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Trump Ramps up Racist Attacks; Johnson Poised to Become Next British PM; Mueller to Testify before Congress; Lowry Wins British Open. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 22, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:04] DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: So, President Trump has not let up. How often could that be said? Oh, wait.



Continuing his attacks on those four congresswomen of color, the president now questioning whether they, quote, are capable of loving our country.

Joining us now, Errol Louis, CNN political commentator, host of the podcast "You Decide," and back again, John Avalon and Jess McIntosh.

Errol, the debate that I've seen among Democrats is how to handle all of this. Do you call Trump out? It seems so important to do that. Or do Democrats want to let him speak for himself and focus on what they're going to do, what they need to do, instead of playing into -- you know, his attacks and his attempt to make 2020 already this kind of referendum on his definition of patriotism.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. I mean, look, the politics of racial grievance are a mine field. You have to be very careful about how you do it. You cannot ignore it. You -- and the Democrats, especially if you're talking about the Democratic primary in a state like South Carolina where a plurality, if not an outright majority of the vote is going to be black voters. You've got to just say something. You've got to say something. But you've also got to pivot and you've got to talk about things that are positive and that are eternal. You know, you've got to talk about justice. You've got to talk about unity. You've got to talk about moving the country forward. That's the whole point of the exercise.

The polls actually are a guide to this. And I think it could be very helpful to Democrats, which is, you know, he loses points with independents every single time he goes down this dark road. And so if they want to sort of be true to themselves, as well as win elections, they have to talk about things that they know people want to hear about. People want to hear about education and the future and their kids and what's right for the country. Everybody wants to hear that. You talk about that. When he goes off on these rants and so forth, you point out, we're not

going to go down that dark road. Rather we're going to talk about justice. We're not going to go down that dark road, rather we're going to talk about unity and the future. And it works like a charm. It is how we have beaten back racist demagogues for decades. If the Democrats lose track of that and they want to get into the tit-tat and they want to get into the back and forth and make sure that they're all over the headlines, it's a really poor choice and, in the end, it causes confusion and doesn't really work that well.

CAMEROTA: Jess, what did Democrats learn from the Hillary Clinton campaign about how much to engage?

JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean I think we all know that it has to be taken considerably more seriously than it was taken in 2016 right from the get go. There's actually nothing different about what's happening in this presidency right now than what was happening in the campaign. He opened that first day by saying that Mexicans were rapists.

These are -- this is the strategy. The racism is actually the strategy. It is a calculation that the president and his team have made that all he has are his base and the increasingly narrow slice of that base that is excited about these kinds of attacks. It's pretty impossible at this point to be a supporter of this president without at least endorsing the racism. There is very little of substance left in this presidency, in his rhetoric and in his actions.

GREGORY: But -- but looking back, do you guys think, in the Clinton -- Hillary Clinton campaign, that you engage the president too much or you didn't contest those attacks early and hard enough?

MCINTOSH: I think it's not just up to the presidential candidates. It's also up to the media landscape, it's up to everybody who talks about the 2020 campaign to make sure that they're taking it seriously and talking about it. I think Hillary Clinton did a decent job of laying out her progressive policy agenda. I think it was really hard to break through as we were all sort of shocked by what was coming out of this. We're not shocked anymore.

GREGORY: There's a lot -- there are a lot of layers to that.

MCINTOSH: Of course.

GREGORY: But I think -- I think, you know, one of the problems -- and this was the problem with Hillary Clinton's "deplorable" line. And this is the problem with -- what a lot of Democrats have now, which is to say the president is racist. And, as some commentators have said on -- on this network, if you support him, then you're supporting a -- a white nationalist, is that there's lots of people who compartmentalize and say, gosh, I really don't like that stuff he's doing on Twitter and all the rest, but I like my -- you know, I like my tax cuts or I like how the economy's going or -- and people are going to feel like, oh, so then I'm a racist, so I'm supporting him?

[06:35:05] There's a chance -- this is what you're saying -- that -- that -- that this kind of approach can divide people who might not approve of it but feel all of a sudden besieged by that attack.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And that's part of his strategy, right, is not to -- he's says he's not -- doesn't want to broaden his base, he wants to harden his base.

GREGORY: Yes, I agree with that. Yes.

AVLON: He wants to make people feel that theirs -- when Donald Trump is attacked, they're attacking me.

But that, well, again, falls into the us against them. So I think Democrats do need to be careful about actually reinforcing Donald Trump's playbook for him.

But when you look at something like the "deplorables' comments, you get a one-time gaffe from a candidate that becomes an avatar that's used to create a sense of moral equivalence. And Donald Trump exploited that with a strategy of negative partisanship very effectively. So you look at CNN's exit polls, the exit polls overall, among voters who said, oh, you know, they were convinced that both candidates were dishonest, both candidate's couldn't be trusted, those folks voted over two to one for Donald Trump.

So that strategy of negative partisanship worked for him in the past. That's what he's trying to do now. It's different to see the president of the United States to try to divide the nation intentionally for political gain. And that's what I think we can't normalize.


