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Fars Reports Iran to Deploy Naval Unit to Persian Gulf; Shanahan, This Is About Deterrence, Not War; Interview, Col. Turki Al Maliki, Spokesman for the Saudi Led Coalition in Yemen; Aid Agencies Fear Yemen Is on Brink of Cholera Epidemic; Growing Calls to Pursue Impeachment; Carson Confuses Real Estate Term with Oreos; Voters Prepare for European Elections on Thursday; Trump Speaks as Pelosi Accuses Him of a Cover-Up. Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired May 22, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): The impeachment process is going to be inevitable.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don`t want to impeach.


REP. ALIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): I`m getting there.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NK): We need to uphold the rule of law.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Tonight, confusing and colossal. Donald Trump, is he heading toward impeachment? Even Democrats can`t get on the same

page including their leader who, as we speak right now, meeting face-to- face with the American President. We`re in D.C. for more.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We risk stopping Brexit altogether.


ANDERSON: As Brexit sputters, Brits and Europe ready to vote again, and it is messier than ever.

Then one of the wilder police chases you will ever see unfolding in L.A. the details ahead.

Hello and welcome. You`re watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson live for you from Abu Dhabi.

Deterrence, deployment and dissent. We begin this hour with a world that feels more divided than it does connected, and this is why. In the past

few hours we`ve heard Iran is sending a naval unit to the Persian Gulf. That is according to the semiofficial Fars news agency. The region being

thrown into sharp military focus with the U.S. recently taking action against what it calls troubling warnings from Tehran. That is playing into

divisions thousands of miles away. U.S. lawmakers remain split over the Trump administration`s response to Iran after briefings on Tuesday.


PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation. We do not want the situation

to escalate. This is about deterrence not about war. We`re not about going to war.


Don`t for a moment think this is all just political posturing. We`ve been reporting for a week or so now that tensions between Iran and both the U.S.

and its allies are playing out in what can only be described as a catastrophic way for millions of people in Yemen. They are quite simply

dealing with the world`s worst humanitarian crisis.

Let`s speak to someone whose words can carry life-or-death implications. Colonel Turki Al Maliki spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition joining us

from Riyadh. Sir, before we talk about Yemen, you are a Saudi military official, and as such you are certainly in a position to answer questions

on the wider context of these heightened tensions with Iran. The Saudi government`s own media openly pushing for surgical strikes by the United

States against targets in Iran. The official line has been we`re not looking for war, certainly from the foreign minister in Saudi. But what

are your thoughts on this? Saudi-owned media talking about -- Saudi- government owned media talking about surgical strikes in Iran. Does that reflect the government`s position?

COL. TURKI AL MALIKI, SPOKESMAN FOR THE SAUDI LED COALITION IN YEMEN: Well, Becky, thank you for having me. First of all, I am not representing

as a Saudi official on this show, and I am representing the coalition in Yemen. I can`t answer or I can`t talk about the situation in Yemen.

However, we know how they interact of the Iranian regime in the region. How they are trying to spread the (INAUDIBLE) around the region,

destabilize the region. And we know the connectivity between the Iranian regime and especially the IOGC, the Revolutionary Guard, with the Hezbollah

in Lebanon, the other in Syria and Iraq and also how they are supporting the Houthi and how they are affecting the situation in Yemen and also

regional and international situation.

ANDERSON: OK. Well, I am going to press you on issues which are on a slightly wider context. As I said, I hope honor me with a good discussion

today because you are a Saudi military official. Let`s talk specifically about Houthi rebels. You say they attacked a major oil pipeline in Saudi

Arabia recently.

[11:05:00] Iran`s foreign minister responding by saying, and I quote, Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen for four years. Hasn`t that created enough

feeling of anger in Yemen?

Your response?

AL MALIKI: Well, the coalition in Yemen, yes, we`ve been there for four years. But we have legitimacy to work and to conduct our operation in

Yemen, in according to the request of his Excellency Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and according to the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216. We are there

to defend the Yemeni people. We know what the Houthi have done to Yemen. They have taken the government away, and they are taking the --

ANDERSON: OK. Let me put this to you.

AL MALIKI: -- the ability of the Yemeni national army and they are threatening the Yemeni people and they are threatening even their neighbor

and they are threatening the international trade and also the line of seas in Red Sea.

ANDERSON: I understand. Let me put this to you. Again, given what we have heard from the Iranian Foreign Minister, he says it doesn`t require

Iran to instigate anybody to do this. These are consequences of their -- being the Saudi led coalition -- wrong choices. You described the Houthis

as the, quote, terrorist militia of Iran, end quote. And you have warned that their targeting of sites in Saudi will be met with a strong deterrent.

This is clearly a very sensitive time, sir, particularly on implementing the Stockholm Agreement designed to help the end of the conflict. What do

you mean by a strong deterrent?

