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Nationals Visit White House Today; New Questions Surround Trump's Claim; U.K. Officials Shocked over Trump Request; Raves Beat Patriots; Senators Consider Acknowledging a Quid Pro Quo. Aired 6:30- 7a ET
Aired November 4, 2019 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Less than a week after winning their first World Series, the Washington Nationals will visit the White House today. But not every member of the team will be there.
CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with a look ahead.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Yes, we can get used to this here in Washington, D.C., the hometown team coming here to the White House to celebrate their big win in the World Series against Houston. The president of the United States expected to greet them.
One of the questions, of course, is, who's not going to show up? That's become a sort of traditional question with these national teams that win the big game. We do know of at least one player, that's Sean Doolittle, he's a pitcher with the Nationals. He says he's not going to show up. Here's the quote. There's a lot of things, policies he says he disagrees with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and the widening the divide of this country. As much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, he says, I can't do it.
No other players, as far as we know, have said they're not going to come to the White House today with meet with the president. But it really is, if you think about it, a sign of the times. However, the president of the United States does not have that rocky relationship with Major League Baseball that he seems to share with, say, the National Football League or the National Basketball Association.
Alisyn, back to you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Joe, thank you very much for the view from the White House there.
President Trump continues to insist that the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was, quote, whimpering and crying as U.S. Special forces cornered him. But Trump's defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the regional commander of the operation all indicate they are not sure what the president is talking about.
CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with more.
So, Barbara, does the Pentagon just see this as President Trump's kind of usual fudging of the truth or embellishment or is there something more here?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think embellishment is probably a good word. Top officials really trying desperately to sidestep the whole issue.
STARR (voice over): Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's last minutes alive described by President Trump in explicit detail.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him.
STARR: Trump emphasizing Baghdadi's emotional state.
TRUMP: He didn't die a hero. He died a coward, crying, whimpering, screaming.
STARR: But increasing questions on what the president based this statement on. How did he know that? So far, this remains unanswered among top Pentagon leadership.
MARINE CORPS GEN. KENNETH F. MCKENZIE JR., COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I'm not able to confirm anything else about his last seconds. I just can't confirm that one way or another.
MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I don't have those details. The president probably had the opportunity to talk to the commanders on the ground.
GEN. MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I don't know what the source of that was, but I assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members.
STARR: The White House has not responded to CNN's inquiry on whether the president spoke to any members of the military team. Multiple defense officials told "The New York Times" that they had seen no after-action reports, situation reports, or other communications that support Trump's claim. The White House press secretary telling "The Times" that, we are not going to get into any of the operational details of how the president receives information. And aides ignoring questions on how the president knew al-Baghdadi's emotions in his final moments.
QUESTION: How did the president learn about Baghdadi whimpering and crying in his final moments?
HOGAN GIDLEY (ph): Yes, I'm not going to talk about specifics on technology of what we do during those moments.
STARR: CNN did learn that Trump told aides he wanted a tough speech after the raid according to one source. Officials who worked on the speech the night before told colleagues the version Trump delivered on Sunday did not resemble what they had put together. Trump was changing his words until the last minute.
One defense official tells CNN, it's not likely the president's comments are based on him hearing Baghdadi's voice inside The Situation Room where he monitored the mission unless special arrangements were made.
The raid is a success against ISIS without any embellishment.
STARR: And for the hundreds of U.S. troops still in Syria, the danger may be growing. A short time ago we received this statement from the U.S. spokesman there, and I just want to quickly read it to everyone. It says, on November 3rd -- that was just yesterday -- a U.S. patrol in northeast Syria witnessed multiple artillery strikes landing within a kilometer of the road they were traveling on. The patrol was not hit.
But look at that statement. The artillery strikes landing perhaps a half mile away from U.S. forces on patrol in Syria. Who has artillery there? The Russians, the Syrian regime, and the Turks. Not good news for U.S. troops there.
BERMAN: Yes, those are really important developments, Barbara. As we see these military leaders caught in the crosshairs here trying not to lie, and also trying not to contradict the president of the United States.
