Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump's Crucial Week; Trump-Russia Controversy Still Looms; Administration Warns China On North Korea; Gorsuch Supreme Court Fight. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired April 3, 2017 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you all this morning.
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And you.
ROMANS: President Trump, this morning, hoping for a reset after weeks of looming questions about Russia's alleged influence over his campaign. Today, the president kicks off a crucial week dominated by diplomatic meetings with three world leaders and the fate of his Supreme Court nomination.
BRIGGS: The White House hoping to turn the narrative away from last week's big story, the Russian connections, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn's offer to tell his story in exchange for immunity. Let's now bring in CNN's Ryan Nobles with the latest.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. We've said this a lot during the Trump administration but this could be one of the biggest weeks of Donald Trump's presidency. He has a lot on the table this week, including a whole host of meetings with important foreign leaders.
It's going to be capped with a summit with the president of China, Xi Jinping, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Among the big topics, North Korea. This, after an interview with "The Financial Times" where Donald Trump really lays it on the line for China, telling them that they need to get involved in coming up with a solution to deal with the problems in the Korean Peninsula.
It's also the opportunity this week for a big win for the Trump administration as Neil Gorsuch, their nominee for the Supreme Court, is expected to get a vote sometime this week. Republicans confident that they're going to be able to get him confirmed. The question is, will they do it with the 60 votes that is customary for a vote like this?
All this, though, as the cloud of Russia continues to overshadow this administration. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intel committee, reacted to the news that former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to take an immunity deal. Schiff said his committee may not be interested. Take a listen. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We don't want to do anything that will interfere in any case that the Justice Department may decide to bring. We also have to determine whether he really can add value to our investigation -- whether we need him to learn information we can't learn from other sources. So it's very early, I think, even to be considering this.
NOBLES: Meanwhile, even though Russia continues to be a big issue for the Trump administration, the president, himself, is not backing down, tweeting on Sunday morning, "The real story turns out to be surveillance and leaking. Find the leakers." All this, as the president has a very busy week in front of him, starting this morning -- Christine and Dave.
ROMANS: Absolutely. Day 74 and some critical days ahead. You know, just days ahead of the president's meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Mr. Trump is putting China on notice. The president warning that the U.S. will take action against North Korea on its own. He's vowing unilateral action on North Korea unless China increases its pressure on the regime.
BRIGGS: Speaking to "The Financial Times," the president said, "China will either decide to help us with North Korea or they won't. If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone. If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you." Here's U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley brandishing an equally tough message for China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: No longer take the excuses from China that they're concerned, too. They need to show us how concerned they are. They need to put pressure on North Korea. The only country that can stop North Korea is China. China has to cooperate. This is now down to do we want to continue to see these ballistic missile attacks from North Korea or does China want to do something about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: And we'll have much more on President Xi's meeting with Mr. Trump coming up.
ROMANS: All right. A critical week ahead for the president's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. The Senate Judiciary Committee expected to vote today to advance his nomination to the full Senate. Three days of formal debate began Tuesday with Republicans hoping to confirm Gorsuch by Friday. He needs 60 votes. That means all 52 Republicans and eight Democrats are needed for confirmation. So far, only three Democrats are supporting Gorsuch, with Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly the latest to get on board. Dozens of Democrats backing the filibuster now.
BRIGGS: Yes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to get Gorsuch confirmed even it means changing the rules so only 51 votes are needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: What I can tell you is that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture on a partisan basis to kill a Supreme Court nominee. It never happened before in history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Now, if Republicans are able to get Gorsuch confirmed by Friday he would join the Supreme Court this month, Christine, in time to participate in the final cases of this year's term.
ROMANS: All right. Joining us this morning to discuss all of this -- there's so much going on and so much to happen this week -- "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott. Good morning.
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning.
ROMANS: I guess let's stay with Gorsuch and the confirmation here. What is the game plan of Democrats here? I mean, they want to -- they think this is Merrick Garland's seat.