AL MALIKI: Well, if I have your question right, I`m not commenting on the foreign minister talk about Yemen. But the Iranian regime and the

Revolutionary Guard is the core of the problem and the issue in Yemen. We know that the Houthi they are the tools for the Iranian regime and they are

implementing the agenda for the Iranian regime in the area.

If you are talking about the attack on the civilian infrastructure lately and how the Houthi, they are attacking those infrastructures because they

have the order and they received the order from the Revolutionary Guard and they have to do it. And if we can connect the situation around the region

especially what happened lately in front of the Emirati coast attacking the oil tanker and also the attack on the bombed the station in Saudi Arabia.

We know that the Houthi they are running a proxy war instead of the Iranian regime. And they want to make the huge effect -- not just for Saudi Arabia

-- that effect is going to lead to more effect, I would say, economic issue for the globe.

ANDERSON: I`m going to get you to specifically answer the question that I put it. What do you mean by a strong deterrent as a response? And given

how sensitive times are in Yemen with the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, will the Saudi-led coalition exercise restraint for the sake of

Yemen`s people and the success of that agreement?

AL MALIKI: Becky, let me tell you and your respected audience that the Houthi they are launching the ballistic missiles and they are launching the

UAV from Hodeida government. The coalition we are supporting the Yemeni international army, they are implementing the ceasefire. And we know that

the Houthi they are trying to drive the coalition to do a military operation in Hodeida. However, we are supporting the special envoy to

Yemen. And we are supporting the chief of the RCC that we need to implement the Agreement of Hodeida.

However, we do have the right for self-defense as we are seeing the threat of the Houthi lately. The systemic targeting for civilian infrastructure,

and they are attacking the civilian inside Saudi Arabia. And as we announced two days ago or the day before that the Houthi have attempted to

attack one of the vital points which serves thousands of people daily and that attack was almost -- if it happened we would have loss of life, not

just some of the citizen here in Saudi Arabia but also the people they are staying with us from multinational.

[11:10:00] However, we do have the right to have a self-defense. And if we talk about what happened almost a week ago for the attack on the Gaza

station, we do have the right for a self-defense and we did air operation in Yemen. That operation was in Sanaa and it was in Saida. And we attack

the military infrastructure for the Houthi especially so we can neutralize and destroy that threat to the region and also the international.

ANDERSON: OK. I understand. Sir, there is a growing sense of threat that`s being picked up, of course, all the way to Washington. This is what

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said after Tuesday`s briefing.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R-SC): It was a very good briefing. They explained to us how the Iranian threat streams were different than in the past. That

the attack on the ships and the pipeline was coordinated and directed by the Iranian government, the Ayatollah. That we`d picked up strong

intelligence they had given the Shiite militia basically more running room and direction and that attacks against American interests and personnel

were imminent.


ANDERSON: The use of the term Shiite militia there as proxies for Iran. So you have described the Houthi as terrorist militia of Iran. Do you lump

the Houthis into that same Shiite militia that Lindsey Graham was referring to at this point? And so many of us are asking internationally is this

region headed for war, sir?

AL MALIKI: Well, for us as a coalition we don`t look to the Houthi as a Shia group or Shia militia. The Houthi are a part of the social fabric in

Yemen, and we don`t look to the crisis in Yemen -- or the conflict between the coalition supporting the Yemeni national army and the Yemeni government

as a religious issue.

But we know that the opponent we are facing in Yemen, we are not facing the official army but we are facing ideology. That ideology being driven from

the Iranian regime and especially from the IRGC.

This is the issue in Yemen which is the Houthi are running the agenda and also, they are doing whatever order it received from the IRGC and they are

putting themselves in I was say regional and international circle. They don`t know the consequences for it. So that attack if you connect between

that attack in Emirates and also in Saudi Arabia, we know that the Houthi have declared their responsibility, a full responsibility for that attack.

And the Iranian regime or IRGC supporting the Houthi militia with ballistic missile, UAV and also fast boat which we have neutralized a lot of attack

by the Houthi militia and Badreddin.

Let me add one point. What the Houthi is doing right now for such attack as a civil civilian or attacking the civilian object which is, again, the

international law. And also the law of armed conflict, there is no difference between what happened in 2000 when al-Qaeda attacked the USS

Cole and what the Houthi are doing or the other militia connected to the Iranian regime they are doing right now. So they are trying to affect the

economic or the international situation around the world and not just attacking Saudi Arabia.

ANDERSON: Right. With that we`re going to have to leave it there, sir. But I do appreciate your time today and I appreciate that you have at least

honored me with a slightly wider discussion than that which is your agreement. For that I thank you. Colonel Turki Al Maliki speaking to me

from Riyadh today.

Nic Robertson with me here. Nic, what did you make of what we`ve just heard?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is the position that we`ve heard from Saudi Arabia that over a long period of time. And

they presented evidence -- and presented evidence to the United Nations and the United Nations has looked at some of that evidence and said, yes, the

Houthis are getting weapons supplied in some cases from Iran. Ballistic missiles, for example, another couple of which fired at two cities in Saudi

Arabia earlier this week.

