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Pressure Mounts on China's Xi as Millions Flood Hong Kong Streets; Trump Tells Supports to Ignore Polls That Say He's Losing; Will Poll Leaks Overshadow Trump's Re-Election Launch; Trump Compares His Treatment by Media to Abraham Lincoln; Trump Boots Chief of Staff for Coughing During ABC Interview; Supreme Court Issues Opinion on Racial Gerrymandering; Netanyahu Names Golan Heights Settlement after Trump. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 17, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:26] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: It's been more than a week since protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong and they are remaining defiant against the government.
Take a look at this stunning time-lapse video of these massive demonstrations. Organizers are saying that almost two million people hit the streets to protest an extradition bill, a bill that the government says it's now suspending in a rare about-face.
These pictures are being seen around the world and that is ramping up the pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping just as he prepares to head to the G-20 summit. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he expects that President Trump will raise the protests with Xi at that summit in Japan.
CNN's Andrew Stevens is in Hong Kong.
Andrew, how big, how surprising a defeat is this for the Chinese president?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: I think a lot of people in Hong Kong were surprised, given the fact that Xi Jinping is seen as much more authoritarian than his immediate predecessors and has drawn a hard line with Hong Kong over many things.
You go back to 2014, when we had this occupy movement for 79 days in Hong Kong, and Beijing absolutely conceded nothing. This time they have conceded.
The calculation appears to have been that President Xi is already facing this trade war with the U.S. It's facing a slowing economy in China. It didn't want to have this added distraction of potentially more violent scenes on the streets of Hong Kong.
We saw last Wednesday 80 people arrested, we saw scenes of rubber bullets being fired, pepper spray being used, tear gas. The Chinese government does not want to keep those sorts of images in the international spotlight heading up to the G-20.
So the compromise was withdraw the bill. Don't shelve it, withdraw it, hoping it would take the sting out of any further protests.
That failed to a degree because the day after the Hong Kong government did withdraw it, we had two million people on the streets, as the pictures show. But there has not been the violence we saw and the police presence in Hong Kong -- since the weekend, has been minimal -- Alex?
MARQUARDT: An incredible moment in Hong Kong and for Xi Jinping.
Andrew Stevens, in Hong Kong, thanks very much.
President Trump is suggesting that his treatment in the media is worse than Abraham Lincoln, who, of course, was assassinated.
And watch President Trump kick his chief of staff out of the Oval Office for coughing.
[13:37:27] MARQUARDT: President Trump has a message for his supporters when it comes to poll numbers: Don't believe them if they show that he's losing, especially to former Vice President Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't believe those polls. There's no way he beats me in Texas.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: But even your own polls show you're behind right now, don't they?
TRUMP: No. My polls show that I'm winning everywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: He's winning everywhere.
Earlier the president tweeted, "Only fake polls show us behind the Motley Crue. We were looking really good but it is far too early to be focused on that. Much work to do. Make America great again."
April Ryan and Gloria Borger are here to discuss all of this.
Gloria, these poll numbers, despite what the president says, are not looking good. He's trailing a lot of Democrats in head-to-heads in key swing states. We now know he has fired three pollsters. Is this more his anger about the numbers or about the fact that they were leaked?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, you don't think he's focused on this, do you? MARQUARDT: Not at all.
BORGER: Not in the least.
It is a sign of how concerned he is about the polls. Look, if he were your average candidate, if your internal polling were leaked, you would have a right to be upset about that and say these guys ought to go. It's not right for them to leak internal polling.
However, this is Donald Trump. This is not your average candidate.
What he's upset about is that the polls that were leaked showed that he wasn't winning. As a result, they're fake polls.
But I think you also have to take into consideration that the pollsters probably felt the one way to communicate with him is to put it in the public eye so he will pay attention to these polls and perhaps then take them seriously. I don't know if that is what occurred but you have to consider that possibility.
MARQUARDT: Even if he's dismissing them.
MARQUARDT: And then we have, April, this rally tomorrow night. He's relaunching -- he's launching his re-election bid in Orlando. There's supposed to be 20,000 people, huge campaign rally, which we know he likes. Do you think that this anger, this leak casts some sort of shadow for him over that event?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Florida is the swing state that everybody is trying to grab. This president did win Florida, but at the same time, he has an issue with Florida. Immigration is one of the key pieces.
But for these poll numbers to come out to be leaked just before, it does not bode well for him at all. This president loves to say, I'm winning, I'm a winner, when it, indeed, shows he's losing.
But I'm going to say this. These polls, these internal polls were known within the White House for a very long time because I have been hearing about Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin --
BORGER: And Wisconsin.
