tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN June 3, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
>> steve ban none thank you for coming on. >> thanks for having me. >> catch "fareed zakaria gps" every sunday 10:00 a.m. eastern and pacific in the united states, international viewers check cnn.com for your local air times. ciao from rome. hello, thanks for joining me on this sunday. i'm pamela brown in for fredricka whitfield. we begin with the latest turn in the russia investigation. the president's lawyer sending special counsel robert mueller a 20-page letter this past january arguing that trump cannot obstruct justice. this is according to the "new york times," which could be tained the letter sent to mueller's team. now the attorneys say president trump, as the country's top law enforcement officer, can end an investigation "at any time and for any reason." all of this is trump's new lawyer rudy giuliani is making the tv rounds once again warning
that if mueller threatens to subpoena trump that they will battle it out in court, and he also weighed in on the chances the president will sit down for an interview with robert mueller. >> jay and i want to keep an open mind and i have to just be honest leaning toward not, but look if they can convince us it would be brief, to the point, there are five or six points they have to clarify, and with that we can get this over with. >> and the russia meddling probe is top of mind for the president as he attempts to distance himself from his former campaign chairman paul manafort asking why the fbi did not warn him it was investigating man afarther during the campaign. let's get straight to boris sanchez, a lot to break down. what more can you tell us about giuliani's message today, boris? >> rudy giuliani echoing much of what was in that letter published yesterday by the "new york times," that memo sent from the trump legal team to the special counsel, giuliani in fact says that he agrees with
about 80% of it, and he makes the case to the president as you noted could constitutionally end any investigation even one that pertains to him, though he at. pre likely won't do here is the specific portion of that memo that giuliani was talking about. the president's legal team writing that "if he wished, the president could terminate the inquiry or exercise his power to pardon if he so desired." giuliani making a similar comment when it comes to the issue of a self-pardon, arguing that though the constitution theoretically makes it possible for the president to pardon himself, the president likely won't, because it will trigger an immediate impeachment. listen to this from the former mayor of new york city. >> it's not going to happen, so it's a hypothetical point. the president of the united states pardoning himself would just be unthinkable, and it would lead to probably an immediate impeachment. you know, the house, senate
would be under tremendous pressure. president trump has no need to do that. he didn't do anything wrong. this is a terrible investigation. >> and pam, former mayor of new york also arguing that one of the remedies for the russia investigation is for the president's legal team essentially to approach a judge and have that judge declare the investigationi illegitimate, something they have the right to do. >> paul manafort, the president was tweeting about him. what you can tell us about that? >> the president apparently trying to put distance between himself and paul manafort. he writes, "there was no collusion russia" i don't believe that was the right one. another one. "as only one of two people leftd who could become president why wouldn't the fbi or department of justice have told me they were secretly investigating paul manafort on charges that were 10 years old and previously dropped
during my campaign, should have told me." the president went on "paul manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time. he represented ronald reagan, bob dole and many others over the years but we should have been told comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and" of course the timing here is of note, because there have been widespread reports including from "the wall street journal" that have indicated that fisa surveillance of paul manafort didn't begin until august of 2016, once he had left the trump campaign. further the president continues to push this idea that he was only with the campaign for a short amount of time. he was the campaign manager for approximately three months, including during a crucial phase during the republican national convention and of course that controversial meeting with russians in trump tower, where he was alongside donald trump jr. and jared kushner as well, p pam. >> boris sanchez, thank you so much. joining me to discuss this
senior political correspondent for "the washington examiner" david drucker, contributor for "time" magazine jade newton-small and cnn legal analyst michael zeldin, former with robber mueller at the department of justice. thank you for coming in on this rainy day in washington. michael, i want to start with breaking down the 20-page memo because there are a lot of gray like legal areas in this, you know, raise the question of obstruction of justice, whether the president can obstruct justice, they make the case that he can't because he is the chief law enforcement officer and therefore can end any investigation. is that true? >> that's their theory of the case, and that's what they are arguing, and if the case were to go to court, that would be what they would argue to the court, but it's unknown. there has been no decisional law by a court that says if the president of the united states exercising his constitutional rights does something with corrupt intent, he is able to
avoid prosecution for obstruction of justice, or bribery or any other related crimes. so it's a theory, and we have to see how it gets, you know, joined at one point before the courts to know whether that theory, you know, holds water or not. >> because it makes you think even if he can end an investigation, what about intent, if there is a corrupt intent? all of this has been untested in the courts and of course this could all end up before the courts if it gets to a subpoena, david. trump tweeted yesterday, when i was works, we were all dumbfounded, like what is he talking about this letter from his lawyer. he tweeted this before the "new york times" article came out asking if the special counsel leaked his lawyers letters to the news. there is no proof of that, but who has the most to gain by this letter coming out? >> i think the trump white house and president trump specifically. i think if you look at mr. mueller's investigation and his team, it's been pretty air tight. this is not the thing i think they're going to leak. it doesn't serve them to leak