And the allegations that are being made, there have been substance in the allegations. And it`s also a very similar assessment, his assessment of

who attacked the pipeline that goes across Saudi Arabia and who attacked the vessels in Fujairah, very likely linked with Iran. That`s the

assessment in the Pentagon. That`s the assessment I get from independent experts who are looking at this as well.

[11:15:02] ANDERSON: Although we are waiting for the results, the official results of that investigation.

ROBERTSON: And one of the reasons they reached this conclusion is because there are the Strait of Hormuz that the Iranian maybe effectively has

almost, you could say, a veto over the freedom of movement there. Because that`s part of their territorial waters and they can take actions in the

area. But the two areas that bypass the Strait of Hormuz for getting gas and oil out of this region are Fujairah. Because there`s a pipeline that

bypasses the Straits of Hormuz and that east-west pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

ANDERSON: So it`s critical infrastructure.

ROBERTSON: Critical infrastructure but if you want to send a message in that the Straits of Hormuz, don`t think -- if you want to send a message

that we can affect the Straits of Hormuz and your bypass opportunities for getting oil and gas out of the region. Those two attacks a couple days

apart did precisely this. It`s hard not to see them connected.

ANDERSON: So I put it to him and we have heard from many other stakeholders around the region including the Iranians, the Foreign Minister

in Saudi. We`ve heard from the Minister of Foreign Affairs here that nobody`s looking for war but the Iranians must change their behavior is

what their foes say. Those who are committed to stopping the maligned behavior of the Iranians in this region. And the Iranians say we don`t

want war but if we`re provoked, we`re ready. Notably absent the only person who hasn`t specifically said we don`t want war is John Bolton. John

Bolton is the National Security Adviser to Donald Trump. How does this all marry up?

ROBERTSON: He has been criticized as the one that sort of drove President Trump into this situation, into a sense situation. That the Iranian

Foreign Minister says is dangerous by having so many Naval vessels in the area. That the acting Defense Secretary in the United States says Iran is

the threat and then managing the threat in that same area.

John Bolton hasn`t been heard and President Trump has said he`s my adviser. I`m the one that makes the decisions. I think we can read into that a lot

but not too much. It`s not something that fits President Trump`s narrative at the moment which is I don`t want war. I do want Iran to come to the

table. I think we can expect Bolton perhaps to come back and weigh in on other issues.

Right now it`s clearly sensitive to everyone. I think we`re absolutely seeing this as a majorly -- everyone accepts it`s a very sensitive issue.

It`s on a knife edge right now that should not be underestimated. And perhaps Mr. Bolton`s been taken out of the equation. So as to just

desensitize the situation.

Yet we hear from Iran today in the past few hours that despite saying that this is a very dangerous situation, that they are putting their navy --

adding their navy into that dangerous situation and the only analysis that any military strategist could take right now would be that increases those


ANDERSON: Nic Robertson, who is here in Abu Dhabi with us, and it`s a pleasure having you here. Your analysis incredibly important for us as our

international diplomatic editor.

We`ve covered Yemen a lot here, and it`s there that health officials are concerned that the country could be on the verge of another cholera

outbreak. Our colleague Sam Kiley can take us inside the country visiting a clinic in a town hundreds of kilometers from the front lines where poor

living conditions are only inflaming the spread of this disease. Have a look at this.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spring rains, something to celebrate in war torn Yemen. But this joyful abandon

has a mortal risk, cholera. Aid agencies fear they`re on the brink of an epidemic. Haijah is ancient city many miles from Yemen`s front lines where

Houthi rebels are battling a Saudi-led coalition. Refugees fleeing war brought cholera with them. It`s spreading and fast.

DR. ILHAM WASEL, HAIJAH CHOLERA EMERGENCY CENTER: : Everybody, everyone in the area vomiting, nausea. Everybody.

KILEY (on camera): Is it spreading?


KILEY (voice-over): The numbers of new patients climb every day. A month ago there were only 11 patients here. 60 came in yesterday.

(on camera): How old is she?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): 2 years.

KILEY: And what`s the name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Elia.

KILEY: When did you first see that she was getting sick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Around four days ago. It started with diarrhea. Then it got worse.

[11:20:00] KILEY: One of the catastrophic side effects of this war has been that people from outside the cities have been forced into beautiful

ancient towns like this, Haijah. But as a consequence of that the systems are overloaded, the clean water systems. And these women have been telling

me that they`ve been drinking from the river in the town, the same river that sewage flows into. That will guarantee a cholera epidemic.

(voice-over): A year ago a million Yemenis were infected with cholera. Over 2,000 died. This year the United Nations says there have been 300,000

suspected cases. A quarter are kids under 5. For now the Yemeni are coping but they don`t have long.

LISE GRANDE, U.N. RESIDENT COORDINATOR: We`re very worried that if we`re not able to stop it now we could see an uncontrolled epidemic spread like

wildfire across this whole country. As we face this cholera outbreak right now, we do not have sufficient cholera kits in the country. We do not have

sufficient IV fluid to address the crisis.

