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President Trump Spoke At Length Today With Russian President Vladimir Putin; Job Market In The U.S. Is Now About As Good As It Gets; Democrats Draw A Line In The Sand In The Fight Over The Un- Redacted Mueller Report As Well As Related Evidence; There Are Currently 22 Candidates Running For The Democratic Presidential Nomination; Exclusive Interview With Governor Jay Inslee. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired May 3, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for joining us INSIDE POLITICS. Hope to see you Sunday morning.

Don't go anywhere. Busy news day. Pamela Brown is in for Brianna Keilar and she starts right now.

Have a great afternoon.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: John, thanks. I'm Pamela Brown in for Brianna Keilar on this Friday.

Under way right now, the first call since the Mueller report. What President Trump spoke to Vladimir Putin today about for over an hour? And more importantly what they didn't discuss?

And 1969, astronauts walked the moon, the Beatles released "Abby Road" and it was last time America's unemployment rate hit 3.6 percent, until now. Why the economy is soaring and what this means for the election.

Plus, it's one of the most important issues for Democrats in 2020, and today the candidate who is making climate change the center of his campaign joins me on his sweeping new plan.

And mother of Otto Warmbier breaking her silence talking about the $2 million U.S. pledge to North Korea and what she saw when she looked in her son's eyes.

And we start with the breaking news that President Trump spoke at length today with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It's their first call since the end of the Russia investigation and, yes, the Mueller report did come up in their conversation. Now, remember, President Trump said -- I'm sorry, President Putin rather said that Russia never meddled with the 2016 election, though the Mueller report said this quote "the Russian government interfered in the 2016 Presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion."

I want to bring in our Kaitlan Collins. She is at the White House.

So Kaitlan, do we know what exactly they discussed, for how long and what they didn't discuss?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Pam, Sarah Sanders said this call lasted a little over an hour, but she said only briefly did they discuss the Mueller report. Of course, this is the first call between the two leaders since that report was released recently to the public, and she said it came up briefly. They talked about it in a sense that they were ready to move on from the Russia investigation, something that the President at times has hampered his interaction with other world leaders.

But when she was asked about the big part of that report, the first part about Russian interference in the election and whether or not the President brought that up with Vladimir Putin and not just the collusion aspect of the report, Sarah Sanders did not answer that question but instead pivoted to criticizing the Obama administration for how they responded to election interference and said that the Trump administration is doing more than they did to combat that.

So she didn't get into whether or not President Trump confronted Vladimir Putin over the fact that the Mueller report reveals they hacked into these Democratic emails, that they sought to sow, you know, any kind of interference in the election and to sow confusion. That is what we did not get to hear what exactly President Trump said about that, if he brought it up at all.

Now, Pam, they talked about a myriad of topics, North Korea, potential new nuclear agreements, but, of course, the other big one was Venezuela, and what's happening right now because in recent days the secretary of state Mike Pompeo said it was the Russian government who convinced Maduro to stay in Venezuela when he was prepared to leave which is something that, of course, the United States is voicing support for Juan Guaido in all of this.

So she said that they talked about that and that during that the President told Putin that he wanted it to be a peaceful transition of power. He talked about getting aid to the Venezuelan people, but what she didn't say is what Putin's response to that was and whether or not the Russians are going to back off their support for Nicolas Maduro. That is something, Pam, we are still waiting to see.

BROWN: So just to be clear, Kaitlan, because as you pointed out Mueller report said that Russia's interference was systematic, that it was sweeping, the FBI director recently said that Russia's interference is a significant counterintelligence threat but just to be clear, Sarah Sanders did not say that the President brought that up explicitly with Vladimir Putin, correct?

COLLINS: She was asked directly. Did the President talk about Russian interference in the election? She didn't say no, that they didn't talk about it, but she didn't answer the question fully. Instead talking about what they are doing.

But Pam, we should note on that front, there have been concerns about whether or not the President is taking this election interference seriously because his top intelligence officials have said it will happen again. And though we have been told by sources that there is a significant effort under way in the administration to combat election interference, the President himself has not held a cabinet level meeting that the media has been told about election security and election interference at the White House since last July.

BROWN: As we know, Kaitlan, one of the reasons he doesn't like to discuss it because he believes it undermines the legitimacy of his election victory.

Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you so much for bringing us the very latest on the phone call between President Putin and President Trump.

And I want to turn now to the economy and good news for the President. The economy still on a tear. The job market in the U.S. is now about as good as it gets. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in nearly half a century, and the Dow rising at this news.

Christine Romans has all the numbers for us.

