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U.S. Navy: Russian Warship's "Unsafe" Move Nearly Caused Collision; Former U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus Discusses Near Collision of U.S & Russian Ships; U.S. Adds Only 75,000 Jobs, Raising Concerns About Tariffs; Trump Again Insults Pelosi as Nadler Tries to Convince Speaker to Impeach; Rep. Cummings Indicates He'll Move Forward on Contempt Vote Against Barr and Ross over Census Information; Biden Reserves Long-Held Position on Abortion. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired June 7, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: She's got a big interview with Bernie Sanders, candidate for 2020. Her show starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.

This morning, a near collision at sea, and a new spike in tension between Washington and Moscow. I want you to look at this video and look how dangerously close the U.S. and Russian warships came to each other. This happened just this morning in the Philippine Sea.

Russia is blaming the U.S. for this. The U.S. Navy saying it was actually the exact opposite, that Russian ship forced the Americans to perform an emergency maneuver to get out of the way and avoid a collision.

CNN's Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. She's had all the reporting on this and filed this for us moments ago.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the U.S. Navy estimates the Russian warship came within 50 to 100 feet off the U.S. Navy ship, as it was operating in international waters off the coast of China.

Now, the Navy says this was an extremely dangerous move. And they produced the video to the public to show what happened and just how close the Russian ship came to the U.S. Navy warship.

You can see it in this video. The Russian ship operating extremely close. I mean, literally, it seems like the U.S. sailors could have jumped onto the deck of the Russian ship.

One of the key indicators here is the wake of the Russian ship that you see in the video. Navy sources are telling us this is the kind of wake you would see at high speed. The U.S. Navy ship at the time was trying to land a helicopter on its

deck. And to do that, it has to maintain a steady course for the helicopter to land. But as the Russian ship came so close at high speed up alongside of it, they had to wave the helicopter off. It couldn't land. And they put the ship into full reverse to try and get away from the Russian warship.

It's just the latest incident. It makes the U.S. military extremely concerned about some potential miscalculation by the Russians, either at sea or in the air. A number of Russian aircraft had been intercepted by U.S. aircraft in recent months and weeks.

A lot of concern about how the Russians are operating, and a real concern about trying to avoid disaster at sea or in the air -- Kate?


BOLDUAN: Barbara, thank you so much for that.

Joining me right now for much needed perspective is Ray Mabus, who, of course, was a secretary of the Navy under President Obama.

Thank you so much for being here.


BOLDUAN: So you see this video, and what's your reaction?

MABUS: Well, it's stupid, it's unprofessional, but it's part of a pattern. Russians have a thuggish government. And they have been trying to provoke the U.S. or do these incredibly dangerous, just stupid things over and over and over again. I mean, ranging in everything from interfering with our elections to trying to push us out in the air, at sea, away from things we need to be doing in international waters.

BOLDUAN: Is there any reasonable explanation that this wasn't an aggressive maneuver of the part of the Russians?

MABUS: No. This is one of those things where you can believe the Russians or you can believe your lying eyes. This is very clear evidence of what's been going on. And you know, what they're trying to do with saying it's not their fault is just muddy the waters. Just make these blanket denials.

BOLDUAN: Secretary, the fact that the Pentagon declassified and released this video so quickly today, what does that also tell you?

MABUS: Well, it tells you how certain the American ship was in its actions. It tells you how well the Navy has responded. I mean, we've got an incredibly professional Navy. It doesn't do stuff like this.

And when there's a denial that's put out there that says, oh, no, we didn't do it, providing this sort of film with the definitive proof -- because you can see the wake, you can see how close the ship comes, you can see the reaction of the American ship -- it's just powerful, powerful proof that exactly what we said happened and what our Navy responded to is exactly what did happen.

BOLDUAN: Any collision at sea is, of course, dangerous. But how dangerous could this have been? What could have happened?

MABUS: This could have been just catastrophic because you're going at high speeds. You've got an American ship that's trying to recover a helicopter. You've got a Russian ship that is going really fast, closing on the American ship. And you could have -- people could have died. And a lot of damage could have been done. This was, again, just really a stupid thing to do.

[11:05:19] BOLDUAN: Beyond releasing the video, what do you think the U.S. should do in response to this?

MABUS: Well, first, you can't be intimidated by stuff like this. I think we should not only continue the patrols we do around the world -- I mean, that's what the Navy does, is give us presence everywhere -- but we should step them up. And we should make clear that we don't put up with this sort of thing.


MABUS: And the reason it's so dumb is that you can have a miscalculation. You can have something that is unforeseen. Then it spirals out of control.

We will -- our sailors, our captains, are really good seamen. They will do everything they can to avoid these sorts of things, but you cannot let yourself be pushed around in this circumstance.

BOLDUAN: If you pulled back just a second, I mean, this is a Russian ship in Asian waters at the very same time the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is meeting with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping. Coincidence?

