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British Ambassador to United States Resigns after Criticism from President Trump; Strip Club Hosting Golf Tournament on Course Owned by President Trump; Parade being Thrown for U.S. Women's Soccer Team after Winning World Cup; U.K. Ambassador to U.S. Resigns After Calling Trump "Inept"; Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) is Interviewed About U.K. Ambassador to U.S. Resigning and the Fate of Obamacare. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2019 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- and Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief of "The Daily Beast" and a CNN political analyst.

Abby, let me just start with you, because we are getting the initial White House reaction to this.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Just last hour ago Marc Short commented pretty mildly by basically saying Kim Darroch couldn't continue in this job, he couldn't operate in Washington, so it's probably for the best that he resign. And I think that that's going to be what you're going to hear from White House aides.

What we hear from President Trump may be a different matter. And he may weigh in directly on Twitter considering he was the one who put pressure on Kim Darroch, making it almost untenable for the ambassador to continue in his post when he was being directly attacked by another head of state. And I think that what you're hearing from the U.K. is some concern that the president basically pushed out their person, kind of put his hand into their sovereignty and tried to move things around. And I think that that's what President Trump intended, frankly. He was making it clear not just to Theresa May that he didn't think Kim Darroch should be there, but he also was making it clear to the people succeeding Theresa May in that roll if they came into power they would need to push Kim Darroch out. And I think the president is going to view this as a clear victory this morning for a slight that he took extremely personally, even though if you read these cables, you read the actual words of what he wrote, many of them are just descriptions of what was going on in 2017 months after the Trump administration took office when it was in fact an incredibly chaotic scene within this Trump administration.

BERMAN: Let me read one of these leaked cables, because I think it's very important that people know what the British ambassador to the United States, again, England, the greatest ally that the United States has, this is their representative here, and this is what he saw and this is what he told his government. Sir Kim Darroch wrote, "We really don't believe that this administration is going to become substantially more normal, less dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less faction riven, less diplomatically clumsy, and inept." So the British ambassador to the United States called the Trump administration inept and he called the president insecure. That is a remarkable assessment. It was one that was meant just for the government never to leak out, but in and of itself, Asha, someone who has worked in intelligence, it's remarkable to hear something like that from an official.

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. And Britain is our closest ally, so that does give you a window into how they were approaching this administration.

I do think it's important, though, John, to note that these were intended to be frank assessments between the ambassador and his government. And of course, these kinds of things are intercepted by host nations all the time. I think that we do need to be concerned about the leaking here and almost the weaponization of it precisely because of what we see happening and the disruption that it can cause in our diplomatic relationships. So that piece of it, the fact that these things are now being leaked when they have never been so before and are causing these issues, I think can be also a national security concern on our side.

BERMAN: Max, one more to you before I have to let you go. This, you have noted is causing serious concerns in the entire diplomatic community all around the world, particularly in Europe. What do you hear?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just simply governments should be able to choose their own ambassadors, they shouldn't be forced out by the host head of state over something like this, because all ambassadors, I would argue, send frank statements like this back to their home countries. Kim Darroch isn't unusual like this, and this is how diplomacy works. Should President Trump be allowed to dismantle that system? That's the thing that worries many European capitals, certainly here in London.

BERMAN: Max Foster, I'm going to let you go, get back to work following this story as it develops throughout the morning. Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief of "The Daily Beast," Sir Kim Darroch is a well-known figure in Washington, throws parties. He connects with people in the government and in the establishment there, including with people from the White House. Many people within the White House have gone to his parties and developed good relationships with him. So there's something odd now about the president deciding that he's never met this guy, never talked to this guy, not someone he knows, and should be gone.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We've seen that in the past with the president. When someone wrongs him, he doesn't know them, he wants nothing to do with them. And you're absolutely right, John, it is not uncommon to see White House officials being at the British ambassador's residence. So the idea no one liked him and no one talked to him just isn't true.

And part of this is the British ambassador's cable coming true. He said the president was thin-skinned, and the minute these cables were leaked the president was on Twitter trashing not only Kim Darroch but Theresa May and her handling of Brexit.

[08:05:10] So it seems like he was -- some of these cables read like tamer paragraphs in stories about the White House and "The New York Times." It seemed like he was doing his job. It's sort of situational awareness to what was actually happening in the White House, because on the flipside if he had been phoning back home that everything was fine, it wasn't. So perhaps the truth hurts, but to Marc Short's point, if the president and the White House doesn't want to work with him anymore, he can't be effective.

