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Merkel Says Can't Rely on U.S., Macron Uses Trump Handshake to Send Message; U.K. Official: Not Clear if Concert Bomber Trained in Syria; ISIS Black Flag Raised in Philippines City; "Lunch shaming" on Rise in U.S. Schools; Mueller Gives Commencement at Tabor Academy. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired May 29, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] TIM LISTER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it appealed to a constituency that he wants to grab. The presidential election is out of the way. Now he has to build a coalition in parliament. And there's a Gaullist (ph) sentiment in front that's actually quite hostile to the United States as he appears to be strong and he says even small gestures count, you need to show that they are equal. That's the tenor of his remarks. That will go down well in France. And today, he met Vladimir Putin in Paris, the Russian leader, and had a news conference with him. And he's prepared to show he will have a candid dialogue with Moscow and with Washington, but he's not going to be walked all over. And that appeals to Merkel.
Between the pair of them, they see themselves as if you like refurbishing the engine. It was looking decrepit a few years ago. So it's a new start for Europe. They've accepted that the United Kingdom is leaving. So far, the European Union has been united in its approach to the U.K. exit. And they see themselves with a chance now to get Europe moving again, Brooke.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go back to your point about Vladimir Putin. Because President Macron also said, quote, "Donald Trump, the president of Turkey or the president of Russia are of a mindset of power relations." This is coming on the heels of that NATO conference when President Trump scolded allies about their financial commitment. I'm reminded of the nervousness felt by Europe with George W. Bush that perceived a cowboy of foreign policy, but even Bush remained committed to all the tenants of our ally relationships. How is President Trump shifting the U.S.'s standing on a global stage?
LISTER: One German official said today, look, we had our disagreements with George W. Bush, particularly about Iraq, but at least he was always on the spectrum. According to so many European officials, Donald Trump is off the spectrum in terms of his relationship with Europe. There are many reasons. There's climate change. Merkel said at the G-7 summit it was a case of six versus one. There's trade. The Germans have taken badly to Trump's remarks about German trade practices being very bad. There's the future of NATO. His failure, for example, to mention the idea of collective defense to Europe. And there's also a sense in Europe that Donald Trump is not consistent in his policies. And Merkel has had already one very awkward meeting with him at the White House where the famous handshake didn't happen, and where the news conference, she looked quite baffled by some of what he said. So I think there's an incomprehension in Europe as to where American policy is going to go. That's feed at the moment this decision on the part of Merkel, but I think Macron and others as well, that Europe needs to look to its own roots and interests and rebuild its sense of purpose, Brooke.
BALDWIN: This week the White House is supposed to decide on the Paris Accord, speaking of climate change.
Tim Lister, thank you so much for us, in Moscow.
We have new pictures just into us here at CNN of the concert bomber carrying this big blue suitcase. Why authorities are now asking for the public's help with this photo.
Also ahead, ISIS taking over a city, but not exactly a place you would expect. Why the terror group just raised its flag there, next.
[14:37:36] BALDWIN: We're getting some breaking news into the investigation into the Manchester bombing at the Ariana Grande concert, because we're hearing that British officials are less sure that the bomber, Salman Abedi, received training in Syria. Investigators just releasing these new photos of the bomber carrying this big blue suitcase just before last Monday evening's attack.
Paul Cruickshank is all over this, CNN terrorism analyst, and he has reporting on this one.
Paul, less sure he trained in Syria? What are you learning?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Brooke, let me set the stage for you. Last week, a U.S. official telling CNN that it was thought likely at some stage in the past few months that the attacker had trained within ISIS in Syria. But from the British side, and I've just been speaking to a British counterterrorism official, they believe that's a possibility, but they are not ready to talk about it as a probability. So they are still looking into the question of if this attacker, Abedi, received training with ISIS somewhere, if that might have been in Libya and Syria. That's still very much an open question. It's also a question I'm told by this official whether Abedi himself constructed the device. That's the $64,000 question for investigators. Was it him that built it or somebody else in the network. They are trying to figure all that out right now.
But this was by all accounts a device which was more than just rudimentary. It was powerful. According to U.S. congressman, it was constituted of TATP, something that ISIS has used in their attacks in Europe and Paris and Brussels. Pretty tricky to make. Often, we see training in those kinds of cases overseas with a terrorist group. So the question will be, did he receive that kind of training or did someone else in the network receive that kind of training. If so, when and where.
