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President Trump Jokes With Russian President Vladimir Putin About Election Interference; NYC Marks 50 Years After Stonewall Riots; Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) On The Democratic Primary Debate. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired June 28, 2019 - 07:30   ET



[07:33:06] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, breaking news. A moment that raised eyebrows and frankly, new questions about the president's priorities.

President Trump meeting with the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. This was happening in Osaka in Japan -- the G20 summit. He flat-out joked about the Russian attacks on the U.S. elections.


REPORTER: Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, of course, I will. Don't meddle in the election, please. Don't meddle in the election.


BERMAN: Laughing it off.

Joining us now from the G20 summit in Japan, Jim Sciutto, CNN's chief national security correspondent and anchor of "CNN NEWSROOM." And, Kaitlin Collins, CNN White House correspondent.

Jim, he laughed it off again. A year after Helsinki when the president took the Russians' side in terms of what intelligence he believed, he's now laughing off the Russian attacks on U.S. elections.

What did you see there?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": You know what was striking, too, John, they were sharing a joke. The president laughed it off and smiled and Vladimir Putin was smiling there with him.

So, the man who U.S. intelligence has assessed directed interference in U.S. elections in 2016 -- but not just 2016, 2018 -- they expect it again in 2020 -- smiling along with the sitting U.S. president who, as commander in chief whose job it is to protect U.S. elections. It's a remarkable moment. And as you note, John, it was an opportunity. Eleven months after that infamous moment in Helsinki where the president took the Russian president's side on Russian election interference, he had an opportunity to steadfastly say, "I will not stand for this, my country will not stand for this" and he did not. He made a joke of it.

And we know from the White House's own readout of their private meeting that this issue was not discussed -- at least it was not on the list of issues the White House listed. They listed Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, but not election meddling.

And, John, we just noticed in the last few moments here that in the U.K. prime minister's meeting with the Russian president, Theresa May -- she condemned Russia's destabilizing interference -- misinformation in Europe.

[07:35:10] Why can the British prime minister so definitively call out the Russian president in those direct terms, but the president repeatedly -- whether here, Helsinki, Vietnam, Hamburg, Germany -- all their meetings -- has not? It's just -- it's just a remarkable omission.

BERMAN: Yes, because according to 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister Theresa May told Vladimir Putin "There cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and its allies."

Kaitlin, that's another way to tell Vladimir Putin to stop attacking the election system. That's the way the British decided to do it. The president made a joke of it.

Is anyone inside the White House -- does anyone on the inside say we wish he would handle this differently?

KAITLIN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. There are a lot of people who say they go out of their way to avoid talking about Russia with the president because it's such a sensitive issue because essentially, how the president views it is a direct attack on the fact that he was elected and his legitimacy as a president.

So that's why you see this. What you saw today where the president seemed to be making a joke of a reporter asking the president, "Will you tell him not to meddle in 2020" is just another step in this pattern of annoyance that you seem to see from the president because he is repeatedly asked every time Vladimir Putin is brought up whether or not he's going to also bring up election meddling.

Now, we should note that Rex Tillerson did -- the former Secretary of State did this interview with House Democrats. And according to the transcript, he says that he does know that the president brought up election meddling with Vladimir Putin before. But what we've seen, John, after that emerged is the president cite these denials from Vladimir Putin where he says that they didn't do it.

And at one time, Putin told the president that if they did do it they would be so good that the United States would not know about it. And the president cited that as something that was potentially real.

So what you see is essentially, the president weighing Vladimir Putin's word against the weight of the United States Intelligence Community and repeatedly taking Vladimir Putin's word over it. But what it fits into is the president gets annoyed because he feels like this is something that is a wedge in his relationship with Vladimir Putin that is simply, in his mind, an unnecessary question.

BERMAN: Right. I mean, it's a question that deals with U.S. national security and you would think that, as president, it would be something he would want to address, whatever his personal feelings are.

