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Merkel on her Relationship with Trump; Democratic Hopefuls Rip Trump for Praising Kim Jong-un; Biden Returns to Campaign Trail; First Opioid Trial. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 28, 2019 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] CHRISTINE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Your personal relationship and your political relationship because his own White House says he's only strong with the people he considers friends.

Do you consider him a friend?

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I think we have close cooperation when simply results from problems we have had to resolve together. And this picture also shows that we are in deep grappling with an issue. In every communique which we had to declare, I was also the host for the G-20 negotiations in Hamburg. We had contentious debates. But, in the end, we also found common ground. It's certainly always a challenge to debate, but I very happily take on this challenge. The president has his opinions. I have mine. And very often we also find common ground. If not, we have to keep on talking and negotiating.


AMANPOUR: So she hasn't stayed chancellor of the most important country in Europe for nearly 15 years without being diplomatic. And without -- also within that diplomacy, clearly stating her objectives. And if you remember, she was, in fact, the only world leader who welcomed President Trump's election conditionally. In other words, conditioned on a continued commitment to mutual values. So I thought that was really interesting.

And she talked also about her relationship with President Obama and President George W. Bush.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Christiane, is there a sense of what Merkel wants out of President Trump for the remainder of her term?

AMANPOUR: Yes, there is a sense, although she didn't actually label it. But the sense is to stay within the multi-lateral organizations, the multi-lateral structure, infrastructure, that has created this strong western alliance, you know, in -- in the U.S. sort of form since the end of World War II.

And, remember, next week, we'll all be at Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It's considered that it will be the last anniversary where any living veterans will be able to attend. President Trump is coming. Angela Merkel will be there. And all the other major western leaders who contributed to the end of the world. And so -- end of the war. And so this is really, really important. And so she's quite worried about trade wars. She's quite worried about the U.S. pulling out of the climate deal, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, but also they need to figure out how to give more, the Germans, to help with their responsibility to Europe. For instance, NATO and the rest. So, yes. But as she says, it's a give and take, push and pull.

BERMAN: It's complicated, as they say about many relationships.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, they do. Christiane, excellent work getting that interview.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much for bringing it to us.

BERMAN: All right, as we speak, the president is in the air, and Democrats running for president are on the attack. What they see in his trip to Japan as a vulnerability, and how they plan to expose it, that's next.


[06:36:41] BERMAN: So this morning, Democrats are highlighting the controversial moments that President Trump just had in Japan, refusing to condemn North Korea's missile testing, while gleefully recounting Kim Jong-un's attacks on Joe Biden.

Listen to what the Democratic candidates are saying.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kim Jong-un is a murderous dictator, and Vice President Biden served this country honorably.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So we don't need to be praising Kim Jong-un or other authoritarian leaders all over the world who Trump is making good friends with.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He cares about Donald Trump, first, last, and in between, and not protecting the interests of the United States of America.


BERMAN: Want to bring in Joe Lockhart, former Clinton White House press secretary, and a CNN political commentator, Margaret Talev, CNN political analyst and David Gregory, CN political analyst.

And, Joe Lockhart, it was interesting to me how quickly and how similarly all the Democratic candidates pounced on this. And, to me, it seems as if what they want to highlight, as much as they can, is this question about values. What does the president value, and how is that different than they

want to portray themselves?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and I think this is a particularly potent message with Democratic primary voters. I don't know that we'll be having this exact discussion next fall, but I think among Democratic primary voters, there's still very much a strong commitment to the values of democracy, the values of human rights. And what the president did this week, as he's been doing for -- since he got into office, has shown that what he values is strength and authoritarianism. The people that he seems to look up to are Chairman Kim, Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia and he seems to shun our allies. He had no problem at all embarrassing Prime Minister Abe. You know, Angela Merkel, who we just heard from, he has criticized repeatedly.

So I think that's a message they're going to pound home as a way of attracting Democratic voters. I think we'll probably see a slightly different message in the general election though.

CAMEROTA: Margaret, I mean for people who were not plugged in over the holiday weekend, these were a couple of jaw-dropping moments. I mean these were jaw-dropping. And I -- you know, we talked about norms being broken. This is beyond that. This is a U.S. president siding with a murderous dictator on foreign soil over a former U.S. vice president. It just doesn't happen. To criticize a U.S. -- I realize that that's now a political rival of President Trump's, but still, to go with Kim Jong-un's version of how he sees Vice President Joe Biden is just -- we need to stop for a moment and acknowledge what happened.

We also need to stop and say that he also is believing Kim Jong-un, or at least thinking that he hasn't broken his promise to him about testing missiles, despite what President Trump's own national security adviser, John Bolton, believes, that this was a ballistic missile test.

So these moments -- we can't just gloss over them and say, well, OK, and on to the next, you know, strange thing. That was -- of course the Democratic candidates are talking about it.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, Alisyn, this is, obviously, not the first time that President Trump has sort of broken that old norm, the idea that politics stops at the water's edge. This is something he's done before, but it's particularly striking, you know, given -- given the ties to -- given the connection with Kim Jong-un and how he did it this weekend.