It must also be said that beyond the claim of responsibility, the assertion that he was a soldier of the Islamic State that ISIS put out, they haven't offered much more evidence that they were behind this attack. There's been no video of him pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi or anything like that. There's been no further propaganda really substantiating their claim.
But what the investigation here in the U.K. has found is a significant network, many of those involved places in this conspiracy, British citizens of Libyan descent, and we're seeing more arrests as they roll this out -- Brooke?
[14:40:22] BALDWIN: We haven't seen -- let me skip to, you know, you're right in that he hasn't pledged his allegiance to al Baghdadi, but we are seeing this freezeframe of the picture of him wheeling this big blue suitcase behind him that police are putting out. They want to talk to anyone who saw him in the days before the attack. Do we think it's possible, Paul, that all of those bomb-making materials are in that suitcase?
CRUCKSHANK: Well, the police are not saying that at this point. But it certainly is a possibility that there might be some nefarious substances in that suitcase, but they are not saying that for sure. They are very interested in hearing from members of the public that might have seen anybody or know what he might have had inside that large suitcase given what happened really shortly afterwards in Manchester. And now we're coming up almost to the point where this attack took
place exactly a week ago three hours up to that point -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Let me switch gears and ask you about the black flag of ISIS has been raised in the Philippines. You have armed militants storming the city on the southern island, taking control of the city center. The president declaring martial law, leading to heavy clashes that has killed 100 people, including terrorists. This marks the first city seized by ISIS outside of the Middle East. Officials saying they have wrestled back control. Reports on the ground say that's not the case. Do you know what's happening there?
CRUICKSHANK: It's a very confusing situation out there in terms of who is in control of what. But there are now several accounts suggesting that the military is sort of pushing back this band of militants aligned with ISIS away from this town with a Muslim-majority population. There's been an off again, on again insurgency there for a couple decades. And in recent years, we have seen the emergence of a number of ISIS-aligned groups, some local groups using ISIS branding to expand. But we shouldn't exaggerate the strength of these groups. They have hundreds, not thousands of fighters. And the main jihadi group on the island, the Islamic Liberation Front, is engaged in a peace negotiation, the peace process with the Philippine government. So these jihadis are a spinoff of some of the larger jihadi groups. I don't think there's much of a risk they will be able to maintain control of much territory. They are likely to be driven back up into the jungle. But it's difficult for security services to then follow up and remove them from those jungle areas on that island.
BALDWIN: Wanted to put it in context with you.
Paul Cruickshank, as always, thank you very much. Moments from now, the man in charge of the special investigation into
the Trump campaign's ties to Russia will make rare public remarks. Standby for former FBI director, Robert Mueller.
Plus, it is a disturbing practice inside some of America's schools. Children who can't afford lunch money shamed in the cafeteria. Some kids singled out with different lunches in different lines. Others literally branded on their arms. That story, next.
[14:47:52] BALDWIN: Lunchtime is the best time of the day for many student, but for others it can be a shaming experience. A troubling trend called lunch shaming is on the rise. When a student doesn't have enough lunch money, schools are taking away a child's hot food and replacing it with a cold sandwich or sometimes no food at all.
But CNN's Martin Savidge has more on how one state is taking action.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 13-year-old Addison Re doesn't talk about that day at lunch at school, but her dad does.
DON RE, STUDENT'S FATHER: What a kick in the face that would be for a kid.
SAVIDGE: He's talking about what he says a cafeteria worker did after realizing Addison owed money on her meal account.
RE: The woman took her tray of food from her, set it aside, and offered her a cold cheese sandwich and a white milk.
SAVIDGE: Don Re says his daughter was humiliated by her school in front of everyone.
RE: It's borderline bullying.
SAVIDGE: Actually, it's called lunch shaming. It happens in more schools than parents realize.
(on camera): According to the School Nutrition Association, 76 percent of school districts across America had students with school lunch debt.
(voice-over): Even though the average school lunch costs $2.50, administrators say schools don't have the funds to absorb the debt. So in many districts, when a student can't afford lunch, they get an alternate meal, which can be very different.
Critics say it only turns school lunch into a lesson in ridicule.
STATE SEN. MICHAEL PADILLA, (D), NEW MEXICO: It's very clear what your home life is like to the other kids.
SAVIDGE: They know who the poor kids are? PADILLA: That's right.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): And it gets worse. Online, you can find posted photos of children baring what looks like ink stamps demanding payment. They are literally branded.
(on camera): How does this happen in America today? In a school?
