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CNN RIGHT NOW
Trump Unveils Immigration Plan Not Designed To Become Law; U.S. Moves To Declassify Iranian Missile Picture Amid Tension; New Disclosure Forms Give A Peek At Trump's Wealth; Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) New York Becomes 23rd Democrat To Enter Race; According To Sources, Ex-Bush Official Briefs GOP Lawmakers That Two Psychiatrists Rated Trump A 10-Out-Of-10 Narcissist. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired May 16, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOLUSE OLRUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: -- and talking about late term abortion.
It seems like right now, they do not want to be a part of this broader discussion over Alabama and Georgia.
JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS: I see, and (INAUDIBLE). Thanks for joining us today. See you back here this tomorrow, I hope. A busy news day.
Brianna Keilar starts right now.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN RIGHT NOW WITH BRIANNA KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington headquarters. Under way right now, there are hawks flying around the West Wing, and the President is growing irritated at his aides for beating the war drums.
The reveal of fortune, what Americans will learn today about the President's finances, including who is paying him and who is not.
Plus, want a pardon? There's a checklist for getting one and praising this president is high on it. And the odd moment when a former Bush official briefed republicans in Congress on what two psychiatrists told him about the President's mental state.
Up first, President Trump rolls out his plan for dealing with illegal immigration next hour, but it's also facing pushback from Congress. Officials say the proposal focuses on border security infrastructure. It moves the country toward a merit-based immigration system that gives preferences to highly educated and highly skilled individuals. It does not address the plight of the so-called dreamers brought to the country illegally as children.
White House Correspondent Abby Philip is joining us now. And, Abby, what's the goal here? Is it to get something through Congress or is this about playing to the base?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the White House would say that the objective here is to unify the Republican Party about something that they are for. There are a lot of people in the Republican Party who are against a lot of things as it relates to immigration. And as the President's Senior Adviser, Jared Kushner, has been working on this plan behind the scenes with several other officials, they have been trying to find things that everybody can basically agree on.
But in the process, they have also omitted some big issues like, for example, the Dreamers, DACA. They don't address that at all. They also don't address family separations at the border, and it's for that reason that a lot of people on Capitol Hill are saying, I don't see how this can get anywhere because a lot of republicans and democrats won't sign on to a plan that doesn't address either of those two issues.
One of those people was Senator Lindsey Graham, who basically said, I don't think that this is designed to become law. And here is White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders' response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We think it certainly is designed to become law, and we think it should. That's why we put it out, and that's why we've spent a lot of time developing and making sure that this was something that could have buy-in from both sides and actually fix our system that hasn't been upgraded or touched in decades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: So what happens next? The President is going to announce some principles of this plan this afternoon, but there's a real question about how much the White House is going to start to engage democrats in this trying to perhaps gather a coalition around actual legislation. That remains to be seen. I think right now, there's a lot of doubt on Capitol Hill that that's even possible given what we know about the plan so far.
KEILAR: All right. Abby Philip at the White House, thank you.
The U.S. Tensions over Iran are building. President Trump is meeting with Switzerland's President in an effort to find some common ground with Tehran. He expressed that sentiment just a moment ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, are we going to war in Iran?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I hope not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: The Swiss have represented U.S. interests in Iran since the revolution in 1979, and this comes as The New York Times reports U.S. intelligence has photographs of missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf that were loaded on board by Iranian paramilitary forces. CNN first reported the existence of the missiles last week. Intel officials tell The Times that the missiles present a new kind of threat from Iran, but how big of a threat?
According to sources, President Trump is becoming increasingly irritated with the perception that National Security Adviser John Bolton is pushing him into war with Iran, and this could be a political problem for the President breaking his pledge to withdraw military personnel from overseas and in this region specifically.
We have CNN National Security Reporter Kylie Atwood and Senior National Security Analyst Peter Bergen.
Kylie, what can you tell us about this disagreement between President Trump and between John Bolton, but also how this is affecting and shaping the policy?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, we're seeing it shape the policy just even today, right. So sources are telling our whole team, those at the White House, that Trump is increasingly frustrated, irritated by this perception that his National Security team, John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are drawing him into a stance with Iran that could lead to war, provocation there.
And that comes as we've seen the State Department say that the IRGC is now a terrorist organization, bulking up the military presence in the region and doing a number of other things, you know, sanctions on Iran month after month, week after week.
