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U.S. Economy Sees Strongest Growth in 4 Years; Giuliani: Michael Cohen a Pathological Liar; Roseanne Tries to Explain Racist Comment Again; Sacha Baron Cohen Prank Makes Small Town Look Racist; Fires Devastate Towns in California. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 27, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I meet the leaders of the countries, the first thing they say, invariably, is, Mr. President, so nice to meet you, congratulations on your economy, you're leading the entire world. They say it almost each and every time.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's put this 4.1 percent growth into context for you. Over the past two decades, you can see the spikes under each president. So today's figure is the highest we have seen since 2014.

With me now, finance expert, Monica Mehta, the managing principal at Seventh Capital.

And, Monica, it is great news!

MONICA MEHTA, MANAGING PRINCIPAL, SEVENTH CAPITAL: Yes. We can't fault. There's definitely some positives here. In general, consumers feel really good about their job. If they want to get a new job, they feel confident they can leave their present situation and final something new. They're saving more than 10 years ago. It had gone down to zero and now it is like 7 percent, 6.8 percent.

But there's one catch in the GDP numbers you're seeing.


MEHTA: There's definitely a spike in the second-quarter numbers, driven by trade war and fears of the trade war. It is all soybeans. You actually saw a huge rush to export soybeans ahead of the 25 percent tariff that China is set to put forward in July. So you know --

BALDWIN: That would be why the number seems larger, you're saying. Folks are worried about the trade war.

MEHTA: That's definitely one little caveat you need to really absorb when you look at these numbers. There's one other issue, which is inventories. In general, our inventory numbers a lot lower than they are historically, which means businesses are running thin. You need inventory to sell to customers.


MEHTA: So we may see a big spike in the third quarter because these inventory numbers also look lower than they should.

BALDWIN: Let's go back in time for a second. This was a Trump promise on the campaign trail. When he said, get to it 4 percent, people were like, whatever. He's done it. Watch.


TRUMP: It's time to start thinking big once again. That's why I believe it is time to establish a national goal of reaching 4 percent economic growth.


TRUMP: And my great economists don't want me to say this but I think we can do better than that.

And we're bringing GDP from really 1 percent, which is what it is now, and if you got in, it would be less than zero. But we're bringing it from 1 percent to 4 percent. And I think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.


BALDWIN: OK. Less than zero. That was a bit of a stretch. We're at 4.1. I hear your 2 points. Do you think, big picture, this kind of growth is sustainable?

MEHTA: Trump has a wish for getting the economy at 4 percent. He's seeking all of this good for the economy.


MEHTA: I can't fault him for that. Again, we all want a good economy. People do better when the economy is going up. Historically, we were at 3.6 percent for the whole decade of the '90s. In the off, it was 2.6 percent and we really trickled down after the recession, barely cracking 2 percent. If we can get it back up there, that's great.

BALDWIN: At the end of the day, looking at the market right now, down about 100. I'm thinking about voters going to the polls. It's a huge midterm coming up in November. At the end of the day, it is the economy, stupid. With all the negative political headlines out there, Russia and Cohen and tapes, hush money and all of that, at the end of the day, aren't people still mindful about the economy when they vote?

MEHTA: It is a catch 22. The economy has been stable enough for some time now. If we see a big hiccup, it will be a big down slide for Trump. If it continues to hum along and we see more ridiculous details about just everything that you do see in the headlines, I don't think that the economy by itself is going to be enough for people to overlook just poor judgment.

BALDWIN: OK. Monica Mehta, thank you so much. Good to see you.

MEHTA: Thank you.

[14:34:04] BALDWIN: Just ahead, "honest, honorable" or "lifelong liar." Rudolph Giuliani can't seem to decide how to exactly characterize Michael Cohen. We'll break down the flip-flops, next.


BALDWIN: While we don't know if the special counsel is even considering an interview with Michael Cohen, CNN is reporting that the president's former personal attorney is ready to talk about that meeting with Russians at Trump Tower, claiming that Donald Trump knew about it all along.

But the president's current attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, tells CNN that Cohen a pathological liar.

Here he is right after the news broke.


RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, I expected something like this from Cohen. He's been lying all week. He's been lying for years. The tapes that that we have demonstrate any number of very serious lies by him back a year and a half ago, including his fooling people, hiding tape-recordings, telling them they weren't recorded, lying to their face, breaking faith with them, taping his client, which is a dis-barable offense. I don't see how he has any credibility. This would be if he had a trial. When you have a trial, you would say, which lie do you want to pick? Do you want to pick the first lie, the second lie or maybe some new lie? There's nobody that I know that knows him that hasn't warned me, if his back is against a wall, he'll lie like crazy. Which he's lying also.


