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Trump Would Take Dirt on Political Rivals; 2020 Democratic Debate Deadline; Joe Biden on Socialism; Stanford Sailing Coach Avoids Prison. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired June 13, 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] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That what you just heard there shows that President Trump has a "for sale" sign on his forehead, meaning?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, what a difference three years doesn't make, right? We know from the Mueller report why foreign governments tried to use the Trump campaign as a laundromat. They illegally obtained information and tried to launder it through members of the Trump campaign and third party organizations.
The president is still going on television and saying that if somebody comes with -- to him with information, he's willing to take it. He is putting out a request for proposal from foreign governments to interfere in our democracy because he's prioritizing his political campaign. And it is so clear, Alisyn, why so many of our enemies are on the Trump 2020 re-election campaign. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get elected and to advance their agendas.
They share this information -- or they did share this information with -- with organizations and members of the Trump campaign to advance their own agendas. He did, coincidentally, become popular with foreign governments when he decided to run for office.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It was a "help wanted" sign that he just posted for the world to see, and he did it sitting in the Oval Office, which is simply stunning.
Now, just a couple of points on facts here.
The president says he's never gone to the FBI in his life. He absolutely has gone to the FBI before. When he was building casinos in Atlantic City, he sent letters to the FBI asking for help in certain cases. When it benefits him, he goes to the FBI.
CAMEROTA: And made phone calls, I think reporters -- investigative reporters have found out.
Number two, I've talked to a lot of members of Congress in my life. I have never spoken to a member of Congress who said they've received an officer of help from a foreign country, period, full stop. And if you are a member of Congress out there, if you're among the 435, if you would take help from the Russians, as the president just said he would, call us during the show, let us know, because we want to hear you. You would be the first ever to make that pubic announcement, despite the fact that the president said that everyone would do it.
Josh Campbell, your take?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, look, I think, first and foremost, and I heard yesterday several people on television, including some elected officials, saying that this no longer shocks them. They need to stop. This is shocking. And the more you allow yourself to accept this kind of thing, the more it becomes the norm. You talk to national security officials who will tell you that this is unacceptable on any level.
What's troubling here is that the president is not looking backwards and offering a robust defense of his past actions, which we've become accustomed to. He's essentially forecasting that in the future he would be open to breaking the law if it suits his efforts as it related to his re-election, which, again, is stunning. And you have to put yourself in the shoes right now of an FBI agent, a member of the intelligence community that is working to stop the threats from foreign governments. They tell the public, if you see something, say something. The president responds to that and says, give me a break, life doesn't work like that. This is -- this is stunning and shocking.
VINOGRAD: And it's also a requirement for any rank and file U.S. government official. I know that the president puts himself in a different category. I have colleagues that were -- were the subject of FBI investigations because of unreported contacts with foreign governments. If you work for the U.S. government and you have a security clearance, you have to report these contacts.
Now, the president can do what he wants when he wants, obviously, but that doesn't make any of it OK. He is creating more work for the FBI with his statements because he's encouraging foreign governments to attack his political opponents. That creates more counter-intelligence risk. We have a very wide Democratic field, as we know. And he's directly undermining the work of his own intelligence community.
CAMEROTA: And in terms of which foreign governments, I mean George Stephanopoulos posed the question, anyone, you know, at any place? So, in other words, Russia, China, let's just keep going down the line, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran? I mean he didn't draw the line, Josh, at any government. So everybody's around the world's ears must have perked up.
CAMPBELL: Yes, absolutely. He mentioned Norway. I can assure you that in Norway they're not sitting there trying to determine how they're going to interfere in the U.S. election.
What I can assure you happened overnight, it's now 6:30 a.m. on the East Coast, but overnight, at the intelligence centers in Moscow, in Beijing, likely in Riyadh, they're probably holding meetings determining, OK, he's now saying this is a welcome mat here for information. What are we going to do to try to help influence this election?
And, again, it goes back to that same point that Sam's been making, that others have been making, that nothing has been learned over the course of the last three years. You go back to the president and when he was on the campaign trail imploring the Russians to go after Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails, for example. That same day, the Russians launched an effort to go after her home server. Words matter. They matter when you're a top tier candidate. They certainly matter when you're the president of the United States.
