Return to Transcripts main page


President Donald Trump Says Coronavirus Cases Dying Out As Infections Rise In 23 States; Supreme Court Rules, 5-4, To Keep DACA; Atlanta Officer Devin Brosnan Turns Himself In; John Bolton's Book Offers Scathing Rebuke Of President Donald Trump; John Bolton's Book Details Unflattering Portrait Of Donald Trump. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 18, 2020 - 12:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Well I'm John King in Washington. Thanks for sharing you day with us a very busy breaking news day it is. President Trump in the thick of it Supreme Court just rejecting the Trump Administration's bid to end protections for immigrants brought here as young children. That's another blow to the President's crusade against immigration of a 2016 promise.

The President also disputing a damning part portrait of his leadership detailed in a new book by his Former National Security Adviser John Bolton says the President is Trump First not America First among other things Bolton says the President asked the Chinese for reelection help and told the Chinese President go ahead I'm fine with building concentration camps to imprison Muslims.

The President today says Bolton is a liar. As you decide who to believe consider this it is the President lying to you again about the Coronavirus. He says it is fading, dying out those are the president's words the numbers tell us something very different. 23 of the 50 states are reporting more cases this week than last week. The numbers don't lie more on that in a few minutes.

First though to the big Supreme Court decision settled 5-4 on the core issue of the case. The traditionally conservative Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court's 4 liberals to preserve for now a very big Obama era legacy the Presumptive Democratic Nominee Joe Biden calling the ruling a victory last hour and vowing quote "As President I will immediately work to make it permanent by sending a bill to Congress on day 1 of my administration"

President Trump the loss of the High Court means he will not be able to keep this 2016 promised to deport DACA recipients before voters decide come November whether he deserves a second term. With me now to share their insights about the both legal and political issues here CNN's Dana Bash Michael Share of "The New York Times" CNN Legal Contributor Steve Vladeck.

Steve let me start with you in the sense that we talked earlier this week about a landmark discrimination case that will have roots. The High Court saying you cannot fire somebody because they're gay or transgender. This is a more procedural if I'm reading it correct please tell me if you think otherwise.

The court did not say Obama was right the dreamers can stay forever. The court said in trying to say the policy was wrong and the Trump Administration essentially didn't follow the rules. This is from the Chief Justice. We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission or sound policies. The wisdom of those decisions is not of our concern.

We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation. So they're not really selling the law here they saying the administration went about it in a lousy way broke the rules, broke the regulations so you can't do it, right?

STEVE VLADECK, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly, so John and in that regard I think is a harkens back to last year decision in that sense this case were the same 5-4 majority which Chief Justice Roberts right on behalf of himself and the four more progressive justices held that the President couldn't put a citizenship question on the census. The way he had tried to do it even if the court said it was generally okay.

That was - question so to hear the court is saying the Trump Administration can rescind DACA but the way it chose to do so violated the Administrative Procedure Act. John that leaves the ball in the Trump Administration's court to consider trying to do this again but there's a reason why they didn't do it the right way the first time and its election year.

And so in the next 4 months I'm not sure if the President would rather force the issue or campaign around it?

KING: That's what we were away for Michael and Dana. And Dana to you first so we read the President's tweets on this issue to try to figure out what he will do next? And he says these horrible and politically charged decisions coming out Supreme Court or shotgun blasts into the face of the people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or conservative.

We need more justices or we will lose our second amended everything else vote Trump 2020. And then he goes on to tweet you get the impression the Supreme Court doesn't like me. Note DACA immigration not included in either one of those tweets. The President instead making a play to judges an issue that has worked for him and making a play to his base essentially saying the elite Supreme Court doesn't like little me your President?

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. It is just the latest example of him trying to use the smashing of institution. You know blowing up rhetorically of institutions in some ways more than that the - to his political advantage. It's what got him in the White House I bet he was the disruptor and he's trying to remind people that even though he has the top job there are still institutions around him that are trying to stop him from doing what he promised to do in his election campaign? And this was kind of a no brainer politically if you are the President of the United States. The flip side though is what you showed from Joe Biden. He is a Democratic Presumptive Democratic rival which is an immediate promise to deal with this legislatively the way that it should be done but it hasn't been because it's been so politically divisive that broader and issue of immigration.