it. it serves the president's team to leak this because the president can complain that mueller has ill intent, he's leaking this to try to shape public opinion number one. number two, look at everything in the letter we've been discussing over the past 24 hours. there are all sorts of legal precedents that the trump campaign, i keep saying trump campaign but that the trump team is trying to establish but also political conditions that they are trying to shape. one is to take away this notion that the president could possibly do anything wrong, that there's a legal aspect to that. there's also a political aspect. if you get all of this out there, and it's aired out in the court of public opinion before mueller issues his report, whenever that is, this is old news by then, and so everybody's digested this, and the trump team with trump obviously at the heft of that team via twitter and everything else because he's really his own chief communications director has shaped a narrative here, and one
key thing you've seen, you have seen now not on the senate side but in the house of representatives you started to see not just republicans on the house intelligence committee but top house republican leaders come around to trump's way of thinking publicly and say so. this investigation is iffy. we don't know if it's legitimate and it's time to wrap it up, so the whole party is closing ranks in advance of the mid terms and all of this serves the president's need to politically own this thing the way he wants. >> you're seeing it have an impact in the polls in terms of especially how republicans view the investigation. jay, i want to listen to what former u.s. attorney said on "state of the union" this morning. >> i think it would be outrageous for a sitting president of the united states to -- i think if the president decided he was going to pardon himself, i think that's almost self-executing impeachment. >> your reaction, jay?
>> preet always comes one great one-liners. >> knows how to get to the zingers. >> giuliani said this isn't something we're thinking about doing and it is something that clearly the moment he said it, it sparked a lot of outrage. you saw not just preet bhara but kevin mccarthy on cnn saying the president would never pardon himself, that's an unrealistic possibility and it's not going to happen. so i do think that the idea floating out there came from the dinesh d'souza pardoning and the pardonings of martha stewart floating and people, the idea the president might do it, that was a question asked and i don't think it will happen. >> in the memo it raised the possibility potentially. it said that the president can pardon whoever he wants. mueller has been looking at his actions and the obstruction of justice probe and raise the question, can the president pardon himself if he wanted to? again rudy giuliani said that's not an option but could he? >> i don't think so and in fact
there's an office of legal counsel opinion within the justice department from august 5th, 1974, which says no one can be the judge in his case and therefore the president cannot pardon himself. full stop. so i think if olc's opinion governs whether or not a sitting president can be indicted it governs the question whether a president can pardon himself. i think it's off the table politically and also legally. >> i want to also call attention to something, david, that was in this 20-page memo, where the legal team actually acknowledged that the president dictated a "short but accurate statement" on the don jr. meeting at trump towr. it was misleading, let's put that out there. this was a statement that as you'll recall said it was primarily about russian adoption and we find out no, it was to get dirt on hillary clinton but this also comes after the president's lawyer, jay sekulow and sarah sanders had said he didn't diblg tate it. sarah sanders later said he weighed in.
what do you make of that? >> look, it's a problem when a president misleads the press because you're misleading the publ and bill clinton found that out when he told anybody he didn't have sexual relations with a particular woman. it wasn't he was misleading the reporters asking the questn he was misleading the american people and he suffered liticall that time. i think that this tells us, there's a lot we probably do not know about what mueller is investigating and what he has found out and you've seen especially since giuliani came on as the president's lead legal spokesman and lawyer this desire to get out in front of things that mueller is probably going to expose so they can control the narrative and i think a part of this, and this gets to what we've been talking about is that the president is trying to send a signal that you don't want to create a discussional crisis and maybe, this is to mueller's team and members of congress tread
lightly. does anybody want to have the country tested that way? i don't think you mention something you're never going to do unless the point is to send a signal that it's something you're keeping in your back pocket and does anybody really want to go there. >> interesting. as i was reading through thi 20-page memo i kept thinking i wonder what mueller and his team reaction was when they read that in january. i appreciate t david drucker, jay newton-small and michael zeldin. coming up a key republican is forming a coalition of lawmakers to challenge the president. why senator corker says president trump's plans to levy tariffs on u.s. allies is "damaging to our country and our allies." we'll be back. let's go to sumatra. where's sumatra? good question. this is win. and that's win's goat, adi. the coffee here is amazing. because the volcanic soil is amazing. making the coffee erupt with flavor. so we give farmers like win more plants. to grow more delicious coffee. that erupts with even more flavor. which helps provide for win's family. and adi the goat's family too. because his kids eat a lot.
