Return to Transcripts main page
President Donald Trump venting his frustration on twitter; No immediate fact changes are expected despite reports President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner tried to set up a secret line of communications with the Kremlin; Police in Manchester, England, arrested two more people today; Another ballistic missile test by North Korea fell into the Sea of Japan, the east sea; Man kayaking in California had a very close encounter with a great white shark; Aired 7:00-8:00p ET
Aired May 28, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: A senior administration official tells CNN no immediate fact changes are expected despite reports President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner tried to set up a secret line of communications with the Kremlin. The President venting his frustration on twitter saying, it is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the fake news media.
We have live team coverage. I want to begin with CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles.
And Ryan, do we know how the White House is planning to get back on message?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know Ana that as you mentioned they were had you huddled here at the White House with a member of his advisors coming up with a strategy not only to talk about the domestic agenda moving forward but exactly how they are going to continue to respond to that onslaught of attacks at it relates to Russia.
And we also know that the White House is being aggressive. They are reaching out to lawmakers in particular, Tennessee senator Bob Corker who said this morning that he had a conversation with President Trump. He also talked to White House aides who assured him that as it relates to Jared Kushner that the President's son-in-law and top advisor is willing to answer any and all questions as it relates to Russia and the continuing probe that seems to center around a lot of his activities especially after the election.
So the White House prepared to take this on all fronts, not only politically but legally as well. You mentioned Marc Kasowitz being here. He is an important figure. He will represent the President in terms of his personal identity separate from the White House and separate from the presidency. It's clear that the White House not going to take any of these attacks lying down here over the next several months -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you. I want to bring in our panel Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau chief of
the "Chicago Sun Times," CNN national security analyst and former CIA chief of Russia operations Steve Hall and CNN intelligence and security analyst and former CIA operative Bob Bear.
So Lynn, the President, he didn't hold a single press conference abroad to address the Russia probe or this controversy surrounding his son-in-law. But this morning he did tweet this.
Whenever you see the word sources say and the fake news media and they don't mention names that is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by the fake news writer. Fake news is the enemy.
Lynn, do you see this as yet another sign that the President is refusing to acknowledge that this is a real investigation?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: I was around covering the Bill Clinton scandals of a while back and one of the things that Clinton White House did was take the scandals very seriously. They got counsel. They had their walled off room. But what they never did was deny that they were in trouble. You can complain you don't deserve it or it's not fair.
What Donald Trump in these tweets is doing is, one, it's dangerous to be adding anything to the tweet records since he himself is in jeopardy either political or legal or at least functional. And so everyone out there should know this. People are not making up these stories. This is reporting. This is based on sources true, they are not named, but if President Trump is trying to put this over on people at this point it speaks more about him than anything else because what he is saying is flat out not true. Having said that --
CABRERA: So Steve, let me --
SWEET: Be wary of sources in stories but there's a preponderance of evidence of information out there.
CABRERA: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to step on you there, Lynn. But I wanted to get to the sound from the director of national intelligence James Clapper. He was asked today whether he knew about communications between the Russians and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and here's the answer he gave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I have to say that without specific -- specifically affirming or confirming these conversations since even though they are in the holy realm, they are still classified. But just from the theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: So Clapper wasn't willing to go into any detail, again, because this is some classified information, but how significant was his comment, Steve?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Jim Clapper has been around intelligence for a lot of years and has seen a lot of stuff and has a lot of understanding of the Russians. And I would agree with his comments there in terms of being concerned about this.
The concern for me is this. The Russians know how American Presidents and how the White House and how the west in general sees things and you know we always want to be forward leaning and very positive and try to reach out and find there is a cooperation. They see us coming from ten miles away on that. They know better than anybody else that our interests are not aligned.
But when you have somebody like a Trump administration who really comes across like that in spades and who doesn't have a whole lot of experience in dealing, not just with diplomacy, not just with intelligence but with the Russians, then I think you start seeing things like what might have happen, whatever weird story it is that happened with Jared Kushner approaching, you know, Kislyak and saying, hey, maybe we need to have some sort of secret communications.
The Russians are poised perfectly poised to take full advantage on a whole bunch of different levels. And I think that's probably one of the things that concerns the concerned Clapper. It's certainly something that concerns me.
