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Buttigieg Campaign Gets Big Boost, Raises $24.8 Million in Q2; Democrats Defend Harris After Trump Jr's Retweet About Her Race; NYT: U.S. May Settle for Nuclear Freeze by North Korea; Iran's Low-Grade Enriched Uranium Stockpiles Surpass Limit Set Under 2015 Nuclear Deal; Trump Thinks Putin's Attacks on "Western-Style Liberalism" Were about California Politics; Ivanka Trump Front-and-Center at G-20 Summit, DMZ. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 1, 2019 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:17] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for joining me.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your lives. Yes, a slight overstatement. But this is a very big day in the 2020 race. As the race now enters a new phase, the first debates in the past, and a new bar now for the staying power of these campaigns has been set.

Second quarter fundraising numbers and Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the first of the Democratic contenders to announce his totals, and they are very big. Raising nearly $25 million in the last three months, tripling what he brought in in the three months before.

How does that compare to the other candidates? We will have to wait and see as the other campaigns will be likely rolling out their totals in the coming days. But make no mistake, this is a strong showing for anyone, newcomer to front-runner.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is in Washington with all of this, tracking what it means.

Phil, break down the numbers for me and give me the take. What are you seeing and what does this mean and what does it mean for the Democratic field right now?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with what a good rule of thumb is. When a Democratic campaign or any campaign puts out their fundraising numbers at 5:30 a.m. the day after the deadline hits, when they have another 15 days before they actually have to file, they feel pretty good about those numbers. And $24.8 million certainly gives the Buttigieg campaign a lot of reason to cheer.

What these numbers actually mean. If you start going through them, they mean a couple of things. First and foremost, Pete Buttigieg is for real. I don't think that's been in question the last couple of months. He's been in the top four or five of the Democratic candidates that people are looking to, both in polling and attention. You saw him in the debate last week. He's very clearly in the top tier of the field. But when you break down the numbers, $24.8 million, last quarter,

that's more than triple what he had in the first quarter. If you look at the first quarter of what the other Democratic candidates had, Bernie Sanders was at the top about $18.2 million, Kamala Harris below him at $12 million. It's not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison. Quarters change as the race progresses. But it underscores just how big this number is.

There's also another key thing to look at in this number and that's the number of individual donors. In the second quarter, Pete Buttigieg boasting 294,000 individual donors, in total about 400,000 individual donors. That's more than just kind of a bold headline number. That means, in the debate criteria with the DNC, he's essentially in for the fall debates.

What this means more than anything else, one, he's put in the work. Unlike some of his Democratic counterparts, he's been doing a lot of the traditional private fundraising events. He's also been doing a lot of grassroots events as well.

What you see is a lot of the big money, people who supported President Obama and Hillary Clinton, have kind of fallen in love to some degree with Pete Buttigieg and he is raising money at an enormous clip.

That means not only will he be around for a while but it also means somebody who started with a very lean campaign and really needed to staff up in a major way on the organizing side of things in the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina, Kate, he now has the resources to do that in spades.

BOLDUAN: That means staying power. I like that. That's going to be a new slogan. Pete Buttigieg is for real. I say that all the time though, like Phil Mattingly, he's for real.

It's good to see you, man. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: One thing, apparently, all the Democratic candidates seem to agree on at this very moment is that Donald Trump Jr's retweet about Kamala Harris last week was racist. The president's son pushing out and then deleting a post questioning Harris' race.

A spokesman for Don Jr said that his tweet was misunderstood. But folks, including the entire Democratic field, are having none of it.

CNN's Kyung Lah is following the Harris campaign. She joins me now.

It's great to see you, Kyung.

What are you hearing about this?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The campaign certainly isn't buying it. The Harris campaign, that is. They think that is -- basically, what they are calling this entire tweet, this entire episode from Don Jr is, quote, "a racist attack." As far as Kamala Harris herself, she is trying to float above this

controversy. She wants to try to push her message.

