Return to Transcripts main page
Officials Declassify Photo of Boat with Iranian Missile; Americans with Businesses in China Caught up in Trade War; De Blasio Announces Presidential Run; Eyes on Tiger Woods at PGA Championship. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired May 16, 2019 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Iranians making specific threats or talking about specific threats against U.S. targets in the Middle East.
Again, as an expert consumer of this type of intelligence, what does that tell you?
JANE HARMAN, DIRECTOR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WILSON CENTER: Well, John, good morning.
The irony is rich here. We have a president who campaigned on getting us out of endless military commitments in the Middle East and now we have a contingency plan. It's just a contingency plan from our Pentagon suggesting that over 120,000 troops may be needed. So let's start with that.
Yes, I am a careful -- or was a consumer of intelligence. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I bought the case for the Iraq War. I read everything. And, in hindsight, the intelligence was bad, the war was wrong and we learned something. Congress reformed the way our intelligence community is organized. In 2004 we produced now national intelligence estimates -- I haven't seen one for this -- that are very carefully done where all the sources are cross- referenced and there are outside critiques and so forth.
One picture or a few pictures of missiles on a -- some kind of an Iranian ship doesn't persuade me that there is an imminent threat. It's a cross-section of intent and capability. And they say they don't have the intent. In addition to which, we're driving the hard liners further into their corner. This seems to me the opposite of what we should want if, as President Trump says, he wants to talk to Iran, get them to step back and do a better agreement than the one he got us out of.
BERMAN: So you are skeptical.
HARMAN: I would say.
BERMAN: What reason do you have to be skeptical of these reports?
HARMAN: Why am I skeptical? I just explained that I don't see a careful intelligence case. And also our allies aren't buying it. The Brits aren't buying it. The
Germans aren't buying it. That doesn't mean that they're necessarily right. But the Brits bought the Iraq case last time and paid a big price for that.
So, at the moment, I think that this is a very dangerous course. It can lead to miscalculation. And it is inconsistent with what Trump's basic premise was when he ran for office.
BERMAN: Do you trust John Bolton?
HARMAN: Well, John Bolton is a hard liner. President Trump has a right to choose the advisers that he wants. There were hard liners in the Bush 43 administration, like Paul Wolfowitz, who said we'd be greeted with rose petals when we came into Iraq, and still thinks we were.
But the point is, the facts prove otherwise. The intelligence case was poor. And the stability on the ground never happened. And we have a, you know, failed or failing states throughout the Middle East in part because of the action we took in Iraq, in part because of other things. But let's -- let's think about Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya. These are a lot of failing states. We have some that are fragile states as well. And so I think this is a mountain we should not be climbing up without a much -- without much better preparation.
BERMAN: I've read somewhere, and I can't remember where, with an analyst saying, look, Iran is not Tibet, though. Let's not pretend that Iran is some purveyor of peace around the world here.
BERMAN: We also are getting reports overnight that the president tried to open up a back channel. A back channel discussion with Iran. Do you believe that to be genuine? And do you have any hope that it would be successful?
HARMAN: Well, a back channel through the Swiss is what I have heard.
You just had a bit on here -- on your show that said Khomeini and the hard liners in Iran say that's the last thing they want to do. They have all the phone numbers they need.
If we want to talk to Iran -- or if we wanted to, the way to have done that was to stay inside the JCPOA, which was a transactional deal, just limiting Iran's nuclear capability for a period of years. It wasn't a transformational deal. Should have stayed in there where we had channels and where our allies were on the same side and they had channels. And that also, by the way, gave us back channels to talk to the Chinese and the Russians. So it seems to me we have made a series of mistakes that makes this harder to get to the result the president says that he wants.
BERMAN: Jane Harman, again, you spent decades consuming this intelligence. Thank you for waking up and sharing your expertise with us this morning. Really appreciate it.
HARMAN: Thank you, John.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John, they are Americans caught in the middle of a trade war. How business owners say the tariffs are costing them.
[06:38:22] CAMEROTA: The trade war between the U.S. and China is rattling global markets and Americans operating business in China are finding themselves caught in the middle.
Matt Rivers had a chance to speak to some of them and he is live in Shanghai for us with more.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, believe it or not, a lot of companies here in China don't really want to talk about the trade war. So when we heard about a conference going on right now in Shanghai with hundreds of people affected by this trade war, we thought we should go.
RIVERS (voice over): If you want to talk international trade, this is a good spot, a giant conference in Shanghai packed with people who import and export food. As the U.S.-China trade war heats up, they're feeling it because most products here are now facing steep tariffs, either from Beijing or Washington.
