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Russia-Ukraine Confrontation; Roger Stone Associate Refuses Plea Deal; President Trump Disputes His Own Administration's Climate Change Report. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 26, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:03]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you all so very much. And, again, a huge, huge, huge congratulations to NASA.

DON LINCOLN, PARTICLE PHYSICIST: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We continue on. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Entirely switching gears now, new developments in the Russia investigation. Jerome Corsi, an associate of President Trump, ally of Roger Stone, says he will reject a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

He tells CNN -- quote -- "They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie."

Mueller has reportedly shown interest in Corsi's ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Corsi said he was offered a plea deal on one count of perjury.

So let's start this hour with CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz.

So, Shimon, tell me more about the deal and any idea what Mueller had hoped to gain.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right.

So because we don't know anything in terms of what Mueller is thinking, and they're not talking about this, it's not entirely clear what he tried to gain from this plea agreement. It could just be that they basically believed that Corsi here committed a crime and, therefore, they needed him to plead guilty and were hoping that he would agree to it, and, in this way, avoid any potential trial or perhaps significant jail time.

But that now seems all over and that Corsi here doubling down, really, saying he's not going to accept any kind of plea agreement after telling us that they had been in negotiations. Now it seems something has completely changed, and he does not want to plea to anything.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Stand by, Shimon. Hang tight for me. Here's the president.

PROKUPECZ: Sure.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, not at all. We have let our position be known and we're not happy about it.

QUESTION: What will the response be?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, Mexico wants to see if they can get it straightened out, but we have, during certain times, as you know, closed the border. They're not coming into the United States. They will not be coming into our country.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Well, we don't like it. I believe they will be opening up something else. And we -- I was very tough. I spoke with her when I heard they were closing, and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors. You better get back in there soon. That's Ohio. And you better get back in there soon.

So, we have a lot of pressure on them. You have senators. You have a lot of other people, a lot of pressure. They say the Chevy Cruze is not selling well. I say, well, then get some -- get a car that is selling well and put it back in.

So I think you're going to see something else happen there. But I'm not happy about it. Their car is not selling well, so they will put something else. I have no doubt that, in a not-too-distant future, they will put something else. They better put something else in.

John, go ahead?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: I have seen it. I have read some of it. And it's fine.

QUESTION: They say the economic impact will be devastating.

TRUMP: Yes, I don't believe it.

QUESTION: You don't believe it?

TRUMP: No, no, I don't believe it. And here's the other thing.

You're going to have to China and Japan and all of Asia and all of these other countries. You know, it addresses our country. Right now, we're at the cleanest we have ever been. And that's very important to me. But if we're clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that's not so good.

So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Are you comfortable tear gassing children, like

what we saw at the border?

TRUMP: They're not -- as you know, they're not -- they had to use because they were being rushed by some very tough people. And they used tear gas.

And here's the bottom line. Nobody's coming into our country, unless they come in legally. Go ahead.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Well, I know her. I know her. And I know she apologized. And she misspoke.

But I will tell you this. I have known her for a period of time now as a senator. She's been an excellent senator. She's done a great job. She's somebody that's respected in the Senate. And I'm going there. I'm going to make, I guess, two rallies on top of everything else. So we're going to do two, and I hope you're all coming.

QUESTION: Have you talked to her specifically about her comments?

TRUMP: I have. I have. She felt very badly. She certainly didn't mean that. And it was taken a certain way, but she certainly didn't mean it.

And, as I understand it, she's already apologized and very strongly.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Say it again? What?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

[15:05:00]

TRUMP: Yes, so I'll tell you what. Obama had a separation policy. We all had the same policy. I tried to do it differently, but Obama had a separation policy, but people don't like to talk about that.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what's the reaction to the Brexit deal? (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Sounds like a great deal for the E.U., and I think we have to do this.

QUESTION: Do what?

TRUMP: I think we have to take a look at seriously whether or not the U.K. is allowed to trade, because, you know, right now, if you look at the deal, they may not be able to trade with us. And that wouldn't be a good thing. I don't think they meant that.

