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U.S.: Video Shows Iran Removing Mine from Tanker in Gulf of Oman; Trump Campaign to Follow His Lead in Accepting Info from Foreign Governments; Fed Watchdog Recommends Firing White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway; Raptors Beat Warriors to Claim First NBA Title; Democrats Campaign in Key States, Two Weeks Before First Debate; Cuba Gooding Jr. Pleads Not Guilty to Forcible Touching. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 14, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman.
[05:59:19] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no reason to disagree with the secretary of state. Iran has a history of doing this.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Iranians admitting nothing, the foreign minister calling the attacks "suspicious."
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If somebody called from a country, Norway, "We have information on your opponent." Oh, I think I'd want to hear it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've listened to this president. He does not want foreign governments interfering in our election.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Russia and others will be back. Shame on all of us if we don't do more to protect our democracy.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, June 14, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we do have breaking news as we're coming on the air this morning.
We're analyzing this new video, obtained by CNN, that the Pentagon says implicates Iran in the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Now, U.S. officials say that these new images show an Iranian navy vessel removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers.
Again, the Iranians appear to be removing the device in this video, not putting on. We will tell you why the U.S. believes that still makes them culpable.
Tehran is denying responsibility. This is the second time in a month that tankers have been seriously damaged in the reason [SIC]. And this morning, the question is will the U.S. respond with military action?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile President Trump's stunning assertion that he would again accept dirt on political rivals from foreign adversaries has ricocheted through Washington. Even the head of the U.S. elections system felt the need to again explain the law.
Republicans are trying to defend his comments, but the Trump campaign is standing by them. And the president himself acting as his own spokesperson, and that's something that he will have to do more of, with Sarah Sanders leaving her post. So we expect to hear from the president any moment about these topics and more.
We have it all covered for you. So let's go first to CNN's Michelle Kosinski. She's in our Washington bureau with more on our top story -- Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn.
If you remember only weeks ago when other ships were attacked in the Persian Gulf, it was more than a week later and the secretary of state was saying, "Well, maybe Iran could have been behind this."
Well, this time, we see the administration waste zero time in getting out and very publicly, definitively calling out Iran for it. The Pentagon even releasing some evidence.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): This dramatic new video released, overnight, shows a small boat approaching the Kokuka Courageous tanker. You can see an individual removing an object from the tanker's hull. U.S. military officials say that object is likely an unexploded mine, removed by Iranians, just hours after the initial explosion.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Iran of carrying out the attacks, using the video as his evidence.
POMPEO: Iran is lashing out. Because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted.
KOSINSKI: U.S. defense officials believe Iran recovered the device to remove any evidence of their involvement in the attack.
The military also releasing this photo of the ship's hull that they say shows the damage from one explosion and the likely unexploded mine.
The Japanese-owned ship was one of two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman Thursday as Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, visited Iran in an attempt to calm tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Iran has denied involvement, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saying in a tweet, quote, "Suspicious doesn't even begin to describe what likely transpired this morning." The secretary of state firing back.
POMPEO: Foreign Minister Zarif may think this is funny, but no one else in the world does.
KOSINSKI: The Japanese are coordinating with the United States in investigating the attack on its tanker, but at this point are not blaming Iran.
The incident in the Gulf of Oman follows months of escalation in the region. In May, national security adviser John Bolton accused Iran of executing an attack on four oil tankers in the United Emirates's port of Fujairah. An international investigation said a state actor was likely to blame.
And that same month, the U.S. deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln to the region to combat other threats from Iran.
KOSINSKI: So over the last few weeks, the administration has faced a lot of questions and some criticism for not releasing proof of why they say Iran was behind certain threats or attacks. Now, we see them do that immediately.
So it does raise the question, are they doing this so quickly to head off some of that criticism? Or is this part of the justification for whatever the response will be? And we did see the secretary of state meet yesterday with the acting secretary of defense -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Michelle Kosinski, stand by. Let us know what more you hear from officials this morning.
In the meantime, another major story developing this morning. A stunning new policy from the Trump campaign, as stunning as the president's initial comments that inspired it. A Trump campaign official announced they are following the president's directives to listen to outreach to foreign governments that offer dirt on political opponents.
Overnight, this led to an unprecedented call of alarm from the Federal Election Commission chair.
CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill for us. And Lauren, there's a lot of concern in Congress that they need to take steps immediately on this.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, John. It's really, really bad. That's what one senior GOP source told CNN about the president's comments about how he would accept dirt from a foreign entity if they came to him.