ROMANS: They think the Republicans have stymied them all these last years of the Obama administration and they want to show their disagreement and disapproval, but then doesn't that embolden, perhaps, the Republicans have an even more conservative --
[05:35:04] SCOTT: Sure.
ROMANS: -- appointment later on?
SCOTT: I think it certainly could but I think the Democratic strategy is resistance. I think what Chuck Schumer wants to communicate is that we will not give an inch for someone who we think is not going to be good for our vision of what will make America best, and he is going to encourage fewer Democrats not to join those three. And he doesn't think -- he said very clearly that he doesn't think that Gorsuch will get the eight that he actually needs. But to McConnell's point, it's almost pointless because they're going to do what they want to do regardless. They haven't been encouraged to do so --
SCOTT: -- by the president.
BRIGGS: And the real risk here for Democrats is thisa conservative replacing a conservative. If Kennedy retires, then you've got an ideological shifting pick that the Republicans could ram through whoever they want and going to be far to the right. So how politically risky is this for Chuck Schumer to play to the base here? SCOTT: Yes, and I think Chuck Schumer is perhaps making his decision based off of the list that the president put forward during the campaign of some of the potential judges he could put up. I don't know if there was any people on there that he was so afraid of that could be so much further right than Gorsuch --
BRIGGS: Oh yes, there are.
SCOTT: -- and he would say who.
BRIGGS: Further to the -- prior, certainly, was a guy that they love on the right. It certainly would shift the balance in this court further to the right than Gorsuch, but it's a fascinating dynamic.
SCOTT: It is. I think what the Republicans have yet to prove to the Democrats, especially when we look at health care which they still are working on, is that perhaps he's not counting on them to be so unified so consistently that they're going to put forward some idea that far right. Now, yes, there was a name -- I think it was a name that the president perhaps put out to more of the right electorate. But we saw with health care that he can't on all Republicans --
SCOTT: -- especially those right of the most right, to back someone that right.
ROMANS: And now in this fascinating interview he did with "The Financial Times" -- he sat down with "The Financial Times" -- he discussed in the interview -- he almost threatened Republicans by saying I'm going to go on health care -- it's alive by the way --
ROMANS: -- and I'm going to go back on health care and I'm going to work with the Democrats if you don't work with me and that would be worse for America.
ROMANS: It won't be as good as -- that was fascinating, I thought.
ROMANS: Sometimes he dangles the Democrats as a threat to the other Republicans.
SCOTT: And we saw Paul Ryan express some anxiety about that because he said he doesn't want to work with Nancy Pelosi on getting health care passed because they have very different visions and ideas about what Americans need to receive the health coverage they need.
ROMANS: That's the article also -- he basically laid down the gauntlet to China and declared that we will go alone -- the United States will go alone on North Korea, which is a remarkable statement from the sitting President of the United States. Almost every statement he makes, by the way, is a remarkable statement --
ROMANS: -- by a sitting member -- President of the United States. And that's just a few days before this big meeting on Thursday.
SCOTT: Absolutely. And, you know, as Ireflect on the campaign I'm trying to think of maybe something more positive or forward moving that the president has said about China and their leaders but I can't think of something. It's just the latest in the ongoing attacks against the country. Now he has said that, perhaps, the method he could use that could get his idea that they need to be harder on North Korea forward or past is that he can strengthen trade policies with China. Whether or not China is going to be threatened by that is not clear. And it's also not clear that China isn't working as hard as the president wants them to work --
SCOTT: -- in responding to North Korea.
BRIGGS: All you need to know about this "Financial Times" interview is he said his wiretapping allegations are true and it wasn't even the lead story to come out in this interview.
BRIGGS: He, again, said it is turning out to be true --
BRIGGS: -- but it is clearly anything but. The president's war on the media also might go bicoastal now with the "L.A. Times" did a scathing --
BRIGGS: -- four-part takedown of President Trump. They can't contain their criticism to one day. But let's rewind and hear what President Trump said about the "L.A. Times" just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The polls -- they come out with these polls and everybody was so surprised. Actually, a couple of polls got it right. I must say the "Los Angeles Times" did a great job. Shocking because, you know, they did a great job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: So now his opinion about the "L.A. Times" might change because again, they can't contain their disappointment in one piece. It will roll out the entire week. Here's part of what they said. "Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster. Instead, seventy-some days in -- 1,400 to go before his term is completed, it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced." Does this hurt at all or does this almost help the president's war on the media? Does this help fire up his base?
