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Trump Slams Macron for 'Insulting' NATO Comments; House Intel Impeachment Report to Be Public Today. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 3, 2019 - 06:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, December 3, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we do begin with breaking news, because President Trump is speaking out ahead of a NATO leaders' meeting, while the impeachment process is about to take a significant step forward here in the U.S.

The president just wrapped up a nearly hour-long Q&A with NATO's leader. Mr. Trump again blasted the impeachment inquiry, proclaiming his innocence, insisting he will never accept even being censured, all while attacking France's president ahead of their one-on-one meeting in just hours. So we'll bring you all the news from this in just a moment.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: One reason the president could be on edge this morning: within hours, the House Intelligence Committee will release its report on the investigation of the president. The document is expected to conclude that President Trump abused the power of his office by pushing Ukraine to do his political bidding.

The committee will vote tonight to approve it, then send it to the Judiciary Committee, where the next phase of the impeachment inquiry will begin with a public hearing tomorrow. We expect to see actual articles of impeachment within weeks.

Overnight House Republicans released a prebuttal of the report, essentially ignoring weeks of testimony and evidence, and asserting the president has done nothing wrong.

We have it all covered for you on both sides of the Atlantic. Let's begin, though, with Kaitlan Collins, who's traveling with the president live in London. The president had a lot to say this morning, Kaitlan.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, it was his first meeting of his two-day trip here. He's got a slew of meetings with world leaders.

And right off the bat, as he was sitting down with the head of NATO for a breakfast meeting this morning, the president started lashing out at the French president, after President Macron said that he thought NATO was experiencing brain death, essentially arguing that was because of Trump, saying that France could no longer rely on this unwavering support from the United States.

And we haven't heard Trump weigh in on this publicly, but this morning he took an opportunity to do so. Listen to what he had to say about the French leader.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I heard that President Macron said NATO is brain dead. I think that's very insulting to a lot of different forces, including a man that does a very good job at running NATO. And you just can't go around making statements like that about NATO. It's very disrespectful.


COLLINS: Now, John, it is so stunning to hear the president say those words. It is this role reversal you're witnessing, where the president is the one defending NATO against someone else being critical of it. And of course, that's stunning, since the president once referred to NATO as obsolete, triggered an emergency session because he was threatening to get out of NATO. And now there he is defending it in wake of the French president's critical comments.

And we should note those two are set to meet in just a matter of hours. So it will be interesting to see what happens when President Trump and President Macron are in the room together.

Now, of course, that wasn't the only thing the president talked about in that 50-minute question-and-answer session with reporters. He also talked about what's really in the background of all of this summit, and that's what's happening back at home in the United States, this impeachment inquiry that is moving on into a new phase.

And the president was talking about it, talking about it, saying he thought it was not patriotic of Democrats to schedule their first judiciary hearing while he's going to be overseas.

And he was asked about this alternative you've heard floated around behind the scenes in Washington, about whether or not he would be OK with being censured instead of being impeached. Listen to how he thought about that, John.


TRUMP: I heard about it. Now they want to go to censure, because they have no case for impeachment. So they want to go to censure. I don't want them to go to censure. I did nothing wrong. I don't mind being censured if you do something wrong. I did nothing wrong. I had a great conversation, very respectful conversation with the president -- a good person, by the way -- with the president of Ukraine. It was flawless.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: So the president continuing to defend his call, saying he

does not want to be censured, John. And of course, that was just the first meeting. We've got a lot more to go here today.

BERMAN: All right, Kaitlan. We are watching this very closely. We expect to hear from the president again.

I will say if you want to distract from what's going on in the United States, if you don't like what's happening with impeachment, attacking the president of France, not a bad way to do it.


BERMAN: Draw some attention to something else.

There are major developments on the impeachment front. In a matter of hours, we will get to see the House Intelligence Committee report. This is ahead of tomorrow's first Judiciary Committee hearing.

Suzanne Malveaux, live on Capitol Hill with the latest -- Suzanne.


Well, a Democratic aide involved in the impeachment inquiry says right now it's all about the messaging, keeping the language plain and simple, clear for the American people to understand. We're all going to have a chance to read it very soon. The Democrats' case for impeaching the president after they release their report after a key vote later today.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff announcing the committee's impeachment report will be made public today after his committee votes to send the report to the Judiciary Committee.

For weeks, House Democrats have investigated whether President Trump abused his power when he held up military aid to Ukraine in a White House meeting to pressure the country to announce investigations into his political rivals.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We also feel a sense of urgency. This is a president who has sought foreign intervention in U.S. elections twice now. This is a threat to the integrity of the upcoming election, and we don't feel it should wait.

