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CNN NEWSROOM

Cohen's Legal Fees; National Enquirer Subpoenaed; Former McCain Manager Leaving the GOP; Trump Touts Denuclearization; Police Shooting in Pittsburgh. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 21, 2018 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Bills.

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. I mean all of this is costing Michael Cohen a lot of money and it's not surprising, even if you just look at the breadth of the investigation and the fact that investigators have taken so much of his information and that lawyers have to contend with that, yes, he has been complaining, we are told, about the legal fees. He has expressed frustration that he's not getting any kind of --

HARLOW: Help.

LEE: You know, help from Donald Trump, his former boss. And that when he was shopping around for lawyers, this was actually an issue that came up. We are told that lawyers actually wanted to know, well, what are Michael Cohen's assets and could he actually pay us? Of course there's no indication right now that Donald Trump is interested in helping Michael Cohen with his fees. If anything, he's pretty busy trying to distant himself from Michael Cohen.

HARLOW: Right. I mean he made that clear when he spoke to the media a few days ago.

LEE: Right.

HARLOW: There's new reporting out of "The Wall Street Journal." Federal prosecutors subpoenaing records from "The National Enquirer," that tabloid. And this ties into the Cohen investigation. How so?

LEE: That's right. We're told, and "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting, that records were subpoenaed from "The National Enquirer" and this is related to Karen McDougal. This is the former Playboy model. And, remember, she has said that she had an affair with Donald Trump. The White House has, of course, denied it. But we know that "The National Enquirer" paid her a chunk of money and then they never ran the story.

So this is just all a reminder that investigators are looking at a lot of things when it comes to Michael Cohen, including some of the work that he did related to Donald Trump, directly related to him, and that this might be related also to just some of the work that Michael Cohen did in trying to shut down negative stories about Donald Trump.

HARLOW: Right. Right. Thank you, MJ, all-important reporting. A lot of parts to that this morning.

All right, so the president's against his own Republican Party. He calls out a familiar foe once again, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:35:54] HARLOW: This morning, a poignant, new cover from "Time" magazine taking on the current crisis at the southern border. Take a look at this. The photo illustration shows a towering President Trump staring at a crying child with the message, welcome to America. The young girl you see here is a two-year-old Honduran child crying for her mother. This is from an actual photo that was taken of the girl and then, of course, this is an image that they've super imposed of the president there.

Joining me now, CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, CNN political analyst Rachael Bade also with us.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Rachael, let me begin with you. You've got that image, right? And then you have the president saying, as he signed that executive order yesterday, quote, I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

HARLOW: But this was his policy -- this was his practice. I mean he knew that when instituting zero tolerance, this is what would happen.

BADE: Yes.

HARLOW: So what is it that the president is now saying he doesn't like about it?

BADE: Well, clearly he got the message from his party that this was not acceptable and he's feeling the burn and trying to backtrack. And he tried to blame this on Democrats and the reality was that a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill came out and said, Mr. President, this isn't a Democratic proposal, this is yours, and you can stop it. And so obviously he was backtracking.

I think on The Hill there was a lot of relief when he signed this, but there's also a feeling that this battle is not over. Secretary Nielson -- Homeland Secretary Nielson was on The Hill the other day telling lawmakers yesterday afternoon that even though they have this executive order in place, it's a matter of time before it pretty much blows up and so they need to act now, get to address this issue. The problem with that is that even if Congress passes something addressing this matter, I'm told that -- from somebody who is close with the president, that he has not come around to this idea of signing a very narrow immigration bill fixing this issue at the border. And so that might be the next turn in this battle.

HARLOW: You know, Ron, when you talk about the party and the impact on the party and a party divided over this, right, the Republican Party, you have a long time Republican strategist who worked for -- managed John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, Steve Schmidt, and he said over this stuff he's leaving the party. Here's what he wrote, 29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and become a member of the Republican Party, which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery, to stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.

Is that a one-off or is that something that the party should be concerned about moving forward?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, first of all, the analysis is connect. I mean, you know, there was no reason for the White House to think that this was the moment at which House Republicans would balk because they have followed Trump step-by-step into his redefinition of the party around these themes of racially infused nationalism. I mean they -- the opposition to the wall during the -- during the primaries was -- is gone. I mean even the compromise bill fully funds it. Every Senate Republican voted to deny funding to cities that don't fully cooperate with ICE. All but seven House Republicans vote to deny funding. The compromise bill would create a new right of action for individuals against cities and states who don't fully cooperate with ICE. So they have fought -- you know, they have marched themselves into this quagmire by acceding at each step to Trump's nationalism, not only by the way on immigration, but also on trade and alliance. And the risk they face is that while this is very popular with their older and blue collar base, I mean this is majority opinion in the Republican Party supported the idea of the separation.

HARLOW: It is.

BROWNSTEIN: But it is much less popular among their younger and college educated portions of their coalition and obviously less popular still among younger and college educated voters outside of their coalition and that is the risk they are facing -- they are taking by following Trump in this direction.