I don't think that the prime minister meant that. And, hopefully, she will be able to do something about that. But, right now, as the deal stands, she may not -- they may not be able to trade with the U.S. And I don't think they want that at all. That would be a very big negative for the deal.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: We do not like what's happening. Either way, we don't like what's happening. And, hopefully, it will get straightened out. I know Europe is not -- they are not thrilled. They're working on it too. We're all working on it together.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: We didn't. We don't use it anymore.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: I did. I spoke to her. And I expressed the fact that I am not happy with what she did.

You know, the United States saved General Motors. And for her to take that company out of Ohio is not good. I think she's going to put something back in soon. That car is not selling. It's the Cruze, Chevy Cruze. It's not selling, but hopefully she's going to come back and put something.

But I told her, I'm not happy about it at all.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: No, not tariffs. Had nothing to do with tariffs. She said the car was not selling.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Which one?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Xi Jinping of China?

TRUMP: It could. I mean, it could happen.

We have a good relationship. Here's what the bottom line is. China has to treat us fairly. They haven't been. They have to treat us fairly.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BALDWIN: All right.

So the president is off next to Mississippi to go stump for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who has made some controversial comments and ties to supporting Confederacy. And we will get into his comments on her in just a second.

But as we watch him board Marine One, Gloria Borger, let me bring you in, because he talked about Cindy Hyde-Smith. He talked about what happened at the border over the weekend, but he also talked about that climate change report, right?

So this hugely significant climate change report essentially gets dumped Friday afternoon, right after Thanksgiving and into the weekend. So for all the people who were paying attention, it sort of slid on in.

But what he when he was asked about it, he says, I have seen it, I have read it, I don't believe it, keeping in mind, 13 federal agencies were involved in the report, 300 scientists. "I don't believe it," says the president. What do you make of that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, don't forget, it's his own government that is issuing this report.

BALDWIN: Who commissioned the report.

BORGER: Right. And he may believe it's the deep state. The White House put out a statement today.

And the interesting part of their statement is, it says, "To better assess the potential future affects of climate change, we need to focus on improving the transparency and accuracy of our modeling and projections."

So what that says to me is what Donald trump just said, which is, maybe we weren't so accurate. Maybe we didn't model it the right way. Maybe all of these agencies are completely wrong. It's very hard, in case you hadn't noticed, to talk Donald trump out of a point of view.

After all, he did withdraw from the Paris accords, the climate change accords, and so he is sort of stuck out there alone on this and is not giving an inch.

BALDWIN: As he was being asked about it, it was kind of coming out of some of the questions about the news with GM and the slashing of 15 percent of the salaried work force, which segued into specifically, when he said, I don't believe it, that was specifically talking about the economic impact, right, the shrinking of the GDP by 10 percent is when he said, I don't believe it.

BORGER: Right. He clearly thinks it's overwritten. He clearly thinks it's overwritten to distress people into doing things they should not be able to do, and then, of course, made his usual case, which is about the burden sharing.

He has made that with NATO. He said, well, we're as clean as we have ever been, but what about China, what about Japan, et cetera, et cetera? If we are clean, where are they?

And one thing I want to add, Brooke, that really struck me is the way he seemed to be threatening GM, which is...

BALDWIN: About the Chevy Cruze, with the car.

[15:10:00]

BORGER: About the Chevy Cruze. They better put something else in there. They better do that. I'm not happy. They better do that.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: And then at one point, he said, that's Ohio. We know what Ohio is. Ohio is the only state during the midterms that Donald Trump actually remained doing well in, big, red, big, important state for him. And he kept saying, you know, they're under a lot of pressure. And who are they getting the pressure from?

They're getting the pressure from the president, when it's not just about the Chevy Cruze. I mean, I think a secondary reason is the tariffs, not because they import a lot of steel, but because the price of their domestic steel has gone up. So I'm sure that wasn't a very pleasant conversation.

BALDWIN: GM saying, these were necessary cuts, if you read the fine print, saying they're un-allocating these plants.

Hang tight for me, Gloria, for a second.

Cristina Alesci is now up on the GM angle.

And what did you make of the president's comments? He said I'm not happy about it when responding to the news, but then, as Gloria just pointed out, said what he did about the company itself and that car.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting to see him trying to pressure the company into making what may be a decision that's just clearly against every economic model.

When you talk to most analysts in the auto industry, they will tell you that the U.S. consumer just isn't buying small cars in the way that they the way that they used to, in the numbers that they used to. So these companies and GM isn't alone, are taking that production closer to the consumer in other countries, where the growth is for those small cars.

