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CNN NEWSROOM

Paris Climate Accord; Russia Investigation; British Politics after Brexit; Black Eyed Peas to Play Manchester Benefit. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 3, 2017 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does the president actually believe about climate change?

Does he still believe it's a hoax?

Could you clarify that because apparently nobody else at the White House can.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: Yes, I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The dig after the U.S. president withdraws from a global climate deal, the White House refuses to answer a simple question: is climate change real?

Well, science, as it is, but officials, well, the ducking and dodging. Details on all of that.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And the Russian president says there's no credible evidence the Russian government interfered in the U.S. presidential election. We'll have a live report from Moscow this hour after a big interview with Vladimir Putin.

HOWELL (voice-over): It is 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. At CNN World Headquarters, I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: The Trump White House is having difficulty answering one simple question, this after making a major change regarding this question.

Does U.S. President Donald Trump still believe climate change is a hoax?

HOWELL: Science does say yes. The question has been asked repeatedly. Senior Trump officials, though, they continue to dodge it, this after the president unilaterally yanked the United States out of the historic Paris climate accord. CNN's Jim Acosta has this reporting for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody, thank you.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The climate was warming at the White House as officials from the president to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president believe today that climate change is a hoax?

ACOSTA: -- dodged the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the president believe that climate change is real and a threat to the United States?

SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: You know what's interesting about all the discussions we had through the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue: is Paris good or not for this country?

ACOSTA: Pruitt echoed President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement as a choice in favor of American workers.

TRUMP: They don't put America first. I do and I always will.

ACOSTA: But the head of the EPA also took some jabs at what he described as climate exaggerators, the kind of language used by global warming skeptics.

ACOSTA (on camera): You were up there throwing out information that says, "Well, maybe, this is being exaggerated and so forth," and you're talking about climate exaggerators. It just seems to a lot of people around the world that you and the president are just denying the reality and the reality of the situation is that climate change is happening and it is a significant threat to the planet.

PRUITT: Let me say this and I've said it in the confirmation process and I said it yesterday --

ACOSTA: Arctic ice and the sea levels. And --

PRUITT: -- there -- we have done a tremendous amount as a country to achieve reductions in CO2 and we have done that through technology and innovation. We will continue to do that. We will continue to stay engaged.

ACOSTA: Are they a little worried that you're putting your head in the sand?

PRUITT: There's no evidence of that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters earlier this week that he would check on whether the president still believed climate change is a hoax, as he stated in the past.

Did Spicer have a chance to clear that up with the president?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion.

ACOSTA: Spicer and Pruitt joined a growing list of top administration officials dancing around the climate question.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Does President Trump still believe climate change is a hoax?

GARY COHN, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Look, President Trump believes he was elected to grow the U.S. economy and provide great job opportunities.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Does the president still believe global warming is a hoax?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP COUNSELOR: The president believes in a clean environment, clean air, clean water.

ACOSTA: Overseas there were some notable reactions to the president's decision from French President Emmanuel Macron, who invited American scientists to move to France.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Because wherever we live, wherever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again.

ACOSTA: To Russia's Vladimir Putin, who appeared to defend Mr. Trump's choice.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We should not create a big noise on this issue.

ACOSTA: On the subject of Russia, there are other pressing questions facing the White House, such as whether the president will invoke executive privilege to block former FBI director James Comey from testifying on capital Hill next week. Spicer said that's up in the air.

SPICER: It's got to be reviewed.

ACOSTA: But he insisted the president is standing by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner amid questions about the White House adviser's dealings with the Russians.

SPICER: Absolutely. ACOSTA: And EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made it clear to reporters that the president is open to starting a new round of negotiations for a new Paris climate deal. But over the last 24 hours in response to the president's announcement, world leaders, including key U.S. allies, have said that's not happening -- Jim Acosta --

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ACOSTA: -- CNN, the White House.

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HOWELL: As science clearly states that climate change is real. The president, though, has questioned that on the campaign trail.

