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Rick Perry's Scandal-Free Tenure As Energy Secretary; Botswana Ends Ban On Elephant Hunting; Howard Stern Says Trump's Candidacy Was A Publicity Stunt. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 24, 2019 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: -- doctored videos, hoaxes online are as old as the Internet itself. What is unprecedented, though, is social media gives people the ability to put a fake video out there and have it quickly viewed by millions of people.

And also, of course, what is unprecedented is that people close to the President of the United States, including the president's lawyer -- last night, Rudy Giuliani actually tweeted out a link to this video asking what is wrong with Speaker Pelosi -- that she seems to be slurring her words. He quickly then deleted that tweet.

This video has been removed from YouTube. They said that it broke their policies, that it is misleading.

Facebook, on the other hand -- the video is still up there. They essentially said it doesn't break their rules. That they are having fact-checkers take a look at it.

But just a few minutes ago I checked online. One version of the video on Facebook has been viewed almost 2 1/2 million times.

Twitter, the president's favorite social media platform, had nothing to say about this video, which is still circulating on their platform this morning -- John and Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Donie, I think it is really incumbent upon us to educate viewers as to how these things spread, how they're doctored, what to look for because we're going to see a million things like this during this upcoming election.

So, thank you, Donie.

Rachael Bade -- we want to bring her in now. She's a congressional reporter for "The Washington Post" and a CNN political analyst. And, David Gregory, also a CNN political analyst.

Rachael, we want to start with you because you have this psychology, I think, behind what is going on between President Trump and Speaker Pelosi because something shifted yesterday.

So, they had seemed to -- it had seemed that President Trump respected Nancy Pelosi in a way that he didn't some other politicians and people around him. And then yesterday, he resorted to name-calling of her after she had gone after him suggesting that he needed an intervention, that he -- something was terribly wrong with him.

And so, the idea that this is intentional on her part, that's curious. Why would she intentionally provoke him?

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: So, yes, there was a point after the 2018 election that the president called Pelosi and complimented her on her leadership and said he wanted to work with her. And, Trump -- allies and Trump sources basically said that that was genuine. He's always admired her and her grip on the party.

But things have really broken down between the two and what you're seeing now is both of them in this sort of power struggle where they're trying to out-goad each other. I mean, Pelosi feels that Trump has been trying to gin up her members to break from her and try to impeach him.

And this week we saw a bunch of members, including some in her own leadership team, break from her and go public and say it's time to start impeachment proceedings. Pelosi thinks that Trump believes this will just help him in 2020 and she was angry about this. It caused her a headache.

So, this week, you saw her leave a press conference -- or leave a huddle with House Democrats and say before a bipartisan negotiation that a lot of people thought were going to break down, that Trump was engaged in a cover-up.

And a lot of people thought these infrastructure talks at the White House were never going to go anywhere, but the question was who was going to be to blame?

And, Trump played right into her hands. He saw her cover-up comment and he ended up stopping the entire negotiation and saying I'm not going to work with Democrats until Democrats stop their investigations. And he sort of looked like he was putting his ego in front of the country's needs.

The next morning she goes up to the mics in the morning for a press conference and she's specifically trying to goad him and upset him. And he saw her comments about how he doesn't have control over the White House, suggesting maybe he had a problem mentally -- lightly so.

And she -- and he basically used his own press conference to respond to her instead of staying on message about a farm package that he was passing, which really helped his own base. And that was totally throwing him off message.

And so, you're seeing the two sort of engage in this tug-of-war. Who is more powerful?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, she knows what buttons to push here. And as far as those skills go David, if you take a step back, we got some insight from someone who has known Nancy Pelosi for a long time -- our friend, Alexandra Pelosi. The daughter of Nancy Pelosi told us about this skillset from her mother.

Listen to what Alexandra said. Oh, we don't have that video. I thought -- OK.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, come on.

BERMAN: OK. Alexandra came on our air a few months ago and said Nancy Pelosi -- oh, here we go. Let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDRA PELOSI, DAUGHTER OF HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: She'll cut your head off and you won't even know you're bleeding. That's all you need to know about her. No one ever won betting against Nancy Pelosi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: There you go, David.

GREGORY: So sweet for a daughter toward her mother. We can say that about Alex because we're --

BERMAN: Yes.

GREGORY: -- old pals.

But I think it's interesting.

Actually, I was thinking of Alex this morning because I was thinking John of Pelosi's relationship -- Nancy Pelosi's relationship with George W. Bush -- with President Bush, which was contentious in a different kind of way. But people didn't realize, really, because of Alex and how fond of Alex President Bush was -- that they had a kind of warm relationship, too.

