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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Interview With Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Trump in London. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired June 4, 2019 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:00]

KATE ANDREWS, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: I would love to be a fly on the wall to think about what he's talking to the president about, given how different the language is, the rhetoric, and politics is 15 years on.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Kate, thank you. The Kates, to both of you, thank you.

I'm Brooke Baldwin.

"THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump right this minute hosting Prince Charles and Camilla for dinner at the U.S. Embassy in London, no doubt a welcome break from British food.

THE LEAD starts right now.

President Trump heaps praise on the outgoing British prime minister, as London's mayor calls the president an 11-year-old child and a giant robot. Trump on a throne of its own joins the protests.

Above the fray, but dropping in polls. A brand-new CNN poll showing Joe Biden on top, but falling back to join the rest of the pack. And one of his opponents, Senator Amy Klobuchar, is here to react.

Plus, it's been compared to stepping inside a living hell. And now the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort might be calling Rikers Island home. Is this a play to keep President Trump's pardon power at bay?

Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin with our world lead today, President Trump's state visit to the U.K. President Trump right now hosting a dinner with Prince Charles and Prime Minister Theresa May. This comes after the president and May answered questions from reporters today. The president offering some of his own analysis on politics in the U.K., being a pundit, and hitting back against one of his favorite foes and foils, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, with whom the president has been feuding for years.

Khan greeted the president's arrival with a quite critical op-ed in "The Guardian," saying that Mr. Trump is -- quote -- "just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat, the far right."

President Trump also downplayed and dismissed today the protests against his visit.

As CNN's Pamela Brown now reports for us from London, President Trump did give outgoing Prime Minister May a warm send-off.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the royal treatment now over, President Trump got down to business in London, praising the outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May after the two leaders met behind closed doors.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's probably a better negotiator than I am, Jeremy.

BROWN: And weighing into who should replace her.

TRUMP: So I know Boris. I like him. I think he would do a very good job. I know Jeremy. I think he would do a very good job.

BROWN: And once again going after a top critic of his, London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

TRUMP: He's a negative force, not a positive force. And if you look at what he said, he hurts the people of this great country. And I think he should actually focus on his job. It would be a lot better if he did that.

BROWN: The president taking a milder tone from his tweet, right before landing in the U.K., when he called Khan a stone-cold loser and mocked his height.

For his part, Khan fired back today in an interview with CNN.

SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: This is sort of what you expect from an 11-year-old, but it's for him to decide how he behaves. It's not for me to respond in the like. And I think it's beneath me to do childish tweets and name-calling.

BROWN: The most recent spat began when Khan called Trump in an op-ed in "The Guardian" newspaper a growing global threat and that he shouldn't receive the red carpet treatment in Britain.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, do you think that Sadiq Khan is a stone- cold loser?

BROWN: Prime Minister May didn't answer that question, instead pivoting to the importance of the alliance.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I would say to both the mayor of London and to Jeremy Corbyn the discussions that we have had today are about the future of this most important relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. BROWN: One of those issues, Brexit, and the possibility of a trade

deal if the U.K. decides to lead the European Union. Today, Trump gave May credit for her handling of Brexit, which resulted in her resignation.

TRUMP: I think that is really teed up. I think they have to do something. And perhaps you won't be given the credit that you deserve if they do something, but I think you deserve a lot of credit.

BROWN: A big change from just two months ago.

TRUMP: I'm surprised at how badly it's all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation. But I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to negotiate it, and I think you would have been successful. She didn't listen to that, and that's fine.

BROWN: As for who should replace her, the White House announced the president would not be meeting with front-runner Boris Johnson, but he did meet with Brexit leader Nigel Farage.

NIGEL FARAGE, FORMER U.K. INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER: He was on top form, ebullient form, thoroughly enjoying the trip.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And President Trump today also hailed the incredible intelligence-sharing relationship between the U.K. and the U.S., but what he didn't discuss is whether he raised concerns to British officials about British intelligence spying on his campaign.

As you know, Jake, he has made those claims repeatedly without providing evidence to back them up, and British officials have repeatedly denied that ever happened -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Pamela Brown traveling with President Trump in London, thank you so much.

[16:05:01]

Let's chew over all of this with our panel of experts.

Jeff Zeleny, let me start with you.

The president not only made some comments about British politics. He also met with Nigel Farage, as you heard in Pamela's piece, the leader of the Brexit Party.

Farage tweeted: "Good meeting with President Trump. He really believes in Brexit and is loving his trip to London."

How unusual is it for an American president to go over there and be talking to all of these different political players, as opposed to just the prime minister and the leader of the opposition?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty unusual. I think it would have been more unusual if he would have had a long one-on-one face-to-face meeting with Boris Johnson.