MALVEAUX: An Intel Committee official telling CNN members of the committee have 24 hours to review the report before voting tonight whether to move forward with the next phase of impeachment.

SCHIFF: That's not the end of our investigation, so even while Judiciary does its work, we will continue investigating. We're continuing to issue subpoenas. We're continuing to learn new information.


MALVEAUX: As the internal debate over whether to expand the articles to include findings in the Mueller report continues, the Judiciary Committee prepares for its first hearing tomorrow, but House Republicans preemptively releasing a 123-page report defending the president, claiming the Democrats have no evidence of bribery, extortion or any high crime or misdemeanor, and saying President Trump delaying aid in a White House meeting was entirely prudent.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The president has, for the longest time, talked about his concern about foreign aid, his concern about corruption in Ukraine, his concern about other European countries not doing enough to help us. So he had those valid concerns. A new guy gets elected. He said, Let's see if this guy's legit.

MALVEAUX: But the GOP report completely ignores significant and incriminating testimony against President Trump. Democrats dismissing their rebuttal.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): I think it's poppycock. It was very clear what the president wanted.

MALVEAUX: And although President Trump's most ardent supporters continue to peddle conspiracy theories --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Kennedy, do you think that the Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 election?

REP. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I do. I do, and I'm not the only one.

MALVEAUX: Sources familiar with the matter tell CNN the Republican- led Senate Intelligence Committee looked into it and found no evidence to support that claim.


MALVEAUX: The House Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning will be holding its first open hearing. There are going to be four constitutional -- constitutional scholars who will talk about what they believe are impeachable offenses. The Democrats on that committee later this morning, they're going to be holding a mock hearing to prepare for that key testimony -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Suzanne. Thank you very much for all of that reporting.

NATO leaders have been bracing themselves for fireworks at this week's summit, and President Trump just ignited some. More on the president's nearly hour-long press conference, next.


TRUMP: Thank you very much. It's a --





TRUMP: Nobody needs NATO more than France, and frankly, the one that benefits, really, the least is the United States. That's why I think that when France makes a statement like they made about NATO, it's very dangerous statement.


BERMAN: So that was just moments ago, President Trump attacking the French president, Emmanuel Macron, just hours before a one-on-one meeting in London.

This public feud is such a difference from the public pawing, really, between the two men at their first meetings.

Kaitlan Collins is back with us. Also joining us, CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.

And yes, this might be to pull focus from impeachment, Nic, but there's a lot more going on here, as well. When President Trump directly attacks the French leader over NATO, when the president himself has been severely critical of NATO over the last few years. Something's clearly going on here. What do you see?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: W ell, he seems to be using the sort of strongest language that he -- that he uses publicly, at least disrespectful, dangerous, and pointing out that Macron has many problems at home: the unemployment rate; the protests that have been going on on the streets there. There's Gilet Jaunes in Paris and around France over the last almost year now.

So President Trump really, you know, had strong words for Emmanuel Macron. And also, the indications that the White House could be planning to increase tariffs on French goods, 100 percent tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of goods. It seems to be, when President Macron gets into the room with President Trump, and they will have a one-on- one bilateral before it expands out to other officials, as well, later this afternoon. It does seem that that's going to be quite a tough meeting.

They both exchanged, now, pretty tough words publicly. It's no -- I think everyone here in Europe recognizes that Macron no longer believes that the United States can be relied upon, and this does seem to be irking President Trump.

CAMEROTA: Well, Kaitlan, let's also be honest: President Trump targets people after he feels somehow slighted, and President Macron, on November 7, talked about how ill-advised he thought President Trump's withdrawal from Syria --

COLLINS: Yes. CAMEROTA: -- withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria was. Macron said that that led to NATO brain death, or he connected NATO brain death to that. And so President Trump is just in full insult mode, because he feels criticized by what Macron said.

COLLINS: Yes, you're right. That often has a lot to do with it.

Just think of how far we've come. This used to be the bromance between President Trump and President Macron, where you saw them where, at times, he was dusting off his shoulders, speaking so highly of him. Talking about how good-looking he believed he was.

And then to listen to the comments he made this morning, where Trump is defending NATO and talking about how Macron was critical of it. But what, of course, the French president was talking about was that withdrawal from Syria at the center of all of this.

And President Trump even went as far as to talk about what the Turkish president said about Macron, of course, saying essentially, insulting him by saying he believed he was brain dead after Macron made the comment about brain death of NATO.

So you see the president there, essentially, siding with the leader of Turkey over this. And of course, that's because a lot of leaders were critical of Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria and, essentially, how he did it, how abruptly he did it, which of course, led to the vice president going over there, trying to broker a ceasefire after the Turkish incursion into Syria. It led to so much.