[07:35:09] So separate that out and here you have in President Trump someone who has high regard for Nancy Pelosi as being a tough leader -- someone that he can also do business with.

So I think as Rachael has laid out very well, there's gamesmanship here and they're both using the other to some extent. I mean, I think it's interesting that Nancy Pelosi said when the so-called stable genius -- he referred to himself that way -- wants to really do something constructively and productively, then I'll work him.

In the meantime, she's going to troll him the way that he likes to troll other people.

And you know he she's getting under his skin when he did just such an absurd thing at the White House where he's publicly at an event turning to Kellyanne Conway and asking for her validation about how calm he was during that meeting with congressional leaders. I mean, it's really striking how absurd some of these scenes are.

But the one thing I'll say that I think President Trump understands is that the tension that Nancy Pelosi is trying to deal with in her own caucus is pretty much lost on most people. She can serve a very important function for him, which is just the head of the Democrats and can represent those Democrats who do want to impeach him.

And whether she's goading him but holding a line against impeachment can be a distinction that's lost. So in the end, he can rail against her as others have and make political hay out of it.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

So very quickly, now there's this disgusting disinformation campaign, Rachael, against Nancy Pelosi where they're trying to make it seem as though she's not sharp, as though she might be drunk, as though she's confused.

And so, just one more time, this is what Rudy Giuliani tweeted out to try to make it seem as though Nancy Pelosi is confused -- watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is a man with a big heart who loves people -- all people, from the top to the bottom, from the middle to the side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: I'm sorry. No, that was a real video. That actually wasn't doctored. Sorry, wrong video -- our mistake.

Thanks a lot, guys. Thanks for being here.

BERMAN: Rachael, David, appreciate it.

All right. In the Trump cabinet -- I see what you did there.

In the Trump cabinet, one man stands out by not having had any controversy -- Sec. Rick Perry. How does he fly under the radar? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:41:57] CAMEROTA: Energy Sec. Rick Perry appears to be an exception in the scandal-plagued Trump cabinet. Unlike many of his colleagues, the former Texas governor has been relatively free from controversy.

CNN's Alex Marquardt is live in Washington with more. This is interesting, Alex. What did you learn?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Alisyn. He has been free from controversy -- no real scandal. Hardly any negative press coverage.

Rick Perry is one of the quietest, least talked about members of this Trump cabinet, which is really no small feat in this White House.

Now remember, he's leading the department -- the Department of Energy -- that he campaigned on getting rid of. And his allies now say that he's been successful at it because of his decades in politics and simply knowing that in this administration you just keep your head down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT (voice-over): In the Trump cabinet, fortunes rise and fall with alarming speed. One day you're the top dog, like Gen. James Mattis --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mad dog, he's great.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): -- then you're out.

TRUMP: What's he done for me?

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Few cabinet officials have been able to fly under the president's and the media's radar for the past 2 1/2 years with one significant exception, Rick Perry.

RICK PERRY, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: This is the coolest job I've ever had.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The former Texas governor and presidential candidate was plucked from retirement to lead the Department of Energy, a department he'd campaigned on getting rid of and famously forgot at a debate.

PERRY: The third one, I can't -- sorry -- oops.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): When chosen for the job, "The New York Times" reported that Perry didn't realize that the department maintained thousands of nuclear warheads. Yet, observers say that with an affable personality and political skills honed as governor, Perry has managed to navigate the choppy political waters of Washington with relatively few ripples.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Rick understands that in our business, particularly when you're working for someone else, you keep your head and your rear end down so that neither one of them gets shot off.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Perry has largely steered clear of the scandals and gaffes of fellow cabinet members, avoiding the extravagance of Tom Price and Scott Pruitt or moments like this from Ben Carson.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Do you know what an REO is?

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: An Oreo?

PORTER: R -- no, not an Oreo, an REO -- REO.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): He's had some controversial headlines but nothing that has really stuck.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Rick Perry has the benefit that he heads an agency that doesn't come under a ton of congressional pressure. There hasn't been any epic fights related to the Energy Department between Congress and the White House, so that's a big benefit.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): It's not that the "DANCING WITH THE STARS" alum shuns the limelight, but after hanging up his dancing shoes he came to Washington and started traveling the world promoting U.S. energy interests.

PERRY: It is very, very important for the world, for the Middle East, for the United States to be the partner in as many of these developments of civil nuclear energy programs as we can be.

[07:45:05] MARQUARDT (voice-over): Aides have said he's been planning his exit. If he does leave, Perry seems determined to not join the long list of officials who have left unceremoniously.

