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The President Slammed London's Mayor As A Stone Cold Loser; People Are Suggesting That Perhaps The Queen Doesn't Want Him To Stay At Buckingham Palace; There Are Major Disagreements About Brexit, What The Future Should Look Like And What Negotiations Should Look Like; Trump Makes Remarks About Meghan Markle Saying She Could Be So Nasty. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 3, 2019 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, CNN NEWS: One might say norm busting fashion, forgive us, William Barr. The president slammed London's mayor as a stone cold loser as Air Force One touched down on British soil, the president also called Dutchess Meghan Markle nasty, then denied it even though there is actual audio of him saying it.

He also weighed in on British politics, which past presidents have been careful not to do.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, CNN NEWS: So the president and first lady will have a private lunch with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry will be there, Meghan Markle will not.

That will be an interesting dynamic to watch. We'll bring you all of the key moments live. So this visit comes just as Theresa May is about to step down as leader of her party, beginning the process of resigning as prime minister.

In Washington, as Congress comes back to work for a few days, there's a new CNN poll that shows support for impeachment is rising. Slowly, but rising. Joining us now to talk about all this, Abby Phillips, CNN White House correspondent, Jeffrey Toobin, former federal prosecutor and CNN chief legal analyst, and Bianna Golodryga, CNN contributor.

Great to have all of you, obviously we'll break away for the live event as all the pomp and circumstance begins. So Jeffrey, the idea that right before he lands he sends out this tweet of president - I mean of the mayor of London, insulting him.

Now by the way, no love lost between them because this was in response to a day before Mayor Khan, Sadiq Khan, saying it is so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week for a formal state visit for a president whose divisive behavior flies in the face of the ideals that America was founded on.

That was in response to calling Meghan Markle nasty. So already there is a very public unpleasant tiff between, you know, leaders and some of the royal family. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CHIEF LEGAN ANALYST, CNN: That is true, but you know,

I'd like to focus just for a second on this nasty issue, not because it's terribly important what the president said about Meghan Markle, but the idea that the president would deny saying something that he's on audio tape saying is kind of surreal 1984-like scenario which even for President Trump is especially surreal and bizarre.

Let's play it - let's play him saying the word nasty out loud. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said she'd move to Canada if you got elected, turned out she moved to Britian.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think that - you know, a lot of people moving here, so what can I say. No, I didn't know that she was nasty.


BERMAN: I didn't know that she was nasty, nasty, he just said it out loud, the word nasty. The president then later wrote I never called Meghan Markle nasty.

TOOBIN: Made up by fake news media, and I think fake news - I mean it's so interesting, fake news with the president has become kind of a tell, like when he says believe me. That is almost always a lie.

And fake news is now becoming kind of a tell for things that are true, and that's a classic example.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And the fake - the fake news media he's referring to is a British tabloid, The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Right, so he's now calling even his friend Rupert Murdoch's publication fake news.

CAMEROTA: By the way, he's also tweeting about how riveted he is by "New Day" this morning and talking about CNN's global reach.

BERMAN: Good morning, Mr. President.

CAMEROTA: Good morning. He's watching because he said that he couldn't find anything else because obviously CNN has so much global reach that that's all he can find while he's in London and he's talking about - well not exactly how grateful he is for it, but he's certainly riveted by it.

BERMAN: I will also say if the Attorney General William Barr is watching, I keep harping on this, William Barr did an interview last week where he said no, no, the president doesn't do norm busting, don't get him - on him for that.

Well honesty about a word like nasty, that's a norm in institutional honesty. Another institution is you don't, you know -

CAMEROTA: Weigh in?

BERMAN: Well, I'm trying to think of a word that, you know, the FCC won't have a problem with - as you're landing in a foreign country, Abby, you don't typically levy harsh criticism of the mayor of the host city.

You know, criticizing or degrading the leaders you're about to meet with in that country. That's an institution.

ABBY PHILLIP, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Absolutely, and we should be clear about what the president did versus what Sadiq Khan did. I mean I think this ongoing feud between the two of them has been going on for quite some time.

But Sadiq Khan was criticizing President Trump's politics. President Trump upon landing in London was criticizing Sadiq Khan's height. These are very different kinds of critiques and President Trump clearly sent that tweet just seconds before Air Force One touched down at the airport, knowing that it would cause an enormous fire storm.

But taking the debate to a completely different place, going from whether or not President Trump and Sadiq Khan agree on their politics to whether or not Sadiq Khan is a stone cold loser who is as short or shorter than the New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.


So this is actually the kind of thing that we are very much used to and I was listening to some commentary on, you know, British television this morning and I think that there - even here, I think people have settled into the fact that President Trump is likely to do this when he comes onto foreign soil.

But this is not just President Trump reacting, he clearly did this with a great deal of intention, intending to set this kind of tone as he comes to London knowing that he's facing a lot of blow back, protests and just really turmoil around just the fact that he is going to be here for this week.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but it's not just the lack of diplomacy, Bianna, it's the - the norm busting is also that he's weighing in on British politics at this time of great turmoil. He's saying how supportive he is of Nigel Farage and of Boris Johnson.

He's weighing in, I mean just as they're trying to figure out who is going to lead the way forward through Brexit somehow, usually a president of the United States stays away from interfering in internal politics.

GOLODRYGA: Especially when there is a political crisis going on in Britain that's been playing out for two years. This is now the second time the president has weighed in prior to meeting with the prime minister.

Now this prime minister obviously is a lame duck, she has a few days left, Friday is her last day in office. Last year, remember, when he met with her he gave an interview with another British publication in which he endorsed Boris Johnson.

So he seems to be following suit with a pattern that we've seen before, this is the president weighing in on Brexit, supporting Brexit, this is something he's supported from the get go and he believes plays into what he supports here domestically as well in terms of politics.

BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, Max Foster said something in our last hour and we'll get Max back on in just a second, he's at Buckingham palace, but the thing that might upset the president the most this morning is Max says the crowds are actually small in comparison to past events he's been in.

Now that might be because of a lot of things, but one of the reasons might be this sense of weariness at this point. The British public maybe has just had it with this and the controversy, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Well the good news is if the crowds are small, he can always lie that they're big, because that's his approach to - to - you know, inconvenient facts. You know, I - the question I always have about the president's statements these days is how much do we discount them for saying oh well that's just the president.

And now people around the world are discounting him that way. The question is what does it mean when the president's word means so little? I don't know the answer to that.

GOLODRYGA: And it's happening on foreign soil with a country that's having an existential crisis. Great Britain as we know it could very well change over the next couple of years, it has drastic effects on the U.S.

This is our closest most personal relationship in terms of foreign countries, and that could seemingly change as we know it over the next year or so if not sooner. And for the president to be weighing in, it may be helping him short term, long term we could see drastic changes and impacts on our relationships.

CAMEROTA: Yes, one more thing just about the nasty comment, Abby, that I think is important, and it's what Jeffrey raised which is the brazenness, the brazenness of saying never happened, this is all made up when he knew that there was audio, when the audio has been released.

And just wondering - I mean often the president doesn't about (ph) face, often the president says something that is demonstrably not true. But this time it does feel as though that was a different in a sort of further category in the past because the audio is right there and so plain.

So any thoughts on what's going on behind the scenes with that?

PHILLIP: For - yes, I mean I think for the public view, this is unusual - this is sort of a step further where something is on audio tape, the president says it didn't happen. But we should go back a little bit, you know, New York Times' Maggie Haberman has reported in the past that after the Access Hollywood tape for example was released in which his audio - his voice was recorded saying what he said on that tape, the president privately to his advisors according to Maggie's reporting questioned that whether the tape was real.

I mean he has a history of doing this in private, the fact that he's doing it in public now is what makes it so extraordinary, but it's part of a - of a pattern of this administration trying to get the - get the public to doubt the things that they're seeing and they're hearing with their own eyes.

And President Trump, you know, months ago tweeted out to his supporters don't believe what you see and what you hear, believe what I say. And I think that is his approach to dealing with the public, and that's what makes this so dangerous and when it comes to norm busting, that's not just about the things that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

It's about whether or not facts are really facts and that's what makes this a little bit - a lot different really than a lot of the other things that people have their hair on fire about in Washington and around the world.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin quoted 1984 and I've been looking for the exact quote because I didn't want to get it wrong. The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears, that's George Orwell in 1984.


And there is something eerily similar to what's happening right now where the president's saying he didn't say something he so very clearly did. Abby, just one thing on this visit. Given that Theresa May is on her way out over the summer, given everything else that's happening, will any actual business get conducted or really is there only the opportunity for trouble in the next few days as the president's there?

PHILLIP: It does seem very much that there is ample opportunity for President Trump to make waves here. Not much opportunity for him to actually do anything of substance with the government as it's currently constituted. He's still having a meeting with Theresa May tomorrow. They're still expected to have a joint press conference, but the expectation is also that the president is going to try to ingratiate himself with some of the people who are running to be her successor with some of the pro-Brexiters. President Trump's National Security Advisor, John Bolton, we should note has been here in London for several days now having meetings behind the scenes. This is a United States government that is clearly working to put the pressure on the British government to get some major agenda items. This administration has not been shy about how much they support Brexit, about how they want, for example, the U.S. - the British government to step away from Huawei, that Chinese company. And so, they're working behind the scenes really to make it very difficult for whoever becomes Theresa May's successor to really not fall in line with those major agenda items. It could make the last several days for her a little bit more difficult, and, you know, I know my colleagues at CNNI have some reporting that 10 Downing Street has been trying to stop these meetings from happening. It seems very unlikely that they'll be able to do that if President Trump wants them to happen.

CAMEROTA: So just update our viewers, we're looking at the split screen here of you all (ph), and here's the full screen of Marine One landing. This is to pick up the president from Winfield House and the First Lady, of course. That's where they've been staying at the U.S. Ambassador's residence because Buckingham Palace I think has been under renovation. So they're about to land and bring him - chopper him over the Buckingham Palace. So let's bring in Clarissa Ward who is there at Winfield House as well as Max Foster for us. And Clarissa, just give us a sense of the timing of this visit - this state visit. I know that it's been in development since right after the president won the election, but the timing does feel awkward given everything that is happening and all the tumultuous nature of British politics right now.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATINOAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Alisyn, let's be clear about this. The Brits really tried to put this off for as long as they possibly could. When Prime Minster Theresa May first brought up the idea of honoring President Trump with a state visit, there was a huge amount of anger and a lot of people who felt that it was inappropriate both from within the political community but also just ordinary Britains. We've seen how the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has come out most recently in an editorial for The London Observer on Sunday saying essentially that he doesn't think President Trump's values embody the same values that multi-cultural Britains do. So not withstanding that, there's a sense of growing realization that with Britain leaving the E.U. and this sort of desperate political confusion that it has been thrown into it needs allies, it needs friends, and perhaps most importantly, Alisyn, it needs trade deals. And so, there is a sense of pragmatism that this visit is important, that there is a hope that the pageantry which President Trump appears to lap up will appeal to him, and I think there's an understanding as well that not withstanding the sort of barbs and tweets and flouting of diplomatic protocol that we will undoubtedly see transpire over the next few days that there's at least a hope that some kind of an outline of a trade deal agreement could be cemented, but as you mentioned, the timing is very awkward. Prime Minister Theresa May is a lame duck. She is only here for a few more days, and there is all sorts of opportunities for the visit to be derailed essentially with the president talking potentially about meeting with Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage and obviously 10 Downing Street trying very much to prevent that from happening, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Allow me to update our itinerary. We had thought we were going to get the pictures of the president being choppered over from Winfield House, but in fact this is Marine One and the president and first lady arriving already at Buckingham Palace, so we expect to see them getting out of the chopper and then there will be a gun salute greeting them.

BERMAN: Max, give us a sense of this ceremony that will play out. Well over - I lost count of how many guns will go off at one point, but they're coming from a garden nearby, also from the Tower of London. [07:15:00]

What do we expect to see, and who do we expect to see? Where will the queen actually greet the president?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you'll see Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall actually receive the president and the first lady. That's him stepping up. Really he's moving towards the role himself one day, so we're seeing a lot of this transition, actually a lot of royal events. We're seeing Prince Charles alongside the queen as she steps back, he steps forward, so that's what that moment will be about. But as we see the president and the first lady step off the chopper, then you will hear this gun fire erupt around London. As you say, there'll be a gun salute in Green Park which is near where I'm standing, also at the Tower of London. There'll be many more rounds, though - 184 in total. 185 actually in total, and that shouldn't seen necessarily as a compliment to Donald Trump because it also rolls in the fact that we are at the anniversary of the queen's coronation as well. So it's the state visit combined with her coronation which explains why there'll be so many gun salutes. And here we see the Prince of Wales heading towards the helicopter and they'll be greeting the first lady and - yes, indeed. Sorry, you're absolutely right. The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales, they'll be receiving them off the helicopter.

CAMEROTA: This is - we're just going to watch this unfold right now and wait for the gun salute. Abby, obviously President Trump likes pump and ceremony. As we know, he likes big state visits. Beyond that, what is he hoping for out of this trip?

PHILLIP: Well, I do think that this finally happening is pretty important. He does like it, and I think it's really important -

CAMEROTA: Here he comes. Hold on one second, Abby. Let's just watch.


CAMEROTA: Let's just watch for one second as he and the first lady exit. She looks lovely in a white ensemble as we saw the Duchess of Cornwall as well. And they are now all greeting each other warmly, shaking hands. I cannot lip read. However, it looks like a warm and formal meeting.

BERMAN: There's been a lot of speculation about what will happen behind closed doors between the Prince of Wales and the president. The Prince of Wales has taken on climate change as his cost to lever, as the main issue of his public life I would say, and there are those wondering if that will come up when the two meet privately. Not now. That's not happening now. This is more ceremonial to be sure.

CAMEROTA: That is a great point, I mean, that people feel that Prince Charles would be remised if he -

BERMAN: We're getting a little bit of reverb here in the studio. CAMEROTA: We're getting a little - a strange audio moment. OK, thank you. Prince Charles would be remised if he somehow omitted the cause that has become so important to him when he meets with, you know, the leader of the United States. And again, you see the first lady and the Duchess of Cornwall. You know, I have begun to think that the women coordinate their outfits, John, because it looks so lovely when they wear the same color, and I have seen this now several times. I have begun to think that there's an advanced team that really goes to work here.

BERMAN: I will say the men did also. They're both wearing business suits today.

CAMEROTA: They're wearing some suits, you're right.

BERMAN: And there she is, the queen - Queen Elizabeth. Max, just walk us through the ceremonial greeting here, the dos and don'ts of what you say and don't say.

FOSTER: So that handshake there represents the official opening of the state visit, also greeting the first lady there. Next we'll have the national anthems. I believe the American National Anthem will play out first and then the British National Anthem. They're going to go inside for a brief moment. It hasn't been fully explained to me yet. They're going to go inside and then we're going to have the officially guard as well. There'll be the Guard of Honor, and we'll also have that moment where the president will be invited to inspect the guard. You'll remember what happened last year, guys, when it was slightly awkward where he walked in front of the queen. Seen as a bit of a faux par (ph), but to be fair to him, Prince Phillip would normally have carried out the role. The queen wasn't completely aware of what to do either. So we're going to see that Guard of Honor soon, and we're going to see the national anthems as well.

CAMEROTA: There's the gun salute we believe. Did I hear something?

BERMAN: Or it could have just been a bang.

CAMEROTA: Or could - they could have just been slamming the door. Abby, who knows, but -

BERMAN: Guns. Let's listen for one second. So 241 guns salutes and then a series of other salutes from around the city. And Max, just once again, the president - President Trump will be the third U.S. president, I understand, to get this type of ceremonial pomp and circumstance. George W. Bush and Barak Obama were the first two, but President Trump will not be staying at Buckingham Palace. The official reason given is renovations, correct?


FOSTER: Yes, but there are hundreds and hundreds of rooms in the palace, so some people suggesting that perhaps the Queen doesn't want him to stay. I don't think that's true.

The whole of the front facade actually is completely closed at the moment because it's being renovated. Asbestos in the basement, the wiring and the pipe work is in a terrible state.

So, he'll certainly be much more comfortable in the palatial British Ambassador's residence in Regent's Park. So, I think he's been convinced that that's OK. It's not seen as a slight.

What I will point out though, lots of people talking about how this is the most controversial state visit by a U.S. president. Actually, President Bush was a very controversial, is still, a very controversial figure in this country as well because of the Iraq War.

There were demonstrations at that time too, so I wouldn't necessarily say this is the most controversial visit, but certainly more controversial Obama, who's a very popular figure in the U.K.

CAMEROTA: So Abby, I interrupted you as we watched the President and First Lady arrive there at Buckingham Palace and as the president likes the pomp and circumstance of the 41 gun salute, but what -- what does he hope to get out of this visit?

PHILLIPS: This is partly about solidifying his place as an American president. I think there has been a sense that -- that his feuds will all these various people have diminished his relationship with the U.K., that special relationship. And I think this allows him to reestablish that, but I think he's also setting the foundation for establishing the relationship with whoever succeeds Theresa May.

This administration is really trying to make sure that they are holding the hand of whoever that -- that individual ends up being and I think that this is partly also about making it clear that the United States wants to remain close to Britain, but that they want to remain close to Britain under certain conditions in which there is a trade deal as Clarissa pointed out. They're having meetings with British and U.S. business leaders this week during this visit.

The president's been talking about doing a bilateral trade deal with the U.K, but he's also been criticizing Theresa May's handling of Brexit, not with any kind of specificity, not saying exactly what she should do, but just saying that she hasn't done it the right way and even telling her that she should have listened to him about it.

Now, President Trump is in a position where he can really cultivate the next -- her successor and I think you're already seeing some of these people who are running for that position trying to cultivate President Trump, praising him publically, defending him against his critics here in the U.K. and that is part of the objective here, just as President Trump tries to solidify what comes next politically for Britain.

And as he's just trying to make it clear that the special relationship will continue, but it's going to continue in a different way than it has been for past U.S. presidents, that's exactly what he wants.

BERMAN: And again, we are, I believe, waiting for them all to come back outside again after a brief sojourn inside, and we just did see the tape replay again of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen, greeting President Trump. She was wearing a lime green ... CAMEROTA: I call it mint.

BERMAN: ... mint, a mint dress.

CAMEROTA: That was mint.

BERMAN: All the women were wearing hats. She looks terrific. And Clarissa had pointed out to me that in the president's first visit with the Queen last year, that the private discussion went on a lot longer than was scheduled for, which would not have happened, it's been indicated to me, unless she was enjoying the conversation to some point.

So, this may be a meeting that she has been looking forward to and it certainly is one the president has been looking forward to. Because, as everyone has noted, it is the pomp, it is the ceremony that that president is so drawn to.

WARD: Well I can tell you one thing John, if Queen Elizabeth does enjoy that private conversation, we will never hear about it, because perhaps her greatest attribute is her inscrutability, the fact that she remains a complete enigma, she is A-political, never gives her own views on various situations, there was no official comment, even from the palace, after that awkward where President Trump appeared to be sort of walking in front of her last year.

Her job, or how she sees her role as the monarch, is to serve her country and in this case she is serving her country by laying on a banquet, a state banquet, a huge lavish ceremony, as we're seeing take place now, for the President of the United States, at a moment where, John, the U.K. actually really does need the United States.

The special relationship, as it comes to be known, is facing a number of challenges. There are real disagreements about the Iran agreement, about President Trump putting pressure on the U.K. not to cooperate with the Chinese company Huawei in building up it's 5G network.

There are disagreements about Brexit, what the future of Brexit should look like, what the negotiations should look like. And so, I think what we'll see today and tomorrow and into this visit, is an attempt on both sides to try to highlight areas of commonality.


Principally, probably, the will focus on security agreements between the two countries, but underscoring that is the very real and palpable tension that there are more areas of friction and difference than there are of commonality at this stage, John.

CAMEROTA: Let's just talk about what we're seeing on the screen right now. We had just seen the first family of -- here we go ...

BERMAN: There we go. Jared Kushner ...

CAMEROTA: Ivanka and Jared Kushner and -- is that Tiffany?

BERMAN: No, I'm not quite sure who that is to be honest.

CAMEROTA: We're not sure who ...

BERMAN: But that's a sight that the president will no doubt relish, because he had indicated he wanted a next generation meeting between his children and some of the heirs to the British throne. Max was reporting before, that will not happen at this point.

Max, we don't expect any next generation meeting? On the other balcony, I should not, I did recognize the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, with his phone. There he is. Or maybe they're selfies, from the balcony.

FOSTER: Also, Woody Johnson as well there.

BERMAN: OK, the U.S. Ambassador.

FOSTER: He was very close to the president I'm told as well.

BERMAN: So, no next generation meeting, Max?

FOSTER: So, this is -- well, it's been said -- made very clear to me, that's not happening, certainly not in a formal sense. What you will see, have been pointed out, that you will see Harry and William that came into this sort of suggestion, at different events, but as part of other guests.

So, after this ceremonial welcome, Harry will be at this private lunch within the palace. Clearly, Ivanka and Jared are there as well and then Prince William will be at tonight's state banquet.

So, you can see the guard there lining up and President Trump will be asked and invited along to sort of inspect the guard. We'll see how he copes with this time, didn't go particularly well last time. Before that we'll hear the National Anthems of the United States and also the United Kingdom as well. In the past, President Obama has spoken through the British national anthem, which was another faux pas.

Literally, these events, even for British people, are littered with mind -- traps, social traps, because there's so much etiquette involved. It's a very simple way of looking at really the Queen takes presence.

She walks first, she starts the conversation, she holds her hand out if you want to shake hands, but actually President Trump isn't committed to following any of these etiquette rules, he's not a British subject. And actually on this event, he's on par with the Queen, they're both heads of state and this is a joint event as part -- as far as the British establishment is concerned.

CAMEROTA: And Clarissa, of course we know that President Trump often doesn't follow with convention or orthodoxy or history and that's part of what makes this interesting, so interesting to watch. We expect them to come out of these double doors momentarily to watch this ceremony and then in about 45 minutes they'll be having a private lunch with some of the Royal Family.

And Clarissa, as we wait to watch them come out, this is awkward for a few reasons, I mean because of all the turmoil, obviously, in British politics, but also because this weekend President Trump insulted Duchess Meghan Markel, and now at lunch he will have to sit with Prince Harry and that will possibly be uncomfortable, though Max reported that Prince Harry will probably be a dutiful grandson and not bring it up, but still, it's just sort of -- if we could be a fly on the wall, what the feeling would be like at this lunch.

WARD: It certainly would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall Alisyn, and you're right, it is awkward, but at the same time, here in the U.K. there's a palpable sense of outrage fatigue. People here no longer expect anything other than the sort of behavior and tweets and flouting of traditional protocol that we've seen over the past few days.

They've heard, already, President Trump say that Theresa May is not doing a good job of negotiating Brexit. They've heard him say that he favors Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister.

They've now heard him say that he didn't know that Meghan Markle could be so nasty. Nothing really, at this stage, surprises people here anymore. And I think, coming back to what Max was saying, in the royal lunch you will see -- you will not hear a word said about these issues. There will not be an awkward moment, there will be the sort of polite patter of polite of conversation. There will not be any meaningful in depth exchange of views.

This is all about smoothing things over, about lightness, about formality and about really showing the president what the United Kingdom is capable in terms of pomp and circumstance and pageantry and making him feel honored and making him feel angulated, which as we know, appeals to President Trump, and as a result I think we can expect to see him, at least throughout the course of today, where the events are really centered on Buckingham Palace, really behaving deferentially, politely and even reverentially.

We know that he takes these institutions and pomp and circumstance quite seriously. So, I wouldn't anticipate at this stage any major obstacles or.