Let's now bring in Leslie Vinjamuri. She's a senior lecturer in international relations at SOAS University of London.

Leslie, it's a pleasure to have you with us this hour. So again, let's talk more about this question that won't go away, the question of climate change. The president has stated before on the campaign trail -- he called it a hoax that's been cooked up by China.

But now his staff, none of them will own the words with him.

What do you make of this?

LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, if you remember his remarks, when he announced this historic and upsetting decision for so many people, he didn't focus on what the issue of climate science. This is very much about America not getting the kind of deal for dealing with the environment that he feels that the United States should have.

He framed this very much as an us, the rest of the world, versus -- the us versus them. But he said -- and he talked a lot about jobs and the importance of securing exactly the right kind of deal. But he really didn't go into climate science.

He's now seeming to walk away from this and he said he's going renegotiate. Remember, this is not a deal -- this is a multilateral deal. This is not a deal that you can go and negotiate bilaterally with any other country

And as we've seen from the Europeans and the Japanese, there's no goodwill now for renegotiating, even if it were possible.

But what we are seeing is tremendous momentum coming out of the private sector. Michael Bloomberg's league a very important alliance of governors, mayors, corporates to push forward with meeting the emissions reduction target.

So the momentum is likely to stay there and, in any case, the United States cannot technically withdraw from this deal for at least three years. So this is something that will be officially only really announced in November 2019 and the withdraw would take place a year after that.

So this will become a major campaign issue, a major issue for the next U.S. presidential elections and it could possibly be reversed. But in any case, Donald Trump is not focusing on the basic issue of climate science at all at this moment, which is very interesting, given his campaign rhetoric.

HOWELL: It will certainly be a topic of the midterms here in the United States, as well.

VINJAMURI: That's right.

HOWELL: Another question that won't go away, Russia, the questions about whether the United States president could use executive privilege to prevent the former FBI director, James Comey, from testifying.

First of all, explain executive privilege to our viewers around the world.

Can the president use it to stop Comey?

And then what would the optics be if he were to do so?

VINJAMURI: Well, let's start with the optics. Because of course, for any president or any leader that decides to block the testimony of a key -- a former official in a congressional inquiry, in a legislative inquiry, that suggests, of course, that he has something to hide, which are very bad optics, given the context of this particular investigation, which now has taken on the question of whether the president is seeking to obstruct justice in his firing of FBI director Comey.

Now with respect to executive privilege, there's a lot of disagreement and debate here about whether the president can actually use executive privilege to prevent testimony.

And my read on this is that he probably cannot prevent Comey, as a private citizen, agreeing to go before the Intelligence Committee to testify.

The question is, the content of -- can he block certain portions of that testimony?

Now in terms of private communications, secret communications, there will be many things that Comey probably cannot testify about before the Senate. Entirely separate issue, what he can then reveal when it comes to the independent counsel, the special counsel's investigations, Mueller's investigations.

Now I don't think he can invoke executive privilege to block any of that testimony. But with respect to the Senate, even there, I think, Comey is going to have to be able to talk about any communications that he had directly with the president regarding whether or not the investigation of former national security adviser Flynn will go forward. So I don't see his ability to use executive privilege for this. But

remember, this is a gray zone. It's being hotly debated right now by lawyers surrounding the White House in Washington. But I suspect if it was a clear and clean case, we would have already seen this kind of privilege invoked.

HOWELL: And we are seeing reporting from "The New York Times" that it does not look like the president will use executive privilege but certainly a question that has come up, given what has happened with Mr. Comey and what he could say.

Leslie Vinjamuri, thank you so much for your time today.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

ALLEN: Yes. It's just a few days before we hear from Mr. Comey.

World leaders are to pledging remain committed to the Paris climate accord despite the U.S. withdrawal.

