Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Queen Elizabeth Hosts President And First Lady At State Banquet; Judiciary Panel Sets New Hearings On Mueller Report Amid Calls For Impeachment; Interview With Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) On Impeachment; Kushner Struggles With Birtherism Conspiracy Questions; Investigators Release E-mails From Virginia Beach Gunman; North Korean Envoy Reappears In Public After Reports of Purging. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 3, 2019 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thank you so much for watching. See you tomorrow.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. The royal treatment: pageantry and ceremony as President Trump is treated royally by Britain's royal family, including a state banquet right now at Buckingham Palace. But the president's visit is not without controversy, as he insults London's mayor and Duchess Meghan Markle.

Impeachment calls: as House Democrats announce new hearings, there are growing calls to begin an impeachment inquiry but a new CNN poll shows most Americans don't support that.

What will lawmakers do next?

Deadly shooting: as a city mourns and America grapples with its deadliest shooting of the year, authorities release emails sent by the Virginia Beach gunman just hours before he attacked his coworkers.

And photo in question: a top North Korean official reportedly sent to a labor camp, after the failed summit with president Trump, may have resurfaced. North Korea has published a bizarre photo showing the official with Kim Jong-un.

But why are his hands over his face?

Is it really him?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news: President Trump and the first lady are being honored right now by Britain's royal family with a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The toast by the queen caps a day of pageantry, including a review of the honor guard and a tour of Westminster Abbey.

But it's not all polite ceremony that's going on. Before arriving in London, the president denied calling Duchess Meghan Markle "nasty," despite a recording that shows him doing just that. He also traded insults with London's mayor, who he calls "a stone-cold loser."

And the president has inserted himself into British politics, making a recommendation on who should be the next prime minister.

At home, Democrats announce a new round of hearings on the Mueller report, amid growing calls to launch an impeachment inquiry. I'll speak with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of the Oversight and Intelligence Committees. And our correspondents and analysts will have full coverage of the day's top stories.

Let's begin with our Senior White House Correspondent, Pamela Brown. Pamela's in London for this visit.

It involves a lot of pageantry, a lot of ceremony and a couple of earlier potshots by the president.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yes, that's right. Even though President Trump, Wolf, began this trip stirring controversy, that did not upend the carefully crafted pomp and pageantry that has played out in London today.

As you mentioned, right now, the opulent state banquet is underway. President Trump toasted Queen Elizabeth as a symbol of British endurance and strength.

One person not at the dinner was Prince Harry, although he was at events earlier today in the same room as President Trump. And it appears he kept his distance.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump raising a glass and delivering a toast from the Buckingham Palace ballroom.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long-cherished and truly remarkable reign of Her Majesty, the Queen.

BROWN (voice-over): Every detail of this lavish white tie affair personally approved by Queen Elizabeth, including a menu that's been in the works for six months.

ELIZABETH I, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades and which I believe will endure for many years to come.

BROWN (voice-over): Tonight's main event, capping off a busy first day at the president's long-awaited state visit to the United Kingdom. The elaborate displays of hospitality towards Mr. Trump and the first lady started early, including a private lunch with the queen, inspecting the honor guard, a tour of Westminster Abbey and tea with Prince Charles.

President Trump, for the most part, now respecting royal protocol, despite throwing diplomatic and political protocol out the window ahead of his visit. The president making waves by criticizing London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, as a, quote, "stone-cold loser," just minutes before Air Force One touched down in his city.

The insulting tweet apparently in response to an explosive op-ed written by the mayor, describing Trump as, quote, "one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat."

And in a separate controversy, Mr. Trump in an interview described Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, as "nasty" after learning she once said she would move to Canada if Trump were ever elected.

Trump tweeting Sunday morning, "I never called --

[17:05:00]

BROWN (voice-over): -- "Meghan Markle nasty," despite audio of the interview that would suggest otherwise.

TRUMP: I didn't know that she was nasty.

