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John Kirby is Interviewed about Biden Meeting with MBS; Bob Costas is Interviewed about Mickelson in Saudi League; Suze Orman is Interviewed about Navigating the Economy. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired June 14, 2022 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now to talk about this is John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications at the White House.
John, we just heard from the Saudi embassy saying that Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will have official talks. The White House statement doesn't even mention MBS. Are they having official talks?
JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, look, he's going over there primarily for the Gulf Corporation Council plus three with nine heads of state. And, yes, there will be bilateral meetings with King Salman and his team. And, yes, we would expect that that would include the crown prince. But there's a whole host of issues here that the president is looking forward to diving into with these heads of state across the Gulf region.
KEILAR: I mean, they're specific about it. Official talks with MBS. It doesn't seem like they're describing the ensemble cast that you are. Obviously, MBS runs the country. They are describing official talks between Biden and MBS.
KIRBY: Look, both can be true, Brianna. I mean he's going over there as part of the GCC plus three to talk about counterterrorism, Iran's destabilizing behavior, certainly energy production, as well as trying to end this war in Yemen. And he'll talk with nine heads of state. There will be lots of bilateral discussions. And, yes, that will certainly include King Salman and his leadership team and we would expect that the crown prince will be part of those discussions. We're not shying away from that. I mean it's just - there's a - there's a - there's a big context here with respect to this trip and what this trip -- why this trip is so important to the - to the president and to the American people.
KEILAR: Relative to Saudi Arabia, it's very clear the U.S. is shying away from this. I do want to ask you, though, because this was candidate Biden in 2019, on the role of the Saudi crown prince, MBS, when it came to the murder of "Washington Post" columnist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said it at the time, Khashoggi was in fact murdered and dismembered. And I believe in the order of the crown prince. And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them. We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There's very little social redeeming value of the -- in the present government in Saudi Arabia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: What is the redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia now that would justify this visit?
KIRBY: Well, look, Brianna, when the president became president, he made public the intelligence community's report about the Khashoggi killing. He put in place a series of accountability measures. And he said that we needed to recalibrate, reorient our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And we've worked on that.
And the other thing we need to remember is that Saudi Arabia is a key partner in the region, on things like counterterrorism, on the war in Yemen, on energy production. There's a lot of national interest here at stake in this trip and it's not just about Saudi Arabia, and it's not just even about the Gulf region. It is, as you said in the opening, about Israel and the West Bank and meeting with the Palestinian Authority leaders. I mean there's a lot of lift here that the president wants to do on behalf of the American people when it comes to our national security.
KEILAR: Would he be holding official talks with MBS if gas was not at $5 a gallon?
KIRBY: The president will, and he said this before, he will meet with leaders across the world if it's in the best interest of the American people, if it's in our national security interest. And he believes this trip, in its entirety, all the discussions he's going to be having over the course of those three days, absolutely fit that bill.
KEILAR: We just had Senator Dick Durbin on. He says his counsel would be, you can't trust this government. You can't trust MBS. He would say not to go. What is your reaction to that?
KIRBY: The president, obviously, respects that there's different views about this trip. He understands that. But he also understands his responsibilities to the American people on a range of national security issues. And we've already talked about several of them. That's what this trip is all about.
KEILAR: Will he talk about Jamal Khashoggi with MBS?
KIRBY: The president, of course, will be talking about a range of human rights issues too. We always talk about human rights when we go and we visit counterparts around the world. It's a key component of the president's foreign policy. You can't have an effective foreign policy without it being rooted in values. And the president will, obviously, represent those values to all counterparts in all means (ph).
KEILAR: Can you assure 9/11 families who have concerns about early intel that the U.S. was not forthcoming on ties that the 9/11 hijackers had to some Saudi officials? Of course, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Can you reassure those 9/11 families that the president will, as they want, address this bluntly with Saudi leadership?
KIRBY: What I can tell you is that the president will never shy away of representing the interests of the American people on a national security level wherever he goes. And he continues to do everything he can to support the families of the victims of 9/11. He knows what a devastating grief that they still endured, and he will not shy away from representing them and their concerns.