That would have been inserts himself directly into really an upcoming election. This is just inserting himself into an issue, which he has already inserted himself into. I'm not sure at this point the president, it's surprising that he had a meeting with Nigel Farage, who he's met with before, has a relationship with.

And President Trump has made no secret of his view on Brexit. I thought the biggest takeaway from the moment this morning, he is loving this. He loves the moment and pageantry. And he was nice to the prime minister, perhaps not surprising. I mean, some people seem shocked by that. Of course he's going to be nice to her.

I was thinking back to their holding hands the first time she came. She was the first foreign leader to visit him as president. So now it's kind of the end of the era as she's moving on. But he could have inserted himself more.

TAPPER: Yes.

And, Laura, he did insert himself into the relationship that he's had, this longstanding feud with the mayor of London. They have been going back and forth, exchanging tough words for each other for years now.

Take a listen to his more subdued tone after calling the mayor of London a stone-cold loser and making fun of him for being short. This is what he had to say today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's been a not-very-good mayor. He's done a poor job. He's been a negative force, not a positive force.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now, London mayors have insulted U.S. presidents before, and you will remember this. The mayor of London, I think Livingstone maybe was his name, attacked George W. Bush when he was president.

Usually, what happens is, well, Ari Fleischer at the time said, I don't know who that is, and George W. Bush didn't say anything. All he's doing, all the president is doing is evaluating this mayor.

(CROSSTALK)

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, POLITICO: Well, this is classic Trump, right? He can't stay silent if he feels that he's being challenged by someone.

And so we have seen him do this before. And he decided to do this again with the mayor of London. That means that -- I wanted to go back to something that Jeff said about Farage.

I think that it's very true to form that Trump inserts himself at every level possible. And maybe this wasn't as much as he could have, but he has a lot of similarities with Farage. I mean, Bannon is close friends and allies with Farage and the nationalist viewpoints that they have.

TAPPER: Why even evaluate the mayor of London, though? It's punching down.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

Look, it doesn't matter who insults Donald Trump. He's coming back after them. That's been true on the domestic stage. It's true on the international stage.

I think what we're going to remember about the last couple of weeks here is that Trump had a great trip to Japan. He's now having a really good trip to the U.K. He's showing the world that the United States has the strong alliances with these old allies and that's what folks are going to take away.

I don't think there's any way to look at these last couple of international trips and make any other judgment than he did exactly what you would expect the American president to do, to reinforce these alliances.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I think you're going to disagree with that.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will disagree, absolutely.

I mean, let's -- despite what the president says, there were pretty robust protests. So I think it also -- some of the images will remind people that, unfortunately, our president -- thankfully, I think people tried to separate out, it seemed like, the American people from the American president on the anniversary of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, to say that they really don't like Trump, and that he really is offensive in so many ways, in terms of whether calling him a bigot or what have you.

But here's my take on the interchange with Theresa May. He wants something from her. He's trying to get a deal. So he's always nice when he's trying to get a deal.

TAPPER: They might need it more than the U.S. does, to be fair.

FINNEY: But at the same time, he said, stick around, maybe we can get a deal, not realizing that she's actually on her way out.

It did sort of strike me that in that moment, I was pleased to see him actually be gracious. You never know what you're going to get with him in these press conferences. But it did strike me, when he wants something, he's a lot nicer.

TAPPER: And, Jeff, something else that was interesting, the president denying basically that there were mass protests, even though there were. I mean, he didn't see them. He was safely ensconced in his presidential bubble, as presidents are wont to do, but take a listen to the president talking about the protest.

ZELENY: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I did see a small protest today when I came, very small. So a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say. It was a very, very small group of people put in for political reasons, so it was fake news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: You can see on the screen, it's not a small group of people. I mean, it's smaller than his inaugural crowd, I suppose, but it's not small. That's a lot of people protesting.

But, again, it's one of these things where he just says what he wants to say.

[16:10:00]

ZELENY: Sure, because he's surrounded by the thought that he believes in, he's surrounded by people who say what he wants to hear.

I was in London the time he was there, last summer. The protests looked bigger to me then.

TAPPER: Much, much bigger then, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

ZELENY: But, yes, there are protests.

And he's not the first American president to be protested. I was over there with President Bush as well during the height of the Iraq War. He was protested.

Most presidents simply ignore it and don't talk about it. But President Trump, of course, has to quarrel with the fact that -- what we can see with our own eyes. It's how he is.

TAPPER: And all of President Trump's adult children, even those who don't work in the administration, which is most of them, also made the trip, Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany Trump.