But now, Trump is, according to our colleague, Kaitlan Collins, calling up his friends outside the White House and complaining about Bolton.
And we are seeing a slight change just today. We see the President of the Swiss Federation meeting with President Trump, essentially pushing back to what Trump wants, which is a more diplomatic approach to Iran.
We also have Secretary Pompeo who spoke over the phone with the Sultan of Oman. Oman who has also been one of the countries that has provided a backchannel for U.S.-Iran talks. But still, Iran is saying that there is no possibility of talking with the U.S. at this point.
KEILAR: You've written this great op-ed for cnn.com, Peter. If anyone wants to understand the kind of advice and the origins of that advice that the President is getting from John Bolton, they just need to read what you wrote. John Bolton is Donald Trump's war whisperer.
And you concluded the piece by saying that John Bolton has sort of turned on its head advice that Winston Churchill would give, that to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war, that it's the flip. Tell us about that.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, John Bolton has been calling for regime change in Iran for decades. And, you know, it's like President Trump knew this and has known this, so it's not really a surprise to the President that Bolton is calling for these kind of military actions. But I think the context here is Venezuela, which basically was a fiasco, right, which Bolton and others in the administration said, hey, we're going have a coup and we're going to get rid of Maduro and it's all going to work out well, and it didn't.
Now, Trump is not somebody who naturally says the buck stops right here. He's usually looking for somebody to blame. And in the case of Venezuela, he is blaming Pompeo and Bolton for sort of getting ahead of their skis and basically sort of the same issue but now with Iran. And, of course, a war with Iran would not be a cakewalk. It would be -- you know, it's a very large country with a big population, a lot of ballistic missiles. Sure, we could do regime change, but we've seen in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya that the day after is something that we're not very good at.
KEILAR: Do experts who share your concerns about what a conflict with Iran would look like, are they then encouraged that President Trump may be calling up people outside of the White House, as kylie is reporting, and complaining about John Bolton?
BERGEN: I mean, Trump has been so very consistent, right, about this issue about, you know, these wars. He always says, we lost $7 trillion. We could have done it at home. These wars in the Middle East are a waste of time. So, I mean, he is the Commander-in-Chief. At the end of the day, it's his orders. So my guess is that this will calm down because the American people also don't want another war in the Middle East. I mean, there's no constituency for this, except in very limited circles.
KEILAR: Let's dig into the threat. So the intel, which has now been declassified, is these pictures of these missiles that have been put on small boats in the Gulf. Tell us why the U.S., kylie, reads that as so threatening.
ATWOOD: Well, it means that they are closer to U.S. troops in the region and the troops of U.S. allies in the region. So the U.S. is not sure what Iran plans to do with these short-range missiles that have been put on these boats. Are they going to launch them from the boats? Are they going to move them to land to then attack U.S. Forces? They are not sure. But what they want to do is deter Iran from doing anything with those short-range missiles.
And so they are moving the muscular military approach there right now and we're going to have to see if they are successful in deterring Iran from actually taking any action that our intelligence is picking up to be a possibility.
KEILAR: Kylie Atwood, thank you so much. Peter Bergen, I really appreciate you being here as well.
Also at some point today, we are going to get a peek into President Trump's private fortune. And we're told that he's officially filed his financial disclosure form, which will reveal that, and when it's made public. It will tell us just how much money he's making off the presidency or potentially how much money he's losing off the presidency. Here is what we learned from his last two filings. We found out that he had made between $600 and $650 million campaigning for office in 2016, much of that income coming from Mar-a- Lago and his private golf courses. We also found out that he was at least $311 million in debt. A year later, we learned that he made significantly less after taking office. He brought in around $450 million, Mar-a-Lago and some of his golf courses also brought in less cash, but we saw a big boost in income from his new D.C. hotel, the one that he often frequents for dinner.
Unfortunately, there's one thing that these forms are not going to tell us, and that's just how much the President pays in taxes. Instead, Trump is fighting tooth-and-nail to keep those records private.
Daniel Dale is with us. He is a Washington Correspondent for The Toronto Star. When you're looking -- when you're going to be looking through these documents, through these forms, what are you going to be looking to find?
DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE TORONTO STAR: Well, this is the first time that we're going to be able to use these forms to make a precise year-to-year comparison. So I think the key thing here is how does -- how Trump did in 2018 compare to how he did in 2017, particularly with regard to the properties, that there have been some indications are suffering because of the President's worsened reputation in some quarters because of his presidency, so how is Mar- a-Lago doing in 2018 compared to 2017, how is the Doral Golf Resort doing. We'll go property by property.
But I think we have to emphasize how limited these forms are. Not only will we not learn how much Trump is paying in taxes, the figures are given in broad ranges. They basically allow Trump to mix up revenue and profit so we won't really get a good income figure. So there's a lot we won't know after today as well.
KEILAR: We're hoping that there are numbers that you can at least sort of plot data points on a graph from year-to-year. So you mentioned Doral, and we also understand that Trump Tower in New York is sort of losing its value as an asset. What's happening with that?
DALE: Well, we know that around the world, including my home city, Toronto, the President's name has been taken off properties because, among many citizens of the world, the President is not very popular. We know that he is also benefitting from his name though with some Americans too, you know, people who like to frequent his Washington hotel because it says Trump on it. So I think there's a mixed effect clearly from this polarizing presidency, and these forms will help us understand just how that's playing out.
KEILAR: Can it tell us anything about whether he has really stepped back from his businesses, or is it just -- is it too much to -- you can't really decouple that from the fact it has his name, it's his brand and, clearly, some luxury consumers are saying, I don't want that. I don't want that Trump branded thing. DALE: Well, what it does tell us is the businesses that he has a
stake in and it gives a range of values for the approximate worth of those particular stakes, but what it can't tell us is how much he's personally interacting with those businesses. So we might say he has a $10 million stake in such and such. It won't say, is he calling up, you know, the Chief Operating Officer of that business and making business decisions. So we won't know qualitatively how the President is doing business to just get some quantitative sense.
KEILAR: All right. Thank you so much, Daniel Dale.
DALE: Thank you.
KEILAR: We are fully prepared to look into these forms with you.
CNN's Erin Burnett is investigating the President's finances in a new CNN special report. Don't miss The Trump Family Business. It will air tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern.
Live from New York, it is the 23rd democrat to enter the Presidential race, and this one is getting The Post treatment, as you can see here. Plus, President Trump's new pardons shows, it's not about just who you know, it's about who you praise, and why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were forced to leave their home.
KEILAR: 23, that is how many candidates are now running for the democratic presidential nomination. And the latest to join the fray is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. In an online video, he boasted about his ability to go up against President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): I'm a New Yorker. I've known Trump is a bully for a long time. This is not news to me or anyone else here. And I know how to take him on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: So in an interview on Good Morning America, de Blasio vowed to stand up for working class Americans, something that he says the government has failed to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DE BLASIO: Right now, the federal government is not on the side of working people, and that's because Donald Trump is playing a big con on America. I call him Con Don. Every New Yorker knows he's a con artist, we know his tricks, we know his playbook. I know how to take him on. I've been watching him for decades. He is trying to convince working Americans is on their side. It's been a lie from day one.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Sarah Isgur and Gloria Borger are here with me and (INAUDIBLE). And we see what he's doing there. We see what you're doing there, Mayor, right. But look at -- let's look at The Post today, because you can see they are sort of having a similar style, at least with the way de Blasio is coming out of the gate here. But look at this. He has people laughing at him. He is getting this New York Post treatment. What does it mean for this crowded field de Blasio is getting in?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the left lane is getting a little crowded. I mean, the left lane, the far left and the, are you kidding me, you're running people. And I think he's, you know, joining the left side of this field, which is increasing. He has to figure out a way to differentiate himself. And, you know, you have another Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, who has been able to do that with some degree of success and I think de Blasio has to figure out how he differentiates himself not from another mayor necessarily but from an Elizabeth Warren, for example. And we'll see how that goes. It's crowded.
KEILAR: He has some progressive merit badges when you look at his record though, right? He's got $15 minimum wage, guaranteed healthcare, paid sick leave. But is that enough to keep him out of the, what did you call it, the, oh, my God, they are running category. Are you kidding me?
SARAH ISGUR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We needed some comedic relief today. I think everyone is enjoying it a little maybe at his expense.
But I think a lot of candidates were out there saying, why not. And I think there is an answer to the why not. And the answer is it does define your brand. Your unfavorables inevitably go up. You need have to think of whether this is the right moment to go out and introduce yourself. You want that cabinet position, you want to run again in four to eight years. It's a reason why a lot of these 23 are running. It's not just the no-brainer jump in. And I think Bill de Blasio is showing that to people today.