BASH: He promised to do it on day one of his administration and that is him trying to keep his base voters as excited as the President is trying to do for the other side.

KINF: And so Michael that's the conundrum the President finds himself and especially at this moment a racial reckoning in the country he could go big knowing the polls say even most Republicans support leading the so called DACA recipients the so called dreamers stay 700,000 or so.

He could go big but you literally wrote a book about how important immigration is to this President? So you understand it's not a very well. Let's go back to a little bit of history on this particular issue the President going all the way back when he announced for President said Obama said they can stay I will make them leave listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When someone is terrific we want to back they have to they have to be legally. Look, it sounds cold and it sounds hard we have a country. Our country's going to hell. We have to have a system where people are legally in our country.

I was talking about dreamers for other people. I want the children that are growing up in the United States to be dreamers also. They're not dreaming right now.


KING: In this climate Michael where he wants to run on promises made, promises kept. Yes he's building a wall Mexico's not paying for it the economy he'll be lucky if unemployment drops into single digits by the time we get the election because the Coronavirus pandemics not his fault but he is the President of the United States.

How does he now decide to campaign on immigration? Does he try to be big or does he go back to 2015, 2016?

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Look, I think he may try to have it both ways. And you know as you say that especially when it comes to the dreamers Trump has been conflicted for a long time. We document in the book a lot of moments where he resisted the idea of actually deporting these young, very sympathetic immigrants people who have been sort of part of the fabric of communities in the United States for years and decades. And so the idea of actually deporting people may be somewhat problematic for him both from a personal perspective but also from a political perspective that probably wouldn't play very well months before an election. But he may try to have it both ways by essentially you know returning to the idea of ending DACA.

The court basically says go ahead and try again and I suspect that the administration could very well do that. Make a big announcement that they're ending DACA again knowing full well that that will get tied up in the legal system for well beyond the election. So he gets to make the attempt, make the announcement fire up his base show his conservative supporters that he's really trying to get rid of these illegal immigrants.

Well at the same time understanding that he's not really going to be put in the position of ordering his ICE agents to actually remove these young people from the country. And that could be a line that he tries to walk over the next several months.

KING: Well, watch that play out another big issue tossed into the mix of a campaign year which already has several giant issues in it. Michael Shares, Steve Vladeck and Dana Bash I appreciate your insights on this big issue.

Up next for us returned to Atlanta where one of the two police officers charged in that shooting death of Rayshard Brooks now in police custody.



KING: One of the two Atlanta police officers now involved - now charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks has turned himself in police custody. Devin Brosnan faces aggravated assault charge, the officer who actually shot Brooks Garrett Rolfe facing 11 felony charges including felony murder.

Our CNN National Correspondent Ryan Young is live in Atlanta with a very special guest for us Ryan.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely John. We were standing here getting ready to do this live shot and I noticed the Attorney for the officers turned himself in Mr. Bronson. And look there's been a lot of conversation about what's going on here?

You talked earlier pretty passionately you think these charges are a little too far in terms of how they're reaching? Can you explain that to us?

DON SAMUEL, DEVIN BROSNAN'S ATTORNEY: Yes. I don't think it's a little too far. That's way too far. Officer Bronson is not charged at all with anything to do with the actual shooting. He's not at fault at all with regard to the shooting. The only allegation in these charges is that he violated his oath of office by not following proper protocol. The use of force policy they say he never should have put his foot on his arm on Mr. Brooks' arm which he did just for literally a matter of seconds to stabilize make sure there was no weapon nearby. He came upon a very chaotic scene that was not an assault. It was not an aggravated assault.

He wasn't trying to hurt and he didn't turn him. He was just trying to make sure there was no weapon within reach. The other charges deal with failure to render aid fast enough. We are literally talking about seconds, seconds while Officer Rolfe runs back and gets his first aid kit puts gloves on comes running back there other policemen there standing there.

Other policemen standing there and they charged my guy who has a concussion and who was injured and he is trying to figure out what's going on that he didn't render aid fast enough.

YOUNG: So the big question right now as everyone said yesterday that maybe your client was going to be a witness for the state? How did that happen?

SAMUEL: Officer Brosnan has agreed to give a full statement to the DA and did do that. Officer Brosnan agreed to cooperate with the GBI. I was just talking to the GBI he's going to give a full statement to them, answer all of their questions.