KILEY (on camera): So doctor, what`s happening with this patient?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has Low blood liter and in a coma. IV fluid and give him a breathing should control it.

KILEY: Cholera kills very quickly, doesn`t it?


KILEY (voice-over): This cholera patient survived, but without outside help, many thousands of other lives are at risk. Sam Kiley, CNN, Haijah,



ANDERSON: Well, that is the last of Sam`s three-part series. And you can watch them all by logging on to Sam is given rare access inside

the war-torn country that`s become home to the world`s worst humanitarian crisis. Food being used as a weapon of war with desperately needed aid

being stolen by Houthi rebels. I spoke to the head of the World Food Program after the U.N. threatened to suspend aid if that theft continues.


DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: If we can hold strong and do what`s right and hopefully the international community can

bring pressure to bear on all the Houthi leadership to allow to us do what`s right. I mean, why would you stop us from providing food aid into

the innocent people of Yemen? Why would you do that? So this is really not that complicated. But we`re fighting this because donors want to know

that their taxpayers want to know that their money, their food is going to the intended beneficiaries. It`s not used for bad purposes. And all we`re

asking simply is let us do our job. Let us help the innocent people of Yemen.


ANDERSON: David Beasley, the World Food Program`s chief. Millions of Yemen`s people on the verge of famine, but the biggest crop is a drug

called qat. You can learn about the nationwide drug addiction that is starving Yemen on

ANDERSON: Still to come --


OCASIO-CORTEZ: Choosing to not impeach when there`s an abundance of evidence could also be construed as politically motivated as well. And we

can`t be scared of elections. We need to uphold the rule of law.


ANDERSON: Growing calls for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Is this a pivotal moment in his presidency? We`ll head to Capitol Hill for

more on that.

And later this hour, well, you couldn`t make this up. A police chase, an RV sliced in half and a dog fleeing a moving vehicle. These pictures

coming up.

And a story of houses and cookies. What Mr. Trump`s housing secretary said when he was asked about a common real estate term.


REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Do you know what an REO is?





PELOSI: Would you believe that it`s important to follow the facts? We believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United

States, and we believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.


ANDERSON: Strong words from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid growing calls to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Now Pelosi

is going from meeting with fellow Democrats to a meeting with the President himself. They`ll discuss America`s infrastructure and there could be some

awkward moments, couldn`t there.

It`s ironic that they are talking about fixing bridges when the gap between Democrats and the President well quite frankly couldn`t be much wider. The

pressure on Pelosi is growing even though she`s consistently resisted calls for impeachment.

CNN`s Lauren Fox monitoring developments from Capitol Hill. Lauren, it was barely a month ago that Pelosi was warning that Donald Trump was goading

Democrats into pushing for impeachment. There`s a lot going on in the halls of power where you walk now. What`s the latest?

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, that`s right, Becky. And she still is trying to encourage Democrats not to go down that

impeachment path. That was her message to them this morning in that caucus wide meeting. She had the committee chairmen who are handling

investigations each give up and brief members on exactly what their committees were doing. And the arguments from many of the committee

chairmen were, look, we`re getting somewhere with our investigations, we`re awaiting court cases to get the President`s financial information. We do

not need to go down this impeachment path to strengthen our case as investigators.

They did say however that Maxine Waters, who has long supported impeachment and is the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee. She said, you

know, I do support impeachment. But rank and file members had a chance then to ask questions, to voice some of their concerns. Many of them still

pushing for impeachment.

But you know there`s a real divide in the caucus and this meeting was intended to show those who want to move forward with impeachment are still

the minority in the caucus. And, you know, there is an electoral consideration when it comes to moving forward with impeachment. You have a

lot of members who are freshmen, who are re-elected, who are trying to get re-elected in areas where President Trump actually won. Impeachment may

not help them in those swing districts. A lot to weigh this morning. But Nancy Pelosi is still telling her caucus, now is not the time to begin

moving forward with impeachment -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Whether or not there is a case. All right. Thank you for that. Another note from up on The Hill because maybe -- or maybe he was just

hungry, the Secretary of what`s known as Housing and Urban Development was testifying on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. When he was asked the question that

involved a common real estate term. Ben Carson`s testimony took a bit of a weird turn from there. Have a listen to this.


PORTER: Explain the disparity in REO rates? Do you know what an REO is?

CARSON: An Oreo?

PORTER: Not an Oreo. An REO. REO.

CARSON: Real estate --

PORTER: What`s the O stand for?

CARSON: The organization.

PORTER: Owned, real estate owned. That`s what happens when a property goes to foreclosure. We call it an REO.

[11:30:00] I would like to know why we`re having more foreclosures that end in people losing their homes with stains to their credit and disruption to

their communities and their neighborhoods at FHA than we are at the GSEs.

CARSON: I would be extremely happy if you`d like to have you work with the people who do that.

PORTER: Well Mr. Carson, that respectfully, that was my day job before I came to Congress. So now it`s my job to ask you to work with the people.