HOWELL: Among them, the newly elected French president, Emmanuel Macron. He rebuked President Trump over his decision and even made --

[04:10:00]

HOWELL: -- a play on Mr. Trump's campaign slogan, make America great again. He has a different statement now. And Mr. Macron, we have more reaction in France from CNN's Paris correspondent, Melissa Bell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the long awaited sound of a deal: 195 countries had agreed to act together to save the planet.

LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: I had in front of me the representatives of all the world. And for the first time in history, I was able to strike the gavel. It meant that it was a new step for humanity.

BELL (voice-over): Laurent Fabius presided over the Paris negotiations. He says the deal is now a matter of life or death.

FABIUS: The question is the question of food all over the world, the question of oceans, the question of typhoons, the question of migrations. You know, there are so many problems with some migration. But if you multiply by 100, at the end of it, it's peace or a war.

BELL (voice-over): At the time of its signing, which brought together more than 190 nations, there had been a sense of disbelief that the deal had proven possible at all. Many had wondered whether the world was ready for Paris. Now just 18 months later, the question is how the world could do without.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Because wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again.

BELL (voice-over): French president Emmanuel Macron expressing France's resolve with a twist on President Trump's campaign slogan. Other world leaders from China to Germany also vowing to honor the deal.

The strength of the world's reaction has surprised Laurence Tubiana now, who led France's negotiations. She says it shows how strong the Paris agreement is.

LAURENCE TUBIANA, FORMER FRENCH CLIMATE AMBASSADOR: That the future, it's just because that's the modality and that's what I think the Trump administration is just missing. They don't understand that the train has left the station. The matter is just to be out; it's just like you look at the train and it's just going and you are not in it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Melissa Bell is live for us in Paris.

And she made a good point about, you know, when President Trump made his announcement and said, we'll talk about renegotiating. It was, I think, Macron who said there will be none of that.

BELL: That's right, Natalie. The reaction from Europe was very fast and it was remarkably united, much more than we've seen on so many issues the last few years. A very definite and strong message to Washington that there is no room for renegotiation. This simply is not a deal.

It was so hard to come to that can now be renegotiated whenever a country chooses to leave it. And more than that, really, I think what you heard from Europe over the course of the last couple of days since that announcement was made in the Rose Garden is this idea that there is really a sense that Europe is turning away from its historic ally because it now has no choice, simply because it no longer finds in it the steadfast alliance, the steadfast ally that it had for so many decades.

ALLEN: It just seems so awkward, doesn't it, something like that could happen?

You have the world and this climate change deal and then you've got Syria, Nicaragua and the United States.

What else will they separate over perhaps?

BELL: It isn't just about -- precisely. But it isn't just about the climate, Natalie. That's the point. This is a much broader problem about the United States' position in the world.

And I think Emmanuel Macron's adopted that really interesting stance of speaking to the world in English, of speaking to the world of a different vision, of which he appears to have become the main champion today.

ALLEN: All right, Melissa Bell for us. Thank you.

HOWELL: Still ahead here, besides praising Donald Trump, the Russian president is saying, don't worry, be happy. A look at Vladimir Putin's hour-long press conference is next.

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HOWELL: It could be the most explosive testimony on Capitol Hill in years or it could not happen at all. That's a question.

The former FBI director James Comey is scheduled to testify this Thursday about the Russia investigation. "The New York Times" says that that testimony will go on.

ALLEN: Mr. Trump may use, though, his executive privilege to try to shut him down. It allows the president to keep his private conversations private, as we were just discussing with Leslie. Here is more now on that from Jessica Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New insight into how James Comey might recount his conversations with the president. A source with knowledge of Comey's thinking says that while Comey was disturbed by his interactions with President Trump, Comey believed he had the situation under control.

A source said that Comey believed at the time any specific encounter constituted obstruction of justice, Comey would have done more than just write a memo. But when Comey pieces together the president's possible pressure to drop the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn in his testimony next week, the source thinks it is possible Comey could come to a different conclusion.

The White House is now weighing whether to assert executive privilege to block Comey's testimony, though, counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, indicated she expects Comey to talk.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: We will be watching with the rest of the world when Director Comey testifies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will not invoke executive privilege?

