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INSIDE POLITICS

Biden Campaign Called Out For Plagiarism; Some 2020 Dems Take Swipes at Biden on Hyde Amendment; Bernie Sanders Takes Minimum Wage Fight to Walmart; Trump: "Nobody Had Ever Heard" of Vietnam at Time of War; Trump: "I'll Look at Regulating Gun Silencers". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 5, 2019 - 12:30   ET

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


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[12:30:12] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Joe Biden's campaign fending off allegations of plagiarism today after revelations that the former vice president's brand new climate change policy plan copied language directly from multiple liberal activist groups and a news site. The instances circulated on social media yesterday just hours after the plan was posted by the campaign online. Biden campaign claiming simply a matter of some missing citations, but it was a similar allegation that helped sink Biden's 1998 presidential campaign.

CNN's Arlette Saenz joins us live from Manchester, New Hampshire. Arlette, forgive me here, having lived through the '87, '88 campaign, this is a pretty amateur mistake for the frontrunner's campaign to take on a substantial policy rollout when they had to know when team Biden got together planning to announce his campaign, the one thing they cannot do is plagiarize.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, John, this was certainly a glitch in their rollout. Biden had been talking about this climate change plan that was going to be coming for weeks now, and he was pushing back against criticism that he might take a middle ground approach to climate change. And in that plan that was released yesterday, Biden embraced parts of the Green New Deal which has become a litmus test for many of these 2020 Democratic candidates. He called the Green New Deal a crucial framework for combatting climate change and said that he aimed to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But then, they did run into a little bit of trouble when it came to the actual plan that was released itself when it was revealed that some passages in that plan bore similar language to proposals that had been put forth by progressive organizations either on their websites or in letters. And the Biden campaign said that as soon as they realized that some of these citations were missing that they were to quickly amend that in their plan.

But of course, to put a little context on this as you mentioned Biden's first presidential campaign back in the 1988 race was derailed by charges of plagiarism both on the campaign trail and also during his time in law school. So this is certainly something that they are going to have to be

mindful of going forward especially as you look back at the former vice president's own personal history with this.

John?

KING: It's supposed to be a campaign A team. This was not an A performance. Arlette Saenz live for us in New Hampshire, appreciate it.

And just to Arlette's point as we come back (INAUDIBLE) I just going to read, this is Joe Biden in a New York Times story, we can show the front page of the New York Times first on this day September 18, 1987.

Mr. Biden said today as he did 22 years ago that he had misunderstood the rules of citation and footnoting. This is about him plagiarizing while in college. I was wrong, but I was not malevolent in any way. I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody and I didn't to this day. I didn't to this day issue. That's exactly what they're saying now.

I'm sorry when this is your issue -- when this has been an issue in the past, how? How? This is a staff issue. I'm sure the former vice president had probably nothing to do with this, but he's the leader of the organization. Hello?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Also these days as opposed to the '80s or 22 years before that, they have software to do this. It's quite simple to just check everything just to be on the safe side and make sure if you don't trust drawing the eyeballs that you're not going to make this sort of public error because somebody's going to catch it. It shows a bit of lack of forethought I suppose is the polite way of saying it or, you know, I guess the worst case scenario is potentially a little bit too much arrogance that you can just do this and not having anybody looking at you.

KING: It's lazy or it's arrogant. And let me flip the thing, you would think he would be happy to quote progressive groups on his website. As they're attacking him, this is a great embrace.

OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, SIRIUSXM: It could've been a lot worse. What if he'd taken from a center-right think-tank instead of from progressive group?

KING: Well, let's move on. This is a -- I'll call this a style issue. This is a leadership issue. This is a competence issue.

He wants to be president of the United States. This is a leadership and competence issue, you can't do this stuff. You just can't. You do it in our business, you get fired.

And so, here's a policy issue that the former vice president has to deal with today. His campaign taking a bold stance in a Democratic primary, saying, that the vice president still supports the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funding for family planning overseas including abortion counseling and abortion, any abortions overseas. The campaign says the vice president stands by that. That was his position as a United States senator. Within minutes of them confirming this, NBC news report it, the campaign has now confirmed it to CNN. Four of the candidates, Beto O'Rourke, Jay Inslee, Bernie Sanders, and Julian Castro, we can put up the tweets.

Beto O'Rourke, "No matter your income or where you live, every woman should have access to healthcare including abortion." Jay Inslee, "I voted against the Hyde Amendment in 1983, it was wrong men wrong now." Bernie Sanders, "No middle ground on women's rights. Abortion is a constitutional right." Julian Castro says, "The age of abortion is healthcare. Time to repeal the Hyde Amendment."

I'm going to note too these are four men. The women in the field have yet to weigh in. This is a risky policy position. He's the frontrunner, he thinks he can think about the general election where this would be safer ground, but we have debates in a couple of weeks. Welcome.

[12:35:03] LAURA BARRON- LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, and someone like Elizabeth Warren, even Gillibrand I think have already put out in their proposals that they support repealing the Hyde Amendment. This is a big piece of their larger plan to protect abortion rights after they've seen the onslaught in southern states to restrict. And so this has become a really big issue in the primary since those states started restricting because there has been among the Democratic primary this worry that now there is a chance that this will reach the Supreme Court and there will be a revisiting of Roe v. Wade.