KENNEDY: I think the secretary is smart but he's also savvy. He understands human nature, human relations, and politics.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: Now, during the 2016 campaign, Perry was very harsh on his now-boss, President Trump, blasting him as a "cancer on conservatism."

Then fast-forward to this week. Perry just got back from Ukraine where he was sent as the president's envoy for the inauguration of their new president, showing that now he's an all-around utility player that this White House can rely on. Quite the turnaround, John.

BERMAN: Really interesting look. Thank you so much, Alex. I appreciate it.

This morning, African elephants are losing one of their sanctuaries. The government of Botswana is lifting a ban on hunting.

CNN's David McKenzie is live with us right now. And, David, you've done so much work covering the plight of elephants in Southern Africa. What's going on here?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's really shocking to many. Good morning.

And you look at those majestic herds that we have seen over the years in Botswana and other countries in Southern Africa and they are now under threat, say many, because the Botswanan government is saying that they are going to allow hunting of some 400 elephant per year.

Now, they are hit back -- hitting back at critics saying that conservation is in their DNA, John. That they are just trying to help preserve those herds.

That they are helping to stop the human-animal conflict. You know, big elephants going into a farmyard, they can hurt and even kill people. Some 30 people killed and/or injured each year, say the government.

But there's a bigger picture issue here. Conservationists I've spoken to are horrified. They say that it's just a moral issue. These animals are so smart, so intelligent, and such social animals, and that by killing them it's just morally repugnant, as one conservationist told me.

And now, they are just sticking to their guns -- to use probably, an inappropriate phrase -- and the elephants are potentially under threat.

The next step, we believe, is that they will try and open up the sale of ivory in that country, particularly ivory stocks worth millions.

Just recently they had a conference where they handed out elephant stools. They are elephant feet that are being stuffed -- it's hard to contemplate -- and gave it to those delegates visiting that conference.

Really, difficult decisions being made by the Botswanan government and many people are outraged -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: David, thank you very much for bringing all of that to our attention.

All right. Howard Stern has known Donald Trump for decades and says he knows why Donald Trump ran for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST, "THE HOWARD STERN SHOW": This was a publicity stunt. I happen to have --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": You have no doubt about that?

STERN: I have no doubt because I have some inside information.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right. Howard Stern is going to share some of his inside information, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:18] BERMAN: This morning, Howard Stern helped make Donald Trump a national media figure. So many interviews over the years on his radio shows and it gave Stern a unique and surprising insight into the president, including why he ran for office in the first place. He says it was a publicity stunt.

Anderson Cooper has a really interesting discussion with Stern -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: As an interviewer, I've noticed there's just -- when I used to interview him, he was very susceptible to flattery. And I notice this in your interviews with him. You would throw out something like your poll numbers -- you know, I've never seen anything like this -- and --

STERN: Well, it's a definite technique.

COOPER: -- it washes over him.

STERN: Notice I call him in every interview, Mr. Trump. Now this is before he was president -- Mr. Trump.

COOPER: That's intentional.

STERN: Oh, absolutely. Someone had asked me -- said why do you call him Mr. Trump? I said because it loosens him up. He feels respected, he feels good about himself, and now he's going to roll. He's going to open up to me.

COOPER: When you see him now in the White House as president, what do you see?

STERN: Well, first of all, it's unbelievable to me and I've documented my thoughts about how this whole candidacy even came about. This was a publicity stunt. I happen to have --

COOPER: You have no doubt about that?

STERN: I have no doubt because I have some inside information.

And the thing is that it started out with "The Art of the Deal" -- the book -- and it was a P.R. guy's idea. He said Donald, what you need to do is -- we'll make a sort of a rumor that you're running for president and, Donald's like, oh. So all of a sudden he was being interviewed and the book goes right to number one.

And then, this time around in the last election, "THE APPRENTICE" ratings were not what they were. NBC was not going to give them a raise. And what's a better way than to get NBC's interest? I'll run for president and I'll get lots of press -- and I think that's what happened.

COOPER: Do you think he likes being president?

STERN: I don't think he likes being president at all. I think he liked winning the presidency. He likes to win.

And again, I'm not Donald Trump's psychotherapist. And I've had many good laughs with Donald and in some ways, I feel that he's been wronged the way they use my transcripts, in a way, to frame him. And I'll give you an example.

When he said the line about STDs being his Vietnam, that was a very jokey thing on my show. If you went back and listened to the tape you would not take that seriously. He was in the spirit of the program.

And then he was -- you know, they tried to use that against him. Hey, he's being -- how dare he compare himself to a veteran of the Vietnam War who served when he didn't serve? All right, everybody take a deep breath and relax.