CARSON: I`m not the people at Hud who do that.

PORTER: I spent a decade working with the people at Hud on this problem.


ANDERSON: He didn`t choose to eat his words. On Twitter Carson offered to send the Congresswoman some Oreo cookies, the kind with the extra o at the


You`re watching "CONNECT THE WORLD" with me, Becky Anderson, from Abu Dhabi.

Coming up, he`s British Somali. He was the youngest mayor ever of Sheffield in England. And now he has his eyes set on shaking up Brussels.

We speak to Magid Magid a green candidate in Thursday`s European elections.

And we will take you to the heart of the severe storms that are tearing through the Central United States this week. All that coming up. An

amazing image. All that after this.


ANDERSON: In the past few minutes the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said Iran is trying to destabilize the region. Colonel

Turki Al Maliki spoke out against the Iran backed Houthi rebels. Telling me Saudi Arabia is simply trying to protect Yemenis at a hugely sensitive

time for this region.

[11:35:00] I pressed him on whether or not we could see military escalation anytime soon.


AL MALIKI: We do have the right for a self-defense and we did air operation in Yemen. That operation was in Sanaa and it was in Saida. And

we attack the military infrastructure for the Houthi especially so we can neutralize and destroy that threat to the region and also the



ANDERSON: Back to the UK now where the British Prime Minister is forging ahead even though her new Brexit deal looks like it is dead on arrival. We

heard that before haven`t we. The opposition Labour Party has now all but ruled out its support for this version. Leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed it as

a rehash of the deal that`s already rejected by Parliament three times. Just a few hours ago she gave this warning to MPs.


MAY: Reject it and all we have before us is division and deadlock. We risk leaving with no deal, something this House is clearly against. We

risk stopping Brexit altogether, something the British people -- something the British people would simply not tolerate. We risk creating further

divisions. We risk creating further divisions at a time when we need to be acting together in the national interest.


ANDERSON: Prime Minister Theresa May there warning U.K. lawmakers that the British people won`t tolerate remaining within the European Union. Nigel

Farage`s Brexit party certainly won`t tolerate that. It`s one of the party`s vying for election in Thursday`s European Parliament elections.

Let`s not forget British voters weren`t meant to take part in these elections. Even the U.K. -- given the U.K. was meant to have left the EU

back in late March. These elections could shape the future of Europe and the European Union. It`s a massive exercise in democracy. How does it all

work though? My colleague Bianca Nobilo explains.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 28 countries, more than 500 million citizens. Welcome to one of the biggest elections on earth. Over four

days voters from across Europe will decide who will represent them for the next five years in the European Parliament.

Each country gets a certain number of seats depending on its size, so Germany will have 96 as they have the biggest population. The smallest

such as Luxembourg or Estonia get six seats each. They`re all trying to get into here, the 751 seat European Parliament. The MEPs don`t just sit

with their own parties, they form political groups with those of a similar ideology.

This is what it looked like after the 2014 election. You had eight big political groups. The biggest, the center-right European Peoples Party,

that supported by Angela Merkel. But some of the smaller groups certainly do get their voices heard. Europe for Freedom and Direct Democracy is led

by one of the biggest proponents of Brexit, Nigel Farage. More on him later. And also, they have members of the Five-Star Movement, a populous

party that`s part of Italy`s government coalition.


ANDERSON: Let me get you to Donald Trump in the Rose Garden.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just saw that Nancy Pelosi, just before our meeting, made a statement, that we believe that the

President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up. Well it turns out on the most -- and I think most of you would agree to this -- I`m the most

transparent President probably in the history of this country.

We have given on a witch-hunt, on a hoax, the whole thing with Russia was a hoax as it relates to the Trump administration and myself. It was a total,

horrible thing that happened to our country. It hurt us in so many ways.

Despite that we`re setting records with the economy, with jobs, most people employed today that we`ve ever in the history of our country. We have the

best unemployment numbers that we`ve had in the history of our country. In some cases 51 years but generally in the history of our country. Companies

are moving back in. Things are going well.

I said let`s have the meeting on infrastructure, we`ll get that done easily. That`s one of the easy ones. And instead of walking in happily

into a meeting I walk into looking at people who just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don`t do cover-ups. You people know that probably better

than anybody.

[11:40:00] And I was just looking at a list of some of the things that we just did more than 2,500 subpoenas qualified for, and I let everybody talk.

I let the White House counsel speak for 30 hours, 30 hours. I have 19 special counsel lawyers, 40 FBI agents. I said open it all up. Let them

have whatever they want.

Nearly 500 search warrants. Think of that a search warrant. Did you ever see a search warrant before? Neither did I. This was over 500 search

warrants. And of the 19 people that were heading up this investigation or whatever you want to call it with Bob Mueller they were contributors to the

Democratic Party most of them and to Hillary Clinton. They hated President Trump. They hated him with a passion. They went to her big party big

party after the election that turned out to be a wake not a party. It was awake and they were very angry.