CONWAY: The president will make that decision.

SCHNEIDER: Comey no longer works for the government. So the president can't order him to stay silent and some say President Trump's tweets about Comey and declarations like these... DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We had a very nice dinner and at that time he told me you are not under investigation, which I knew anyway.

SCHNEIDER: -- waived the president's right. Others argue asserting executive privilege is necessary.

PETE HOEKSTRA (R), FORMER HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It sets a dangerous precedent that the president's conversations, private conversations can be revealed. It will be a he said-he said type of thing. It is one side of the story. I don't think that helps the process.

SCHNEIDER: And there are continuing questions about Jared Kushner's mid-December meeting with Russian bank chairman, Sergei Gorkov, a man who has close ties to President Vladimir Putin. The White House insists Kushner conducted the meetings in his capacity during the transition.

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SCHNEIDER: VEB bank maintains it was part of their, quote, "business road show." The meeting was arranged after Kushner met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in early December at Trump Tower. In St. Petersburg Friday, President Putin defended the talks.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Our ambassador met someone. That is what the ambassador must do. That's his work. He is getting paid for that. He must meet and discuss current affairs. He must make agreements.

SCHNEIDER: Kushner's meetings with Russian officials came as Russia was feeling pressure from the U.S. sanctions imposed after Russia's action in Ukraine. Retired Coordinator of Sanctions Policy, Dan Fried, is now speaking out about his efforts to stop the Trump administration from lifting Russian sanctions earlier this year.

Fried retired from the State Department in February and said he contacted lawmakers in an effort to codify the sanctions, something that never happened.

DAN FRIED, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR FOR SANCTIONS POLICY: Lifting sanctions without the Russians doing anything is a free gift and strikes me now as a bad, bad idea. My colleagues were concerned about this and so was I at the time.

SCHNEIDER: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer would not comment on reports that the administration is considering returning seized Russian compounds here in the U.S. Sean Spicer also said that Jared Kushner absolutely continues to have the full confidence of the president -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: And Vladimir Putin is once again defying Russia -- denying that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election; at a wide ranging news conference, Mr. Putin also spoke highly of the U.S. president.

ALLEN: And he answered questions about Donald Trump's controversial decision to pull the U.S. out of the climate agreement. Here is our Brian Todd.

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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was trademark Vladimir Putin, appearing on stage in a marathon interview forum. The Russian leader surprised the audience in English...

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Don't worry, be happy.

TODD (voice-over): -- invoking the '80s singer, Bobby McFerrin, sarcastically describing the anger around President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.

But in his native tongue, the former Soviet spy turned politician was far less sunny, continuing to deny Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, while attacking former candidate, Hillary Clinton, saying her campaign just can't admit its own mistakes caused her loss.

PUTIN (through translator): They decided to say it's not our fault, it's the Russians' fault. It's like anti-Semitism, to blame the Jews for everything. We all know what this can lead to: nothing good.

TODD (voice-over): At the same time, Putin spoke admiringly of Donald Trump's successful campaign.

PUTIN (through translator): The Trump team was more effective during the election campaign. He found an approach to the electorate that worked for him.

TODD (voice-over): But he wasn't done there. On the heels of his comment on Thursday that Russia, quote, "patriots," not the Russian government, might have hacked the U.S. election, Putin gave another denial, referring to U.S. intelligence reports on the hacking.

PUTIN (through translator): I read these reports. There is nothing specific in these reports, just assumptions and conclusions.

TODD: And he denied any discussions about sanctions between his government and the incoming Trump administration. Analysts say Putin is looking for deniability, trying to prevent investigators from tracing any alleged interference in the election directly to him.

But at the same time, they say, it appears he is loving the attention and the strife inside the U.S. political system.

