Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Blasts Obama While Praising Putin on Crimea Annexation; Why Is Trump Always Deferential to Vladimir Putin; Sharp Disagreements Broke Out at Dinner Between Trump and G7 Leaders Over Russia; Purdue Pharma in Settlement Talks Over 2000 Opioid Lawsuits; Taylor Swift Calls Out White House over LGBTQ Petition. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 27, 2019 - 15:30   ET



[15:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now it's a very big area, very important area.

President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him, right. It was very embarrassing to him. And he wanted Russia to be out of the what was called the G-8. And that was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: My next guest put it this way, that Trump went to the mat for Putin at the G-7 summit. That is a headline on his piece for "New York" magazine. Jonathan Chait is with me now. Jonathan, pleasure to have you on. And you know in writing that Trump went to the mat for Putin, you tell me, what was the most bizarre example to make your point?

JONATHAN CHAIT, PENNED OP-ED, TRUMP WENT TO THE MAT FOR PUTIN AT THE G-7 SUMMIT (via Skype): There were many examples. Notice the way he used the passive voice in that statement, that Ukraine was invaded, it was taken. He didn't say who took it, so he couldn't even assign responsibility for Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the country that undertook the invasion. It was just something that happened. And it happened to President Obama, it didn't happen to Ukraine, it didn't happen to the world.

So I think even stranger than that, is the fact that Obama actually put in a pretty robust response. How do we know it was a robust response? Because Russia is trying to undo it, it's getting its ally, Donald Trump, to undo the punishment for it. So that it could get away with the invasion without any long-term consequences. So Trump is just turning the entire logic upside down by blaming Obama who responded to the invasion for the invasion itself.

BALDWIN: Who he mentions 18 times. Why do you think Trump would do this over and over and over blaming Obama? And do you think it's possible Vladimir Putin in their conversations of which who knows what was discussed possibly put him up to it? CHAIT: Right, "The Washington Post" reported earlier this year that

Trump and Putin repeatedly have private discussions. They hide the contents of these discussions from Trump's own foreign policy staff. So no one else knows what's said in these discussions. So this sounds to me like something Putin would be putting in Trump's ear to convince him to take his side.

It's also possibly something that Trump himself came up with so he could pitch it to his Republican base. See, it's not me being soft on Russia, it's me sticking it to Barack Obama who we all hate. But it's a very strange piece of logic no matter what.

BALDWIN: And the question is why. Right? We don't know to your point how deep the ties are between Trump and Putin. But you're right that Trump is quote, deeply committed to advocating for the man who helped him get elected. So if Trump and Putin keep this up, do you think we will ever know, Jonathan, how deep and potentially compromising Trump's ties are to Russia?

CHAIT: We don't. And this really a point worth emphasizing. The Mueller investigation was not a counterintelligence investigation. It was not looking into the national security threat. It was not looking into what compromising relationship Trump may or may not have with Putin. It was looking into criminal violations of law that they could prove during the campaign and they couldn't prove any. But that's not to say there weren't counterintelligence problems.

BALDWIN: Jonathan Chait, thank you very much.

CHAIT: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Speaking of, we're just getting new reporting about that welcome dinner over at the G-7 Summit and how the President and G-7 leaders got into it over Russia. Stand by for new reporting.


BALDWIN: Speaking of that G-7 Summit in France. More fallout now. Here's the breaking news. We're just learning about disagreements that broke out between President Trump and several other world leaders about whether to allow Russia back into the group. So let's get right to White House reporter Jeremy Diamond. And then so what exactly was said and was Trump outnumbered?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Brooke, first of all, we know that the President has sought to dispel any notion of disunity at this G-7 Summit in the wake of it. But of course there were several disagreements. China, on Iran, and also perhaps the sharpest of these disagreements we're now learning was over the question of whether to readmit Russia to the G-7 to make it once again, the G-8.

And much of this happened during a dinner Saturday night between the leaders of the G-7. Two diplomatic sources and one senior U.S. official told us that the President of course argued for bringing Russia back into the fold. But he met sharp resistance, particularly from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

He did have some support from the Italian leader, Conti, for example. But it was very clear that there was no consensus between these leaders on bringing Russia back into the fold. And several of those European leaders that I just mentioned, arguing in fact that Russia's behavior has gotten worse. And under those circumstances, Russia should certainly not rejoin the G-8.

