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Report: Eight Days Later Still No Details on What Happened at Trump and Putin Summit; New Pulses Majority Believe Trump's Putin Summit A Failure; Trump Wants to Use Stormy Daniels' Ex Manager to Refute Claims; Ivanka Trump Shutting Down Her Fashion Company; Op Ed Piece Says Trump Is Taking U.S. Down the Path to Tyranny. Aired 2- 2:30p ET
Aired July 24, 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] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. If you're keeping count with us, day number eight. Eight and still not a single detail about what happened inside the President's private summit with Vladimir Putin. Not a single detail. From a meeting between the American President and the former KGB agent in charge of the country that still attacked and is attacking the United States. Day number eight.
Thought you should know. Today the President tweeting about the Russians impacting the U.S. elections. While we may be finally acknowledging, again, the truth about Russian involvement, he was spinning it with false claims. Here's the tweet: "I'm very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don't want Trump."
BALDWIN: Don't want Trump? Did he not hear Vladimir Putin say in Helsinki stand right next to him that he wanted Trump to win in 2016? I'm going to come back to that in is second. Moments ago, we heard from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking of the summit's benefits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The President has been clear about some of the things that were agreed to. We'll begin to put together a business counsel. There will be places we'll start processes. There were many things that came from what I view as an incredibly important meeting between President Trump and President Putin. One I think the world will have benefitted from when history is written.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Many things. Secretary Pompeo said many things came of the summit. Actually, we don't know many specifics as to what was discussed behind closed doors. Again, let me repeat day eight. We still don't know what happened. Let's start there. With me Gary Samore was President Obama's top nuclear advisor and is now the executive director research at the Balfour Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Gary, nice to have you on, and let me begin. We showed the President's tweet a second ago. Now the President's tweet indicates that he is now concerned that Russia is going to interfere in the upcoming election and they'll be working to help the Democrats. Hang on. Putin said something about that just last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA, (through translator): Yes, I did. Yes, I did, because he talked about bringing the U.S./Russia relationship back to normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I'm going to come back to that. Robin Wright is with us as well. A joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Robin, let me put this first one to you. Since we heard Putin say he wanted Trump to win and now we're back to Trump believing Russia is going to interfere with the next U.S. election but they're going to interfere to help the bad guys, the Democrats in the President's own words, to that you say what?
ROBIN WRIGHT, JOINT FELLOW AT THE U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE AND THE WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, I say I'm confused. I think the gyrations over the past week whether it's on whether the Russia investigation is a hoax or real, what happened in Helsinki, we're still all confused. I think there's an urgency in trying to figure out what the President believes and to lay it on the line for all of us. So many questions are out there, and they grow by the day.
BALDWIN: Let me help to ease any confusion that anyone may have and remind everyone the findings from the Senate intelligence committee saying the intelligence community determined Russia attacked the U.S. election, quote, "a body of intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian government developed a clear reference for Trump."
Gary, you're the expert on this. I wanted you on this. We heard him say that he's going to get a great new deal with Iran and he said Iran is not the same country anymore. What did you think when you heard that?
GARY SAMORE, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S TOP NUCLEAR ADVISOR AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESEARCH AT THE BALFOUR CENTER AT HARVARD'S KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: Well, the President has made it clear that he's prepared to offer Iran a bigger and better deal. By that he means he would ask more of Iran in terms of restrictions on their nuclear and missile programs, and on their behavior in the region. In exchange he's prepared to offer the Iranians more relief from sanctions, normalization of relations with the United States. I think it's very likely that we can coerce the Iranian government back to the bargaining table to accept a bigger and better deal. But we're still in the early stages of the U.S. trying to destroy the
JCPOA, the earlier nuclear deal through basically economic coercion against our allies and other countries, and we don't know how much tolerance the Iranian government has for economic punishment before they decide to withdraw from the agreement themselves.
[14:05:00] I think the next six months will be critical in determining A, how much damage the U.S. can impose on Iran, and B, how much tolerance the Iranian government has for those additional economic sanctions.
BALDWIN: So that's Iran. Gary, let me stay with you on Russia. Day eight, we still don't have answers as far as what was said behind closed doors between Trump and Putin and the secretary of state just said many things came from that Trump/Putin summit. My question is what's just one of the things?
SAMORE: Well, we've heard the Russian version of events. The Russian ambassador to the United States gave a press event in Moscow when he said that the two leaders reached agreement on issues concerning strategic nuclear weapons arms control, on Syria, and on Ukraine. But at this point we don't have any detailed information from the administration, so it's difficult to know exactly what was agreed and also, I think, there's a big difference between two leaders speaking together orally and saying yes to certain things without having it spelled out in some detail. So, my guess is whatever happened in the private meeting between Trump and Putin, it's not very concrete or specific, and Secretary Pompeo obviously will be responsible for trying to tease out in a little bit more detail and negotiate with the Russians exactly what the leaders intended.
