Return to Transcripts main page
Obama Marks 70 Anniversary of D-Day in France; Tragic Shooting Erupts on Seattle Campus; Excerpts of Hillary Clinton's Book Released
Aired June 6, 2014 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Gentlemen, we are truly humbled by your presence here today. They left home barely more than boys and returned home heroes.
Whenever the world makes you cynical, stop and think of these men. We have to honor those who carry forward that legacy, recognizing that people cannot live in freedom unless free people are prepared to die for it.
May God bless our veterans and all who serve with them, including those who rest here in eternal peace and may God bless all who served today for the peace and security of the world. May God bless the people of France and may God bless our United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It is Friday, June 6.
That what you heard is President Obama, this morning marking D-Day, paying tribute to allied forces who stormed Normandy's beaches now 70 years ago today, shifting really the momentum of World War II and the world at that moment. Right now the diplomatic lunch is in progress. President Obama arrived just moments ago.
Another interesting item that you'll see right here is this picture, President Obama and Vladimir Putin, Russian president, just feet from each other during what they call a family photo. From what we see they made no obvious effort to embrace. But this is the first time they've been in such close quarters since Russia began its aggression on Ukraine.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Right. We don't need them to hug. We just need them to talk. That's what we're hoping, that they use the momentum of this moment today to remember how urgent situations can be and how important strategic alliances are.
Let's get a little insight. We just got the seating plan at the lunch. Remember, it may seem irrelevant, but it is. Everything is negotiated.
Here's what we know: Presidents Putin and Obama are just seats away from each other. The men could have chosen to be farther apart, as they could have in that picture. Is the message that they're going to be close but not too close? We're going to see what comes from it. Certainly they're closer in this picture and at lunch than they are on the issue of the Ukraine right now.
So, we're going to give you pictures of that lunch and developments as we get through throughout the morning.
Let's bring in chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. She's joining us from one of the landing areas from D-Day. Remember it was a 50-mile stretch. She's on Sword Beach.
We're also joined by chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto and senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. Of course, that was the site of the big push that the American led on the allied charge there and took the biggest losses.
Christiane, first, set the stage for how we are hoping that the leaders, specifically Obama and Putin take the meaning of a day like today and use it as momentum to fix a situation before it leads us into more violence.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, as you say, I'm at Sword Beach which was 70 years ago, the British landing place. What you can see behind me are preparations, military bans for the big international celebration that President Obama, President Putin, the queen of England, President Hollande, and all the world leaders who've been invented here sometime within the next hour. That should get underway.
Right now, I've just seen one of the pictures broadcast live from inside the castle not so far from here where they're having that lunch. They are sitting very close to each other. They're sitting on different tables, but both sitting towards the top of their tables. President Hollande is standing in between giving the opening speech.
So, the idea here is that maybe they'll talk. They probably will. President Obama has said he has a business-like relationship with President Putin. And the objective is to get President Putin to stop the flow of fighters and arms into Eastern Ukraine and authorize his people to start negotiations with Kiev, and to bring this to a political resolution. That is the objective and that is what they have to do.
Already, world leaders, Angela Merkel of Germany, British Prime Minister David Cameron have spoken to privately and individually with President Putin. That is the mission and the message they are transmitting.
Apart from that, of course, President Obama has clearly tied in not just the tribute and the remembrance and the commemoration of so much sacrifice that took place right on these beaches 70 years ago to the very real crises and troubles that need to be resolved right now. He talked about Normandy as having been the beach head of democracy. He talked about this sliver of sand, as he put it, this tiny sliver of sand that became not just the fate of this war, but on it turned the course of human history.
So the past and the present very much in these leaders minds today -- Chris.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Christiane. What we're looking at is the video Christiane was mentioning of French President Francois Hollande speaking as this lunch gets under way. You see president Obama sitting close to him. Across the way, Russian president Vladimir Putin.
CUOMO: Separated by two queens and a president.
BOLDUAN: You said it absolutely perfectly.
Let's bring in Jim Sciutto to continue this conversation.
As Christiane just well-pointed out, they're looking back, they're looking to the present and the future.
This could be a consequential day, Jim. Who knows what can happen when world leaders get together in one room to break bread. The message from western leaders has been Vladimir Putin needs to back down. You need to recognize the Ukrainian government. You need to begin talking to the Ukrainian government. The question is will the message actually sink in, Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, Kate, we're talking, we're commemorating a war, an invasion that took place 70 years ago today. We're talk about a war, a low-level war, but still a war going on today inside Europe, in eastern Ukraine, one that U.S. officials blame on Russia. It's remarkable. Who would have thought that in the year 2014 we would have a conflict like this under way. It pits two super powers, U.S. and Russia against each other ones again.