[19:05:30] CABRERA: The Russians certainly have created a more questions because even this morning Senator Lindsey Graham expressed skepticism that Kushner even discussed a secret line with the Kremlin. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We are chasing our tails as a nation when it comes to the Russians. I don't know who leaked this supposed conversation. But just think about it this way. You got the ambassador of Russia reporting back to Moscow on an open channel. Hey, Jared Kushner is got to move into the embassy. I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In what way? Why don't you trust it?
GRAHAM: I know it makes no sense that the Russian ambassador would report back to Moscow in a channel that he most likely knows we are monitoring. The whole story line is suspicious. I have never been more concerned and suspicious about all things Russia than I am right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Bob, how confident are you that our intelligence agencies are able to accurately decipher what's real and what's not? BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: They can. I mean,
Graham is wrong. First of all, we don't know that he was calling back to Moscow on a cell phone or land line. Of course he knows the Russian ambassador knows that his phones are tap. They tap our phones in Moscow, et cetera. We just don't know the source of this information. We do not know whether General Flynn who was at these meetings is now cooperating with the FBI. And I keep hearing that that's why he turned down a subpoena.
"The Washington Post," the origin of this story has been right on for the last couple months. And additionally, you know, Kelly was on TV, he didn't deny this. And if a denial comes out of the national security agency or whoever got this information, I will reconsider. But right now when Trump says it is fake news, what he's really saying this is my translation is I don't like the news. I don't like the way this is turning out. So I will just call it fake news. This is not an official denial of that story and until now I accept that it is valid.
CABRERA: All right, Lynn, Kushner has been named or nicknamed the secretary of everything because he has had his hands in just about everything. How do you think this scandal, his involvement now in the Russian investigation will affect his responsibilities if at all?
SWEET: It will, even if he doesn't think it will. One, this is a major distraction. Two, this erodes his ability to navigate throughout Washington from Congress in agencies because he may be a subject called into congressional hearing. Remember, you also had the House and Senate probe. And this has to be draining just for somebody who is a newcomer to Washington to have this cloud hanging over you. So no matter what they say he has a big portfolio anyway, the secretary of everything. And now he has the potential very important investigation where he figures in.
If he could clear this up, it seems that it could be if he has an explanation, then he could go on. I understand why he is not resigning or stepping down but he also has to deal with now people who are calling for his security clearance to be yanked. So this is an extraordinary situation where you have the son-in-law of the President caught up in this kind of controversy.
CABRERA: We got to leave it there. We got to get to some breaking news.
Lynn Sweet, Steve Hall, Bob Baer, thank you all for being with us.
SWEET: Thank you.
CABRERA: Breaking news just in to CNN, another ballistic missile test by North Korea. President Trump has been briefed on this investigation.
Let's bring in CNN international correspondent David McKenzie in Beijing for us.
David, the Japanese government says this missile landed in their exclusive economic zone. Why is that so significant and what more are you learning?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's certainly significant, Ana. And it's very worrying because that zone is obviously where ships and planes will operate near the coast of Japan. They say at this stage there's no sign that any damage has come to any assets in the region but it does show the seriousness of these missile tests coming from North Korea.
What we know is that this appears to be a scud type missile according to South Korean military officials. They are trying to get more details. The U.S. tracked this for several minutes and it appears the missile flew for around 280 miles, a short range missile of some kind but very worrying that it landed so close to Japan in this case, Ana.
[19:10:00] CABRERA: I want to bring in Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr whose joining us on the phone.
Barbara, defense secretary James Mattis was asked about North Korea today. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most peoples' live times. Why do I say this? The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth which is the capital of South Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Barbara, Secretary Mattis went on to say the U.S. assumes every one of these tests makes Pyongyang a little stronger. They are learning something from each of these. I know the U.S. pacific command has released a statement and some information about what they are assessing as happened in this particular test. What have you heard?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Well, as David just said, short range flew for about six minutes, fell into the Sea of Japan, the east sea. Short range missiles sounds, you know, not too troublesome, right. But as David points out, every one of these it gets close to Japan makes Japan increasingly concerned.