These are the people that after two years and $40 million or $35 million -- it will be more than that by the time all the bills are paid -- this is

what happened. No collusion, no obstruction, no nothing. They issued 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers. Think of that, though, 500

witnesses and then I have Nancy Pelosi go out and say the President of the United States engaged in a cover-up.

Now we`ve had a House investigation. We have Senate investigations. We have investigations like nobody has ever had before and we did nothing

wrong. They would have loved to have said we colluded. They would have loved it. These people were out to get us. The Republican Party and

President Trump. They were out to get us. This was a one-sided, horrible thing. The bottom line is they said there`s no collusion. No collusion

with Russia.

You heard so much talk about phone calls that my son made to me from this meeting that was set up by GPS fusion, it looks like. Which is the other

side for those that don`t know. And for a year I heard about phone calls went to a special number unauthorized. And it would have been my son, Don,

who is a good, young man. Who has gone through hell. And they were calls that must have been made by him before and after the meeting, three calls.

After massive study and work they actually found who made the calls. One was a friend of ours, a real estate developer. A great guy, most of you

know him. Nice guy, loves our country. And the other one was head of NASCAR. Two of them.

So of the three calls that were so horrible that he had a meeting and he called me and had the meeting after and he made two more calls. And they

were written about like this little, little lines, a couple of lines. Nobody wanted to admit it.

Even last night we had a great election. I went there on Monday. We had an election for Fred Keller, it was a 50/50 shot and he won in a landslide.

We wept and did a rally. Hardly mentioned today. And yet if he lost it would have been the biggest story in the country, even bigger than this

witch-hunt stuff that you keep writing about.

So here`s the bottom line. There`s no collusion. There was no obstruction. We`ve been doing this since I was President and actually the

crime was committed on the other side. We`ll see how that all turns out. I hope it turns out well but to my way of thinking -- and I know a lot of

you agree with me -- the crime was committed on the other side.

This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the President of the United States. And, honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for the way

you reported so dishonestly. Not all of you but many of you. The way you report it.

So I`ve said right from the beginning, right from the beginning that you probably can`t go down two tracks.

[11:45:00] You can go down the investigation track and you can go down the investment track or the track of let`s get things done for the American

people. I love the American people. Drug prices are coming down, the first time in 51 years because of my administration, but we can get them

done way lower working with the Democrats. We can solve the problem on the border in 15 minutes if the Democrats would give us a few votes.

So I just wanted to let you know that I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi I want to do infrastructure. I want to do

it more than you want to do it. I`d be really good at that. That`s what I do. But you know what, you can`t do it under these circumstances.

So get these phony investigations over with. "The Wall Street journal" just wrote today, just a little while ago I saw it, Mr. Mueller wasn`t

obstructed in any way. This was "The Wall Street Journal" editorial today. Mr. Mueller wasn`t obstructed in any way. His copious report, copious, 434

pages. Now they want to interview all of the same people again.

They want to interview Jerry Nadler, who`s an enemy of mine for many years. He fought me in New York unsuccessfully by the way. I`ve had great success

against Jerry. But he was representing Manhattan and he would fight me all the time on the west side railway. He fought me many times, very

unsuccessful. He failed.

I come to Washington, I become President, and I say, oh, no, I have Jerry Nadler again? So "The Wall Street Journal," Mr. Mueller wasn`t obstructed

in any way. His copious report was released for all to see and there was no collusion -- this is "The Wall Street Journal" -- and there was no

collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. That`s it.

But they want to make this a big deal whether or not they carry the big "I" word, I can`t imagine that. But they probably would because they`ll do

whatever they have to do. I`ll tell you there`s a danger here. If someday a Democrat becomes President and you have a Republican House, they can

impeach him for any reason, or her, any reason. We can`t allow that to happen. We can`t allow it to happen.

So when you look at all of the transparency. When you look at all I`ve done, and I will tell you, my lawyers say, you don`t have to do this. You

can use presidential privilege. You don`t have to let your lawyers and all of your staff testify. You can use presidential privilege, sir. Would you

recommend it? Well, you can be transparent or you can be tight. If you`ve done nothing wrong, being transparent is better. So I said I did nothing

wrong. Let`s be transparent. So that`s what you have, all of these things. Look at that. All of these things, 500 witnesses that I allowed

to testify. It`s a disgrace.

So when they get everything done, I`m all set to let`s get infrastructure, let`s get drug prices down. In the meantime we`re doing tremendous work

without them. We`re doing tremendous executive orders, a lot of work. We`ve had great success. The most successful economy perhaps in our

country`s history. We`ve cut regulations at a level that nobody else has cut them before. The largest tax cut in the history of the country. So

we`re doing a lot of work. Steve, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any assurances the House won`t (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: This is very sad because this meeting was set up a number of days ago at 11:00. All of a sudden, I hear last night they`re going to have a

meeting right before this meeting to talk about the "I" word. The "I" word. Can you imagine? I don`t speak to Russians about campaigns. When I

went to Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania, I don`t say, oh, let`s call Russia. It`s a hoax. The greatest hoax in history. Yes, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. Do you view Congress as a co-equal branch of government, and do you respect their power of oversight?

