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Trump's U.K. Visit Begins With Cannons, Insults And The Queen; Prince Harry Joins Trump Amid "Nasty" Remarks On Markle; Kushner Awkwardly Won't Say If Birtherism Is Racist; Kushner Unsure If He'd Alert FBI If Russians E-mailed Him Again; Gunman Submitted Resignation Hours Before Deadly Attack. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired June 3, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Don't go away, busy news day with Brianna Keilar starts right now. Enjoy your afternoon.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Under way right now, across the pond the President, the queen, tea time and an awkward encounter with a Prince in the middle of a nasty dispute.
We know that birtherism is racist, but the President's son-in-law isn't so sure, and would he alert FBI if the Russians e-mail him again? He also won't say. The jaw-dropping interview with Jared Kushner.
Plus, an admission from the secretary of state that the President's Middle East plan may be hopeless, and one worker thought he was just living through an active shooter drill, but tonight 12 families won't have their loved ones home after another mass shooting in America.
Up first, pomp, pageantry and political insults, President Trump beginning his state visit to the U.K. by getting into a war of words with the mayor of London and trying to walk back calling the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, nasty. Ahead of his visit, the President also broke with the normal practice of avoiding comment on controversial domestic issues of the country that's about to play host by weighing in on the Brexit crisis, telling the U.K. to walk away from talks with the European Union if officials don't get the deal they want.
CNN, pardon me. CNN's Senior White House Correspondent, Pamela Brown is traveling with the President in London. And tell us, Pamela, what's unfolded so far.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT. Well, there certainly been a stately welcome, Brianna, for President Trump and First Lady Melania. It's also been filled with a little bit of controversy. As you pointed out, there's been a war of words between President Trump and the mayor here in London. President Trump tweeting about the mayor saying he was foolishly stupid, something to that effect as he was landing here in London. But if the royal family was bothered at all by this, they certainly didn't show it. They were very welcoming to President Trump and the First Lady here as they arrived on the helicopter. Prince Charles, his wife Camilla greeted them. Later they were able to meet with the queen, had a lunch at Buckingham Palace.
And President Trump looked very engaged as the queen showed him royal artifacts inside Buckingham Palace. From there, they went to Westminster Abbey, laid a wreath, then they had tea at Clarence House. And then this evening, of course, there's a state banquet where the President will be attending with his children. Also Prince Harry will be there.
The person who is not going to be there is, of course, Meghan Markle, his wife, who was on maternity leave. And as you know as we've been talking about just recently, the President called her nasty in response to a reporter who told him about the critical comments she had made about President Trump in 2016.
Now, the President had then denied he called her nasty even after there's audio of that. But again, the royal family isn't showing that they are bothered at all, though it is worth noting that Prince Harry sort of kept his distance from the President today. We didn't see the two talking at all.
So all of this is playing out, Brianna, against this backdrop of a country that really is in political turmoil right now. It's grappling with its identity it figures out what to do with pulling out of EU. As you know the Prime Minister Theresa May will be stepping aside in just a couple of days, and the President himself breaking with protocol weighing in on all of this in a recent interview.
The President said that if the U.K. doesn't get the deal that it wants with the EU, that it should just leave, that there should be no-deal Brexit which would have a tremendous ripple effect on businesses as well as trade. And so there's really a lot going on during this trip. Yes, this is a state visit, this is only the third US president to be afforded the honor of a state visit by the queen.
It's an outstanding invitation for a couple of years, but at the same time there is this tenuous time right now here in the U.K. and the president will be meeting with the Prime Minister Theresa may tomorrow. Brianna?
KEILAR: Pamela, thank you so much for that report from London. Next hour, the President and the First Lady will return from Buckingham Palace for a state banquet.
White House Reporter, Kate Bennett is outside of Buckingham Palace for all of this. And this is a trip, Kate, that involves a lot of pomp and circumstance as it always does, and it appears today so far that the President is actually sticking to protocol.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It does. He seems to have not made the gaffe made last summer when they went to Windsor Palace and he walked ahead of the queen while inspecting the troops. He seem like he did OK today.
Of course, all eyes are on the first couple. Melania Trump actually studies up pretty hard for these sorts of trips, Brianna. She meets with her staff and the protocol team from the State Department making sure weeks in advance everything is done right, everything is handled appropriately, that titles are bestowed properly.
These are those tricky moments with the first lady and the queen. Of course, the queen has been hosting first ladies all the way back to Jackie Kennedy and has been a guest at the White House.
