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Trump Says He's Not Bothered by North Korea Missile Tests; Trump: U.S. is 'Not Looking for Regime Change' in Iran; European Democracies Tile Right in European Union Votes; Six Dead After Tornado, Severe Weather Strike Oklahoma. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 27, 2019 - 06:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[05:58:57] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is a special holiday edition of NEW DAY. It is Monday, May 27, 6 a.m. here in New York on this Memorial Day where we will take some time to remember the heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

John Berman is off today. John Avlon joins me. Great to have you here --


CAMEROTA: -- on this special day.

AVLON: Always.

CAMEROTA: We have a lot of breaking news to get to right now. This is from President Trump's state visit in Japan.

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are not on the same page about North Korea's recent missile tests. Mr. Trump insists he is not bothered by North Korea's small weapons launches, while the prime minister of Japan says North Korea violated U.N. resolutions.

AVLON: President Trump also praising Kim Jong-un on the world stage, siding with a dictator while attacking the Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. President Trump also making headlines on the trade war with China and escalating tensions with Iran.

Let's get to CNN's Boris Sanchez, who's traveling with the president, live in Tokyo with the breaking details.

Boris, what you got?


President Trump made news on several fronts during this press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The president raising questions with some of his remarks about Kim Jong-un, siding with the North Korean leader even as the North Koreans attack his own national security adviser and as he's contradicted by Shinzo Abe, who's standing just a few feet away. Made for a very awkward few moments. Watch.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): President Trump insisting that recent short- range missile tests by North Korea do not bother him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not bothered at all by the small missiles?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not. I am personally not.

SANCHEZ: And that the launches have not violated United Nations resolutions.

TRUMP: I view it differently. I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. And perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn't matter. All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests. There have been no ballistic missiles going out.

SANCHEZ: Trump's view breaks with Japan's prime minister, who directly contradicted him on the issue. Even the president's own national security adviser, John Bolton, said a few days ago there's no doubt North Korea violated international agreements. President Trump also praising Kim Jong-un on the world stage.

TRUMP: He knows that with nuclear, that's never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it well.

I'm in no rush at all. The sanctions remain.

SANCHEZ: The president used the press conference to attack the Democratic frontrunner.

TRUMP: Kim Jong-un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-I.Q. individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.

SANCHEZ: Trump and Shinzo Abe also making news on escalating tensions with Iran.

TRUMP: I know so many people from Iran. These are great people. We're not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear. We're looking for no nuclear weapons.

SANCHEZ: President Trump indicating that he may lean on Japan to help broker talks between Iran and the U.S.

Trump and Abe also discussed the trade deal with China.

TRUMP: I think we will have a deal with China sometime into the future. SANCHEZ: The president once again falsely claiming that Americans only pay a small percentage of the new tariffs on Chinese imports.

TRUMP: No, no, no. It's not that way. They're paying a small percentage, but our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars. Our farmers, out of all of the money, the tens of billions of dollars, we're giving a relatively small percentage to our farmers.


SANCHEZ: And John and Alisyn, President Trump is just now arriving at a banquet in the president's honor held by the new Japanese emperor, Emperor Naruhito. This is a big deal. President Trump, the first foreign leader to meet the new Japanese emperor. We're going to hear from Emperor Naruhito, as well as President Trump and Shinzo Abe shortly.

CAMEROTA: OK, Boris. Stay with us, if you would. We have more questions.

Also joining us is Samantha Vinograd, senior advisor to the national security advisor under President Obama; and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator. Great to have you here with us for this special edition.

Sam, let's talk about this, because Prime Minister Abe thinks that North Korea just violated the U.N. treaty. John Bolton thinks that North Korea violated the treaty. Why doesn't President Trump think so?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, President Trump has a history of reinventing intelligence when he just doesn't want to believe it. He did this in Russian election interference. And now, he's standing on the world stage and he's saying that John Bolton is wrong and that Shinzo Abe is wrong.

John Bolton used the words "B" word, ballistic missile, shortly before President Trump met with Shinzo Abe in Japan. He said that North Korea violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, which prohibits North Korea launching ballistic missiles.

President Trump doesn't want to admit that North Korea did something wrong, because he wants to keep these negotiations on track.

CAMEROTA: Also, he doesn't want to admit that he fell for, I think, Kim Jong-un's promise that he was specifically --


CAMEROTA: -- not going to do this.

VINOGRAD: Well, Kim Jong-un's promise did not cover the short-range ballistic missile tests. Kim Jong-un's promise just covered intermediate-range missiles and nuclear missiles.

The problem, though, is these short-range missiles threaten America. We have 54,000 troops stationed in Japan. These rocket launches earlier this month, these short-range tests, landed in the waters off of Japan. So these missiles should disturb President Trump. They threaten Americans, as well as Japan. And if that doesn't bother President Trump, what does at this point?