Ivanka obviously works for the administration. "The New York Times" reporting that White House officials are now saying that some of the Trump children see themselves in a royal family kind of way and -- quote -- "One senior official said that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump in particular had grown more emboldened with their requests to be accommodated at social events."

They do work for the administration, but we don't really know why Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany Trump are there.

JENNINGS: It looks like they were welcomed in.

And, again, I think this is all about relationship-building. And if we have got the American president and his administration getting along with the folks over in Great Britain, one of our oldest allies, I don't know why anyone could possibly be critical of a trip that has reinforced this ultra-critical alliance to the world order.

TAPPER: All right, everyone, stick around.

She's one of the Democrats running to replace President Trump, so what does Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have to say about the president's performance overseas?

Then: Paul Manafort may be transferred to one of the world's most notorious prisons, Rikers Island -- how the move could all be designed to make sure the president's convicted campaign chairman cannot be pardoned.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:15:38] TAPPER: Our 2020 lead now. President Trump making headlines on the world stage, continuing his attacks on the mayor of London and weighing in on candidates seeking to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May during his visit to the U.K., a critical U.S. ally.

Joining me now to discuss this and much more is Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Jake. Great to be on.

TAPPER: So, what do you make of the president's trip so far?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think, as usual, he took what should be an opportunity to showcase our nation and started out with the usual, which is creating some chaos, which is, making negative news, which is going after the mayor of the biggest city in the country, London, and calling him a stone-cold loser. Or going after the princess, one of the princesses and calling her nasty.

These are things that he did. And you add that just to the general chaos he's creating at home with the 5 percent tariffs on Mexico with the promise of more to come after that goes into place, he says, very soon, in June. That's the kind of chaos he likes. And I just think that's not how you embark on international diplomacy with one of our best allies.

TAPPER: Now, the supporters of the president would point out that the mayor, Mayor Khan, attacked the president first. He wrote an op-ed in "The Guardian" in which he laid out a whole lot of criticisms of President Trump and President Trump's stone-cold loser tweet, I know that didn't exactly run off your tongue, which is probably a good thing.

KLOBUCHAR: That's a very good thing. TAPPER: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: Not a phrase I usually say.

TAPPER: Yes, but it was a response. That would be their response.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, all right, but the point is, he is the president of the United States. This is a mayor who has long been in a back and forth with. And he's the one that sent this tweet with those words.

So, I just think, when you look at it all together. This is very similar to what happens often when he doesn't like someone that criticizes him. When he just did because he doesn't like that CNN criticizes him on foreign soil, he goes after, on the same trip and says, oh, go boycott AT&T, an American company, because he doesn't like the fact that AT&T, that owns Time Warner, that owns CNN. So he decides to go after the company and tells people to boycott an American company. I think that's outrageous.

So it's just the same kind of thing you see over and over again. And it wears on people and it certainly wears on the world in terms of our global leadership.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the race to replace him. The latest CNN poll shows Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders topping the field. You're at 2 percent.

The poll also found that 44 percent of Democrats say they've made up their minds about which candidate they're going to support. That's up eight points since April. This is before any debates have taken place, as there's obviously going to be debates this month and CNN is going debates next month.

Explain to those voters out there, Democrats and independents who have already made up their mind, 44 percent, according to this poll, why you should be their candidate of choice and why they should not have made up their minds.

KLOBUCHAR: Sure. Well, first of all, I'll say, don't underestimate me. I have won every race. I have won in red counties that no one thinks are winnable that Donald Trump won in just the last election, every congressional district that he won. And also because I'm someone that has real solutions for real problems, I'm showing how I'm going to pay for things and I have a long track record of getting things done and bringing people together.

Even under Donald Trump, I passed dozens of bills where I was the lead Democrat. And I would also add, at this point, as people are pontificating about this, look back. No one thought a governor from Arkansas was going to be president at this point. No one thought a peanut farmer from Georgia was ever going to make it to the Oval Office. And no one thought a senator named Barack Obama was going to win.

These things are long in the making. People watch the debates. They're going to have many opportunities to see this and I'm also really happy with how we're doing in the early states. The last poll I saw, we were up to number six in this field. That means I'm ahead of, I don't know, what 18 people?

TAPPER: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: And it's because we're getting out there and talking to people. And that's what I plan to do all over the country -- talk about mental health, addiction, infrastructure. These bread and butter issues that matter to people in their everyday lives.

TAPPER: I know you want to talk about gun violence --

[16:20:01]KLOBUCHAR: Yes.

TAPPER: -- given the violence attack that we saw in Virginia Beach over the weekend.