Now, the president gave president Putin an opening in his comments yesterday, not only saying that he would be willing to meet with him today and talk, and there we see them in those pictures feet from each other. It's almost hard to imagine how they don't talk, but also a larger opening saying in temperature's words, it is possible to rebuild trust with Russia. That's the carrot. The stick, though, the president mentioning again if Russia continues to support these rebels, these separatists in the east and does not recognize the new government in Ukraine, then those much spoken about sec tropical storm sanction on the Russian economy will come.
The president said they will look at Russia's behavior for the next several weeks. The time frame as always with these things uncertain, leaving a lot of wiggle room, but I think the bigger news yesterday was the president opening that door saying not just we're willing to talk and we want to talk, but we can actually rebuild this relationship or begin to rebuild this relationship which is something, speaking to administration officials at the height of the Ukraine crisis, that is something they weren't quite eliminating but they were saying this relationship will never be the same again. Now, you have the president at least giving an opening there. We hear
this morning that President Putin did meet with the new president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko at events today, perhaps a sign, maybe a step moving in the direction of recognition of this new government.
CUOMO: All right. Jim, thank you for that.
Obviously we're trying to get a melding here of what the past will be used to harness the significance of the presence and the future.
Let's bring in Jim Acosta, he's been traveling with the president, and obviously pressing issues right now for the president to be dealing with, and a key adviser for him is, of course, Susan rice. You had a chance to speak with her. What do you know, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
That's right, Chris. I did have a chance to talk to the president's national security adviser Susan Rice. We talked about the chance encounter that the president might have with Vladimir Putin. She reminded that they have had several chances to speak over the phone. She wasn't entirely sure whether they would speak face-to-face.
If he does have a chance to speak to Putin at length, she said that he will emphasize, as Jim Sciutto was saying, that the United States would like to see Russia stand down and have the separatists in eastern Ukraine stand down. She said when I asked her, is the president letting Putin off the hook by some of this talk earlier this week of rebuilding relations with Russia, and she said absolutely not. The threat of sectoral sanctions for Russia still exist.
Chris and Kate, as you know, all this week the president has been somewhat distracted by this controversy surrounding the release of former POW Bowe Bergdahl who was freed in exchange for those five Taliban prisoners who were released from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo.
I asked Susan Right about that. As you recall, on one of the Sunday talk shows she described Bowe Bergdahl as having served in the U.S. military with, quote, "honor and distinction."
That rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. There are fellow soldiers who say Bowe Bergdahl may have been a deserter, although that has not been proven. I asked her about those comments. And she sought to clarify those comments during our interview. Here is what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Let me ask you about comments you made last Sunday on one of the talk shows. You say Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction.
It's come out since then that some of his fellow soldiers say he was a deserter, he may have wandered off the post there in Afghanistan. Did you misspeak? Did you get that wrong? SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Jim, I realize there's been a
lot of discussion and controversy around this, but what I was referring to is this is a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That is itself a very honorable thing. And --
ACOSTA: But honor and distinction?
RICE: Jim, really. This is a young man whose circumstances we are still going to learn about. He is, as always Americans, innocent until proven guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Susan Rice went on to say in that interview that Bowe Bergdahl deserves to have the chance to sell his side of the story and we'll be hearing that in the coming months. We also talked about Syria and whether or not the U.S. is missing an opportunity to stop Bashar al Assad in that bloody civil war. We talked about that conversation. Potentially that might take place with Vladimir Putin. A lot of other issues to tackle during that interview and we'll have that later on today right here on CNN -- Chris and Kate.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Jim, thank you so much, turning that around and quickly. We appreciate it, Jim Acosta traveling with president -- speaking with the president's national security adviser Susan Rice.
We have much more on that throughout the show.
Turning back at home, one student, though, put his own life on the line to save fellow classmates, tackling a man who opened fire on a Seattle college campus. One student was shot dead while three others were hurt.
Right now, we know the 26-year-old suspect was not a student at the school. So what could have been his motivation? Why would he have done something like that?
Dan Simon is live in Seattle, who has all the latest developments for us this morning -- Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, Kate. Police at this point had not been able to establish a connection between the alleged shooter and the university or any of the victims. But thanks to a very quick thinking student here, this situation could have been a whole lot worse.