PADILLA: It is. It's shocking that this is even a thing that is still going on.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): For Michael Padilla, it's personal. Growing up, he knew poverty and hunger. Now a state legislator, he spearheaded legislation making New Mexico the first state to ban any kind of lunch shaming.
[14:50:04] (on camera): How did you feel when it passed?
PADILLA: Once in a while, in the legislative process, we get something right and this is one we got right.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): So Padilla says 21 other states have reached out to him to see what they can do. And an identical bill has been introduced into Congress, which could bring a federal law, so no student should ever again have to face a choice between hunger or shame.
Martin Savidge, CNN, New Mexico.
BALDWIN: Good for New Mexico. Let them be the model moving ahead.
More on our breaking news. Legendary golfer, Tiger Woods, arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Those details ahead.
Also, one former CIA officer says she would have been charged with espionage had she requested a back channel with the Russians like Jared Kushner reportedly did. Let's discuss that, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:55:04] ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: -- patience and humility. And perhaps my experiences and, in some cases, my mistakes will strike a chord with you.
Let me turn first to the importance of public service, where service over self. I can say that I did not really choose public service. Rather I more or less fell into it early on. Perhaps not fully appreciating the challenges from such service. While at Princeton, I had one of the finest role models I could have ever asked for this an upperclassman named David Hackett. I played lacrosse with David in the spring of '65. He was not necessarily the best on the field, but he was a determined and a natural leader. He graduated later that spring and joined the Marine Corps. David was a leader and a role model on the field at Princeton and he was also a leader and a role model on the field of battle. And a year later, after David had been in the Marine Corps, and as we were graduating, we faced the decision of how to respond to the war in Vietnam. And a number of Dave's friends and teammates joined the Marine Corps because of him, as did I. David, in the meantime volunteered for a second tour of Vietnam, but did not survive, as he lost his life to a sniper's bullet. So I do consider myself fortunate to have survived that tour in Vietnam. There were many men, such as David Hackett, who did not, and I learned a number of valuable lessons from that tour.
And perhaps because of that, having survived, I have felt compelled to try to get back into some way. And I have been lucky to spend a better part of my professional life in public service and to benefit from the intangible rewards that come from such service. The lessons I learned as a Marine have stayed with me for more than 40 years, the value of teamwork, sacrifice, discipline, life lessons I could not have learned in quite the same way elsewhere.
And since its earliest days, Tabor Academy has emphasized service over self. Your founder, Elizabeth Tabor, determined to make her life count for something good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Robert Mueller, the 2017 commencement speaker there at a small college prep school in Marion, Massachusetts. Former FBI director, and more notably recently appointed as special counsel overseeing this broadening probe into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Phil Mattingly, so I bet Tabor Academy had no idea when they picked him as the commencement speaker that he would have such national interest. You're not going to mention this investigation but you do get a sense of Bob Mueller, the man, his values, as he was speaking about it.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right. Funny enough, I'm reminded of 2013, the last time I physically saw Robert Mueller speak in public.
BALDWIN: It's been a while.
MATTINGLY: His farewell at the Justice Department, inside the great hall of the Justice Department, where speaker after speaker, Republican, Democrat, career, Justice Department officials, profusely praised his service. And then he gave kind of a highly regarded, well regarded speech as well, hitting on a lot of the same points here.
The key thing you need to know about Robert Mueller, when you think about what his role is in this kind of position, as special counsel right now, you think about what he's done in the past. You heard him talk about his time in the military serving in the Marines in Vietnam, as a prosecutor in the U.S. Justice Department and as FBI director. When you talk to people who worked with him, they all say the same thing, he's a straight arrow, his career speaks for itself in terms of what he's done, what he's been able to do and accomplish. And I think they look at what he now is faced with as special counsel of this investigation and expect that he is going to take the path that he thinks is best, which they all believe is the path that is probably best for this investigation. The big question is where that investigation actually leads.
One thing we do know, Brooke, behind the scenes, it's been going on, he's hard at work. Taking a brief break for this speech today. By all accounts, he's been at the FBI and the Justice Department, he's been hiring his team. He's not wasting any time moving forward on this investigation. It's very clear that he's bringing forward and bringing with him a team that plans on digging in as deeply as they need to come to a conclusion at one point or another.
BALDWIN: I should mention, looking at him, one more title, grandfather. His granddaughter is one of the 133 graduates there in Marion, Massachusetts, today.
Phil Mattingly, as always, thank you so much.
We continue on. Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me on this Memorial Day.
Let's begin with the president. President Trump begins his first week back from his major overseas trip. And the reset his White House was hoping for remains elusive.