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Giuliani Complicates U.S. Policy; Army Proposes New Burial Rules. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 11, 2019 - 08:30   ET

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


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[08:31:12]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So Rudy Giuliani's actions as President Trump's personal attorney have raised concerns for many. A CNN investigation reveals that Giuliani has been acting as a shadow secretary of state, sometimes working across purposes with official U.S. policy.

Drew Griffin joins us now from Atlanta with more.

This is more than just academic right now, Drew. Obviously it's at the center of the impeachment probe.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Giuliani's name coming up over and over again in these witness testimonies.

You know, John, Giuliani says he's working for free. He is working for free for the president. That doesn't mean he's not making money. His status as the president's private attorney has raised his stature and influence, even if only perceived influence across the world, and Rudy Giuliani is cashing in.

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GRIFFIN (voice over): When Brazil's president attended a U.N. General Assembly in late September, he was recovering from surgery. Only on the ground for 30 hours. He reportedly didn't meet with any heads of state. He did, however, meet with Rudy Giuliani.

It's a prime example of how Giuliani's position as President Trump's pro bono lawyer has given him unprecedented access to foreign leaders and how those leaders treat him as a representative of the president.

A CNN review finds Giuliani has met or communicated with top government officials of at least seven countries since becoming Trump's attorney. His actions so troubling sources inside the U.S. State Department tell CNN they track Giuliani's comments which sometimes contradict U.S. policy.

ANDREW MILLER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: There are those in the state Department and the professional U.S. national security apparatus who view Giuliani as a shadow secretary of state.

GRIFFIN: Giuliani left public office as New York's mayor back in 2001. Since then he's made millions in speaking fees and security and safety consulting contracts all over the globe. But being associated with Donald Trump has opened new doors at the top levels. He traveled to Uruguay where he met with the president. He got rare access to the king of Bahrain and the crown prince and sat down with the defense secretary of Armenia. Usually introduced or referred to as President Trump's adviser.

And in almost every case, there is something else. The president's unpaid trusted adviser is seeking to cash in. Security contracts in Bahrain, hired in Uruguay, speaking fees in Armenia. Former State Department official Andrew Miller says it's hard to tell who Giuliani works for and foreign governments are taking no chances.

MILLER: It is dangerous when you have someone who's interests are not aligned with the U.S. government, and that makes it a possibility that there's going to be some type of compromising of U.S. national security interests.

GRIFFIN: The top example so far is Ukraine, where Giuliani was paid $500,000 by a shady businessman who wanted the U.S. ambassador ousted. Giuliani convinced President Trump to get rid of her and also pushed for a Ukrainian investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

But it's not the only example where Giuliani's business interests contradicted or directed U.S. foreign policy. In Romania, he was paid to write a letter in support of a corrupt businessman, in direct contrast to the U.S. policy of urging Romania to crack down on corruption.

SEBASTIAN BURDUJA, NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY OF ROMANIA: There was Mr. Giuliani basically siding with the crooks.

GRIFFIN: In Albania, he advocated for regime change in Iran. This is also not the official policy of the United States.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Hi, Mr. Giuliani, Drew Griffin with CNN.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Yes, sir, how are you?

[08:35:00]

GRIFFIN (voice over): Asked this week about cashing in on the Trump presidency, Giuliani became defensive.

GIULIANI: That is the -- that is a totally unfair question. Not unexpected from the corrupt news network. And the reality is that everything I've done is totally legal.

GRIFFIN: Senator Tom Udall is one of a half dozen Democrats in the Senate asking the Department of Justice if Giuliani's actions and failure to register under the Foreign Agents Act is breaking the law.

SEN. TOM UDALL (D-NM): With what we see out there and the multiple clients around the world, his meetings with the Trump administration, with the president, with various administration officials, there's no doubt that I think that there's a real issue here.

GRIFFIN: Giuliani insists he is only guilty of one thing, defending the president.

GIULIANI: I am in private law practice. I practice law honorably and well. Never had a complaint, never had an issue ever in 50 years of private law practice. And I am being targeted by CNN because I am proving that you are corrupt in your coverage of the president all throughout this impeachment proceeding.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: And, John, what we're seeing coming out of these House hearings, this testimony, from inside Trump's own diplomatic core where they're worried about what Giuliani has been doing, most famously Fiona Hill, the president's top former Russian adviser, who thought what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine was, in fact, illegal.