And the person went on to say, if a president took information from a foreign government, that would impeachable.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FOX (voice-over): President Trump quickly launching into damage control mode after admitting he would accept political dirt about an opponent from a foreign government instead of immediately informing the FBI.
[06:05:14] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not an interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI.
FOX: The president on the defensive, comparing possible foreign interference into U.S. affairs with having talks with international leaders, like the queen of England, or president of France, tweeting, quote, "Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous. I would never be trusted again."
The Trump campaign saying the president will handle processing information about political rivals on a case-by-case basis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're following the president's lead. We're following his directive.
FOX: The Federal Election Commission chairwoman firing back, tweeting, quote, "I would not have thought that I needed to say this," adding she wanted to make it, quote, "100 percent clear" that "it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election."
TRUMP: There's nothing wrong with listening.
FOX: The president's comments sending a wave of criticism crashing over Capitol Hill from Democratic lawmakers.
WARNER: We've got to protect our democracy. The one thing we know: Russia and others will be back.
FOX: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advancing legislation to require candidates to report efforts from foreign governments to influence elections. Senate Democrats tried to pass a similar bill yesterday, but Republicans blocked it.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): How disgraceful it is that our Republican friends cower before this president, when they know that the things he does severely damage democracy. This one is a new low.
FOX: Many GOP congressional members, including key Trump allies like Senator Lindsey Graham, distancing themselves from the president.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If a foreign government comes to you as a public official and offers to help your campaign, giving you anything of value, whether it be money or information on your opponent, the right answer is no.
FOX: But the South Carolina Republican quickly pointing the finger at the Democrats.
GRAHAM: I'm hoping some of my Democratic colleagues will take more seriously the fact that Christopher Steele was a foreign agent, paid for by the Democratic Party to gather dirt on Trump. A document unverified, used to get a warrant.
FOX: And of course, there is a big difference, Democrats say, between what that Steele dossier was. Christopher Steele, of course, a former British spy for British intelligence services. The British government, of course, being one of the U.S.'s closest allies. And of course, that dossier only a piece of evidence that was used in FISA court to get a warrant on Carter Page -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Lauren. Thank you very much for all of that.
Any minute now, we expect to hear from President Trump about whether he will follow the recommendation from a federal watchdog to fire his senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway. Conway is accused of repeatedly violating the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in partisan politics in their official government roles.
CNN's Joe Johns is live at the White House with more. What do we expect, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, part of the significance of this is it plays into the narrative that this administration, essentially, picks and chooses whether to comply with federal laws it disagrees with.
Now, the Office of the Special Counsel is there to essentially enforce what is called the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act is designed to keep federal employees from using their jobs for partisan politics.
Well, the Office of the Special Counsel said that Kellyanne Conway, the president's counselor, ought to be removed from federal service for using her job for partisan political purposes, by making statements against Democratic candidates while she was working for the president on social media, as well as right out here in the driveway here at the White House, also on television frequently, and appearance -- appearances, I should say, on FOX News.
It's not likely that anything is going to happen to Kellyanne Conway. The White House vigorously defended her and said her First Amendment rights to free speech were being violated. The president is a person who is supposed to enforce the Hatch Act. Not likely he's going to do anything with that.
There's also the news today, of course, that Sarah -- the president's press secretary, Sarah Sanders, is going to leave office. That is something that is very much expected here at the White House. We've been expecting it for a long time. The president did make an announcement on Twitter, saying she's going -- her legacy is that she's been defending a president who's been very fact-challenged over the course of his administration.
Back to you. [06:10:02] BERMAN: All right. Joe Johns for us at the White House.
Stand by. Let us know if you hear from the president. We are waiting to hear if he will, in fact, follow the recommendations to fire Kellyanne Conway, although I won't bet on it. Thanks, Joe.
Breaking overnight. King of the north. For the first time ever, a team outside the United States is the champion of the National Basketball Association. The Toronto Raptors dethroned the Golden State Warriors, who ended the game with yet another superstar sidelined.
Andy Scholes with all the action in "The Bleacher Report" -- Andy.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Yes, the party is probably still going in Toronto this morning. What a year it's been for the Raptors. You know, last summer, they fired their coach. They traded for superstar Kawhi Leonard, and, well, those moves certainly paying off big time.
