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Trump Says GOP would be Foolish to Block Tariffs; Trump Attacks the London Mayor; Trump Complements Theresa May; White House Tells Hope Hicks to Defy Subpoena; Feds Target Big Tech. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired June 4, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] JULIE HIRSCHFIELD DAVIS, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Concerned with the fact that, you know, these allegations, in the past couple of years, have been seen in a very different light. And so, you know, there are risks involved.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Something else to keep on our list as we get ready for the debates coming up soon.
Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS today. See you back here this time tomorrow.
Brianna Keilar starts RIGHT NOW.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Underway right now, the president's tariffs against Mexico just days away, and he's teeing up a standoff with Republicans who may try to block his latest trade war.
From Amazon to Apple, they are the kings of tech who have enjoyed a world of unchecked power, until now. Why big tech may soon change forever.
Plus, a ticket to Rikers. President Trump's former campaign chairman likely moving to one of America's harshest prisons where he'll be in solitary confinement.
And she has seen everything, but she'll share little. The White House just told Hope Hicks, defy a subpoena from Congress.
With the pomp and pageantry behind him, President Trump turned his attention to politics on day two of his state visit to the U.K. The president weighed in on British politics, urging the outgoing prime minister, Theresa May, to stay in office so she could do a substantial trade deal with him. During a closed door meeting, the two leaders did talk about trade, along with security and Brexit.
Later, the president declared he was feeling a deep love from Britain, claiming that only a small group of people were protesting his visit. You can see clearly from these pictures that claim is false.
But the president really made news when he talked about politics back in the U.S., and the Republican response to his tariffs on Mexico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will take effect next week.
QUESTION: And -- and what do you --
TRUMP: The 5 percent.
QUESTION: And what do you think of Republicans who say that they may take action to block you imposing those tariffs?
TRUMP: No, I don't think they will do that. I think if they do, it's foolish. There's nothing more important than borders.
But I think it's more likely that the tariffs go on. And we'll probably be talking during the time that the tariffs are on, and they're going to be paid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's go to congressional correspondent Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill.
And, Sunlen, he says he doesn't think Republicans will block this. Is he right?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Time will tell. Right now up here on Capitol Hill, Brianna, I can tell you that many top Republicans are very concerned about this threat coming from the president, of course, the threat of those tariffs. And they are right now actively discussing what they can do about it. The big question is, what legislatively they can do to block the president, block these tariffs from being imposed. And at this hour, Republicans, right now, are huddling in their weekly private lunch, and they will be meeting with members in the White House, meeting with members of the DOJ to brief them about what they're potentially going to do, and certainly, from the part of the White House, trying to alleviate many of the concerns that they are hearing from many vocal Republicans up here on Capitol Hill.
And I spoke with many Republicans going into the meeting today and saying that they basically hope to hear more from the White House on what exactly in the plan and certainly want them to lay out their legal rationale for moving forward to potentially impose these tariffs. And Republicans say that legal rational will be what really instructs them and helps them form what congressional response legislatively they move forward if they have to.
I spoke with, about an hour ago, the top number two Senate Republican, John Thune, and he said he's basically holding out hope that this big meeting between the U.S. and Mexico tomorrow will help avoid all of this standoff, potentially putting Republicans in an awkward spot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): I think a lot of our members are hoping that these meetings tomorrow will lead to an outcome that doesn't require them to execute on the tariffs. And I'm hoping that they'll have a constructive meeting.
SERFATY: What is your response to the president though saying that it would be foolish if you try to block the tariffs from being imposed?
THUNE: Well, I don't -- I mean I think at this point it's all premiere. I think that this is fairly new and we're -- our members are still trying to figure out, one, what authority are they using, what are they trying to accomplish, and what are the things that they would have to -- that Mexico would have to modify or change to have the tariffs lifted. I mean I think there's a lot of questions about it. But, I mean, suffice it to say, our members have a lot of concerns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: So certainly that is being expressed by a lot of Republicans up here on Capitol Hill, Brianna, this feeling that they are hopeful that all of this can be avoid, this big meeting tomorrow with the U.S. and Mexico, hopeful to resolve this. But, at this moment, no -- no indication that that will happen, setting up potentially a very huge standoff between the president and members of his own party.
KEILAR: Sunlen, thank you for that report.