HARLOW: And, Rachael, we know from that same polling that Ron is pointing to, the CNN polling this week, that it's opposed by three out of four women. And it is those suburban white women that helped, you know, secure the presidency for President Trump. And if they are opposing this in areas that are more dangerous for the party and for him, that matters a lot.

[09:40:10] BADE: Yes, I would say, Republicans, you know, has objected to this on moral grounds. But, you know, privately they're all -- they were also freaking out about the politics of this. You mentioned women. You know, a lot of women in suburban, educated districts, this is the battle -- the ground zero for the battle to take the House for Democrats. They are targeting these suburban, educated districts and women there are already skeptical of Trump. And so this policy obviously is not sitting well with them. It's also not sitting well in Hispanic populated districts. And there are a lot of swing districts in the House that are currently controlled by Republicans that are key targets for Democrats and it doesn't play well there either. So, politically, this was just a disaster, a huge miscalculation on the part of the president when it comes to protecting his party's majority.

HARLOW: What do you make, Ron, of the calculation the president has made this week to attack his own, I mean to attack Mark Sanford. Granted, he lost the primary. But to attack John McCain at the rally in Duluth, Minnesota, last night, talking about him with the thumbs down on the health care vote, going after him again as John McCain is battling terminal brain cancer.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look --

HARLOW: I just don't understand the strategy of the president. One of the people in the crowd, a Trump supporter, screamed out last night, but he's a war hero.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, interesting.

Look, I think, you know, the president -- it is not a bug. It is a feature of the presidency to attack an endless series of targets and to constantly portray himself as fighting against all comers, all elites on behalf of his coalition. And it is producing, I think, you know, an electoral landscape that has to be seen as very bifurcating. It's not simple.

If you look at the polling, for example the CNN polling, roughly two- thirds of non-white Americans want a Democratic controlled Congress and about 55 percent of college educated whites want a Democratic controlled Congress. I was -- that was roughly the number in CNN, Pew and Quinnipiac yesterday.

On the other hand, this is a kneeling or solidifying the Republican hold on a lot of blue collar and non-urban America. Fifty-five percent of non-college whites said they want a Republican Congress in the CNN poll. And it is entirely possible that we end up with an election that consolidates the Democratic control in metro areas that are dense -- you know, densely populated, diverse, moving into the information economy, and Republicans remain really strong outside of that in the less urban areas and are more rooted in manufacturing and ag and resource extraction. And the divide between the two is even more glaring and confrontational after November than it is today and certainly that's what we're -- looks like we're headed for in 2020 as well.

HARLOW: Except some of those voters, the rural, you know, farmers are opposed --

BROWNSTEIN: On trade --

HARLOW: Opposed, yes, on the trade.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, on trade. Yes, trade. Yes.

HARLOW: But also like the Goodlatte bill, what it would do to legal immigration and what that would mean for their workforce.

So, all right, Ron Brownstein, thank you. And Rachael Bade, nice to have you both. The president touting North Korea's denuclearization last night at a rally. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They stopped all nuclear testing. They stopped nuclear research. They stopped rocketry. They stopped everything that you'd want them to stop and they blew up sites where they test and do the testing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Hours earlier though, Defense Secretary James Mattis said he's not aware of any concrete steps that the North has taken to denuclearize. So, which is it?

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

This is a very important divide among two people that really should be on the same page on this.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, I think that the defense secretary once again in the awkward position of batting cleanup for the president.

HARLOW: Yes.

STARR: In fact, Secretary Mattis telling reporters here at the Pentagon yesterday he's seen no evidence so far that the North Koreans have done anything to denuclearize. And, in fact, he said that the negotiations to make all of that happen have not begun yet, so you wouldn't even expect it.

The negotiations not beginning with the North Koreans on this is a very key point. The two sides have to sit down, talk about, what is denuclearization? What sites are you going to dismantle? What are you going to blow up? How are you going to get inspectors in there? How are you going to verify all of that? So the president's statement that they've done everything perhaps just a little bit in advance of actual reality on the ground.

And this is the position that we see Mattis in time and again. The president says something and the secretary has to sort of put that heavy dose of reality on there. The bottom line right now is, any military or intelligence officials you talk to will tell you that so far they see no evidence of North Korean denuclearization.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Barbara Starr fact checking it for us from the Pentagon. Appreciate it this morning. Thank you.

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin planning to meet, we've learned this morning, in mid-July. It's happening during the president's trip to the U.K. and the NATO summit. One official saying Vienna may be the location for this meeting. No official announcement, though, has been made.

[09:45:04] Images like this of a scared child on the southern border are spurring national outcry. Now major questions about what other pictures the Trump administration may not want out there to the public. We'll talk about it ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Journalist watchdog groups want to know why we aren't seeing more pictures of these children being held in these shelters along the border and really throughout the country, separated from their parents over the last two months. The government's only releasing a few select handout ones. Ones that you've seen on CNN and other areas.

[09:50:07] With me now is senior media correspondent Brian Stelter with more.

So these are the images, and we'll keep playing them, that we can see. But they're all provided by the government. And so most media outlets are showing them. Some are saying, no, we're not going to use these because we don't have full access.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, "The New York Times," for example, says we're not going to provide published government photos if we can't have access ourselves, if we can't have independent photographers inside these facilities.