Thanks so much for that report.
New this morning, cross Atlantic discomfort. Is President Trump taking the special relationship with the U.K. too far? The British government squirms as the president pushes to investigate his political opponents.
CAMEROTA: British officials say they're shocked by a Trump administration request to help try to discredit the findings in the Mueller report.
CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live in London with the details.
What are they saying, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, these seem to begin right after Boris Johnson became prime minister. Within two days he gets a call from President Trump. Within a couple days of that, Attorney General William Barr is visiting the U.K. And that seems to have set on trail (ph) what is now bringing about deep concern about the special relationship.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Boris, it's only my opinion.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: No, I'm looking -- I'm looking -- I'm not (INAUDIBLE) --
ROBERTSON (voice over): Behind the smiles, there's tension in the special relationship. President Trump wants Boris Johnson to investigate his political opponents, figure out if Mueller and others tried to smear him. A day after his controversial call with the Ukrainian president in July, and just two days after Johnson became prime minister, Trump called him. Now parliament wants details.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the prime minister, as today's "Times" reports, receive a request from President Trump for help in trying to discredit the Mueller report?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prime minister's not going to comment on the discussions with President Trump that are held in private. But I can -- I can give him the assurance that, of course, neither the prime minister or as then was the foreign secretary, nor any member of this government would collude in the way that he's described.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Both the White House and Downing Street published brief notes on that conversation. Neither made any mention of the investigation that Trump is demanding.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Days after the Trump/Johnson call, Attorney General William Barr was in London for a meeting on intelligence cooperation and moving Trump's investigation forward. Veteran U.K. diplomatic journalist Kim Sengupta says his British sources were shocked at the requests coming from Washington.
KIM SENGUPTA, BRITISH JOURNALIST, "THE INDEPENDENT": The way that it began to emerge in their eyes was that this was the U.S. government asking for information, not about the Russians, not about the Chinese, not even about the French. You know, it's about their own intelligence services.
ROBERTSON: Barr has also been to Australia and Italy, in what is now a criminal investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia investigation, and intelligence it used from overseas. The Italians had nothing to offer Barr. On his agenda, the role of this Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud, who vanished two years ago. Mifsud told acquaintances that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. One of those acquaintances, George Papadopoulos, relayed Mifsud's claim to an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, in London.
And then there's the dossier written by a former U.K. intelligence officer, Christopher Steele.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Steele worked at this London address. He compiled a dossier during the 2016 election suggesting Trump was vulnerable to Kremlin blackmail. It was his dossier that helped initiate the Mueller inquiry.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Sengupta's sources understand the London focus, but worry about the implications.
SENGUPTA: The apprehension, the impression I got, was apprehension is that they may get drawn into all -- they are getting drawn into internal American politics.
ROBERTSON: President Trump's obsession with discrediting Mueller could cost America the trust of its allies.
ROBERTSON: And this comes at a very sensitive time for the U.K., as well. Elections are four or five and a half weeks away and President Trump is a factor in those elections. Talked with one of the party's candidates just a few days ago, suggesting a tie-up between him, who's a right-wing politician, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The prime minister's rejected that.
But in essence, President Trump is such a figure in British -- name and figure in British politics at the moment that it polarizes people. So any association in a negative context for the prime minister or anyone else becomes an issue in the elections as well.
BERMAN: It will play in the election. The question is, how over the next five weeks.
Nic Robertson, great to have you on this morning. Thanks so much.
So for the first time since December, the New England Patriots lost a football game.
BERMAN: Yes, I know. They lost.
CAMEROTA: I'm sorry, John. How are you even here this morning?
BERMAN: They lost. I'm OK. Well, you know, no undefeated Patriots team has ever won the Super Bowl, so I'm looking at this as a good thing.
BERMAN: The Ravens crushed the Patriots last night. The Ravens are very good.
Andy Scholes more in the "Bleacher Report."
Lamar Jackson is a good football player.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He certainly is, John, and I like the way you spun that, the Patriots now have got to win the Super Bowl.