AVLON: Boris, I mean, on the one hand, we've got Prime Minister Abe trying to really do a charm offensive with the president. But the cognitive dissonance between that and the president's comments about these missile tests, how's that being received on the ground in Japan?

SANCHEZ: Well, it's quite interesting the way that Shinzo Abe talked about these missile tests being regrettable. But it doesn't really change the dynamic here.

[06:05:04] President Trump believes that he has a very good personal relationship with Kim Jong-un. And now, Abe appears to want his own.

Abe earlier in the press conference had mentioned that President Trump supported his attempts to secure a bilateral meeting with Kim Jong-un. What could come of that? Who knows? Potentially, some kind of an agreement between the two nations. Abe saying that he wanted to confront Kim Jong-un specifically over the issue of Japanese citizens who had been abducted by the North Koreans, something that this visit by President Trump has now brought to the forefront -- John.

CAMEROTA: Errol, I just want to remind people what President Trump said after the failed summit in Hanoi. This was February 28. What he said about the promises that Kim Jong-un had made to him and what he believes. Listen to this.


TRUMP: One of the things, importantly, that Chairman Kim promised me last night is, regardless, he's not going to do testing of rockets and nuclear. Not going to do testing. So, you know, I trust him and I take him at his word. I hope that's true.


CAMEROTA: Not going to do testing of rockets. Not going to do testing. I think -- has that been broken?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For sure. And "I trust him, and I take him at his word" is really remarkable in this case. Because this has been the North Korean strategy since before Kim Jong- un. They promise the world. They give you nothing.

They make all kinds of sort of gestures toward, "Well, yes, we'll unilaterally disarm. We'll get rid of all of our nukes," as if that was ever a possibility.

It is existentially important to that dictatorship that they have that. It's the only thing standing between him and, frankly, the end of a rope or a firing squad.

You know, so this is not something that anybody should be sort of bamboozled by, although the president, again, for partly political reasons, maybe for personal reasons, seems to think that what this murderous dictator tells him is something that he can take to the bank.

AVLON: Sam, what we're seeing is basically continuity with North Korea's strategy. You know, promise the world, buy time, accelerate your nuclear program.

One strategic continuity that's always existed in America is the idea that partisanship ends at the water's edge. This president has broken with that precedent, particularly with comments about Joe Biden. Just want to play folks the sound and get your reaction.


TRUMP: Kim Jong-un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-I.Q. individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.


AVLON: Sam? What's your take?

VINOGRAD: My take is that Kim Jong-un is executing the most basic psy-ops or psychological operations campaign in history here. He's trying to play the president, President Trump, because he wants something from President Trump.

He wants President Trump to lift sanctions, and he wants President Trump to stay mired in negotiations, because it's working out pretty well for Kim Jong-un right now. He's making more weapons, and he's making more friends.

So what is he doing? He's criticizing President Trump's political rivals, and it's working like a charm.

The problem, though, from my perspective, from a security perspective, is President Trump saying, "I'm OK with foreign election interference. I'm OK with Kim Jong-un making statements about my political rivals." And in the same way, he said that it's OK if Russia interferes in our election.

And at this point, President Trump is kind of green-lighting any despot that says bad things about American politicians, getting a carte blanche on every other bad thing that they're doing just as long as they support his 2020 re-election campaign.

CAMEROTA: Errol, I mean, the problem is not just -- it's not -- Joe Biden is not just a political rival. He is the former vice president of the United States.

LOUIS: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Do you happen to remember when the Dixie Chicks' careers were ruined when they criticized President Bush?

LOUIS: Yes, that's right. CAMEROTA: I mean, the Republicans, and more, were merciless about how dare they, on the global stage in London, say something like that?

LOUIS: Well, that's right. And look, you try and go back. You know, I was kind of wracking my brain. I couldn't think of anything, anything I've ever studied about any administration where something this crass and kind of crazy was just put out there.

Where you know, I mean, the insult itself is -- it's childish and beneath the dignity of any president, to call somebody low-I.Q., your political rival. That's bad enough. But to invite this or to sort of engage in this kind of talk overseas, you know, you try and imagine FDR saying anything remotely like that. Truman saying anything remotely like that. JFK. You know, on and on.

CAMEROTA: President Obama. What would have happened? The heads that would have exploded if President Obama had said something like that.

LOUIS: The history books will record this along with "Russia, if you're listening," where you know, it is part of the Trump style, the Trump Doctrine -- I hope it doesn't rise to that level -- of -- of simply inviting foreign powers into the heart of American politics if it benefits him personally. If he thinks it benefits him personally.

