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Trump Declares Relationship with U.K. Now "Highest Level of Special"; Mueller Indicts 12 Russians Ahead of Trump/Putin Summit; Trump Apologized to May Despite Denying He Criticized Her; Trump Meets Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 13, 2018 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANALYST: Look, once the U.K. Brexits, its most special relationship will be with the E.U. That's its most important economic trading partner. It's important for the U.K. to stay on the right side of Donald Trump, so rolling out the red carpet at Blenheim Palace, for instance, tea with the queen, the love fest at the Chequers news conference. But realistically, and economically, the U.K. has to maintain a good relationship with the E.U. It's its most important trading partner. This Brexit, a hard Brexit will be, according to many economists, a disaster for the country. So they're walking a tight rope here, having to figure out exactly what Brexit will damage the economy least.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm playing rewind in my head of everything that happened in the last three days. Now we have these indictments in the U.S. against the Russians for meddling in the U.S. elections and everything the president has said and other leaders have said about Vladimir Putin. Theresa May said she welcomes the president going to meet with Vladimir Putin, but it's clear she would like to see the president confront him about Russia aggression.

KATIE ANDREWS, NEWS EDITOR, INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: A lot of people wanted the prime minister to confront Donald Trump, so I think her saying she wants the president to confront Vladimir Putin, she's not passing the buck but she's taking what's been put on her and putting it on the president, which makes a lot of sense. We want to see Donald Trump work with leaders around the world to keep America's safety at its best, no question about that. It's unrealistic to say he can completely cut Russia's leader out of the equation altogether. There has to be some level of communication. But people will be watching out he goes into the meetings, and they'll be seeing his decorum and demeanor, and they'll be paying attention.

BERMAN: Rod Rosenstein said he told the president about the indictments before the president came here. I wonder if the president told Theresa May. We may never know.

Kate Andrews, thanks so much for being with us.

Hala, always great to see you. Thank you so much.

Let's go back to you, Ana, in New York.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you, John. We just learned the president's delay on Air Force One may have something to do with Pierce Morgan speaking with the president before he leaves England. We'll get a readout on that hopefully sometime later today.

Coming up this hour in the NWESROOM, before today's indictments of 12 Russians by the Mueller investigation, the president opened up about his summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin. What he said he'll be telling Putin about election meddling, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:36:42] CABRERA: We're continuing to follow breaking news, new indictments in the special counsel investigation. Twelve Russian military officers, officials with the Russian government, are accused of trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including hacking into the DNC, the DCCC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. This announcement coming just three days before President Trump's big sit- down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, joins us live from Helsinki, the site of the upcoming summit.

Matt, what kind of reaction have you heard from Russia?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting. There hasn't been any reaction as yet, even though I've been furiously texting my contact in the cell Kremlin to try to get them to respond to the 12 indictments in the U.S. of Russian citizens, members of the GRU, which is the military intelligence branch of the Russian Secret Service. Have no response yet. But I've spoken to the Kremlin on countless occasion over the past year or so about the allegations from the United States about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, the hacking, the distribution of the material that was hacked and so forth, and it's always been the same kind of response, which is categorical denial. They even use the same terminology as President Trump, saying it's a witch hunt designed to undermine the credibility of the U.S. president, who wants to build a better relationship with Russia and cast Russia as a negative force on the international state. So when the Kremlin finally does respond to the latest indictments, I expect it's going to be something along the same lines. We're not expecting any kind of moment where the Kremlin is going to hold up its hands, you got me, the evidence is compelling, we did this. That's not how they play. So the expectation here, unless President Trump does an about turn and changes his stance towards these allegations of election meddling, that the expectation here, Ana, is that this summit in less than three days from now, between President Putin and President Trump, is likely to go ahead -- Ana?

[14:40:03] CABRERA: Right.

Matthew Chance, thank you.

The big question still remains, though, is there an impact on this upcoming summit because of the indictment that we learned about today. Thank you, Matthew.

Coming up, the president today is overseas. He's been meeting with Theresa May, the British prime minister, as well as the queen. After an interview in which he slammed British Prime Minister Theresa May, calling it fake news. So if it didn't happen, why is he now apologizing to her? We'll talk to the journalist who interviewed the president, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: I'm John Berman, back live in London.