But in conversations with reporters over this weekend, they did address the online onslaught that she's seen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): We are a nation that has a lot to be proud of and there are aspects of our history that we cannot be proud of. We need to be educated. It's a history of race and segregation in this country is real. That conversation may make some people uncomfortable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: She did also say that, you know, it makes people uncomfortable. It was a little difficult to hear her there because she was speaking after she was taking part in San Francisco PRIDE.

But you know who is speaking out quite strongly, are her fellow 2020 hopefuls. Take a listen to what Julian Castro and Bernie Sanders had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO, (D), FORMER HOUSING SECRETARY & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The tweet of Donald Trump Jr was the act of a coward. You see what they do. Put something out there and then he deletes it so that he can say it was just a mistake.

[11:05:10] SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We have a president who is a racist and, apparently, based on a statement yesterday, his son is following in his footsteps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Now, there had been some debate on whether these candidates or even the Harris campaign itself, if they talk about this, are they amplifying it, are they giving these types of tweets oxygen. You can clearly see that they are taking the decisive step in saying they have to take this head on -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Because otherwise you let the president's son perpetuate something. I wonder if it would have been deleted if there hadn't been such outcry.

Kyung, thank you so much. Great to see you.

LAH: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Joining me now -- much to discuss here -- CNN political reporter, Arlette Saenz, is joining me, and CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Keith Boykin.

Keith, I was getting your reaction to the Don Jr story as you were sitting here, as I was talking to Kyung. But he says he was misunderstood. The only thing he wanted to highlight that he thought was a wow thing was that Kamala's mom was from India.

Regardless, is this how it's going to go now? I wonder what it means for the campaign, which is not only -- as opposed to what his dad did, straightforward with his conspiracy for years, for a very long time. Now is it just like throw something out there, say you're misunderstood, kind of try to claw it back but it's out there?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The damage is already done to the extent that there's damage.

BOLDUAN: Right.

BOYKIN: It's really only damaging to conservative Republican types who think that there's something wrong with being mixed race or something is wrong with having an Indian mother and a Jamaican father.

But the majority of Americans don't feel that that's a problem. They elected Barack Obama two times and he's a mixed-raced person as well.

Donald Trump started his campaign, as you mentioned, his political career with a five-and-a-half-year campaign against Barack Obama's birth certificate. He started his actual political campaign by attacking Mexicans calling them rapists and drug dealers. And he started his presidency by attacking Muslims and calling for a Muslim ban.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: It's not surprising, but it's still worthy -- it still must be called out?

BOYKIN: Unfortunately, it is where we are as a country right now. This type of racism has existed for years, long before Donald Trump or Donald Trump Jr came along. But what the Trump people, the Trump family and the Trump campaign have done is they've normalized it. They've made it acceptable for people in the Republican establishment to say things like this and then apologize after the fact, after they've spewed their racist B.S. out there.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

BOYKIN: Let's try to clean it up --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I'm impressed. I'm very impressed with your catch.

Arlette, let -- I think we've done that. Let's move on to something else, something very different.

Second quarter fundraising numbers are in. Pete Buttigieg, as Phil laid out, first released his numbers and they're very big, $25 million, basically tripling what he pulled in in the first quarter. It's big for any candidate, especially someone who was unknown six months ago.

What do these numbers mean for his campaign and, honestly, what does it mean for the rest of the Democratic field? What are you hearing?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Kate, it shows that Pete Buttigieg is in this for the long hall and it ups the ante for the other Democratic candidates. The fact that he was able to turn out such a high figure when he was an unknown mayor just a few months ago really cannot be overstated.

And it also shows that Pete Buttigieg was willing to put in the work, doing those high-dollar big fundraisers that some of his opponents, like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have strayed away from. So it will be interesting if anyone tries to shift strategy to try to match these high numbers.

And we're also going to get numbers from the other candidates in the coming days. And one person to watch is Joe Biden. You'll remember just a few weeks ago, at a fundraiser, he kind of hinted that he was close to having already raised $20 million.

