Skip to main content

tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  May 30, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

11:00 am
european leaders, with nato leaders. i suspect that will come up but, of course, the russia investigation hangs over so much here and we understand that in just the last hour or so, that the president's personal attorney, michael cohen, has been asked to cooperate with senate investigative communities. i contacted michael cohen and he respectfully declined to cooperate, he said to me over the phone, and described the conversation as a rush to judgement and said not a single piece of evidence has been put forward to corroborate the russian narrative. another person connected to the president and campaign has now been insneared into this investigation. at the same time, there's a whiff of a staff shakeup at the
11:01 am
white house. the communications director michael dubke tendered his resignation on may 18th. no date yet on when he's leaving but it's an important position inside the west wing and we're hearing a lot of talk, a lot of buzz about perhaps a return of some old faces from the campaign. corey lewandowski, david bossi, former deputy campaign manager. they were spotted outside the white house and they've been talked about in terms of being part of this war room rapid response team that's being propped up both inside the white house and among the president's outside supporters. a lot to discuss for sean spicer and just going by the way things have been going, he may get a note in the mid dedle of the briefing advising him that there are other things to discuss. i was on that foreign trip for
11:02 am
eight or nine days. we didn't get a presidential news conference. got very few briefings by top officials and those briefings that we did get were off camera. so it's comforting to see this white house put somebody forward and take questions from us. >> it has been a minute since we've seen sean spicer's face. we look forward to it as well. jim acosta, i'll look forward to that and your questions. let me bring in dana bash now to begin with your reporting that indicates that russians discussed this derogatory information about a financial nature. do we know anything more about that? >> we don't have the specifics on, for example, who in the trump world and the trump organization they were focused on. the derogatory information, as you said, the fact that it was financial information, yes, and that russians were talking amongst each other but i should also tell you that as you were going on the air, our colleague
11:03 am
simone just reported the following, which is a little bit different from what we reported but yet another layer of information about jared kushner. and i'll tell you what he said. he said that the fbi is scrutinizing meetings jared kushner held with russia's ambassador to the u.s. and a follow-up meeting that he had with a russian banker. and what they're looking at specifically is the different information given from kushner's world, which is that he was doing his job as somebody who was focusing on foreign policy, as his portfolio. and from the bank, the russian bank saying, no, no, no, we were talking to him about his role at the time as still the head of the kushner organization of kushner enterprises -- excuse me. kushner companies is the exact word and kushner was then the head of it. the differing explanations is
11:04 am
one of the things, one of the many things, it seems, that the fbi is looking at in this broad investigation. >> and just a quick follow up on that since the readout on that is different, one is that it was business and the other is syria. why the heck would jared kushner, after just talking to the ambassador of russia, talk to this russian banker, this buddy of vladimir putin's, about syria? >> i don't know the answer to that. that's clearly one of the things that the russian investigators are going after. the idea was that this banker is not just a banker. he is somebody who is incredibly close to vladimir putin and perhaps it was a way to get a message to the russian leader by somebody who the russian leader trusts and is a confidant of
11:05 am
his. having said that, that is point a to point b and it is that truth that the fbi is trying to figure out as we speak. >> okay. steve hall, i know you're a retired cia chief. to dana's answer on this meeting with jared kushner and this compound of putins and might this have been an opportunity to get a message to vladimir putin and to dana's reporting on this information that they pulled. your thoughts? >> it's interesting and i can only think of two possible options for it. the first is we've heard a lot of information being thrown around about kushner looking for back channels. the trump administration looking or -- before its inauguration
11:06 am
looking for back channels. somebody like the head of this bank who was indeed close to putin -- he's a former intelligence officer having gone to the training school -- so it's clearly there's a connection there and was just kushner looking for another way to start sort of communication prior to the inauguration? that's one option. the other thing -- and i think it's a bit more toubliroubling,e at least, kushner is first and foremost a new york businessman who's had business and ties with russia. so was there a business angle to this? was there something more than just him acting as a member of the trump team and where did those overlap and was there a conflict of interest there? those are things that i'm sure folks are trying to get to the the bottom of, like the folks investigating this as well as
11:07 am
mueller. >> evan mcmullin, former cia, he said it was direct communications with the kremlin, not just a simple back channel. the question also being why not just wait 40 days between the time of the meeting and that inauguration? let's put that on hold. we know that issue will be addressed in this briefing. gloria borger, let me bring you in. let me first ask you about the fact that we've just learned that the president's personal lawyer michael cohen is refusing to cooperate with this investigation as it's widening. your take on that? >> well, first of all, michael cohen is very close to donald trump. he's worked for him for more than a decade as a personal lawyer, lawyer for the trump organization, really. he said that they are on a fishing expedition with him and
11:08 am
that people on the intelligence committees would argue that they are not. but since he's saying this is too broad, i wouldn't be surprised if they started to narrow their requests so they can't be seen as, you know, fishing for anything can hoe co. we know that cohen has helped in setting up the legal team representing the president in this russia investigation. so, you know, you cannot discount the closeness between these two men. they are good friends and one is very, very loyal to the other and i think the committee may go back and try and narrow its request before they get into some sort of a war with michael cohen. we'll have to see. >> we'll see that. also, you have this incredible reporting here on the president's state of mind. not only making news but state of mind.