The Japanese prime minister calling for concrete action a short time ago in Japan. And this puts the U.S. in the position of continuously needing to deal with North Korea. That whether it's short range or medium range, this is now the third ballistic missile test in about ten days or so and absolutely the assessment is that Kim Jong-un regime learns with each test there is a concern that they may simply be able to within a shorter period of time than anybody wants to see have some kind of intercontinental ballistic missile capability, some kind of warhead capability, all the things that the U.S. needs to make them stop short of.
The strategy right now because of what secretary Mattis points out would be the disaster of a war is to try and get the Chinese to continue to pressure North Korea to give all this up. There's some evidence that might be working, but another test tonight not enough evidence that it's really working in the end -- Ana.
CABRERA: Barbara Starr, David McKenzie, stand by. We will come back as you gather more information.
Coming up, heart racing moments when a kayaker comes face-to-face with a great white shark. Here from the couple who shot this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the kayak. She the shark. See the fin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Plus French President Emanuel Macron revealing his intentions behind this death grip handshake with President Trump. Why he calls it a moment of truth?
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:17:04] CABRERA: Welcome back.
We have some video you just have to see. A man was kayaking in (INAUDIBLE) in California when he had a very close encounter with a great white shark and it was all caught on camera. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just seen a shark attack. I'm filming it. There's a shark swimming around his kayak right now. See it? Yes, look at the kayak, see the shark? See the fin?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Look at kayak? See the shark?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See the fin? It's swimming towards the guy now. Call somebody, Karen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm calling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a big shark. The shark's bigger than the kayak. He's waving. Here he comes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: You heard the man recording that video tells his wife to call someone to get help and then toward the end, you see this sail boat. Comes and rescues the person in the water followed by the coast guard. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt.
And with me now on the phone the man who recorded that video, Gene Mace and his wife, Karen.
Guys, thank you for being with us. Thanks in part to both of you that man wasn't hurt.
Gene, walk us through what happened. How did this all play out from your view?
GENE MACE, EYEWITNESS (on the phone): Well, first, we are over there at Monterrey Bay hotel and we had a balcony overlooking the water and I had my binoculars just look at regular days, just looking at the seals and the sea lions. And I saw this guy before and looked like he had a bag on his kayak. So I went to tell my wife Karen about the bag and I turned back around and then I didn't see him anymore. And I was looking around for him and then I looked and he was in the water and I didn't know what I was really looking at and I was trying to like put everything together and it just - it happened so fast and then that's when I called Karen over there and I told her what I thought I was looking at but I wasn't really sure at first. It's unbelievable just -- it was amazing. I mean it was just mind blowing.
CABRERA: That shark looks huge when you look at that video. So I'm trying to understand. You have special binoculars that allow you to record as you watch this unfold?
G. MACE: Yes. I have some digital binoculars that I just got as a gift a month or so before we went to the Monterrey, California. And I was kind of trying them out just seeing what they can do. And I was checking out the zoom and bringing it back, bringing it forward, just seeing if I could get good clarity on them. And I guess it was the day and I zoomed in as much as I can and it was really far out too. It was about 150 yards from our balcony. So I was trying to keep it steady. I was holding it. I didn't have anything to put it on so I was trying to hold it really steady plus the adrenaline it was really off the hook adrenaline.
[19:20:25] CABRERA: I can only imagine. And we see this shark splashing around.
Karen, I understand you then called to get help. How were you able to get somebody there so quickly because as we play this video it seems like everything happens fairly quickly but I'm sure it felt like hours for the man in the water?
KAREN MACE, EYEWITNESS (on the phone): It did. Once I realized what I was seeing and understanding what Gene was saying, I was just -- I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And then when we saw the shark come to in view again because at first we just see the man out there with his kayak. And I'm trying - and I don't have the high powered binoculars that Gene does. Once we weren't able to see that splashing around, that's when I really knew the shark was still there. So I went and I ran to -- we were in our hotel and I just called the front desk and I told them, you know, we need to get -- there's a guy out there. He is in a kayak. He with the shark - he is getting attacked by a shark. I can't even believe the words are coming out of my mouth. And then very quickly, it was just coast guard was called and they were able to get out there.
But as you can see, too, a family on a sail boat came out -- we didn't see that family before. We were so focused on him, they just came out before the coast guard got there too and gave him a hand.