Will Biden in this first fundraising period that he is in? Will he be able to match that number that Mayor Pete Buttigieg posted or will he potentially get higher than that? That's something we're going to be waiting to see in the coming days.

BOLDUAN: With so many people in the field, I do wonder if seeing this for Pete Buttigieg is some sign that the whittling of the field on the Democratic side is going to happen sooner than a lot of folks thought. A lot of folks thought the thresholds for the debates in the fall was going to whittle them down. If he's pulling in $25 million in this quarter -- there's a limit to how much money is out there.

BOYKIN: Money is extremely important and it gives you the legs to keep going and it gives you the possibility to extend the campaign, even if you suffer some sort of setback or defeat. But it doesn't guarantee victory.

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: Remember at this point four years ago, Jeb Bush had a record $14 million haul for his campaign and his super PAC. And then Donald Trump jumped in the campaign and Jeb Bush was a nobody suddenly. So we're still very early in the process.

And I think it's important that you have this money, but you have to have a message that goes along with it. Money is good. Message is better. If you have money and message, then you're on fire.

[11:10:08] BOLDUAN: Right. Money keeps you in.

BOYKIN: Right.

BOLDUAN: Message is what keeps you going.

BOYKIN: Exactly. BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Keith. Thank you so much.

Arlette, thanks so much --

SAENZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: -- for your reporting. Really appreciate it.

Still ahead for us, President Trump just did something no other sitting U.S. president has ever done, set foot in North Korea. But a new report says his administration is actually considering making a very big concession to North Korea that even Donald Trump has said that he wouldn't accept when it comes to their nuclear program.

Plus this. He's the son of the Democratic front-runner. His painful history and battle with addition is now a target of the Trump campaign. His painful history with addiction as well as some of his past business dealings are now a target of the Trump campaign. So why is Hunter Biden now speaking out?

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:15:42] BOLDUAN: History was made this weekend. President Trump taking a step no other sitting U.S. president has done before, walking into North Korea in a wild made-for-TV moment, one that both leaders claim was sparked by a Twitter invitation from Trump to Kim Jong-Un. And after that, the president may be set to walk back, actually, his long-held demand for North Korea to agree to complete denuclearization.

The "New York Times" is reporting that the Trump administration is considering a deal that asks the North Korean dictator to freeze his nuclear program, a deal that would tacitly accept that the North is a nuclear power.

That is something the president, to this point, has said he would definitely not accept.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the big thing is it will be a total denuclearization, which is already starting.

I wanted them to denuke and they wouldn't do the full. They wanted to do some. And I guess a lot of people would have said that's a great start. But I just didn't feel it was right.

I'd just like to see ultimately denuclearization of North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Let's get the very latest on what exactly happened this weekend, what it means for nuclear talks going forward.

CNN's Will Ripley is in Seoul right now.

It's great to see you, Will.

What are you hearing about the meeting and this new reporting from the "New York Times" in what the White House is considering?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. First of all, yes, it was noteworthy that President Trump never once said the word denuclearization when he was standing next to Kim Jong- Un.

Here in Seoul, the South Korean government obviously very happy to see diplomacy back on track.

Still no official response, though, to this "New York Times" reporting that the Trump administration might consider this dramatic shift in policy, allowing North Korea to keep dozens of nuclear warheads and presumably the ballistic missiles that could deliver them to the U.S., in exchange for a promise not to build more weapons. That's something the U.S. has said before it would never accept. Is this changing now?

Well, South Koreans might argue, at least some in this country, that that's only the most realistic option when dealing with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. I mean, I've been to Pyongyang many times and officials always told me, for years, they would never give up the nuclear weapons that arguably have gotten them to this point in terms of leveraging a deterrent, as they view it, a deterrent from attack by other countries. The number one enemy for years was the United States.

Whether that is potentially now shifting, whether the U.S. is saying that North Korea can keep the arsenal, can freeze, well, if you listen to a tweet by the national security adviser, John Bolton, he says he certainly hasn't heard about that idea. He is one of the most hawkish members of the Trump administration when it comes to North Korea.