COOPER: He asked you to speak at the RNC, I think. I had no idea about that.

[07:55:00] STERN: Yes. He used to call me from the campaign trail and I think he was really desirous of my endorsement.

So when the -- when he secured the nomination and now he was thinking about the convention, I think he wanted some show biz there. He picked up the phone and he called me personally. And I was like, oh gosh, for about a split-second.

I went, can you imagine if I was all in? I would be the head of the FCC. I could be the Supreme Court -- I could be on the Supreme Court. I think Donald would give me anything I asked for.

COOPER: You really believe that?

STERN: Oh, I believe it 100 percent that -- if Ben Carson can get in there and -- I think Donald would have appointed me regardless of whether I know what I'm doing or not.

COOPER: Do you think he wants to get reelected? Do you think he -- or do you think --

STERN: I don't think -- I think psychologically, if he really got under the hood I think he'd say what am I doing? I'm in my 70s.

COOPER: You haven't spoken to him since you turned down the RNC?

STERN: No. Well, when I turned down the RNC, it was the last time he spoke and he said to me what are you doing? And I explained to him in the nicest way that it would be difficult for me.

I said I'm not really actually comfortable being a public speaker, which I'm not. I don't like going up -- I never was a stand-up comic. I don't like getting up in front of audiences. This radio studio suits me just fine.

You know, what struck me as even odd, I know he was a Hillary Clinton fan. He was a supporter of hers. So the whole thing was weird.

And I am -- I had been a Hillary Clinton supporter way back before even when Obama -- when she was trying to get --

COOPER: Trying to get some --

STERN: Yes. I think she's a terrific public servant. I thought her husband was the best president we ever had.

COOPER: You tried to get her, repeatedly, to come on your show. STERN: The whole game plan was I wanted to humanize her to my audience. I wanted to humanize her in the same way -- there's a couple of people in my book where I interviewed them and the audience's perception changed just from one interview.

Whoever becomes the Democratic nominee or even if you're fighting for the nomination -- I applaud those people who go over to Fox News, like Mayor Pete, who said you know what? I'll go -- I want to -- I want to win this thing. And he got a standing ovation over at Fox News -- impressive.

And that was my point to Hillary.

COOPER: Who in the Democratic field do you -- would you want to interview now?

STERN: I don't know. You know, I don't do a lot of political interviews. I'm kind of fatigued from it. I'm talking about from my radio show.

I am curious about Mayor Pete because number one, an openly-gay candidate -- to me, I salute him. It's not going to be easy. There's still so much of our country that is homophobic. And we could sit here in New York and say hey, right on -- but he's going to catch a lot of hell.

COOPER: So you'd like to interview him?

STERN: I'd be curious about his life -- I really would be -- and the adversity.

But, you know, Biden would be just as sort of interesting to me in a way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Really interesting.

BERMAN: So, I've never been a Howard Stern listener --

CAMEROTA: I am actually a fan.

BERMAN: -- of my life, but I could listen to that conversation. You can listen to him talk forever.

CAMEROTA: I agree. He has a beautiful voice, number one. And number two, he's unvarnished.

BERMAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: And that's really nice to hear somebody who is authentic and just says whatever he feels and politics or repercussions be damned.

BERMAN: Yes. No, that was really interesting and there's much, much more of that conversation. You can watch Anderson's entire talk with Howard Stern tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

CAMEROTA: All right.

President Trump escalating his efforts to investigate the intelligence agencies. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When I watch Nancy, that's a person that's got some problems.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I wish that his family would have an intervention for the good of the country.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She's got his number. She's getting under his skin. He looks flustered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has signed a memorandum ordering all agencies to cooperate with Barr's investigation of the Mueller investigation.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I am baffled. It seems like an effort to distract.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want a whole new independent counsel, but I do think there's questions that need answered on that.

THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I am, today, announcing that I will resign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her pathway towards getting Brexit over the line evaporated a week ago. From that moment, she was on borrowed time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Friday, May 24th -- the kick-off of the holiday weekend -- 8:00 here in New York.

President Trump has given the attorney general, William Barr, unprecedented powers to declassify intelligence and investigate the origins of the Russia probe. The move gives Barr, who says the Trump campaign was spied on, the sweeping ability to control what information about the investigation is released publicly.

CAMEROTA: The president and his allies also pedaling a fake, doctored video that makes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look as if she is slurring her speech. The president didn't actually share that one. He shared a different one that was manipulated.

This follows a heated back-and-forth between the president and speaker, with both leaders questioning the other's fitness for office.

END