BALDWIN: He will be testifying in front of the Senate foreign relations committee tomorrow. You can bet they'll ask him what many things entails. Rob ton you on the U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Russia, she broke from Trump saying this yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: We don't trust Russia. We don't trust Putin. We never will. They're never going to be our friend. That's just a fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: This isn't the first time she's broken on a position from the President of the United States, but it's yet another example of this administration not being on the same page with a member of its own cabinet.
WRIGHT: I think that's true. When you look across the board, members of the cabinet, the intelligence community, members of Congress, that there is a very strong statement by all of them that the Russians have meddled. The Russians are a threat that we have to worry about what happens in the 2018 and 2020 elections in the United States as well as what Russia meddling around across the world. And the President stands by himself in this gyration of positions about to what degree the Russians are a threat, what they're likely to do in 2018. It's mind boggling that he's now saying the Russians are going to try to help the Democrats when Putin stood next to him in Helsinki and said he'd hoped Trump would win the 2016 election.
BALDWIN: I keep going back to everything that happened last week. It's almost like last week never happened. Let me underscore your point. We played the sound. President Putin stood next to the President of the United States and said well, actually, we were hoping that you would win, and for now to hear -- Gary, this is what we started, and we can end here. To have the President say yes, Russia is going to interfere in the U.S. midterms, but he actually is interfering on behalf of the Democrats, how do you square that?
SAMORE: Oh, I think the President was just having a little joke. I think it remains --
BALDWIN: He was joking?
SAMORE: I think he's just joking. Tongue and cheek. I think it's unclear how much the Russians will intervene in the 2018 elections. First of all, it must be clear to them that they can't get away with it, that we're capable of detecting efforts by the Russian government to interfere. They'll have to calculate the benefit versus the cost in terms of additional damage to Trump's credibility and his ability to deliver what the Russians want from him if they're seen from supporting the President's party. And in terms of congress.
And finally, it seems to me it's a little more difficult to intervene in midterm elections where it's not Presidential and you're talking about individual senate and congress seats. So, I think we'll have to look and see. We know the Russians have been trolling around trying to break in to various computer systems and collect information. But whether they'll weaponize the information as they did in 2016 to help President Trump, candidate Trump, I think that's not clear yet.
[14:10:00] BALDWIN: Gary and Robin, thank you both so much on all of that. We have more breaking news this afternoon on Ivanka Trump. The first daughter is shutting down her fashion company. Sources say she is pursuing a career in public policy. Details on exactly what she's saying. The first daughter is shutting down her fashion company. Sources say she is pursuing a career in public policy. Details on exactly what she's saying.
Plus, dramatic new dash cam video of the pursuit of a suspect into trader joe's. We are now learning that employee killed -- was killed by an officer's bullet. More on that ahead. You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. President Trump's legal team wants to use Stormy Daniels' former manager and others to refute her claims. Athena Jones has all the details. She's with me now. Explain this for me.
[14:15:00] ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. This is coming from a new court filing by Trump's legal team. They want to be able to call Gina Rodriguez, that's Stormy Daniels' former manager, her boyfriend, and Keith Davidson. They believe these people they might want to call as witnesses might have information that refutes her claims.
BALDWIN: Which claims?
JONES: She's suing President Trump for defamation. She's suing his former personal attorney Michael Cohen for defamation. He's also suing to be released from this nondisclosure agreement she signed before the election not to talk about this alleged affair she said she had with Trump in 2006. Trump's attorneys, this is part of a filing saying they want to move the defamation suit that Stormy Daniels has brought against the President in New York. They want to move it to California to join the other lawsuits she's brought arguing they're similar cases. You have to do this out of judicial economy. This is where the witnesses are.
Here's the one thing they point to as an example of the kind of claims they could hear from the witnesses. They say Stormy Daniels' manager's boyfriend; former manager's boyfriend refuted this idea that she was coerced into signing one of several denials she made of ever having had a sexual encounter with Trump. He calls that claim asinine and said that Daniels had no issue signing that paper statement when I was there. That's an example of what Trump's lawyers think they can get out of some of the people.
BALDWIN: Despite the fact that she said she was pressured to sign her life away. He's saying the opposite. OK. Got it. Athena, thank you very much on Stormy Daniels.
More news here on this surprise announcement from the first daughter. Ivanka Trump has just announced she's shutting down her clothing and accessory business and focusing her Washington -- on her Washington career in public policy. Trump released this statement. I'll read it for you: "When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve. After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington. So, making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and my partners."
So, Walter Shaub is up with me. He's the former director of the Office of Government Ethics. Walter, question number one, what -- help us understand the limitations on her job in the White House that would have prevented her to keep running the limitations as a result of the company that would have prevented her to keep her job in the White House.
WALTER SHAUB, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: Well, she had some pretty significant limitations. They had her -- my understanding was they has her recusing from any particular matter that could have an effect on her various businesses. Now, at a time when tariffs and trade war are being discussed with China, that's pretty significant, because she had a lot of trademarks over there in China, and although she's had some difficulties with sales in parts of the United States, places like New York and San Francisco, she apparently was doing quite well with her business in China. So right there, that's a fairly significant category of things that she would have to stay out of if she continued to hold this business.