BROWN (voice-over): The trip happening as the U.K. faces its own issues in leadership amid their Brexit vote to leave the European Union. The president set to meet with the exiting Prime Minister Theresa May tomorrow, who is stepping aside on Friday, the country not knowing who their next leader will be.

Boris Johnson is a contender to take over and President Trump says he's a fan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I may meet with him. He's been a friend of mine, he's been very nice. I have a very good relationship with him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: So at this point, it remains to be seen if the two will meet. Now President Trump has a busy agenda tomorrow, meeting with Prime Minister May. They have a host of issues to discuss, including trade.

It's also clear, Wolf, that President Trump has had other things on his mind while here in London as well. He has tweeted about Mexico and even complained about his cable TV options here, calling on a ban on a major American company, AT&T, because he doesn't like what he sees on CNN -- Wolf.

BLITZER: AT&T, the parent company of CNN. Thank you very much, Pamela Brown, reporting from London.

Let's go live to Buckingham Palace right now. CNN Royal Correspondent, Max Foster is joining us.

Max, we saw the president and the queen. They toasted each other.

What was your takeaway from the queen's message to the president?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It was interesting. Both speeches hinged on D-Day and really celebrating those military and security ties between these two key allies.

But the queen went into it in this way, which is quite pointed I think for her. She talked about after the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated. Whilst the world has changed, we're forever mindful of the original purposes of these structures.

I think there she's referring to NATO, the United Nations, probably the E.U. as well, all institutions which, on this side of the Atlantic, Donald Trump has seen as degrading and trying to break down. So I think that was quite pointed of her and actually verging on saying something political.

BLITZER: Max, on the one hand, we see President Trump following royal protocol, now that he's in London. On the other hand, he threw insults and diplomatic norms out the window before he arrived.

FOSTER: Well, state visits are meant to be above politics, generally, because they're hosted by the queen. It's extraordinary, the way he's thrown himself into politics here. It's not as controversial as you might think, because, in this country, the general feeling is that politics is pretty broken already and a lot of people will share his view about the way Brexit is being handled.

For example, no one necessarily feels it's going particularly well. Those were all political protocols, normally respected. You talk about how strong the politics is in the country, traditionally, when you come on these state visits.

What's interesting is he's throwing those political protocols out of the window but he's absolutely revering to royal protocols. The cameras didn't quite catch it but there was a slight nod as he met the queen, a bow, arguably.

But he's on the same level as the queen. He's not a British subject, he doesn't need to do that. And actually a member of the British media was speaking to me a bit earlier, saying his speech at times almost felt like a love letter to the queen, talking about her being this great, great woman. Utter reverence, which you don't often see from him, of course.

BLITZER: She is an amazing woman, 93 years old, very, very impressive. Max Foster, in London for us, thank you.

Also breaking tonight, Congress is back in session here in Washington and the House Judiciary Committee has wasted no time in announcing new hearings on the Mueller report. Let's go to our Congressional Correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty. Sunlen, what is the strategy with these new hearings?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The House Judiciary Committee, Wolf, announcing today a series of hearings that will kick off on Monday, specifically focused on the substance and the content of the Robert Mueller report.

It kicks off Monday with a huge figure, of course, from the Watergate scandal, former White House Counsel John Dean, as well as other prosecutors, legal experts will be testifying up here on Capitol Hill.

And this is part of a shift, a refocusing by House Democrats to try to get the attention and the conversation refocused on the actual substance of the Mueller report. There, of course, has been so much conversation in recent days about contempt votes, subpoenas, all the back and forth and nuts and bolts.

The feeling here on Capitol Hill, they need to reset, refocus on the actual substance. It also comes at a time as there has been growing calls among House Democrats to push for at least the opening up of an impeachment inquiry; by CNN's latest count, 56 members of the Democratic caucus now support that.