Jim, it's interesting. You said that President Trump shared a joke with Vladimir Putin that was about election security. He also seemed to share a joke about the idea of journalism and freedom of the press.

Jennifer Jacobs, a "Bloomberg" reporter, said, "President Trump also bonded with Putin over a scorn for journalists. 'Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn't it? You don't have this problem in Russia, but we do.'

'We also have,' Putin answered, in English, 'It's the same.'

They share a chuckle."

Journalists are killed in Russia, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, they're shot -- numerous cases. They are literally thrown out of windows.

Just in the last two weeks, a Russia investigative journalist was jailed on what were later determined to be fake charges. There are a lot of other Russian journalists, not to mention dissidents and others, who are in Russian jails. That's how Russia gets rid of journalists. It's well-documented.

It's not just an inappropriate joke for a U.S. president to make, it's frankly, disturbing and it shows why the president's frequent attacks on journalists and media here matter, right, because our adversaries take those words seriously and there may even be people inside this country who take those words and those threats seriously.

Why can this president take -- give strong words to U.S. allies -- the mayor of London, NATO allies, et cetera -- but does not call out a Kim or a Putin or a MBS, right, the Saudi Crown Prince -- for their many clear human rights violations, including those relating to journalists? It's just -- it's mindboggling.

BERMAN: All right. Jim Sciutto, Kaitlin Collins, we'll let you get back to reporting because these meetings are ongoing. Who knows what else we will see as it develops over the next few hours. Appreciate it -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John. We have an update for you on our interview this week with writer E. Jean Carroll, who says Donald Trump attacked her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s.

Now, two women are coming forward to corroborate her story. That's next.


[07:43:36] CAMEROTA: Author E. Jean Carroll says she confided in two women after Donald Trump allegedly attacked her in the 1990s at a department store in New York. Now, those two women are coming forward.

CNN's Sara Murray is here with the story. Sara, what's the update?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, remember, E. Jean Carroll was this author and columnist. She said that Donald Trump attacked her in the dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman more than 20 years ago and that he actually went so far as to penetrate her.

Now, she is not bringing any charges. She is not taking this any further.

And, Donald Trump has denied all of this. He said that she's lying, he doesn't know her. And, of course, he said, "She's not my type."

But now, two of E. Jean Carroll's friends are coming forward and they are sharing their stories of hearing her account of what happened more than 20 years ago, confirming that she shared this with them contemporaneously and sharing their reactions.

Here is one of her friends, Lisa Birnbach, who is a well-known author, explaining how she reacted when E. Jean Carroll told her about this.


LISA BIRNBACH, FRIEND OF E. JEAN CARROLL: We fought and I said let's go the police. No.

Come to my house. No, I want to go home.

I'll take you to the police. No. It was 15 minutes of my life. It's over. Don't ever tell anybody.


MURRAY: So, Lisa Birnbach was the friend who said this was rape. You need to go to the police and report it.

[07:45:00] But, her other friend, Carol Martin, who was a longtime New York television anchor, told E. Jean Carroll you should keep this to yourself. Donald Trump is too powerful. He has too many lawyers. He will absolutely bury you.

And ultimately, that's what E. Jean Carroll did for more than 20 years -- she kept this to herself. But, of course, more powerful now that we know that there are these two women, both prominent media personalities, putting their names and sharing -- basically, confirming E. Jean Carroll's account.

Back to you guys.

BERMAN: Contemporaneous accounts, which is always so important when you're dealing with cases like this that are decades old.

CAMEROTA: And by the way, Sara, their stories exactly match --

MURRAY: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: -- what she has told us -- what she told us on Monday. Their stories -- I mean, they use the same language exactly from that long ago. So, it stuck with all of them -- what happened -- what she says happened in that dressing room.

So, Sara, thank you very much for that update.

BERMAN: All right, a really important milestone. Fifty years ago today, riots broke out outside the Stonewall Inn here in New York City, galvanizing the national movement for LGBT rights. The uprising was in the summer of 1969 as the gay bar's patrons fought back against a police raid after years of discrimination.

