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Trump Crying Wolf?; Confusion From Trump Over Russian Election Interference; Police Officer's Bullet Killed Trader Joe's Employee. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired July 24, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:01]

JASARA REQUEJO, LAS VEGAS SHOOTING SURVIVOR: If you throw a party, you're responsible for your guests. You're responsible for anything that happens, anything that was...

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, we lost her. That's what happens with satellite windows.

Anyway, Jasara, thank you so much. And I think we understand your frustration by being named in this lawsuit.

Let's continue on. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

We're now eight days since that Helsinki summit. President Trump still will not divulge any concrete details, details, for any matter, on his face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin.

But today he did tweet that Russia is impacting U.S. elections, before then putting his own spin on the truth. Here's what he tweeted: "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."

Don't want Trump. Did he hear Vladimir Putin, who was standing right next to him in Finland last Monday, saying that he wanted Trump to win the 2016 presidential election?

And speaking of that summit, moments ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the summit's benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The president has been clear about some of the things that were agreed to. We're going to begin to put together a business counsel.

There will be places we will start (INAUDIBLE) processes. There were many things that came from what I view as an incredibly important meeting between President Trump and President Putin, one that I think the world will have benefited from when history is written.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Let me go back to two words there, many things.

Secretary Pompeo saying many things came of that summit. Let me just repeat, we still don't know what happened behind closed doors in Helsinki.

And as the secretary touts the summit's success, I want you to look at this new poll; 52 percent believe that that summit was a failure for the United States.

So let's discuss this with David Priess, a former CIA intelligence officer who wrote "The President's Book of Secrets," and CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

So, Dana, first to you.

So, today, again, you have this tweet from the president. He says he's now concerned that Russia is going to interfere in the upcoming election, that they're going to work to help Democrats, but hang on, because Putin said something about that last week. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: 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, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (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: Dana Bash, I'm confused.

(LAUGHTER)

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, first let's just maybe take the tweet in a couple of steps.

First and foremost, the president tweeted that he believes that Russia is interfering or will interfere in this year's election. OK? That's nice to hear from him. It is important that the president is now saying a couple of times, even though he had to be corrected last week, that Russia is going to -- except for the fact that Russia is already trying to interfere in these elections.

The second part, him -- which is what you're getting to, Brooke, of the president suggesting that Putin might try to help the Democrats, even though Putin said he liked Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, that actually might not be that farfetched, because what Russians want and what the Russians like more than anything else is chaos.

And that is according to every intelligence official, national security official, you know, kind of who are still living and breathing that they will say is the M.O. of Russia. And so what more -- what better way to continue to churn the chaos in America or maybe at least a debate than to have divided government?

So it might not be that far afield from what Vladimir Putin is doing. It also is a rare time where the president is saying something even remotely negative about Vladimir Putin.

DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Let me agree with Dana on that, because the assessment originally from the intelligence community about 2016 was the attempt to cause confusion. And when it looked like Hillary was winning, it was to cause chaos.

As it looked like Donald Trump, who was more of a chaos candidate, might succeed, then the effort became, oh, help him as much as possible. That's entirely different than wanting to help Trump because of Trump. There's nothing that is a conflict between helping Trump in 2016 and helping Democrats now to try to increase the tension between body politic in the United States going forward.

BALDWIN: OK. Maybe you're onto something with that and this is to sow confusion. And maybe that's exactly what the intent of the tweet was.

[15:05:00]

But, meantime, let's talk about Secretary Pompeo, Dana, because, again, to both of you, we still haven't gotten any answers as to what was said, what transpired in the closed-door meeting between Putin and Trump.

And you have Secretary Pompeo saying many things, many things came from that Trump-Putin summit. What is one of the things?

BASH: Who knows? I mean, what we do know is what we're hearing from the Russians, and Secretary Pompeo himself, rightly so, said late last week that we can't trust what the Russians say about what happened in the meeting. Fair point.

Tell us what happened in the meeting. And it's still not clear that even the secretary knows the answer to that. Maybe he does.

BALDWIN: Do you think he knows what the things are?

BASH: I think that he is becoming very fluent in Trump-speak, and that is, you talk very broadly and very in a very big manner and you hope that that suffices.

PRIESS: Yes, hearing many things is disturbing, because we have only seen a few of those things come out.

And when they came out, they were surprises, whether it was something the president said they agreed to or the Russians saying they have agreed to. I wouldn't be surprised if Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, the national security adviser, are the two people Trump did talk to and say, I talked about this, this, and this.

BASH: Let's hope so.