KING: And as I mentioned, I mentioned the four men as we've been speaking. Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York, another Democratic candidate has tweeted on this saying we must repeal the Hyde Amendment. So, we don't know who will be on the stage with Joe Biden. There's going to be two debates because there's 20 candidates, but we know there's going to be a fair amount of this.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this speaks to the larger picture of what's happening right now. Quickly these Democratic candidates came out criticizing him for this. The president was quick to criticize him over the plagiarism charge, tweeting about it saying it was going to be a big problem for him. So you're saying that Joe Biden is under a microscope and every single move he makes is being criticized, not only by the president but by everyone who is hoping to beat him out to be the Democratic nominee. So when they make mistakes like this that about the plagiarism, you can just see that that is the question about why he is the frontrunner.

KING: Every frontrunner is tested. We shall see if he is up to the challenge.

Up next for us, Bernie Sanders, another top Democratic takes the fight for a higher minimum wage into the lion's den.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:40:51] KING: Bernie Sanders taking his fight against what he calls corporate greed directly to one of the biggest corporations in the world. Senator Sanders addressing Walmart's annual shareholders meeting this morning calling on the retail giant to give employees a bigger voice on its corporate board and to pay them a $15 minimum wage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The issue that we are dealing with today is pretty simple. Walmart is the largest private employer in America. And yet, despite the incredible wealth of its owner, Walmart pays many of its employees starvation wages. Frankly, the American people are sick and tired of subsidizing the greed of some of the largest and most profitable corporations in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now before Sanders spoke, Walmart preemptively defending itself on Twitter. Its Vice President of Corporate Affairs Dan Bartlett criticizing what he calls the senator's, quote, outdated view of Walmart, and pointing to the company's record on college education, workforce training, and cutting carbon emissions. Not long after Sanders spoke, the Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said he thought the minimum wage was, quote, lagging behind.

So it's a dispute between Senator Sanders and Walmart, but it's a bigger issue as Senator Sanders making the point there that the corporations are greedy and workers are getting the shaft. We're in this phase of the campaign where we're getting ready for the first debates. He's in second place, it's effective, right, for his message. There will be those who say no, but.

KNOX: Yes, it's effective and it helps him stand out in a field where a lot of the Democrats agree on the core premise of this message. Answer the question you asked on (INAUDIBLE) he was designated as a proxy by a shareholder. He himself does not appear that he actually directly owns any Walmart stock.

Walmart, unlike Target and Costco and Amazon, Walmart seems to be lagging a little behind some of those competitors in terms of increasing their worker wage. And so this gives them a great opportunity, a lot of theater, and helps them competing against people like Elizabeth Warren.

LOPEZ: Right. And raising minimum the wage is a big theme of Sanders' campaign. I mean, even in 2018 before he announced he also did this same aggressive tactic -- he used the same aggressive tactics with Disney and he went to California and organized with, you know, the hotel hospitality workers that worked for Disney and took them on and got that company also to directly respond to him in that argument there.

So it's -- as Olivier said it's important for him to do this because Warren has also been equally aggressive in taking on corporations especially big tech.

COLLINS: Yes. And I think with this new pattern we're seeing is where they're calling them out specifically by name, going in front of them like he is doing today. So that's something that we're going to see I think emerging as a trend in 2020. But also he's trying to contrast himself with people like Joe Biden who is going after those working-class voters, and so he's trying to distinguish himself from Joe Biden not only just Elizabeth Warren.

KING: And a lot of Democrats criticized candidate Trump when he did this in 2016 with automakers and other company. Now you see them, you mentioned, you know, Jay Inslee and several of the Democrats recently in front of McDonald's, a campaign of McDonald's workers, Elizabeth Warren you mentioned said I'm looking at you Amazon recently.

DEMIRJIAN: But it's in a way, you know, Trump has set the tone for a lot of what politics is now and you can't ignore that we're in that new environment. And Trump was an excellent marketer. He is really good at making the things stick in people's brains and a really good way of doing that is by giving people some intangible on something very visual. And if you know it's a big specific company that everybody knows that it's just down the street potentially in terms of their storefront, and that's when that you can really, you know, remember and grab them.

LOPEZ: One quick difference though is that Trump will sometimes attack companies because he feels as though he's been slighted by them. Not necessarily as a means to get to a policy, but because I've been personally attacked so now I want to lash back out at that company.

KING: That's a good point.

Up next for us, speaking of President Trump, he's surrounded by allies on his trip today but on certain issues, the president very much alone.

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[12:49:19] KING: President Trump mixing ceremony and controversy as he wraps up his final day in the United Kingdom today. The president now moved onto Ireland, you might saw at the top of the program, meeting with the Irish prime minister earlier this hour. This morning, the president and the first lady taking part in the D-Day commemorative event. Tomorrow marks 75 years since the large scale allied operation that led to the end of World War II. President Trump, his part in the ceremony, reading a prayer from President Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All mighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion, and our civilization and to set free a suffering humanity.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [12:50:09] KING: That event championing the partnership between the allies that helped bring peace after years of war. Earlier today though in an interview, the president highlighted the vast chasm between his views and those of most of the world leaders who were with him today. And let's start with one of these issues. There was an interview with "Good Morning Britain" and Piers Morgan. Let's start with climate change.