We just found out the Florida department of law enforcement has arrested former deputy chief, Scot Peterson, who has been criticized for cowardice for not doing anything --

KLOBUCHAR: I remember that.

TAPPER: -- at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Charges include child neglect and perjury.

I have never heard of anybody -- a police officer, a law enforcement officer being charged with neglect for failing to carry out his duty.

You were a prosecutor, have you heard anything about that?

KLOBUCHAR: There may well have been cases like this. I didn't have one quite like that when I was in office. But I will say when I heard those reports, I thought, this is unbelievable! He wasn't doing his job. He didn't go into the school.

I mean, that is what first responders, as hard as their jobs are, that's what they're supposed to do. Not run away or hide from a crisis, but go towards it. So I would imagine that the prosecutor in this case felt the evidence was there to bring the charges. But the bigger issue here is what else came out of Parkland.

TAPPER: Are you proposing anything that would have stopped what would in Virginia Beach or Parkland?

KLOBUCHAR: Of course. Well, each shooting is different, but you have to do a combination of things. The magazines which were involved with Virginia Beach -- I have long been a supporter of banning the sale of these magazines.

TAPPER: High-capacity --

KLOBUCHAR: High-capacity magazines. And I think helpful.

And as you know, the Virginia Republicans rejected -- the state of Virginia, they weren't able to pass a bill last time. And I understand the governor is now calling them back into session to deal with something on gun violence.

When you look at some of the other things we could be doing. Universal background checks could have presented some this, including a lot of every day shootings, which are domestic violence and suicides. You look at what we could do on bump stocks. There are so many things, extreme risk orders, that could be done.

And I sat across the president of the United States, because of the leadership I have shown when it comes to domestic violence shootings. And my boyfriend loophole, closing that loophole, going after stalkers so they can't kill women. That is in the domestic violence bill right now, Violence Against Women Act. Passed the House with 33 Republican votes, sitting on Mitch McConnell's doorstep.

So because of that, I sat across from the president and I watched and nine times, nine times, he said he wanted to pass universal background check. He would say, go include it in the bill. Get that done.

He would turn to Toomey, who was one of the authors of that bill, Republican -- put that in the bill. And then the next day he meets with the NRA and he just ducks down, ducks for cover, avoids the issue, never gets past. That is not leadership.

And to me, if you're going to put a dent in these mass shootings and also those everyday shootings in our neighborhoods, which are massacring people in a very different way, one by one by one, you have to go after closing these gun show loopholes. You have to go on universal background checks, which includes that. You have to do something about the boyfriend loophole, magazines, bump stocks.

There are so many different things that you could do that would not hurt my Uncle Dick in his deer stand. I come from a hunting state so I can speak with some credibility on this.

TAPPER: All right. Democratic senator and 2020 Democratic presidential aspirant, Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for coming here.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

TAPPER: I really appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks for coming here and talking policy.

KLOBUCHAR: Excellent, thanks.

TAPPER: A split within the GOP, Senator Lindsey Graham supporting a controversial idea from President Trump after opposing it not too long ago and he's far from alone. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:28:17] TAPPER: In our politics lead today, the White House is facing fierce rhetorical resistance right now from Republican senators over proposed tariffs against Mexico. Sources telling CNN in a lunch with Republican senators today, administration officials struggled to explain how they would implement these tariffs.

But the president does not seem concerned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: What do you think of Republicans who say they may take action to block you imposing those tariffs?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THEU NITED STATES: Oh, I don't think they will do that. I think if they do, it's foolish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: CN's Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill.

Phil, what are you hearing from Republicans after this meeting?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, one Republican senator walked out of the meeting told me, Jake, it was a brushback pitch. A warning to the administration not go through with the tariffs.

Take a listen to how some other senators characterize it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I think it's a mistake. I'm not saying we don't have a crisis on the border, we do, clearly, I'm not saying it won't work, at least short term. My concern has to do with the long- term ramifications.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think it's safe to say, you've talked to all of our members, we're not fans of terrorists. We're still hoping this can be avoided

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: That's a key word there from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Jake. They hope this can be avoided. Essentially, that's the strategy right now. Hope and pray the president doesn't actually implement those tariffs.

If he does, Republicans say they're willing to potentially vote to block them. But at least at this point, before they're actually implemented, right now, they're pretty much relying on just hope, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.

Let's chew over all of this. CNN's teams on the Hill report that the Republicans do not want to have a messy break with the president on this issue. They're hoping to avoid any sort of vote against him. Republicans are coming out of this meeting, of course, opposing the plan. Here's the big question, though, Laura. If President Trump goes

forward with these tariffs, do you think Republican senators will actually vote to block them?

[16:30:00]