He's cooperating. He's not a witness for the state. He's not a witness for the defense. He's a witness he simply going to tell the truth about what happened and he'll do it again. You know maybe we can do it for the news one of these days but for now he's just an honest witness to what happened out there?

YOUNG: My last question because I know you have got to get back inside. It's just that you know the community here is obviously very angry. When you feel this anger in the community what should they understand?

SAMUEL: You know Officer Brosnan didn't want Mr. Brooks to be shot. I mean there's no question about that. It's a tragic situation that happened.


SAMUEL: But you know Officer Brosnan, you know conducted himself in an exemplary manner. He really did and I think it's inappropriate to blame him for that. But he is aggrieved as anybody about what has happened. And I don't want there to be any mistake about that.

YOUNG: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. Look, John that happen as he was walking in the talk to his client we know he has a signature bond that he's probably going to get out in the next few hours or so.

The other thing that we should talk about really quickly is this idea that there are several calls throughout the city of Atlanta that are not being answered. We've been told that there are obviously officers who are calling out sick but the city so far has been able to respond with other officers throughout the city. So it I'll be interesting to watch this in the coming hours and see how this plays out?

KING: And Ryan, Officer Brosnan clearly we saw the photo has been processed. His Attorney is on the scene there is professing his innocence and he says he'll continue to cooperate. Officer Rolfe also being asked, being told to turn himself in today we're still waiting on that one right?

YOUNG: Absolutely. So we are all out in front of the Fulton County Jail. There is a back entrance that he could utilize to get inside but again he will probably have to stay because we did hear the more serious charges toward him. So more than likely he will not be walking back out through these doors.

He will be spending some quite some time in the jail. The jail has to set itself up for that too because when you bring an officer into a jail facility, they have to be isolated. They can't be Gen Pop and so that is one of the things they have to get ready for here and I'm sure his attorney wants to take as long to 6:00 as possible before bring him in.

KING: My dad was a Corrections officer Gen Pop I get general populations. Ryan Young, I appreciate that from outside the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. And I appreciate the reporting, thanks so much. Up next John Bolton's Tell-all book reveals a scathing rebuke of his former boss the President.



KING: John Bolton's new book is an unflattering to say the least insider account of the President's conduct on the world stage. And it could become a complication of the President's 2020 reelection campaign.

The Justice Department is suing to stop the book from hitting the shelves. It's a Friday Federal Court date to argue that case but much of the book is already public. Thanks to reporting from news organizations including CNN.

What Bolton writes captions of President - picture of a President who is transactional above all else, singularly focused a former top aide says on his reelection. Often that former insider says at the expense of principle in American foreign policy CNN's Sara Murray here with more details. Sara, you read these excerpts, so you hear more and you just keep saying wow?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. You can see why the President is not a fan of this portrayal of him basically paints him as clueless on world issues as making decisions only to boost his own political fortunes. And it's not really caring at all about individual's rights even going so far as to endorse the Chinese President's efforts to put Muslims in a concentration camp.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton casting President Trump as an uninformed erratic liar.


MURRAY: Is the President lying?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes, he is and it is not the first time either.


MURRAY: Describing a Commander in Chief of foreign adversary saw as an easy mark.


BOLTON: I think Putin thinks he can plan like a fiddle. I think Putin is smart tough. I think he sees that he's not faced with a serious adversary here. I don't think he's worried about Donald Trump.


MURRAY: And claiming Trump was all too happy to take foreign help to boost his reelection bid. Bolton's forthcoming book "The Room Where it Happened" a copy of which was obtained by CNN offers this skating summary of a Trump Presidency.

I am hard pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn't driven by reelection calculations. Trump press Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him out with farmers by buying more U. S. crops. Pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win, Bolton writes, I would print Trump's exact words but the government's pre-publication review process has decided otherwise.

Bolton also confirms the case house impeachment managers laid out earlier this year writing that Trump said he would withhold security aid to Ukraine until all the Russia investigation materials related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over. And he says Trump was prone to doling out personal favors to dictators he liked.

At one point telling the Turkish President he would replace the Southern District of New York prosecutors to make an investigation into a Turkish firm go away. Bolton says the pattern looks like obstruction of justice as a way of life which we couldn't accept and claims he raised some of his concerns with Attorney General Bill Barr.