WILL POMERANZ, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE KENNAN INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED RUSSIAN STUDIES: He now has a president who wants to have better relations with Russia; he has a scandal that has weakened the U.S. president and he has a U.S. president who is busy lecturing his best allies about climate and about NATO. So there's lots of things that Putin is enjoying about the current crisis. TODD: Vladimir Putin also came to the defense of the man who works for him here at the Russian embassy here in Washington, Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who's at the center of the investigations into Trump's aides' contacts with the Russians.

Putin said, quote, "Our ambassador met someone. That's what the ambassador must do."

He said, "Reports of secret deals before the inauguration are plain hysteria" and, quote, "How should we stop that? Take a pill or something?" -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

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HOWELL: Brian Todd there at the Russian embassy and now Clare Sebastian live in Moscow.

Clare, good to have you with us this hour. So the Russian president certainly taking a more vocal approach to this topic, even suggesting, as we heard in Brian's piece there, that there may have been patriotic Russians behind hacking but not the government. Explain this exchange of tone.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's been fascinating. You and I have had multiple discussions over the past weeks and months where we've simply been able to bring you various different ways of saying "no comment" from the Kremlin. But this, as you say, a much more vocal, much more perhaps defensive Kremlin.

I think the question is why now, really. One Kremlin watcher told me that perhaps the Kremlin feels that the relationship with the U.S. is deteriorating in a way that they don't really have control over. And so they are really trying to kind of regain control of the conversation --

[04:25:00]

SEBASTIAN: -- to really make sure their voice is heard perhaps ahead of what's reported to be an upcoming meeting between Trump and Putin in July at the G20.

They really wanted to help set the agenda for that. Perhaps, as Brian Todd was suggesting in his piece, because the chaos in Washington plays very well domestically here, making Putin look perhaps calmer and more professional by comparison.

And this, again, gives him the confidence now to come out and speak his mind as he did there. But certainly, you know, nothing really new. We knew that the Kremlin has always denied any allegations of intervention in the U.S. election or collusion with the Trump team.

But the delivery was certainly more vehement, more frank and more descriptive in some parts than we've seen in recent weeks and months.

HOWELL: The president did refuse to criticize his U.S. counterpart for backing out of the Paris climate accord and also called on U.S. companies to support President Trump. Here is the thing, though. President Putin was speaking at an economic forum. Russia is still under international sanctions.

Did that come up, Clare?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, absolutely. This is a huge issue for Putin. It's not just painful for him politically but also it's painful for the Russian economy still. And he actually addressed a group of U.S. business leaders and said, please help us restore normal political dialogue.

Please help the U.S. administration, a very unusual, direct appeal there. And I think you know what that may be about, more than just sanctions. Russia certainly feels that normal political dialogue can't be restored while sanctions are in place.

And, you know, Russia has been looking for any clues out of the Trump administration about whether or not sanctions will be lifted and so far hasn't heard anything. So it is a really big issue here -- George.

HOWELL: 11:26 in the morning there in Moscow, Clare Sebastian live, Clare, thanks for the reporting.

ALLEN: The former U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, you may remember, held his granddaughter in his arms as he signed the Paris accord. Now he says the world is laughing and crying at President Trump. We'll hear from him next.

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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

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HOWELL: The U.S. Defense secretary is warning Beijing over its actions in the South China Sea. James Mattis says the Chinese officials are violating international law with blatant disregard by militarizing manmade islands in the South China Sea.

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GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The scope and effect of China's construction activities in the South China Sea differ from those of other countries in several key ways.

This includes the nature of its militarization, China's disregard for international law, its contempt for other nations' interests and its efforts to dismiss nonadversarial resolution of issues.

We oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and forcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law.

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ALLEN: Well, President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord is sparking a furious response from former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry.

HOWELL: Kerry has said climate change is as big a threat to the United States as terrorism or poverty. He told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that Mr. Trump is making a big mistake.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief, has really been very defiant, no apology needed, no COP 21. We don't need any regulations or targets to get our emissions down. We can do it just with the brilliance of our innovation.

Answer that first, if you would?