President Trump is denying that he criticized the British Prime Minister Theresa May the day after a British tabloid published an interview with him, in which he did just that. The president holding a news conference alongside the prime minister this morning did say he apologized to her, in his own White House reporting, as he was contrite behind the scenes. But again, he denied he criticized her. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't criticize the prime minister. I have a lot of respect for the prime minister. I said tremendous things.

I said very good things about her. And she's a professional. When I saw her, I said, I want to apologize because I said such good things about you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Hours earlier, this is what the president said to "The Sun" about the prime minister's handling of Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP (voice-over): I think the deal she's striking is not what the people voted on. It's a much different deal than the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That sounds like criticism. Also it sounded like criticism when he said he told the prime minister what to do and she didn't listen to him.

But the president now calls reporting of his own words on the record fake news. Here's more again on Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP (on camera): As far as the advice, I did give her a suggestion. I wouldn't say advice. I think she found it maybe too brutal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: But again, here's what he told "The Sun" before that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:45:10] TRUMP (voice-over): I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't agree with -- she didn't listen to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So the newspaper has released a statement defending its reporting.

I'm now joined by the political editor of "The Sun," Tom Newton Dunn, who did this interview.

You saw a little cut away at that news conference right there. Pretty interesting to go to a news conference with Donald Trump, isn't it?

TOM NEWTON DUNN, POLITICAL EDITOR, THE SUN: Sure is. Your guys get to do this every day of the week.

BERMAN: We just had an incredible bolt of thunder and lightning here. You might have heard it over there.

Also extraordinary, the president, after you recorded the interview and wrote about it extensively, basically told you in front of the other reporters that you didn't get it right, that what you reported was fake news and you didn't print what he said.

NEWTON DUNN: I think I got what is known in the trade as CNN treatment --

BERMAN: Yes.

NEWTON DUNN: -- you are fake news. Which surprised me a little bit because, as you say, the audio of precisely what the president did or didn't say about Theresa May has been on the Web site all day long. It's been in our papers since first thing this morning. So, yes, it was a little bit of a shock.

Interestingly, we had this hour-long extraordinary circus, which I have come to understand is a regular press conference held by your president, through another network, said to me at the end of that, welcome to our world. I felt his pain. Towards the end of the press conference, there was the cut and thrust between us. I managed to shout out to the president that his criticism wasn't that we misreported his criticisms of Mrs. May. It was just that we hadn't reported the nice things he said about Mrs. May. You're still following

BERMAN: Which you did.

NEWTON DUNN: Which we did. I said to the president, but we have reported that, Mr. President. To which he said, Oh, OK, well that's all right then. Did you do it in the headline. And it went on and on.

BERMAN: It's funny. You said you did report the criticisms. The president denied they were criticisms. I had a chance to talk to you earlier today and you said you knew while this interview was going on and when you walked out -- this happened in Brussels -- when you walked out, you knew that in your hands you had a wrapped-up hand grenade.

NEWTON DUNN: A wrapped-up hand grenade, 12 wrapped-up hand grenades, I think. Of course, we had to run it in one paper because it would have keep other editions of the paper going. It was extraordinary stuff. Clearly, we caught him in a good mood, a talkative mood, a combustive mood. I didn't expect it to blow apart perhaps quite the way it did. I certainly didn't expect the --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Yes. And he apologized. I mean, the fact that he apologized, what does that tell you about how he viewed what he said?

NEWTON DUNN: I wonder whether he believed at any stage that there was anything wrong with our reporting whatsoever.

BERMAN: Right.

NEWTON DUNN: There were a few caveats in the press conference. He described us as a couple of gentlemen.

BERMAN: Yes.

NEWTON DUNN: And he said there was nothing with the particularly wrong with the reports. It was a strange roller coaster of rage and then self-doubt. This is fascinating when you get hit with the fake news thing,. This is my first time. It's just a tiny little bit of self-doubt creeps in --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Really? But you knew, you knew what he said, you knew what he recorded, you knew what you reported.

NEWTON DUNN: Absolutely. But again, he's also still the president of the United States.

BERMAN: Right.