11:09 am
one quote from someone who talks to trump, "he now lives within himself, which is a dangerous place for donald trump to be. i see him emotionally withdrawin withdrawing." . i want to ask you all about that and we'll take the briefing live in a couple of minutes. stay with me. rally beautiful, fresh and nutritious. so there are no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives in any of the food we sell. we believe in real food. whole foods market.
11:10 am
11:11 am
all right. let's go live to the white house. sean spicer behind the podium for the first time in 15 days. lots to tackle. >> good afternoon. i hope you all had an opportunity to pay your respects to the brave men and women who have given their lives for our freedom on memorial day. i want to begin by recapping the historic trip that the president and first lady had. in just nine days, the president traveled across europe and the middle east and interacted with nearly 100 foreign leaders. it was an unprecedented first trip abroad. just four months into this administration and it shows how quickly and desize scisively th president is forming new partnerships and rebuilding america's standing in the world. we've never seen before at this point in a presidency such sweeping reassurance of american interests and the inauguration
11:12 am
of a foreign policy strategy to bring the world back from growing disasters and under years of failed leadership. the president's trip began in saudi arabia in the nation that is the custodian to the two holiest sites in the islamic faith. the president was greeted by the king of saudi arabia and received with incredible graciousness by the kingdom and its leaders throughout his stay. the president's address to the leader of more than 50 arab and muslim nations was an historic turning point. he did exactly as he promised in his inaugural address, united the civilized world and fight against terrorism and extremism. the president was direct in calling on the leaders to drive out the terrorists from their midst and isolate the regime that supports so much of this violence. he letted tcalled it a, quote,
11:13 am
principled realism rooted in common values and shared interests. he laid out the case in persuasive detail for why the muslim world must take the lead in combatting radical islam and said unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens our world then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have. the president's historic speech was met with nearly universal praise. jim woolsey called it a courageous speech. newt gingrich said we have to look back decades to find a comparatively dramatic moment in the history of u.s. foreign policy and former democratic representative jane harmon said she, quote, loved the idea that he's going to the font of all three religions. allies also praised the president's leadership. el sisi of europe said capable
11:14 am
of doing the impossible and said this is the beginning of a turning point in the relationship between the united states and the arab and islamic world. king salman and other key allies also gave extraordinary praise -- speeches at the summit underscoring just how much president trump has done to rally the world against terrorism. we cannot overlook the significance of so many countries coming together to recognize the need to fight extremists. this was a historic event in that regard alone. king salman said he shares the president's determination to, quote, renounce extremism and work on countering terrorism in all of its forms and manifestation. king abdel la ullah said it req koor coordination and action at every level. the visit also included historic
11:15 am
economic deals for the united states, totalling well over half a trillion dollars and the creation of tens and thousands of american jobs. these deals include an immediate $110 billion invest met which will grow to $350 billion over the next ten years in defense cooperation from saudi arabia that will further enable muslim troops to take on a greater role in fighting terrorism. the president participated in a launch to protect terror funding in the gulf, combatting extremist ideology and more than 30 commercial deals that include companies like lockheed martin, boeing, dow, sysco, among others, that will result in an additional $270 billion of saudi investment in american businesses and american jobs. the president then went to israel where he was received with incredible warmth. he strengthened america's
11:16 am
unbreakable bonds with israel and made the first visit by a sitting president to the western wall as part of a continuing effort to rally nations together in the fight begins terrorism and common enemies. this spoke of a future in which, quote, children around the world should be able to live without fear, dream without limits and prosper without violence. he said, i asked this land to promise me in joining to fight against our common enemies, pursue our shared values and protect the dignity of every child of god. the president also memorialized the victims of the holocaust and pledged to, quote, never happen again. he also discussed with both leaders how to increase cooperation against terrorism. prime minister netanyahu said, quote, for the first time in my life, i see real hope for
11:17 am
change. and a correspondent one of leading publications said in the short space of three days trumpcare r trump carried out a semirevolution. the president and first lady were incredible honored by the visit. the president then attended the nato summit in brussels and called on other nato countries to pay their fair share on a speech delivered with the leaders of nato's countries all present. hard-working americans saw a leader represent them and their security on the international stage. the president urged nato to adapt the alliance to combat terrorism. the member states unanimously agreed on those two priorities and the secretary general was complementary on the president's work to strengthen the alliance
11:18 am
by getting member states to increase their contributions. finally, the president traveled to the g-7 summit in sicily. those meetings were marked by outstanding success that we see reflected in the communique that was issued. they include a strong statement that g-7 stations will stand against unfair trade practices and a commitment to fostering a true-level playing field. endorsed in that communique, seeking resettlement of refugees and the g-7 also condemned the use of chemical weapons and needless to say the president's leadership was critical in setting those priorities for the nation. in addition, the president also met with prime minister abe of japan. the two agreed on the need for
11:19 am