Now, thousands have turned out on the streets of London to protest the president's visit there. Some of the most vivid and hard-to-miss images include the infamous baby Trump blimp, which you have seen before likely. But this as well, a talking Trump robot sitting on a gold toilet. Protesters were hoping to get close to the premise's residence, but police sealed off the road with steel barricades. When asked about the massive demonstrations, the president denied their existence.
[13:05:14] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't see any protests. I did see a small protest today when I came -- very small. So a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say. But you saw the -- the people wave the American flag, waving your flag. It was tremendous spirit and love. There was great love. There was an alliance. And I didn't see the protesters until just a little while ago and it was a very, very small group of people put in for political reasons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's go to chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward, who is in London.
And among the people who is not a fan, who are not a fan of President Trump, is London's mayor, who you spoke with. Tell us what Sadiq Khan told you, Clarissa.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we started out by asking the mayor, Sadiq Khan, why he decided the night before President Trump was arriving for a three-day state visit here in the U.K. to write this article in "The London Observer," essentially saying that Trump was responsible for the rise of the far right in Europe and also saying that he warnings, you know, akin to -- had some of the troupes of some of the worst fascists of the 20th century. And Sadiq Khan was not backing down at all on his decision to pen this editorial. He talked extensively with us about what he thought were fundamental values that the U.S. and the U.K. share together, that he does not see President Donald Trump as embodying.
But first question we asked him was what his reaction was when he looked on Twitter and just as President Trump was arriving in the U.K. found this tweet calling Sadiq Khan, the mayor, a stone cold loser, and this was his response. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: You know, this is sort of what you might expect from an 11-year-old, you know, but it's for him to decide how he behaves. It's not for me to respond and the like. But I think it's, you know, beneath me to do childish tweets and name calling.
WARD: Were you surprised? Were you offended?
KHAN: I'm not offended in the slightest. People tell me nothing this president does should surprise you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Now, I would say, though, Brianna, despite this very public feud between President Trump and the mayor, Sadiq Khan, in all other respect, especially in this press conference that you just played that excerpt from, President Trump was clearly on really his best behavior and very keen to show the love for outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, very keen to be deferential even to her, to say that she's as good or possibly better a negotiator than he is. That can't be easy for the president to say. And really seemingly trying to go out of his way to show that the special relationship is still intact, that the special relationship is deeper than ever, that a trade agreement may be agreed in the future despite the very clear areas of disagreement that remain between the two countries. And we heard Prime Minister May allude to those, Iran, the Iran nuclear program, the Paris agreement with regards to climate change and, of course, Brexit and how that should be handled. But a largely convivial atmosphere in that press conference despite all the doom and gloom that the various spats with Mayor Sadiq Khan and other things he said in newspapers prior to his arrival would have portended, Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes, it was quite unexpected.
Clarissa Ward, thank you, in London.
Let's talk this over now with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and financial analyst, Ann Berry.
To Clarissa's point there, if -- if you watched this news conference, you never would have known how very critical President Trump has been of Prime Minister Theresa May.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Never.
KEILAR: Let's listen -- let's listen to that compliment that he gave her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I still believe -- I personally believe that it is in the best interest of the U.K. to leave the European Union with a deal.
And I seem to remember the president suggested that I sued the European Union, which we didn't do. We went into negotiations and we came out with a good deal.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. That's not such a -- I would have sued, but that's OK. I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know. She's probably a better negotiator than I am.
Perhaps you won't be given the credit that you deserve if they do something, but I think you deserve a lot of credit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Her reaction, too, was so interesting to that. She seemed to take that comment with a lot of gratitude. What did you make of this moment?
BORGER: Right. And it's easier for Donald Trump to compliment her on her way out than when she was actually in office and not listening to him. And, of course, he would have sued. He loves to sue everybody and then perhaps settle.
He's been very critical of her. But I think it's probably a reflection of the way he has been treated when he's been in Great Britain. I meaning the dinner last night. She's been very gracious to him. And I think he responds to that personally. If she were still in office, I don't think he would have said you're maybe a better negotiator than I am. That's just a bet.
KEILAR: Yes, that's a -- that's a very good point. And a lot of contenders for Theresa May's job, now that she's leaving, Boris Johnson is probably the most recognizable to Americans, he actually turned down a one-on-one with Trump. What did you make of that?