And as you mentioned, the signal that this is sending to the rest of the world to open up, have at it, again, should shock all of us, especially those who have -- have to have confidence in these elections that they're done fairly, that there's not interference from a foreign government and that it is the will of the U.S. American people that are electing our officials and not foreign governments.
BERMAN: How about especially if you're trying to police this right now, especially if you are trying to protect these elections. Say you're the FBI director, Christopher Wray, who has testified under oath that he does think that politicians should call. Just listen to this one more time.
[06:35:06] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: My view is that if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that's something that the FBI would want to know about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: When I went to bed last night, Josh, the FBI had no comment on the president's statement. But doesn't he need to say something? Isn't this a moment where Christopher Wray needs to stand up and say, Mr. President, you're wrong about this?
CAMPBELL: Yes, I think Chris -- Director Wray has two options here. One of is to speak out and to speak up. And it's important not only to send a message to his institution that the men and women who are working to stop these threats, it tells them that he takes this seriously, but also the American people. They have to have confidence in these institutions, that they're actually going to do their job and they're going to speak up whenever they think that there's lawlessness potentially happening in their midst. That's one option, speak up.
The second option is, he could pack his bags and head for the door. We've seen in the past officials who resign on principle. They see something that's so egregious they no longer think that they can stick around. I don't think staying quiet, especially right now, again, when you have the president forecasting that he's willing to commit a crime and undercutting his own FBI director by saying he's wrong, I don't think that's going to fly. And it would be unfortunate if we allow that to just wash over us and to move on to the next thing. CAMEROTA: Well, thank you both for helping us understand just how
stunning these comments were. In a -- in a field of stunning comments, these seem to rise to the top. Thank you, Sam and Josh, very much.
BERMAN: I am waiting to hear the wave of Republican lawmakers coming out and condemning this.
CAMEROTA: It will happen any minute. We're -- our phone lines are open.
BERMAN: It is deadline day for the first round of Democratic debates. Which big name candidates will misses the cut? That's next.
[06:40:45] BERMAN: We are just hours away from the official announcement from the Democratic National Committee on which candidates will be invited to the first primary debate a couple of weeks from now. These 20 candidates have met the polling and donor requirements, putting them on one of the two debate stages in Miami. Those who will most likely not make the stage, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Mayor Wayne Messam and Congressman Seth Moulton.
I want to bring in Margaret Talev, senior White House correspondent for "Bloomberg News," and John Avlon, CNN's senior political analyst.
We'll get to 2020 Democratic politics in a moment, but I want to go back, if I can, to the invitation the president just issued from the Oval Office to foreign governments to give him dirt on his opponents. It's not a small thing, it's a foundational thing to our republic, John Avlon. There happens to be a book that I've read.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A fantastic book.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Ah.
BERMAN: It's called "Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations." Warning to future generations. There is a direct, explicit warning in this book -- well, written by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton --
BERMAN: But written about you in this book that they delivered about foreign influence on elections.
AVLON: That's right. And that's why this matters so much.
In Washington's farewell address, which is the sum total of his wisdom, he warned, he said history and experience for -- teach us that foreign influence is the most baneful foe of republican government.
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, number 68, talks about the danger of foreign influence elevating someone to the executive.
Adams and Jefferson wrote about this. This is basic. What Donald Trump just did was the founding fathers'
BERMAN: There you go. Again, I'm waiting for the constitutional conservatives to rise up this morning and say, enough.
CAMEROTA: Margaret, your thoughts?
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what the president said shocked a lot of Republicans, as well as Democrats. And, politically speaking, it may counteract or undercut his own efforts to try to paint the U.S. government during the Obama administration as spying on his campaign because you get a sense of what they may have been concerned about, that -- that now two and a half years into his presidency he's still saying, yes, if another government wants to bring me dirt on my opponents, I'd listen to it, and suggesting that perhaps that government would be Norway. I mean I think we all know we're not talking about Norway here. We're talking about most likely Russia. And he does seem -- he seems to be sort of tacitly encouraging this. He may just be trying to be defensive about his campaign's previous actions. But, either way, I think it's got a lot of the political establishment unsettled.
CAMEROTA: It's not so tacit. It was explicit.
AVLON: Yes. Yes.
CAMEROTA: I mean in that -- in the conversation with George Stephanopoulos, you know, as Josh Campbell and Sam Vinograd just said, has he learned nothing from the past three years? He didn't seem to enjoy the investigation that the FBI and intel community had to do.