John.

BERMAN: John Bolton apparently called it a drug deal.

Drew Griffin, thank you very much for that report. That was fascinating.

So how does Rudy Giuliani's foreign contact affect U.S. relations with its allies? We're going to speak with a former ambassador next.

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[08:41:33]

BERMAN: All right, you just heard this investigation by CNN's Drew Griffin. It detailed how Rudy Giuliani met or communicated with top government officials of at least seven countries since becoming President Trump's personal attorney.

Joining me now is Ambassador Nicholas Burns, he's a former undersecretary of state and a former ambassador to NATO. We do want to note that Mr. Burns is also a foreign policy adviser to Joe Biden's 2020 campaign.

Ambassador, thank you so much for being with us.

Drew's story and investigation was really interesting on many levels. There is the money level, which is that Rudy Giuliani is making a lot of money going around the world forming contracts with foreign countries and he's advertising himself as the president's lawyer, or he is being billed as the president's lawyer. Is there anything inherently problematic with that?

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well, John, previous presidents have used private citizens as presidential emissaries. The problem here is that Rudy Giuliani describes himself consistently as the president's private attorney and yet he's doing the public business of the United States. The example of Ukraine I think is the most vivid here because Rudy Giuliani effectively pushed aside the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, had Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch fired, convinced the president to do that, and then engineered this dramatic turn in American policy towards Ukraine where we effectively tried -- the administration tried to extort Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

So this is a real problem because it puts the private attorney of the president directly in the middle of our policy towards one of the most important countries in Europe, Ukraine, a country we're trying to help. It confused the Ukrainians. It confused all the people in the administration. And if the president ends up being impeached, I think -- by the House, I think that Rudy Giuliani will have been the major person leading to that impeachment.

BERMAN: You brought up the fact that previous presidents have used private emissaries before. I was reading Hugh Hewett in "The Washington Post" this morning and he compared what Giuliani has done to Harry Hopkins, the famous adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Do you think that's an apt comparison?

BURNS: No, I don't. Harry Hopkins was the secretary of commerce for the Roosevelt administration and then moved into the White House and became President Roosevelt's -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest adviser. He was an employee of the U.S. government. And so I don't think that's an apt comparison.

And, again, this is 2019 and you have a private attorney of the president hijacking the public business of the United States. That's at the center of this week's impeachment hearings by the House. It's what George Kent and Bill Taylor and others are going to be testifying about.

BERMAN: And you've heard, not just from Kent and Taylor, but other people connected to the State Department who have concerns with what Giuliani has done. What are you hearing from people, your old friends in the State Department?

BURNS: Oh, mass confusion about how the administration arrange (ph) itself. I mean you want to have one person in charge but that person has to be a U.S. government employee. It's one thing to send a private emissary to have one meeting, to take soundings, be the eyes and ears of the president, but it's quite another thing that over the course of an entire year, Rudy Giuliani became the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.

And all these other people who were statutorily in charge of that policy, the ambassador of the United States, the secretary of state, really had nothing to say and it leads to this, I think, extraordinarily unwise decision, possibly criminal decision, by the administration of extortion of a foreign government. That is not how the United States should act in the world.

[08:45:16] BERMAN: You know, isn't the problem that Giuliani himself says he's not doing this for the national interests, that he says he's over there exclusively to serve his client?

BURNS: Well, that's what's unusual here. I don't think previous emissaries of previous presidents were the personal attorneys of the president trying to do the personal business of the president. The president is commander in chief. Whatever the president does on Ukraine is the public business of the United States and that's the dichotomy here that I think has got the Trump administration in a lot of hot water this week.

BERMAN: I want to ask you a question, and this is on the basis of your former role as ambassador to NATO. The French president, Macron, had a statement last week which caught a lot of people's attention, which he said that NATO is suffering from brain death. The instability of our American partner and rising tensions have meant that the idea of European defense is gradually taking hold. I the argument for a powerful and strategic Europe. I would add that we will at some stage have to take stock of NATO. To my mind, what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO. We have to be lucid.