Of course, that puts a lot of attention this week on Nancy Pelosi. The House gets back from a week-long recess --

[17:10:00]

SERFATY: -- tonight. And they'll, of course, convene for their weekly meeting tomorrow, where, most definitely, this will be a topic of conversation.

BLITZER: Certainly will be. Sunlen, you're also learning that the House Oversight Committee is now working to hold both William Barr and the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt in relation to the 2020 U.S. Census.

What's behind this latest move?

SERFATY: That's right. This is another example of House Democrats trying to intensify the pressure in all avenues on the Trump administration. Elijah Cummings, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, he says he's threatening to hold the attorney general, Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross in contempt of Congress if they do not hand over the documents, as you said, related to a 2020 citizenship question on a 2020 census.

They are right now in defiance of a congressional subpoena. So Elijah Cummings giving them until Thursday to hand over these documents and really trying to paint this as a picture of overall stonewalling of the Trump administration.

Cummings in a statement tonight, again, threatening to hold them in contempt, saying that their actions are part of a pattern in the Trump administration and he said he will consider postponing a contempt vote if they hand over what they've been requested by Thursday -- Wolf. BLITZER: We'll see what happens, Sunlen, thank you very much. Sunlen

Serfaty up on Capitol Hill.

Joining us now, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. He's a member of both the Intelligence and the Oversight Committees.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. As you know, at least 56 House Democrats are now calling for impeachment or beginning at least impeachment proceedings against the president.

Where do you stand?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), ILLINOIS: I think that the Mueller report laid out impeachable conduct, especially the obstruction of justice parts of the report, Volume II.

I think that the concern that I have is we want to begin the impeachment proceedings at a time when we've collected enough evidence to get to a conviction.

I think that the concern of folks like myself and others is that you don't want to have impeachment be an empty exercise, where the result could be the president being absolved and then being able to legitimately claim total exoneration, which would be a horrible result.

So I think that, right now, we have to do our homework, complete the investigations, gather as much evidence as possible, which is what we're trying to do, and move the American people to where we are right now.

BLITZER: So when you say conviction, are you referring to a conviction in the Senate, 67 votes would be needed in the Senate, 20 Republicans would have to vote for conviction, even if the president were impeached in the House?

Is that the requirement you're seeking?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, I think that we have to get to a place where we meet with the approval of the American people, where a large majority of the American people are where we are, which is that this obstruction of justice conduct is really unacceptable for a president to engage in.

BLITZER: According to a new CNN poll, as of right now, only 41 percent of Americans want to see the president impeached and removed from office while 54 percent disagree.

Are you taking that political calculus into account?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think what we know is that we could possibly impeach the president in the House. But unfortunately, in the Senate, it appears a conviction is unlikely because of in party what you just cited with those statistics.

I think part of the reason why the American public is not there is because they're not necessarily familiar with all the details of the Mueller report, which is what the Judiciary Committee is trying to address by having these hearings.

And part of it is we have to gather more evidence, which is, I think, what Mr. Mueller was pointing to in his Volume II when he said we needed to resolve certain issues before getting to a judgment of prosecution.

So that's what we have to do right now and what we're trying to do in the Intelligence Committee, the Oversight Committee, the Judiciary Committee and others.

BLITZER: Let's get to some other sensitive issues unfolding as we speak.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISHNAMOORTHI: What other sensitive issues.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: There are plenty of them, including an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios. In that interview, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, said he wasn't sure whether he would call the FBI if he received another phone call, another offer from a Russian offering dirt on a political opponent. I want you to listen to this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS: Does it not set off at least some alarm bell when you see an email saying that the Russian government wants to help --

JARED KUSHNER, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Like I said, the email that I got on my iPhone at the time basically said, show up at 4:00.

I didn't scroll down; I never would have thought about that --

(CROSSTALK)

SWAN: It had Russia in the subject line.