Now we do know, Brooke, that the G-7 will be held in the United States next year. So the President does have the prerogative to invite Russia as a guest to the summit. But it would need to be a unanimous decision for the G-7 to once again become the G-8 with Russia firmly back in the fold.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you something else, but this was a great last line of our reporting. The next morning that the British Prime Minister was overheard telling the French President whose handling of the, quote, difficult dinner was bien joue, well played.

[15:40:00] Let me ask you, Jeremy, also that Homeland Security is transferring funds from FEMA now to ICE. Tell me about that.

DIAMOND: That's right, we're just learning the Department of Homeland Security is going to be shifting $271 million in funds toward immigration enforcement related activities. That includes 155 million from FEMA's disaster funds. Now we know that this comes just as the Trump administration is seeking to change those rules on how long it can hold migrant families in detention facilities. Currently that's a 20-day limit. The Trump administration is looking to get rid of that.

So more moves from the Trump administration here looking to bolster its immigration enforcement activities including the shifting of some of those funds from other areas of the Department of Homeland Security -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much.

Just in, one day after a judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson is liable for Oklahoma's opioid epidemic, we are getting word that another drug maker is in settlement talks over opioid lawsuits against it. So stand by for that new reporting. Coming up next.


BALDWIN: Got some more breaking news this afternoon. Purdue Pharma and its owners are offering to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits against the company for up to $12 billion that's according to people familiar with the mediation. This of course comes on just a day after an Oklahoma judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson intentionally downplayed the dangers of opioids and ordered the drug maker to pay $572 million.

CNN's Jean Casarez is following the breaking details for us on Purdue Pharma. So what's the story.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have just confirmed with us, they are indeed in settlement talks. This is the national opioid litigation. It's where municipalities, states, county, local, Native American tribal governments have all merged together in one consolidated suit out of Oklahoma -- out of Ohio actually. And so they are confirming with us that they are in settlement talks at this point.

Now NBC news and two people familiar with the mediation are saying that they are settling between $10 and $12 billion. The statement that they have given to CNN reads as follows.

While Purdue Pharma is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, the company has made clear that it sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals. The people and communities affected by the opioid crisis need help now. Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward. And the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome.

Now let's look at Oklahoma for a second. I was there during those opening statements. I followed the trial. The judge found Johnson & Johnson liable for $572 million.

Let us not forget, Purdue Pharma was a defendant in that litigation. They settled. They were the first ones to settle for $270 million and now you see what the responsibility is of Johnson & Johnson at this point. So they were very smart.

BALDWIN: And 1,900 cases still pending. As we were discussing with our reporters last hour. So in the wake of that massive, massive decision in Oklahoma, we'll see how it goes from there. Jean Casarez, thank you very much on that settlement.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: 10 years ago, Kanye West stole the spotlight away from Taylor Swift at the VMAs. But yesterday she took the spotlight right on back and she stood up there and called out the White House over their inaction on the Equality Act. And one of the key people on stage who co-executive produced one of those videos that she won, Todrick Hall, joins me live next.


BALDWIN: Breaking news into CNN, the major deadline that attorneys for Deutsche Bank and Capital One are facing in just a matter of minutes. And moments ago Deutsche Bank saying that they do have tax returns but they are not explicitly saying whether or not they are President Trump's. CNN's Lauren Fox is covering the story. And so Lauren, what's the deal?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: In the publicly available documents that we have it's unclear whose tax returns they have. If you remember the House Financial Services Committee and House Intelligence Committee, they subpoenaed Trump's businesses and several family members. So it's unclear whether or not these tax returns are from his family members, the businesses, Trump himself. In a sealed document they sent to the court the names are included. But of course that is not publicly available information. So it's a little bit of a wait and see right now, Brooke, as to whose tax information they actually have. As you know, there's been a broader effort from Democrats in Congress to try to get to the bottom of Trump's financial ties to Russia, to Saudi Arabia and to others to sort of see if they have any influence over his presidency -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Lauren Fox, thank you for the update. Appreciate you.

And Taylor Swift speaking up and out. Has a little bit of bad blood with the White House calling them out at the MTV awards, her video. "You Need to Calm Down" won the award for video of the year. It is anti-hate anthem that features a who's who of LGBTQ stars and promotes a petition in support of the House passed Equality Act.

But the White House had yet to respond. So Swift gave the administration a reminder standing up there last night on the stage during her acceptance speech. Check it out.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: At the end of the video there was a petition and there still is a petition -- for the Equality Act. Which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. It now has half a million signatures which -- which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.