SCOTT: It certainly helps fire up his base. It's L.A., right? I mean, it's consistent with the coastal elites. You know, California was not a state that supported Trump and he will never allow us to forget that. But I think what this actually does bring to attention is that fact that the president is having a hard time unifying the country and he has repeatedly said that he wanted to be president not just for his base but for all of Americans, and we're seeing these approval ratings at record lows. We also see the president talk about, you know, being there for eight years. Whether he can do it or not, it's not clear.
[05:40:15] ROMANS: All right. It's so nice to see you.
ROMANS: You're going to get on a jet plane --
ROMANS: -- and going to go see your Tar Heels play tonight.
BRIGGS: Tar Heels blue right here.
ROMANS: All right. Well, good luck to you.
BRIGGS: Let's give it up to the Heels.
SCOTT: Thank you, guys.
ROMANS: I have Gonzaga in my thing but I hope -- I'll be happy if they win --
SCOTT: I appreciate that.
ROMANS: -- if your team wins. All right, thanks, Eugene.
The White House releasing financial disclosures of 180 staff members. It details employee holdings as they entered the White House. One big discovery, former national security adviser Michael Flynn initially did not include thousands of dollars in speaking fees from three Russian companies. They were absent from forms he filed in February just before he resigned. He did include them in a second filing. Flynn was paid to speak by Russia's state-funded television network for a speech in Moscow, and by two other Russian companies for speaking engagements in the U.S. Flynn's lawyer says the first draft was a filing and that he has filed extra paperwork since being fired.
One of the wealthiest members of Trump's staff is former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn. He reported $75 million in income last year -- that's income, most from Goldman -- that's not net worth, that's income, most of that from Goldman before he stepped down in December. In total, his financial assets are worth between $252 million and $611 million. He also disclosed a number of stock holdings, including big names like Intel, McDonald's, Facebook, and Twitter. Cohn is director of the National Economic Council and a very close adviser to President Trump. And one of the reasons why Goldman Sachs is also known as "Government Sachs" because some of the most high-profile money jobs --
ROMANS: -- in Washington -- there's a talent pool and that talent pool --
BRIGGS: Smart folks.
ROMANS: -- is Goldman.
BRIGGS: It's one wealthy cabinet.
BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, President Trump warning China to stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions or the U.S. will do it. More on that, next.
[05:46:00] ROMANS: All right, a critical meeting. President Trump meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. He's already starting to set the table. He's warning China to get North Korea under control or says the U.S. will go it alone. For reaction from China let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley, live in Beijing. He sat the table or maybe he's broken all the china already, to mix my metaphors, or this is a terrible joke. I mean, he can say China can stop North Korea's nuclear program, it just hasn't. Is that true? Could China just -- could just fix the North Korea situation and also, could the U.S. just fix it?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: China would tell you that they can't stop North Korea's nuclear program. They think that the United States is to blame for the escalation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's determination to just grow his arsenal of warheads and missiles with potentially another nuclear test or a missile launch imminent, according to the latest analysis.
The U.S. does feel that China, though, has economic leverage over North Korea that they have not used. China continues to trade. Really, they're the only meaningful trading partner with North Korea. They are responsible for most of the country's economic growth which is very minuscule at that, and China continues to do that because they don't want to see a destabilized Korean Peninsula. That would be very catastrophic to have people pouring over the border into China. It's not something that the government here in Beijing wants to see.
But they're not letting themselves get lured in by these, you know, somewhat provocative words from President Trump, even though they are less provocative than he was on the campaign trail. This -- during this interview over the weekend, yes, he said the U.S. will handle North Korea on its own, with or without China. But he also made a point of saying how much he respects Chinese President Xi Jinping and how he's looking forward to this meeting. And we know that during the overnight hours there was a friendly conversation between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and China's top diplomat.