A longtime Republican who served in the Trump White House for 17 months Bolton says deliberations there were like college food fights and calls Trump stunningly uninformed. Aren't sure that Britain was a nuclear power and unaware that Finland was not part of Russia.

The early look at Bolton's book comes as he's locked in a bitter dispute with the U.S. Justice Department which sued to block the book's release claiming it contains classified material. Bolton's lawyer says the administration is trying to block the book for political reasons. Bolton writes he was forced to exclude some material that did not appear to be classified and can only be described as embarrassing to Trump.


MURRAY: Sir John you've got the general chaos you got callousness toward human rights violation you've gotten encouraging election interference you know it's no surprise that the administration did not want this book to get out but you have to wonder why John Bolton sat on the sidelines for this long.

And this is the frustration certainly among Democrats right now why he would not take them up on their invitation to testify during the house impeachment proceedings and in the book he really slams the Democratic efforts calling them partisan and saying they were too narrowly focused.

KING: Sara Murray, very important insights I appreciate the reporting. Sara, let's continue the conversation now it's CNN's Vivian Salama. And Vivian is someone who covers national security affairs.

You read this, number one he says that is blatant - you could understand any American President saying, hey want to buy more American farm products. That's any President could make that case. This President according to John Bolton directly connected to his reelection.

And the point Sara talked about a little bit the pointed that any American President will be sitting down with a communist dictator who has no media rights no press rights no personal freedoms no political rights in his country and say and this is from the book "Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang".

According to our interpreter Trump said Xi should go ahead with building the camps which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do. An American president thinking it's exactly the right thing to do to build concentration camps for a Muslim minority who is being persecuted?

VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: John, I mean a lot of the revelations are quite stunning but that was definitely one of the ones that stood out and President Trump has repeatedly said that he doesn't feel that it's his place to tell other world leaders how to conduct their own domestic business?

But this is a blatant and really shocking agreed agreement basically to say that that he endorses an abuse of human rights in China something that most Presidents would actually put staunch comments against than really criticize.

Now that the Trump Administration did actually criticized it yesterday the President did sign a bill condemning any kind of action against the Uyghurs but it's too little too late. And someone like John Bolton who has always been very skeptical of the role of the Chinese and their authenticity in terms of wanting to meet the normal world order.

He found that really troubling and John Bolton goes on to describe a number of events something of course that House Democrats would love to hear about several months ago where he actually goes - explicitly says that he felt that obstruction of justice was a way of life.

And that was really something that was stood out as quite shocking it went beyond Ukraine it went beyond China just in terms of the conduct on a day to day basis.

KING: Right beyond the specifics he just paints a portrait of a President whose all about himself who does not care about principles, laws, reforms and systems in place consular structure just as yet. Now the President says he's a liar and John Bolton who has to make his case now is if he somehow he gets the book published.

But the issue is when you put into context, so the President says John Bolton's liar he also say Mattis is a liar, Kelly's a liar, Tillerson is a liar, Scaramucci is a liar, Rose is a liar, jurors are put up four book covers here. The President has issues there those are the faces of people who have left the administration and said essentially the same things that the President is ill informed and uninformed. That he's selfish that all these decisions are about him.

Pretty consistent across the board with people the President brought into very close jobs there. And you see these books here John Bolton's on the left. James Comey and the President have bigger differences "Cliff Sims" was an aide in the White House who painted a very damaging portrait. Rose of course came from the apprentice into the White House left, and the President says she's a liar as well.

But so it's not just John Bolton, the cumulative stories of these people who worked in trusted positions around this President are mind- blowingly damning.

SALAMA: It's definitely unprecedented to see this many - this many senior administration officials come out while the President is still in office especially and condemned him in the way we've seen. And it's gone in waves we've seen a number of books come out.

Some of these officials have released comments or have done panels here and there. But in the last couple of weeks we've actually seen it amplified because of the popular protests that have been going on in response to the death of George Floyd and the President's response and actions after that a number of those officials has once again come out and said that they disagree with the way the President is handling this and also with the way he's conducted himself in general.

KING: Vivian Salama, I appreciate the important insights and we'll see how the book - what shall we call it controversy all these plays out. Vivian thanks so much. Coming up for us some damaging new numbers out of Florida, scary new numbers out of Florida new Coronavirus cases the Mayor of St. Petersburg joins us next.