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President Trump Hails D-Day Vets as Among the Very Greatest Americans; Armored Personnel Carrier Involved in an Accident Near Training Site at West Point Military Academy; World Leaders Mark 75th Anniversary of D-Day Invasion; Accident Near Training Site at West Point Military Academy; U.S., Mexican Officials Meet on Tariffs and Migration; Republican Revolt Brewing Over Trump's Mexico Tariffs. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:31] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And we do begin this hour with breaking news. There has been an accident we've learned at a training site at West Point Military Academy that is here in New York. Emergency vehicles are responding right now.

Let's go to the Pentagon. Barbara Starr joins me with more.

Barbara, what can you tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. There's very little information at this hour. It apparently happened a short time ago. And the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, of course, north of New York City, has put a note on their social media Twitter account saying that an accident has occurred near their training site and asking, of course, people, traffic, to stay away from that site as emergency vehicles are responding at this very minute.

We do not have -- this is very early information. We do not have any verified details on any injuries at this time. But they're -- it appears to be some kind of accident, perhaps involving vehicles.

Summertime training at West Point for the cadets is a regular activity after graduation. Many of them participate in this. It's a wooded area around West Point. And they practice, you know, their land warfare skills, often using military vehicles, going out in the woods on training missions as cadets so this is a routine, regular activity at West Point in the summertime but apparently there has been some sort of accident. Emergency vehicles responding.

We're going to stay on it and bring more details as we learn more about exactly what did happen here -- Poppy.

HARLOW: All right, Barbara, very concerning to hear. Please do keep us posted. We appreciate the reporting.

Also this morning, President Trump met with the French president for bilateral talks that just wrapped up. The public part of it. Now they have a working lunch together. This is as the president winds up his -- winds down, rather, his trip to France having paid his respects to the forces who saved freedom in his words.

The U.S. and allied troops, of course, stormed ashore on D-Day 75 years ago today. In a poignant ceremony near the burial ground of almost 10,000 Americans, President Trump and the president of France honored by name a number of D-Day veterans who returned to the shores for today possibly for the last time.

We will take you live to Normandy in just a moment, but of course we're also watching the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., where right now officials are meeting for a second day with Mexican officials eager to head off those tariffs set to start on Monday, just four days from now.

Those talks were on the president's mind when he spoke to reporters earlier this morning in Ireland. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They'll be meeting at the White House. I think a lot of progress was made yesterday but we have to make a lot of progress. We'll see what happens. But something pretty dramatic could happen. We've told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: The president is demanding that Mexico stop or at least slow the surge of undocumented immigrants into the United States and he may be the only one who is very happy about those tariffs.

The pushback is growing this hour and it is not just political. Our coverage begins with our Michelle Kosinski. She joins us at the State Department.

Michelle, Mexico's president sounds confident. I mean, saying this morning he is confident they'll make a deal. Is that wishful thinking?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, The Mexicans have I think tried to sound positive about this over the last few days but last night we heard from the Mexican Foreign minister just after he met with the vice president and the secretary of state at the White House. Just after he then had a long follow-up meeting with the secretary of State here at the State Department.

And he didn't sound quite so optimistic. And there's some reading of the tea leaves here because obviously they don't want to give away all the details of their negotiations but he said that there were still several hours of meetings and negotiations left to have today, some of that could be here at the State Department.

We do expect, we're hearing from one source, that there's going to be a meeting at the White House this afternoon involving lawyers, aides and others, but the Mexican Foreign minister has said that the conversation wasn't so much about the tariffs which he feels hurt both sides. Obviously, the Mexicans are very much opposed to that. But he said if focused on what Mexico is proposing to do, so it's clear that Mexico is expecting to come up with some plan, that there is going to be some agreement and Mexico is going to have to give something away in terms of doing more at the border.

[09:05:12] It's just not clear what that is. And of course, the message that is being projected from the White House, and we heard from the vice president yesterday, is that Mexico is not doing nearly enough, that there was some progress made but it is still not enough. So I guess we're left with what the president always says is stay tuned and we'll have to see how these meetings go today. But, you know, from some sides you get optimism.

HARLOW: Yes.

KOSINSKI: At other times from others you get pessimism. It's difficult to know exactly what stage these negotiations are in right now.

HARLOW: It is indeed. We're glad we have you for the reporting.

Michelle Kosinski, at the State Department, thanks so much.

Among those least happy with the prospect of escalating tariffs on all Mexican goods coming into this country are Republican members of Congress.

Our Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill this morning.

We talked about this yesterday, Lauren. They don't like it in word but the question becomes in action. Will they actually do anything?

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Poppy. And to some extent they're still waiting, right, to see what that executive order or proclamation from the president would actually look like, what the legal justification is. That will determine how they will react in some part. But, you know, Republicans behind the scenes and in public are not happy with this proposed tariff.