Kawhi again just solid in game six. In the third quarter, hits the bucket to go. Plus, the foul.
Now, moments later, just another brutal injury for the Warriors. Klay Thompson, who was having a fantastic game, goes down here after getting fouled. Klay would have to leave the game with a knee injury and the Warriors announcing afterwards he did, in fact, tear his ACL.
Now when the Raptors needed a big shot late, it was undrafted guard Fred VanVleet coming through big-time. Three huge three-pointers in the third quarter. Warriors had a chance to win this game in the closing seconds, and they got the ball to the man they wanted to, Steph Curry, but his shot no good. Raptors take game six 114-110 to win the NBA finals 4 games to two. And the hockey-crazed country of Canada now has its first NBA title. Kawhi the first player ever to win finals MVP in both conferences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAWHI LEONARD, NBC FINALS MVP: I just kept working hard. Working hard. And had my mind set on this goal right here. I came to a team, a new post, that's mindset was the same as mine, trying to get -- trying to get that Larry O'B. over there. And, you know, this is what I play basketball for. This is what I work out for all summer, during the season, and I'm happy that my hard work paid off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: And tens of thousands of fans taking to the streets of Toronto to celebrate the team's first championship. People are setting off fireworks in the crowd.
Others decided to climb the light poles, because that's when you do when you win championship, apparently. This is the city's first title in the four major pro sports leagues after the Blue Jays won it back in 1993. So guys, you know, been waiting 26 years to let that out right there.
CAMEROTA: They're partying like it's Boston, man.
BERMAN: What was that, Andy?
SCHOLES: They just let out the celebration.
BERMAN: Let it out. They've been waiting a long time.
SCHOLES: It is not like Boston where you celebrate every year.
BERMAN: Yes, like Alisyn said.
CAMEROTA: It looks like that.
BERMAN: We're waiting for the duck boat parade in Boston to celebrate the Toronto championship. All right, Andy, thanks very much.
CAMEROTA: All right. The first Democratic debates are just two weeks away. That has snuck up on me, John Berman. This morning, we'll find out what the lineup will look like.
CAMEROTA: Very shortly, we will learn which Democrats will share the stage in the crucial first primary debates. The 20 candidates will be divided into two groups in a dramatic lottery drawing this morning. Today the candidates head to some key early states with new arguments, in some cases about each other.
CNN's Rebecca Buck is live with the latest. What do we expect, Rebecca?
REBECCA BUCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Well, a very dramatic day ahead for these candidates as they are set to find out who they're going to be up against on debate night. At noon today, the DNC and NBC will meet in New York to draw these names with one representative from each of the qualified campaigns.
And after that, the campaigns will be able to craft their strategy, figure out how they are going to draw contrasts with the candidates they're on stage with, how they're going to try to amplify their message on those very crowded debate stages.
But of course, they're not waiting for debate night to draw those contrasts, to get their message out there. And it's going to be a very busy weekend ahead on the campaign trail.
Already, today, we have Kamala Harris heading to Nevada, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire, Beto O'Rourke heading down to South Carolina.
But there's no question that Elizabeth Warren is the candidate of the moment. In the polling we've seen this month, her support has roughly tripled from March. She's in the same league now as Bernie Sanders. Of course, right below Joe Biden. Both of them clearly in the top tier of this race. And she'll be the candidate we'll be watching to see if she can continue this momentum in the debate and after -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Rebecca Buck, stand by for us. Excited to see that dramatic drawing, who will be standing next to whom.
Also this morning, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is being charged with groping a woman in a bar in New York City. Now, he has pleaded not guilty, but now we're seeing video of the incident which is central to the case.
CNN's Chloe Melas joins us now. Chloe, what does this video show?
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so this video is from TMZ. They obtained surveillance footage from the Magic Hour rooftop bar here in New York City.
And in the back corner, you see Cuba Gooding Jr. sitting next to his girlfriend. I don't think many people realize that he's in a relationship with a woman named Claudine De Niro.
And next to them is a woman who, his team tells me last night is a fan that approached Cuba and Claudine. And you see, like, another man walk up to them.
[06:20:09] In the video, it's up to interpretation. You do see Cuba Gooding Jr. reach over to the woman, but it's unclear whether or not he actually did grope her. Did he actually touch her breast? This is what this woman is alleging.
She then called 911 shortly after -- this was around 10 p.m., and then she filed this police report, claiming that he groped her against her will.