KEILAR: So, specifically, he will mention those concerns?
KIRBY: I'm not going to get ahead of specific things that the president will or won't say in a given room on a trip that hasn't happened yet.
But I can tell you that he keeps them foremost, their concerns, their issues, their grief, their suffering, foremost in his mind and in his heart and he will never shy away from representing that.
KEILAR: All right, John Kirby, thank you so much for being with us, live from the White House. We appreciate it.
KIRBY: You bet. My pleasure.
KEILAR: Golfer Phil Mickelson responding to critics in his first news conference since joining the Saudi-backed golf league. His message to the families' of 9/11 victims.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, news just in from Serena Williams on the future of her playing career.
BERMAN: As pro golfer Phil Mickelson gets ready for the U.S. Open, he is now answering questions about his decision to join a new Saudi- backed golf tour. One thing he made clear, he says he has a lot of respect for others' opinions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL MICKELSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Many people have strong opinions, emotions about my choice to go forward with LIV Golf, and I understand and I respect that.
I certainly respect him. I respect his ideas. I respect all the players that choose to stay on the PGA Tour. I certainly respect them -- respect that - I respect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Just in, 9/11 families released a statement moments ago saying, quote, Phil knows exactly what he's doing, and he and his fellow LIV golfers should be ashamed. They are helping the Saudi regime sportswash their reputation in return for tens of millions of dollars.
Joining us now, CNN contributor Bob Costas.
Bob, great to see you in person.
BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi.
BERMAN: What do you think of the controversy and how Mickelson responded to it yesterday?
COSTAS: Well, he's trying to smooth things out, but this is blood money. There's no two ways around it. It's blood money.
This is not like the AFL was once a challenge to the NFL or the ABA or the World Hockey Association to the established leagues and maybe fans of a team would say, gee, we wish our guy didn't go over there. That isn't - that isn't the case.
This is Saudi blood money. We know all we need to know about the royal family and what they have done. It's not just Khashoggi. It's not just the ongoing oppression of women and gays. They're directly or indirectly tied, according to U.S. and British intelligence, to the 9/11 event. It's one thing -- you just had Dick Durbin on. It's one thing for the president, Dick Durbin may have advised him not to meet with them, but it's one thing to meet as presidents have with Russian leaders over the years or Nixon goes to China, that's not a stamp of approval, and they're not being paid by them. This - this is an entirely different thing.
KEILAR: Why does it look so attractive to some of these players? Not all, we should be clear, right, Tiger Woods said no. But why does it --
COSTAS: Yes, Rory McIlroy said no. A lot of others said no.
KEILAR: So many. Why does it look like such an attractive offer to so many of these players who are going over that they're going to deal with this controversy, they're going to deal with this branding?
COSTAS: Guaranteed money. $200 million for Phil Mickelson, even if he never wins a tournament. The prize money is on top of that. $115 million, as I understand it, for Dustin Johnson. But what's the price for your soul? What's the price for integrity?
If Aaron Judge, just as an example, Aaron Judge might be the MVP of the American League this year, having a great year for the Yankees, he can be a free agent. If he goes and signs someplace else, there will be people who grumble, well, how much money is enough, but there's nothing inherently immoral for playing for the San Francisco Giants or whatever team he chooses as opposed to the New York Yankees.
This is a matter of -- a clear-cut matter of morality. And it's also different, I might say, than we have our - and we've talked about this on the air before, whether the IOC should be in bed or the NBA should be in bed with China. But when the athletes go to China, for the Olympics, whether they approve of it being held there or not, they're not in cahoots with the CCP, they're not receiving direct payment from them.
And this is exactly what this is. It's sports washing. The Saudis are rich beyond imagination. They're not going to make money on this with all the up-front money. It's not going to be a money-making tour. It's a sports washing event or sports washing idea, and Mickelson and the others are complicit in it.