SIMON (voice-over): It's happened once again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard a shot. We thought it was an experiment at first, but then we heard screaming.
SIMON: This time, a school shooting hitting Seattle Pacific University in Washington State. CAPT. CHRIS FOWLER, SEATTLE POLICE DEPT.: We had a young male enter the hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus. Was armed with a shotgun.
SIMON: It was just around 3:20 in the afternoon when the first calls came in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw blood on the carpet, bullet shells, blood splatters on the wall.
SIMON: Police responding to reports that a man, later identified as Aaron Ybarra, was firing a shotgun at students. Police say he was also carrying a knife.
One of the professors inside the campus's science building, the site of the shooting, witnessing it all.
KEVIN BOLDING, PROFESSOR AT SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY: I heard a shot, looked outside, and I saw a man laying face down on the ground with another man -- another man holding a shotgun over him.
SIMON: The shooter injuring four and killing one before police detained him. One of the victims, a 19-year-old male, died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The one female shot now recovering from a five-hour surgery in intensive care.
Ian Bishop was at the scene.
IAN BISHOP, STUDENT AT SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY: We were just trying to reassure her that everything was going to be OK, you know, she's going to live, most of all.
SIMON: Police say the shooter's rampage ended thanks to the bravery of a few students. The first who stepped in, senior engineering student, Jon Meis, a volunteer at the security desk.
CAPT. CHRIS FOWLER, SEATTLE POLICE DEPT.: A student monitor was able to stop the individual at that point, pepper sprayed that person, then got them to the ground.
SIMON: Students left reeling just a week before their final exams.
ED MURRARY, MAYOR OF SEATTLE: So today should have been a day of celebration at the end of the school year here at Seattle Pacific University; instead it's a day of tragedy and of loss.
SIMON: Well, it is another heartbreaking situation, but everyone here is so grateful that that student had the presence of mind to grab that pepper spray and immobilize the suspect and tackle him. Who knows how many lives he may have saved?
We'll say his name again, Jon Meis, and that is the person whoever one in this community is calling a hero. We'll send it back to you. MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And that is the name to remember and to congratulate. Let's hope they can get to the bottom of why this happened in the first place.
Dan Simon, thanks for that.
Anger growing in Congress, but President Obama is making no apologies for the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap saying Congress wasn't informed because Bergdahl's life as at risk. We're also learning more details about Bergdahl's time as a Taliban prisoner including attempts to escape.
CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with all this.
Good morning, Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela.
Well, a defense official says they do have reason to believe, they do have information that Bowe Bergdahl may have tried to escape his captors more than once.
Now, why do they say some information? Because until they can talk to Bergdahl and really find out from him everything that happened, they don't know for sure. And when will they talk to Bergdahl? That's unclear. He is continuing to recover, they say, and getting better. He is talking to the medical staff treating him, now talking in English.
He is assisting more in his own recovery and he's sleeping better we are told.
But the psychologists treating him, his team of specialists still has to determine that he's in good enough mental shape to make that trip back to San Antonio, Texas. And still that's where he's expected to be reunited with his parents. Chris, Kate.
CUOMO: All right. Barbara, thank you very much.
Coming up on NEW DAY: it's not out until next week, but somehow excerpts of Hillary Clinton's book making it into the media. Who knew? We're going to tell you some of the things that are interesting in here. Would she have made the Bowe Bergdahl swap? And did she want to help the now president during his campaign? We'll tell you.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.
Hillary Clinton's long awaited memoir "Hard Choices" isn't due out until next week. But excerpts are showing an insight look into her tenure as secretary of state and U.S. senator. Among the highlights, she writes of her relationship with President Obama, also attacking Sarah Palin and the discussions leading up to the prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl.
Let's discuss some of those. Joining us is CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, also host of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
Candy, good morning.
CANDY CROWLEY, "STATE OF THE UNION" HOST: Hey, Kate, how are you?
BOLDUAN: It's great. Great to see you.
So, one thing I found it really fascinating. Hillary Clinton wrote this book far before any talk of Bowe Bergdahl was back in the headlines. I find it interesting that she writes about it.
In part, she writes this, "There would not be any agreement about prisoners without the sergeant coming home." She goes on to say, "I acknowledge as I had many times before that opening negotiations with Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war."
What do you think of her response, what she writes and her response after Bowe Bergdahl's release?