[06:40:16] But, you know, the president's operating under the premise that there are all these rules in American politics that people say you can't do, but that they don't apply to him and that he can do them. And so the bet that he's making is that his base and enough of the voters who have voted for him last time are not going to be so turned off by these things that they wouldn't vote for him again, and that, you know, you've got to hit your opponents where you can. And right now he sees Joe Biden as his opponent. So he views this clearly through the lens of politics, not through the lens of what are kind of historically appropriate contexts for presidential boundaries. And this is a political decision on his part.

And -- and I think it's very hard for us to know what he hopes to accomplish with Kim Jong-un or what he actually believes. What we know is that he wants his discussions with North Korea to be viewed as a success. And so, of course, he has to say that Kim Jong-un has not crossed any lines that would prevent them from continuing to talk because if he says that this testing is inappropriate, then his own policy has failed and he wants to be able to run on the idea that his policy is successful.

So he's defining the policies as successful. He's defining Kim Jong- un's actions as not crossing any lines. And he's saying that Joe Biden is the problem because he's focused on politics right now.

BERMAN: It does seem like that could be, David, a 41 percent strategy, though. Yes, he may shore up his support there, but with so many voters telling us in the polls, you know, his approval rating caps out at 42 percent or 43 percent, even when the economy is going well, with voters saying they want normalcy, and the Democratic candidates saying what they really want is someone to beat Trump only, it seems to me that he's putting a ceiling on himself with this type of childness.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's true. In terms of the Democratic response here, this only tends to solidify the view that there's an overwhelming front runner in Joe Biden because here you have the president taking on only him at the moment, which can't help the larger field of Democrats.

But I think, you know, the deal with Trump on North Korea is that he's -- he is propping up this dictator for the purpose of trying to get some success out of the policy. And what's striking -- well, what has not been said is, where are his conservative critics? Where are the Republican critics who would call out any other president, certainly a Democrat, for coddling a dictator like this, for -- for standing -- for agreeing with a dictator who would criticize a former vice president, or who would be willing to compromise American democratic values for the purpose of pursuing this strategy with a North Korean leader who doesn't seem to be stepping up to the plate in the way America wants to see, to try to make some kind of negotiation toward disarmament possible.

You have this dissonance within the administration. You have an admittedly hawkish national security adviser in John Bolton, who is now out of sync with the president. But the president doesn't have any experience in this realm. So he's really out on his own, but nobody will criticize him except for Democrats. Nobody within his own party as he pursues, you know, a pretty undemocratic path toward -- toward a goal with North Korea.

CAMEROTA: I think Adam Kinzinger, I think Congressman Adam Kinzinger said something.

BERMAN: Joni Ernst too, right?

CAMEROTA: And Joni Ernst, yes. A couple of people spoke out this weekend because of what they saw that they disagreed with. But -- but back to the Democratic field, Joe, for a second. Joe Biden

is back on the campaign trail. He hasn't been that visible on the campaign trail for the -- for more than a week. What do you think of that strategy?

LOCKHART: Listen, I think Joe Biden's in a -- in a unique position. I think as David just said, Donald Trump's doing the best campaigning for Joe Biden that Joe Biden could do better than himself by singling him out. Remember, Democrats have a visceral, visceral distaste for Trump. So they're going to believe the opposite of anything Trump says. And it marginalizes the field.

You know, as the front runner, he's very well-known among Democrats, so he doesn't have to introduce himself. He's very well-funded at this point. And I think, as the frontrunner, what he wants to do is shorten this campaign. It's a long campaign. It's a lot of time between now and the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. And as the front runner, you know, most of the things that happen tend to be bad out on the campaign trail with everyone, you know, shooting at you. So I think he wants to shorten this. I think he wants to get to the debates, then take some time off and really start around Labor Day because, again, the shorter it is, the harder it is for an insurgent candidate to come in and get attention and build support.

BERMAN: You know, I hadn't thought of it the way David put it out there, that these two stories are connected. Let's call it the Gregory corollary, that Joe Biden may not need to campaign because Trump is doing the campaigning for him. I think that's a really interesting point. As long as the president keeps Joe Biden in the headlines, what does he need to do?

[06:45:15] GREGORY: Well, and, also, Joe Biden can be his own worst enemy, right? We've talked about that a lot. You know, and this is such a silly season right now where you've got a lot of Democrats trying to define themselves, jockeying for position, to have a lane. You know, Joe Biden has his own lane. It's a big lane. You know, he's the former vice president. He's well-known, as Joe says. He seems, you would argue, out of sync with a lot of the progressive wing of the party, but he's holding that at bay. He doesn't want to be at events where he's taking questions about the '94 crime bill. That time will come and he'll have a chance to deal with it.

But I think you just can get yourself into trouble. And, again, who's to challenge him on this, unless he sees that his support is eroding or someone else is emerging. Right now, Joe Biden, against a pack of 23 others, I like that if I'm the Biden campaign.

CAMEROTA: All right, guys, we have to go. But I just want to say, I thought that you and I had possibly overdone it on the lilac. Joe Lockhart is bathed in lilac this morning.