The Patriots, yes, they had won 13 straight games, including the playoffs coming into last night's game, but the run coming to an end thanks to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Now, the Patriots defense threw eight games was on pace to be an all- time great D. They allowed just four offensive touchdowns in eight games. Well, Jackson and the Ravens scoring four touchdowns in this game alone. Jackson just 22 years old is already an MVP candidate. Ravens, they win this one 37-20. The 49ers now the only undefeated team left this season.
All right, now, on the other side of things, the Dolphins are no longer winless. Miami putting a beat-down on the Jets and their former coach Adam Gase winning yesterday 26-18. What do you do when you win your first game of the year? Well, you give the coach a Gatorade bath. That's what the dolphins did for Brian Flores. That was his first win as a head coach in the NFL. Jets and Dolphins now the same record, 1- 7. Tough times for the Jets.
All right, the celebration tour continuing for the Nationals last night. The Capitals game. You see them shirtless on a Zamboni with the World Series trophy. They also took a combo team pic with the Capitals, who won it all two years ago. Good time to be a sports fan right now in D.C. The Nationals are going to head to the White House later today, guys, to celebrate their championship.
What will they be eating? That's always a good question, right? President Trump sometimes goes with the fast food. They will have McRibs and Popeye's chicken sandwiches. Who knows?
BERMAN: We're going to have Popeye's chicken sandwiches later in the show.
CAMEROTA: Here. Yes, stick around until 8:45. You can watch us remotely eat a Popeye's chicken sandwiches.
SCHOLES: Can't wait.
BERMAN: But we will have our shirts on, just saying.
CAMEROTA: Well, we don't know yet. It hasn't been decided.
Meanwhile, brand-new polls show President Trump's approval rating is struggling nationally, but he is strong in key battleground states. Anthony Scaramucci says the president is in free fall. It sure doesn't look like it, Anthony. Scaramucci will provide his evidence, next.
CAMEROTA: President Trump is pushing back this morning against a report that a growing number of Senate Republicans are ready to acknowledge that the president did commit a quid pro quo.
"The Washington Post" reports that the GOP's last ditch argument will be that the quid pro quo did happen, but the president's actions were not illegal and do not rise to the level of impeachment.
Joining us now for reaction to this and so much more is Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump's former White House communications director.
Great to see you.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: So that's what the -- that's the reporting that they're going to go with, yes, he did -- there's a quid pro quo. We all heard the -- we saw the transcript of the phone call, but it's not impeachable.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. Well, well we know that it's completely impeachable and completely illegal, so the Republicans --
CAMEROTA: Well, they say not illegal.
SCARAMUCCI: OK, it's a far -- it's a far act violation. So you can --
CAMEROTA: And, by the way, they also say that it -- I mean we all know that impeachment is not a legal process.
SCARAMUCCI: Can talk to Elie or Preet Bharara. We know that the thing is prima facie illegal. We can -- we can argue about whether or not they're going to vote for it or not. I mean what will be the crisis in our democracy is if they decide that they're going to allow him to break the law. That will be the first time in 243 years that one person is going to get put above the law away from everybody else. And so if they decide that they want to do that, that's going to be a disruption in the system.
So, I mean, that could happen. I'm not saying it's not going to happen.
But I think what the good news is, and I see the swing state poll numbers, but the -- the good news is, is that the differential of the American electorate in general is increasing for impeachment and removal. And I predict that as these things become more public, those numbers will go up into the high 50s into the 60s. CAMEROTA: You're talking about the national polling on impeachment.
But the state, the battleground state polling on impeachment shows that they're opposed to it. So -- and as we know, the battleground states matter more for the election.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. OK. So, stay with me for a second, OK, because back in August I was a lone operator in the Republican Party basically saying that this guy's going to go down. There's going to be a full-blown meltdown. And over the next three to six months, you'll see this happen.
What I got wrong is, I was surprised by the cowardice, frankly, of the Republican Party in general staying close to this guy because he's -- the repetitive lying is out of control. The level of illegality now is completely out of control. And now they're admitting that there was a quid pro quo. So he's doing what he does to everybody, he's moved the goalpost one more time and now they're going to say, well, there was a quid pro quo, similar to what Mick Mulvaney was saying two weeks ago. And so -- but that's OK, too, we're going to leave him in power. So again, all of those things may happen, but I predict that they won't, because you're looking at the swing state numbers.
