States. I believe he's still abroad. It will restrict his ability to travel because he could be extradited to the United States on the indictment. HILL: Is there anything to read into these two indictments beyond

just sort of the black-and-white nature of it?

JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think Paul is right. This is really bringing additional pressure on Manafort to cooperate with authorities. And previously he may have gotten his bail revoked, sometimes if there is a hint of witness tampering, they will seek to adjust the bail. That means they really think they have the goods on this count.

[14:30:00] They actually brought the charge, it's going to be tried if he doesn't plead guilty. This just ups the ante even more and puts the additional pressure on Manafort to cooperate here.

HILL: And of course, a lot of people look at this differently when they look at how that raises the pressure and what it could mean for Paul Manafort. There's always been this question of, you know, what could we actually learn from him. But when we were talking about witness tampering earlier in the week, it seemed that kind of changed the conversation for a lot of people. I don't know if that's still the case today.

CALLAN: This really does up the ante because prosecutors are not just saying we want to revoke your bail because you've done something improper. They're saying we're indicting you for a crime that you could go to prison for an extra ten years, maybe 20 years for. The way the sentencing works on the obstruction count when it involves other charges is that whatever charge you're trying to obstruct, is the same sentence for this charge. So, it really does up the ante substantially for Kilimnik and for Manafort.

HILL: We were talking earlier in the week that all of this was allegedly happening with Paul Manafort while the man has two ankle bracelets and was under house arrest and with everything else hanging over him, and that sort of paints a picture of I'm going to do this?

RODGERS: I think that's right, and I think that's an important point too. A lot of people are saying that's ridiculous, these charges are for things way before the campaign, no big deal here. But when people start trying to go to witnesses and say, hey, let's get on the same page, I want to shape the story so it's good for me. I think people don't like that. I think gives the whole case a little bit of a different tone.

HILL: Appreciate it, thank you both are popping in on this one, boy never a dull moment.