What do you make of that?

BURNS: Well, I think two things, John. One is that President Macron's clearly frustrated by the fact that for the first time since NATO's founding in 1949, the United States president, President Trump in this case, is not leading NATO. Macron cited the particular incident of the president withdrawing American special forces from Syria and not working with the French and British, who also had special forces, not telling them, and I think he was burned by that.

But Macron's prescription, I think, is off the mark because NATO is vital right now to contain Russian power in eastern Europe, in places like the Baltic states and Poland and trying to help the Ukrainians defend off Putin. And I think it also belies the fact that in the United States public opinion now is very strongly supportive of NATO. Republicans and Democrats in Congress very strong.

I think when President Trump leaves the Oval Office, whenever that is, when he's defeated, I hope, in 2020, any possible successor, and you know I hope that's going to be Vice President Biden, is going to return the United States to a leadership role in NATO. So this is Macron trying to build up the momentum for the European Union essentially to bypass NATO.

BERMAN: Ambassador Nicholas Burns, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

BURNS: Thanks so much. Thank you.

BERMAN: We do have a programming note. Former Vice President Joe Biden takes questions from voters in a CNN town hall live from Iowa. That is tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

CAMEROTA: And on this Veteran's Day, the Army is considering new rules for Arlington National Cemetery. How that could impact the hallowed ground, next.

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[08:52:04]

CAMEROTA: This is a live look at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on this Veteran's Day.

The U.S. Army is proposing new rules for which veterans would qualify to be buried there.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live from the Pentagon with more.

So what are these rules, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Alisyn.

On this Veteran's Day, there are 22 million living American service members and veterans and it's a simple fact Arlington may be running out of room.

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STARR (voice over): Across the rolling green lawns of Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty troops, veterans and their families.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, FORMER JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The story of those remembered today is one of extraordinary sacrifice. It's a story of lives cut short, of hopes and dreams never realized.

STARR: For more than 150 years, these hallowed grounds have recorded the history of America's veterans. Fifteen hundred of the first black combat soldiers who served in the Civil War were laid to rest here. Presidents are here. And so are hundreds of young troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, however, the march of times has caught up. Arlington is running out of room.

KAREN DURHAM-AGULERA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY: We want to stay open for 150 more years. So -- and not just our current generation, but that five-year-old who's going to raise his or her hand one day to serve this nation, we also want to be available for them for our future.

STARR: Proposed new rules still allow burial for those killed in action and recipients of the highest awards, such as the Medal of Honor. But for others, such as retirees and veterans otherwise not eligible, they will have to choose cremation and an urn above ground.

The numbers alone are staggering. Today, there are 22 million living armed forces members and veterans who are eligible for burial, but less than 95,000 burial spaces remain. It's a sensitive issue for today's younger veterans. THOMAS PORTER, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: I've talked

to quite a few veterans about this issue and mixed reactions, but mainly of a big sense of disappointment that this is signaling that this is coming to an end. And I think that most veterans would like to be able to see the possibility that maybe they might be able to be buried there. I know I certainly would like to myself.

STARR: But Arlington says there is simply no choice, expansion and changes are vital.

DURHAM-AGULERA: We will fill up. So without a change in criteria, we will be closed in about the year 2041.

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STARR: And they are going to try at least to keep space for the World War II generation, America's greatest generation, so they will not have to worry about this.

John.

BERMAN: I have to say, Barbara, Arlington is such a wondrous place in its own way and I've learned more about it from you than anyone in America.

[08:55:05]

Your reporting on Arlington is wonderful. So, thank you so much for that.

STARR: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: "The Good Stuff" is next.

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BERMAN: It is time for a very special Veteran's Day "Good Stuff."

A 95-year-old World War II veteran from Oklahoma finally receiving a long, overdue honor, his high school diploma. Corporal Lewie Shaw left school early to enlist in the Marines. He fought in Iwo Jima, was wounded fighting for his country. He offered some advice to today's students.

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CORPORAL LEWIE SHAW: My advice to them is keep clawing, continue digging, get their education.

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[09:00:03]

BERMAN: Keep on clawing. Keep on digging. Get that education. A diploma. Even 70 years later. Corporal Shaw is the grand marshal