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Scott Pruitt is an extremist and he has an extremist to beliefs there is no climate change. He's one of the people who is a denier. He believes it's a hoax. He came into office to undo specifically the progress of the country he has making.

It is really a stark example of the craven and cynicism with which the president has approach this issue.

The president is trying to tell people this is a bad deal. But the truth is that every country sets its own mark. There's nothing that has been imposed on the United States whatsoever. Each country designs its own program according to what it can achieve.

And it is that flexibility, Christiane, that actually made it possible to reach 195-nation agreement after years, decades of working on this and trying to do it.

President Trump clearly is trying to appeal to a very narrow base, shoring up his base. It's clear to me that this is more political because it can't be substantive. There is no fact cited on which -- and no science cited much of what he said with respect to the economic argument is simply not true.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you that because he -- let me ask you specifically because there were lots of claims flung around in this briefing just now. First of all, the world is laughing at us.

He said those countries who are expressing disappointment today are doing so because they want to put the United States at an economic disadvantage. And that also much as -- well, the president said that the world is laughing at us because of this deal.

So I ask you, did you negotiate a laughable deal that puts the United State in an economic disadvantage?

[04:35:00]

KERRY: If the world is laughing today, it's also crying. It's laughing and crying at the President of the United States, who clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. He really is ignorant on the issue of climate change.

And regrettably, the world is going to pay a price because American leadership is important on this. It took us years of work and leadership by the United States working very specifically with China.

I mean, I would ask Donald Trump, does he think that President Xi, President Macron, that the prime minister of Great Britain, the chancellor of Germany, don't know what they're talking about?

Are they stupid?

Is he accusing them of somehow buying into a hoax?

This is one of the most cynical and, frankly, ignorant and dangerous self-destructive steps that I've seen in my entire lifetime in public life.

The President of the United States has not evidenced any science at all which documents that the move he has making are going to make the Earth safer or better. There is no economic argument whatsoever that says by the United States pulling out, we are going to advance American businesses.

American business, I might add, is against what President Trump has done. The major Fortune 500 companies, like ExxonMobil, our current secretary of state's former company; many other major companies -- Dow Chemical, Google, you know, Apple -- all of them are completely dismayed by the step that the president has taken.

So what I want to make clear to people in the world who are listening to this, Donald Trump left this agreement, but the United States of America, represented by the massive people who support doing something about climate change, are going to continue to take steps that will try to advance American interest and global interest to deal with this problem.

And I talked yesterday with the governor of California, Jerry Brown, with the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, with the governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker. I'm glad to see the governor of Washington, who I didn't talk to, is also going to be part of an effort to continue to live by Paris.

And shortly, we will have a website up, called livebyparis.com where people will be able to share their plans and their efforts and initiatives in order to do what President Trump not is willing to do. But it's a sad day for American leadership and I think it's a very, very harmful, dangerous, self-destructive step that's been taken.

AMANPOUR: You say it's a sad day. You know, obviously, China is stepping into the void is already very publicly this week signed a new climate alliance with the E.U.

You'll hear in a second the E.U. climate chief, the commissioner, telling me earlier today that, you know, very disappointed but they will seek partners elsewhere.

How competitive is that to the United States?

What could -- I mean, what does that mean if China steps into the leading world that the U.S. had?

KERRY: Well, it means that they're going to have an opportunity to sell their goods and opportunity to be able to advance their technology. They will have the full support -- they have anyway because it's a government enterprise in many respects.

But they will be pushing the curve of technology where the federal government of the United States because of President Trump's decision will be logging.

Now what we do have in America which will still continue to make a difference here is extraordinary entrepreneurial innovation and allocation of capital. And because the world's marketplace moved with the decision we made in Paris, there will be automatic advances made.

And I think people will recognize the distinction -- I hope they will recognize the distinction between American business, the American people and an extremist administrator of the EPA and a president who literary does not fully understand these issues --

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AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you something --

KERRY: And who is moving politically and cynically.