GREGORY: That's true.

TALEV: I'm loving it.

CAMEROTA: Your shot is really beautiful, Joe. BERMAN: From Lilacville (ph), Maine, apparently.

LOCKHART: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys, very much.

TALEV: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: OK, up next, can drug makers be held responsible for the opioid epidemic? We'll tell you about the historic case that begins today.


[06:50:32] CAMEROTA: A precedent-setting trial begins today in Oklahoma. It will test whether big pharma can be held responsible for America's opioid crisis.

CNN's Jean Casarez is live in Norman, Oklahoma, with more.

What do we expect, Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are cases, over 1,500 cases have been filed around the country against those that are responsible for opioid prescription medications. But as you say, this is the very first one that is coming to trial today. And the defendant is Johnson and Johnson. Now -- and its subsidiaries.

There were other defendants in this case, but big pharma actually settled in March for $270 million. And Teva Pharmaceuticals settled over the weekend for $85 million.

But Johnson and Johnson is still here. And the state of Oklahoma says that this, the sooner state, is in a crisis, and it is because of Johnson and Johnson. That Johnson and Johnson actually procured the raw ingredients to the narcotics and sold them to the other companies that manufactured the opioid medications. That Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiaries actually sold the tablets, extended use tablets and a fentanyl patch. They say there was deceptive marketing on the part of Johnson and Johnson, that they never really explained the risks of the opioids to the medical professionals and to the public at large, but they touted unsubstantiated benefits.

Now, Johnson and Johnson has responded to CNN on all of these allegations and they say, quote, we acted responsibly in approving FDA-approved pain medications, and we are ready for trial. At the same time, as with all litigation, if an appropriate resolution is possible that avoids the expense and uncertainty of a trial, we are always open to that option. And they also say that that marketing they had was absolutely reasonable under the circumstances. The FDA controlled everything.


BERMAN: I'll take it, Jean.

Jean Casarez for us in Norman, Oklahoma. This is such an important trial. We're watching it very closely. Thanks so much.

A baseball star who endured more than anyone should remembered this morning in a way that he deserves. We'll talk about Bill Buckner, next.


[06:56:50] CAMEROTA: Twenty-eight and counting for reigning "Jeopardy!" champ James Holzhauer.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": Did you risk enough? $58,000. That looks pretty good to me.

JAMES HOLZHAUER: Not the record.

TREBEK: That takes -- not the record, no. $130,022. And now a 28-day total of $2,195,557.


CAMEROTA: He is on fire. His 28th win was just shy of the single game earnings record that he set last month. Holzhauer is closing in fast on Ken Jennings' "Jeopardy!" record of more than $2.5 million, which he won over 74 games 15 years ago.

So, I mean, that's the big question, John, is he going to beat that record.

BERMAN: Yes. That's the big answer.

CAMEROTA: You're sure?

BERMAN: Yes. He doesn't --

CAMEROTA: Because he's better than Ken Jennings?



BERMAN: He's really good. And no one's come close yet. I think it's going to happen.

CAMEROTA: But he's not better than you.

BERMAN: I won once.

CAMEROTA: I mean you won.

BERMAN: I have a record of one (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: I don't know what went wrong in that second game, but you were fantastic.

BERMAN: All right, there is a passing this morning that I want to take note of, and I want to do it in a way that he deserves.

Bill Buckner has died. He played 22 years in the Major Leagues. One of the very few players to appear in the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. He had 2,700 hits. This is how I will remember him.

This was 1990, all right. He played 22 games for the Sox in 1990 on bum knees and bum ankles. And look at this. This is an inside-the-park home run. His very last home run in his career. He can barely stand up. Watch him leg this out and get home there on sheer guts. That should be the first line about him in any obituary, a competitor overflowing with grit. Others will remember him for this in the 1986 World Series.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little roller up along first. Behind the bag. It gets through Buckner. Here comes Knight (ph) and the Mets win it.


BERMAN: That play, by the way, did not cost the Red Sox the World Series. That was game six. It was already tied at that point, and the Red Sox went on to lose game seven. But that did affect Bill Buckner for the rest of his career and life.

He was welcomed back to Fenway Park in 2008 after the Red Sox had exercised their demons and won two world championships. You can see him fighting back tears at the applause he was getting at Fenway that day. It was so emotional for him to be welcomed back after all the ridicule he had endured, unfairly.

His wife says he fought with courage and grit while battling dementia. Red Sox nation truly does mourn his passing today. Bill Buckner was 69.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad you told the whole story, John. That is really powerful and emotional.

BERMAN: It was really sad. He was saying -- he was in tears in 2008 when he came back to Fenway.

CAMEROTA: Of course.

BERMAN: And he was saying, I have forgiven because I need to. I need to get on with my life. But it was hard. It was really hard.

CAMEROTA: Oh, gosh, what a story.

All right, thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, a tornado outbreak is leaving thousands in the dark. NEW DAY continues right now.

[06:59:59] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Dozens of tornadoes have been reported across multiple states in just the past 24 hours. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten million Americans are under flood waters across

the Midwest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no proper reaction.