He was tweeting from Mongolia where he was meeting with the secretary of state there, talking about security, saying the "New York Times" article was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the president, basically saying he doesn't agree with the idea that might be being floated around in the administration.

Bolton, by the way, was noticeably absent from Trump's meeting at the DMZ. The North Koreans have called him human scum. They want him as far from negotiations as possible.

Is President Trump listening to other elements now in his administration, Kate, that would encourage him to allow Kim Jong-Un to keep his nukes for now and call that progress, even after saying from the beginning of this whole process that they would only accept complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization?

BOLDUAN: A real question.

Great to see you, Will. Thank you. Joining me right now to try to help us answer this question is former

Democratic governor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, who has negotiated with North Koreans many times. And Ambassador Bill Burns, who was deputy secretary of state under President Obama. He played a key role in negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran. He's also the former ambassador to Russia.

Thank you both for being here.

Ambassador Richardson, looking at this reporting from the "New York Times," what would a freeze mean here?

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS & FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: Well, what a freeze would be is basically something that this administration has said they would reject. It would mean they kept all their existing weapons. North Korea may have up to 60 nuclear weapons. All their missiles, all of their technology. It would basically be ratifying that North Korea is a nuclear state.

So it would be after three summits, after the enormous propaganda- positive news for both leaders, it would be basically a reaffirmation of the status quo. Japan would still be vulnerable to a missile from North Korea. South Korea would be, too, potentially the American shores and Guam and Alaska.

[11:20:16] So this would be totally, in my judgment, an inadequate response from North Korea after them having gotten three summits on the world stage with the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: Ambassador Burns, you helped spearhead the back-channel communications that led to the Iran nuclear deal. That agreement involved a freeze of activity, of course.

Donald Trump has called that agreement essentially the worst agreement in all of human history. Different programs, different countries, yes. But how do you square that opposition if this is now what the White House is considering with North Korea?

WILLIAM BURNS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA & FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I mean, there's a conviction there and an irony as well and President Trump doesn't seem to be too bothered by those kinds of contradictions.

I think the reality is that it is important to preserve, as a long- term goal, full denuclearization of North Korea. But I think what we've seen in three summit meetings is not a sign that Kim Jong-Un is interested in the foreseeable future in full denuclearization.

So the diplomatic challenge, as Governor Richardson knows very well, is, how can you take a step in the direction of full denuclearization. And that's pretty much what we tried to do, what we did with the Iranians after the secret talks of 2013. An interim step that froze their program, rolled it back in some important respects, introduced very intrusive verification measures. And this would be a really tall order with the North Koreans. But all

in return for U.S. sanctions relief, preserving the bulk of our leverage for the later comprehensive talks.

BOLDUAN: And on the nuclear deal, Ambassador Burns, we also just learned today that Iran is, for the first time, breaching, in a major way, a limit on the stockpile of nuclear fuel as set forth in the original agreement of the Iran nuclear deal, despite the fact that the United States has pulled out of it. What does that mean? What is your reaction to hearing that today?

BURNS: I think it's a very unfortunate step, but sadly it's predictable. A little more than a year ago, the Trump administration pulled out of compliance with the Iranian nuclear agreement entirely. And I think it's only been a matter of time when the Iranians would push back, test the limits of their own compliance with the agreement, and push back in the gulf with the recent attacks on shipping, which are reckless and dangerous.

But a reminder, when you're dealing with an opponent like Iran, they get a vote, too.

So I think it was only a matter of time before they started to push back. And that puts us, I think, on a very dangerous course toward further collisions down the road.

BOLDUAN: I would like to get both of your take, if I could, on this following thing.

First to you, Ambassador Richardson.

Something else happened this weekend. And it seemed on display once again, the president preferring the company of dictators and authoritarian leaders over U.S. allies. I mean, not only calling them great friends and applauding them, but sitting across the table from MbS, and what he said about him was really remarkable.

But he was also asked about Vladimir Putin's declaration that Western- style liberalism is dead. And of course, to be clear, West-style liberalism is the belief in democracy on the most basic level. It's the basis of our system of government.