CABRERA: So much luck involved here. Have you heard from the man who you helped? Has he reached out to you at all?
G. MACE: He contacted us through You Tube and he actually thanked us and he actually told us that we were the only ones to call 911 and he was very grateful.
G. MACE: That was good to hear because every day we were thinking about how he was doing, you know.
G. MACE: Really something.
CABRERA: So we're just getting a look at this video. When did this actually happen?
G. MACE: It happened a little before 5:00. And just the water was calm. It happened March 18th around 5:00 in the afternoon.
G. MACE: Everything was all calm. The water was clear as a whistle and this -- it's unbelievable.
CABRERA: Have you spotted any other sharks since then?
G. MACE: No --
K. MACE: We haven't been back out there since then either.
CABRERA: There you go.
G. MACE: That's true.
CABRERA: Well, Gene and Karen Mace, thank you for sharing your story with us and for bringing this video to our viewers. We appreciate it.
G. MACE: Thanks for having us. We appreciate it.
K. MACE: Thank you.
CABRERA: Some more video that's pretty incredible I want to show with you. Scary moments at a California water park as a kid flies off the water slide. You can see that 10-year-old come at the slide there as he gets near the bottom but he lands to concrete. Fortunately, no serious injuries, we are told, just some scratched and bruises. Witnesses say the boy might not have been following the rules for sliding down properly, but we know the slide was closed while the company investigates.
Coming up, a new terror warnings days after that deadly attack on a Manchester concert. A live report on the search for more suspect as police announce they may have found where the bomb was assembled.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:27:39] CABRERA: Police in Manchester, England, arrested two more people today. Two men they believe share some involvement in last week's deadly concert bombing. It's the same day British officials acknowledged that some members of the terror network could still be at large.
CNN senior international correspondent Atika Shubert is joining us now from Manchester.
Atika, what are U.K. officials now saying about the investigation today?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the investigation continues and we have seen in the last few hours, two more arrests. Multiple locations being searched. And as you point out earlier, Britain's home secretary has said that potentially there could be members of the terror network still at large. But police are confident that they have managed to round up most of Salman Abedi's (ph) network and the terror (INAUDIBLE) threat level in the country has also been lowered. So Manchester is a city has tried to get back to normal. The Manchester run continued. People came out in solidarity, but yes, that investigation is likely to continue for some time.
CABRERA: And investigators believe they know now where the bomb was made?
SHUBERT: Well, this interesting. A few days ago there was a city center apartment that they searched. And now police say they believe that apartment, which is just about a mile and a half from the arena is where the bomb may have been assembled. And they believe that Salman Abedi used it as a sort staging ground. And today, they released two CCTV photos from CCTV cameras and they released it to the public to get -- to ask the public for help to try and retrace his steps, figure out who else he may have met and this apartment is possibly one of the places he stayed just before the attack.
CABRERA: Interesting. Atika Shubert, thank you for the update.
Up next, the latest on our breaking news tonight. A missile test by North Korea, the latest provocation, now a stern response from Japan. We will bring it to you here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:33:40] CABRERA: Our breaking news in CNN. North Korea test firing yet another short range ballistic missile. This one reportedly landing near the coast of Japan in the exclusive economic zone.
CNN's international correspondent Paula Hancocks. She is joining us from Seoul, South Korea.
Paula, give us the latest on this test and what you are learning there.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, what we know from the Joint Chiefs of Staff here in South Korea is that this was fired about 5:39 a.m. Seoul time, so about 4:39 p.m. eastern time. We understand from the JCF that it looks like it was a short range missile, potentially in the scud range missiles which obviously the shorter range missiles and less of a concern to those in the region. But they will be looking closely whether to see if there were any modifications that had been made to this particular missile.
We know from U.S. pacific command that they tracked it for about six minutes. So that's as long as it flew for. And as you say it is believed to have landed in the waters just off the west coast of Japan, potentially within that economic exclusion zone. So it always a concern for those in the region because obviously it's a very busy shipping area. And clearly there is no warning given when North Korea carries out these kind of missile attacks.
Now, we do know from the President's office, they say the President Moon Jae-In of South has been briefed. He has convened a national security council meeting so that appears to be ongoing at this point and of course the White House as well. That statement saying the U.S. President has also been briefed - Ana.