PRIESS: But beyond that, you heard Dan Coats in Aspen a few days ago. He was asked directly if he knew what happened.

And he said, I don't know what happened in that meeting. So even the top intelligence adviser of the president had not been let in on what happened in the meeting.

At a minimum, it's very hard to support policy going forward if you have no idea what the policy is. More disturbing is, what was agreed to that the president has a reason to keep private and is not telling even his top advisers, because he wants to see how the Russians can play it out before there can be opposition within his own Cabinet?

BALDWIN: So if everyone's still sort of scratching their head, and I realize we're just eight, nine days out from that summit, and we know that the president has invited Putin to come to the White House this fall, which coincides with those midterm elections that the president is accusing Putin of attacking, and you have the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, saying, essentially, slow your roll, like, we need to know what transpired in that meeting before we extend this invite, at the end of the day, Dana, I mean, isn't it just up to the president to have gotten to the United States, period, end of story?

BASH: Totally.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Period, end of story.

And the president, it is his prerogative to -- as a head of state to invite another head of state to visit him at the White House. The question about Vladimir Putin addressing Congress was actually brought up to the House speaker today, and he said flatly, to nobody's surprise, that invitation will not be extended in the halls of Congress.

But, look, yes, you're right. That's the answer, that it's up to the president. If it was really egregious, something horrible happening, I suppose the Congress could try to find a way to stop it, but I wouldn't expect that.

PRIESS: And politically it's a good point for the president to come out and say this, because it gives him cover for the Putin visit to say, but I'm going to push him because that guy is now influencing our elections in favor of the Democrats.

And if there is a Democratic wave in November, Trump can say, well, look, you can't accuse me of being on the beneficiary side of Russian involvement because you yourself were put into office in by the Russians. So it's a wash now.

That's if the Democrats win. If the Democrats lose, he can go back to saying, look how popular I am. Look how popular we are, because even the Russians couldn't get their bad message across to the American people. It's a win-win for Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: Wow.

Dana and David, thank you so much. I know. I know.

We have more breaking news here this afternoon on Ivanka Trump shutting down her fashion company. Hear why and what she's planning to do for the next chapter in her career.

And one conservative says Donald Trump is kind of like the boy who cried wolf, so we will talk to Matt Lewis live on the danger of his empty threats.

And the Los Angeles Police Department admits on making a tragic mistake. A bullet from one of their officers' guns is what killed a Trader Joe's employee who was being held hostage. They have released the body cam video of how it all played out, so stay tuned for that.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:13:44]

BALDWIN: We're back with the breaking news here on Ivanka Trump.

A surprise announcement from the first daughter that indicates she's shutting her clothing and accessory business to focus her career in public policy.

Let me just quote her statement here, what we have: "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'm doing here in Washington. So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and my partners."

Gloria Borger is our CNN chief political analyst. She's with us now.

And we know that Ivanka Trump has come under repeated criticism for her company, the appearance that she has benefited from being in the White House. Why is she dropping her business now?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it seems to me that, first of all, as you point out, the business has been a lightning rod. It's privately held.

We're not sure how profitable it has been since she has been in Washington. All kinds of ethics issues have been raised. And if, as Ivanka Trump says in her statement, she really is not sure if she wants to go back into that world, then why have the business and why not shut it down, if in fact she wants to continue to pursue public policy, as she says?

[15:15:07]

I think that's kind of an interesting part of her statement, don't you?

BALDWIN: I agree.

BORGER: Yes.

BALDWIN: And that's what I wanted to also follow up with you, because we have talked through the months about potential aspirations that she may have.

Maybe the bug has bit in terms of being Washington and being all around government. When she wants to pursue her next -- her career in public policy, what might that mean?

BORGER: It's hard to know.

We know what she's been focused on in Washington. She's been focused on tax -- the tax breaks for working mothers, all kinds of things for women, for working women. And that has been really -- that has really been her calling card in her business as well as in her public policy life.

She's been mad with mixed success with Republicans in Congress. She's also come under a lot of criticism because she is after all the daughter of Donald Trump, and she has largely stood by him, or when she disagrees with him, has often remain quiet silent about it.

The question, of course, is whether she would want to pursue a political career on her own and where that would be from. Would that be New York? Would Ivanka Trump ever have a future as a New York politician from New York state, say?

I mean, it's sort of -- it's sort of hard to say. But it does raise a lot of questions about what she does want to do next. Or perhaps it's just an easy way for her to say, this isn't working, it was too much trouble for me, and the ethical questions were too many, and I wasn't making enough money on it. So why not give it up? We just don't know. We just don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Maybe not.