BERMAN: So the NFL, particularly the Washington Commanders, still cleaning up after the comments from defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who at one point called the insurrection a dustup. They fined him.
BERMAN: And he's deleted his Twitter account, I understand.
BERMAN: Is this a, you know, completely done? Is everyone happy with the outcome here?
COSTAS: Well, you know, the Commanders have been under fire for quite some time, back to when they were a different name and then the Washington Football Team. Their whole organization is kind of a mess. The owner, Daniel Snyder, is under fire. And I think this was just another potential controversy that they wanted to tamp down as quickly as possible.
I think Del Rio is not making a very important distinction. He is trying to do an apples to apples riot to riots between what happened on January 6, 2021, and what happened throughout the summer of 2020. If it was only a question of the rioters themselves, only a question of whatever the destruction was, then maybe you could draw a tortured comparison.
But this is about more than that. It's about obviously what spurred the rioters on, and what remains of that intention even to this day with Donald Trump. That's why that's an appropriate subject of inquiry, an ongoing inquiry, and that's what separates it from what happened in 2020, which is not to justify everything that happened in 2020. No matter the cause, the destructions, the riots, the deaths that were caused by some of the riots that came out of legitimate protests cannot be justified, but neither can they be accurately compared to January 6th.
But evidently, Del Rio didn't make that distinction.
KEILAR: What does this tell you about this intersection of sports and politics right now, where the lines are, where the pitfalls are?
COSTAS: There's always been an intersection, especially with the Olympics, often with questions of civil rights, and often athletes have been at the forefront of that. You and I have talked about this before, depending upon what side of the aisle you're on, people want you to speak but they want you to shut up. There's no consistent principle.
When it comes to Del Rio, I think the slippery slope here is there, Del Rio did not make a thoughtful comment. But if he's going to be sanctioned for that, and I realize there's a difference between a front office official or a coach and a player, but, still, a lot of players have said a lot of dumb things on Twitter or in other public forums, regardless of which side of the aisle they may fall on. So, do we wind up on a slippery slope? We only sanction the Del Rios of the world, but we don't sanction those who come from a direction we more or less approve of?
BERMAN: I would be remiss if I did not ask you, since you are here, if my Boston Celtics have a chance to come back from 3-2 in the NBA finals.
COSTAS: Of course, they do. Of course, they do. They're home for game six. I don't know what home court means anymore. As you know, as a - as a Boston sports fan, they lost two of three to the Heat in the conference final and won three of four on the road. Two of three at home they lost, three of four they won on the road. And they won game one at Golden State. So, if they can get game six and send it back for a game seven, then you're close to a tossup.
BERMAN: We need to bring that hour (ph) back and turn the temperature up in The Garden back to whatever it was in 1984.
COSTAS: Dirty tricks.
BERMAN: Whatever you need to do. Whatever it takes.
KEILAR: He's saying there's a chance, Berman.
BERMAN: Saying there's a chance.
COSTAS: Oh, there's a chance, but there's no chance Tom Brady's coming back to the Patriots.
BERMAN: Not this decade. I expect he'll be back, you know, ten years from now. Never write him off.
COSTAS: And Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski aren't coming back to the Red Sox.
BERMAN: You never know with Ted. That's a whole other story. COSTAS: Bob, enough! Enough, Bob!
BERMAN: Just taking repeated swings here.
It's great to see you in person, thanks so much.
COSTAS: Bobby Orr isn't coming back to the Bruins either.
BERMAN: This is just getting worse and worse.
But Tom Brady might. Tom Brady might.
COSTAS: Theoretically possible.
BERMAN: Theoretically possible.
COSTAS: Yes, theoretically possible.
BERMAN: He's the one who might.
Great to see you. Thank you so much.
COSTAS: You too.
BERMAN: With inflation at a 40-year high, we're going to get tips from financial expert Suze Orman on how to navigate this chaotic economy. She joins us live, next.
BERMAN: The price for so many essentials, from food, to housing, to gas, costing a lot more than it did a year ago. Inflation, the inflation rate at a 40-year high, hitting Americans obviously so hard in their wallet.