[19:35:14] CABRERA: I want to bring in Will Ripley. He is joining us by phone now in Tokyo.
I understand Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke to reporters just a short time ago. What is his response to this new test launch, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Hey, Ana.
Well, were in Tokyo, Japanese government officials are saying that this missile did land within those waters very close to the west coast of Japan as Paula was saying known as the exclusive economic zone. The prime minister giving a statement just moments ago reads quote "we can never tolerate North Korea's continued provocations, ignoring the repeated warnings of the international community. We have lodged a firm protest against North Korea as we have agreed the G-7 the North Korean issue is a priority of international community. In order to deter North Korea, we will take concrete action together with the United States. We will maintain high vigilance in coordination with South Korea and international community and take all possible measures to secure the safety of the people of Japan." So that again, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Interesting that he says concrete action with the United States. We
are not exactly sure what that means. We know that in recent weeks, Japanese destroyers have engaged in military exercises with U.S. Karl Vinson carrier strike group, a second U.S. aircraft carrier group arriving in the region as well. And so, what this type of action will be we just don't know. The North Koreans though have told me repeatedly on the ground that they will continue to test these missiles and to develop nuclear war heads as well because they view military activity by the United States in cooperation with Japan and South Korea as the reason the provocation for developing these weapons.
CABRERA: All right. Will Ripley and Paula Hancocks, our thanks to both of you as we continue to follow this breaking news coming out of North Korea, another missile launch. We are learning it was a short range, believed to be a scud missile. The White House has been briefed but no official yet just yet in terms of a statement from this administration. We will keep you updated as we get that.
Coming up, the Trump seeds plants a seed with 2020 but with a lot of to accomplish before then. Health care tax reform, the travel ban, all in a springs stall right now. Can they get the domestic agenda on track?
We will discuss. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:41:39] CABRERA: President Trump is fresh off his first foreign trips, but the challenges here at home have never been greater since he took office. We are four months into the Trump presidency and complete Republican control of Congress. And not only is the GOP agenda seemingly stalled right now but the numbers are bleak.
Here's the President's approval rating, 44 percent in January, approved of his performance. That's up to 55 percent with disapproval according to Quinnipiac. And there is other trouble. The President's budget is a tough sell with even a lot of Republicans saying it cuts too deeply. GOP health care negotiations are stock in the Senate. And the White House lost yet another round in its travel ban fight this week.
Joining me now CNN political analyst, historian and professor at Princeton University Julian Zelizer and also back with us Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times."
Lynn, I want you to listen to a Kentucky Trump voter who is now expressing what you could say is buyer's remorse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WESLEY EASTERLING, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: He said that he, you know, he wasn't going to cut Medicaid or you know, the benefits of -- I believed that. I felt just like -- like I was insulted, just like he played me for a fool. I mean I took it personal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you could do it over again, if Election Day were today, who would you vote for?
EASTERLING: Hillary, without a doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The President has held his base up until now. Are we starting to see some cracks as the Trump team looks ahead to 2020?
SWEET: Perhaps, especially when the new health care plan if indeed one passes the Senate gets through and people -- people know what health insurance means to them. This is not a theoretical issue of foreign policy. You will know if you have a plan that will work for you and if you are on Medicaid and you think you will be kicked off, that is going to be a big political problem as well as a policy and health insurance problem for real people.
So I don't know if the base is going to continue to stick to the present. He did have a rally scheduled in (INAUDIBLE), Iowa for a few days from now. He cancelled it. We know that he seems to get energy and revitalization from these rallies. But if you keep just going to your base, you don't expand your argument or what you want Congress to do. That is his political problem and governmental problem because you have got to figure out a way to get your Republicans in Congress to go along with your agenda. So far they are not.
CABRERA: OK. So on that agenda note, the health care bill that got through the House and sits in the Senate, let's look at the numbers in terms of how Americans feel about this, 57 percent disapprove of the GOP health care plan. Couple that with the fact that 70 percent of American voters disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job.
So Julian, if Republicans can't get a win on this, how big of a blow for that is that for them in the midterms?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is a huge blow in two ways. On the one hand, the health care bill has actually depressed his numbers with base supporters. And they still reported today that the number of people who strongly approve of Donald Trump has fallen from about 30 percent to 21 percent and the health care bill was a key factor in that drop.