enhanced sanctions with respect to north korea. the president concluded his trip with an address to the service members and their family at naval station to thank them for their service on memorial day weekend. then yesterday, president trump spoke at arlington national cemetery for memorial day services and visited the grave sites of many of our fallen heroes. this was an extraordinarily successful nine-day trip the president took and rallied civilized nations of the world against terrorism, took real steps towards peace in the middle east and renewed our alliances on the basis of both shared interests and shared burdens. the trip sets the stage for a much more safe and prosperous nation here at home and a more peaceful world for all. we're back at home now and the president is moving full steam ahead on the president's agenda. as the president noted this weekend, his plan for the significant tax reform continues to progress led by secretary
11:20 am
mnuchin and director cohn. the team held several meetings in leadership and mnuchin met with the house ways and means community and the republican study committee. the vice president also discussed tax reform with multiple members and with leadership during his regular visits to capitol hill. we'll begin holding industry listening sessions next week providing an opportunity for business leaders and job creators to give us their inputs on what reforms are necessary to allow us to grow jobs in the economy. this morning, the president met with epa pruitt and discussing the paris climate accords. i told you overseas that the president is spending a great deal of time about and spoke to the g-7 members about during their meetings. he wants a fair deal for the american people and he'll have an announcement on that coming up shortly. also, today, ambassador
11:21 am
lightheuser is meeting with the prime minister and trade minister ahead of tomorrow's visit between the president and prime minister. u.s. trade representative will have readouts on that later this afternoon. this evening it's the vietnamese prime minister speech and that's available via the facebook page and while underscoring the work ahead and addressing the challenges presented by the recent sharp increase in our trade deficit with vietnam. as the president has made abundantly clear, trade deficits and unfair trade practices has unpro forgs nately hit american workers and it's strengthening our important relationships with partners like vietnam by leveling the playing field with american businesses throughout the world. with that, i'll take your
11:22 am
questions. >> i'm wondering if you can tell us when the president knew -- whether the president knew at the time that jared kushner was seeking back channel communications at the russian embassy to the russian government. and if he didn't know at the time, what did he find out? >> i think that would assume a lot. kushner's attorney has said that he's volunteered to share with congress what he knows about these meetings and will do the same thing if he's connected with any other inquiry. >> did the discuss that with him? >> i'm not go going to get into what the president did or did not discuss. yo . >> does he approve of that action? >> you're asking if he approves of an action that is not a confirmed action. that being sect, secretary kell and general mcmaster have discussed that in general terms back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy.
11:23 am
>> does the white house dispute that that happen? >> your question presus supposes facts that have not been confirmed. >> thank you, sean. the president retweeted this morning an article about that back channel that was based on an anonymous source that said there was an effort to set up a back channel, that the russians suggested that and that it was to talk about syria. was the president not confirming that that effort -- that there was an effort in the facts that i just said? >> i think what i just said speaks for itself. >> but you said that the article was based on anonymous sources. >> which it is. >> but what the president retweeted was also based on anonymous sources. why is the source that they used more credible than the ones in "the washington post" article? >> there's two issues at hand. one is the statement that jared's attorney has provided. second is whether or not the dossier, that is largely the basis of this, was largely
11:24 am
discredited in the first place. most here refused to publish it in the first place. john? >> i'm sorry. thank you, sean. i have two questions. first, the president for the second time in a month retweeted his desire for the senate to reduce the votes to ask anything to 51 which would scuttle the filibuster for legislation as it has been scuttled for nominations. is this something that he discussed with majority leader mcconnell or any of the senate leadership before he tweeted it? >> i think the concerns that he's had with the pace of the senate has been longstanding. the use of the filibuster is up to senator mcconnell but i think the frustration that he's had with the pace of the legislation, the tactics that democrats have employed, whether it's his cabinet nominees or
11:25 am
other piece of legislation is well documented. >> if he wants to scrap the filibuster entirely? >> he wants to see action done. that's what he wants. whether it's to delay the democrats posed to its cabinet nominees or pieces of legislation, he wants action. this president was elected to get things done and he wants to see things move through the house and the senate. especially when you've got a majority of support and people to stop playing games. >> i did want to mention that before he left to go abroad, the president praised the philippine president duterte for his actions against drug dealers and dealing with them, various human rights have condemned president duterte saying that the executions of drug dealers has been done without trial. >> i think the president recognizes the need to combat drugs but also believes in human rights and it's something that he's worked with several
11:26 am
countries and it's one of the reasons he's refewing the cuba policy, et cetera. it's something that he's discussed in private with several countries. >> tomorrow is the deadline for the obama six-month waiver. has the president decided whether or not he will sign another waiver? >> no. and -- >> when the president has a decision to make, we'll let you know. >> also, the isis review and afghanistan review, what about the other two? >> i think on the afghanistan review, he is still reviewing that from the department of defense. when we have an announcement, we'll let you know. >> the president tweeted on sunday that he thinks republicans should, quote, add more dollars to health care and make it the best anywhere.