KUSHNER: Again, I would get about 250 --

[17:15:00]

KUSHNER: -- emails a day. And so literally saw "show up at 4:00." I showed up at 4:00 --

(CROSSTALK)

SWAN: But would you call the FBI if it happened again?

KUSHNER: I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals. But the reality is, we were not given anything that was salacious. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What's your reaction?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think it's completely unbelievable that, A, he did not know that the Russians were coming to potentially offer dirt on Hillary Clinton. That's the reason why Don Jr. suggested the meeting.

And, two, the fact that he would say that he wouldn't refer this particular -- the subject of this meeting to the FBI for further investigation and that he would take the meeting is very, very problematic.

One of the reasons why Mueller did not charge them with a campaign finance violation is because they did not know the law with regard to campaign finance violations and receiving foreign contributions.

To say that now, after what Bob Mueller did in the report and knowing that accepting something of value from a foreign entity would be a campaign finance violation and then saying you wouldn't still go to the FBI if someone approached you, is very, very problematic.

BLITZER: You heard our correspondent, our congressional correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty, report that your committee, the Oversight Committee, is setting up votes, potentially to hold the attorney general William Barr, the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over documents related to a controversial citizenship question in the 2020 census.

What information specifically is your committee missing?

And do you believe this vote will force these officials to comply?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, as you know, recently, we learned from documents obtained from a computer of a Republican strategist, someone who is familiar and involved with this citizenship question being placed on the survey, that this was done for purposes of giving the Republicans an advantage in the polls in the next election.

And so we are trying to get more information about what they knew, specifically Wilbur Ross and Mr. Barr, with regard to that information we just learned.

I was at the hearing where Wilbur Ross came before us. He was very evasive. He claimed the reason why the citizenship question has been placed on the census is so the Justice Department can better enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

That's a laughable proposition. I think it was a pretext for what they're really trying to do, which is trying to advantage the Republican Party through placing the citizenship question in and depressing the number of Latinos and other immigrants who would otherwise answer the questions on the survey.

So that's what we're trying to get at and I think that if they don't comply with the request by the deadline that's set by Chairman Cummings, I think a contempt vote would be very appropriate.

BLITZER: Congressman Krishnamoorthi, thanks so much for joining us.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you. Thank you.

BLITZER: Up next, there's more breaking news. A key witness in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation has just been arrested on child pornography allegations.

And authorities release emails sent by the Virginia Beach gunman just hours before he attacked his coworkers.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:20:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

BLITZER: We have breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. A man who was a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation has been arrested for child pornography allegations. Let's bring in CNN's Kara Scannell. She's working the story for us.

Kara, what are you learning?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Earlier this morning, George Nader, who was one of the key witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, was arrested when he arrived in New York at JFK Airport on allegations and charges he was transporting images of children involved in graphic videos.

Now these charges were unsealed today but they were initially made in April of 2018. That was after Nader had already been cooperating with Robert Mueller's team. He was a key witness in that investigation, cited in over 4 dozen footnotes in the report and also providing information and testimony relating to the Seychelles meeting, where Erik prince met with a Russian money manager as well as meeting with the crowned prince of the UAE and members of Trump's transition team.

These charges today are not the first time that Nader has been charged with transporting child pornography. He was also charged in 1991 and pleaded guilty then. He's being arraigned and presented in court in Brooklyn this afternoon. And he will then be transported back to Virginia, where he'll face these charges.

BLITZER: He potentially could spend years and years in jail.

SCANNELL: This charge carries a minimum 15-year sentence if he's found guilty and that could go up from there. So he's looking at significant jail time.

BLITZER: All right, Kara Scannell, we'll stay on top of that story as well. Thank you. And there's other breaking news up on Capitol Hill. The House Judiciary Committee has just announced what's being described as a top-to-bottom investigation of some of the nation's largest tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Let's go to CNN's Brian Fung.

Brian, this is a really significant investigation of the tech industry here in the United States.