And at the same time he doesn't have legislation so it's the worst of both worlds. You anger voters including your base, but you come away with nothing and so Republicans don't like this. This is a period of unified government. They were supposed to have their new deal, their great society and now they have nothing other than controversy.
[19:45:16] CABRERA: So John Boehner, the former speaker of the house has offered his assessment of the early days of the Trump presidency. He said other than foreign policy quote "everything else he has done in office has been a complete disaster. He is still learning how to be President. The border judgment tax is deader than a door nail, tax reform is just a bunch of happy talk."
Lynn, what's your reaction to John's statement there? SWEET: Well, disaster. I don't want to use that label, but there's
not a lot of momentum to get any legislative item done. And then let me add to the list that we started this conversation with, the Congress is going to be asked to raise the debt ceiling very soon. That is a vote where Trump will need Democrats. It is just inconceivable right now how he could make the pitch for democratic support and not make some concessions somewhere. This is the first time he will really be forced to make the deal and he can't blame the Democrats between now and 2018 for everything.
CABRERA: OK. I want to turn to the latest developments on the Russia investigation because that does seem to be in part what's stalling these agenda items from moving forward. I have to ask you about the op-ed in which you suggest that Kushner could play the Nixon card here and you write, the reason that this comparison would be so attractive for Trump's administration referring to this report that he discussed setting up a secret back channel to the Kremlin, the reason it would be so attractive for Trump administration to use is that the Nixon back channel produced huge results. In a moment of great tensions between the two nuclear arms super power Kissinger, secretary of state then, it would become Nixon's national security advisor would use this secret channel to conduct conversations that culminated in the historic salt one nuclear arms agreement. A landmark moment in the policy and the eventual end of the cold war.
So let's be clear, Jared Kushner has not been accused of anything criminal at this point. But we are learning more about his involvement with the Russians, the conversations that he had. Is it possible or plausible that he was indeed trying to establish a back channel in order to position the Trump administration for negotiations with Russia and simply the fact that it was Russia doing anything in public would come under scrutiny?
ZELIZER: Look. If the report is true and we don't know if it is, this is not some kind of disinformation campaign. It's plausible that Kushner or the Trump administration wanted to create a back channel with the Russians to try to hold negotiations possibly to deal with Syria, possibly to deal with ISIS and this is the comparison to Nixon and Kissinger who set up a back channel to try to ease relations with the soviets back then.
The problem is the context. There's been many officials who have hidden their connection to Russian officials. This is while the Russians were trying to intervene openly in the election, secretly in the election for one side over the other and all these stories about obstruction of justice. That's what makes that explanation less convincing for many people.
CABRERA: Contacts and timing and then there's the motive of setting up this back channel. Do you think we'll get to the bottom of that?
ZELIZER: Well, we will see. You know, there is no grand strategy right now. It's all theoretical. But look, we have multiple investigations taking place right now. The FBI, special council and multiple congressional committees and they are looking at a number of issues. And this will be one of them because this is one of the more confusing and suspicious things that happened and it wasn't simply the idea of a back channel was reported. He also met with a big banking official from Russia and that involves under sanctions. So there's more to the story than just the back channel.
CABRERA: Lynn, real quick, Hillary Clinton made a high profile commencement speech (INAUDIBLE) this week. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Things didn't exactly go the way I planned, but you know what? I'm doing OK. Long walks in the woods. Organizing my closets, right? I won't lie, chardonnay helped a little too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now, that line drew a huge laugh.
Lynn, we got just ten seconds here but any chance Hillary Clinton's going to give this another run?
SWEET: I would be very surprised if she would do it. She has already self-deprecating trying to look forward. I would be shock if she got in the race for 2020.
CABRERA: All right. Lynn Sweet, Julian Zelizer, thanks to both of you. Happy Memorial Day weekend, enjoy.
SWEET: You, too. Thank you.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
[19:50:00] CABRERA: French President Emanuel Macron is offering his take on that now infamous handshake showdown with President Trump at the NATO summit.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
CABRERA: Look at the video, Macron told French media that this handshake which saw the man lock hands for so long their knuckles turned white, was not innocent rather he described it as quote "moment of truth." Macron says he wanted to get across that he wouldn't be willing to make small concessions, even symbolic ones and that this handshake would be the way to do it without over publicizing things.