TRUMP: I respect the courts. I respect Congress. I respect right here where we`re standing. But what they`ve done is abuse. This is

investigation number four on the same thing, probably five.

[11:50:00] And it really started I think pretty much from the time we came down the escalator in Trump Tower.

So I say to you that where they get everything done. We`re doing a lot without them. Let them play their games. We`re going to go down one track

at a time. Let them finish up and we`ll be all set. Thank you, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you read the full Mueller report? Mr. President, have you read the Mueller report?

BOLDUAN: Wow! What you just saw was very important. We need to get into this. Because, first off, we can see how well infrastructure week is going

this time around.

Secondly, the president of the United States just took to the Rose Garden - -this was not an event that was scheduled. That`s important to note. He took to the Rose Garden to say that he is not going to be working, it

sounds like, on anything until Democrats in the House finish up, wrap up, end their investigations into the president of the United States.

Much to discuss. Let`s bring in right now, first, CNN`s senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, this day took a very big turn just now.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it certainly did. You could tell the president was doing a premeditated Rose Garden strategy

here. You couldn`t see it on screen. In the Rose Garden, he had a printed placard of the cost of the Mueller investigation with big words saying, "no

collusion, no obstruction." This was a planned ambush, if you will, of that infrastructure meeting that Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer were

going to the White House to do.

So the president clearly, his state of mind just validating what we hear from advisers and others, that he is, indeed, consumed by this


And it`s important to point out, Kate, this comes one day after Hope Hicks was given a subpoena. Hope Hicks is, of course, his former long-time aide,

who now works in Los Angeles. He considers her like family. That`s always been a red line that he didn`t want to cross. So that is the president`s

state of mind here going into this.

And, Kate. It says one thing. Not one single issue will get done in Washington, the president said right there, until the Mueller probe is

ending. So these are loggerheads. We`ve never seen anything like this before, the Rose Garden used like that -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Let`s go back to the Rose Garden. CNN`s Kaitlan Collins is there. She was there for this even.

Kaitlan, this is a very important marker. The president saying there will be no negotiating on anything with regard to any kind of policy until --

unless and until they wrap up their investigations into him.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Which Democrats have shown no sign of doing, wrapping up those investigations. And actually, they`ve

only grown more infuriated as the White House has denied them having testimony from people who currently work here or worked here before or even

document production.

But the president just made clear, he said he is not going to be able to work with Democrats as long as they`re investigating him. That`s a threat

the president first made during his State of the Union address. Today, he followed through on it.

Because we saw Democrats, just minutes before reporters were called into the Rose Garden at the last minute, arriving at White House, Nancy Pelosi,

Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer. We saw a group of Democratic leaders coming to the White House for what they thought was a meeting to talk about funding

that $2 trillion infrastructure plan they agree to. And, instead, the president walked out to the Rose Garden and made his anger clear.

Kate, what he was the most infuriated about, the president said, was Nancy Pelosi`s comment just an hour ago that she believed the president is

engaged in a cover-up. That was the strongest language we`ve seen from the House speaker so far in relation to the president`s activities. But it

came after she held a meeting with her caucus, trying to tamp down talk of impeaching the president. But clearly that was a line too far for the


We`re told by sources, he went into that meeting with Democrats here at the White House for about five minutes before coming out here to the Rose

Garden at the last minutes with a poster on the front of the podium in front of him, talking about how much the Mueller investigation costs. You

could see his fury. It was evident.

He said he does respect Congress as a co-equal branch of government. But, Kate, he made clear that he is not going to be working with Democrats on

any legislative priorities while they are investigating him.


COLLILNS: Now, we tried to ask the president, are you daring Democrats to impeach you, because they say, the more the president stonewalls them, the

more their members were inclined to impeachment. But, Kate, that`s a question the president did not answer. Instead, he turned around and

walked back into the Oval Office.

BOLDUAN: Guys, is Phil Mattingly up on Capitol Hill?

I`d like to go over to Capitol Hill and go to Phil Mattingly.

Because, Phil, you have some important reporting about what else, what went down, how this went down in this five-minute meeting at the White House.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate. I`ve been talking to some sources with direct knowledge of what happened in the


Just to kind of take you behind the scenes, Democrats were sitting in the room. The president walked into the room, these sources said. He did not

shake anybody`s hands. He made clear there were things he wanted to get done with the Congress, both House Democrats and Democrats in the United

States Senate, whether it was infrastructure, the farm bill, the trade deal.

But he said, based on Speaker Pelosi`s comments this morning, related to the coverup, as we talked about earlier, he said there was, quote,

"something terrible to be accused of that."

[11:55:04] He then said that there not be two tracks, as he said publicly. As long as Democrats are investigating, they will not be negotiating on

actual policy issues, despite his priorities that he has laid out. He then walked out of the room before Democrats could say anything to him directly.