The president has said things like this before, but my seven-year-old has a basic understanding of the difference between weather and climate. Here is the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I believe that there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways. Don't forget, it used to be called global warming that wasn't working then it was called climate change. Now it's actually called extreme weather.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The president sees a branding problem, not a global climate crisis.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Right. I mean, it still is global warming. The globe is warming. Scientists have a consensus on this and they're now really sounding the alarm saying that by 2050 the planet could face an essential crisis. So, I'm not sure why Trump is so fixated on the branding. Again, this is partially probably because he doesn't believe in climate change and has long called it a hoax.

KING: He doesn't want to do anything about it. Right.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And this could also end up being a political problem for Republicans down the line as Democrats have been trying to push it and make it a bigger issue.

KING: A big issue in the campaign especially among the Democrats now. We'll see how it plays once the Democrats have a nominee. And today he is standing around all the other leaders who are still the Paris climate accord who frankly thinks he is just lost on --

KNOX: One of the really interesting parts of this visit to the U.K. was when he and Theresa May did that press conference. And at the top of that press conference in their prepared statements, she basically recited all of the significant issues with which -- on which London and Washington disagree. She included the Paris climate accord, she mentioned the Iran nuclear deal. It was a very interesting moment for her to say -- I mean, maybe as she is heading for the exits to say, you know, we don't -- there's a lot on which we don't agree even though we're as close as we are.

KING: Right, she did it politely but she laid it out. Here's another thing, I'm going to read this because we don't have access to the entire interview on tape from the president's interview. Let me just read it and you make your judgment at home. Talking about Vietnam, of course, did not serve in the Vietnam War. He got deferments. Some have questioned the legitimacy of the health issue of bone spurs which he got the deferments. Here is the president.

"Well, I was never a fan of that war. I'll be honest with you I thought it was a terrible war. I thought it was very far away. Nobody ever -- you know, you're talking about Vietnam. And at that time, nobody had ever heard of the country. They were saying what are we doing? So many people are dying. What is happening over there? So I was never a fan." I would not have minded serving at all, the president said. I would have been honored. I think I make up for it now.

That last part I suspect will not sit well with active servicemen, some of them, military veterans. But the fact nobody knew where it was. I remember sitting next to my dad growing up, eight, nine, 10- years-old, I remember kids in the neighborhood being drafted. Vietnam -- some of them coming home missing a limb. Vietnam was everything. Maybe (INAUDIBLE) where I didn't watch the evening news or something but what is that nobody knew what it was?

COLLINS: Yes, the idea that people didn't know where they were sending their fathers, brothers, uncles, whoever to go to this war is not really believable. But also the president is saying he was asked if he would have minded serving in another war because he's essentially saying he didn't believe in Vietnam. And he says that he thinks he is making up for not serving in the military by increasing defense spending as the president. And that is a comment that generated a lot of eyeballs today.

DEMIRJIAN: I think it shows that it's a fairly (INAUDIBLE) response that doesn't take into account the seriousness of the protest movement as he was summarizing it there, and does not take account the gravity of the service for those who did serve in the Vietnam War even if they didn't agree with it. So it's just generally a little bit of a tone- deaf sort of presentation of a pretty major chapter of American history that you think the president would be more familiar with and more sensitive in describing.

KING: Let me sneak in one more. After the horrible shooting at Virginia Beach the other day the president was asked a question about silencers and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Nobody has talked about silencers very much. They did talk about the bump stock and we had it banned. And we're looking at that. I am going to, you know, seriously look at it. I don't love the idea of it. I don't like the idea -- what's happening is crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: After Parkland he talked a lot about gun control then he backed off pressure from the NRA and some of his aides. Any indication he's doing anything here? KNOX: No. We're looking at it as Trump speak for I want to get out of this question right now, and I want to diffuse this issue in the short term. It's not usually an indication that they're actually looking at a real serious policy process to try to determine a policy outcome.

KING: Wish we had more time for that but we don't.

Up next, new poll numbers from the Rust Belt, the new reasons for the president to be a little worried.

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[12:59:20] KING: Before we go, some new poll numbers out of a key 2020 battleground state. You might remember President Trump won Michigan 16 electoral votes by a razor-thin two-tenths of a percent back in 2016. But, if the election were today in Michigan, a Detroit News Glengariff Group poll out this morning finds the Democrats winning big time in some cases. Joe Biden with 53 percent to 41 percent for the president, a 12-point lead. Identical numbers there for Bernie Sanders. Pete Buttigieg with a six-point lead over the president. Elizabeth Warren, a four-point lead and a three-point lead for Kamala Harris.

It is early but if you're going to watch one state in the 2020 math, watch Michigan. It's got to be interesting.

Thanks for joining us today in the INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here this time tomorrow. Busy news day, stay with us. Brianna Keilar starts right now. Have a great afternoon.