With all of that, please watch this question and answer from the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- comments to "The Financial Times," right before arriving here, was that Western-style liberalism is obsolete. I know you probably have --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Again, he may feel that way. I mean, he sees what's going on. And I guess if you look at what's happening in Los Angeles, where it's so sad to look, and what's happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities, which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people. I don't know what they're thinking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: He's talking about liberal in the political-party sense and Western as in California.

Ambassador Richardson, what is more disturbing? Is it that he did not understand the question and didn't know that he didn't or, as president of the United States, he doesn't know what Vladimir Putin is talking about when he says this?

RICHARDSON: Well, I think what is disturbing is that he doesn't have seasoned diplomats like ambassador Bill Burns briefing him. He doesn't listen to professionals that would tell him that what the question was Western liberalism is the rise of populism around the world, in Italy, in Brazil, all over the world, this anti-immigration, anti-refugees rhetoric, antiestablishment. That's what the question was.

The president is obviously very comfortable with the Saudi leader, with Vladimir Putin, with Kim Jong-Un. And what about our allies? What about Macron and the European Union and Germany that could help us try to navigate through the situation with Iran.

[11:25:10] Look, I don't like Iran. I wish they would stop helping terrorists in Syria and Yemen. But I think this nuclear deal, we never should have pulled out. Iran was complying. And now they're pulling out. And where do we go from here?

So he needed -- President Trump needs seasoned diplomats, great diplomats like Bill Burns, but I don't know who he's relying on. Maybe his daughter now. I saw her all over the G-20 talking to world leaders. I want him to listen to professionals that know what's going on.

BOLDUAN: Since you mentioned it, Ambassador Burns, I really kind of just want your thought bubble maybe on this -- maybe on the combination of these things.

You have the president and what he said about Western-style liberalism -- and we'll put up the video again -- because also this weekend, there was an unusual role that we saw of Ivanka Trump during the trip, at her father's side.

The French government actually releasing this awkward video where she seems to be inserting herself into a conversation with the French president, the Canadian prime minister, the British prime minister and the head of the IMF.

It looks strange from the outside from the most basic level. What could it possibly be like on the inside? Can you just give me your thought bubble on this? BURNS: On the first part of the question, sort of a pronounced case

of autocrat envy that I think President Trump demonstrates is, I think, with dictator after dictator, from Putin to Kim Jong-Un to Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the president seems to see diplomacy as kind of an exercise in narcissism. You know, one strong man. And he does seem to be more comfortable dealing with men as foreign leaders, dealing with them either, as he puts it, trying to get along with them.

And of course, personal relationships matter enormously in diplomacy. But I think there's a danger when you think that ingratiating yourself with them is going to produce a lot of practical progress.

Generally, I found over the years -- and we haven't always gotten it right over the years - that when those efforts of ingratiation are seen by dictators, autocrats, like Vladimir Putin, as signs of weakness and manipulability as well.

BOLDUAN: That's fascinating.

Your take on Ivanka Trump's role this weekend, Ambassador? What would it be like on the inside? It was strange looking at it from the outside.

BURNS: I mean, there's oftentimes informal roles for people who are close to a president. You've seen that at different times in American history.

But it seems to me that has to be balanced with a reliance on professionals, whether they're diplomats or people like Governor Richardson, who are very well versed in diplomacy. A reliance on their experience and their judgment as well. And when you fail to do that, I think you set yourself up for a lot of problems.

BOLDUAN: Ambassadors, rarely do I get a chance to talk to double ambassadors, but also double Ambassador Bill anything. I'm really impressed that we were able to pull this off and not confuse each other today.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your perspective always.

BURNS: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Still ahead for us, he is the son of the presidential front-runner, but after decades campaigning by his father's side, Hunter Biden is now off the trail. Why did he agree to an extensive new interview with the "New Yorker?" We're going to talk to the reporter behind this very revealing piece and what he says about the campaign.

We'll be right back.

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