11:27 am
what did he mean by that? >> well, there's a lot of savings coming out of the repeal and replace effort. i think we're at $119 billion that we saved through the president's efforts and i think health care has been something that the president has been very clear on throughout his time as a candidate as well as through his presidency to make sure that the american people get the care and accessibility that they need. he understands how important health care is and he'll do whatever he can to make sure people have quality, accessible health care. >> did he mean at the high-risk pools or -- >> i think the bill is in progress. he's willing to do what it takes. >> following up on mark's questions, afghanistan is the country's longest war. how much more american blood is he willing to expend and does he think it's a winnable conflict? >> he wants to defeat isis and
11:28 am
al qaeda and defeat threats to defeat terrorism. i think i just read to you, throughout the trip, that was the common thread. uniting the muslim world, talking about it with netanyahu and abbas, talking about it with the pope. that wherever he went on this nine-day trip, protecting our country, protecting the world's people was at the front of that discussion. and i think he wants to do whatever he has to do to make sure our country is safe and our people are safe. that's why he's asked for this review. >> first, on tax reform, the president tweeted over the weekend that it was going, quote, very well and you just made the word progress. however, republicans on the hill appear to be divided. the president tweeted maybe they should reverse the filibuster rules. i'm wondering what is the progress and what is it that is going very well at this time? >> i think the reception that secretary mnuchin and others have gotten from leadership members of the house ways and
11:29 am
means committee has been very welcoming. but i think part of -- as i just mentioned to the previous question, part of the reason that he's frustrated with senate rules is because when there is a majority of support on key issues or key people, as is the case in the confirmation progress, it's standing in the way of the progress that the american people have asked for. >> joe lieberman was a leading candidate identified by the president before his foreign trip. now lieberman is out. where does the fbi director search stand? john pistol, is he at the white house interviewing today? >> the president will meet with two additional candidates this afternoon, both chris ray and john pistol. when the president feels as though he's met with the right candidate, he'll let us know. he'll meet with candidates today and continue to do so until he finds the right leader. >> are they two finalists at this point? >> huh? >> are they two finalists?
11:30 am
>> the president is the ultimate decision maker. he will let us know. katy? >> the president tweeted that tax reform is going well but you just said that he got very frustrated with the lack of progress in the senate. does the white house still stand by its august deadline on tax reform? >> just so we're clear, there's two separate issues. one is the talks that secretary mnuchin and other members of the staff have had and the reception that they've gotten to the president's bold tax reform proposal is extremely welcoming. i think the president in general finds it frustrating the way some of -- how the senate operates. again, i'm dating this back to the hold-up that they had on some of these unbelievably well-qualified nominees. so they are not -- we're not -- we don't want to mix those two issues together. i think he feels very encouraged by the reception that he's gotten to tax reform. secretary mnuchin talked about,
11:31 am
well, that was a goal and we'll continue to work as hard as we can to get it done and we've got a pretty bold agenda. he's pushing hard on health kerry, infrastructure care is a priority of his. it's in full swing. >> where do you see the state of the u.s./german relationship right now and how important is that relationship to the white house and the president and the american public? >> i think the relationship that the president has had with merkel, he would describe as fairly unbelievable. they get along very well. he has respect for her. and he views not just germany but the rest of europe as an american ally. during his conversations at nato and at the g-7, the president reaffirmed the need to deepen and improve our transatlantic relationship. >> she felt that europe can no longer depend on the united
11:32 am
states? >> that's not what she said. let me read what she said. she said the time when europe could solely rely on others is in the past and as i've witnessed in the past few days, europe must take its fate in their own hands. this means working in friendship with the u.s., uk and neighborly relationships with russia and other partners. that's great. that's what the president called for the secretary general of nato says that's what is moving them in the right direction. the president is getting result and more countries are stepping up their burden sharing. scott? >> sean, is the president defending himself in the investigation against russia and a possibly go over jared kushner's clearances? >> i'm not going to dignify partisan accusations of
11:33 am