ANDY HOROWITZ, RESTAURANT OWNER: I'm hoping that it doesn't -- the pork doesn't get more expensive than it is.
RIVERS: Andy Horowitz runs a restaurant in Beijing. China put a 25 percent tariff on the American pork he sells, so his profits took a hit.
RIVERS (on camera): Why then keep buying American pork?
HOROWITZ: You want to support American farmers and -- and what they're trying to do as well.
RIVERS (voice over): Most Americans we spoke to here are just trying to ride out the storm until a deal is struck -- whenever that might be.
ANDY ANDERSON, WESTERN U.S. AGRICULTURAL TRADE ASSOCIATION: Everybody's going to have a group hug and we're going to move forward. And then, oh, no, sorry, false alarm.
RIVERS: Just two weeks ago it did look like a deal was in the works. But the White House says China reneged on commitments, which China denied, but a pair of tweets from President Trump sparked a sudden escalation and within eight days both sides announced new tariffs. But no matter who's to blame, the uncertainty is a problem for
[06:40:03] ANDERSON: Chinese buyers are saying, well, you know, I like your product. I would like to buy your product, but tomorrow it might be an additional 25 percent.
RIVERS: Buyers like Liu Yanming, who wants to buy U.S. blueberries, he just can't.
LIU YANMING, BUYER (through translator): The tariff has gone from 10 percent to 25 percent. So of course we can't buy from the U.S. We'd lose money. It's irrational.
RIVERS: A set of new tariffs kicks in around June 1st, but a deal is unlikely before then. So, more pain is likely, which some are OK with, if it's temporary.
ROLF HAUGEN, NORTHWEST BERRY CO-OP: I voted for him, I guess, and I believe in what he's doing.
RIVERS: Washington state raspberry farmer Rolf Haugen says even if the trade war hurts a bit now, in the long run, it's for the best.
HAUGEN: If we have to sacrifice a little bit today so that our kids and grandkids have a better life going forward, I'm willing to put up with a little bit today.
RIVERS: And another obstacle overnight from the Trump administration to a potential trade deal. The U.S. designating Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei on a specific list in the U.S. that would require Huawei to get U.S. approval to buy U.S. products. That effectively freezes out one of China's largest telecom firms from the U.S. China's calling it an abuse of export controls. Huawei itself is saying it means the U.S. is going to lag behind in 5G technology. But the U.S. is sticking to its guns. It says Huawei's a national security threat, John, and that does not help a trade deal get done.
BERMAN: All right, Matt Rivers for us in Shanghai, literally inside the trade war there. Thank you very much for being with us.
So, Senator Kamala Harris says she knows who would make a good vice president. And it's not her. Her pointed response from the campaign trail, next.
[06:45:41] CAMEROTA: All right, we have breaking news. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially joining the race for president. He is now the 23rd Democrat to challenge Donald Trump. De Blasio releasing this video moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations. I will not rest until this government serves working people. As mayor of the largest city in America, I have done just that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: De Blasio for president, guys.
DE BLASIO: Donald Trump must be stopped. I've beaten him before, and I will do it again.
I'm Bill de Blasio and I'm running for president because it's time we put working people first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Rousing music. The music bed is exciting.
BERMAN: The music was great.
CAMEROTA: And his message --
BERMAN: The shade of green in the sign also very nice.
But there is more to this announcement, I think, than that.
CAMEROTA: Joining us now to discuss we have Joe Lockhart, he was the White House press secretary under President Clinton, Jess McIntosh, she was the director of communications outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign, and John Avlon, CNN's senior political analyst.
Who wants to go first? Who wants to -- go.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he does.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: OK.
AVLON: Look, you go from soaring background music like that when there's a palpable lack of excitement in the streets of New York. Three-quarters of New Yorkers don't want him to run. He is --
CAMEROTA: Maybe that's because they want him to stay here.
AVLON: If he showed up to work, that may be the case. But the -- one of the big problems with Bill de Blasio is, he is not showing up to work. He comes in late. He doesn't come in at all. He seems utterly disinterested in the job of running America's largest big city.
And, look, I get how, if you're mayor of New York, seeing the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, soar in the polls is really frustrating and kind of insulting to your sense of entitlement. But he actually got a -- you know, but that's not a sufficient reason to get in. His aides have been trying to dissuade him from getting in.
Again, this is somebody who has been under water often in the polls in a city that's six to one Democrat. Somebody who's managed to kept crime law, inherited a very good economy, but homelessness has spiked under his watch. He sees himself as a progressive vanguard and that's why he's running. You heard a very, very left message out of the gate. That seems to be his lane. But this is -- this is -- Bill de Blasio seems to be a -- you know, running because it's a YOLO campaign rather than because people are rallying around him, or the people who know him best and saying you should be president of the United States.