So what impact --

[17:25:00]

BLITZER: -- will it have?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an enormous new challenge to the tech industry, which is, let's remember, already faces a lot of potential scrutiny from anti-trust agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and regulators at the Justice Department.

I'm told that this investigation could cover things such as Google's dominance in search and advertising. It could cover things like Amazon's power in ecommerce and potentially Facebook's dominance in online communications.

So overall, this is going to be a very wide-ranging investigation, could cover a lot of companies, not just the big tech companies but a wide array of others as well.

BLITZER: A truly significant development, indeed. Brian Fung, thank you very much.

There's other breaking news in London, where President Trump and the first lady will soon be wrapping up their state banquet with Queen Elizabeth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:30:32] BLITZER: We're following breaking news on CNN. The House Judiciary Committee, this afternoon, announced a series of hearings focusing in on what the committee is calling the alleged crimes and other misconduct laid out in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. Let's bring in our political and legal experts.

And, Laura Jarrett, is this a really significant set of hearings, or is it designed to set the motion for possible impeachment proceedings?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think if Democrats want to go down the impeachment road, they're going to have to sell it to the American people. And right now, the American people are not buying this sell. The CNN poll that's out today, I think, bears that out.

And so what do the hearings do? It provides an opportunity, I think, for Democrats, as Sunlen was reporting, to reset. Because for so long, we've been talking about subpoenas, we've been talks about documents, but they're not talking about the substance of the report. And so I think what the Democrats want to do is actually dig into what

Mueller found while, at the same time, making for very good T.V. with John Dean, which also rings back to Watergate.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. I would argue that, strategically, they'd be better off -- just to echo Laura, Democrats would be better off to not use the word "impeach" all that often and simply say there were a number of allegations of potential obstruction in the Mueller report. We are running those down, as is consistent with our oversight capability.

Because as soon as you say the word "impeachment," you immediately put it in this Republicans versus Democrats, right versus left, Trump haters versus Trump lovers. And there just aren't enough people in that first camp, the people who say, yes, we need to impeach him today.

Yes, there are plenty of Democrats but not enough people who aren't Democrats to make up a majority, so I think they have to change the language they talk about it. Because Laura is right, they have to change the dynamic in the country of -- as it relates to impeaching Donald Trump because, right now, there's not a majority.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they're kind of treading water, though.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BORGER: Because they need somebody like a Don McGahn. They need somebody like a Hope Hicks. They need somebody to tell the story -- I think Don McGahn in particular -- and that's kind of at a standoff right now.

BLITZER: Yes.

BORGER: And so what they're trying to do is kind of tell the story without having the main protagonist there.

JARRETT: The senior characters.

BORGER: Yes. And that's --

CILLIZZA: The biography that the candidate didn't approve of like you said.

BORGER: And that's a real problem for them. And so it's -- I know what they're trying to do, but it's going to be tough.

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: No, but it is a smart strategy, sort of picking up on what Robert Mueller said last week. Mueller was clearly frustrated that people hadn't read the report, the members of Congress hadn't read the report.

And I think Gloria is absolutely right. In the absence of those key witnesses that they know they're going to have to litigate to get, they're trying to bring in people to tell the story. Now, it's not just John Dean that they're planning to have in hearings. It's also former prosecutors.

That's going to be a strategy to -- you know, right, Robert Mueller declined to render that traditional prosecutorial judgment about whether or not Donald Trump committed a crime of obstruction of justice. The Attorney General, Bill Barr, weighed in with his opinion.

Getting lawyers on the stand to actually talk about the strength of that case -- whether or not they would have brought charges, whether or not they think the Attorney General's case was especially weak -- that's all going to be key in sort of making the case to the American public.

Now, the one problem with somebody like John Dean is he's been a public critic of the President.

BORGER: Right.

HENNESSEY: So this is certainly going to fuel perceptions that this is all about partisanship and politics, and that's a very careful line. They need people who are going to make compelling T.V. without feeding that narrative.