CAMEROTA: Errol, you know, "The Washington Post" had this very interesting anatomy of the hours after the president's rally where the crowd was chanting "send them back" and what happened. And basically they say, "The Washington Post" says that they talked to 26 advisers, lawmakers, and aides to try to figure out the sort of all hands on deck strategy after that because they realize -- the people around him realized, oh, this could be a problem, but the president liked it and told everybody that he felt that marginalizing those -- or even just highlighting those four congresswomen will work for him strategically. I thought it was very interesting. They -- Kevin McCarthy, in the House, had an immigration meeting planned for the next day at the White House. They were going to talk about what to do about immigration. The president said, no, cancel that, stay and fight for me. Make sure the caucus is online.


CAMEROTA: So this is actually trumping -- no pun intended -- policy.


CAMEROTA: Immigration is their big policy, but -- but having to defend the president's words ends up eclipsing that.

LOUIS: No, that's right. Look, it was actually said in one of the debates by Marianne

Williamson, I believe, that this is not going to be about whose policies line up best with what voters want. This is going to be much more emotional, this is going to be fought at a tribal and gut level. And the president understands that even if members of his party don't, even if his opponents don't. You know, the question is really not for Democrats so much to worry about so much as Republicans.

We have to remember, on the night that Donald Trump won, the Republicans lost six seats in the House. In the midterms, they lost 40 more seats in the House and they lost, what was it, six or seven governorships that flipped. They're going to have a problem.

What he's doing might work for him, or so he thinks maybe somewhat cynically. It is not going to work for the rest of the party. They're going to -- they're going to lose and they're going to lose big if they go down this path with it.

GREGORY: All right, we're going to leave it there for now. Thanks all very much.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys.

GREGORY: When we come back, some international news. Britain's most divisive politician could be just hours away from becoming the next prime minister. A live report from London on the implications coming up next.


[06:42:09] GREGORY: Big, political news overseas. Britain is getting a new prime minister. Conservatives will announce tomorrow the winner of a contest to replace Theresa May as leader of the party and the country. The new leader faces an October 31st deadline to have a deal on leaving the European Union.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin is live in London with more.

Erin, good morning.


All eyes right now are on Boris Johnson, widely expected to win this leadership contest to be the choice of 160,000 Tory Party members who get to decide the next British prime minister. That's a very small section of the electorate and not everyone here is happy with their potential choice, especially with Boris Johnson's Brexit policies, his commitment to leaving that dreaded no deal option on the table to try and get leverage from the European Union in negotiations seen as potentially economically catastrophic for both sides of the English Channel.

We're already seeing ministers threaten to resign, including the U.K.'s finance minister, the minister -- the chancellor for the exchequer, Philip Hammond, over the weekend says that if Boris Johnson is the next prime minister, he's going to submit his resignation. Take a listen.


PHILIP HAMMOND, U.K. FINANCE MINISTER: Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no deal exit on the 31st of October. That is not something I could ever sign up to. And I, therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.


MCLAUGHLIN: And another huge challenge facing the next prime minister. The escalating, diplomatic crisis with Iran. Theresa May is chairing an emergency meeting on the topic today. I was speaking with security analysts who say at this point the last thing that's needed is a political shakeup. Stability in leadership is what is needed to resolve the crisis. And, keep in mind, whoever is the next British prime minister gets to appoint a whole new cabinet on Wednesday.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Erin, thank you very much for the update from Britain.

All right, so what will Robert Mueller say when he testifies on Capitol Hill this week? Up next, a former DOJ top official who says Mueller needs to finish the job.


[06:47:55] CAMEROTA: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's high stakes testimony before Congress happens this Wednesday. So will he answer some of the lingering questions about his report, including whether he thinks President Trump obstructed justice.

Joining us now is Donald Ayer. He served as deputy attorney general under George H.W. Bush. He has worked with and known Robert Mueller since the 1970s.

Mr. Ayer, it's great to have you here and your perspective.

You say -- you wrote an op-ed -- you say Bob Mueller needs to finish the job. What does that mean?

DONALD AYER, WORKED WITH MUELLER AS ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY AND AT JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: Well, I think what it means is that in any investigation where there's an issue of intent, and that's very much what we have here in the context of the obstruction of justice statute, it's essential that the prosecutor make a judgment about intent. And the only real way to make that judgment is by looking at all the evidence taken together.

Because Bob Mueller believed and -- and took the position that he wasn't able to reach a final conclusion about whether there was an indictable offense, he never drew that final conclusion by looking at all the evidence. There are parts of the report on page seven and on page 157 and probably other places in volume two where he notes it's really important to look at all the facts and all the circumstances together. But he never does that because if he did, he would find himself saying what he believed he couldn't say.

Now, what's interesting is that the attorney general has intervened essentially and after the fact has said that Bob Mueller was wrong and he misinterpreted the opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel and he could have gone ahead and reached the conclusion. So what he needs to do now is what any prosecutor would do in a case involving multiple facts and a big issue of intent. And he needs to draw the conclusion from those facts. And when you do, it's perfectly clear that there's enormously powerful evidence of an intent to interfere dishonestly with the investigation.