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the action and announced their own tariffs on u.s. products. there seems to be a split within the president's party. republican senator corker tweeted "i am working with like-minded republicans senators on ways to push back on the president using authorities in ways never intended and that are damaging to our country and towe allies. will democrats join us?" compare that to what house majority leader kevin mccarthy said just this morning. >> we believe in free trade and we believe in fair trade. the eu ended the wto complaint against china on the theft of ip. i think what we're finding here is we're in the middle of a trade discussion. nobody wants to be in a trade war. nobody wins a trade war, but we're standing up for the process of where we're moving forward that we have fair trade. if you're talking about canada, look what they do when it comes to your dairy products.
our wine cannot sit on their supermarkets. i think this is a discussion trying to finalize the nafta agreement, going through on renegotiations and you're just in the middle of it. >> and back with me now david drucker and jay newton-small. david, i want to begin with you on this tweet from bob corker, a republican, and as we were just talking about during the break, look, there has been an interesting cdynamic between corker and the president but still this tweet was sending a strong message on the president's tariff. >> he basically said we're headed toward venezuela and if we've seen the breakdown there, that country almost is imploding. >> right. >> because its economy is under a socialist dictator essenti essentially, has completely fallen apart. and i think the trade issue is interesting, because if there's anywhere, where republicans have been willing to push back not withstanding leader mccarthy's comments earlier this morning to dana bash, it has been trade. speaker ryan, mitch mcconnell,
senate majority leader both issued critical statements. this is one of the few areas where republicans are willing to speak out tell the president they think he's wrong. now the question is, what do they intend to do about it? >> right. >> because they can work with democrats who will work with them to stop anything trump does anyway and deliver a veto-proof majority legislation stopping this. will they in. >> that is the question. he says he wants to push back. and what do you make of kevin's, kevin mccartccarthy's argument is a renegotiation for nafta, a trade discussion, not a trade war. do you buy that? >> one of the classic republicans trying to pull back the president's remarks and the president's actions in a diplomatic way but kevin' job, leader mccarthy's job is to keep together his own conference, and this is a conference that is a huge number of them pro traders that really love nafta, that really, really want to see more trade deals signed into law and so it's always been one of those issues divided the republican
party and kevin mccarthy's job is to bring his party together and he's treading a fine line here. >> in the wake of the tariff announcement u.s. allies announced retaliatory tariffs. here is what canada's foreign anyonester said to dana bash this morning. >> i can say this particular policy the imposition of tariffs on canadian steel and aluminum is going to hurt americans first and foremost, and it is going to hurt all of those american companies that need canadian steel and aluminum and will now face higher prices and will therefore be less competitive. it is going to hurt all of those american consumers who will have to pay more, and the retaliatory measures which we have been compelled to take in response, those will also hurt, and i really regret that. >> david, will the tariffs end up hurting americans? >> they could hurt a lot of americans. in fact and we've written about this at "the examiner" they could hurt millions of americans some of the president's most
ardent supporters. they could hit those industries in parts of the country that voted for trump and some of the strongest numbers. they could undermine the growth that we have seen coming out of the republican tax reform bill that republicans are so proud of, and are counting on to help them in the midterm elections and i think part of what i think we need to understand here is there's a difference between china and mexico and canada and our european allies. we notice mccarthy in the interview focusing on misdeeds by china and if it's just china, the president will have sympathy in his own party on the hill for fighting back and playing hard ball. what concerns them is the impact of going after our allies, they're really worried it could hurt, cause inflation, it could put a wet blanket on the economy which is a favorite republican term during the obama years so this thing could get tricky and it's going to be hard for other leaders of our allies to go to their own voters and say we backed down because president trump is not very popular there and so they have their own
domestic issues that's going to make this potentially a big problem. >> also how much we need our allies in dealing with china, that's another question all of this raises. thank you so much, david and jay. i do appreciate it. and still more to come, the trump administration vowing to keep the pressure on north korea, what the u.s. is demanding less than ten days before the historic summit between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un. we'll be back. or psoriatic arthritis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats differently. for psoriasis, 75% clearer skin is achievable with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and for psoriatic arthritis, otezla is proven to reduce joint swelling, tenderness, and pain. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. tell your doctor if these occur.