BERMAN: We do have some more breaking news we want to get to, which is that there is a new accuser coming out and speaking out in public with a story to tell about Jeffrey Epstein who is now in jail here in New York charged with sex trafficking and abusing underage girls. This is woman named Jennifer Araoz who says when she was 14 years old, 14 back in 2001, she was approached outside her school by a woman to essentially be procured for Jeffrey Epstein. Listen to what she just told the "Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER ARAOZ, CLAIMS EPSTEIN RAPED HER WHEN SHE Was 15: And I would just get massages back, and then he would potentially later on turn over and play with himself. And he would also like when I would play with his nipples. He used to get turned on by that. And then he would finish himself off, and then that would be the end of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: She was 14, Asha Rangappa, and she was in New York, which separates this from the 2008 very controversial plea agreement that was orchestrated by now Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and this woman, Jennifer Araoz, says she is willing to testify as part of this case. What does this add to this current situation?

RANGAPPA: It adds a lot. We know the southern district of New York expected there might be other victims willing to come forward because they actually asked them to by posting the photo of Epstein. But the fact this particular victim is 14-years-old and it's a new victim offers a couple of things. First, that this would be a charge unrelated to the Miami charges if they chose to pursue this and add it into the complaint, which then separates it from anything that was agreed to in that agreement.

But also when you have a victim that is 14 or under, you also have the option under a rule of evidence to potentially bring in evidence of past acts by the same defendant if they had previous conduct with 14 or under 14 children, which means that his plea agreement in Miami could be potentially used against him if it's allowed to stand as evidence against his conduct against this or other individuals.

BERMAN: Very quickly, Abby, because I want to get one more subject in here, what is the standing as of this morning of the Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta who, again, struck this controversial plea deal in 2008. The president said, grammar me damned, he feels very badly for him, but will he last in his job?

PHILLIP: Sources are telling us President Trump is basically telling his friends that he is standing by Acosta, that he has confidence in him. But at the same time we've seen this movie before where President Trump stands by people until things start to look really bad. And so aides in the White House believe this is going to come down to as this coverage plays out over the next days and weeks, is the president going to think this is tenable, and that's going to determine Alex Acosta's fate. There is not a ton of support among White House aides for him just in general, so this is on top of that. And I think that it's a wait and see mode here for the White House, as the president is known to just change his mind in kind of a moment with almost no notice given to the person who's basically about to be fired.

BERMAN: So Jackie Kucinich, in light of all this, in the I almost can't believe this file, there is a --

(LAUGHTER)

KUCINICH: That's a big file.

BERMAN: I know. There's a story in "The Washington Post" by David Fahrenthold this morning, and I'm going to read the lead graph here. "President Trump's golf resort in Doral, Florida, is scheduled to host a golf tournament Saturday put on by a Miami area strip club which will allow golfers to pay for a dancer to serve as their caddy girl while they play at the president's club. The Trump name and family crest are displayed prominently in the strip club's advertising material which offers golfers the caddy girl of your choice." This is at Doral, Jackie, which is the club is owned by the president of the United States, by the Trump Organization.

[08:10:03] There's like 18 different levels here, one of which evangelicals supported the president, number two is the fact that the president still owns this club, does he sanction this type of tournament. Number three is the look of all of this given everything else that's going on.

KUCINICH: Yes, it does seem like a pre-presidency event that might take place at one of these resorts. What do you say, John? When you mentioned evangelicals, they voted for the president because of what he's done with justices, because he promised to do that. They took it he's not a perfect person and won't be a perfect person. So as long as he's doing that job I doubt anyone is going to lift an eyebrow. But yes, this certainly is a bad look.

BERMAN: All right, Jackie Kucinich, Asha Rangappa, Abby Phillip, thank very much for being here and rolling with all the breaking news that keeps on developing throughout this morning. I appreciate it.