Joining us now with how you can navigate this is financial expert Suze Orman. She's the host of the podcast "Women and Money and Everyone's Smart Enough to Listen."
Suze, it's great to see you.
People need help to get through this, I think. They see the inflation number. They see the prices at the store and they want to know, what can I do to protect myself. So let me ask the inverse question here, what shouldn't you do right now?
SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Yes, it really depends on your situation. If you're somebody out there living paycheck to paycheck, or you don't have an emergency fund, or you're not funding a retirement account, you should stop going out to eat, going on vacation, and doing all those things. Now, I know that sounds hard right now because you go out and all the
restaurants are full, good luck getting a plane ticket, good luck getting a hotel room, but you have to look at the situation that this is not going away for quite a while. So, are you getting by right now? OK. But are you going to continue to be able to get by next month, six months from now, possibly eight months from now, because, again, it's not like inflation goes straight up and then goes straight down.
So, what you should not be doing is pretending like next month it's going to be OK. That everything's going to be back to normal before you know it because I don't think it is.
KEILAR: We're in this for the long haul is what you're saying here. So then what should you do? What should you be doing with your money?
ORMAN: So, it depends again who you are and how much time you have.
Listen, the truth of the matter is, you have five, 10, 15, 20 years until you retire, which is the majority really of people possibly watching right now. You should continue to invest in your 401(k). You should continue to stay invested in the market. The truth of the matter is, don't panic.
And the reason I say that is, how many times have we seen the market go down, 35 percent, 50 percent, like it did in 2007 and 2008 and 2009, and then, a few years later, it comes right back. So what you should be doing, if you have money that you want to invest, is you should be investing small amounts every single month, every three months, dollar cost averaging into the market in either index funds, stocks that pay a dividend. But you want to know that you are in good quality investments, companies that make money, companies that do things.
This is not the time to be speculating on some future company that may make money one day. That is not what you should be doing. What you should be doing is being consistent with your investments, if you have 5, 10, 15, or 20 years until you need this money.
BERMAN: Suze, I also love one other piece of advice you give for people, because it gets to a lot of different things. You say, you know, if you're going to take a vacation, go ahead, but don't pay for it with your credit card.
What do you mean by this?
ORMAN: Yes, you know, if we look back just two years ago, we were doing so great. The savings rate of everybody in America, they were going up and up and up. People were getting out of credit card debt. Now we see savings rate coming all the way back down. We see credit cards going back up again.
You have to have money to be able to do something. In an inflationary environment, this is not the time to be putting something on a credit card where it is very probable that the interest rate on your credit card is going to go up.
Why is it going to go up when the Feds reset the discount rate and everything that they're going to be doing tomorrow, rates go up. Rates go up on credit cards. Rates go up eventually on your mortgages. So don't be financing on something where you're going to be paying more for it as time goes on with money that is really meaning less and less because of inflation.
KEILAR: Suze, do you worry that we are heading for a recession?
ORMAN: Yes, I've worried about that now for, you know, probably six or eight months. It's -- I don't know what the Feds are seeing, truthfully. I don't know about these predictions of, don't worry, a few months ago, about inflation. It's handable (ph). No, it's not.
When you have oil going up, where in California it's over $7 a gallon, nationwide it's over $5 a gallon. When you have food prices going up, and you have what's going on, in Ukraine and Russia, it affects not only oil, but it also affects the cost of food because oil, shipping, everything affects the cost of food. Ukraine is the breadbasket. And so we have to really be careful here.
So, when things start to cost more, the Feds come in, raise interest rates, like they're going to do, their goal is to slow down the economy. Their goal is to get unemployment to go up, believe it or not. When things like that start to happen, depending on how they handle it, I think very likely you're going to see a recession end of this year or most likely into next.
BERMAN: Suze Orman, thanks for the advice. Really appreciate it.
BERMAN: So, new CNN reporting, why investigators looking into election interference in Georgia want to hear from R. Kelly and Kanye West's former publicist.