SCARAMUCCI: I'm looking at that 49 percent number and I'm going to predict here, like I did in August about the meltdown, that that number is going to go into the low 60s.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I guess I would just reiterate --
SCARAMUCCI: What it does, Alisyn --
CAMEROTA: That for the election, it doesn't matter what the national polling says. It only matters what the battleground states say.
SCARAMUCCI: It will -- it will matter to those senator who want to keep the Senate. And it will matter to Mitch McConnell, who would like to keep his job and want to be the Senate majority leader. Assuming that Mitch McConnell has one more term left as the quote/unquote senator, I don't think he's going to want to be in the minority. And I think he will jettison President Trump the minute those differentials start to happen.
SCARAMUCCI: And they are moving.
CAMEROTA: All right, here's what you --
SCARAMUCCI: They've moved six points in the last month.
CAMEROTA: Yes. The national polls, in terms of desire for impeaching and even removing have moved, you're right, towards the public getting comfortable with and approving of and wanting an impeachment process, but not in battleground states. But hold on a second. I want to ask you about what you tweeted
yesterday. You say, the truth is coming out and POTUS, the president, is in free fall.
What's your evidence that the president is in free fall? Because if you look at it through a different lens, he had a good end to the week last week.
Hey, look, I'm a -- I'm a -- I'm a -- what was the good end to the week last week?
CAMEROTA: I'll tell you. So the -- the -- Tim Morrison, who went in to be deposed, said he didn't -- he heard the call, he didn't hear anything illegal happen on the call. The battleground states do not support impeaching the president. Not a single Republican in the House voted to move -- to even --
SCARAMUCCI: I'm a numbers --
CAMEROTA: Hold on, to even move forward with the impeachment inquiry.
SCARAMUCCI: A lot of that's predictable.
CAMEROTA: This morning, he has successfully blocked four NSC officials, top officials, who were subpoenaed from going to give depositions. That's the reporting that we have. They won't show up. That seems -- all of those seem like a win for the president.
SCARAMUCCI: OK, well, one, they'll likely be compelled to show up.
And let's go back to the other stuff. I'm a numbers person, OK. A six- point move on 40 points is a very big move. It's that 15 percent move in the polling, OK? And that happened over a four-week period of time.
And so what's happening is, the facts are starting to come out. And once they move to a public hearing, Alisyn, I really believe that it will be irrefutable. And that's sort of what happened during the Nixon situation. Once you enter the public hearings, that wall of Republican support crumbled. And I see that happening.
I don't see how they're going to allow this level of lawlessness. And you know there's other things that are being reported now.
Whether it's the Jared Kushner/Khashoggi thing that one of the whistleblowers mentioned, or other elements of illegality. And so, for me, again, I'm a numbers person. Plus 15 percent on the polling. I think that's -- that's pretty damning.
CAMEROTA: But it tricks --
SCARAMUCCI: And I think the bad news is yet to come for the president.
CAMEROTA: What does that mean?
SCARAMUCCI: I mean we're just getting started.
CAMEROTA: But what do you mean the bad news is yet to come? What else is going to come out?
SCARAMUCCI: Ah, well, you've got three or four whistleblowers and you've got people that have heard direct testimony. And you're going to have a public hearing of those people. There'll be a right for the president's people to cross-examine those people. But I think the evidence is irrefutable.
CAMEROTA: What do you --
SCARAMUCCI: You know there's prima fascia evidence with, you know, people that like justice. I mean it's pretty compelling.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I just can't tell if this is wishful thinking on your part --
SCARAMUCCI: You're -- you're --
CAMEROTA: In terms of Republican erosion --
CAMEROTA: Certainly in Congress, or if you're seeing it. But you're just -- you're predicting it's going to happen.