RYAN: -- for a couple of weeks, maybe more than a month. And for him now to be upset, this is like delayed because they're out in the public.
[13:40:06] It's kind of mirroring what the Democrats are saying, because Democratic polls are saying that Joe Biden were to beat him if the election were to happen today. They're also saying any Democrat would beat him if the election were today.
This does not bode well for the Trump brand and it does not bode well for his presidency. He is going in looking like a loser.
MARQUARDT: Right. And then we'll be sure he'll bring it up in his speech tomorrow night.
RYAN: And calling them the Motley Crue.
MARQUARDT: Of course, and saying they're not true.
BORGER: There's a new name.
RYAN: I know. But the Motley Crue is a good group.
MARQUARDT: It is a good one.
MARQUARDT: Of course, we've heard him complain repeatedly about his treatment in the media.
And then, in this interview with ABC News, which has offered all sorts of very quotable moments, he said, "Look, it's been acknowledged, although they do say Abraham Lincoln was treated really badly, I must say that's the one. If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly, but nobody has been treated badly like me."
Gloria, very simply, how can you be treated worse than a president that was assassinated?
BORGER: You can't. You cannot. Maybe that's not what he was thinking about. I think there's a little bit of a martyr complex going on here.
Look, Abraham Lincoln did get criticized by the press. The country was facing an existential crisis.
The difference between Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump -- there are so many I'm not going to elaborate on all of them. But one of the differences is that Lincoln believed that his job was to try and unite the country at a time of division rather than further divide the country.
So he didn't come out and accuse the press of being treasonous and he didn't come out and attack the press. He tried to use the press to his advantage, like every president, like every presidential candidate I've ever known.
By the way, I've never known a president who thought that he was being treated really well by the press.
MARQUARDT: Right. (CROSSTALK)
If we're doing our job they don't think they're being treated well.
BORGER: Of course. Of course.
MARQUARDT: There's another incredible moment in this interview with George Stephanopoulos in which the president's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was struck by a coughing fit. Let's take a quick look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: At some point, I hope they get it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're going to turn it over?
TRUMP: At some point -- I might, but at some point, I hope they get it because it's a fantastic financial statement. It's a fantastic financial statement. And -- let's do that over. He's coughing in the middle of my answer.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, OK.
TRUMP: I don't like that, you know?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your chief of staff -
TRUMP: If you're going to cough, please leave the room.
MICK MULVANEY, CHIEF OF STAFF: I'll come over here.
TRUMP: You just can't --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just to change the shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: So that was genuine frustration bordering on anger there.
April, what do you see? Do you see a germophobe? Do you see a TV producer? Do you see a perfectionist? Why did he feel the need to stop that moment short and do it again?
RYAN: I see all of the above.
This is a high pollen-concentrated area.
I'm serious. This is the worst time of year. God forbid, you sneeze, you cough during an interview.
That was a little bit anal for some. Yes, you want quiet on the set. He could have said let's redo. He didn't have to go into you're coughing, get out.
RYAN: I thought he was joking at first.
But that gives you an insight into who this person is, who this president is, and some of the reason why many people proclaim this undying loyalty to him. It's blind loyalty to a certain extent. That's what he demands.
And the way he carried on -- I will call it carrying on because someone coughed? That's human. I cough on set all the time. We always ask for water. But, my goodness.
MARQUARDT: I said it was a coughing fit but it really wasn't. It was a couple of coughs.
BORGER: It was coughing. Look, this is a reality TV star who became president of the United States.
BORGER: He's used to taping hours and hours of interviews. He did 30 with George Stephanopoulos, and having it cut down. So he said, stop. What he didn't expect was for ABC to use that --
RYAN: And we're glad they did.
BORGER, Right -- to show how angry he was at his chief of staff, whom he treated, I think, very rudely and sort of dismissively and said, get out of my shot, I'm being brilliant here. Why would --
RYAN: Like, how dare you be in the room.
BORGER: Why would you interrupt me, how dare you?
BORGER: How dare you.
MARQUARDT: You can hear Mulvaney saying, offering to go somewhere else in the room but that wasn't good enough.
RYAN: I'm so sorry. I will leave.
BORGER: Never mind.
MARQUARDT: All right. We have to leave it there. Gloria Borger, April Ryan, thanks very much.
MARQUARDT: Just in, why Democrats want the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, investigated for possibly breaking the law.
[13:44:39] Plus, he likes his name on buildings and now the president got it on a new settlement in a contested territory.
MARQUARDT: The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down a major decision today, one of the most politically charged cases it has had had in years. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that Virginia's Republican-led House of delegates did not have the legal authority to challenge a lower court opinion on racial gerrymandering.