anonymous sources and alleged, unsubstantiated attacks. i'm not even going to -- the president had a lot of meetings. if the president has a decision on anything, we'll be sure to let you know. >> first, welcome back. >> thanks. >> two quick questions. this weekend, while you all were gone, someone shot at the lexington leader and now we understand what happened with congressm congressman gianforte. will the president take a stance against violence of reporters? >> against any individual. >> you all have come out screaming against fake media. will you support legislation that would support real reporting, such as this law i've asked you about before? >> we have a constitution that
11:34 am
supports the freedom of expression. we support that. >> when you say that you're going to try to defeat isis and al qaeda, what are you doing to eliminate the abject property that is the breeding ground for the terrorists? >> as we've mentioned before, his national security team is putting together a holistic solution to defeating isis. when that strategy is complete, we'll have information for you on that. >> you said that a back channel is an appropriate part of diplomacy. >> i didn't say that. i said secretary kelly and general mcmaster said that. >> someone who is not a private citizen, not sworn as an official for the u.s. government, to conduct diplomacy with a foreign official. >> again, i would refer you to the comments that secretary kelly and general mcmaster have said about how they can be important tool in diplomacy.
11:35 am
>> but at the time, there was no one who was close to the president who was working in an official government capacity. how is that appropriate? >> again, i think both of those individuals who are steeped in national security and foreign policy have said that can be an effective tool. >> i know the president hasn't made a public decision on the paris agreement and i know you don't want to get out ahead of him but on the more broad issue of climate change, can you say whether or not the president believes that human activity is contributing to the warmings of the climate. >> hon least estly, i haven't a him. >> do you think that's a determination he's trying to make? >> i haven't asked him. >> real quick on health care, so as part of the tweet about wanting to add more money to get better health care, would the president consider, you know, putting back on of the obamacare taxes taken out of the health
11:36 am
bill? would he be supportive of putting taxes in there and pay for the health care? >> i don't want to presuppose what the president may or may not want to do. >> let me finish, please, sean, angela merkel's quote. the europeans must take our destiny in our own hands. how will the president react to that and will this help decide what he wants to do with paris? >> i think i said a moment ago, the president believes that seeing europe and other nato countries increase their burden sharing as a very positive thing for their own countries, for nato as a whole and for the united states, to see these individuals heed the call that he has so eloquently put out over the last several -- well over a year. but when you look at the comments that the secretary general made, he recognizes that the president's rhetoric has had an extremely positive effect on
11:37 am
the strengthening of nato and other countries stemming up the percent of their own gdp that they're putting towards their own defense. that benefits everybody. it benefits us, nato and themselves. >> will it affect his decision on paris? >> i'm sorry? >> will it have any affect on his decision on paris? >> what he ultimately decides is up to him. >> does this indicate some broader realization in the policy that [ inaudible ] may be returning? >> i don't think so. i think the president is very pleased with his team and he has a robust agenda and he looks forward to achieving the results of the american people. >> has the white house considered changing how to convey this message, directly more or at the podium? >> i don't think there's anything that we haven't said
11:38 am
before about how we got to -- the president has an unbelievably qualified cabinet and we've utilized them a ton in the past. if we can continue to do that on key issues, we'll continue to do that. ultimately, the president is the best messenger for not just what he wants to articulate but the american people chose him as their president because he represents the values of the american people and he's probably the best person to communicate that. >> do you think he's happy with the messaging that has done thus far? >> i think he's very pleased with the work of his staff. he's frustrated like i am and so many others to see stories come out that are patently false, to see narratives that are wrong and see, quote/unquote fake news. when you see stories get perpetrated that are absolutely false, that are not based in fact, that is troubling. and he's rightly concerned. >> can you give an example of fake news, sean? >> yes. absolutely i can.
11:39 am
>> please. >> on friday the president was having a great discussion at the g-7 and someone from the bbc and a were roer from "the new york times" retweeted that the president was being rude by disrespecting the italian prime minister when in fact you all in all of the meetings see the president sit in and the president did a great job at nato. building stronger bonds, building stronger bonds at the g-7 and that's the kind of thing that bbc and "the new york times" push out and perpetuate would no apology. it's true. you did it. >> reporters make mistakes. >> that's just fake. that is a fake -- >> [ inaudible ] was all over the front page. you're making something out of one tweet instead of the -- >> there are mistakes like that and i was asked to give an example and i did it.
