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Boris Johnson To Become U.K.'s Prime Minister; Robert Mueller Testifies Today Before Congress; Victory For 9/11 Heroes. Aired 5:30- 6a ET
Aired July 24, 2019 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:33:26] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a huge morning in the United Kingdom of ceremony and consequence.
Within the next few hours, Theresa May will visit the Queen and officially resign as prime minister. Then, Boris Johnson visits the Queen and he gets the job. Then the real problems begin. He promises Brexit by the end of October, which will not be easy to deliver.
CNN's Nic Robertson live at 10 Downing Street in London. Nic, with the very latest -- go.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, John, good morning. It's all carefully choreographed.
In a little under an hour or so, Theresa May heads off to Parliament for the last Parliamentary question time. I think we can expect it to be a little less raucous than in the past. She'll come back here, tidy up a few things, give a final statement, and head off to the Palace to hand her resignation to the Queen.
And here's where the choreography, if you will, is so important. She won't, in the corridors there of Buckingham Palace, bump into Boris Johnson. He will be -- she will leave and he will enter.
The Queen will ask him to form a government. He becomes prime minister and comes back here. And, perhaps, this is where the choreography kind of goes out of the window.
Typically, the incoming prime minister would make a speech on the steps here behind a podium. We don't even know, at this stage, if Boris Johnson is going to use a podium. But we can expect from him is perhaps to dial back a little on the 'dude' stuff and get a little more serious.
Obviously, talk about Brexit but appeal to the whole country that he'll reform and improve policing, and health care, and education -- critical issues if a general election were coming up.
[05:35:00] Then he's going to have to shift gears and get into who is going to be in his cabinet.
We're already hearing rumors that Foreign Sec. Jeremy Hunt has turned down one top job. Questions now about his future.
Rumors that Priti Patel, on the right of the party -- a hard Brexiteer -- is being given a position.
It will be, we're told, a cabinet with more ethnic minorities than in the past with more women in full cabinet positions. There may be an element of spin in that, too -- Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Very interesting to see what happens today and if he can dial back the 'dude'.
Nic Robertson, thank you very much for covering it.
So, he actually wrote the book on Robert Mueller. What advice does he have for lawmakers who are getting ready to question the special counsel? Garrett Graff joins us next.
CAMEROTA: Lawmakers have been preparing for weeks to question Robert Mueller, but they could have saved themselves some valuable time by just talking to our next guest.
[05:40:05] Joining us now is CNN contributor Garrett Graff. He literally wrote the book on Robert Mueller. He is the author of "Mueller's War". Great to have you as the expert on all things Mueller, Garrett.
So here are your tips for lawmakers for today of what you think -- how you think the -- they should question him, so let me pull that up for everybody.
You say, number one, "He is better at this than you are." They should remember that.
Number two, "He doesn't play word games and he's already done your work" basically, for you.
Number three, "Don't waste time with redactions or ongoing investigations." In other words, don't ask him the things that he doesn't really want to talk about.
Number four, "Hone in on Trump's fitness as a leader."
Number five, "He is not James Comey."
So, those are your -- what do they do with that advice? Where do they start with that advice?
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, AUTHOR, "MUELLER'S WAR": Yes. I think the challenge for Democrats today is that Bob Mueller has told them he only wants to stay within the four corners of this report. So they can spend the day trying to trick him into saying something that he's not going to say, but he's not going to say that.
We know from previous testimony -- you know Bob Mueller has testified before Congress something like 88 times, more than almost anyone in human history. And so, he's very good at paring these questions, he's very good at deflecting them.
And I think Democrats need to look at this today as he's given them 448 pages of 'choose your own adventure' testimony.
That they need to get him to read aloud the parts of this report that are particularly damning. And that if they do that in a coherent manner and build the narrative that is, in fact, quite damaging and worrisome about the president's behavior, then there's, I think, actually the potential for there to be a real impact out of this hearing.
CAMEROTA: Describe what kind of witness he's going to be.
GRAFF: Bob Mueller is the most reticent witness you could imagine, who is someone who is fundamentally friendly to the idea of testifying before Congress.
CAMEROTA: So friendly, but uncooperative?
GRAFF: Friendly, but uncooperative is a great way to say it. That he is --
CAMEROTA: And what does that look like?
GRAFF: Well, this is someone who understands this process, understands his role in this process.