[15:55:00] BALDWIN: I know. I know. The song also won the video for Good Award. It was co-executive produced by Swift's BFF and dancer Todrick Hall who delivered some moving words while accepting the award.


TODRICK HALL, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TAYLOR SWIFT'S "YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN" VIDEO: I just am so grateful to be in a world where this what we need to be doing. If you are a young child that's out there watching this show who is different, who feels misunderstood. We have never needed you more than now to share your art, share your stories, share your truth with the world no matter what you identify as.


BALDWIN: Todrick Hall is here. He's here. It is such a pleasure to meet you.

HALL: I'm so delighted to be here.

BALDWIN: I have so many questions for you. Let's just start first with -- let's back up. So you're in the car with Taylor Swift like a year ago and you're driving along and you ask her what? HALL: I just asked her if she ever had a gay child how would she feel

about it. Because it was something we'd never discussed and she just so quickly looked at me and said they would be gay. That would be the end. And I would just love them no matter what. And I just loved hearing her say that.

Because I've had friends before that I've asked questions like that to and they were like, if it were my child, I would have a problem with that. And they would probably approach their parenting skills differently. And so I just -- I fell even more in love with her than I already was when she said that to me.

BALDWIN: And so watching the video come out and a lot of these folks are good friends of yours. Tell me the back story of why you wanted these men and women in the video.

HALL: I wanted them there and Taylor specifically also wanted them there. It was not my decision to put all of these people that represent the queer community in the video. It was already the kind the concept of the video because there are a lot people who spend time making signs to go out and petition who other people are going to love or who they want to share their lives with, which in my mind shouldn't be anyone else's business.

And so, when she started asking me for people, I wanted to make sure there were trans people there. She wanted to make sure that there were trans people, all different body types, gay, straight, lesbian, straight people there as well, allies. And I think that sometimes people get so focused on the queer part of it that they forget there are a lot of sierra's there who identify as a heterosexual woman.


HALL: And I just think that the bigger picture is that it should be OK for us to all celebrate and be a unified group of people which is what we've been fighting for, equality.

BALDWIN: Can you tell us, I mean, all the headlines today are that, wow, you know, you guys and Taylor Swift being political speaking directly to the people. You know taking on the White House. What conversation did you have with her before or afterward about that moment?

HALL: I just had a conversation with her because she knew how many people signed the petition saying that this is something that they want. If 500,000 people -- and I'm sure that number is rapidly growing even right now as people are watching this -- are saying that this is the way they view the world.

I just think as someone who has grown up in this world and felt very misunderstood for a very long time, I love the fact that she's using this platform to not just say a speech and thank the directors and people who helped her get her career to a level it is at. She's saying that we need this because people like me as one of her best friends, I wouldn't normally have that platform to be able to make such a huge statement. And I just felt so proud and I got chills all over my body when she said it.

BALDWIN: And the White House has responded. We all got a CNN blast. White House has responded to Taylor Swift. This is what the White House says.

Saying they oppose discrimination. However, quote, the House passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.

What is your response to that, Todrick? What do you want to say to the White House right now?

HALL: I would just want to say to the White House, I don't -- to me it doesn't matter what -- how beautifully written your response is at the end of the day and the core of the statement there is still in my opinion hate in that statement. I don't know what poison pills or things that would -- that would prevent you from having parental -- being a great parent in that statement.

I think at the end of the day, you know what is right and you know what is wrong and you know that everybody deserves to have equal rights and I applaud Taylor for fighting for that and I will continue fighting that battle with her.

BALDWIN: And in the last 30 seconds, you know, a Plainview, Texas, boy and wanted to be Ariael in "The Little Mermaid." And obviously look at you now, what is your message to people, young boys and young girls who do feel different and do feel misunderstood.

HALL: Keep fighting. I would have never in a million years dreamed that I would even be able to go to the MTV movie awards or the VMAs and I was there yesterday accepting an award and as an executive producer, you were the only person in the world who has to believe in you. Your stories need to be heard. Keep fighting because people are listening and change is coming.

BALDWIN: Shall I pinch you. Has it hit you?

HALL: No. I still cannot believe it. I can't believe I'm here with you. You look gorgeous by the way.

BALDWIN: Thank you, I'll take the compliment from you any day of the week. Todrick Hall, a pleasure. Thank you very much and again congratulations and thank you for being with us. I'm Brooke Baldwin. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.