And they're reinventing themselves and putting more innovation and energy behind driverless cars. And there isn't a certain -- you know, the fact that the president is out there trying to pressure the company to make a decision that doesn't make sense for its bottom line and for shareholders and for the future is just another point to see, you know, another example of how he kind of doesn't understand what the fundamental problem here.

And that's also the other issue. None of Trump's policies or the Republican policies that have been enacted to bring manufacturing jobs back actually do that right now. So, he's going to have a problem, because when the rubber meets the road and these local economies feel the impact, you know, what are voters going to think there?

That's the big question. That's the big unknown.

BALDWIN: Exactly, considering how well he did in '16, specifically in Ohio and Michigan, and how this may affect voters come 2020.

Cristina, thank you very much.

And, Gloria, let me just pick up with -- he is going to Mississippi, as we said, wants Cindy Hyde-Smith to hang on to the Senate seat, and said that she has apologized, she didn't mean it on the those -- I'm sure he was referring to the public hanging comments. She's up against who, if Mike Espy wins, the first black senator in the state of Mississippi since Reconstruction.

He is showing up there today, two rallies for her. She -- it's the big embrace of Trump, and we have seen how successful other candidates have been in that strategy.

BORGER: Sure.

And just consider the state, right? He's still popular there, won overwhelmingly there, doing two rallies for her there. The Senate is his baby now. Given up on -- the House is gone. The Senate is his baby and he wants to be the savior.

And he may very well succeed. I would still say that even though Espy has gained some steam lately, you would still have to say that she is very much likely to win. We don't -- again, no prediction here, but you would have to say that she has -- that she has the edge.

And that many times with Trump going into a state it does -- it does make a difference.

BALDWIN: Lastly, we're going to someone in Mississippi in a second on what happened over the border and all the migrants, many of them storming the border. And let's all remember seeking asylum is legal. Right? But they were tear gassed.

And maybe they were tougher elements. But there were also kids and families that got tear gassed. And so he was asked are you comfortable tear gassing kids? And he said that they had to, that the border was being rushed by some tough people.

And then he said, the bottom line is nobody is coming into our country unless they're coming in legally.

BORGER: Right.

And this is this is another thing. The president is not going to move off of this. He wants to build a wall. He will tear gas. Last night, there was a report on "60 Minutes" about a child being separated from his mother and he tweeted about that, calling it fake.

So this is -- this is the president's policy right now. And he is mad at his -- at Kirstjen Nielsen for not being tough enough, I might remind you. So here people are being tear gassed. We're not -- I'm not down there. I don't know who these people were.

[15:15:03]

But I think we need to do more investigation on this. But the president is not going to allow people into this country, period. And there is a question of whether we have some deal with Mexico about how this is going to be handled. And I don't think that is resolved at this point.

BALDWIN: We have a reporter who is in the thick of it, who we will talk to in just a second.

BORGER: Good.

BALDWIN: Gloria Borger, thank you so much.

We were talking second ago about the special election in Mississippi. And as we talk about this runoff, we are now getting word of nooses being found at Mississippi's state capitol ahead of the election tomorrow. We will take you there.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:20:00]

BALDWIN: We're back. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

Just in case you missed this, moments ago, the president just dismissed a new government report on climate change, saying he doesn't believe it. The report was supposed to go public next month. But the Trump administration sent it out on Black Friday, leading a lot of people to wonder if Friday's release was an attempt to just bury the whole thing.

It forecast what climate change unchecked will do, specifically to the United States. And it is devastating.

We will have more on that in a second.

But let me just point out the report is just one example of the president dismissing the work of his own advisers, his own intelligence. It was done by more than 300 scientists both from within and outside of the government.

President Trump also recently disregarded the work of a CIA when he sided with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince in the killing of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA determined Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi's death.

But back to this climate report, you heard President Trump just a minute ago dismissing the report that his own government compiled. Hear more of his thoughts on climate change from earlier in the month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Is there climate change? Yes. Will it go back like this? I mean, will it change back? Probably. That's what I think.

Men and women, we do have an impact, but I don't believe the impact is nearly what some say, and other scientists that dispute those findings very strongly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: With me now, CNN government regulation correspondent Rene Marsh.