BLITZER: Fifty-six House Democrats so far have publicly called for impeachment proceedings to begin.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: Fifty-six out of, what, 230?

CILLIZZA: Two hundred thirty, yes.

BORGER: Yes, but you can't have a trial without witnesses. And it's difficult. It's really difficult.

CILLIZZA: And without high profile --

BORGER: And John Dean may be persuasive, but he is not a witness.

CILLIZZA: And with high profile --

BLITZER: He's a CNN contributor.

BORGER: Yes.

CILLIZZA: And with high profile witness. Gloria's point, I think, is -- without McGahn or Hope Hicks or Mueller, it's going to be hard, I think, to -- yes, prosecutors saying, well, if this was me, I would have done it, it would make headlines.

BORGER: Sure.

CILLIZZA: I just don't know that that changes -- without new information from one of these insider players, I don't know that it changes, broadly speaking, how people see this. BLITZER: All right, let me move on to this interview that Jared

Kushner granted to Jonathan Swan of Axios. And he struggled with the questions about why the then-candidate, the then-private citizen, Donald Trump railed against President Obama and the birtherism issue. Listen to this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Was birtherism racist?

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Look, I wasn't really involved in that.

SWAN: I know you weren't.

KUSHNER: Mm-hmm.

SWAN: Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I wasn't really involved in that.

SWAN: I know you weren't.

KUSHNER: Mm-hmm.

[17:35:00] SWAN: Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Look, I know who the President is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So, again, I was not involved in that.

SWAN: Did you wish he didn't do that?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What do you think, Gloria?

BORGER: O.K., there were four "I was not involved in that." And, look, it was completely evasive. It was disgraceful to me.

All you needed to do -- even if you weren't involved in that, all you need to do is say that, you know, I think that was the wrong thing to do. It was not a good thing to do. I wish he hadn't done it.

But, of course, he's the President's son-in-law. He doesn't want to get the President angry. He is trying to stay in his good graces. And one way to get in his bad graces is to criticize him, so he didn't want to do it. But he looked so kind of pathetic back there.

HENNESSEY: And the reason why --

BLITZER: Yes. HENNESSEY: The reason why is because the answer to that question is

obviously yes.

BORGER: Yes. Yes, yes.

HENNESSEY: It is obviously racist to accuse the first African- American president of the United States without evidence of not having been born in this country! And so part of the reason why Kushner was sort of flummoxed there was he couldn't actually give the answer that everybody plainly understands --

CILLIZZA: And it's --

HENNESSEY: You know, understands to be true.

BORGER: And the President, even as a candidate, finally come out at one point, if I recall --

CILLIZZA: He did, sort of.

BORGER: -- and sort of say, well, I was wrong, kind of.

CILLIZZA: Well, and that's the other --

BORGER: And he said Hillary started it, yes.

CILLIZZA: That's the other thing, is that -- Gloria's exactly right about the, well, I wasn't involved in it. Look -- involved in what?

BORGER: That's not the question.

CILLIZZA: But also, the, "it was a long time ago." You mean like 2016? I mean, like three years ago. Like, a long time ago is like 1950, not 2016.

I mean, he isn't out in the public eye all that much for what I think to be, from the White House's perspective, pretty good reasons. He is not a terribly -- whatever you think of him behind the scenes, he is not a terribly gifted front of the camera messenger.

He's just not. He's evasive, not just on this but on a number of issues. He wouldn't -- when he's talking about Middle East peace process, very evasive. Basically said, I talk to a lot of people. I don't really talk about who I talk to ever, but it's a lot of people. You'd know them.

You know, he is just -- he is not the front and center guy. The granting of this interview, I think, is interesting, the decision to have done this, given that he really had nothing to say and only really created negative headlines.

HENNESSEY: Right. Look, this interview really was sort of a testament to the reason why we have an anti-nepotism law in the federal government.