AMANPOUR: Well, you say politically and cynically; others, you know, there's a part of game going on in Washington right now, that seems to say apparently leaks from the White House that this is partly because President Trump was so affronted by the lobbying that he got from European allies during the G7 and NATO summits on this very issue, that he's delivering a finger to the world that he has been hurt and emotionally sort of abuse.

What -- do you buy that?

KERRY: Well, I -- look, if that's true, grow up. I mean, honestly, you don't play with the future of the world and the --

[04:40:00]

KERRY: -- planet because you have a personal pique about some particular affront. It seems to me that that's pretty childish and irresponsible if that is in fact what it's about.

I think a lot of people think that the cynicism here is that it is to shore up a base at a time that he is under siege with a series of investigations and so forth.

But, you know, that's a whole speculation. The important thing here, Christiane, is that the president has abdicated the American leadership shown by President Obama who joined with President Xi in order to lead the effort to get to Paris and be successful.

And what is at stake here is the planet itself. If you understand what is happening with respect to climate change, which he obviously doesn't, you know that the Antarctic ice sheet is increasingly unstable, you know that we are seeing far more intensive storms, you know that sea level is rising.

You know that there is record level of melting of the ice in Greenland and 86 million metric tons of ice are falling every day off of Greenland into the shore and melting in the ocean, you that there's a greater intensity to the numbers of fires and floods, 500-year floods occurring now with frequency.

I mean you know these things. And, you know, most of the scientists of the world in peer-reviewed studies have all documented the human input through greenhouse gases to the cause of climate change. There is not one single peer-reviewed study that says to the contrary it's a hoax.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know --

KERRY: And yet, we have a president and members of the party who keep citing the fact that there is enough evidence or that this is a hoax.

AMANPOUR: In fact, they did that --

KERRY: It's a stunning, staggering irresponsibility.

AMANPOUR: They did that very thing in fact at the briefing earlier today. Secretary of State John Kerry, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Science says that it's real.

ALLEN: He did not mince words, did he?

HOWELL: No.

And still ahead here on NEWSROOM, facing tough questions.

ALLEN: The two leading candidates in Britain's election speak directly to voters on live television?

Hear what they have to say -- next.

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[04:45:00]

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ALLEN: Just five days of campaigning until the U.K.'s snap election. And it could be a close one. Polls suggest that Labour, the opposition party, is gaining on Theresa May's Conservatives.

HOWELL: That's right. The candidates will campaign in the north of England on Saturday, a day after facing tough questions from voters on everything from the environment to Britain's nuclear deterrent program.

Of course, another huge issue in this contest is the issue of Brexit. It's a big question for many people. The British political landscape has changed significantly since that decision to pull out of the E.U.

ALLEN: Many of the prominent voices that had called for the U.K. to leave seem to have faded away.

So what is going to happen?

Nina dos Santos has that for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): They were the faces, the headlines and the driving forces behind the Brexit campaign. But since calling the E.U. referendum...

DAVID CAMERON, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: I will go to Parliament and propose that the British people decide our future in Europe through an inert (ph) referendum on Thursday, the 23rd of June.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Most of the men behind the country's momentous decision have hardly stuck around to pick up the pieces.

David Cameron, who staked his career on the U.K. choosing to stay in the E.U., resigned almost immediately after losing the vote.

CAMERON: I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Now he is making a fortune on the speaking circuit and has built a reported $30,000 shed in his backyard to write his memoirs in.

One of the most vocal proponents of Brexit was Nigel Farage.

NIGEL FARAGE, UKIP: (INAUDIBLE).

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): For years, he's waged a war against the E.U.

FARAGE: I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives. DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Now he is no longer head of the U.K. Independence Party and is instead forging a career in radio and TV...

FARAGE: Good evening, everybody. Well, I think I was the last to know.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): -- and making friends with Donald Trump.

Also, getting close to Trump, Michael Gove (ph), Cameron's former justice secretary, who led his party's hard Brexit battalions with misleading claims of huge savings to be had with the health service.