11:40 am
i gave an answer to jim. the problem is that i think the president, to the question, gets frustrated when he sees fake stories get published, things not based in fact and a narrative gets pushed -- >> that's not significant. that's just -- >> with all due respect, i think when you see instances like that get perpetrated over and over again, that is frustrating. i didn't come here with a list of things but i think -- well, thank you. i appreciate it. you get to decide what is big and what is not. a lot of things have been pushed out based on unnamed unaccountable sources that is very troubling. when you see the same kind of thing happen over and over again, it's concerning and i think the president has fought very hard to bring back jobs. as i mentioned, you had over half a trillion dollars of investment that's coming in that's going to grow jobs, grow our economy. that should be a big story. the president's results when it came to fighting terrorism was a big thing. the idea that we're standing up at a global center to fight
11:41 am
extremism in saudi arabia that's uniting muslim countries, that's a big story. >> there's going to be an overhaul of communications and fake news? >> now you want to go back to that. what i'm telling you is that the reason that the president is frustrated is because there's a perpetuation of false narratives, use of unnamed sources over and over again about things that have happened that don't ultimately happen and that's very troubling. thank you, guys. >> okay. so we're going to end it there with jim acosta's question and sean spicer heading out there. so for the past 40 or so minutes, it began with this onslaught of adjectives describing this overseas historic, unprecedented trip abroad, which we've never seen before. he was also asked about jared kushner and some of our reporting and, you know,
11:42 am
anonymous sources tweeting out. let's begin there. dana bash, let me begin with you. we've got gloria, steve hall, david chalian. dana, to you first. on the question of jared kushner, didn't get very far. he shot that down. >> he did. i think that this new war room or whatever it is, this machine moving in to better help answer questions, i should not say better. i should say more effectively answer questions, from their perspective, seems to be churning and that answer on kushner was probably exhibit a. first of all, i think to read what he didn't say is that he didn't deny that jared kushner had this meeting and didn't deny that jared kushner asked for a back channel. instead and actually even more so than not denying it, he pointed to reporter statements from general mcmaster, the president's national security adviser, and general kelly,
11:43 am
homeland security director suggesting that back channels are an acceptable means of diplomacy. but that's also an artful dodge because, sure, back channels are always an acceptable means of diplomacy. it stopped nuclear war during the cuban missile crisis except that was with members of the current administration and he didn't answer the very good question from the follow-ups from the press room from reporters saying, but wait a minute, jared kushner was not in office yet. so a back channel is acceptable for people who are in administration but not for a member of the transition. >> david chalian, what did you think? >> also, it's not that jared kushner was a transition official at the time. the communique indicates that this channel was trying to be set up in a way to not be detected by anyone in the u.s. government. so it's not just the timing of this. it's that going about this to use russian facilities or russian means to avoid any
11:44 am
ability for the u.s. government to monitor it, what was so concerning there? listen, you saw at how sean spicer ended this briefing and i think it tells us a lot about where we're going. one, he touted that president trump is his own best spokesperson. so it sounds to me like, if you read between the lines, the reporter we've been seeing that perhaps there might be a diminishment of the daily press briefings, he was pumping up the idea that we're going to need to hear from president trump himself to get the real story or real thinking on this and even things like the paris accord on climate change. secondly, you heard his own silly attack on this notion of fake news or perhaps a mistaken brief. sean spicer wanted to end this on defensive stance and not being able to really answer the questions at hand i think tells
11:45 am
us a lot about where the communications effort from the white house currently is. >> speaking of silly, i thought this was one of the best questions from francesca chambers of "the daily mail" which asked about tweets and sourcing. roll it. >> the president retweeted this morning an article about that back cham that was based on an anonymous source that said there was an effort to set up a back channel and it was the russians who suggested that and it was to talk about syria. was the president not confirming that there was an effort and the facts that i just said? >> i think what i just said speaks for itself. >> but you said that, first of all, the article was based on anonymous sources. >> which it is. >> but the fox article that the president retweeted was also based on anonymous sources. why is the source that they used more credible than the one in "the washington post" article? >> again, there's two issues at hand. one is, the statement that
11:46 am
jared's attorney has provided and the second is whether the dossier was largely discredited in the first place. most of the publications refused to publish it in the first place. i'm not going to get into confirming stuff when there's an ongoing investigation. >> gloria, the president can't have it both ways. he can't rip and trash anonymous sources but yet retweet a fox news storm ree that has a more positive spin for him that recites an ano onymous source. >> right. and i'm not quite sure i understand sean's answer to that, which was a nonanswer, answer. it's obvious the president can't have it both ways. sean talked about false narratives and it seems that it became clear that there were fewer and fewer things that sean spicer can actually really talk
11:47 am