[13:05:06] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, another strong report from the labor market here. 263,000 net new jobs created in April and the unemployment rate down to a new generational low at 3.6 percent. This is the lowest since 1969.

These are incredible numbers that we continue to watch. This is 103 months in a row now of job creation and 31 months of five percent or below for the unemployment rate. That shows a strong market for job hunters and for people who are looking for a raise. 3.2 percent was the wage number in this report.

When you look at other inflation numbers just under two percent, that shows you that the paycheck actually is delivering a little bit more for the American worker after years of stagnant paychecks.

Where are the jobs? They are in business and information systems. They are in construction. 33,000 net new jobs there. Manufacturing bears some watching. Four thousand new jobs in manufacturing. Last month was a little bit of weakness in the manufacturing number. We will watching this space to see if perhaps this -- this renaissance in manufacturing under the Trump administration is beginning to slow under the bite of those tariffs - Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Christine Romans in New York.

Thank you so much, Christine.

I want to bring in Mark Zandi now. He is the chief economist at Moody's analytics and has worked in the past with Republicans and Democrats.

Great to have you on. First of all, the bottom line question is the question doing as well as it looks on paper here?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Yes, it's strong. The job market in particular is humming. 3.6 percent unemployment, a 50-year low. Lots of jobs. Broad-based across lots of different industries so, yes, it's a very good job market.

BROWN: So that's a big question. I mean, who is feeling the booming economy the most? Is it across the board? Is it a certain part of the population? Can you kind of break that down for us?

ZANDI: Yes, sure. So it -- you know, when you are creating that many jobs everyone is benefiting, so all regions of the country, all parts of the income distribution. One very positive thing is that lower income, lower paid workers are actually doing better than other income groups. And one reason for that is the minimum wage increases in many parts of the country. That's helped to lift the wages of the folks in the bottom part of pay scales.

But it is very broad-based. I mean, you know, there are a few blemishes out there. So, for example, if you work in brick and mortar retailing, you know, you are really struggling with online. And so that sector is laying offal workers. And, of course, a lot of people work there, but, you know, there's a lot more to like about the economy than to be worried about at this point.

BROWN: And we know there are many different factors that help create a booming economy, but what do you make of this? What do you think that the main impetus is for this?

ZANDI: Well, you know, the one thing is that we have never real boomed. You know, this is a ten-year long economic expansion. And, you know, one of the raps against this expansion was that we never really got going. We never had a period of very, very strong growth and booming stock market and inflationary pressures, higher interest rates.

You know, we have had bits and pieces of that but, you know, nothing like in past economic expansions. So it's felt a little bit, you know, inadequate somehow the expansion, but, you know, ironically that's its strength. It never got to a place where the -- at least not so far, where we have had bubbles or excesses that ultimately the causes of economic downturns.

Now having said all of that, you know, when you have a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, that is very low, and I do think questions about the sustainability of this expansion are now starting to rise. You know, not imminent. It is not this year. But, you know, I think we are probably closer to the end of this expansion than the beginning for sure.

BROWN: OK. Mark Zandi, thank you so much.

ZANDI: Thanks.

BROWN: Well, Democrats draw a line in the sand in the fight over the un-redacted Mueller report as well as related evidence. How judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler is giving attorney general Bill Barr until 9:00 a.m. Monday to respond to the request or face the contempt of Congress.

I want to bring in congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly. He is following all the developments on Capitol Hill.

So Phil, first off, chairman Nadler sent out this letter outlining the Democrats' latest position. What does a letter say? And how is this likely to play out?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pamela, a new offer, a new deadline and very concrete threat. The chairman Jerry Nadler putting out this new letter saying that the committee and committee staff is willing to negotiate with the justice department about receiving the full un-redacted Mueller report and the underlying materials by prioritizing what they would get first.

In this case in particular it would be interviews, contemporaneous notes, but the push is still to receive all of the information and for the attorney general to go to court to obtain the grand jury information to be able to send to Congress. So there's not exactly a lot of compromising here. They are just saying that they are giving them time to actually work things out.

There is also a deadline, and there is also a threat. I want to read real quick from the letter from Jerry Nadler.

It says the committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach accommodation with the department, but if the department persists and its baseless refusal to comply with a validity issued subpoena, the committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse. We request a response by 9:00 on Monday.

And I think that is the big issue here is the justice department not showing any indication that they are willing to comply with the subpoena, Pam. Pamela, as you know, last night, they sent a letter to Capitol Hill saying they did not plan on complying because they didn't believe it had legislative intent.