[13:05:03] And many, many first ladies from Michelle Obama, who put her arm around her, to Barbara Bush who asked her question, many first ladies have felt that nervous moment of meeting the queen. And I don't think Melania is any different.
There are few moments today, we caught her laughing and smiling, and holding on to the hat in the wind with Camilla. And the queen, she seemed very relax as she often is on the global stage. She's done a lot of planning. Tomorrow night when they reciprocate the state dinner at Winfield House, Melania Trump was actively planning it back from Washington, down to the guest list, the seating arrangement, the flowers, the china, the whole menu, everything. So she's definitely part of today's activities and keeping an eye on the President too, I would imagine.
KEILAR: The banquet tonight really seems ripe for awkward moments. The President, he's had an encounter, has been around Prince Harry. But Prince Harry is going to be there at this event tonight as well. The president, of course, called his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex nasty. He says he didn't but there's audio. And if that is not a sticky wicket, Kate, well, I am not sure what is.
BENNETT: I mean, I think certainly it is. And we have to remember, Harry met Melania back in 2017 in Canada, so they kind of knew each other ahead of time. And today we watched Prince Harry walked a lot with Ivanka, sort of hanging back a bit. Maybe that helped with the tension.
I think tonight is also going to be interesting with young royals like Harry, Prince William and Kate with the younger Trumps, the adult children of Donald Trump who are also on this trip, who have decided to come along and join the President and their step-mother Melania Trump for this event and dinner tonight and tomorrow night.
So we'll see Tiffany Trump who we don't usually see. We'll see Don Jr. We'll see Eric Trump and their interactions with the royal family should be interesting as well.
But yes, I think it was not, you know, we anticipate that had Prince Hair and the President wouldn't be so buddy-buddy today, considering the headlines of recent days with Meghan Markle. Certainly they seemed to keep their distance, Prince Harry lagging behind spending more time with Ivanka. So we'll see how that plays out tonight too.
KEILAR: Yes. It was a very interesting visual. Kate Bennet in London, thank you.
And the United Kingdom is very much in a state of political disarray as Britain is planning to exit the European Union. This tension is rising as CNN learns that 10 Downing Street tried to stop the President from meeting with top Brexit supporters.
The Prime Minister's office brushed this off. They said who the President meets during his visit is of course a matter for him. But keep in mind, Mr. Trump is set to meet with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May tomorrow.
We have Ann Berry with us. She is a Financial Expert. And you've been following all of these, why would this be a problem, Trump meeting with some of the men who are vying for Theresa May's job?
ANN BERRY, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Well, I think it's a very unusual situation to have a foreign leader weighing in at a moment in time when you've got the United Kingdom extremely conflicted about how it's going to have a path forward. So I think the controversy is more around the protocol as opposed to the substance of what those meetings might entail.
I mean, it's worth remembering that Theresa May is lame duck prime minister at this point, so the President meeting with her is part of the pomp and circumstance that we've seen on this trip, but it's very unclear that anything substantive can come out of the meeting either with her or with any of the other candidates standing to replace her.
KEILAR: He's also weighed in ahead of the trip, right? He handed out some advice on Britain before he arrived. He said that Britain should walk away if they don't get what they want from the EU. Why is that something that really sticks out to you?
BERRY: Well, I think it's interesting because it supports taking a very hard stance on what is an incredibly complicated issue. And at this point in time you've got experts within with the U.K. who very explicitly said a no-deal Brexit is the worst possible outcome for the British economy.
The Bank of England came out and said, last year and repeated it recently. That could lead to a recession as bad as what we saw after the post, you know, after the financial crisis.
So the idea that a sitting president in the United States to come out and support an action that can lead to such dire consequences for the economy of one of its closest allies is a pretty big statement to make.
KEILAR: And we also saw the President trading insults with London's mayor. They have a long history of this. So maybe watching that play out again yesterday wasn't as surprising. But there's a lot of political leaders, British political leaders who declined invitations to state banquet tonight. The President was not invited to address parliament. What does that tell you?
BERRY: It's very interesting. So the leaders of the opposition (inaudible) opposition party, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party and Vince Cable as you said both declined to participate, and that's extremely unorthodox. But I think when you look at what that means in the grand context of the relationship between the US and the U.K., I think it's important to point that that special chance of logic relationship transcends any one particular set of individuals.
I think you've seen that in the way in which the royal family has continued to comport itself for the enormous grace during this early part of the visit with Theresa May, meeting with the President tomorrow despite the fact that she's out going.
[13:10:01] There's a lot of focus I think despite the heated rhetoric with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, that this trip is really about friendship and collaboration with two countries, with two nations more than it is about friendships between individual politicians.