about. he gave a laundry list at the beginning about how great the nato summit was and kind of gave a back to business summation at the top of the press conference, you know, we're doing this, we're doing that, we're working on health care that means a lot to the president, we're going to work on tax reform. >> right. >> but whenever he was asked about the big news of the day, it seems to me that he has a diminished role in what he can say. so i would agree with david that this is kind of the precursor to not having sean out there very much because it's very difficult, as we learned during the lewinsky scandal, to have a press secretary out there who can't answer questions. >> do you think his lane is shrinking because, as dana pointed out, this creation of the war room? >> yeah. it might be. absolutely. >> steve hall, to you, just going back for a second on the conversations about the reporting, about the communications that jared kushner was trying to set up with the russians, what did you make of sean spicer's
11:48 am
explanation or nonexplanation? >> exactly. nonexplanations. i mean, the plan now seems to be we're not going to talk about this, it's all false and fake news. it becomes prima fascia and comes from an anonymous source and then it's not true. the problem with that is there's such a preponderance of information out there that it's difficult to write it all off. it's not made up of out of whole cloth. the russians were trying to mess with our elections. time and time again, these lines can be traced which is what people are investigating right now, the fbi, congress and mueller, lines can be traced back to russia. to say that that's fake news and is somehow nonexistent, i suppose it's a tactic but not going to get very far from people trying to get to the bottom of it. >> yep. and then there were questions about the german chancellor
11:49 am
angela merkel. some of the awkward moments when president trump was over for the g-7 over in belgium and then what angela merkel said that we can completely rely on one another is over and doubled down today and then the president tweeted about it. this was sean spicer's response. >> where do you see the state of the u.s./german relationship right now and how important is that relationship to the white house and the president and the american public? >> i think the relationship that the president has had with merkel, he would describe as fairly unbelievable. they get along very well. he has a lot of respect for her. they continue to grow the bond that they had during their talks in the g-7. any views, not just germany but the rest of europe, is an important american ally during his conversations with nato and the g-7.
11:50 am
>> david, let me come to you. guys, put the trump tweet on the screen. this is what the president had to say about germany. "very bad for the u.s. this will change" on paying nato. david chalian, sean spicer saying that the media are taking the comments out of context, do you think we're reading too much into it? what kind of consequence could this war on words have? >> fairly unbelievable. i don't quite know what that means in describing the relationship. i think sean spicer thinks it's spectacular or unbelievably good is what i think he was i am flying. fairly unbelievable. angela merkel would describe the relationship that means something else. >> good point. >> clearly there is a strain in this relationship. i understand sean's frustration with the coverage of it but i don't think, even in the context of angela merkel and her own
11:51 am
domestic politics and running for re-election which is important for everyone to know, i still think what she was describing is quite unusual in terms of rhetoric that we hear out of a leader in the u.s. modern day relationship. >> no question. brooke, i also think that that was a classic example of how a white house -- the trump white house, because this didn't happen in previous white houses, can use sean spicer to clean things up and smooth things over that make it even more tense because of the president's tweets. the president was, you know, basically punching back in his tweet this morning at angela merkel and what sean clearly went out there to do was to try to calm things down and try to make sure that things don't get worse between the u.s. and germany. i thought that was really interesting. unbelievable was not necessarily the word that maybe would be a way to achieve that, but we knew what he was trying to say. >> we've got it. gloria, i apologize.
11:52 am
we got cut off before. i want to loop back with you on your great reporting on some of this color and news coming out of the white house, which is where the president's mindset is. >> i was told by multiple people who speak with him that before he went on the trip he was in a glum mood and didn't get better when he came back, obviously. he's got his son-in-law now part of a counterintelligence investigation. he clearly feels under assault. i was told he's kind of living within his own head and this source said to me it's a dangerous place for him to be, that he feels alone, that he doesn't have a lot of faith in the people who work for him and so i think you have this idea of a president who can't figure out why he can't punch through all of this and get to do what he wants to do, that he takes no blame for anything that's going
11:53 am
on with the russia investigation, that all he wants to do is fix it, which i believe is what he was probably trying to do when he talked to members of his administration about trying to fix it. and i think that there's also a lot of criticism coming to the president from outside people about his staff. one person said to me, these people play checkers, not chess, meaning that they are not anticipating every move out there. and -- >> shooting from the hip? >> yeah. and you can blame donald trump for that, of course. but i do think he's sort of taking a lot of incoming from his friends, trying to figure out what to do with the staff and how to recalibrate as they go forward with the russia investigation. >> so you talk about how he feels like he's under assault and that tees up -- we'll hit on it again, sean spicer going off on the media in the briefing. roll it. >> when you see stories get
11:54 am
perpetrated that absolutely false and not based in fact, that is troubling and he's rightly concerned. >> can you give me an example of fake news, sean? >> yeah, absolutely. >> please. >> friday the president was having a great discussion at the g-7 and somt one from the bbc retweeted that the president was being rude by disrespecting the italian prime minister. when in fact you all at every one of the meetings that we sit in watch the president with the one ear piece used by other presidents and yet the president did a great job at nato, building stronger bonds, building stronger bonds at the g-7, and that's the kind of thing that the bbc and ultimately the reporter is who is joining "the new york times" with no apology. it's true. you did it.