More breaking news here, the excitement building here in New York City as the city and the world gets ready to celebrate the World Cup champions with a ticker-tape parade. CNN's Dave Briggs and now Brooke Baldwin live on the parade route. Dave, let's begin with you. DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, EARLY START: John, there have been more than

200 of those parades here in New York City. Today they're calling it the Canyon of Sheroes, though, not Canyon of Heroes. And it's the second straight parade for the U.S. Women's National Team because they have won four of the eight World Cups. But it's not just about celebrating this team. It's about welcoming in and inspiring the next generation of soccer players. And I'm joined by two of these fans/players today in Page (ph) and Diane (ph) Nash (ph). And John Berman will feel much better about this. He is a Red Sox fan. You guys came all the way from Cape Cod, Mass. A long way. Page (ph), it was your idea. Why did you want to come all this way and be here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's a once in a lifetime experience, and you can come here and watch the team.

BRIGGS: Why do you love this team so much?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they're really good and they all get along, so well so that makes them be a good team. And then they got their good result and won the World Cup.

BRIGGS: Diane (ph), you watched this team on television. What to you makes them stand out from other teams you've watched over the years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think at the end of the day it's just you can tell they like each other on and off the field. Nobody is better than the other. They have each other's backs, and it shows. And so as a parent to two girls, it's nice for them to see that.

BRIGGS: What does it mean to have role models for your daughter like this group of girls?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's great. It's what every mom wants, I think. It gives them something to aspire to. It gives them a sport that they love, and they follow it, and I like it. I'm happy about it.

BRIGGS: And Page's (ph) favorite player is Tobin Heath, that's the jersey shirt she's wearing. We'll see Tobin Heath come by us in just about an hour. And then they head down the road where my colleague Brooke Baldwin is camped out. Hi, Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Briggs, good morning. I thought I was enthusiastic about this ladies' soccer team. You may need to adjust your volume just slightly. Hi, ladies.

CROWD: Hello!

BALDWIN: Good morning. So quickly, your first names.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kira (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marley (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Casey (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sam (ph). BALDWIN: So they've all have gotten to know each other. They came all the way from New Jersey. They've gotten to know each other through soccer. There is a real love for soccer among these ladies, and they woke up at 4:00 a.m. to be here because why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love our idols so much.

BALDWIN: Why, why, why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they're amazing soccer players, and they work their hearts out to win stars for us.

BALDWIN: Win stars, four stars, four world cups, back-to-back parades. You've got Carli Lloyd's autograph on that jersey. Why are you here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love them so much. They're our idols. And they really inspire us. They just lay a platform out for us so one day we can hope to be like them. They really take on a new generation of women's soccer, and just really inspiring.

BALDWIN: Lay out a platform for us. That was an excellent answer. Thank you so much. Why are they your idols, and who is your favorite player?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Julie Ertz is my favorite player. They're my idols because I've loved soccer since I was little, and it's just my favorite sport.

BALDWIN: You wanted to give a little shout out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Julie Ertz, my favorite player. She always works her hardest. She's in the same position as me, and I hope that one day I can be just like her.

BALDWIN: And you guys understand this whole equal pay fight. You think everyone should be paid the same amount. Let's get a one, two, three, go USA. One, two, three.

CROWD: Go USA!

BALDWIN: Berman, back over to you.

BERMAN: Brooke Baldwin, that is so awesome. Hey guys, you are the best. Have a great day. I know this will be so memorable for all of us, frankly, here in New York City. Alisyn Camerota, I should note, is on her way to the Parade of Champions. You can watch CNN's live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern time.

There is breaking news this morning. The British ambassador to the United States just resigned. We're going to get reaction from a key member of Congress next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:19:02] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news, just a short time ago, the British ambassador to the United States resigned. This is days after leaked cable shows he called the Trump administration inept.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. She serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congresswoman, thank you very much for being with us.

Your reaction to this breaking news?

REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): So my reaction to the fact that these cables were made public in the first place, I think needs to first explain or we need to first visit what's the purpose of these cables. So, diplomats around the world write cables back home to their governments explaining their perspectives, their ideas, their thoughts on what's happening in the ground in the countries -- on the ground in the countries where they serve. They were meant to provide guidance to policy makers back in their home countries and they're meant to be, their perspective from their cultural world view, from their political perspective.

And I think that the major focus of what we're seeing with these cables is not some of the personalities at display but the fact our partner, our partner nation, the U.K., has a top diplomat posted here in the United States that is calling our strategy towards Iran incoherent and chaotic.

[08:20:20] It should be very, very worrisome and troublesome to every person. Iran is malignant actor on the world stage, a threat to our national security. And as the United States engages in our maximum pressure campaign, as we are seeing increasing tensions, the fact that our closest ally has a top diplomat saying our strategy is incoherent and chaotic, should really be the take away from this.