MABUS: Probably not. Probably trying to show that Putin and the Russians are aggressive, can be just as aggressive as the Chinese, can be pushing America around or trying to push us out of those waters. And you know, some things may be a coincidence. This doesn't seem like it.


Secretary, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it.

MABUS: Kate, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Also new this morning, there are new worries for the U.S. economy. The new jobs report just out shows a mere 75,000 jobs were added last month, a surprisingly low number, falling well short of expectations.

So then what will this weak report mean for not just the economy but also the high-stakes negotiations going on right now between the United States and both Mexico and China over trade? First, let's bring in CNN chief business correspondent and co-host of

"EARLY START," Christine Romans.

Just break down the report, the numbers, what this means this month.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a rare stumble for what has been a very strong American labor market.

Let me show you what the numbers look like. Just 75,000 jobs in the month. And when you look at March and April, the government deducted or subtracted 75,000 from those months as well. It shows you there were fewer jobs created, less appetite for hiring from American companies for some reason in the month of May.

We had a stumble in February. That was because of bad weather and the market recovered. The big question here is, what is at play here in May?

The unemployment rate stayed at this generational low of 3.6 percent. So that's good news. You had some people coming into the labor market, starting to look for work.

But there's a lot of concern that the president's trade wars, in particular, are causing some uncertainty for companies, who don't know what their supply chains are going to look like, don't know what their costs are going to look like in the days and months ahead.

Remember, when we're talking about May, this is the month when the president's trade wars became real, right, Kate. This is when the realization really sank in that this could be months, maybe years of a trade war with China. It wasn't just a negotiating tactic that was temporary.

Let me show you the sectors here. Business, that was a strong performer. But health care also positive, but not as positive as we have seen. And construction, only 4,000. The month before that, Kate, something like 30,000 construction jobs. We only added about 4,000 manufacturing jobs. So something going on there, overall, that bears watching.

Again, this is one month. You want to see if there's a trend. Certainly, the Federal Reserve will want to see if there's a trend.

But let me show you what the reaction is in the market. Look at the Dow. It's back above 26,000, almost a 300-point rally. Why? Because investors, in the upside-down world of investing, this bad news was good news. Because Wall Street is betting that if the president tanks the American economy with his trade wars, the Fed will have to come in and rescue it with rate cuts -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: That is the definition of upside-down world, absolutely.

ROMANS: That's how it works. But you have multiple trade wars on multiple fronts. And the president seems to almost be goading the Fed into, hey, I'm going to do it my way and you can come in and rescue us if we need to. BOLDUAN: Also before that, publicly pressuring them to do what he

wants, which is unusual.


BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Thank you so much.

A lot more to learn from Christine on this coming up.

So, are you wondering where do things stand with the tariff talks with Mexico? Threatened 5 percent tariff on all goods coming from Mexico is set to go into effect on Monday.

So let's get the latest because there's been quite a few moving parts on this in just the last few minutes.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House and joining me now.

[11:10:04] Jeremy, a top White House official, Marc Short, he had a really interesting take on the Republican opposition to the president's tariff threat here. What are you hearing?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he absolutely did. You know, we know that Republican lawmakers have really been concerned about the president's threatened tariffs on Mexico, which, again, if there's no deal reached by the end of this weekend, those will go into effect on Monday at 5 percent on Mexican goods and then going up from there.

And Republican lawmakers have been really concerned about this threat. Several of them firing shots at the White House, saying the president should not go forward with this move.

Now, the vice president's chief of staff, Marc Short, he fired back just this morning.


MARC SHORT, VICE PRESIDENT'S CHIEF OF STAFF: We wish that members of Congress would spend as much time looking to fix the problem legislatively as they do belly aching about what the president is doing to try to fix the problem.


DIAMOND: And Marc Short said specifically he wants Congress to actually change asylum laws, something that has not happened thus far.

But, again, on the other front, the White House is continuing to pressure Mexico to try to make changes in its own country. We know that negotiations are still continuing between the U.S. and Mexico at this hour, Kate.

But at the same time, the White House is making very clear that it is moving forward with those proposed tariffs. The president actually has to sign an executive order by the end of the day today for those tariffs to go into effect on Monday.

But here's the rub, Kate. Marc Short is saying that if there's some kind of progress over the weekend and the White House feels that Mexico is actually taking the steps it is encouraging it to do, including on asylum policy, that the president could potentially roll back that executive order over the weekend before those tariffs actually hit on Monday.

But a lot still going on, and Marc Short making clear that there's still a long way to go in these negotiations.

BOLDUAN: And sign it and delete it and tear it up as quickly as he does, or just let the threat continue to linger out there, is what it sounds like.

Good to see you, Jeremy. Thank you so much. See what the next few hours bring there.

Coming up for us, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gets a new insult from President Trump. And a behind-the-scenes campaign from one of her top chairmen to try to change her mind on impeachment. We're going to go to Capitol Hill for the very latest.

Plus, just after he confronted Walmart executives over raising the company's minimum wage, Senator Bernie Sanders calls on Congress to step in. Coming up, Senator Sanders joins me live.