11:55 am
>> reporters make mistakes. >> no. that's just fake. >> you're making something out of one tweet instead of the vast majority -- >> with all due respect, i was asked to give an example and i did it. >> i gave an answer to jim. the problem is that i think the president, to the question, when he sees things not based in fact and a narrative gets pushed -- >> so that's just -- well, with all due respect, when you see instances like that get perpetrated over and over again, that is frustrating. no, i'm not here -- i didn't come here with a list of things but -- well, thank you. i appreciate it. you get to decide what's big and what's not, there's a lot of this stuff that's gotten pushed out based on unnamed, unaccountable sources that is very troubling and i think when you see the same kind of thing happen over and over again, it's concerning. >> all right. let's pick up this piece of the conversation with two new faces here. we've got former republican
11:56 am
congressman david jolly with us and former lieutenant governor of south carolina andre bauer. gentlemen, great to have you here. >> great to be with you. >> listening to sean spicer, ripping into the media, listen, the issues are piling up. you have this cloud of the russian investigation hanging over the white house now that they are back from the big trip overseas. they are lawyering up and apparently building this war room. it seems to me, though, that they are just shooting the messenger. >> well, they are getting a lot of shots from all sides. spicer ought to be commended. he holds himself just monotone the whole time, never gets flushed no matter what they throw at him. i'll give you a quick example, the fact that it was said by the news that martin luther king's bus was removed from the white house. >> but that was corrected long ago. a lot of this is coming from the president himself.
11:57 am
>> you hear this drip, drip, drip on russia and we hear that there were ties between russia and the people in the camp of donald trump. but there's no facts and six months of investigation, still no leak that is concrete or anything that was illegal. but we don't hear much more about podesta's ties, the clinton ties, calls from putin to bill clinton. >> andre. >> so none of those are ever brought back up but in fact those should be investigated just as much as any ties. >> congressman jolly, you're listening? >> yes. >> thoughts? >> you don't hear about it because hillary clinton lost the election and donald trump holds the public trust and he's president of the united states and it's worthwhile for the
11:58 am
americans to know what his ties are. it was shocking to hear him describing about bringing back a strong america, and the reality is, rarely have we seen a weaker president on the world stage. you've had putin offered to release a white house transcript from the oval office that trump said he didn't have. president erdogan beat up protesters and angela merkel says we can't rely on him. comey says i had to keep notes on this guy because i can't trust him. the president's own deputy a.g. appoints a special prosecutor. the reality is, this is a weak president on the world stage despite the narrative that sean tried to deliver today that sounded like it had been written by donald trump himself. >> andre, to put the ball back
11:59 am
in your court, the president talks about this fake news and anonymous sources and a reporter was saying how is it okay for the president to rip anonymous sources and yet retweet some fox news article which has a positive spin on his administration which is entirely contingent upon an anonymous source? it's not fair. >> well, also, because they don't know how to handle the kushner story. kellyanne conway said today on the record that it was standard operating procedure. it's not perhaps that he intended to establish a back channel. it was the motive. when back channels have existed, they've been highly coordinated with intelligence sources here in the united states. what kushner was trying to do, the motive is very important but the carelessness and recklessness could have jeopardized our security, just
12:00 pm
like the president releasing classified information in the oval office. >> andre, you tell me how it's fair that the president can bash anonymous sourcing and retweet a story, based on an anonymous source. >> i don't have to defend that. it's legitimate to point out. >> what else do you think? >> i think the congressman references angela merkel, i think it's a good thing, as a taxpayer and u.s. citizen and said, hey, your friends in a beer joint keep paying this tab and i've been paying the tab for a long time and realized it's not the u.s.' role to continue to pay everybody else's bill and so we all were supposed to be in this together and that's the whole purpose of what was put together many decades ago and fulfilling a