So that really is what's at the center of this and why the president essentially was saying he thought that what Macron said was so insulting today. Of course, it all boils down to that distant decision that President Trump made over Syria.

BERMAN: Look, when these meetings happen, leaders from these other countries, they just don't know what the president is going to say. And they enter into them on pins and needles, waiting. And that news conference 52 minutes, is one reason why we will wait and see how the president reacts to Emmanuel Macron when they meet in person. I doubt there will be the PDA that we've seen before.

CAMEROTA: I doubt it, as well. I'm sorry we're not playing that, because it was so striking. Maybe --

BERMAN: Well, it's not altogether PG-13 in the morning.

Nic, I want to ask about one other thing the president talked about, and that's the negotiations with China over a trade deal. Now, they've been hot and cold over the last 18 months, really. Recently, they've warmed up some, but it does seem the president was suggesting that he may not be as close to a deal as we thought. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the

election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now, and we'll see whether or not the deal's going to be ready.


BERMAN: Sometimes, Nic, you can't really tell if the president's just saying words out loud or he means it. But if he's suggesting that a deal won't come until after the election, that is a much longer time frame than people, I think, all around the world have been expecting, Nic.

ROBERTSON: I think it's going to be interesting to see the way the markets respond to that, because this is President Trump really expanding out the time frame for what the world has -- had hoped might have been nailed down sooner.

I think, really, the expectation had been created by President Trump at many stages that it could be done quickly if China wanted to. He believed they wanted a deal that could be a good deal for both sides. The expectation really seemed to be this would happen before the elections next year.

Now it seems that it could take much longer, and the concern is that the longer this trade war goes on, it could spiral up. It could taper, but that's that uncertainty, and that's not going to do businesses any good. And that will feed into the concerns that -- where we were about a year and a half ago, a year or so ago of a global recession.

So when President Trump sort of freewheels his thinking like that, we will need to see how the markets judge it.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's also possible what President Trump was saying --

COLLINS: And John and Alisyn --

CAMEROTA: -- in order to -- in order to get a deal, you have to reelect me. Quickly, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And what he said was just stunning, because remember, just this spring, senior officials in this White House thought they were closing in on a trade deal with China. And a lot of what the president has to say could do with the fact that right now where these stages of discussion is at, what that trade deal could potentially look like is a lot different than what they were hoping for initially.

BERMAN: All right. Kaitlan Collins in London.

Nic Robertson in London, as well. Thank you very much.

Clearly, for these 52 minutes, one thing that jumped out was the president can't get impeachment off of his mind, understandably so. We are at a critical stage there. Much more in just a moment.



CAMEROTA: The House Intelligence Committee will release its impeachment report to the American people today, detailing their case against President Trump. This comes as Republicans issue a preemptive rebuttal, ignoring the evidence that's been presented and arguing the president did nothing wrong.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst Rachael Bade. She's a congressional reporter for "The Washington Post." And CNN senior political analyst John Avlon. Great to have you guys.

Here's a quick schedule of what we're expecting this week. Today the House Intel votes on the impeachment report as prepared by Chairman Schiff. Then the public will get to see it. And then on Wednesday, the first House Judiciary hearing. And on Friday another deadline for the White House to announce whether or not it will participate in the next phase.

John, what are you seeing?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Buckle up, we've got a busy December. This is not going to be quiet holiday time, folks. This is high drama on Capitol Hill.

And you're going to see, particularly in the Judiciary, you've got Jerry Nadler. Did not gain a lot of the confidence of some of his colleagues with some of the early hearings. And on the Republican side of the Judiciary, you've got -- you've got a troika of all-stars. You've Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz. You've got folks who will say and do anything, it seems, to defend the president. So this is going to be a very chaotic and contentious hearing just starting soon.

BERMAN: And look, just as American consumers are stressed out that there are only three weeks until Christmas, seriously, I think House Democrats, Rachael, I've been reading this morning, they're a little stressed out there's just three weeks to finish this up if they want to take an impeachment vote before Christmas.

And there appears to be -- I don't know if there's disagreement, but certainly discussion about the right way to go forward. Should it be limited to Ukraine? Should it expand to issues in the Mueller report? Should they vote for articles of impeachment that might fail on the House floor? Tell us about your reporting.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, since the impeachment inquiry was officially launched by the speaker just a couple of months ago, Democrats in leadership said they were going to focus on Ukraine. This has always been sort of the private understanding. Forget everything else; let's focus on Ukraine. It's easy to understand, easy for people to digest, and that's the way to win over voters, potentially some Republicans.