He stood for the party leadership and lost after knifing his wing man, Boris Johnson, in the back. Gove, a former political writer has now returned to journalism, scoring a major interview with the U.S. president in his first month on the job.

Always entertaining...

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: I can sing the "Ode to Joy" in German.

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DOS SANTOS (voice-over): If not always liked...

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): -- one of Brexit's most colorful characters is the only one left in the British government. Boris Johnson was made foreign secretary by the new prime minister, Theresa May. But he has largely been sidelined.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boris is sitting perfectly comfortably and...

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- air of repose about the fellow.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Whew!

So many interesting elections of late, aren't they?

HOWELL: Yes. The faces that were there, they are not there now.

ALLEN: Coming together for Manchester, ahead here, the Black Eyed Peas will join Ariana Grande in a benefit for victims of the terror attack.

HOWELL: They tell CNN about a song that was written for exactly moments like this. Stay with us.

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[04:50:00]

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HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM.

Ariana Grande is back in Manchester, England, for her One Love benefit concert on Sunday. The pop star visited fans on Friday, those who were wounded at the bombing after her performance in May 22nd; 22 people were killed in that attack. Her benefit concert on Sunday will honor the victims and their families.

ALLEN: The concert will include hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas and our Hala Gorani spoke with the band.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL.I.AM, MEMBER, THE BLACK EYED PEAS: Ariana Grande and team reached out to us and asked us if we could lend ourselves to help raise awareness and funds for the families of the victims, so, you know, they didn't even have to complete the sentence.

So we're going to be there to spread love and remind people that we should not let hate and fear destroy our connection with music.

For so many years, we've bonded around music and melodies and harmonies and messages of love and peace. So we cannot let that, like, break our bond.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Obviously, the vast majority from what I've been reading of the families, of the people who were injured or killed, are in favor of it.

But it's happening very close, you know, very soon after, I should say, the attack, a couple of weeks. What message do you want to send by being there?

WILL.I.AM: So for many years, people say that music is, you know, the universal language because it connects us through our hearts and stories, that we are not different from those that we, you know, wish to be around and so we should not let people break apart that bond that connection.

So I'm so happy that it's this close so we could stay close, keep that bond, spread that love, given all the things that, you know, networks cover on T.V., it's awesome that you're covering love.

GORANI: There's the issue of security.

[04:55:00]

GORANI: Fifty thousand people are expected to attend this even. Is this something that concerns you?

WILL.I.AM: No, because if it concerns us, we wouldn't show up. You know and 2001/9/11 happened and on September the 12th, Black Eyed Peas went on tour. And at the end of that tour, we wrote a song called "Where Is the Love?"

So like I said, when God calls you to do the job of spreading love, you answer that call and you go and you will be protected when you're doing that. And, you know, doubt is always going to come into play but you cannot let doubt destroy your efforts on creating bonds of love.

GORANI: And what are you going to be performing?

"Where Is the Love?" obviously, I'm guessing, will be in the line up?

TABOO, MEMBER, THE BLACK EYED PEAS: Definitely.

GORANI: Yes.

TABOO: Definitely. I mean, that song, "Where Is the Love?" was created after the events of 9/11. And still, to this day, 2017, people ask for it. You know, people go online and say we need this song.

Whether things are happening in Paris or in the United States or in Manchester, that song speaks to the world and it strikes a chord with the world and we're glad that we're able to perform it. It's sad that, when something bad happens, that song has to be the thing that we rely on to provide our perspective and our therapy for the people that need it.

But we're just going to out there with an open heart and just spread love.

APL.DE.AP, MEMBER, THE BLACK EYED PEAS: Yes, it's unfortunate, but it's a calling. And, you know, we have our voices, we have the music to spread the love, so it's our duty to do so.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Good group there. Sincere guys.

HOWELL: It's a good thing.

ALLEN: That's the first hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. More news right after the break. Stay with us.