KEILAR: Very good point. Ann Berry, thank you for being with us.
President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, well, he bombed an interview with Axios on HBO. He poorly sidestepped questions about the Birther Movement as well as Russian interference in US elections.
Kushner was trying to defend President Trump against allegations of racism but he refused to discuss one of his father-in-law's most racist acts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN SWAN, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Was birtherism racist?
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: Look, I wasn't really involved in that.
SWAN: I know you weren't. Was it racist?
KUSHNER: Like I said, I wasn't involved in that.
SWAN: I know you weren't. Was it racist?
KUSHNER: Look, I know who the President is and I've not seen anything in him that is racist. So again, I was not involved in that.
SWAN: Did you wish that he wouldn't do that?
KUSHNER: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.
SWAN: The other issue that often gets brought up in this conversation is that he campaigned on ban Muslims. Would you describe that as religiously bigoted?
KUSHNER: Look, I think that the President did his campaign the way he did his campaign.
SWAN: He did, do you wish he didn't make that speech? KUSHNER: I think he's here today and I think he's doing a lot of great things for the country and that's what I'm proud of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger is here with us. I mean, not only what did you think of that answer, but what -- it was the interplay of the question and the answer.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the question kept coming do you wish he didn't do it.
KEILAR: Because he said he's not racist, right? That's what he --
BORGER: That's right.
KEILAR: That's what Jared Kushner is saying. He's not racist, okay.
BORGER: OK. So -- and you weren't involved, OK. We get that. But, what do you think of it?
You know, well, I think that's completely evasive. And I think Kushner was trying very hard not to answer the question directly which he refused to answer. I wasn't involved in that. It's not real an answer.
When somebody is asking you a direct question, what do you think about birtherism? What do you think about your father-in-law saying that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States? Was that racist? Well, I wasn't involved in that. That's not the question.
KEILAR: And it's germane because even if he was not involved in that.
BORGER: of course.
KEILAR: He is there almost as a character witness when it comes to racism for his father-in-law.
KEILAR: So those questions are completely fair game, those follow-up questions.
BORGER: And there's a character witness on a lot of issues, you know, whether it comes to the Muslim ban or birtherism or whatever. When you are a senior adviser to the president and you're asked a question like that, you don't get a pass because oh, I'm his son-in-law and by the way I don't want to get him angry at me. And I think that's what was going on.
He knew if he had answered the question by saying, yes, I think it was inappropriate, I mean, to use a weasel word, but I think it was inappropriate, which would not be strong enough obviously. But even if he had said that, he would have been in trouble at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So he wasn't going to do it, and i think his answer was offensive, incomplete, whatever you want to call it will. KEILAR: It was all kinds of things.
KEILAR: There are so many moments in this interview and one of them is when Jared Kushner would not say whether he would alert FBI if there was a meeting request from Russia, as there had been with the Trump Tower meeting, that infamous meeting. He also downplayed the significance of that meeting. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUSHNER: I showed up at the meeting, I stayed for 15 minutes. It's a clown show. One second, let me finish this. I text my assistant saying, you know, "Can you give me a call and get me the hell out of here, this is a waste of time. I'll leave." I never would have thought about that meeting again, OK. Had there been something that actually was nefarious at that meeting that came up, maybe we would have done something different.
But the reality is, is that the meeting was a total waste of time.
SWAN: Does it not set off at least some alarm bell when you see an e- mail saying that a Russian government wants to help --
KUSHNER: Like I said, the e-mail that I got on my iPhone at that time basically show up at 4:00. I didn't scroll down, I never would have thought about that --
SWAN: You had Russia in the subject line.
KUSHNER: Again, I would get about 250 e-mails a day, and so I literally showed up at 4:00, I showed up at 4:00.
SWAN: Would you call the FBI if it happened again?
KUSHNER: I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is that we were not given anything that was salacious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: It's hard to do hypotheticals. What does that tell you?
BORGER: Why is it hard?
KEILAR: It actually seems pretty easy. However, what does that tell you about his concern when it comes to the -- it's not a hypothetical and here's why, because the intel community says that Russia continues to meddle in American elections.
BORGER: Right. Right.
KEILAR: He's going to keep doing it in 2020. This is ongoing, and this has happened before with the request from Russia. What does that tell you about his level concern? BORGER: Well, remember, he also gave another interview in which he downplayed and dismissed Russian interference as a few Facebook ads, remember that? And I'm looking at with Bob Mueller said last week and when he said there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our allegation and that allegation deserves the attention of every American, he was talking about the Russians.
[13:15:04] So when Jared Kushner who I assumed doesn't know as much about this as Mueller. I'm assuming he may have read the Mueller report would say, you know, I don't know if I'd alert the FBI? What?
Somebody from Russia says that they have got dirt on an opponent and you wouldn't say would I go to the general counsel of the campaign and pick up the phone, and let the general counsel deal with it? Is there a lesson learned here?
KEILAR: But he's concerned about it looking like he did something wrong.
BORGER: Well, that's right.
KEILAR: That the meeting was wrong.
BORGER: Of course, and what he's thinking about in his own head is his own legal culpability here and the fact that he has always said that he didn't know what the meeting was about. You just heard that I didn't scroll down on my e-mail. I showed up. It was ridiculous. There was nothing there, but that's not the point.
The point wasn't that the meeting turned out to be nothing. The point was that they took the meeting.
BORGER: And that is the problem and why not say, look, if we had to do it all over again, I think we'd call the general counsel, by the way, Don McGahn. I think we'd call the general counsel and say what do we do about this? But he didn't even go that far, which to me indicates he's still worried about his own legal issues.
But also it's not so hard to say that, you know, maybe we made an innocent mistake and we should done it differently, and I wouldn't have attended the meeting, but none of that. None of that.
KEILAR: Gloria, thank you so much.
KEILAR: If healthcare will be a deciding issue for the 2020 election, a new poll just in essentially confirms that. Plus a sitting congressman says he and his unit killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians. And the gunman submitted his resignation just hours before he walked into his workplace and killed 12 people. What we are learning about the investigation and the people who lost their lives.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:21:44] KEILAR: In Virginia Beach, city offices are back open today with the exception of the municipal center, the scene of Friday's shooting where 12 people died. The building is going to remain closed indefinitely while investigators continue their work there. And there was also a vigil that was held just a short time ago to honor these 11 city workers and the local contractor who was in the building getting a permit at the time of the shooting.
Among the victims being remembered is a grandmother who worked at the city for 24 years, an engineer known for playing in the local bagpipe band, and a supervisor who was hoping to retire later this year. Police still have no apparent motive for the shooting, but what we do know is that the gunman was a city engineer with almost 15 years experience who submitted his resignation the day of his rampage.
Shimon Prokupecz is following this investigation. He is in Virginia Beach for us. What are investigators there learning?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. So this is the big question here now is motive. And that is something that's on everyone's mind, that is something that investigators here say they don't yet know why this happened. They are still working through interviewing witnesses and people who knew the shooter, his family members, people who may have had interactions with him leading into Friday when all of this happened.
They are trying to figure out what exactly set him off. They say, according to at least city officials, that right now they have found nothing that indicates that he was having any problems here at work. He didn't have any disciplinary issues that they know of, so they don't see that necessarily right now as being the motive.
It could be several things that were going on in his life that ultimately led to this, but that's still very much unknown. And it could be that they may never know why exactly why he did this. But nonetheless that is their priority. They do want to figure out exactly why this happened.
The other thing that's going on here today is that there are still dozens of FBI employees here, crime scene analysts and agents who are working behind us, going through the area where all this happened. And one other thing I want to tell you, Brianna, is that family members. You know, you talked about some of these family members, some of the victims here, some of them have been showing up to the scene here behind me.
One family came over because they were looking for some closure. They wanted to touch the car, the car that their loved one had driven to work, the car still behind me. There are other cars here belonging to victims that are still in the parking lot. But family members are showing up here trying to do whatever they can to find closure. That one family member said they may never get closure because with the shooter dead, there will never be a day in court for them to be able to face him.
KEILAR: And they may not understand why as investigators there are searching for a motive. Shimon, thank you for that report from Virginia Beach.
President Trump has been touting his Middle East peace plan as "the deal of the centuries." But new secret audio shows his own secretary of state feels otherwise, and --
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm telling you --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
[13:04:43] KEILAR: -- why many Democrats were met with boos and jeers at the California Democratic State Convention.
KEILAR: Healthcare is a dominant issue in the 2020 race for the White House, and a new poll just into CNN shows some of the reasons why. According to the new Monmouth University poll, almost half of Americans say their healthcare costs have gone up over the past two years, 21 percent say their costs have increased a lot, 25 percent say they have gone up somewhat.
Patrick Murray is the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
So, Patrick, what does this poll show us about the financial burden of healthcare costs?
PATRICK MURRAY, DIRECTOR, MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY POLLING INSTITUTE: Yes, this is something that we've been tracking all along because every time we ask a question in our poll about what's a top issue that affects your family and keeps you up at nights, it always as healthcare at the top.