BALDWIN: Cohen has lied to the media before in order to protect the president. In February, he said Trump knew nothing about the payment to Stormy Daniels. We now know otherwise.

Just 19 days ago, Giuliani was praising Cohen's loyalty and his integrity when his asked if Cohen would turn on the president.


GIULIANI: I do not expect that Michael Cohen will lie. I think he will tell the truth as best he can, given his recollection.

[14:39:59] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And you confident that truth --


BASH: -- nothing that is negative or even worse for President Trump?

GIULIANI: Yes. I am very confident of that. We all should be or Mueller would not have given it away if it had any hope of producing evidence against the president.

I expect that he will cooperate. I don't think he'll be happy with it because he doesn't have any incriminating evidence about the president or himself. The man is an honest, honorable lawyer.


BALDWIN: Remember, Cohen spent years as Donald Trump's fixer. He once said he would take a bullet for his boss. And when President Trump found out the conversations had been taped, Giuliani said the president felt betrayed.


GIULIANI: He was angry. President Trump can get angry sometimes. He was disappointed, almost like a father being betrayed by his son. It was very moving.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But he obviously believed Michael Cohen was a man of good character, who he could depend on, and who would tell him the truthful.

GIULIANI: Up until a few days ago, yes. I think he did. He had no reason to distrust Michael. He didn't. He didn't select Michael for government. You know Michael was bitter about that. That will be on tapes, without getting into the detail of it. And he is very, very jealous and bitter about the kids, which also comes across on the tapes. So you have a whole scenario here.


BALDWIN: Those tapes of Cohen's private conversations with the president, Cohen's attorney said there's more to come.

Coming up next, a prank of Sacha Baron Cohen paints one Arizona town as racist. We'll play the clip for you. And we'll talk to the mayor to respond.


[14:46:05] BALDWIN: Comedian Rosanne Barr, in a rambling, sometime tearful interview on "Hannity," tried again to explain the racially offensive tweet that got her fired from her highly rated sitcom. In case you need reminding, this is what Barr tweeted about former Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett. You see it yourself. V.J., the initials for Valerie Jarrett.

Barr's explanation about the tweet has often shifted. She told Hannity it was, quote, unquote, "a big misunderstanding."

When she was asked to explain it, this is how she answered.


ROSEANNE BARR, COMEDIAN & ACTRESS: Here's what I have to say. Let's talk about it. Let's really turn this into a teachable moment. We need to talk about race and everything that is connected to it, including not knowing that someone who looks like me -- her skin tone is like mine, and I'm brown. I didn't know she was African-American. I assumed because she was from Iran and lived in Iran for such a long time, and writes about how she and Barack Obama hung out for a long time and the reason they were so tight and such friends, is because they don't like the idea of American Exceptionalism.


BALDWIN: Roseanne's interview consumed the entire hour of Hannity's show.

A small-town mayor is vowing to make massive changes, taking steps to fight racism and promote tolerance after this prank by Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on his new Showtime series, "Who Is America." Watch this.


SACHA BARON COHEN, COMEDIAN: This, guys, will be the world's largest mosque outside of the Middle East.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the word alone scares you. To me when I hear of mosque, I think of terrorism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a need for this in Kingman?

COHEN: Yes, there is.



COHEN: Your town will become a hub for tourism for Muslims around the world. Can I get a whoop, whoop?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You bring in Muslims, you might have problems. We'll have problems.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not us causing the violence. It is them.

COHEN: Oh, no, no. I didn't imply anybody here is racist. Of course, not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am. I'm racist towards Muslims.


BALDWIN: This is Kingman, Arizona, located just off Route 66 between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. About 30,000 people live in Kingman, mostly whites, the biggest minority, Hispanic, at about 10 percent.

With me, the mayor of Kingman, Arizona, Mayor Monica Gates.

Mayor Gates, welcome. I want to say thank you for coming on.

This show clearly did not paint your town in a positive light, and the fact that you are coming on national television to talk about it deserves credit. Tell me how you heard this happened.