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president trump, in singapore. james mattis says it is not enough for north korea just to show up for the meeting. >> especially now we must remain vigilant. we will continue to implement all u.n. security council resolutions on north korea. north korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization. >> cnn's international diplomatic editor nic robertson joins me from seoul, south korea. this appears to be tough talk but at the same time the president is changing his tone on the meeting calling it a get to know you session, he no longer wants to say the phrase maximum pressure campaign. is he edging toward a water-downed deal here? >> that is certainly what some of his allies in the region japan in particular are concerned about. secretary mattis on sunday had a one on one bilateral meeting
with japan's defense minister, and it was japan's defense minister on saturday who said what essentially what does president trump mean by not using this term extreme measures, what does he mean in terms of sanctions and it also said that the united states shouldn't sit down at the table with kim jong-un unless the north korean leader is putting more on the table in terms of his comprehensive complete irreversible verification of denuclearization. so united states allies in this case japan are precisely concerned about that. they see the historic parallels, where other american presidents have gone in to similar situations with north korean leaders only to find that they don't start off on a strong footing and it never really gets any better the commitments are hollow or they don't follow through. there is this concern. if you're in south korea's position, also a u.s. ally it
feels this is an opportunity that north korea shouldn't be pre-judged on what's happened in the past, but there certainly is a lot of concern now really on president trump to come to this meeting and deliver as, you know, a strong businessman as he portrays himself a businessman who can negotiate one on one face to face, to pull it out of the bag essentially, the round view here is that he's not starting at the moment from what everyone can see in a very strong position. >> all right, nic robertson in seoul thank you so much for that. with me now aaron david miller, a cnn global affairs analyst and spent more than two decades at state department and served as an adviser to several secretaries of state first question, on the heals els of w we heard from nic what does the president have to lose going into the meeting? is he on weaker footing? >> no. i think he's accepted certain realities. he can have a meeting and use maximum pressure and be tough
with kim but can't get a deal. the reality is he wants a deal and this is a president driven by acclamation and place in history books and separate himself from his predecessors the reality number one is you're not going to get the zero war heads with kim within a matter of years. so i think he understands that. he also understands that -- >> you think he's gradually understood that, though, do you think that has evolved since the beginning when he said hey, we are going to meet. >> some of his advisers recently john bolton and the vice president have gotten far out ahead of the president with respect to being too tough on north korea and i think the president wants to reel it back. i think he's also recognized something he sees in himself, the fact is you've got two mercurial volatile leader, kim and trump, both focussed on their needs. trump understands if he wants to get through to kim, he's got to treat him with some measure of respect, which is extremely
important to the north koreans, and to kim. >> do you think though as you watch the meeting play out on friday with the second most powerful man in north korea, it's clear that the president also likes the theatrics surrounding this, the long good-bye outside of the white house and so forth. is he in danger of embracing the theater of this more than the substance and content of a potential meeting? what is your view? >> all presidents are actors. they're character characters-i. our greatest presidents were characters-in-chief, washington, fdr, they understood you have to present yourself on the international stapling. i think he does like drama but more than that believing he is the world's best negotiator, he is absolutely persuaded and i think this is mistake number one that he, in fact, has the personality and the skills to do a deal with kim. >> this is certainly a big test for that. korean state media says that kim jong-un will meet with syria's bashar al assad, this on the
heels with the meeting he had with president xi, with south korea's leader as well as the lavrov of russia. what do you think is going on here? is he trying to raise his stature in advance of the world summit? >> in the case of assad it would be the first head of state to meet kim in pyongyang. it would be a first. it's also the totalitarian club. you have the world's last totalitarian, kim jong-un, meeting with an international pariah, assad. kim is sending a signal to the americans if you think this process is going to domesticate me, somehow i'll compromise my allies, including the syrians, you're wrong. it carries a fair measure of symbolic value. whether it will actually happen before june 12th thereafter is another matter. >> as nic pointed out in his reporting, north korea has sometimes made concessions that turn out to be reversible.