CROWLEY: Well, I think her response has been very cautious since the release. It's basically been, this is good, we have a policy of leaving no man behind. We had to bring him home, and in the future we'll see just what kind of deal this was because you don't want to put anybody back on the battlefield.
That's not exactly, yea, this was perfect. It was a cautionary tale of what everybody says they're worried about, what about these five Guantanamo Bay prisoners that have gone to Qatar. So, that was cautious.
We have known these negotiations were going on for some time and years, in fact, as Susan Rice said as much last week. So it has been going on. We know Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, was involved in that and that she did voice some caution, and at that point which was a couple of years ago, thought there ought to be stages at which you learned to trust one another, enemies on the battlefield.
So she had a different viewpoint then, but much has changed including we know exactly when U.S. troops are coming out, so this administration felt it was running out of leverage. So what she felt then and what she cautioned about then, would they be the same things now, we'll never have any idea.
BOLDUAN: And inevitably if she would run, she'll clearly be asked about that and any distinction in those policies. But cautious is the way to describe it. Another interesting part about this book, I know it caught your attention as well, the excerpt about kind of the difficulty of being a woman and being in politics, quite honestly. The Obama administration -- pardon me -- the Obama campaign at one point asking her to take on Sarah Palin when Sarah Palin was announced to run.
And Hillary Clinton says this in part, "I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman, appealing for support from other women. I didn't think it made political sense and it didn't feel right. So I said no."
CROWLEY: Yes, Hillary Clinton is the most prominent woman on the national scene probably at least competitive on the global scene. It seems to me that this had a hint at the time to her of, oh, let's let the girl go after the girl. That will be a cool idea.
And she -- that didn't feel right to her. And somehow, I think she has always struggled with this.
When we were in Iowa and she was struggling against even then Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's main goal at that point in the caucus era was to show she can be tough, that as a woman she could be tough, and she could be muscular, and she could take on Osama bin Laden and she could this and that and did not spend a lot of time on the women thing, like I would be history.
When we left Iowa, all the polling showed the campaign that when it came to young women -- the younger you got as a female, the less big a deal you thought it would be to have Hillary Clinton be president. She's got to again learn how to balance this. I'm running as the best candidate. Yes, I'm a woman and that would be historic and that's always a balance that I think she struggled with, I know she struggled with what will be eight years hence and she will likely struggle with it again.
BOLDUAN: You can definitely add that in to maybe the lessons learned category, maybe why that part of -- many people say the motivation of this book, a lot of the excerpts released prior to this were about her mother, about becoming a grandmother, about the happiness of seeing her daughter be married. A lot of stuff that voters did not see in 2008 as you point out.
CROWLEY: They did not.
I mean, they tried to turn that corner. It doesn't come naturally to her. She has a Midwest reserve. Coming from the Midwest I think I kind of understand that. She's not a big emoter.
But, you know, we saw that thing where she cried in New Hampshire and everybody was, oh, my god, she choked up. That kind of microscope will still be there for a woman.
I think they have come to believe that, in fact, this will be history and there's some way to play that that doesn't make it all about being a woman, and that's the balance they're trying to strike.
BOLDUAN: You're not necessarily weak on foreign policy if you say I'm a woman and I'm running, this will be historic. Real quick t book is coming out on Tuesday, a lot to discuss on that. I also want to know what's happening on Sunday.
Who is coming up on "STATE OF THE UNION"?
CROWLEY: We'll have some brass on, as they say, to talk about the dilemma of Bergdahl, the things that have been said since news of his release came out. We'll be talking about that and some of the things that have come up in politics over this week.
BOLDUAN: Candy, it's always great to see you, happy Friday. We'll see you on Sunday.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
Be sure to watch Candy Crowley on "STATE OF THE UNIONS" Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern right here on CNN -
CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, Kate, we've got something you don't ever see, a different side of Stephen Colbert. He breaks down while talking with Jake Tapper. Find out what got him so emotional, coming up.
PEREIRA: Time now for the five things to know for your NEW DAY.
Number one, today marks 70 years since D-Day. President Obama spoke this morning at the American Cemetery in France. A diplomatic lunch is under way right now with Obama and Vladimir Putin and Obama sitting kind of near each other for the first time since the Ukrainian crisis began.
U.A. Amy Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl may have tried to escape the Taliban at least twice during his five years in cap hit. He's currently recovering at a hospital in Germany.
Investigators are trying to determine what exactly prompted a 26-year- old man to open fire on a Christian college campus in Seattle. Authorities say Aaron Ybarra killed one student and injured three others.