VINOGRAD: I don't think that Joe Biden wants Kim Jong-un's endorsement. I'm not part of the campaign, but I'm pretty sure he's OK with Kim Jong-un not liking him. Right?

But President Trump is now using Kim Jong-un as a surrogate. President Trump is pretty cool with Vladimir Putin saying bad things about Democrats. So at this point, what kind of people are supporting President Trump from overseas as part of his 2020 campaign? And what kind of people are criticizing candidates like Joe Biden, because they know that he has a much stronger record on North Korea than President Trump does?

[06:10:20] AVLON: It's schoolyard geopolitics. It's fascinating and troubling stuff.

But Boris, I want to get back to you, because you're on the ground in Tokyo. While all the focus on North Korea and China, there's also an escalation in Iran. The president making comments and troop movements over the weekend and trying to sort of see if Japan can help bridge a dialogue.

What's the -- what's been the scene on the ground with the president and Iran and trying to get Japan in on those?

SANCHEZ: It's certainly an interesting development, having Shinzo Abe try to intervene and broker some sort of a negotiation, some sort of discussion between President Trump and the leaders -- leadership in Iran. It's unclear that that will happen. But we know that it's something that President Trump has been looking for in the past.

He actually used the Iran nuclear deal to bash Joe Biden during his remarks at that press conference. It's really a way to see an approach from the perspective of the American side. It's unclear that Shinzo Abe is going to be able secure that, considering that the Iranians have previously said that they won't sit down with President Trump.

CAMEROTA: So Errol, U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East? You know, obviously, President Trump had campaigned on wanting to pull troops back, not send troops.

And then this weekend, Lindsey Graham, Senator Lindsey Graham, of course, a big President Trump supporter, said maybe we need to send troops more places. So here he is on a Sunday show.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I would give Cuba an ultimatum to get out of Venezuela. If they don't, I would let the Venezuelan military know: you've got to choose between democracy and Maduro. And if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we're coming after you.


CAMEROTA: What does that mean?

LOUIS: Boy, oh, boy. One hopes that this is not going to be American policy to sort of have a senator jump up and attempt to start a war or -- or signal an invasion.

What's worth keeping in mind when it comes to Iran, though, is that, you know, we're getting this kind of incoherence from the White House, where they're putting maximum pressure on that regime. Where sanctions have been greatly ratcheted up. We pulled out of the nuclear deal.

And then to hear the president say, "But we're not going to push for regime change." It -- you know, it makes one wonder what is it that's going to happen?

If troops are going to be mobilized, if we're hearing news, credible news reports about massive troop involvement over there; and yet the president says, "but no regime change." Everyone, our allies, our adversaries, are -- have to wonder what exactly is going on?

The mess in Venezuela, made a little bit worse, by the way, by that comment from Senator Graham, is sort of equivalent. It's not clear what the doctrine is, where we're going to go and what U.S. troops are going to end up doing.

AVLON: While we're -- you know, the president is in Tokyo, there's no way to talk about Asia politics without discussing China at the center of that region. Also the president's trade fights. I want to play folks the president's comments again about tariffs.


TRUMP: Foolishly, some people said that the American taxpayer is paying the tariffs of China. No, no, no. It's not that way. They're paying a small percentage, but our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars.


AVLON: Again, just reality check. U.S. consumers pay for trade wars in the form of tariffs.

CAMEROTA: We've had guests on our program who have been -- whose businesses have been hurt, who are already feeling the pinch, who are having to not hire people, may have to lay people off. And this is already happening.

AVLON: This is happening in real time right now, but the president continues to deny it.

Boris, how -- what's your sense there in the room about how the president is trying to play China and Japan off and this focus of the trade war that's looming?

SANCHEZ: Yes, well, it's a fascinating dynamic when you consider that President Trump is here trying to talk Shinzo Abe into opening Japanese agricultural markets to American business.

Obviously, American farmers have been hurting because of the trade war with China. So this is kind of a way for him to go back to those farmers, many of them in red states, and show that he's trying to do something to alleviate their pain.

It's also really fascinating that Shinzo Abe specifically mentioned some key states for President Trump by name in Michigan and Ohio. So it alludes to the idea that foreign leaders are bringing up Republican talking points, Trump campaign talking points when he's suggesting that the American economy is doing well because of President Trump.

CAMEROTA: All right. Boris, Errol, Samantha, thank you very much.

AVLON: Thanks, guys.

A political shake-up in Europe. Parliamentary elections showing a shifting tide across the European Union, with populist parties making gains and centrists suffering big losses in the U.K. The new Brexit Party dominated the election.

[06:15:08] CNN's Phil Black live outside of 10 Downing Street in London with more.