how much weight do you think the administration should put on history with north korea versus just starting on the clean slate and saying let's give them the benefit of the doubt. >> falker in wrote in "requiem for a nun" the past is never over, even past. history is critical in forming kim's view. history is a guide but it can't be a prison. the fact is, this is the first nrth korean leader to sit with an american president, the first one who actually has nukes, so we're actually in a different space. whether or not the president can deliver civid, comprehensive irreversible disarmament verifiable disarmament is another matter. what he might be able to deliver, though, is a u.s./north korean relationship that changes the conversation from confrontation to peace, well, to more normalization, and another process that's happening in parallel fashion, north korea and south korea, so this could
be a one-off, a train wreck, creator but then again we might be on the verge of something extremely significant, having played a small r in planning three or four presidential summits, at least most of which failed, it's a tough go under any circumstances. >> certainly it is. but in your view, even if he doesn't achieve denuclearization complete denuclearization but helps repair the relationship, creates more peace, that could be a win. >> the end state let's realize what the goal is here to avoid a war on the korean peninsula. the goal is to deescalate and create another kind of relationship between the north koreans and the u.s., and you know, i voted for republicans and democrats. i worked for them. i hope this guy actually is able to do that. >> aaron david miller, thank you. really interesting insight, appreciate it. >> thank you, pam. just ahead on this sunday, trapped in paradise, surrounded by molten lava, nearly a dozen people stranded in a disaster
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about to cut off their final escape route but several chose to stay. on friday, emergency responders said they had no plans to rescue anyone who did not evacuate, but authorities now say they plan to air lift the holdouts out of the danger zone if the lava spreads further. straight to cnn's scott mclean in pahoa, hawaii. what is the status of these holdouts trapped in the lava zone? >> reporter: hey pam. the headline on the local newspaper here seems to sum it up best, just says isolation, and that is really what these people are icing, we are talking about a dozen or less people who are in that area, that is acc d acrdin to civil defense officials and we've gotten word that they've used a helicopter to rescue three of them, two men and a woman, earlier this morning, were taken out of the area. there may be fewer than a dozen people in this area. we're talking about an area surrounded on one side by molten lava, and on the other side by the ocean, and so there really isn't anywhere to go, and as you
mentioned, it's not a fun place to be. according to civil defense, when they went by and did that final sweep that you mentioned, telling people look, you're going to be stranded, a lot of them said look, we just don't have a good place to go, so we're going to stick it out, but as you said, there is no power, there is no water, there is no land line, there is no cell phone service. if you want to be rescued you have to send smoke signals, write "s.o.s." in big letters on your lawn to get officials' attention in order to get you out of there. they have aircraft on standby in order to do that. the reality though is that this is all being fed by a massive fissure. if you look closely in the distance there, you can see the smoke rising from it, and it is big. we're talking about lava shooting at times some 200 feet into the air over the past several days. of course that is a heck of a lot of lava and it has to go somewhere. it is going toward the ocean and pam, in the past, we've seen these flows toward the ocean be benign, mostly but fields,
uninhabited areas but this one is different. this lava flow is on its way to the ocean, and it is going through a populated area of beachfntmes, and entire really village over there, and so not only is it going to cut off these people, these entire neighborhoods, and these dozen or so people who are still there but it is also going to destroy a heck of a lot of homes, 87 have been lost so far, and we can only expect that that number will rise. >> just so frightening for those residents trapped there. there has got to be a better place to go than being trapped in that lava zone. scott mclean, thank you so much. do appreciate it. chaos and uncertainty for a high stakes race, all eyes are on california this week for so the called jungle primary. that's up next. plus anthony bourdain is headed to one of his favorite cities, hong kong, and here is a preview. >> hong kong, the city always in
transition, always moving forward, money mad, unapologetically modern. but there's another side, a beautiful one, in danger of disappearing entirely. we look at this city through the eyes and lens of one of the greatest cinematographers who ever lived. >> to me, the energy is the noise. it's the people. i mean, the films that we made were only this way because we made them here. >> a long time resident known abroad as chris doyle, and on hong kong streets as du cafe. >> as an artist is to show you the world that you think you know and celebrate it. i really believe my job is beauty. >> you can catch an all new episode of "parts unknown" tonight at 9:00 eastern.
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