And so, China seems to be aware of the -- of the rhetoric, but they will stay focused and they're going to go into this meeting and try to get what's best for China in all of this.
ROMANS: All right, Will Ripley. Thank you so much for that, in Beijing. And, you know, Dave, you've been pointing out for a long time that, you know, President Trump's golf diplomacy is not going to work on the Chinese president.
ROMANS: He doesn't play golf. I mean, taking him to Mar-a-Lago -- maybe it's some kind of like psychological warfare, you know --
BRIGGS: Right, right.
ROMANS: -- like taking him someplace he wouldn't want but --
BRIGGS: He played with Shinzo Abe, of course, at Mar-a-Lago and some were wondering why this meeting is at Mar-a-Lago, being it's a Thursday. President Xi hates golf, banned it. It was illegal for a time. Closed hundreds of golf courses.
ROMANS: For the -- for the communist bureaucrats. He doesn't want them out playing golf.
ROMANS: He thinks that --
BRIGGS: It's a corrupt sport.
ROMANS: Corrupt sport -- excess --
BRIGGS: There's a good piece on cnn.com about this right now. We'll tweet that our shortly. So it's an intriguing backdrop because it is --
ROMANS: It is.
BRIGGS: -- on a Thursday.
ROMANS: It is.
BRIGGS: But maybe he wants to set friendly relations with President Xi like he did Shinzo Abe. But let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joining us. Chris, Richard Blumenthal on the program later on. Curious about what you think about how politically risky it is to filibuster Gorsuch, being what could be coming down the road with another pick?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Well, look, I think it's the right question to be asking this morning. I think you have to look at it in terms of culture, which is not something we talk about in politics that often. What's wrong with the filibuster? Well, it's just a procedural rule, right? The Democrats started this and they kept the Supreme Court somewhat exempt for reasons.
But what's this issue really about? It's about culture. Are you concerned that the Senate will devolve to the place where the House is right now where the culture is completely toxified? Where it is just about partisanship, where nothing can get done. Where it is literally legislative constipation. Would you want that in the Senate? That is what they're saying the risk is. If you go ahead here and the Democratsdo what they can, which is filibuster, and then the Senate majority -- the Republicans change the rules again, as Harry Reid did --
CUOMO: -- with the Democrats --
CUOMO: -- and then they get it through. It's not about whether they can do it, it's not about legality, it's not about constitutionality, it's about culture. And I know the word "constipation" caught you up there, Dave --
[05:50:00] BRIGGS: It did.
CUOMO: -- but you've got to move past it at some point.
ROMANS: Legislative constipation.
CUOMO: The pun intended. We'll be discussing that today. Now, Gorsuch means a lot here. His age, where he is from a jurist prudential standpoint, what he means for the next pick. That all matters. He should be getting out of committee right away. What will that mean for the vote? We'll take a look at it.
And also, we're going to pick up a little bit on what you were talking about, sans the golf, about dealing with China, dealing with North Korea. The president made a provocative statement, "We can do it alone." How? We'll discuss.
ROMANS: All right. Chris Cuomo with his pearls of wisdom this morning. Thank you. Turn of a phrase. Cuomo's got it.
It's the first trading day of the second quarter. Will the Trump rally roll on? I'll show you three big things investors want to see when we get a check on CNN Money Stream, next.
BRIGGS: In just a few hours, the Senate Intelligence Committee will begin hearing testimony behind closed doors about Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election. This comes as the Kremlin steps up criticism of the U.S., condemning coalition airstrikes that have killed scores of Iraqi civilians in Mosul just last month. Let's go to CNN's Matthew Chance, live in Moscow. Matthew, good morning to you. On Friday, a Kremlin spokesman telling "ABC NEWS" the U.S. relationship with Russia is "maybe worse than the Cold War." What's behind that?
[05:55:27] MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, it could be true. It's all in stark contrast to the expectations of what this Trump administration was going to deliver in terms of the relationship between Moscow and Washington. When Trump was a candidate, remember, he was promising all sorts of ways of rebuilding and improving the relationship between Washington and Moscow, recognizing potentially the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia, working with them on international terrorism, cooperating in the war on Syria.