CAMEROTA: So not a quick study.
TALEV: Well, and I would just say that, just a few minutes ago, the president tweeted encouragement for Michael Flynn on his selection of a new lawyer --
TALEV: Who is an anti-FBI lawyer, who has been critical of the Mueller process. And the president said, you've got a great lawyer, now, good luck to both of you. So, yes.
BERMAN: Yes. And, look, we know William Barr -- there's new reporting overnight in "The New York Times" that -- that his investigation is going to go back to the CIA to figure out why exactly they said that Russia wanted Donald Trump to win.
AVLON: Yes. BERMAN: You can see where this is going.
Let's talk 2020, the debate stage. Who got robbed but (ph) --
AVLON: Yes. It looks like Steve Bullock and Seth Moulton are going to got robbed. And I think they really --
CAMEROTA: And Wayne Messam.
AVLON: And Wayne Messam. But Wayne Messam, frankly, hasn't really been actively campaigning. And while it's a long way from Fort Bend (ph) to the top tier of candidates, it may be even a longer way from his town in south Florida.
Look, I think the -- what the -- the -- the crime of it is that Steve Bullock is by every conventional historic measure a competitive potential candidate. He is a two-term governor of a western state that Donald Trump won by 20 points, and he won in the same cycle that Trump did. That's a voice that Democrats should be hearing from.
Seth Moulton, I think, also committed the sin of getting in too late, but he's a congressman, a vet from the Iraq/Afghanistan War, someone who can speak credibly from that same generational shift. Instead, you have a lot of other Democrats who, I think, have less distinguished records, but they made a really critical error apparently of getting in too late to kind of raise the necessary cash and name ID.
[06:45:01] CAMEROTA: It's too bad, Margaret, because we've had all three of these guys on -- Steve Bullock and Wayne Messam and Seth Moulton -- and they all have interesting things to say. They all have interesting positions. They all do have slightly different things than you hear from the rest of the field. And so is there a feeling that the DNC rules are too capricious, is there pushback or is everybody just going to accept it -- this as is now?
TALEV: Well, there's going to certainly be a feeling by the people who aren't going to make the cut for the first debate. But it was completely within their control to decide when to get into the race. And that first threshold, you're talking about 1 percent in polls, 65,000 unique donors, it doesn't prevent those candidates from running. It says that if those candidates want to be on the next debate stage, they have to meet that threshold. And they now have quite a bit of time's notice on what that threshold is. It's a little higher than the current threshold. But it doesn't prevent them from going on television, from giving speeches, from campaigning.
You know, and the way this format's going to work, you're looking at maybe ten minutes per candidate anyway. If you're somewhere hovering around 2 percent or 3 percent, I'm not sure if ten minutes on the stage is going to be your breakout moment. But I think the DNC thought they had to draw the line somewhere and this is where they drew the line.
BERMAN: It may be your only breakout moment is the problem.
Hey, look, I want to talk about Democratic socialism but we can't. I'm cheating off you exam here.
CAMEROTA: Feel free.
BERMAN: Let's play Bernie Sanders. He gave a very big speech that he wanted reporters and the country to hear in defense of his political philosophy. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. And that is what I mean by Democratic socialism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I would like an "h," Vanna.
But beyond that, this is what Joe Biden, the former vice president, said in response to this. He said, things have changed in a way that needs to be turned around. And it doesn't require socialism and it doesn't require some fundamental shift. It requires sort of reordering capitalism to make capitalism work and save it.
AVLON: Look, what's fascinating is that what Joe Biden just said is essentially what FDR said he was trying to do, to save capitalism from itself during the depths of the Great Depression. Sanders, however, is trying to say that he's the inheritor of the FDR mantle and progressives -- I'm lumping in progressives with Democratic socialists.
Look, first of all, FDR strongly resisted and rejected the label socialist for him. Bernie Sanders has been consistent on this. And you can say he has moved the party more in his direction than most candidates over the course of his life. But his record of supporting governments in -- during the Cold War, from fascination with the Soviet Union, to playing footsie with the Sandinistas in Catro's Cuba, speaks to a darker underbelly that he's going to have to answer for. It's a principled disagreement, but you can't just simply say, oh, progressivism, Democratic socialism, same thing. I don't think that's got credibility. He's got his fans. But -- but I think this is going to be and should be a real debate. And Democrats need to understand they may play in Burlington and Brooklyn and Berkeley, but it really is going to have a hard time playing in swing states where presidential elections are won and lost.