The European Union's Parliament is important, because it represents people and shapes legislation across 28 member countries. And in this election, mainstream parties feared there would be a surge by populist and right-wing groups.

In the edge -- in the end, you wouldn't call it a surge, but those groups did well, particularly in France, Italy and here in the U.K., where as you mentioned, the Brexit Party attracted more votes than any other. Around a third of the vote, people who were angry that Brexit has not yet been delivered.

But smaller parties that oppose Brexit here, well, their total vote attracted around the same, showing this country remains deeply divided on that issue.

More broadly, the new European Parliament will look very different. Because there will be more populist, nationalist, far-right figures, but they will also be offset by groups from socially liberal parties and green parties, who also performed well.

The traditional power blocs of the center left and the center right will be weaker than before. But on the whole, the European Union Parliament will still be made up by a majority of people who favor a strong European Union.

Democratically, these elections are being celebrated, because the turnout was the highest in decades, even though that turnout has been driven by people who really do want fundamentally different things for Europe.

On the one hand, the Euro-skeptics, the Brexiteers, people who want out of Europe or a weaker Europe. And on the other hand, those who deeply believe in deeper European integration and think that it's a powerful vehicle for growing the economy and fighting big issues like climate change. The tension between those two groups after these elections has never been greater.

Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Somehow it just gets more complicated from there. Thank you very much for all of the reporting.

So back here, wild weather creating a state of emergency across Oklahoma. Is the threat of deadly storms now over? Chad Myers has our holiday weekend forecast next.


[06:21:58] CAMEROTA: Severe weather across Oklahoma leaving six people dead. A tornado at a mobile home park near Oklahoma City killing two of those victims. You can see the devastation left behind in El Reno, and that's where we find CNN's Omar Jimenez, joining us now live.

What's the situation there, Omar?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, crews are hard at work right now, as they've been over the course of yesterday; and they are going to continue that process today, as well.

This was an EF-3 tornado that ripped through here. It stretched for about two miles, was the path that it took; and it was only on the ground for four minutes.

You can see just how much devastation it left behind in that short amount of time. Two people killed, more than 20 people injured, including someone who had to undergo amputation, according to the state officials.

And the mayor says at this point, search and rescue is over, but they are in that damage assessment phase.

And the stories from people who survived this are horrifying, including from the mobile home park: seeing trailers completely lifted and slammed back down. People here in this hotel who somehow made it out talked about having to climb out of the rubble.

Even for people who weren't directly in the storm's path, it was a horrifying few moments.


CHELSIE MAYO, EL RENO RESIDENT: We didn't hear anything until I opened the front door; and we heard sirens. At that point in time, we just, you know, jerked the kids up out of bed, threw them in the closet and put pillows over them. We didn't know where it was.

Our phones didn't go off. And then the next phone call I received was from my mother, who said that they were running to the shelter.


JIMENEZ: And all this comes on the other side of what has been an awful week of weather for the region. And here in Oklahoma alone, all 77 counties under a state of emergency -- John.

AVLON: And the threat of severe weather is not over in Oklahoma. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers here with the holiday forecast -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN AMS METEOROLOGIST: John, 263 tornadoes in the past couple of weeks. That's a quarter of the year's tornados just in that stretch, and yes, it is not over.

This weather is brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, packed with goodness.

So where does it go today? Chicago. Not really the epicenter of tornado alley, but you're in the middle of it today. Also, northern Indiana. That's the orange area. Also, parts of western Nebraska. That slides a little bit for tomorrow. I'll get to that in a second.

Watch the weather where it is right now roll through Des Moines into the quad cities and eventually into Chicago. And some of those storms in Chicago tonight will be rotating. Some will have tornadoes, not that far from Chicago. North, south, east, or west, whatever maybe 50 or so miles. You have to watch that. And it's late at night after dark.

Tomorrow, it redevelops back from Lincoln, back to Wichita, Oklahoma City, where we expect it. But at least for now, today is going to be a severe day. Lots of people in the way.

More flooding expected. Record river levels on many of these Midwest -- record. I mean, we're not talking just high or flood. Record levels we've never seen before. Temperatures warm in the northeast. Nice day in New York tomorrow, 66.

Guys, back to you.

[06:25:04] CAMEROTA: OK, Chad, thank you very much for all of those warnings. I hope people are watching and heeding them this morning.

MYERS: Me, too.

CAMEROTA: Retailers are bracing for the impact of the escalating trade war with China. Up next, we'll tell you how this will affect you.


AVLON: President Trump and the first lady are about to have dinner with Japan's new imperial family and the country's prime minister, who's hosted them for the past four days.

Now at a news conference earlier this morning, President Trump was casting doubt about ending the trade war with China, saying the U.S. is not ready to make a deal. The president also falsely claimed.