BERMAN: So, Joe Lockhart, you split those running for president, the 23 candidates now, into three separate groups of which de Blasio doesn't fit. So explain to me the three groups and then the de Blasio factor.
LOCKHART: I think there's a group of, I want to say six to eight people, who not only believe they have a legitimate chance of getting the nomination, do have a legitimate chance. Now, Biden is the scrambler on this. If he continues to perform well, particularly through that first debate, then there will be a battle for who's the alternative to him. If he doesn't do well, if he, you know, crashes and burns, things open up a little bit. But that's one group.
The second group is, I think, people who have a legitimate -- who think they might be president someday but not in this term. They're banking on Trump winning.
And then there's a third group that are in it for different reasons. I would look at some of the House members who are in it to increase their stature. You know, one of the ways you -- one of the ways you get booked on cable television in the morning is to say former presidential candidate, and they go out there and they look at it as a multi-step process.
And then there are some people who want to raise an issue. I would say Jay Inslee of Washington. I don't think he has a big chance of winning. In fact, I think it's a very small chance. But he's -- climate change is so important to him he wants to raise it.
And then there's the -- the fourth category, which is just what John said, a kind of absurd ego trip.
LOCKHART: And I'd put de Blasio in that category.
CAMEROTA: Tough crowd here this morning of New Yorkers.
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean I'm a progressive New Yorker and most of my friends fall into that category also. I don't think I could throw a coffee clatch (ph) for people who would be really excited about hearing about this candidacy.
CAMEROTA: Well, but explain to -- for people who aren't New Yorkers what the problem is.
BERMAN: Well, explain what a coffee clatch is for people who aren't New Yorkers, first of all. No, sorry, go ahead.
MCINTOSH: You bring a small group of people together and you talk about a candidate. It's eight to ten people.
What I'm saying is that I don't have any friends who are excited about Bill de Blasio for president. But, I mean, I think we're not --
MCINTOSH: Because -- because John's actually right, I hate to say, like --
CAMEROTA: They don't feel that --
MCINTOSH: He doesn't have much of a brand in New York.
CAMEROTA: I know. We don't hear that often on NEW DAY.
AVLON: No, but I appreciate it. Thank you.
[06:50:01] BERMAN: Well, so, enough on the Bill de Blasio then since you three have seemed to be over with his candidacy just as it's beginning.
AVLON: We can go on if you'd like.
MCINTOSH: We'll keep doing this.
BERMAN: Let me talk about Kamala Harris because she made a statement yesterday. Look, the last five days -- well, for months there have been people who have been saying the dream ticket would be Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And then there was some blind reporting over the weekend that there's a new surge to have that happen.
Kamala Harris was asked about this directly just yesterday when she was in New Hampshire. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that Joe Biden would be a great running mate. As vice president, he's proven that he knows how to do the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: How do you like that?
MCINTOSH: I love that answer. I mean we spent a month asking every man in the race whether he saw their -- their competition as a potential running mate. And -- and if we are going to, you know, reverse, I can't imagine having a problem with that.
Also, Joe Biden was a fabulous VP. Like -- CAMEROTA: That's her point.
MCINTOSH: That's how I feel the warmest about Joe Biden is remembering him as Barack Obama's vice president. So I thought it was a deft answer. I liked it.
CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure. But, I mean, but to be fair, the Congressional Black Caucus, which has floated this as the dream ticket, didn't say that they wanted her to be the vice president.
CAMEROTA: They all said, if she's not the nominee, the Biden/Kamala Harris would be a dream ticket.
CAMEROTA: So, I mean, I just want to be clear that in this -- you know, listen, our antenna now is so attuned to any sexist remark. But really what they're saying is that they hope that she is the nominee.
AVLON: Yes, look, she is a top tier candidate by any measure. She's the candidate most voters say they want to learn more about. I think it -- it is actually flattering to be in that consideration set (INAUDIBLE) either top of the ticket or the running mate in some, you know, fantasy baseball match-up in people's minds right now.
BERMAN: And the alternative is being Bill de Blasio in your world, which is not a good thing.
AVLON: Yes, which is a much better position to be in than Kamala Harris.
AVLON: And I agree it was a deft answer. But I don't think it's a rank insult to her at all. I think she's -- she's in the top tier of candidates.
LOCKHART: I mean I think it's a perfect answer because it shows she believes that she should be president and nothing in that answer precludes her from eventually being the vice president for Joe Biden, if that happens. There's nothing that she didn't take a swipe at Joe Biden. It was good natured. It was -- it was the absolute perfect answer.