And, Rene, obviously, the scientists behind this massive report have come to the opposite conclusion. And they say if nothing is done, things will worsen, and specifically the U.S. economy.

RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right.

And the president's comments just a while ago extremely jarring, considering this is the work of -- in part of many federal agencies that are run by his own political appointees.

That aside, getting into the report, the general takeaway is if these dangers greenhouse gases aren't curbed, global temperatures could increase some nine degrees, more people will die, and 10 percent of the U.S. economy will take a hit.

Now, this report makes it clear that every part of the United States will be affected. There is no region that will be spared. Take a look at the East Coast. They will experience more frequent heat waves. In the Gulf of Maine, for example, the summer seasons has already lengthened by two days every year since 1982.

So more hot days extends all the way to the South. And they say that this trends will intensify. Now, moving to the Midwest, a spike in premature deaths, that's what the prediction is. This region is predicted to have the largest increase in extreme temperature-related deaths.

An additional 2,000 people will die prematurely per year by the year 2090. Moving to the Great Plains, they will produce fewer crops because of more droughts and floods. Out West, the wildfire season will be longer and more intense. Six times more forest area will burn. We're already seeing the health impact here in the West.

From 2004 to 2009, this report says they have seen a 7.2 percent increase in hospital admissions during wildfire season because of people with respiratory issues.

But back to the White House and their response, CNN has reached out to them. Besides hearing what the president just said a short time ago, the White House told CNN in response to this report that this was work that was started under the Obama administration, and it is largely in their words based on the most extreme scenario, which is not truly accurate because the report does point out best-case scenario, worst- case scenario.

Brooke, it's worth pointing out that science isn't political. However, how they deal with it will be looked at as very political. Will they pay attention to this? Will this inform their policies? We cannot stress enough that this work was done in collaboration with federal agencies run by Trump's political appointees, and this report was mandated by a Republican-controlled Congress.

So, again, the politics comes into how decision-makers decide to address this dire issue.

BALDWIN: Right, compiled and commissioned by the president's own government. And, again, on the economic impact of these, the president saying, I don't believe it.

Rene Marsh, thank you.

Also some new developments in the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. First, Ukraine just voted to introduce martial law along its border with Russia starting Wednesday.

And moments ago, President Trump says he is -- quote -- "not happy at all" about the renewal of tension. Earlier today, the U.S. slammed Russia during a United Nations emergency session.

[15:25:00]

All of this coming after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships with 24 sailors on board in a key waterway that holds strategic importance for both countries.

Video shows a Russian boat allegedly ramming a Ukrainian ship. Each country is blaming the other here, with U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley condemning Russia's actions during today's U.N. emergency session.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We strongly support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.

We express our deep concern over the incident, which represent a dangerous escalation and violation of international law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is with me now from Moscow.

And, Matthew, condemnation is coming in from all around the world. What are you hearing in Moscow?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right.

I mean, condemnation has been coming in thick and fast, from Ukraine, first and foremost, that have said this is a violation of international law by Russia, the boarding and the firing on three of its vessels.

The Russian -- so the Ukrainian president has also called on Russia to release the 24 or so Ukrainian naval crew who've been detained by Russia, but Russia has launched a criminal case against them. And they're expected to appear in a Russian court perhaps as early as this week on charges of violating Russia's borders.

I mean, the big challenge for the international community is what they can do to prevent Russia taking this kind of the action. Of course, Russia is already subject to very tough sanctions by the United States and by U.S. allies as well in the European Union, for instance.

And while that's had an impact on the Russian economy, it's led to a downturn in economic growth in this country, what it hasn't done is done anything to limit or change Russia's policy and its territorial ambitions.

And so it seems that Russia has emerged as very resilient to any kind of action that the West has taken so far. That doesn't mean there won't be more strong action and that more strong action won't have an impact. But it will certainly make, I think, the Western allies think twice before they engage in another round of imposing sanctions against Moscow.

For their part, Russia is just saying, look this is Ukraine. They -- this is a provocation that they orchestrated basically in order to make us look bad.

BALDWIN: Right.

Matthew, Matthew Chance, thank you for that out of Russia.

Coming up next, an associate of longtime Trump ally Roger Stone tells CNN he will not sign a plea deal with Robert Mueller. So what does this mean? What's next for him?

And this news comes after former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos heads to prison today.

We are back in just a moment.

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