[13:10:06] ANN BERRY, FINANCIAL ANALYST: I think he really had no choice but to do that. I think if you look about the field of contenders, he doesn't want to necessarily align himself with a president who has come up in the polls as being unpopular in the U.K. Why -- why rattle the cage if you're Boris Johnson if you don't have to. And I think, on the flip side, if Boris does become leader and becomes prime minister, he's going to be going up against Jeremy Corbyn, who is real hustling to try and get a general election, get a chance shot at leading the country. To stand up in direct polar opposition against Jeremy Corbyn, who was leading some of the protests today, would be a very strong, polarizing move. I think he was smart to stay out of the fray.
KEILAR: I want to talk to both of you about this not so subtle message that Britain has been sending Trump repeatedly. You had Prime Minister May giving Trump a type script draft of the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt. These are the goals after the Second Ward War. He was taken on a tour. She took him on a tour of the Churchill war rooms. The queen gave President Trump a first edition copy of Churchill's "The Second World War."
There's a message here. We're getting it over and over and over. What is the symbolism, as you see it, Gloria?
BORGER: Well, to me, it's the special relationship, and -- which is obvious between Britain and the United States. I mean, don't forget, this is a president who accused Britain of spying on him, remember that, when he was a -- when he was a candidate and doing it in concert with Barack Obama. So that's been a little rough.
And also I think the message is, the leadership of Winston Churchill. I mean I've been to those war rooms. They're quite effective. You're in a basement. You go down. You see where Churchill slept, you know, managing this war and how difficult that was. And I think it's -- it's saying, you know, this was one of our greatest leaders, and look at what he achieved for us and our special relationship came out of that, and it was such an important thing to Winston Churchill and maybe it ought to be to you.
KEILAR: What did you think, Ann?
BERRY: It's interesting. I -- I was actually a little bit nervous that this real focus on a history of shared movements, shared action against a common enemy could actually have been a layup for President Trump to go in a different direction. I thought there was a window here where the president could have said, you know, United Kingdom, look back at how we stood shoulder to shoulder in the past. Let's do that now against China. Let's do that now against Iran. And, actually, I think it showed restraint that the president decided not to go down that path and instead did, you know, choose to focus on common enemies in the past, but refrain from applying those lessons in the common period -- to the period we're in now.
KEILAR: Yes, maybe the lesson was not as fully received as Britain had hopped.
Ann Berry, thank you.
Gloria Borger, thank you.
KEILAR: She's one of the people closest to the president. She has seen everything. And now the White House is telling Hope Hicks to defy a subpoena. Plus, prosecutors want the president's former campaign chairman at one
of America's most notorious prisons. What Paul Manafort's life would be like at Rikers Island.
And FaceBook, Google, Apple, are the days of their unchecked power over? Why the feds are targeting big tech.
[13:18:05] KEILAR: CNN is learning that the White House has directed former communications director Hope Hicks and former deputy White House counsel Annie Donaldson to refuse to turn over any documents to the House Judiciary Committee relating to their time in the White House. Today was the deadline for these two to comply about a subpoena from the committee.
Carrie Cordero is the former counsel to the U.S. assistant attorney general.
And, you know, specifically that the White House didn't say why they're ordering the two not to comply. In the past they've asserted that it falls under executive privilege.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, the question is, is what are the specific documents or testimony that they want from these individuals. Privileges need to be asserted over specific things. They can't just be asserted in a big, vague way. And there's a lot of information, particularly notes, that these individuals, particularly Annie Donaldson, provided to the special counsel's office already in the course of their investigation. And we know that because we see the content in the Mueller report itself. So I think the White House will have an uphill battle in terms of asserting privilege over materials that already were provided to the special counsel.
KEILAR: What does -- what does that uphill battle looking like then? Why are they doing this?
CORDERO: Well, they're -- they are -- the White House believes that the congress is being overly investigative and just sort of throwing out a big wide net and being political, and the Congress has a responsibility to conduct their oversight but they also need to negotiate what are the specific things that they want. If this were to be challenged in court, if the House Judiciary Committee was going to take these requests and go to court, court would most likely say, executive branch, legislative branch, you need to work harder to come to agreements over specific items and then -- and then whittle down what are legitimate assertions of privilege.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about another interesting legal story that we're tracking today. A federal judge appointed by President Trump is actually rejecting a lawsuit by the House. And what this would do, this lawsuit, is to block money that's been earmarked for building the border wall. And essentially what the court is saying here is that one branch of Congress can't sue another branch, is that right? What's the rational here? [13:20:11] CORDERO: I think the rational in this specific decision has
to do with the standing that Congress has on this particular issue. But there are -- so I read it to be a very narrow decision related to this specific issue. But there are a variety of challenges to the president's attempt to use an executive order to redirect funds that have been already authorized by congress for specific military construction purposes. And it just may be that this particular judge didn't think that the Congress was the right claimant to bring that specific charge, but that's not the end of the story when it comes to litigation over the border wall funding.