This means the state will continue to use court-ordered maps that favor Democrats, delivering a major blow to Republicans ahead of the 2020 elections.
[13:50:08] With me here now is CNN Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic.
Joan, with Brett Kavanaugh, this is now a firmly conservative court. How surprising was today's ruling?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: It is a conservative court, but this ruling defied those usual conservative/liberal alignments. It was only surprising that it went off on a legal standing issue, a more procedural issue.
The justices never got to the merits of this racial gerrymander, because what they ruled, 5-4, was this Republican-led House of delegates, just one chamber of the Virginia legislature, had no grounds to bring in on its own, did not have its own injury.
So you had senior liberal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, being joined by senior conservative, Clarence Thomas. So you could see the alignment was much different than what we expect for coming further in the term.
And, you know, the way it works, the justices can't just rule on any case or controversy unless somebody has actually been harmed. And what Ruth Bader Ginsburg said for the majority is that the House by itself, as just one chamber of the legislature, could not show harm to it.
MARQUARDT: And further in the term, we're now at the end of the term.
MARQUARDT: There are some 20 cases left, including a major gerrymandering case, the census case. How will they fit all that in, get to those, and also maintain what Chief Justice John Roberts has tried to call an apolitical court?
BISKUPIC: Well, first of all, it's like anything with a deadline. You know, you with a deadline, with a story. Me, with a deadline with a story. A senior, with a deadline with a term paper. They wait until the last minute.
So over the next couple days, actually the next 10 days, we will see about 20 rulings come down.
And the ones you mentioned where, it's just so politically charged, can the Trump administration say that the census will ask about your citizenship. That kind of issue, they're not going to be able to sidestep the way they did today's. And that's probably going to yield one of those kinds of 5-4 rulings that are more ideologically charged.
And you're absolutely right about the chief justice. He's one of nine members, he has a single vote. But this court bears his name informally. It's the Roberts court. And if he said it once, he said it a million times, that this court is not like the political branches, they don't decide things in a partisan manner.
But then if you start to see 5-4 rulings in these hot-button cases over partisan gerrymandering or the census, it sort of defies that ideal of nonpartisanship.
MARQUARDT: Very busy days ahead.
MARQUARDT: Joan Biskupic, thank you for your expertise.
BISKUPIC: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: Thank you.
Well, 25 years ago today, the infamous white Bronco chase involving O.J. Simpson. Now Simpson is joining a social media giant, saying he's got some getting even to do.
Plus, police in Arizona are apologizing after a video shows officers pulling their guns on a family after their 4-year-old took a doll from a store. The family now finally speaking out. What they have to say about this disturbing incident. That's next.
[13:57:51] MARQUARDT: To Israel now, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced he is naming a controversial new settlement in the Golan Heights after the man he calls his good friend, Donald Trump.
The new development is being called Trump Heights. And Netanyahu said it was a thank you to Trump for breaking with the international community and recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem for us. Oren, this is a settlement that the international community calls
illegal on land, that it says is occupied by Israel. Why do you think Netanyahu felt the need to do this?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is very much a thank you from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to President Donald Trump.
It was Trump, who, back in late March, announced that the U.S. would recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. As you pointed out, this is internationally recognized as occupied territory, taken by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war. And U.N. Security Council resolutions have backed that up.
It was Trump who broke with that international consensus and recognized that that was part of Israel. That came two weeks before the last Israeli elections in what was seen as a political gift to Netanyahu to try to help him in those elections.
Netanyahu promised Trump he would name a settlement in the Golan Heights after him. And that's exactly what he did.
Keep in mind, if you're looking back at the history of Trump and Netanyahu, Netanyahu has not once criticized Trump while he's in office. And he's gone out of his way, it seems, to openly flatter President Donald Trump, who is more than happy, it seems, to take that flattery.
He, in fact, tweeted in response, "Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. A great honor."
So where does this go from here? Well, opposition lawmakers criticize this, saying this is a publicity stunt to appease President Donald Trump. In fact, the decision made by the announcement, they say, made by this cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights had no official decision, no binding statements, no designated location, and no budget for this new settlement and, therefore, it's a phantom decision and publicity stunt.
That being said, even if that's all this is, Alex, it was a decision that Trump and Netanyahu were more than happy to celebrate together as Netanyahu once again shows off how big of a fan he is of what he calls his great friend, Donald Trump.
MARQUARDT: All right. Oren Liebermann, in Jerusalem, thanks very much.
[14:00:03] That's it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt.
"CNN NEWSROOM" starts right now.