MONICA GATES, (R), KINGMAN, ARIZONA, MAYOR: First, let me say thank you for allowing us this opportunity to set the record straight. I personally learned about this when a resident from our community sent me a text and said, "Have you heard about this spoof?" And of course, when I first looked at I, I was utterly shocked and dismayed and disgusted about what I saw.

I want Americans to understand what was in that skit does not represent the residents of our community. We are a diverse, welcoming, and embracing community. We host close to one million overnight visitors from all across the world in our city annually. We are all about inclusion. And to the extent that prejudice and racism does exist in every community, we will take strides to ensure that we educate and bring our community together.


[14:50:26] BALDWIN: You hear --


BALDWIN: Let me jump in, Ms. Mayor.


BALDWIN: You heard the person say, "I am racist against Muslims." Do you know any of these people?

GATES: I must tell you, it is a small town. Not that small. We're 30,000 people. I've lived here 30 years and, frankly, I didn't recognize anyone. It's not to say --


BALDWIN: Have you heard anyone in your 30,000-person town ever talk like this?

GATES: Never, never. You know, we have -- we have a mosque in the middle of town. It is a beautiful facility. I know many of the members of the Muslim church there. We have a very diverse community made up of Hispanics. We have a huge Native-American population. We have an African-American population as well. It is a very diverse community. And I find it highly offensive that this comedian, as he calls himself, is trying to create humor at the expense of a hardworking and very welcoming community.

BALDWIN: So how will you -- you mentioned the mosque, Native- Americans. How do you bring your community together? You said you want to teach, you want to educate. How do you do that? These are grown people.

GATES: Absolutely. And certainly, there's some minds we are not going to change. We know that. I just want to make sure that the public understand, what we saw on that tape does not represent this great city. And we are taking strides as a community to work towards education. Likely we will work with our schools. We are creating an interfaith council as well. Again, this is a community that works well together. We all live, work and play here. We have, as I said, close to a million tourists comes to our fair city every year.


BALDWIN: I understand. We hear the message.

What would you say to Sacha Baron Cohen?

GATES: You know, I struggle to even dignify what he's doing with a response. But I have to say, again, I don't want to give this individual any more notoriety. What he is attempting to do to our community will not be successful. We will come out of this stronger and more -- even a more close-knit community than we are today.

BALDWIN: Monica Gates, thank you for coming on.

GATES: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, to California, where a ferocious wildfire is destroying everything in its path. Even forcing one hospital to evacuate some of the most vulnerable patients, babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. We are live on the west coast.

And talk about awkward. You have two people at the center of the Russia probe, the special counsel, on the left-hand side of the screen, Robert Mueller, and Donald Trump Jr, on the right, feet from one another at the Washington, D.C., airport. Details ahead.


[14:57:53] BALDWIN: The state of California, once again, battling several dangerous wildfires. At least three major ones are burning right now. Two of them are turning deadly. The biggest is the Ferguson Fire at Yosemite National Park. One firefighter was killed. Just northwest of there, the Car Fire in the Redding area is the second largest, followed by the Cranston Fire east of Los Angeles.

Authorities say the Car Fire has nearly doubled in size, started by some kind of mechanical car failure. Two people have died, including a firefighter there. Massive evacuations are underway, including babies inside a NICU in a medical center. Homes and structures have been destroyed and even the news team at CNN affiliate, KRCR, had to go off the air because they were in danger.


UNIDENTIFIED KRCR NEWS ANCHOR: We've been here live and we're being evacuated. That's why we are closing out right now. We are going to leave the station because it is now unsafe to be here. So like in, we have all the information --


BALDWIN: Dan Simon is there for us.

Dan, you're up live in Redding.

The pictures tell the story. Our hearts go out to those firefighters and families.

Show us around.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, first of all, unfortunately, these devastating wildfires in California have become such a common occurrence. You can see what this did in Redding. You can see this subdivision pretty much leveled. A lot of homes look just like this. We've seen homeowners come back this morning, this afternoon, looking to see what they can salvage. Any time you see a homeowner picking through belongings, seeing the tears streaming down their faces, it really gets you, Brooke.

This fire just came in so fast. I should point out this fire actually began on Monday. They really felt like they were out of the woods. They were not seeing any problems. Then the winds picked up last night and the fire jumped the river and came into this subdivision and also came into about four other neighborhoods and it just caused this massive devastation.

As we talked about, we saw some evacuations at the nearby hospital. Just as a precaution. There were some infants there in the neonatal intensive care unit. They were taken to another hospital just to make sure, in case the flames advanced on that hospital.

But --