NEWTON DUNN: So when the leader of the free world says you've done something wrote, you do question yourself and then you go through your notes and you realize, no, I was right. The crucial thing is you are top guard. A crucial 10, 15 minutes by which stage he's thrown out the shaft, to distract from the diplomatic hand grenade he's delivered to Theresa May and then the he moves on to something else.

BERMAN: Tom Newton Dunn, welcome to the club.

NEWTON DUNN: Thank you. BERMAN: It's great to have you.

NEWTON DUNN: Fascinating to be a member.

BERMAN: It's great to have you here. It was a really fascinating report. It was great to see you at the news conference today.

NEWTON DUNN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Ana, I should say, it's been quite a rocky couple of days. President Trump greeted with pomp and circumstance at Windsor Castle today. We'll tell you what happened with the queen, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:53:22] CABRERA: The symbolic high point of the president's visit to England culminated in a trip to Windsor Castle and a visit with the queen. The Trumps arrived by helicopter. Then they rode into the castle grounds to greet Queen Elizabeth. Their meeting only lasted about an hour. During the brief ceremony, the royal band played the U.S. national anthem. Later, the queen and Trump took a walk to inspect the Guard of Honor. And then later, this photo was taken of the trio inside Windsor Castle, in the grand corridor.

Joining us to discuss this royal visit is Victoria Arbiter, a CNN royal commentator, with us here in New York.

Thank you, Victoria, for helping us to digest what we just witnessed there in England.

When you look at what happened today, the president was nervous because of the protests but he certainly seems to be getting the royal treatment.

VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: He does. Royal hospitality is a well-oiled machine, they know how to do this. The queen is the secret weapon in terms of the government's soft diplomacy. She will have been there to really lay on a special experience. The Trumps left Windsor Castle with something memorable under his belt. I think as well the president has spoken of how fond he is of the queen, that Melania is a big fan, his mother was a big fan. So I think she really was the one person he was keen not to offend.

CABRERA: Do you think she's a big fan of him?

ARBITER: I think she's curious about him. We'll never know what her true feelings are about Donald Trump because as a politically neutral head of state, she's not allowed to share those feelings. She is used to meeting controversial figures, Putin, Assad. Donald Trump is the latest in the list of controversial figures. The fact that the meeting went over by 17 minutes indicates they were perhaps quite enjoying their tea together.

[14:55:04] CABRERA: She's met with every U.S. president, except LBJ since 1952.

Having to be mindful of the royal protocol, what are your observations? How did he and Melania do?

ARBITER: He didn't bow, she didn't curtsy. That is a nice show of respect. But as foreign nationals and as a foreign head of state, they are not required to bow and curtsy to the queen. But it was a nice gentle handshake. A lot of people were worried he was going to do one of those long heavy duty handshakes --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Or a hug.

ARBITER: Or a hug. That would have been bad. Glad he didn't ask for a selfie.

So far, anyway, the president hasn't tweeted about his interaction with the queen, and that's very important. The royals don't like private interactions to be shared publicly. What happened behind palace walls, behind castle walls, it's required to stay behind castle walls.

CABRERA: What stands out to me is when he was walking alongside her, and he looked a little uncomfortable, maybe a humbling moment for him. What stands out to you?

ARBITER: Yes. Interesting when you say a humbling moment. That's what happens. The queen is only 5'4", quite diminutive in stature, but she has an incredible presence and captains of industry, powerful businessmen, they tend to come undone when around the queen. You see this sense of humility start to evolve. I think that's what we saw with Donald Trump. He's usually the most confident man in the room, marches in and doesn't care who he upsets or who he offends. But he wanted to make sure he made his late mother proud and that he did everything by the book with the queen.

CABRERA: Victoria, great to have you here. Thank you so much.

ARBITER: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you for being with us. We'll have much more on this breaking news. The Department of Justice indicting 12 Russian military intelligence officers for hacking the DNC, just days before the President Trump's face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin. Now Democrats are calling on the president to scrap that meeting.

Our special coverage continues right after this.

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ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[14:59:44] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to this special edition of THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We're beginning with the bombshell breaking news. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dropping the stunning information this afternoon ahead of President Trump's summit Monday with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. A grand jury indicted today 12 Russian military intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Specifically, the effort was to hack into the systems of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary --