Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Makes State Visit to U.K.; President Trump Criticizes Meghan Markle and London Mayor Ahead of State Visit to U.K.; Front Runner In The Democratic Party, Joe Biden, Did Not Attend The Convention This Weekend; Fourteen Presidential Hopefuls Spoke At California's Democratic Party Convention This Weekend; Forty-One Percent Now Say They Are In Favor For Impeaching President Trump. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 3, 2019 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Keep in mind they'll be overturning the opinion of lower court judges, one of whom said, quote, "It threatens the very foundations of our democratic threatens system." Also vindicating a strategy of appealing the Supreme Court with the hope that a conservative majority will provide a green light, even on false pretexts, enshrining the idea that the ends justifies the means.

This case is so high stakes in large part because of its impact on partisan redistricting. On the Friday before Memorial Day, the Supreme Court called a halt on two court ordered redrawing of districts in Ohio and Michigan without explanation. But it may indicate the results of a major redistricting decision that's also due to come down this month. These two cases could lead to even more hyper-partisan polarization and further deepen distrust of institutions and our democracy. That's your reality check.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John. John Avlon, thank you very much for bringing us up to speed on that, appreciate it.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump meeting with Queen Elizabeth right now after, well, insulting Meghan Markle and the mayor of London. So we'll explain this split screen that we're seeing. Our live coverage continues right now.

Good morning, everyone, welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, June 3rd, 8:00 now in the east. President Trump and the First Lady are at Buckingham Palace as we speak. They were greeted there when they landed in Marine One by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. The Trumps shook hands with Queen Elizabeth, officially kicking off their three-day state visit to the U.K. It was an elaborate welcome ceremony. The anthems of both countries were played before President Trump reviewed the Guard of Honor alongside Prince Charles. The president and first lady are now meeting with the Queen before they all have a private lunch with her magistery.

BERMAN: All the pomp and pageantry, which you know the president loves, comes amid controversy. The president slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan just moment before touching down on British soil. The president is also facing criticism for calling Prince Harry's wife, Meghan Markle, nasty in an interview, something he has denied even though there's audio of him actually saying it. And this visit comes just as the British Prime Minister Theresa May is about to begin the process of stepping down. So a lot going down.

Joining us now, Abby Phillip, CNN White House correspondent, Max Foster, CNN royal correspondent, and Clarissa Ward, CNN chief international correspondent. Max, I just want to start with you at the palace to get a sense of what we just saw and what's happening now behind the closed doors.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It was the celebration, really, of the military ties, the national ties between two key allies. You saw two heads of state in front of that Guard of Honor, and you saw the national anthems played out in a very proud moment. I think the Queen orchestrated much of this. And what she wanted to do was divide all the divisiveness and focus on what these two countries had in common, and she did so pretty successfully with President Trump being escorted by senior guardsmen, also the Prince of Wales, helping him avoid any faux pas, any embarrassments that he experienced last time.

For example, currently they're within the palace for a private lunch. We know that Prince Harry is in there. We know that some of Donald Trump's children are in there. We haven't been given the exact guest list. This is a private lunch, a welcome lunch, where everyone can speak openly in theory, get to know each other a bit, and the president can enjoy all the pomp and ceremony that the Brits can lay on.

There will also be a display of American artifacts in the royal collection. So that will be another way to celebrate ties. Then there will be the traditional exchange of gifts as well before the program continues. It's pretty busy.

CAMEROTA: But, of course, Clarissa, some of the optics are misleading, or at least confusing, since we know what the president has been ruminating about before this unified -- this show of unity with Britain, because Twitter is a window into the mind, as a great philosopher once said. And so he was upset this morning about CNN's global reach. He called Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, a nasty -- well, he called her nasty. He called the mayor of London, he insulted him. So all of that going on behind the scenes while there is this show of unity before our eyes. And it's a confusing split screen.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And yet, Alisyn, the Brits in the face of this are unflappable, quite simply because, well, first of all, there's the whole stiff upper lip tradition here in the U.K. But beyond that, I think there's a sense that no one here would expect anything to be different. We saw when President Trump last visited the U.K. nearly a year ago, he criticized Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit negotiations, said that her deal was terrible.

And so it's no surprise that, as he prepares to -- or as he was preparing to come here for this really extraordinary honor in the form of the state visit, he was not wasting any time in pulling punches.

[08:05:04] He was giving interviews to "The Sun" tabloid here, saying he that likes Boris Johnson, the Tory frontrunner, to be potentially prime minister, saying that he didn't know Meghan Markle was nasty after hearing that the Duchess of Sussex had allegedly said she would consider moving to Canada if he was elected. And of course, giving an interview to "The Sunday Times," making his views on Brexit very clear there as well.

And it's really quite startling, when you look at the contrast, back before the Brexit vote when President Obama weighed in on the whole Brexit issue and said that the U.K. risked going to the back of the queue if it went through with it, those were seen as controversial remarks, and President Obama came under quite a lot of criticism for them.

Fast forward to nowadays and the new reality that we're all living in, and there's almost a collective shrug, there's a sense of outrage fatigue. For the Brits here and particularly for Downing Street and for the British political system, there's a sense that this is -- there are much more underpinnings to this visit. The relationship now as the U.K. is in political turmoil as it moves into a post-Brexit era, is going to be increasingly important, and they want to see the contours of some kind of a trade deal agreed upon.

Obviously, they don't want to see the president meddling in British political affairs, but they have come to accept seemingly that that is the reality of dealing with President Trump. And so the main goal now appears to be simply to contain the damage, to get through this state visit with the minimum of embarrassments, and set pieces like today at Buckingham Palace, as we saw, are particularly helpful in trying to avoid those embarrassments because there are fewer opportunities to go off piece, as it were.

BERMAN: It's almost as if the president wanted to get a lot of it out of his system when he was on his own terms, landing on Air Force One, sending out tweets from U.S. Ambassador's residence, Winfield House in London before arriving at Buckingham Palace. And that's where he's on the Queen's rules. Now he is within the rules set by Queen Elizabeth inside this building. So for the next few hours, at least, Abby, he's going to be on his best behavior.

We also say there, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, senior White House advisers, obviously, Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, Stephen Miller, the White House advisor, they were all there enjoying the moment. What's going on with the White House staff, Abby, behind the scenes on this trip?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're staying as close to the president as they are really required to do as some of his closest advisers, and just trying to manage this experience for him. I think you made a really good point that so much of this happened before he got to this point. I don't think it's an accident that when the president did that interview with "The Sun," that it happened days before he even got to the U.K. The last time he did an interview with a British tabloid, the last time he was here, it was so disruptive to the trip. It happened in the middle of the trip just before he was set to sit down with Theresa May, and it made a splash for that reason.

This time some of this stuff has been handled by his staff, pushed to the very front of the trip so that it can really just be put out of the way. His comment about Meghan Markle, it made a splash in the United States, but I think that by the time he got here, people had digested it. As he's walking into Buckingham Palace, it's sort of in the rearview mirror.

So to the extent that the White House can try to manage this president in those ways, I think they tried to do that. The tweets came when they did. The president I think intentionally sent that tweet just as he was landing to make a point that that if he wants to engage with people, he will really at any time. But at the same time, the objective from now on is to try to make this go as smoothly as possible and to try to manage the opportunities for President Trump to go off script and to create controversies where they perhaps don't really need them.

In the past, they've not really managed that quite as well. Having the president sit down in an interview with a sympathetic interviewer and really just go on and on is usually a recipe for him to create some kind of trouble. They tried to do at least some of that at the beginning of this trip, and I think the result has been that he's been able to come into this stage of it and just have it be a little bit in the past for now.

CAMEROTA: That's very magnanimous of the palace, Max, for them to overlook the name calling of Meghan Markle. As we know, Prince Harry, her husband, will be at this lunch today. And you've said that you expect him not to bring it up. He'll be on his best behavior because his grandmother wants that.

[08:10:00] What about the issues where there are policy differences, really stark worldview differences, for instance, climate change that President Trump has referred to in the past as a hoax. How will the palace and Prince Charles handle that?

FOSTER: Well, the U.K. and the U.S. have fundamental differences on two things which are bound to come up, which are climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, for example. The Queen doesn't get involved in politics. She has to stay above politics. As soon as she gets involved in politics, she risks losing Parliamentary support and the whole institution crumbles.

This event, a state event involving the United States, Britain's key ally, is where she has to rise to the occasion. This is when she represents the United Kingdom on the international stage in no other way that you can really imagine. So everyone has to fall in line behind that, which is why I don't think Prince Harry will bring up the Meghan Markle comments and why the Queen won't bring up any of the insults against politicians.

I wonder if President Trump has figured out that there are two distinct institutions, two distinct protocols. He can lay into the politicians as much as he likes, but it won't affect any of the royal protocols or his relationship with the Queen and Buckingham Palace. So he can own that part while shaking things up on the other side. It's a completely unprecedented way of doing things, but I do think it's very interesting that he's really reverential to royal protocols and not to political protocols. And as far as Boris Johnson is concerned, someone he regards as a friend, quietly behind the scenes, people don't think that's necessarily such a big issue. He's the frontrunner to replace Theresa May, she's a dead duck. Why can't he meet Boris Johnson? Nigel Farage is a different issue.

BERMAN: All right, Max Foster, Abby Phillip, Clarissa Ward, much more to discuss as this hour continues. And we'll come back to you the minute we see anyone emerge from behind those closed doors at Buckingham Palace.

CAMEROTA: We refer to it here as a lame duck. But I think that was a British-ism.

BERMAN: I understand what he was saying there. They say a lot of things differently there. I will say there is something poignant about going from Buckingham Palace to a discussion about U.S. elections. Big difference there, right? Most of the 2020 Democratic candidates were in California this weekend, and many of them were taking shots at the frontrunner Joe Biden who was not there. What's going on here? That's next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: 14 presidential hopefuls spoke at California's Democratic Party Convention this weekend. The front runner in the race, the former Vice President Joe Biden, he was not there. He was campaigning in Ohio, yet his presence very clearly felt because really for the first time he was a direct target of some of his democratic opponents.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), M.A.: Some say if we all just calm down the republicans will come to their senses, but our country is in a time of crisis.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wins if we look like more of the same. He wins if we look like Washington. And so, the riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.


BERMAN: Joining us now MJ Lee, CNN Political Correspondent, and Alex Burns, CNN Political Analyst and National Political Correspondent for The New York Times. When Elizabeth Warren says some day if we just - some say if we just calm down - she's talking about Joe Biden. Joe Biden says we all just need to calm down. When Pete Buttigieg says if we look like Washington we will lose, what he's saying is Joe Biden looks like Washington. Those were as direct frontal assaults on the front runner as we have seen to date. Why?

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it is - it shows us exactly where they think the line is between needing to confront Joe Biden and maybe not - still not wanting to go too far in terms of direct conflict with a guy who's pretty popular in the party, right? This is a very liberal crowd at the California Democratic Party Convention. The folks in that room are more liberal even than the average California democrat. So they are the folks who want to hear exactly this message, and the fact they got it from people as prominent as Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg tells you that's some pretty serious candidates in the race who've decided that they cannot count on Joe Biden to lose air speed on his own. They cannot just assume that, you know, he is coasting on name I.D. and as they get their own messages out there he will fall, that he's actually a pretty solid front runner at this point, and if they're going to pull voters away from him, they need to give democrats a pretty good reason why.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Bernie Sanders also went after Joe Biden. Not saying his name, but certainly recognizing his absence, so let's listen to this.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), V.T.: As you all know, there is a debate among presidential candidates who have spoken to you here in this room and those who have chosen for whatever reason not to be in this room about the best way forward.


CAMEROTA: So MJ, the whatever reason not to be in this room is strategic, right, to separate himself from the pack of 23 to do something different. Is there any downside to Joe Biden not being there because then it was open season on Joe Biden?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well look, it's interesting. At this point in the campaign we're obviously seeing a lot of these candidates taking pretty veiled shots at Joe Biden. I think the interesting dynamic over the next couple of weeks is going to be whether those shots end up looking more unveiled, especially as these candidates think through how to prepare for the first democratic debate that's coming up in a couple of weeks. They are going to be thinking about the possibility that they share a stage with Joe Biden, and if that's the case then it is a huge opportunity for any candidate to either go after Joe Biden or in some way distinguish themselves from Joe Biden who clearly, as Alex said, has proven to be the front runner so far. It's interesting. Of the candidates who are trying to break out, who are not necessarily sort of in the top tier yet, we're not seeing a lot of them, maybe with the exception of Inslee, become sort of a one issue, single issue candidate, right? He is running on climate change, but for a lot of the other candidates, they're not really doing that.

[08:20:00] They're talking about a lot of different issues. And I think the question is is that going to be enough when you already have the sort of Bernie Sanders, the Elizabeth Warrens of the world in the left lane and then you have Joe Biden really taking - taking on a sizeable chunk of the support for everybody else, for every other block, right? And I don't know if that's a strategy that these candidates have to figure out even more quickly than they are.

BERMAN: It's interesting. The next three weeks in some ways, they're all a try out for these debates. I mean, these candidates are probably trying out different messages to see what works. And for so many of them, as you both note, that message is going to be how to I position myself against the Vice President of the United States. And Bernie Sanders there, we say - you said - you said veil. That was really thinly veiled.

LEE: Yes.

BERMAN: I mean, a barely veiled comment about Vice President Joe Biden.

BURNS: In some ways, Bernie Sanders is one of the best things Joe Biden has going for him in this race because when that message is coming from a person on the left who, you know, people in the party have real concerns about his electability. He's a divisive figure in democratic politics, Bernie Sanders is. That might be hard for some folks in the sort of center or left of center, left pace to swallow than it would be if it were coming from someone like Pete Buttigieg or Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren who might be more broadly appealing in the party than Bernie Sanders at this point. I do think the choice by Vice President Biden to not be there is really illustrative of the balancing act he's trying to pull off in this race where he isn't going to go into the sort of leftie lions band (ph) and embrace getting booed by that crowd the way some other folks in the field did, right? John Hickenlooper went to the California convention and said, you know, socialism is not the answer. Biden is not seeking out that kind of backlash from the left, but he is trying to stake out this space in the center without having that kind of fight, and I don't know how sustainable that's going to be in a long race, and especially, as MJ said, in a race where he's going to be on stage with these folks.

CAMEROTA: In terms of policy, the other person who was booed was John Delaney. I think that he said that Medicare for all is not the answer. So was there anything - is there any lesson for democrats from this convention that they went to or is that such an outlier in terms of the political spectrum that where they were was even left of perhaps where California democrats are?

LEE: That's right. I mean, I think it's important to keep in mind the context of this event and this weekend a lot of the folks in the audience are incredibly politically active. They are tuned in. They are probably going to be much more to the left than sort of the national democrats and the voters that these candidates are going to have to win over. So you're not necessarily walking into this room and walking onto the stage, and the gauge for sort of the reaction that you're seeing in the audience, that's not necessarily reflective of what you're going to have to, you know, confront when you're out campaigning at the reset of the country.

BERMAN: Yes, this is the convention that in the past endorsed Diane Feinstein's primary opponent, right, instead of Diane Feinstein which gives you a sense of where they are even in California. All right MJ, Alex, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: All right, the estranged husband of a missing Connecticut mom is expected to appear in court today. We'll bring you the new details we've learned about this case, this missing mother of five, and what led to her husband's arrest.



CAMEROTA: A new CNN national poll finds support rising for impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but some democrats in Pennsylvania fear that impeachment could help the president. CNN's Miguel Marquz explains.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONENT: Calls for impeachment directed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi growing louder.

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: As - I told you this is like coming home for me.

MARQUEZ: The California democrat with the power to begin impeachment proceedings so far hasn't given an inch.

PELOSI: President Trump will be held accountable for his actions.

MARQUEZ: A new CNN polls finds that 76 percent of registered democrats now favor impeachment. Only 6 percent of republicans think the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it's just all political. They just want him out of office.

BETH TYSON, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I've never seen such terrible things from a president, and it's been an embarrassment to have him as our president, so I do think that it is a congressional duty.

MARQUEZ: In the Philly suburbs, many anti-Trump voters worry full on impeachment proceedings now may only strengthen the president's hand in 2020.

GRACE HERSHEY, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: They might just want to focus on, you know, doing well in the actual election rather than going through with this impeachment plan.

TOM WARD, INDEPENDENT VOTER: I think following the investigation, the decision whether to impeach or not will become more clear. MARQUEZ: But full-throated calls for impeachment -

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), C.A.: We need to begin impeachment proceedings and we need a new commander in chief.

MARQUEZ: - now embraced by presidential candidates Pelosi's decision to investigate, build a case, then impeach drawing fire from all sides.

JIMMY KIMMEL, TELEVISION HOST: That's why we need you to get in there and to take care of this and just getting something with these guys (ph).

PELOSI: I think the president wants us to impeach him.

KIMMEL: You think he wants us to impeachment?

PELOSI: Well, he knows it's not a good idea to be impeached, but the silver lining for him is then he believes that he would be exonerated by the United States Senate.

MARQUEZ: Colleen Guiney, Committee Chair of the Delaware County P.A. Democrat, says registrations for her party are way up, and impeachment won't matter much on election day.

COLLEEN GUINEY, COMMITTEE CHAIR OF THE DELAWARE COUNTY P.A. DEMOCRAT: If impeachment were to proceed and then be blocked in the Senate, so that could, in fact, demoralize some people, but I believe that regardless of what happens with impeachment, I think democrats are energized.

MARQUEZ: Miguel Marquez, CNN, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.


BERMAN: Right. Joining us now, Joe Lockhart, former Clinton White House Press Secretary and CNN Political Commentator, and John Avlon, CNN Senior Political Analyst. So it just so happens we have some new numbers which show where the American people are in impeachment. 41 percent now say they favor impeachment, 54 percent against.