None of that, though, has come to pass and it's led to the dashing of all those hopes, certainly on the Russian side. And that's been accompanied by an increase in the amount of criticism coming from Washington to Moscow about Russia's military action in Syria and in Ukraine. Well, over the past couple of days the Russians have been returning the compliment, criticizing U.S. military action in Mosul in the civilian deaths that are being caused there. Of course, the U.S. military says that ISIS in Mosul is using buildings filled with civilians and then trying to bait the U.S.-led coalition to attack them.
This is what the Russian Defense Ministry say. "Why did the U.S. bomb these buildings with civilians in them, dooming them to a terrible death?" And so, that foreign relations that was anticipated has not come about.
BRIGGS: It should be an interesting meeting when Rex Tillerson heads to Russia in a couple of weeks. Matthew, thank you.
ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Stock futures higher on the first trading day of the second quarter. Over in Europe, stock markets are mostly higher. Shares in Asia closing with gains overnight.
Three things -- three things investors want to see as we start Q2. First, progress on tax reform. This is the big prize and has made the Trump rally what it is. Second, an economy that keeps humming. We get a monthly jobs report this Friday and a look at GDP for the first quarter later this month. Finally, strong corporate profits. The expectations are really high here. Earnings growth is forecast to be the fastest in five years.
Tesla says it has delivered a record number of cars during the first quarter. Total deliveries jumped 69 percent from a year ago, about 25,000 vehicles. The majority were the Model S. More than 11,000 -- the Model X SUVs also hit the road but will that be enough for investors because look at that, Dave. The stock is up 30 percent his year. Shareholders have been patiently waiting to see Tesla ramp up production and get to the thousands of preorders it has on the books. Fascinating, right?
BRIGGS: Before we go, let's take it back to that "Financial Times" interview --
BRIGGS: -- where you say they want to see --
ROMANS: Tax reform.
BRIGGS: -- signs of tax reform but the president said I can't talk about timing. I don't want to talk about when we'll get it done. I'm focused on health care. That was in the "The Financial Times."
ROMANS: I know.
BRIGGS: Not what investors --
ROMANS: The Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin --
BRIGGS: -- and economists want to see.
ROMANS: -- has said that he wanted to have something by the August recess. We know they've been working on this for a couple of months but there's a lot of disagreement about border adjustability, how to treat tax reform, or imports and exports. So, I mean, differences between what Paul Ryan and his team would like to see and maybe what Reince Priebus and Bannon and the others, so just fascinating stuff there -- all right.
BRIGGS: Plenty of intrigue.
ROMANS: Thanks for joining us this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.
BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. Enjoy opening day and the National Championship tonight, as well.
ROMANS: Oh yes.
BRIGGS: See you tomorrow.
ROMANS: That's right.
(BGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: A critical week for President Trump starts today.
HALEY: We need to see definitive actions by China condemning North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard not to interpret Donald Trump's statements as a warning.
ASH CARTER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: If it comes to the necessity to protect ourselves, we've always had all options on the table.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Wherever the Russian evidence takes us, in terms of the Trump campaign, is where we'll go. SCHIFF: I would tell people whenever they see the president used the word "fake" it ought to set off alarm bells.
MCCONNELL: Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed. How that happens depends on our Democratic friends.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Mitch calls it a filibuster. We call it the 60-vote standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, April 3rd, 6:00 here in New York.
And up first, President Trump facing the most critical week of international diplomacy yet and he's already being provocative ahead of this big meeting with the Chinese president. Would the U.S. act alone on North Korea? Can Trump's threats get China to do more?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So, the military threat from Pyongyang clearly at the top of the president's agenda when he hosts China. Today, President Trump meets with Egypt's president and later this week with Jordan's king to discuss the war against ISIS. All of this as the showdown over the president's Supreme Court nominee heats up with a vote this week. It's day 74 of the Trump presidency. We have it all covered for you so let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns, live at the White House. Hi, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.