But now that some of these Democrats are seeing that they're not going to win over any Republicans in the House, there is a group of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee and elsewhere, actually, other liberal Democrats in the caucus, who are sort of debating whether they should add Mueller-related findings back into the articles of impeachment, including obstruction of justice that was laid out in Mueller's report.


Now, if they're going to do that, that would be a strategy shift from what they have been doing for the past few weeks, which is having these hearings specifically on Ukraine and laying out their case. You haven't heard anything about Mueller in the past couple of months.

Now, they don't have a lot of time to debate this, and my understanding is that leadership still wants to keep that narrow focus. But Judiciary, as you mentioned, they're about to take the lead on drafting these articles, and they want to go broader. They say that, you know, if -- Democrats would be remiss if they just ignored the findings in Mueller's report and that it would sort of be -- it wouldn't paint a full pattern of corruption at the White House if you only look at Ukraine. So that's going to be happening behind closed doors over the next few days.

CAMEROTA: It's a challenge for Democrats, because you know they're doing all this fact finding, and they're doing all these public hearings. And they're crunching together all of the evidence that they've found, and they're going to present this report.

Meanwhile, the prebuttal that the Republicans are doing to this report is not mentioning any of the evidence that's been presented in these public hearings.

And, in fact, when they look at the evidence, as Jake Tapper reported yesterday, the Senate Intel Committee led by Republicans looked at whether or not Ukraine was involved in the 2016 interference and concluded that nothing compared to Russia. I mean, he asked Marco Rubio, Senator Marco Rubio, about this. That it was nothing. It was a shadow of what Russia did in terms of the interference --


CAMEROTA: -- if they even did anything. There was nothing there.

AVLON: Yes, there was nothing worth following up on. We have Dr. Fiona Hill's testimony saying, you know, this was a fantasy propagated by Russia. The whole Ukraine conspiracy theory line that the president can't quit, that Senator John Kennedy keeps returning to, is -- is utter nonsense. It's vapor. It's distractions, deflection. It's a Kremlin talking point. Yes.

BERMAN: It's more than nonsense. It's actually a Kremlin talking point.

AVLON: Yes, which is the point Fiona Hill said, which is, I think, give sense of how sinister and surreal the situation right now is on Capitol Hill. The 123-page document Republicans released, this prebuttal, is itself

stuffing. Because it -- it could have been, basically, prebaked before any of the testimonies. It makes a strategic decision to ignore the fact pattern, the testimonies, reality. And in its favor, they're choosing Trump over the truth, and that's going to be their strategy, it seems, going forward.

BERMAN: I have to say, and it's very different than we've heard from some Republican senators, Rachael, the likes of Rob Portman, who said, well, the president's actions may be bad, but they're not impeachable. This House report is they're not even bad. They're not even close to bad. They're squeaky clean. They smell really nice.

AVLON: They smell like roses.

BERMAN: They smell like roses. And I just wonder if that puts Republicans in the Senate in a bind there.

BADE: Yes. I think that the Republicans in the Senate are going to face just as much pressure as the House did to fall in line. Trump never liked the phrase "bad but not impeachable." He's always sort of pushed back against that, even though a lot of Republicans on the Hill, including some who are on the Intelligence Committee, are privately uncomfortable with what he did in terms of pressuring Ukraine.

I think that, you know, John was just talking about this intel report in the Senate that, apparently, Republicans wrote it, and knocked down all of these conspiracy theories regarding Ukraine in 2016, but this just shows you how much Trump has a hold on his party.

Just after that report came out, Senator Richard Burr, who is the top Republican who helped author that report, told reporters -- he basically walked the whole thing back to reporters and said maybe Ukraine did meddle in the election, which we know, again, is not true.

But he has a whole report sort of laying out and debunking this conspiracy theory, and yet, he clearly felt under some pressure. Because just a couple of hours after the report came out, he was saying, look, you know, Trump was justified. People in Ukraine didn't like the president. That's basically the same thing as what happened in Russia.

No, it's not, but this is what you're hearing from an intelligence Republican chairman who is retiring and shouldn't be under that kind of pressure, and yet, clearly he is.

CAMEROTA: Interesting times.

Rachel, John.

AVLON: That's one word for it.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take questions on the impeachment, the 2020 election, and more in a live town hall moderated by our friend Jake Tapper Thursday night, 9 Eastern on CNN.

BERMAN: I've got to tell you, that could not come at a more important time.

All right. People in and around Boston getting socked with a second round of heavy snow this morning. When will they get some relief?

CAMEROTA: Are they getting Red Socked?

BERMAN: They're getting Red Socked. Good. I like what you did there.

We have a live report from the hub, next.