I`m told, as he was walking out, Speaker Pelosi said something along the lines of, I knew you weren`t serious about negotiating on infrastructure.

And that was it.

Democrats have left the White House --

BOLDUAN: Wait. Phil, that`s an important point. He walked out. He made a statement and just walked out? There was no discussion?

MATTINGLY: Yes, there was no discussion at all. Democrats were, I think, kind of dumbfounded that that was how he walked in. Didn`t shake anybody`s

hands, didn`t hello. Just walked in. Clearly was ready to say what he had to say, which was, as it currently stands, there will be no negotiations on

infrastructure or any other policy issue so long as the investigations are ongoing.

And his key issue was two-fold. He talked about it publicly, the idea that Speaker Pelosi said, after that 9:00 a.m. meeting this morning with the

House Democratic caucus, she believes there`s a cover-up. And that the 9:00 a.m. meeting existed at all. He said that was a terrible thing that

was said. You heard his rationale publicly as to why he believes that. He walked out before anybody was able to say anything at all.

Democrats now on their way back to Capitol Hill where we expect to hear from them shortly.

BOLDUAN: It`s really amazing that even if he`s -- both sides say how important infrastructure and moving forward on infrastructure is, that no

matter what bad blood is between Democrats and the president, that he`s willing to lay down this marker that he`s serious now, that he`s not going

to do anything until they wrap up investigations.

But let`s be honest, Phil, there`s no sign, no suggestion that is going to -- I mean, it`s holding legislation hostage until they finish an


MATTINGLY: Yes, and it`s not just infrastructure. Infrastructure was the one bipartisan thing they thought they could get done.

There`s also things they absolutely have to get done. There is a spending deal that they have to make to forestall over $120 million in automatic

cuts by the start of October. They need to raise the debt ceiling. Negotiators in Congress, with White House officials, thought they were

making progress on that yesterday. That is a legislative issue that they have to figure out.

There`s a myriad of things that, even with all the partisan back and forth, even with all the investigations, they thought they could do something.

Right now, apparently, they`ll be doing nothing.

BOLDUAN: Nothing is exactly what it sounds like.

Let`s get back over to the Rose Garden. Kaitlan Collins has more information for us -- Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, Kate, we want to show you this sign. This is the view that reporters came out here to out here. We thought that the president was

having this meeting with Democrats on infrastructure, which White House officials weren`t optimistic about. But then we were unexpectedly called

out here.

White House officials did not tell us why we were coming out here. But, Kate, it became clear the minute we entered the Rose Garden, because, if

you see the podium behind me, it has the official seal. It says, "president of the United States."

And there is a sign in front of it on White House cardboard that says, "Mueller investigation by the numbers, over $35 million spent on Mueller`s

investigation, over 2800 subpoenas issued, it took 675 days, over 500 witnesses. And, of course, the president`s mantra that he repeats so often

on Twitter, "18 angry Democrats," and it says, "no collusion, no obstruction." That`s what the president has maintained ever since the

Mueller investigation ended.

We`re told by sources, the president has been so furious about these investigations by Democrats because, for so long, he thought that once the

special counsel`s investigation was over, so was all of this. Instead, it only ramped up on Capitol Hill.

Now you`ve seen, as we were noting earlier, not only so many subpoenas and document requests but also for some of the people who are the closest to

the president, including Hope Hicks, who was one of his closest confidantes when she was in the White House, and Annie Donaldson. That was Don

McGahn`s chief of staff. Very loyal, a meticulous note taker, which infuriated the president because that is really what painted the most

damning portrait when the Mueller report came out.

You could sense the president`s anger as soon as he came out here and this disdain for Democrats, and especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she

came out here.

This is a huge difference from the last meeting we had on infrastructure three weeks ago when Democrats said the investigations didn`t come up when

they were in the meeting with the president. But clearly, that hour-long coverage of Nancy Pelosi`s comment, that the president is engaged in a

cover-up, struck at the heart of him. Because he came out here, he said, "I do not do cover-ups." He said that the reporters would know that better

than anyone. And you can sense the president`s anger over that remark.

But, Kate, the question going forward is, what happens with the president and these investigations? We know he has been angry. We know they`ve

stonewalled and tried to block what they`re going to do. The president has said their strategy is to ignore all the subpoenas. But the question is,

how much does that get ramped up after what we just saw in the Rose Garden, which was not on the schedule and not planned? I cannot stress that


BOLDUAN: Yes, that`s exactly right.

But, Kaitlan, it seemed like he was lashing out. I mean, returning to some of the comments he has made, a lot of things that need to be fact-checked,

which we`ll get to in a second.


BOLDUAN: But it just seemed like lashing out right now.

[11:59:57] COLLINS: It was the president airing his grievances.


COLLINS: It`s what you read on Twitter every single day from the president, multiple times a day. Except this time, he said it in person.

And he singled out Nancy Pelosi, something we haven`t seen that much from the president, essentially holding her responsible for these