I don't know anybody who had watched that interview last night and thought that Jared Kushner has the intellect and capacity and grasp of the issues to effectively serve in the position that he is serving. Nor anyone who'd make the argument that he wouldn't be in that room if he wasn't the President's son-in-law.

JARRETT: His answers, actually, I think, on the FBI and Russia --

BORGER: Oh.

JARRETT: I mean, the birtherism gets attention because, obviously, it's just so hard to watch. But on the FBI and Russia, the fact that he can't unequivocally say that was a bad idea, obviously, you should contact the FBI if you're contacted by the Russians --

BORGER: Yes.

CILLIZZA: Well, the MBS stuff, just --

JARRETT: Like, that's -- there's no lesson learned.

CILLIZZA: Just the stuff about Mohammad bin Salman and essentially saying, like, well, we thought it was best to handle it in private and that's the -- there's an ongoing investigation.

And Jon Swan of Axios says, well, the entire -- the Senate voted unanimously to say he's behind it. Well, we're going to let the investigation play out. I mean, there's a lot in there.

BORGER: Well --

CILLIZZA: The birtherism thing, right, draws the attention, but he, on a number of fronts, was really bad.

BORGER: On -- I just have to add that on Russia, he couldn't even say, on second thought, I would have maybe picked up the phone --

CILLIZZA: Right.

BORGER: -- and called the general counsel of the campaign. You shouldn't do that.

BLITZER: And he should have said, if it happens again, I'll call the FBI.

BORGER: Of course.

BLITZER: But that's another matter. Everybody, stick around. There's more breaking news in the investigation of the Virginia Beach massacre. Investigators just released an e-mail exchange the attacker had with his employers only hours before the shooting started.

[17:38:50] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There's breaking news in the investigation of the mass shooting that left 12 people dead in Virginia Beach. Authorities just released copies of e-mails the gunman sent only hours before Friday's attack started. Our national correspondent Miguel Marquez is joining us from Virginia

Beach right now. Miguel, tell us more.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, that exchange of e-mails was as short and as pleasant as can be. And even though the names were redacted on some of them, it is likely that the person he exchanged those e-mails with was one of the people he killed several hours later.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The investigation turns to why. Why a 40-year- old 15-year city worker turned a gun on his colleagues.

OFFICER JAMES CERVERA, CHIEF OF POLICE, VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT: He was not terminated and he was not in the process of being terminated.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The motive, still a mystery. The shooter's resignation e-mail, short and concise, writing, it has been a pleasure to serve the city, but due to personal reasons, I must relieve my position.

The City Manager saying the shooter's job was not under threat, his work satisfactory, with no issues of discipline ongoing. Victims, their families, and those who witnessed America's latest mass shooting trying to make sense of it all.

CHRISTI DEWAR, WITNESS OF THE VIRGINIA BEACH SHOOTING: Then we heard pop, pop, pop. This is not a drill. This is for all real. Get out of the building, get off your calls, run.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Witnesses say the shooter was firing in quick and controlled three-round bursts. The shooter appeared to begin his rampage in the office of the immediate boss.

DEWAR: We all started running towards the south exit, towards the south stairwell. And somebody screamed in front of us, it's too late, run the other way.

[17:45:00] MARQUEZ (voice-over): Christi DeWar says she wasn't able to get out in time, and she and colleagues hid, just feet away from the shooter.

DEWAR: We pushed a metal filing cabinet against the door, and he fired four times. Two of the bullets almost came through the back of the cabinet and left bulges.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): A horrific scene complicated by confusion.

NED CARLSTROM, WITNESS OF THE VIRGINIA BEACH SHOOTING: I thought he was playing the part of an active shooter for our drill.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Ned Carlstrom said he walked right by the shooter and thought he wasn't serious as the city had active shooter training planned the next day. CARLSTROM: It looked so theatrical because of the extended magazine

and the suppressor that was at the end of it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The suppressor, say witnesses, made the gunfire sound more like this. A nail gun used in construction.