[06:50:03] CAMEROTA: And you've known him for 40-plus years. Will he do that on Wednesday?

AYER: Well, I don't know. It would be wrong for me to try to predict what he'll do. He's a person of great rectitude and great principle and enormous dedication to the country. And it's my hope that he'll reflect on the situation and realize that Attorney General Barr intervening and telling the public without any discussion of the facts at all that there was insufficient evidence of obstruction, that the only way that he can finish his job of telling the public what went on is to -- is to express the prosecutor's view of what the evidence shows. And that evidence is incredibly powerful when you view it together.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, we have a full screen graphic to show people. These are the ten potential moments of compelling obstruction. I mean he laid out, you know, Robert Mueller in his report laid out all of these moments that our legal experts and prosecutors far and wide have said amount to obstruction of justice for anyone else. And so, obviously, Democrats will try to zero in on some of those moments.

But this is the confusing part. Since he decided that he could not indict a sitting president because of whatever statutes and legal precedent he read, why did he feel he couldn't say it? Why did he feel he couldn't verbally say his findings?

AYER: Well, I think it follows directly from his, I think, very punctilious view of the limits on his authority. And he -- he followed -- he knew he had to follow the policy of not indicting. And he inferred from that, that because he couldn't indict and the president couldn't be prosecuted, the president had no way to essentially redeem himself by proving his innocence.

Now, what we have is the intervening statement in emphatic terms by the attorney general on May 30th that he didn't know why Mueller thought that and he was wrong essentially and -- and the -- the opinion of the attorney general about how to interpret an office of legal counsel opinion I think ought to be viewed as binding. And I think Mr. Mueller is now in a very good position to say, OK, stand corrected. And I will now give you my prosecutor's view. And I think that list of elements that you see there on the screen

that you just put up, it's very powerful when you view them all together. And some of the ones that I would just like to highlight -- some arguments have been made that -- that certain things were within the president's power under Article 2, like he has the power to terminate the head of the FBI. He had the power to terminate Sessions if he wanted to. He had -- he had various powers. But what he doesn't have is the power to do those things corruptly. That is to say with a specific intent to interfere with an investigation.

And so you look at all of these things together and you specifically look at particular acts that are on their face clearly corrupt, clearly dishonest, clearly intended to mislead. You look at him telling his White House counsel, Don McGahn --


AYER: To essentially lie about the fact that the president had told him that he need -- that he needed to deny that -- that the president had asked him to terminate Mueller.


AYER: You -- you have the -- the statement that the president helped draft about the June 9, 2016 meeting.

CAMEROTA: Sure. And I mean all of those things, Mr. Ayer, will come up. No doubt Democrats plan to ask him specifically and drill down on those things. But it's really interesting to hear you say that you think that the May 30th Bill Barr statement was a game changer. So we will see if Robert Mueller agrees.

Mr. Donald Ayer, thank you very much for all of your expertise on this.

AYER: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.


GREGORY: Alisyn, a baseball all-star is speaking out and another scary foul ball moment. The "Bleacher Report" coming up next.


[06:58:16] GREGORY: Ireland's Shane Lowry blowing away the competition at the open championship. Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


You know, when the open championship started, all eyes were on the favorite Rory McIlroy because he grew up in northern Ireland right near Royal Portrush. But, in the end, it was another Irishman, Shane Lowry, hoisting the claret jug. Now, Lowry definitely had the gallery behind him. He grew up about 150 miles away from the course. And check out the fans just chasing Lowry up 18. Now, he had tons of family and friends make the short trip to watch him close out his first major. And this wasn't even close. Lowry winning by six strokes. His wife and daughter greeting him on the green with a big hug and kiss. And Lowry said winning his first major so close to home, it was a dream come true.


SHANE LOWRY, 2019 BRITISH OPEN CHAMPION: It was just incredible to walk down -- to walk down (INAUDIBLE) crowds gone wild singing ola (ph) ola (ph). It's like -- it's -- it's like something that, you know, I -- I just can't -- I couldn't believe it was happening to me.


SCHOLES: All right, scary moment yesterday at the Indians/Royals game. Francisco Lindor hits a screaming line drive into the stands and it struck a three-year-old boy. He had to be taken to the hospital. And after the game, Lindor said more needs to be done to protect the fans. He also said he heard that the boy was doing OK. Now, the netting in Progressive Field does go to the end of each dugout. The boy was sitting just beyond that. These are the teams right now that have already announced they will be extending the netting past the dugouts toward the foul polls for next season.

Alisyn, we'll, of course, wait now and see if the Indians react to that boy getting hit and agree to extend the netting toward the foul poles.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, we've seen too many of these stories, Andy.


CAMEROTA: Thank you very much for that report.

GREGORY: OK, NEW DAY continues right now.

[07:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The report presents very substantial evidence the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. We have to let Mueller present those facts to the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mueller has indicated he will let the report.