But obviously, he's denying any sort of wrongdoing. But afterwards, yesterday, guys, Mark Heller, the attorney for Cuba Gooding Jr., he came out swinging against the NYPD for charging Cuba Gooding Jr., and this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK HELLER, ATTORNEY FOR CUBA GOODING JR.: I have never seen a case like this one, because there is not a scintilla of criminal culpability that can be attributed to Mr. Cuba Gooding Jr., after I have extensively, with my staff, reviewed the video. Look at the video, and make your own choice, rather than relying on the over- zealous policing in this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: So as you can see, his team is incredibly upset, because they feel like he is being wrongfully charged, that this woman allegedly made all of this up, that there had been alcohol and drinking involved on her part, and that they claim that they are now going to be going after her, and trying to press charges against her, hopefully once these charges are dropped against Cuba Gooding Jr.
BERMAN: So dueling charges there. The video obviously was central to this. Chloe Melas, please keep us updated.
MELAS: I will.
All right. Reality star Kim Kardashian West speaking at the White House about a new ride share initiative to help former inmates get jobs. She's looking to build off the criminal justice reform that President Trump signed last year. Kardashian was a big proponent of that legislation.
She talked about what surprised her about the experience of former prisoners coming home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM KARDASHIAN WEST, REFORM ADVOCATE: The reentry of people coming home, and seeing the lack of support that really existed, whether it's housing, or the amount of letters that I get with people just needing transportation to job interviews, to jobs. These people want to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Kardashian began a four-year apprenticeship with the San Francisco law firm earlier this year. She says she plans to take the California bar exam in 2020. I'm sorry, 2022.
And, you know, people who underestimate Kim Kardashian, which I think is tempting sometimes, because she's a reality TV star, are sometimes proven wrong.
BERMAN: I think people who have underestimated reality TV stars have been called to account quite a bit the last few years.
CAMEROTA: You make an interesting point.
BERMAN: Breaking moments ago, brand-new video just released of the president attacking former White House counsel Don McGahn and a respected journalist. Also, the president tells us why he would not speak with Robert Mueller. We're getting this video prepared for you. We'll show it to you next.
[06:27:19] CAMEROTA: Just released moments ago, new sound from President Trump to ABC News in which he attacks his own former White House counsel, Don McGahn. You will remember, it was McGahn who told Robert Mueller that the president wanted the special counsel fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller. GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: That's what he says.
TRUMP: Do I think -- excuse me, I don't care what he says. It doesn't matter. That was to show everyone what a good counsel he was. We had a business --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why would Don McGahn lie under oath? Why would he lie under oath -- why would he lie under oath to Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: He wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer. Or -- or he believed it, because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen, including you, including the media, that Robert Mueller was conflicted.
STEPHANOPOULOS: If you answer these questions to me now, why not answer them to Robert Mueller under oath?
TRUMP: Because they were looking to get us for lies, for slight misstatements. I looked at what happened to people, and it was very unfair. I answered a lot of questions. They gave me questions. I answered them in writing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not an obstruction.
TRUMP: Look, George, you're being a little wise guy, OK, which is, you know, typical for you. Just so you understand, very simple. It's very simple: there was no crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH" and CNN political commentator; Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast" and a CNN political analyst; and Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary for President Clinton and CNN political commentator.
I don't know, Joe. Is that a wise idea to go after Don McGahn on national TV when Don McGahn is the person who has been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary and has some information that they would like to hear?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm not sure the president uses wise as a criteria for what his comments are. He seems to lash out any time someone comes after him and always put the blame on someone else.
I think Don McGahn -- I don't think this will have a big impact on Don McGahn. You'll remember, he testified for 30 hours Before --
CAMEROTA: You don't think it will motivate him to say, "OK, and now I'm going to go back and tell my truth"?
LOCKHART: I -- I think Don McGahn is a Washington lawyer who wants to continue to be a Washington lawyer. So they will have to compel his testimony. He's not going to come in voluntarily out of spite. I mean, his law firm, Jones Day, does millions of dollars every year in work for the RNC and for the Trump campaign.
But he will eventually tell his story, and I think he will defend himself, just by telling the truth. I don't think he'll be vindictive with the president. I think he's got -- he's not the same character type as President Trump. But he will tell a fascinating story to the public at some point.
BERMAN: I have to say, this is further than I've ever heard the president go out loud, where he says that Don McGahn was confused or he was trying to make himself look like.