One door closes, another door opens, which leads to even more questions.

BORGER: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Gloria, thank you very much, Gloria Borger.

BORGER: Sure.

BALDWIN: Republican lawmakers starting to blast a plan by the Trump administration to bail out farmers hurt by the president's trade wars. We will get into that.

And one conservative says Donald Trump is the boy who cried wolf. Matt Lewis is with me live on the president's threats.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:21:50]

BALDWIN: A new opinion piece by conservative writer Matt Lewis carries a warning that we could all be growing numb to the almost daily irate tweets and explosive threats from the president of the United States, like yesterday's all-caps tweets about Iran.

"Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before."

Now, that tweet sounds a lot like the over-the-top rhetoric on North Korea that this president issued just shy of one year ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Matt Lewis is behind this piece. He's a CNN political commentator and senior columnist over at The Daily Beast.

And your piece is, "Is Donald Trump the boy president who cried wolf?"

And I love how you open the piece where you talk about this Iran tweet in all caps. And you're like going, going to get a smoothie, no bigs. I mean, is that problem? Do you think Trump is crying wolf?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes, look, I think it is interesting that we wake up Monday morning, most of us, and we have the president of the United States in all caps threatening the leader of Iran.

And my response is to go for a jog and get a smoothie. And that -- on one hand, I think that we have to be that way. It's a coping mechanism. If we freaked out every time Donald Trump freaked out, it would be -- we would live in constant fear.

On the other hand, I think it's a little bit dangerous that we're not freaked out by this, that Donald Trump could threaten a president. And, granted, it was retaliatory, but -- and that most of us are just like, well, that's just Trump being Trump. I think that's a problem.

BALDWIN: Well, you know, Matt, how the Aesop fable ends, because the boy cries wolf so many times, Iran, all-caps tweet, fire and fury on North Korea, threats of revoking security clearances, that the people in the town finally don't believe him and the boy actually sees a wolf, no one listens, and the sheep are eaten.

And I'm wondering, are the sheep America?

LEWIS: I think that's -- and there's so many problems with governing this way. This is really a -- the opposite of speak softly and carry a big stick.

This is -- Donald Trump is very promiscuous in terms of his use of language. And it's the opposite of what we would expect from a president. I think there are a lot of potential problems with it.

One of them, as I write about, is this boy who cried wolf conundrum. And I think it is possible that we become inured to this, that we essentially tune him out. And what happens when the president needs to go turn the volume up to 11, and he's already been there?

BALDWIN: People are not paying attention, right?

LEWIS: We will no longer be paying attention.

If the president needs to rally Americans, if he needs to activate us, I'm not sure that will be as receptive as we might have been if he didn't do this.

BALDWIN: As we speak and are having this conversation, too, Matt, the backlash is starting to grow over the Trump administration's new bailout plan for farmers.

[15:25:10]

Farmers, many of whom were Trump voters, right, they have really been hurt by the president's trade wars.

And one Republican senator amounts the billions of dollars that the administration is trying to use to help these farmers, he's calling them golden crutches, after their legs are cut out from beneath them.

Do you think this issue with our country's farmers, is it more toxic, politically speaking, than the president even realizes?

LEWIS: Well, absolutely.

Look, if you look at where the midterm elections are taking place, the midterm elections in the U.S. Senate that really matter, a lot of them are red states, Republican rural states, places like North Dakota, like, say, for example, that care about farming, that cares about the Red River Valley especially.

And so it's interesting. This is a policy that Donald Trump has enacted that hurts his own base. So now he's trying to fix it. Now, the interesting thing is, how does he fix it? It's sort of like, you have got a mice problem, and you bring in snakes to fix that. Well, what do you do to fix the snakes, right?

He's compounding the problem. And I have to say, specifically, if you're a conservative, you have got to be looking at this and scratching your head. I mean, first of all, you have a Republican president who enacts a protectionist trade policy that in my lifetime was the kind of thing Democrats like Dick Gephardt wanted to do.

And so it has the predictable problem of actually hurting American farmers. And what does he do? A huge government bailout, essentially welfare for farmers. It's really the worst of both worlds, especially if you're a conservative.

BALDWIN: I would love to talk to one of these farmers. We're going to work on it for tomorrow.

Matt Lewis, thank you so much for all of that.

LEWIS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, there's this new body cam video of the tragic ending to that hostage situation at a Trader Joe's in Los Angeles. Turns out the employee was killed by a police officer's bullet. And now the police department is saying they are incredibly sorry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)