Now, Poppy, there are reasonable privacy concerns.

HARLOW: Of course.

STELTER: And that's why the government says it's not allowing independent cameras inside the facilities. You can see here the way these photos are cropped, the way the videos are cropped, you're not seeing people's faces. And earlier, last week, when the government started providing some access to journalists on tours, we were mostly only seeing boys. We weren't seeing girls and we weren't' seeing the babies. That caused a lot of concern in recent days. Some of the newer videos do show some of the girls that are being held at these facilities.

But there continues to be a really widespread concern about the lack of access, the lack of independent access to these facilities.

HARLOW: So, you have journalists that are taking other means to try to get images of these facilities and get a clear and transparent view into everything that's going on.

STELTER: Yes, I think it's getting really interesting how we're even seeing helicopters, planes and drones being used. Reuters, Getty, CNN, other outlets, have been at the border. This is an example from Texas, I believe, where a pilot was up in a small plane taking photos. So at least we were able to see from far away what these facilities look like.

And here in New York City, New York One, the local news cable channel, received a tip the other day about some girls being transported to a facility in East Harlem. The photographer, the crew was able to get there in time, was able to see the girls being transferred. It's another example of this attempt to try to see what is going on.

HARLOW: Yes.

STELTER: And after this video was taken, local authorities spoke out. New York City Mayor de Blasio revealed that a couple of hundred kids have been in New York City as a result of these detentions. One of them a nine-month-old.

HARLOW: Right.

STELTER: And I don't think journalists are going to stop covering this story until we know where that nine-year -- nine-month-old is, where these girls and boys are.

HARLOW: Mayor de Blasio will join me in the next hour. He's down at the border. But he was outraged at what he saw among some of these kids at this facility in Harlem. And also the fact that the city government apparently didn't know that there were these --

STELTER: It's shocking.

HARLOW: And nine-month-old and young kids at the -- from the border, separated from their parents and then transported up here.

STELTER: It's appalling. And I think because there's so much constant lying going on by political appointees, misleading statements from the president. It makes it even harder to trust what public officials, career officials are saying about this matter. It makes it harder to trust government agencies when they're handing out certain photos, when they're denying access. This continues to be an issue where we need more sunlight.

HARLOW: Sunlight, the word of the week from you certainly on this.

STELTER: I think so. Yes.

HARLOW: Brian, thank you very, very much.

STELTER: Thanks.

HARLOW: A 17-year-old boy shot and killed outside Pittsburgh when fleeing a traffic stop by a police officer who joined the force just hours before. Now his family and witnesses want answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:57:33] HARLOW: Welcome back.

A Pennsylvania community this morning is demanding answers after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed during a traffic stop. According to police, 17-year-old Antwon Rose ran away from an office who stopped the car that he was riding in based on a belief that the people in the car were involved in an earlier shooting in that same neighborhood.

Our Brynn Gingras following the story for us this morning.

And apparently the officer who shot him had just been on the force hours.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he just had been sworn in at this police department, East Pittsburgh Police Department, though he's not a rookie. He actually with other police departments for the past seven years.

HARLOW: Yes.

GINGRAS: Rookie certainly to this police department, though.

This is how it sort of unfolded all on Tuesday. It was 8:30 at night. And according to the Allegheny County Police Department, which is an independent police department who's investigating this, said that there was a drive-by shooting that occurred and when witnesses called police regarding that, they described a silver SUV. And it's that silver SUV that this East Pittsburgh police officer spotted and then pulled over and then told the driver and the occupants of the car to get out.

Now, what we're hearing from the Allegheny County Police is then Rose and another person fled the scene. And that's when this officer fired the shots. We're told by the Allegheny County Police Department that three shots hit Antwon Rose, a 17-year-old. He died later at the hospital.

And, of course, you can imagine, there is outrage in this community. People saying, why was there any sort of justification for a 17-year- old anyone to get shot while he's running away from a scene. Still not even clear if that car was actually involved in that drive-by shooting earlier, though Allegheny County Police say it was.

Now, his family -- sorry, Poppy, one quick statement from his family. They said that he, Rose, posed no immediate threat and, quote, again, very little room to justify the use of deadly force by an officer.

HARLOW: And I -- thank you for the reporting, Brynn. I was just going to say, if we could pull that video back up where it's spotlighted. I mean it's clear, right, from this video that he was shot while running away. He was shot in the back.

GINGRAS: Right.

HARLOW: And the police officer has not said, you know, I did this because I felt like I was threatened, right?

GINGRAS: In fact, the police officer hasn't even been interviewed yet according to the Allegheny County.

HARLOW: OK.

GINGRAS: Again, they're the separate investigators of this. HARLOW: Right, right, right.

GINGRAS: So, yes, it's unclear the circumstances of what he says. That's all being investigated. But protests are happening as that's happening.

HARLOW: Thank you, Brynn, appreciate the reporting, as always.

GINGRAS: All right.

HARLOW: The next hour of NEWSROOM begins right now.

[10:00:02] Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And the border battle playing out on Capitol Hill right now. The House getting ready to start voting on two immigration bills. The path to passing either of them, though, looking ominous.