[11:17:15] BOLDUAN: President Trump is lashing out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Here's what he said about the speaker while still in Normandy for the D-Day anniversary.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think she's a disgrace. I actually don't think she's a talented person. I have tried to be nice to her because I would have liked to have gotten some deals done. She's incapable of doing deals. She's a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.

She's a terrible person. And I'll tell you, her name, it's Nervous Nancy because she's a nervous wreck.


BOLDUAN: Trump was responding to political reporting that Nancy Pelosi told colleagues behind closed doors the following, quote, "I don't want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison."

CNN's Manu Raju is joining me on Capitol Hill.

Man, you have a lot of new reporting about that meeting where Pelosi made these remarks, according to "Politico," and a break between Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and Speaker Pelosi. MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have learned

Jerry Nadler made the case to open up an impeachment inquiry in the very meeting. That's one reason Nancy Pelosi made those remarks pretty dramatically that she would rather see the president be in prison than impeached. Because Jerry Nadler, who his committee would be in charge of launching impeachment proceedings, has quietly been making the case to her that it's time to do that.

One reason why I am told is because he believes that it could help their case in court as they're fighting on a range of matters with the administration to get information. The real fear from the Democrats is, if they lose, it could dramatically set back their efforts to oversee the administration. They believe an impeachment inquiry strengthens their case in court.

But also, Nadler told Pelosi and others who were present that the impeachment inquiry could essentially centralize all of the probes that are occurring in the House right now to his committee, freeing up those other panels to actually do their own legislative agenda and leave that part of the investigation to the Judiciary Committee.

But he met pushback not just from Pelosi, but also Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, who, as you know, Kate, has his own investigation that he's launching.

BOLDUAN: That's true. Right now, it doesn't seem like it's changed the state of play, at least the most important opinion in this, which would be Speaker Pelosi.

But at the same time, another committee is making new moves. The House Oversight is saying it's going to be moving ahead with plans to hold the attorney general and the commerce secretary in contempt. Why now, Manu?

RAJU: Yes, that's right. Over a separate probe altogether. This having to do with the citizenship question that was added to the 2020 census. Democrats believe this is part of an effort to suppress the minority turnout, the way minorities are counted. That would affect how House seats are drawn.

Republicans say this is part of an effort to enforce the Voting Rights Act. They say the administration has not been truthful, which is why they issued subpoenas, the Democrats did. Those have not been complied with.

[11:20:11] The Justice Department saying this is premature. They want to negotiate further. But Elijah Cummings, this morning, Kate, said he's willing to move forward and hold Wilbur Ross and Bill Barr in contempt for not complying with those subpoenas -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Manu, thank you so much.

Coming up for us, a pretty stark 180. Democratic front-runner, Joe Biden, reversing his position on what is becoming a major issue in the Democratic primary race, federal funding for abortion services. So what triggered his reversal? And what does it say about his campaign strategy right now?

We'll be right back.


[11:25:31] BOLDUAN: Democratic race, Joe Biden, surprised a lot of people last night, reversing his position on the issue of federal funding for abortion services.

Listen to what Biden had to say.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Circumstances have changed. I have been working through the final details of my health care plan, like others in this race. And I have been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents.

If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code.



BOLDUAN: CNN's Arlette Saenz is joining me now from Atlanta with more on this.

Arlette, what are you hearing about why Biden changed his position on this?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Kate, you heard Joe Biden there, trying to frame this as a decision based on health care, saying he can no longer support this measure if it's going to limit women's access to abortion or abortion services based on their income or their zip code.

He pointed to the many states that are pushing, Republican-controlled states pushing for laws that could restrict abortion going forward, and he also said that women's health and women's rights are under attack here in this country.

Now, the Biden campaign, you had a senior adviser a short while ago on CNN saying Biden was not bending to the pressure from liberal activists on this, but it's hard to ignore the political realities of this.

I mean, within 36 hours, you really saw this swift criticism over two days from Biden's 2020 rivals. This was really the first major fault line, division you had seen between Joe Biden and the 2020 field. And within 36 hours of the campaign saying that he did still support the Hyde Amendment, you see this reversal from him.

So this is an issue that his rivals could have tried to capitalize on going forward. But for now, the Biden campaign is trying to frame this as a decision on health care, but there are certainly political dynamics involved in all of this.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and it wasn't like Biden had just been avoiding answering questions about the Hyde Amendment until he made this announcement. As you're pointing out, it was just like in a matter of the last day-plus that he had said one thing, said he actually wanted to repeal Hyde, then the campaign said, no, he's for the Hyde Amendment. Now we see where he's ended up. That's what's so surprising about this whole thing. Let us see.

What ultimately matters is what matters to voters, the change, or where he ends up or where he stays. We'll find out where they stand on that.

Arlette, thanks so much.

SAENZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you.

Coming up for us, Senator Bernie Sanders just took the fight for a higher minimum wage directly to the board of Walmart. Now he's calling on Congress to act. Coming up next, Senator Bernie Sanders joins me live.