TALEV: But I think Bernie Sanders want Democratic voters to see the two stark choices as him versus Joe Biden. When you look at the movement in the polls, Elizabeth Warren has been encroaching on his territory.
AVLON: Big time.
TALEV: Perhaps Joe Biden thinks that it's going to be a discussion or a debate between Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. So, some of this is Bernie Sanders trying to get his message out. Some of this is Bernie Sanders saying he's the one who should be delivering that message.
BERMAN: That's a great point. Elizabeth Warren now ahead of Bernie Sanders in polling in Nevada.
CAMEROTA: Really interesting stuff.
CAMEROTA: Margaret Talev, John Avlon, thank you so much.
No prison time for the first of 50 people to be sentenced in the college admissions scandal. What does that mean for the other high profile people caught up in this conspiracy?
[06:52:47] BERMAN: A lot of shaking heads this morning after the former Stanford sailing coach received no prison time for his actions in the college admissions scandal. He is the first of 50 people charged in connection with the cheating scandal to be sentenced.
CNN's Brynn Gingras here with much more.
I've got to say, I was really surprised by this.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. My jaw dropped. And it's interesting. We have to remember, there's three different judges handling these cases. So we'll see what happens for the rest of these defendants.
But let's talk about John Vandemoer. He apologized to the university, his former student athletes and his family just before the judge handed down a sentence of two years supervised release and a $10,000 fine. He'll have to spend the first six months of that in home detention with monitoring. A big difference, though, than what prosecutors had recommended in their plea agreement, 13 months in prison.
The former Stanford sailing coach pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge, admitting that he took bribes to get two students into Stanford as sailing recruits and neither student actually attended the school and Vandemoer never pocketed that money exchanged. Instead, he just put it toward the sailing program. And that was something that Judge Rya Zobel took into consideration, who said it was hard to monetize any loss or gains in this particular case.
After the sentencing, Vandemoer vowed to be a better man for his two kids and said he thought he was doing the right thing for his team. Here's more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN VANDEMOER, FORMER STANFORD SAILING COACH: Mistakes are never felt by just yourself. This mistake impacted the people I love and admire most. Stafford is a place that I love. I have brought a crowd over Stanford. And for that I am deeply, deeply ashamed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: Now, prosecutors had asked that his punishment not just be a slap on the wrist, but rather enough to send the message that cheating and bribery will land you in prison.
So we'll see again going forward, John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: I mean it is so fascinating for the people who have opted to take prison terms, like Felicity Huffman. So, we will see what's happening with that.
Thank you very much, Brynn.
[06:54:44] All right, after everything the country has been through in the past three years with the Mueller investigation, why would President Trump say he would still accept help from a foreign adversary? What the FBI's response is, next.
CAMEROTA: All right, President Trump says it is possible we'll find out what North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un wrote to him in a letter this week. Here are your "Late Night Laughs."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In that letter. Some day you'll be reading about it. Maybe in a hundred years from now. Maybe in two weeks. Who knows? But it was a very nice letter. It was a very warm, very nice letter. I appreciated it.
TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": What? Maybe a hundred years from now? Maybe two weeks? The only other time you hear a time range that big is when you order a couch online. It's like, yes, I guess it will arriving now or never.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Our most important ally is the U.K. Should Hermione have ended up with Harry instead of Ron?
BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. Yes.
COLBERT: I'm sorry, audience, that is the correct answer. That is the correct answer.
If trapped on a deserted island with all 22 other candidates, which would you eat first?
O'ROURKE: Oh, wow.
You want to talk about health care or immigration or --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's not an answer.
CAMEROTA: No, but it -- it is such a funny question. And I can't believe he's not thought of that. How -- how -- if you were running for president, how could you never have thought that one out, who you would eat first on a desert island?
BERMAN: You know, if Cory Booker --
CAMEROTA: I think of it constantly.
BERMAN: Cory Booker's a vegan. How does he answer that question?
CAMEROTA: I don't know.
CAMEROTA: See what I mean. These are the tough questions.
BERMAN: Yes, exactly. It's a conundrum.
CAMEROTA: Thank goodness are being asked.
[07:00:02] Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, the president seems to invite foreign.