They're very concerned with the fact that it could come as soon as Monday and as we've heard from them they want to hear from President Trump directly. That has been their refrain over and over again. Look, let's hold off. Let's hear from the president directly. This is so big. It's going to affect economies in all of our states, from agriculture to automobile manufacturers. We need to hear from the president directly before he just moves forward with something as large as this tariff.

Now one of the issues here behind the scenes has been that Republicans are afraid that there may be an instance where the House Democrats could have a resolution of disapproval. That would be privileged. Then it would move over to the Senate and force them to have to vote on it. Now that's all speculative, of course, because we don't know exactly what the president is going to do and whether this will be enacted on Monday. But it's just an example of the fact that Republicans could be put in a position where they will have to decide whether to stand with the president or stand with constituents back home who are not fans of these tariffs -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. It's interesting. Look, I thought hearing Roy Blunt say, you know, talk to us in person about this before we do anything says a lot.

Thank you, Lauren.

Let me bring in Susan Glasser, CNN global affairs analyst and staff writer for the "New Yorker." Alex Burns is here, our political analyst and national political correspondent for "The Times."

So good morning to you both.

Alex, let me just begin with you on which way you think the president goes here. I think he does it. I think if they don't get a deal they really love from Mexico, there's no question that these hit on Monday.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I don't know exactly what he's going to do in the next three days. I'm not going to try to read the president's mind but I think it should be completely apparent to everybody involved in this debate, in Washington, in the business community, across the country, in Mexico, that the president's not bluffing when it comes to tariffs, right?

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: That for so much of the business community, the communities that are invested in trade, there was this hope and I think sort of self-deluding hope for the first two years of this administration that a lot of this is just talk, we've seen over the last month, it's not just talk and for him to back away from imposing these tariffs based on Mexico coming up with sort of an aspirational plan for controlling the border would clearly be a sort of acknowledgement on the president's part that, you know, the politics aren't in his way on this. And that just generally is not how he's been conducting himself on trade and the border.

HARLOW: Susan Glasser, you know, the president wants to be able to claim a big win in terms of getting a NAFTA 2.0, USMCA through Congress. He wants to be able to tout that on the campaign trail and it is not just Democrats in Congress that are saying this is going to make that difficult. It's Republican senators who are also saying, look, to get USMCA to the finish line this, you know, escalating trade tiff, if you will, with Mexico is going to make that that much harder. Is it worth it to the president?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, you're right, Poppy, to spotlight this. It's a reminder I think of how extraordinary and unusual it is. We're talking about an entire policy debate that has cropped up after the president tweeted close to out of the blue that he was planning to impose these tariffs. He said they're going to be a sliding scale from 5 percent to 10 percent. And he stepped on his own administration's plans which they were just beginning to roll out to get the USMCA passed, the trade deal passed.

The vice president was in the middle of promoting it. Clearly this was not a coordinated policy rollout of the president's new tariffs on Mexico. There's questions about the legal basis on which he's even proceeding with this. The law that he apparently plans to invoke has never been used before to cite an emergency as a basis for imposing tariffs.

[09:10:09] When two White House lawyers went up to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican senators the other day they were greeted with a barrage of skepticism. As you pointed, the Republican senators don't even know exactly what it is the president is doing because there is no clear policy. You pointed out in terms of the negotiations with the Mexicans that even the demands on the Mexicans are either unclear or so unreasonable as to be subject to complete interpretation.

Obviously, is it a serious negotiation if the president's demand is that all illegal immigration from Mexico should cease? Clearly that's not a realistic demand. So then the question is, it feels like an entire manufactured political fight so in that sense it's kind of a trademark debate of the Trump era and so none of us have any basis for understanding whether it's going to proceed or escalate or de-escalate because in fact the president has not outlined a clear policy here. We actually don't know what we're talking about.

HARLOW: Yes, which matters a lot.

All right, turning the page here, Alex. So Nancy Pelosi has really held the line here on moving forward with impeachment proceedings against the president. Sources tell Politico instead of impeachment she still prefers to wait it out, to see the president in her hopes defeated at the ballot box in 2020. And then prosecuted. Her words, thrown in jail. Like I'd rather see him thrown in jail. How is that going to fly with her caucus, though?

BURNS: I think there's sort of mounting evidence that the momentum in the caucus and in the Democratic Party generally is in the direction of taking some kind of formal step towards impeachment that, you know, there are all kinds of ideas on the Democratic side for how you could sort of proceed with some kind of impeachment inquiry without going straight to, you know, let's move towards a trial in the Senate.

We've seen this from the presidential candidates, I think, as the biggest barometer of the shift over the last couple of weeks.

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: What's sort of striking to me on the Speaker Pelosi side of this is how much she ratchets up her public rhetoric.

HARLOW: The jail thing.

BURNS: Denigrating the president personally.