Typically, with these sorts of cables, they're meant to stay secret. We're never supposed to know what our partner nations are saying about us. They're never supposed to know what they're saying about them, but we have a chance to get a window into their perspective and I think it's highly troublesome, because if our highest partner nation doesn't understand our strategy, members of Congress here in these halls don't understand the strategy that the administration has relative to Iran, what must the Iranians be saying back home? And at a time of heightened tensions, this is incredibly dangerous.

BERMAN: On top of all, that he called the administration inept and the president insecure. This is one of America's greatest allies. What do you make of that?

SPANBERGER: Well, I think he wrote these cables in what was supposed to be a secret chain providing information in his perspective. It's a perspective of one man. This information was never supposed to be made public. We see a lot more fluttering about on Twitter.

So, I'm not really concerned about the personality side of it. A lot of people say a lot of things. Everyone's entitled to his or her opinion. I don't think we should spend time taking offense because it's his opinion. We can agree with it or disagree with it, but the real heart of this is we have a chance because these cables were leaked to understand what our closest partner is saying about our strategy towards a country where we are tumbling towards the brink of war, and this should really be ringing alarm bells for every person who was concerned about what our strategy is or isn't as it pertains to Iran.

BERMAN: I want to get your reaction to something that's happened over the last 24 hours that could affect some 20 million people at risk of losing their healthcare, 100 million people with pre-existing conditions and that's the Affordable Care Act, it appears to be in jeopardy. It is right now essentially before three judges in an appeals court in an argument the government is making backed up now by the Trump administration is that the whole thing should be thrown out. The entire Affordable Care Act should be thrown out. And the judges seem receptive to that argument at least up until now.

What happens if they invalidate the Affordable Care Act?

SPANBERGER: It's been two years since I decided to run for Congress, and across the two years from the time I launched my campaign to today serving as a member of Congress, health care has been and continues to be the number one issue impacting constituents in my district and constituents across this country.

The fact we have arrived at a place where we are willing to use health care as a political punching bag is absolutely unacceptable. The American people elected a wave of new legislators because we wanted to fix our health care system, we wanted to improve upon it. And invalidating a system that in the commonwealth of Virginia provides health care to more than 600,000 Virginians, small business owners, families, people working throughout our community, farmers in my rural communities, the fact they stand to lose their health insurance, if it's not making health care stronger or better or more affordable, it's simply upending a system and leaving them, the ones who are at a loss.

It's more than 60,000 young people within the Commonwealth of Virginia who rely on their parents insurance, who can stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26. That is an aspect of the ACA that is so vital to young people being able to pursue their careers, be able to take risks because they can stay on their parents health insurance because they can stay on their parents' health insurance.

So, to me this is one more example of a decision to move forward with just upending everything and not trying to fix things. Here in the House, we are working, we are trying to stabilize our health care system, lower the costs of prescription drugs. I introduced a bill that would provide greater transparency on drug pricing, because we're trying to actually get at the issues that are important to people.

If our health care system is imperfect, which it is imperfect, we need to make it better. We can't just simply throw it out and wonder when millions of Americans lose their health insurance what it is that we should do next.

BERMAN: Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger from Virginia, thank you for being with us this morning. I appreciate it.

SPANBERGER: Thank you.

BERMAN: The Justice Department this morning investigating the origins of the Mueller probe.

[08:25:01] We're getting new information about the questions they are asking and what it all means. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We are learning about new resistance from the Justice Department ahead of the scheduled testimony for special counsel Robert Mueller before Congress next week. CNN has learned that the Justice Department is seeking to discourage two of Mueller's deputies from speaking to lawmakers behind closed doors.

Joining me now is former FBI general counsel, Jim Baker.

Jim, great to have you with us.

We heard William Barr cast dispersions on the idea of Mueller testifying in public and now we're learning the Justice Department is trying to keep two of his deputies from testifying behind closed doors to the Intelligence Committee. How do you read that?

JIM BAKER, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL: Well, it's a consistent pattern that the administration has been engaged in for some period of time now. I would hope that the folks on Director Mueller's team, special counsel Mueller's team would agree to speak to congressional committees because it's in the country's interest to get to the bottom of this. They're going to do it behind closed doors, that was the plan.

And so, I think they should try to go forward. They're private citizens now. I don't think the administration can actually stop them.

END