KEILAR: It is so hard to know what voters are going to want. And we're going to find out because they have so many different options. But when you're talking about 23 people, it makes you wonder how many is too many. And then I think a lot of voters -- that's a whole lot. I mean, it's like a clown car, right? But there's a lot of voters out there wondering why didn't we have more choices in 2016?
BORGER: Well, Brianna, you can answer that question, because you covered Hillary Clinton, if I recall.
KEILAR: I did.
BORGER: And the field was cleared for her. I mean, there was nobody willing to take on the presumptive nominee, as we always called --
KEILAR: The money was -- she had all the money. She had all the support. She had the staff waiting to join.
ISGUR: But look at the polling numbers, and Biden actually is about as far ahead as Hillary was, but the field isn't clearing, and that's the difference. So it's not just the money and it's just the polling. Biden actually is in a similar position. But there was this feeling in 2016 like I got this.
KEILAR: Do you think with Biden having this competition -- we had Valerie Jarrett on yesterday and she said that she's been counseling some of the candidates. She talks do not -- to go not to kind of clobber each other so hard that someone goes into the general in a weakened state. But at the same time, do you see this as helpful to Biden if he wants to take his poll numbers now and move forward with him and go to the distance to have all of this competition or is it not helpful to some of these bigger names?
BORGER: Well, I think he's got to prove that he can win this. Don't forget, he's never gotten out of Iowa in the past and he's run a couple of times, and so he's got to prove it. And a little bit of competition is healthy. I remember Obama used to say that Hillary Clinton made him a better canned day. And I think that you saw Kamala Harris taking him on on the Crime Bill. They have a disagreement about whether it contributed to mass incarcerations.
So I don't think it hurts Biden depending on how he answers the questions and how he competes. I think he's trying to remain above the fray. But at a certain point, he's going to have to engage, particularly in these debates.
ISGUR: I also think of the other 23 right now, if you were advising them, you'd say, position yourself is the alternative to Biden if and when he falls. You don't need to take him on right now. You don't need to muddy him up. Let's see what happens after a debate or two.
KEILAR: Let's talk about pardons because the President has issued two more pardons. The total now is ten here. And among the latest, those conservative activists, Patrick Nolan and Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher, who recently wrote a book that praises the President. Is there -- are there concerns that the President, Sarah, is using pardons to reward friends or even just to send a message to people that he may be trying to influence, saying these are the kinds of things I care, I have available?
ISGUR: This is clearly who he is. None of this is coming as a surprise to anyone and yes and yes and yes to whatever your third question would have been. At the same, I think every republican strategist is probably cringing when they read headlines like that but is it going change any votes in 2020, probably not.
BORGER: No. But the usual process, and we know all of this goes out the window with Donald Trump on everything, is, you know, to go through the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Department of Justice, which usually there's a five-year waiting period. They make recommendations. It goes on and on and on. With Donald Trump, it's -- well, he wrote this really nice book about me or I saw somebody talking about him on television and I know this guy. And usually, you have to exhibit some kind of remorse if you're going to get a presidential pardon, and Conrad Black has not exhibited that and said, you know, I was innocent from day one. There is no remorse. There's -- but that's not required for Donald Trump.
ISGUR: Or we had seen that the person representative of a group of people, the low-level drug offender that are particularly popular with his base, and we have seen a couple of those. This also isn't that.
KEILAR: Sometimes pardons is thank you notes, it appears. Sarah Isgur, Gloria Borger, thank you.
Just ahead, two Florida counties hacked by Russia in the 2016 election, the FBI just briefed lawmakers on what was compromised.
And in a trade war complicated by strong personalities, a republican adviser enlists the help of two psychiatrists to evaluate both of these Presidents.
KEILAR: Sources are telling CNN about an eyebrow-raising briefing that top republicans got from Larry Lindsey, the former president to George W. Bush's economic director. He shared a mental health assessment of the President by two psychiatrists who, to be clear, have not actually treated the President. They rated Donald Trump a 10 out of 10 narcissist. I'm not sure that that is a formal psychological diagnosis there. They say he doesn't have the capacity for long-term strategic ideals or goals.
This was part of a project to analyze the U.S.-China trade talks. So how does that fit together?
Let's check in now with Phil Mattingly --