Sources tell CNN that when the two leaders first spoke after Macron's election, President Trump denied that he had ever supported Macron's rival Marine Le Pen and President Trump never mentioned Le Pen by name, only referring to her as quote "this woman."
Coming up, back in the borough. We go one-on-one with Anthony Bourdain as he explores the diversity of Queens.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:55:08] CABRERA: Coming up tonight on "PARTS UNKNOWN" Anthony Bourdain takes us to his backyard, the New York City borough of Queens.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN: Interested in wonderlands where you can eat your way through various countries of Central America or Asia, Africa, immerse yourself in cultures not your own? You don't have to go far. It is right across the river.
A magical place, an enchanted wonderland of diversity and deliciousness called Queens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I walk out of the door every day and everybody here is a hustler, everybody is going to make it. It's the borough dreams. I love this place. If the American dream is alive, I think it is alive in places like Queens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to show you --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I'm not traveling out of the country, then I can travel here and still be in the world.
CABRERA: I spoke with Anthony Bourdain about his trip across the east river and why he thinks President Trump might not like this episode.
BOURDAIN: You know, I'm a New Yorker. I have lived here since 17 years old. I live in Manhattan. And I know that Queens is awesome. But I don't spend much time there. And I'm always surprised when I go out there to see the difference between neighborhoods. You can take the number seven train and get off at a different stop and find yourself in a different region of China or Central America, you know, the food, the culture, the people, the businesses. This is a show Donald Trump will hate.
BOURDAIN: Because this is what America looks like, you know. This is what his -- his city looks like. It is -- you know, we are am immigrant nation and that is abundantly and profoundly and deliciously clear in Queens.
CABRERA: In one part of New York City? It is all right there?
BOURDAIN: It is a big part. And it is maybe the most exciting area to eat in all of --
CABRERA: When you talk about how it sort of epitomizes America --
BOURDAIN: Yes. CABRERA: -- the Queens neighborhoods. I want to read to you what one
of the people you talked to said about this zone. An Indian-American Hindu rapper told you, if the American dream is alive anywhere, I think it is alive in a place like Queens. Do you agree with that?
BOURDAIN: Absolutely. A place where you can come and surround yourself to some extent with the comforts of home and familiar faces from your homeland. But also, you know, walk five blocks over and have a hamburger and, you know, take the subway to see the Mets.
CABRERA: You can have something as simple as a hamburger, but you can also have the street food on Roosevelt Avenue. You ate Chinese dumplings, Jamaican beef patties, I mean all within Queens which neighborhood has the best food?
BOURDAIN: Look, sunny side, I love the -- I love the Chinese and Korean neighborhoods. It is so much better than Manhattan's Chinatown.
BOURDAIN: It is spectacular out there.
CABRERA: It is really authentic?
BOURDAIN: You know, when you have Chinese people cooking for Chinese people and not worried about attracting anybody, they don't need anybody else's business. They better keep it right. Particularly Korean food, Koreans more resolutely than any other group have refused to change or adapt their food to, you know, other flavor - they are not making concessions. They are preparing it the way it should be made, the way their mom taught them or their dad or wherever they learned and they have kept it real and which is what makes it so exciting.
CABRERA: For somebody that never had Korean food, what's the one thing they have to try?
BOURDAIN: Well start -- you know, put your toe in the water with Korean barbecue because that's pretty accessible. But where you want to be is you want to get to the point you love kimchi as much as I do.
CABRERA: Tune in tonight. We have back-to-back Bourdain. It is a "PARTS UNKNOWN" marathon kicking off with Queens at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.
And that's going to do it for me. Thank you so much for joining us on this Memorial Day weekend.
Before we go, we want to take a moment just to remember and to honor the sacrifice of so many brave men and women who have fought for our freedom, and we are leaving you with some scenes from Arlington national cemetery. You see them putting the flags out. We expect President Trump to do a wreath laying there at the cemetery tomorrow. And, of course, there will be events all around the nation honoring those who have fallen. We will never forget.