For victims and those trying to stop the shooter, it was difficult to immediately discern what was happening. Two veteran detectives rushed into the building to confront the shooter. Its interior offices described as maze-like.

CERVERA: Five to eight minutes after these officers began to enter the building, they made contact and engaged the suspect on the second floor of the building.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The shooter had extended magazines on at least two .45 caliber handguns. He fired on police.

CERVERA: They were returning fire. And at one point, the suspect was firing through the door and through the wall at the officers. And then the firing stopped.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, I want to give you a sense, Wolf, of the growing memorial here at Virginia Beach to these 12 individuals who have been killed. People come here just to lay some flowers, to say a prayer, and hope that their community can get beyond this.

The only person killed in this that was not a government employee was Bert Snelling. He was found in his car deceased. Still unclear to investigators whether he was shot inside and got to his car or whether he was shot their first and then the shooter went in. Still more questions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Heartbreaking. So heartbreaking. Miguel Marquez on the scene for us. Thank you.

Coming up, one of North Korea's top diplomats resurfaces after reports he'd been purged and sent to a labor camp.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:51:53] BLITZER: A top North Korean official reportedly sent to a labor camp after the failed summit with President Trump has now resurfaced. At least that's how Kim Jong-un's regime is portraying it.

Let's go live to CNN's Will Ripley. He's joining us from Hong Kong with the very latest. What are you learning, Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know, Wolf, that Kim Yong-chol disappeared from state media for nearly two months, which is very unusual for a high-ranking official. We don't know what happened to him, and we still don't know what happened to the rest of his negotiating team. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY (voice-over): This is the picture North Korea wants you to see, Kim Yong-chol, the high-ranking official reportedly banished for the failed Hanoi summit, sitting just a few seats away from Kim Jong- un at an art performance over the weekend.

His hands cover his face, but if this state media photo is authentic, it directly, perhaps intentionally, challenges a South Korean newspaper report that Kim Yong-chol has been dismissed and is doing forced labor, exiled by a North Korean leader furious over the stunning collapse of talks in Vietnam and President Trump's surprising walk out.

The report, based on a single anonymous source, would have signaled a dramatic fall for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's negotiating partner. The man who was in the Oval Office earlier this year, delivering a letter from Chairman Kim to President Trump.

CNN checked with numerous sources and was not able to verify "Chosun Ilbo's" reporting. We've reached out to the paper for comment.

This photo is North Korean media's first mention of Kim Yong-chol in nearly two months. Analysts say that's unusual for such a high- ranking official. Adding to the mystery, there's still no sign of special envoy to the U.S., Kim Hyok-chol.

The same South Korean paper reported he was executed in March on charges of being recruited by U.S. imperialists and betraying the Supreme Leader. A senior diplomatic source told CNN last week the North Korean envoy has certainly disappeared, but there's no independent information or intelligence at this point on what's happened.

Kim Jong-un has been known to execute officials accused of crimes like corruption or treason, including his own uncle in 2013. But South Korean media has a spotty track record of reporting North Korean purges.

In 2013, the same papers said singer Hyon Song-wol was executed by firing squad, but she was very much alive in 2018, leading a performing arts delegation to the Winter Olympics.

This photo may prove Kim Yong-chol is alive and well, but as for the rest of his negotiating team? Unknown.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: And because his hands are covered in that photo, Wolf, we actually don't know for sure if it's Kim Yong-chol in the picture.

We're also monitoring reports right now that Kim's younger sister has reappeared at his side in a recent event, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. We'll watch it all of these very closely. Will Ripley in Hong Kong. Thank you. Coming up, breaking news. Queen Elizabeth caps a day of pageantry and

ceremony by hosting President Trump and the first lady at a state banquet.

[17:55:02] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:59:56] BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Trump and circumstance. The President revels in the trappings of royalty as Queen Elizabeth pulls out the stops for his state, including dinner and toast at the palace.