CAMEROTA: Well, not so fast. I mean she has -- not in that answer, but she has talked about the crime bill and she has criticized the 1994 crime bill and his, you know, his role in it. And they are fighting -- not fighting. I mean they have differences of opinions about this. She thinks that it did do bad things for the black community and beyond and he's defending it.
LOCKHART: Yes, and, listen, there's -- there -- you're never going to get, except for maybe Mike Pence, a candidate who's never had a difference with the guy at the top of the ticket because it's not clear that Mike Pence has ever had a position on anything once he came in -- in with Trump.
LOCKHART: But --
BERMAN: Let's put up the Pennsylvania poll numbers because I think they're interesting. And Jess has got a really interesting take on this.
First of all, just among Democratic primary voters, Joe Biden is leading right now. That's not unusual. It looks like that pretty much in every national and statewide poll in the country.
But the head to head against Donald Trump is also very interesting where Joe Biden's at 53 percent and Trump's at 42. And if you look at all the possible mash-ups, this is P102 (ph) in the control room here. Again, you can see Beto O'Rourke in the bottom there is actually trailing by two points.
But, Jess, you look at this and you say it symbolizes something else. That American voters are actually voting for the Obama administration over the Trump administration?
MCINTOSH: So, at this point, voters aren't tuned in. We're still over a month away from the first debates. The average person cannot name five people running, much less 22 plus the one independent. At this point, Joe Biden is far away the lead in the polls because of the name ID. He was the vice president to the last very popular president and that's what people are reacting to.
So at this point he's basically a stand-in for the Obama administration. So when I see him trouncing Donald Trump, what I see is people saying, we would rather have the last guy back. And that really is not a position of strength for Trump to be coming into.
AVLON: Look, I think there is definitely something to that. But I think also what helps accounts for the disparity between some of the candidates in the race is that -- is that Joe Biden doesn't fit into the negative stereotypes of Democrats that the Trump campaign has tried to push for swing voters in the last election and this one. He can't credibly be painted as a radical socialist who has loathing for the middle class of America. In fact, he's self-evidently the opposite. That's always been his brand. And so I think that helps benefit him in states like Pennsylvania, neighboring to his native Delaware.
BERMAN: All right, Joe, Jess, John, thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much.
BERMAN: So is Tiger Woods poised to win another major? And why are they playing the PGA in May?
CAMEROTA: I don't know.
BERMAN: The "Bleacher Report," next. CAMEROTA: I'd like to know that.
[06:57:58] BERMAN: Tiger Woods ready to go for back-to-back majors as the PGA Championship gets underway in May for some reason which is still very confusing to me.
Andy Scholes live at Bethpage Black in New York with the "Bleacher Report."
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, John.
Well, it's in May because it's all part of the new golf calendar. They're trying to get the playoffs done before football season starts.
But, you know, there's lots of buzz here in New York ahead of the PGA Championship with Tiger coming off winning the Masters. Now, Tiger has not played a competitive round of golf since walking off that 18th green in Augusta, so he could be a little rusty here in round one today. But Tiger said, you know, he feels rested and ready for this tournament. He said earlier this week, you know, he doesn't know if winning the Masters means he's going to be dominant again. That's to be determined. But, you know, Tiger has won here at Bethpage Black before at the 2002 U.S. Open. Tiger says he's excited to play in a major in front of these New York fans once again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: This week's going to be a lot of fun with the crowds, and the excitement that we've had here in the last, what, three events that we play here. The pairing that I'm involved in. It's going to be just a boat load of fun for all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Now, the course here at Bethpage Black is known as one of the hardest, most grueling courses in the entire country. And it's a public course. They actually have this warning sign for the golfers ahead of the first tee. It says, we recommend only highly skilled golfers try to take on this course.
Obviously, the pros can handle it. But Brooks Koepka, you know, the reigning PGA champ, he actually jokes that we could see a lot of guys lose it in frustration here on the course this week, guys. And Koepka, you know, he tees off with Tiger Woods as part of an all-star trio getting things going early this morning. They get going, 8:24 Eastern. You can see the guys warming up on the practice range right behind me right there. You can watch all the action this afternoon on our sister station TNT.
Alisyn I know you'll be tuning in.
CAMEROTA: Golf action. Two words I've never said. Thank you very much, Andy.
BERMAN: It's going to be awesome. And the course has got moguls and a lot of ice, which is why it's a double black diamond.
CAMEROTA: I do like that but I also like seeing it when they get it through the windmill's arms. It's very hard to get the ball through there.
BERMAN: Yes. Oh, boy.
[07:00:08] CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, thanks to our international viewers for.