HARLOW: I had to read that --

BURNS: Right.

HARLOW: -- quote twice.

BURNS: Every time she faces pressure internally to actually do something formal and legal to take him on in some form of impeachment proceeding, right, that to say I want him to go to jail is no way a substantive response to the predicament the Democrats currently find themselves in. It is red meat that she sort of hope that people in the caucus --

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: And people generally around the country will take as satisfying enough to then not take the formal steps that they're asking for.

HARLOW: Susan Glasser, one thing that is -- very quickly here -- helping the president a lot right now when it comes to his re-election is the economy. That remains strong. Of course this tariff fight with Mexico, the escalating trade war with China, could change all of that. But then to the upside I suppose for him you have the Fed saying this week that it -- you know, in so many words, would consider easing then and cutting rates then, which would then prop up the economy here.

How do you think this all plays into 2020?

GLASSER: Well, I think right now the president clearly has a -- putting everything on the economy strategy and, you know, historically that would work. If you look at how strong the economy has been, what's remarkable is only that the president isn't more popular than he is. If anything, you see his numbers below what you would expect them to be on the basis of this economy.

He has had a campaign of public pressure of the Fed that is really unusual.

HARLOW: Yes.

GLASSER: Explicitly seeming to politicize it and I think that's where you start to see these growing cries of pain from Republican members of Congress who are really fearful that at a certain point all of these different pressure tactic negotiations because, by the way, it's not just with Mexico. So you have the threat of tariffs with Mexico. I saw one study that said it could be the largest tax hike effectively in American history. You also have the threat of tariffs with China.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz said essentially that, you know.

GLASSER: Well, that's right but it's not in isolation. You want to talk about the economy, you also have at the exact same moment the threat of escalating tariffs on China. The president just said this morning that he would issue a final decision on where he's going with that after meeting with Xi Jinping. HARLOW: Right.

GLASSER: You also have the president tactics, a maximum pressure campaign against Iran in the Middle East which has an economic effect. And so put all these things together and, you know, you really got to wonder whether the president's streak of good luck on the economy could run out with very unfortunate timing.

The United States is in its longest recovery period ever. At a certain point, if history is any guide, a recession will come.

HARLOW: Something's got to give at some point.

GLASSER: And that is the way that presidents don't get re-elected.

HARLOW: All right. There you go. We'll see what happens.

Susan Glasser and Alex Burns, appreciate your expertise, both of you this morning. Thank you very much.

Still to come, we will have much more on that breaking news we told you about that accident near West Point Military Academy. We're getting new details, an update after the break.

Also, President Trump speaking this morning to veterans of World War II and survivors of D-Day, a special ceremony on this 75th anniversary.

[09:15:00] And we are live in Normandy ahead. And first on CNN, a disturbing report of what actually goes on in come ICE facilities where migrants are detained. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: All right, welcome back, we are following breaking news. There has been an accident this morning at a training site at West Point Military Academy, that's here in New York, about an hour or so outside of New York City. Troopers are currently assisting with emergency response. Barbara Starr joins me first with details from the Pentagon. OK, Barbara, what have you learned?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, as you say, New York State troopers are going to the scene to render assistance as best they can. The details are very scarce at this early hour, but West Point authorities are saying that the accident apparently did involve some type of armored vehicle.

[09:20:00] It is Summer time at the academy and the cadets who are there in the Summer often engage in training activities in the areas around the Academy, and that may have been what was going on here. It's a -- the accident apparently occurring according to West Point near a training site.

And so, they often go out into these wooded areas in the Summer, practice their skills using military vehicles, camping out, doing navigation exercises, all part of their training for attending the academy. As students there, as cadets there. So what we are waiting for is additional detail about the accident. We have no information at this hour about any injuries that were sustained, how the accident occurred, whether other vehicles were involved.

We know that authorities now, state troopers and West Point authorities are at and on their way to the site. Obviously, this is an area where they're going to have to try and control traffic in and out of the area. This is a commuting route. This whole general area up the Hudson River Valley, as you know, Poppy, a commuting route back and forth --

HARLOW: Yes --

STARR: To New York City. It is very busy on the roads there, even at this mid-morning hour --

HARLOW: Yes --

STARR: So there will be some traffic control issues, but of course, the main thing is to get to the site and render assistance to anyone who is injured there. Poppy?

HARLOW: OK, Barbara Starr, troubling to hear, please keep us posted as the new details do come in. Let's talk about this with Retired Major General Spider Marks; a CNN military analyst and of course a graduate of West Point. I'm so sorry to hear this news.

JAMES SPIDER MARKS, RETIRED U.S. ARMY GENERAL: Yes, very tragic.

HARLOW: I mean, we only know a few details as Barbara went through them. One is that it involved an armored vehicle. What could happen? What comes to your mind?