So if they miss that deadline, what actually happens? Well, the chairman lays out very clearly. They probably will not be any more offers. They will probably move straight towards trying to hold the attorney general in contempt. One of the big questions, of course, is what does that actually mean? Does that actually set something with some teeth? And the reality is no, probably not. The commit woe vote on it then the House floor would vote on it. But if you remember back to the Obama administration, Eric Holder, the sitting attorney general at the time was held in contempt by Republicans over the fast and furious investigation. He maintained his position. He still came up to Capitol Hill to testify.

But I do think it's important to note that what they are doing here, not just broadly, but also with this letter specifically today, this is a long game. They are playing for the courts here. They understand that this will almost certainly end in the court. And they are creating a paper trail that shows they are trying to some degree, even if the justice department isn't likely to comply.

[13:11:38] BROWN: All right, Phil Mattingly. That was a lot of information. Thanks for breaking it down for us. We a appreciate it. Well, 22, that is the number of Democrats now in the race for

President. Is that too many? Is the crowded field helpful or hurtful to Democrats?

Plus, Senator Kamala Harris calling one of the President's remarks against her gross, weird and sexist. We are going talk about that than why her campaign may have taken a big step this week.

And emotional new comments from Otto Warmbier's mom. What she says about the $2 million bill from North Korea, and the chilling look in her son's eyes when he was returned to the U.S. We will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:16:34] BROWN: So if you are keeping count there are now 22 candidates running for the Democratic Presidential nomination. The latest to join the race former Alaska senator Mike Gravel. While he admits he is not running to actually win the presidency. He just wants to qualify for the debates.

Here's a look at how he and the other 21 candidates have kicked off their campaign. Five of them held rallies, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Mary Anne Williamson and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Bernie Sanders announced his campaign on the radio.

Nine candidates turned to social media or You Tube. Senator Cory Booker, former vice President Joe Biden, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Jay Inslee.

Former senator Mike Gravel, Beto O'Rourke, John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang and Mayor Wayne Messam.

So television was a medium of choice for Congressman Eric Swalwell, Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Michael Bennett and Congressman Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton. John Delaney made his announcement in a newspaper op-ed.

Did you get all that?

All right. Well, the crowded field of Democratic candidates appears to be a record for the current system of primaries and caucuses according to "Polifact." But how many candidates is too many? And is that helpful 22 helpful or hurtful to the party's chances of defeating President Trump?

I want to bring in A.B. Stoddard. She is the associate editor and columnist for "Real Clear Politics" and Xochitl Hinojosa is communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

Ladies, thanks so much for coming on. So, you know, the question when you go through all those names, all these different candidates getting into the race, is it helpful, A.B., or hurtful to the party to have so many candidates running at once in. A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR/COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: It's

hurtful and it's going to be Xochitl's job to say it's great and everyone is entering with energy and ideas, it's great and will stimulate a huge debate and help the party ultimately. But what happened in 2016 was you had all these contenders and Donald Trump limping through the primaries with, you know, of both chairs with mid- 30s. In the end, even after he secured the nomination May 3rd in Indian, went on to have a bunch of primaries that he won by like 90 percent. She still only had a 45 percent of the vote share.

We are looking at the changing rules in the Democratic Party in response to Bernie Sanders' candidacy last time. He could really hold a solid vote share that takes him all the way to the nomination. We could look at a brokered convention. None of that is good for the ultimate nominee.

BROWN: All right. So Xochitl, on that note, I mean, you do see the party, with the candidates being pulled in different directions at the time, I mean. And we are going to get to this in a minute. But you have, you know, Bernie Sanders going after Biden and different candidates have different views on climate change and their proposals. I mean, how do you think this will impact the party with these candidates pulling the party in different directions?

XOCHITL HINOJOSA, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I have to remind that you Donald Trump is our President and Republicans did win. And they had a robust debate. Now the difference is that Donald Trump was talking about hand size.

Right now Democrats are Chris cross the country. Twenty-two Democrats as you said talking about healthcare, talking about the economy while you have Donald Trump out there attacking Kamala Harris and women, right?

These are the debates that we want to have. We want to talk about how we are improving people's lives. And we might not agree on how to get there. I think a lot of people have a lot of great policy ideas. This is why we are going to have 12 debates, the second one being on CNN and we are really excited about those, but at the end of the day they are talking about the issues that voters care about, and if we continue to do this and continue to focus on policy, then Democrats will win in 2020.