But, you know, as I said, he's not Jim Comey. I mean, Jim Comey, when you watch him in these hearings on Capitol Hill -- you know, you can give Jim Comey a leading question like "and then what happened?" and Jim Comey will just go on and on and on.
Bob Mueller's going to answer as much as he can with a yes or no.
CAMEROTA: So look for monosyllabic yes or no answers. OK, interesting.
Here's -- here are the possible questions, outside of the report, that you think that they should ask.
Number one -- "What's the difference, in your mind, between collusion and conspiracy?" Doesn't that get a little academic?
GRAFF: It does, except that it gets to, I think, the fundamental definitions that Bob Mueller used to design this report. You know, you hear the president say no collusion, no obstruction. And what this report actually lays out is an awful lot of collusion, absent an explicit agreement that would give it a conspiracy.
CAMEROTA: Number two -- "Why didn't you subpoena the president?" That's a good one. It would be really -- will he answer that?
GRAFF: It seems unlikely that he's going to answer it much beyond what he says in the report. But one of the things that he sort of alludes to clearly in the report is that he feels that he had the answers necessary and didn't need to subpoena the president which, in fact, is actually quite damning given that what that basically means is that Bob Mueller thought that there was enough evidence of obstruction that he didn't actually need to get it from the president, himself.
CAMEROTA: He said that they could already make certain assumptions. And as Elie Honig said, what were those --
CAMEROTA: -- if he had another one?
OK, number three -- "Did you intend Barr to decide on obstruction?" And that would be great to know.
Number four -- "What can you tell us about your letter to Barr, and what led you to write it?" What are you referring to there -- that he sent him a private letter?
GRAFF: Yes. So remember, when Barr gave his initial summary that basically said I have decided that there's no evidence for criminal charges in here, Bob Mueller sent a private letter -- unprecedented in Bob Mueller's history as a public figure -- saying effectively to the attorney general, I think you've misrepresented the scope of what my report actually concluded. That's incredibly damning evidence that Barr's summary was actually not accurate for the American people.
CAMEROTA: Everyone can read more about Garrett's insights and suggestions for what will happen today in his article, "The Definitive Congressional Guide to Robert Mueller's Mind" in "WIRED".
Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Garrett.
GRAFF: Thanks for having me.
CAMEROTA: Great to see you -- John.
BERMAN: Remember when Bill Barr said the Muellers and the Barrs had been friends before this and will remain friends after it?
CAMEROTA: And they will be friends after this?
BERMAN: I wonder if that's still true?
CAMEROTA: We'll see. I would ask him that. That's what I would start with. "Are you guys still friends?"
BERMAN: All right. Emotions run high on Capitol Hill as advocates of 9/11 first responders, including Jon Stewart, celebrate a victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN, ADVOCATE, SEPTEMBER 11TH VICTIMS COMPENSATION FUND: I'm hopeful that today begins the process of being able to heal without the burden of having to advocate. (END VIDEO CLIP)
[05:45:05] CAMEROTA: But, don't kid yourself. All is not forgiven with the lawmakers who held up this process and who didn't vote for it.
What Jon Stewart told us in our exclusive sit-down interview, next.
BERMAN: All right. This morning, what could be a deeply significant legal turning point. The Justice Department is opening an antitrust review of some of the nation's biggest tech companies.
It's time for "CNN Business Now" with Chief business correspondence Christine Romans. Romans, this is a giant deal.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": It is. It's a sweeping probe here. The Justice Department announcing this wide-ranging review of big tech.
Lawmakers have, of course, increasingly focused on complaints of anticompetitive behavior concerning Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google. Now, those companies were not specifically named, John, by the Justice Department, but the agency indicated it will look into areas where they are dominant players.
[05:50:03] Now, the review follows a week of congressional hearings that were simply bruising for big tech.
Lawmakers slammed Facebook over its digital currency, Libra. Amazon faced tough questions about its relationship to third-party sellers on its own platform. And, Google was asked about fake listings on Google Maps.
Now, the news also comes as Facebook braces for a multibillion-dollar fine from the Federal Trade Commission after an investigation into a number of privacy mishaps during and after the election.
Now, the announcement also signals that a deeper look at the tech industry has the backing of the attorney general, William Barr. He has voiced concerns about Silicon Valley.
Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to our request for comment. And, Facebook and Google declined to comment, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Christine. Thank you very much for that.