KEILAR: Carrie, thank you so much for your legal insight.
KEILAR: He was report dead, executed by Kim Jong-un over the failed summit with President Trump, but now CNN reports this top negotiator is very much alive.
And why Trump's former campaign manager may be moving to New York's most notorious prison, Rikers Island.
[13:25:51] KEILAR: The country's biggest tech companies are under the microscope. The House Judiciary Committee is launching a top-to-bottom investigation into the tech industry. Google, FaceBook, Apple and Amazon facing questions about their power and influence, and some are even calling for the companies to be broken up.
Let's bring in our tech report, Brian Fung, to talk about this.
Judiciary investigation for this focuses on anti-trust issues. There are concerns that lawmakers are looking into. What are they?
BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: Well, this is a wide-ranging investigation. It could cover a number of different companies. And, in particular, the committee seems like it's really interested in, you know, Goggle's influence in search and advertising, for example, or Amazon's power in e-commerce or FaceBook's dominance in online communications. All of these things sort of revolve around a number of broader topics. So the committee says it's interested in things like the tech industry's impact on local journalism. The tech industry's impact on consumer privacy. And the extent to which businesses are able to start up and compete against some of these platforms.
Now, this comes, of course, as the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are divvying up responsibility for oversight over these companies with the Justice Department taking control over a potential anti-trust investigation of Google.
But Congressman David Cicilline, who is the head of the Judiciary Committee's anti-trust subcommittee, says he doesn't have a whole lot of confidence in these agencies to really get the job done. And so that's partly why we're seeing some of this movement now from Congress. KEILAR: How fearful are these companies as they witness something they
really haven't seen before in what is a more cohesive approach toward them?
FUNG: Yes, I think the companies are going to be, you know, really put on notice now that this is a whole of Washington approach looking at their business practices. They're going to be looking to potentially hire new PR firms or lobbyists or lawyers as they try to, you know, prepare for some of these coming investigations.
KEILAR: Brian, thank you so much.
FUNG: My pleasure.
KEILAR: Rikers Island, the infamous prison in the middle of the East River, sandwiched between the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, could soon get another famous inmate, President Trump's former campaign chairman. Prosecutors want Paul Manafort, who is serving over seven years in prison for bank and tax fraud, to be moved from a minimum security prison in Pennsylvania to Rikers while he's awaiting trial on state charges. Now, he would actually be kept in solitary confinement there, away from the general population, for his protection.
I want to bring in Lorenzo Steele Junior. He's a former corrections officer. He's also the author of "Beyond These Prison Walls: Life Inside Rikers Island."
And, sir, as you know, having worked for more than 10 years, for 12 years, in Rikers Island and including in the solitary confinement unit, this is a prison that's renowned for violence, corruption. It has housed some of the country's most notorious murderers.
I want to ask you what it would be like in there. But, first, did you find this unusual that even temporarily Paul Manafort, a white collar criminal, might be transferred to this prison?
LORENZO STEELE JR., FORMER CORRECTIONS OFFICER AT RIKERS: Yes, it's very usual. I would -- in a million years, I would never imagine that, you know, he would actually be going to such a violent jail.
KEILAR: And this is -- I was talking to one legal expert who said they found this to be so odd they thought it might be a way to exert pressure on him as he's going to await these state charges.
Because you think it's unusual, I mean, have you ever seen white collar criminals like this in Rikers in your years there?
STEELE: No, not really. But, you know, we had some, you know, low level, you know, what we considered high-pro that were, you know, were waiting there just to be, you know, going back and forth to court as detainees, yes.
KEILAR: OK. What would a day in Rikers for Paul Manafort be like? He's going to be in solitary confinement. What kind of protection would that afford him? And just is -- what would life be like? [13:30:01] STEELE: Well, you know, if you can imagine being free one
day and you wake up and you have to go sever time, that means you're going to be away.