SCARAMUCCI: Well, I'm predicting it because, you know, here's what I -- here's what I saw in August. And I have to confess, it did clamp up a little. What I saw in August was a very large group of people in the Republican Party, elected officials, saying, OK, this is totally unsustainable and very crazy.
Then when the impeachment stuff came out, a lot of those people have gone into an intimidation mode where they've been intimidated by the president and by people around the president. And they've been, you know, given favors by the president to keep silent.
CAMEROTA: What --
SCARAMUCCI: But I predict, now that -- now that those things have happened, and one of those things I didn't get right --
CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes.
SCARAMUCCI: Which is that I thought that those Republicans who were saying all those things --
CAMEROTA: Would speak out.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes, all those things to journalists, all those things to people at CNN, all those things to other people would eventually speak out. So they didn't do that.
CAMEROTA: Quickly. Yes, quickly, I want to ask you, what do you think about the president -- SCARAMUCCI: But they will.
CAMEROTA: Calling for the whistleblower to be unmasked, calling for his identity to be revealed?
SCARAMUCCI: Just -- just more ridiculousness. It's more rank illegality on his part. If you understand the Constitution and the whistleblower protections, what he's asking for is a complete breach of all that. And so it's, once again, it's this like outright rank lawlessness that the Republicans are accepting. And so, again, they may do that. They may defy all levels of practicality and sense of fairness and justice. They may do that on -- and that will put the country in a very, very difficult period of time.
But here's the thing I'm pointing out to you.
SCARAMUCCI: You've got a 15 percent move. You'll have another 15 percent move. I believe in the laws of compounding. And when this thing gets into low 60s, these guys are gone.
CAMEROTA: Anthony Scaramucci, do you want to stick around for some laughs?
SCARAMUCCI: I think I need some laughs after this last segment. Yes, why not.
CAMEROTA: Good thinking. Yes, good answer.
BERMAN: You're like -- you're like quickly. Quickly.
CAMEROTA: A hard wrap, Anthony.
BERMAN: You're like my seventh grade science teacher. Quickly.
SCARAMUCCI: My kindergarten. (INAUDIBLE) seventh grade.
BERMAN: The hero K-9 who was injured in the mission that killed the leader of ISIS will be honored soon by President Trump in the White House, but Conan the dog already got his own press conference on "Saturday Night Live."
Here are your "Late Night Laughs."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House has not held a formal press briefing in almost eight months. We've kept our new press secretary in hiding because our past ones were mocked, humiliated, and forced to regain their dignity on "Dancing with the Stars."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we're going to take a few questions and then Conan's going to meet with President Trump to explain the situation in Syria. Ah, yes, you, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Conan. Thank you for your service.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is my honor. I do this job for two reasons. One, I love my country, and, two, belly rubs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you were involved in a terrorist raid. Was that scary for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little, sure, but it could have been worse. The terrorists have guns and explosives, but at least they don't have vacuum cleaners.
Yes, you, ma'am?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, just for the record, if you're keeping score at home, Conan the dog and Anthony Scaramucci have more press briefings than Stephanie Grisham.
CAMEROTA: Than our -- our press secretary.
SCARAMUCCI: Right -- yes, right now. That probably will maintain the case. And Conan only lasted one-eleventh of a mooch. So I don't know.
SCARAMUCCI: I mean he's doing pretty well. Certainly a lot better than me on a ratio basis.
CAMEROTA: The math that we now use. All right, well, we award you 100 mooches right now.
SCARAMUCCI: All right, thank you.
CAMEROTA: So thank you for being here, Anthony.
BERMAN: All right, significant new poll numbers in key battleground states paint a very different picture of this election than we've seen.
NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The series of brand-new polls from the six battleground states that determine the outcome of the election in 2016.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the best Democrats can offer is business as usual, Democrats will lose.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, the vision I have for this country, there's nothing small about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was going to be a busy day. The four White House witnesses, they were going to be testifying, all of them, defying subpoenas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whistleblower is making himself available for written questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quid pro quo, yes or no.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: First of all I just said to you, I don't know whether aid was being held up and for how long.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to release these transcripts for people to see. We will get to the bottom of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.