[13:20:11] BROWN: And so, let me just ask you this, because as I said Gravel said, look, I'm not -- I don't think I'm going to win. I just want to be on the debate. I mean, Are you concerned that some of these candidates are throwing their hat in the ring just so they can be in the debate, just because it will help raise their profile for, you know, when they don't win and go on to new other things?

STODDARD: Well, we want candidates who are going to - that want to beat Donald Trump. That is what this is about. And all of these Democratic candidates will support whoever the nominee is. And I'm very confident of that. But I think that the debate stage, I mean, not everyone will make the debate stage because there are 22 candidates running, but we have given everyone a fair shake. This is the first time in history that you have had 20 candidates for

the first debate. That's a lot of candidates. But you know what, we want to make sure that everyone starts on a level playing field and everyone is given a fair shot. And only, you know, there are 22 candidates., 21 are not going to make it to the top of the mountain but we want to make sure that their supporters and those candidates feel like they were given a fair shake.

BROWN: So Gravel is not wasting your time?

STODDARD: Gravel, we don't know who will make the debate stage.

BROWN: But you said you want candidates and he want to beat Donald Trump. You have some that are saying we - I don't think I'm going to win. I just want to be a part of this.

OK. Let's go to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden as I mentioned to earlier. Senator Bernie Sanders has been taking on Joe Biden. He has criticized Biden's positions on issues from trade to foreign policy and Sanders' campaign manager says it was the senator's decision to go after Biden.

A.B., will this give sand ears boost? What's your view on this?

STODDARD: Well, I have to watch the polls and see. He has been very forceful. And they are taking, you know, they are speaking to it directly but he wants to create a contrast right away and define Biden.

I was opposed to NAFTA. I was opposed to and war in Yemen, war in Iraq, all these positions, permanent trade relations with China, trying to create this contrast with Biden and asking the questions will, if Biden has change his mind on any of these things, his supporters believe that he, you know, is not sticking with principle. We are going to watch those polls and we are going to watch how far the conversation goes before the debates, then the question is, at the debates where how far is Bernie Sanders going to take this in terms of Biden the front-runner? Is he the front-runner still in the summer and if he is and he is, you know, very much loved by the party, is Bernie going to take a very sort of more confrontational stance. And that's when I think the fight could turn more consequential. Right now I think he is just trying to shore up his own support but it could get very tense.

BROWN: Just very quickly. The economy is doing well. The numbers are out today. Are you concerned that this is only giving Donald Trump momentum in 2020, Xochitl?

HINOJOSA: Well, I'm happy the economy is doing well and a lot of progress was made under Barack Obama. And - but at the same time, there was a poll that just came out this week that 12 percent of Americans feel that they were personally impacted.

BROWN: What poll?

HINOJOSA: This is the Mammoth poll. That 12 percent of Americans were impacted by the economy or feel like they have had gains. That is a low number. I think when you do look at polling after polling you continue to see that Americans don't feel the gains. And so that is something that's going to be taken into consideration when it comes to this -- when it comes to the general election and who can offer the best ideas for the economy. And that's why I'm glad that these 22 candidates are hitting the campaign trail talking about those issues.

BROWN: All right, A.B., Xochitl, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Well, it's one of the biggest climate change plans from any candidate. Governor Jay Inslee joins me next on what's in it, how he pays for it and why his campaign wasn't too happen with Beto O'Rouke.

Plus, as the uprising in Venezuela escalates, the President's security and military teams meeting inside the tank today as one Republican senator pushes military moves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:28:35] BROWN: A major policy initiative is being rolled out today by Democratic Presidential candidate Jay Inslee. The Washington governor who has been a leader in attacking the climate change issue is unveiling his signature clean energy plan. And as you can see in our new CNN poll, it's a critical issue among likely Democratic voters. 82 percent say any nominee has to be aggressive on climate change. Jay Inslee's plan surely fits that bill.

Governor Inslee joins us now from Los Angeles.

Thanks for coming on, governor.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for having me.

BROWN: So this is really a three-pronged plan. I want to give you a chance to tell us about the three areas you're focusing on.

INSLEE: Well, this is a big, bold and ambitious plan but we are a big, bold and ambitious nation. We know the science says we have to defeat climate change, so my plan does three things. It guarantees Americans they will have 100 percent clean electricity. They need that. They deserve it. We can do that. And make sure Americans know they can have 100 percent clean cars which now we are surrounded by technology here in Los Angeles where we have 100 percent clean buses right over here, 100 percent electric cars right behind me. And importantly it will make sure Americans have 100 percent clean homes and offices, so we can save on our utility bills and not waste our hard-earned money heating the outside and cooling the outside with leakage of energy from our homes and offices. So this is a plan --.

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