BALDWIN: So, it's, from what I'm understanding part of the their she had was the limitations that were put on her company because of ethics rules. And that that would be one of the reasons why she had to drop the company?
SHAUB: Well, let me be fair to Ivanka Trump. She did more than her father or her husband did. One of the things she did was that she negotiated a deal where she'd be getting a fixed fee for her licenses instead of a profit-based revenue. So, she would have less significant conflicts of interest. It doesn't completely resolve them. Now it would take more than a slight fluctuation in profits to affect her income.
[14:20:00] That's a good thing. In terms of the things that I've seen reported about her having put limitations on the company, those I've always felt were kind of nonsense, because you either have the financial interest or you don't.
Whether or not you have control over the company is meaningless, and the limitations she put on the company is that she'd put it in a trust and that day to day operations would be run by somebody else, but that's completely meaningless from a conflict of interest standpoint, because she still derived revenue from it. So, I want to be fair. Again, she did do some significant things, but they had to do mostly with the type of revenue she was going to get and her recusals from her own activities in government, but in terms of the limitations on the company, those were just window dressing and nonsense to begin with.
BALDWIN: Quickly, would this decision to drop her company, does it affect her brothers at all and their Trump businesses?
SHAUB: Well, I know that she has an investment in the Trump International Hotel that she is keeping so she may have a number of other business entanglements with her family. I don't know that any of them were necessarily involved in her product line. You know, one question about her shutting it down is what they've said is they're not going to renew their licensing agreements. I imagine that the various licensing agreements end at different times. So, I don't know that this is going to be a clean and abrupt break. They need to be very careful and making sure she continues to stay out of anything that could affect the licenses that she still has until they run out.
BALDWIN: OK. As she wants to stay in Washington to pursue this career in public policy. Walter, thank you.
BALDWIN: It has become a pattern. The President under pressure, launching distraction parades. We'll open up the play book. Plus, the United States attorney general laughing and repeating "lock her up" chants. Talking about Hillary Clinton. We'll see what happened.
[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: As the fire storms swirl around this President's foreign policy moves from Russia to Iran to trade wars, my next guest has a fiery opinion piece on all of this for CNN.com today. It's called "Trump Is Taking U.S. Down the Path to Tyranny." He writes, quote, "Donald Trump holds the grandiose belief that only he should rule America. Unchecked by cowed or complicit Republicans in Congress, Trump invokes executive authority to alter policies and practices long established by the law and treaty."
Jeffrey Sachs, he is with me. The director for the Center for sustainable development at Columbia University. So, Jeffrey Sachs, a pleasure. You start out your piece by a rattling off what you refer to as one-man actions. For our viewers, can you list off some of the more egregious examples of your argument?
JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, we have a one-man show now, and whether one supports him or opposes Trump, Trump is deciding everything right now. He's deciding trade wars. He's deciding the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars of trade flows of tariffs, taxes, which are supposed to be the prerogative of Congress. Of the placement of troops, of whether we're in treaties or not in treaties. It seems that not just Trump, but everybody has forgotten we have a Constitution with a supposedly co-equal branch of government, the Congress, that is not consulted about anything that doesn't say anything. We know the Republican leadership is completely supine, not even remarking at what Trump does, and even within the executive branch, obviously Trump's colleagues, the national intelligence adviser, does not know what's going on.
BALDWIN: Let me jump in on the intelligence. This whole security clearance stunt, I think illustrates your argument. His obvious war with the intelligence community, but also his disdain for anyone who dares to criticize him. So, if you say he's an autocrat, and he's leading this shift. It's this one-man show, my question is do you think he is succeeding?
SACHS: Well, he's a wrecking ball. I very much worry that he will wreck our country and possibly wreck the world. He could lead us into war. He could lead us into economic disaster. He is breaking every alliance that we have. He is insulting every ally, praising every adversary, having meetings that we have no idea what was promised and no intention to brief anybody, and we have a Congress that absolutely doesn't care and a supreme court which hears the phrase national security and says yes, sir, you do what you want without questioning anything.
So, we have the Roberts court which is almost on a dog whistle of national security. Sure, you can ban these migrants. You can do anything you want as long as you call it national security. You can start trade wars as long as you call it national security. I'm extraordinarily worried. By the way, Trump is not the start of all of this. We've been on a slide for decades where Presidents have mobilized their CIA assets, secret armies where we've had wars that congress has not approved. But with the will to power and the grandiosity and the megalomania of the current office, we are as close as we can be to one-man rule as we've been in our modern history.
BALDWIN: Just taking a minute to let that sink in. If you say Trump is a wrecking ball and you talk about the supine Republican leaders, and if you are correct, your assessment is correct, who stands up to him?
SACHS: I would like to see any voice right now in Congress every day standing up to him. And saying our country doesn't --