Now, thousands are expected to mark that historic act of defiance at the site that is now a national monument.

CNN's Polo Sandoval live outside Stonewall in New York's Greenwich Village. Polo, that is going to be the site. There's going to be a whole lot of people there.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and think about this, John. Even decades before the LGBT community would take their fight for same-sex marriage all the way to the Supreme Court, many of those members were basically waging this fight for basic fundamental rights on this sidewalk right outside that bar known as the Stonewall Inn here in New York City.

It was 50 years ago today, as you point out, that patrons of the bar basically said enough is enough, standing up in the face of what the current police commissioner James O'Neill calls oppressive and discriminatory behavior.

I spoke to one of the patrons who was there that night and came back to this site five decades later and told me exactly what it took for the members of the community to say enough is enough.


JOSEPH NEGRELLI, PARTICIPANT, STONEWALL RIOT: The civil rights movement, the women's movement all galvanized together. But it was truly the transvestites and minorities that were the forefront runners of the Stonewall Riot.

If you were effeminate or you were dressed non-conforming your sexuality at birth, you were arrested and tried to be humiliated, and that's what was happening that night. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: Of course, we all now know very clearly that that uprising would be just the beginning. What followed was nearly a week of protests here in New York, John and Alisyn, that would essentially spread not just across the country but around the world. And that is why people from around the globe are expected to basically come here to pay their respects to this particular location.

And, of course, just this month alone, John and Alisyn, Commissioner James O'Neill issuing a public apology for the actions that were taken by officers back then. So it certainly speaks to the significance of this place and certainly more bar -- or rather, more shrine than it is bar -- guys.

CAMEROTA: Polo, to think of how far we have come since that day, it is remarkable.


CAMEROTA: Thank you for reminding us of what it was like back then.

And join CNN for a special "PRIDE AND PROGRESS" report on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

BERMAN: All right.

Senator Kamala Harris calling out the former vice president, Joe Biden, for his comments and his actions and positions involving race.

Senator Cory Booker made headlines doing the same thing this week. We're going to ask the senator what he thought about last night's debate and the race as it stands this morning. That's next.


[07:52:40] BERMAN: It is the moment from the debate that has everyone talking this morning. Senator Kamala Harris confronting Vice President Joe Biden on his record about race.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground.

But I also believe, and it is personal -- and I was actually very -- it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Joining us now, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, candidate for president. He was part of night one's debate and we should note Google searched -- the most heavily searched Democratic candidate from night one. So, Sen. Booker, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

How did you spend last night's debate? Where did you watch from?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched on my couch in D.C. with some good food, and sat down to watch a lot of my colleagues and folks I know go at it and present a very good vision of the future of our party before Americans.

BERMAN: "Go at it" is one way to put it. There was that exchange between Sen. Harris and the former vice president, Joe Biden.

One of the parts we did not play, they talk about bussing. She says that she was part of the second class of students in Oakland -- the Berkeley area -- that was bused. Senator Biden was against federally- mandated school bussing in the 1970s.

Were you satisfied with his dense of his record on that?

BOOKER: I think that Joe Biden is going to have to talk a lot about his record during this election. And I think it's only right that he talk about everything from his support of the 1994 crime bill, which was one of the -- sort of jet fuel to mass incarceration, all the way to his stance on bussing.

And even more than that -- and I think that I said this last week and I think you heard something from Kamala as well last night that it's how we have this discussion.

We're coming off a president that is in the office right now who has hurt so many people with his rhetoric and with his policies. There are real wounds out there. There's real racial issues we've got to deal with.

[07:55:01] The next nominee, whoever they are, is going to have to be able to talk about this in an open and honest and even a vulnerable way. And if they make mistakes, if they say something wrong, as we all do, they can't fall into a defensive crouch and shift the blame. They have to be able to help our country heal and reconcile and deal with these difficult issues that persist in our country.