MARKS: Well, the Summer, as Barbara indicated, and thank goodness, Barbara just did a magnificent job. She's not speculating, she's not --

HARLOW: Right --

MARKS: Trying to make stuff up, she's reporting what she knows, and it's important that we all kind of breathe through our nose now because you've got these great young 23 cadets, men and women, who are there during the Summer doing military training. This is vigorous military training. I mean, they're getting exposed to all of those branches of the service, aviation, infantry, tactics, armor training, artillery, et cetera.

So they get exposed to this and dive into it deeply. So they're put through their paces, they're tired, they have to get from one training location to another and they probably -- and again, no speculation on my part, but I know they're training very well. Use of back roads, they have some commercial traffic that gets on some of these higher speed traffic areas.

And if you're moving from point A to point B, you've been put through your paces, you may be tired, who knows what took place? I don't know what the conditions were like on the ground.

HARLOW: Yes --

MARKS: But the academy will rally around what just occurred. We'll get to the bottom of what happened. And what happens in the military always as you learn from these failures, you'll adapt --

HARLOW: Yes --

MARKS: And they'll put conditions in place to prevent it next time.

HARLOW: Well, of course, as we hear more, we'll bring it to everyone but because I have you and the reason we had brought you here before we knew about this accident, of course, is to talk about today --

MARKS: Yes --

HARLOW: Seventy five years since D-Day, a day where more than 160,000 allied troops crossed the English Channel, 7,000 vessels, so many lives given, sacrificed --

MARKS: Right --

HARLOW: You know? Over 400 -- 4,400 allied troops, 2,500 and one American troops killed, and some of them were there today, those who survived, who walked on those shores, who stormed those shores, not knowing if they would live through the day.

MARKS: Kind of phenomenal, isn't it?

HARLOW: Remarkable.

MARKS: I mean, it really -- it brings a tear to your eye, but it makes you really feel good about the notion of what America -- the brilliance, the dedication, the sacrifice and America stood up. They probably didn't have to. America realized they needed to get involved. If you want to be a part -- if you want to change the arc of history, you get involved directly.

And America did, and this coalition --

HARLOW: Yes --

MARKS: Was just phenomenal.

HARLOW: Yes --

MARKS: Which really brings us forward, let's fast-forward and you go, yes, we do, do this together. We need to have --

HARLOW: Right --

MARKS: Coalitions, we need to have friends, we need to have partners --

HARLOW: Which would bring that alliance, which would bring, you know, the allied forces to victory eleven months later. And I --

MARKS: Yes --

HARLOW: It was so striking to me, you know, looking at all of the -- those tombstones and looking at the president with President Macron today, with Theresa May earlier this week, and just thinking about there is a lot that divides even allies right now and the president's comments on NATO, et cetera. But there's so much more that unites us still.

MARKS: Yes, absolutely, Poppy. The foundation of our relationships are in violet, I mean, they're solid. We stand on the same platform of values and ethical approach toward international engagement. And of course, we're going to bicker. You bicker with your husband and I bicker with my family.

I love them deeply, but it's a human endeavor, and we have our fallacies and we have our challenges. But what this really tells you, it's a great reminder for us that irrespective --

HARLOW: Yes --

MARKS: Of how difficult things might be --

HARLOW: Yes --

MARKS: We're going to emerge, we're going to persist.

HARLOW: Yes --

[09:25:00] MARKS: We've always had challenges.

HARLOW: Of course, you know, the biggest ever air and sea borne invasion in history, and in the words of President Eisenhower, "full victory, nothing else". And look --

MARKS: Right --

HARLOW: Where that freedom has brought us today.

MARKS: It's amazing. You look at the world that we grew up in --

HARLOW: Sure, it's because of this sacrifice --

MARKS: That my children have -- absolutely, that was the stunt, not just a victory and the defeat of enemies in World War II, this was the -- we were launching into a new world and guess what? We were going to be a part of shaping that.

Doesn't that make you a little kind of humbling, isn't it?

HARLOW: So proud, yes, it is, thank you so much.

MARKS: Sure, absolutely.

HARLOW: I can see the emotion in your eye. Thank you for serving and for all you and all of our veterans have done. We remember them especially today.

MARKS: Thanks.

HARLOW: Thank you very much.

MARKS: Thanks.

HARLOW: And let's hope for the best at West Point, of course --

MARKS: Oh my God, I know --

HARLOW: With this accident, we will keep --

MARKS: Yes, we'll get to the bottom of that, we'll solve that problem --

HARLOW: We'll keep everyone posted --

MARKS: Keep them in their prayers, yes --

HARLOW: Thank you very much, general. All right, we're also moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Investors, of course, watching to see what happens between the U.S. and Mexico. Will these tariffs actually get slapped on Mexican goods come Monday? Also, they're staying hopeful that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates, we'll see, stay with us.

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