So, the Senate finally passed that funding bill to compensate 9/11 first responders for their medical needs -- take care of them for decades to come. This was the aftermath right here -- you see them all hugging. The bill passed in a 97-2 vote with Mike Lee and Rand Paul as the holdouts.
The fight for funding was spearheaded by activist and retired construction worker John Feal and comedian Jon Stewart. I spoke to both of them afterwards about their hard-fought battle moments after the vote, and they were still angry about the lawmakers who slowed down the process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: And we've tried to get into that office many, many times to have those conversations with those staffers, and haven't been able to.
CAMEROTA: With who? Are you talking about McConnell or are you talking about Mike Lee or are you talking about Rand Paul?
STEWART: Sen. Paul and Mike Lee, absolutely. We've tried on numerous occasions to have that conversation with them.
JOHN FEAL, ADVOCATE, SEPTEMBER 11TH VICTIMS COMPENSATION FUND: You could debate us anytime, Rand Paul. I'd love to debate you on the merits and the -- and the merits of this bill, and you have your merits and I'll take mine. And you can show up if you want.
STEWART: I won't show up. He called me a guttersnipe. I have -- I have a mind to call him scallywag and a ragamuffin. I'll escalate this.
It was just so stark.
CAMEROTA: That --
STEWART: I mean, to sit down there that day that Lou was talking and that Mike O'Connell was talking and Onesta (ph). I wasn't angry about the chairs that weren't supposed to be filled not being filled. I was angry about the chairs that were supposed to be filled that weren't.
He said, you know, "we're very busy." And I was sitting next to a man who had decided to spend one of his last days on earth fighting for his brothers and sisters so that they wouldn't have to go through it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So the bill now goes to President Trump and he is expected to sign it into law on Friday.
BERMAN: So you caught up with them right after the vote. You tracked them down right after the vote.
CAMEROTA: I had to basically go in with a huge net and catch them and reel them out.
BERMAN: So these emotions we're seeing in John Feal, who is such an emotional guy -- he's poured his heart and soul into this effort -- you could see the highs and lows as he's listening to Jon Stewart talk to you.
CAMEROTA: Oh, we saw it all on camera. And I wanted to know what's next. You know, sometimes after a big victory like that there's a letdown. But for John Feal, the right is not over, and for Jon Stewart, and so they'll tell us what's next.
We also had this -- well, I'll show in a moment where everybody gathered there on the lawn and you could see the celebration because so many dozens of the first responders came with them, and what a moment it was. So in the next hour, we'll play all of that for you.
BERMAN: That is so wonderful.
All right, we're here in Washington for that. But also, this is a day that has been two years in the making. You're looking at live pictures from inside the hearing room where just a few hours from now, Robert Mueller, for the first time since his whole investigation began, will answer questions.
We'll discuss, next.
[05:58:16] BERMAN: We are in Washington. We really have no idea what we are going to hear today from Robert Mueller's testimony, but the late-night comics -- they have some notions.
Here are you "Late-Night Laughs."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Several bars in Washington, D.C. will open early tomorrow so people can watch special counsel Robert Mueller's congressional testimony. So by dinner time, you'll be just like the Mueller report -- mostly blacked out.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEY LIVE!": Tomorrow, the witch hunter becomes the witch-hunted in Congress. Basically, he's allowed to answer questions about anything, as long as we already know it or don't care about it.
So, the Justice Department has instructed Robert Mueller to, quote, "remain within boundaries" which -- is that necessary? I mean, he seems to me like -- Robert Mueller is like the kind of guy who uses the dividers in the grocery store checkout line even when there's nobody behind him.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Now, the Justice Department is not sending lawyers to the hearing to force Mueller to comply with this. But if he says one thing that's not in the report, Attorney General Bill Barr is going to bust in and do this (Barr playing bagpipes). Oh, that guy -- that guy blows.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That's funny. I like that video. I think -- I think --
BERMAN: Bagpipe humor is my favorite genre of him -- yes.
CAMEROTA: It's hilarious. Well, I don't hear it enough --
CAMEROTA: -- frankly.
BERMAN: All right. It is, in fact, Mueller time. NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLIN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is the guy who's been leading this investigation. Now, he's going to be front and center in front of the television cameras.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The case is closed. They want him to read his report?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's his very gravity --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and his seriousness and his patriotism that's going to impress the American people.
STEWART: I was angry about the chairs that were supposed to be filled that weren't.
FEAL: We got the best of Jon Stewart. He painted a landscape for America.