We need someone who can unite this nation and bring us together to common purpose again. And I think that all of us have to show that we can be that kind of leader, and I believe that I am.

BERMAN: Is Joe Biden showing that with his answer about bussing?

BOOKER: Look, I will tell you right now that when he talked about not working across the aisle, we all have to do that -- not working with people you disagree with. I've shown that something in the Senate that I have done to get big bills done. But when you dredge up sort of words like "Hey, they didn't call me

boy, they called me son" and not understand the history and the hurt that that kind of degrading language has.

I think that we have to have a nominee that's up to this challenge and I think that we're going to see whether or not Joe Biden is. And I don't think you can fault for -- folks like me for calling him out if he fails to live up to the standard that our next nominee should have and speak to the real pain and the real hurt that I think Kamala spoke to last night that a lot of folks who grew up in that generation -- Kamala with bussing.

Fifty years ago this month, my family was denied the ability to even buy the house that I ended up growing up in. My parents had to have the indignity of having a white couple pose as them to put a bid on the house. And even when my dad went to the closing with a lawyer, had the real estate agent punch my father's lawyer in the face, still trying to prevent us from having equal housing rights.

These are real issues that still have an impact on communities like the one I live in today where redlining --


BOOKER: -- racist policies really created a lot of the inequalities that we still see today.

BERMAN: Just one more question --

BOOKER: So we're just going to have to talk to that.

BERMAN: Just one more question on this issue.

His defense of his stance from the 1970s was that he wasn't against bussing, he was against federally-mandated bussing. He wanted it to be locally controlled -- what some people are calling a state's rights argument.

Why should that resonate today?

BOOKER: Well, I think that anybody who knows our painful history knows that on voting rights, on civil rights, on the protections from hate crimes, it is -- African Americans in this country, and many other groups, have had to turn to the federal government to intervene because there were states that were violating those rights. There were states and state policies that were driving these deep divisions in our country.

So, that struck me. I literally leaned back in my couch and couldn't believe that one moment to me.

And again, not understanding the history of the need for the federal government and presidents of the past -- like Kennedy, like LBJ having the courage to bring the federal government in to stop states from sanctioning the kind of bigotry and bias that was so hurting African American communities. BERMAN: Let me ask you about the issue of private insurance, Medicare for All, and health care in general. On the debate stage last night, the candidates were asked again to raise their hands if they would favor doing away with private insurance in order to get Medicare for All.

Bernie Sanders raised his hand. Senator Harris sort of raised her hand and then tried to explain it away after. But, Sen. Warren, on the stage with you, is in favor of doing away with private insurance.

You are not, correct?

BOOKER: Well, no, I'm not. I think that we are going to have to get there and I think the way that we get there -- and when I say there, is to having a system where everyone has access to health care. I mean, that is a fundamental American right.

And I think we've got to start -- and that's why I support Medicare for All -- but I think we've got to start by making a viable public option available. And what that's going to do is going to show a lot of these private insurance companies do profiteer off of people's pain.

I think this is a very important -- I think this is a very important point to make.

BERMAN: Do you think Democrats -- do you think Democrats -- do you think Democrats are sending -- what message do you think Democrats are sending by saying they want to do away with private insurance?

BOOKER: I don't want to speak to other candidates, I want to speak to my position. And I think Americans should know the overhead for private insurance is about 15 percent. The overhead for Medicare is about two percent. If we're really talking about lowering costs, we can do that by providing a public option.

Look, there are people who negotiated for their health insurance, like the Culinary Union in Nevada. There are people who have their insurance through companies and they like -- they're happy with that insurance.

I think we have to make progress towards there by first providing a solid public option that's going to start to lower costs for Americans. We can drive down prescription drugs.

The president -- if I'm president, in our first Congress, we're going to massively expand access to health care and drive down the cost of health care and prescription drugs in this country as a process to getting us to the ultimate goal where everybody has coverage.