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Paris Climate Accord; Russia Investigation; British Politics after Brexit; Spicey's Incredible Vanishing Act. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired June 3, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes or no, does the president believe that climate change is real and a threat to the United States?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It is a simple question. Still no answer to that question, though. And as a candidate and private citizen, though, we did hear from Mr. Trump, who made his position quite known. Listen.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not a believer in climate change.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And we don't know his thoughts right now because he hasn't said anything. But that story is coming up.
Also, executive privilege: the White House has not ruled out using that tool to stop former FBI director James Comey from telling his side of the story and he plans to do that this week.
HOWELL: Plus, closing in: Britain's opposition party is slowly catching up on the Conservatives' lead with just days to go before voters head to the polls.
ALLEN: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters. NEWSROOM starts right now.
ALLEN: The Trump White House is having difficulty answering one simple question: does U.S. President Trump still believe climate change is a hoax?
HOWELL: Science says it's real. Senior officials with the Trump administration refuse to answer the question. This after President Trump unilaterally yanked the United States out of the historic Paris climate accord. For the very latest on this story, Jim Acosta has our reporting.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody, thank you.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The climate was warming at the White House as officials from the president to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president believe today that climate change is a hoax?
ACOSTA: -- dodged the question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the president believe that climate change is real and a threat to the United States?
SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: You know what's interesting about all the discussions we had through the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue: is Paris good or not for this country?
ACOSTA: Pruitt echoed President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement as a choice in favor of American workers.
TRUMP: They don't put America first. I do and I always will.
ACOSTA: But the head of the EPA also took some jabs at what he described as climate exaggerators, the kind of language used by global warming skeptics.
ACOSTA (on camera): You were up there throwing out information that says, "Well, maybe, this is being exaggerated and so forth," and you're talking about climate exaggerators. It just seems to a lot of people around the world that you and the president are just denying the reality and the reality of the situation is that climate change is happening and it is a significant threat to the planet.
PRUITT: Let me say this and I've said it in the confirmation process and I said it yesterday --
ACOSTA: Arctic ice and the sea levels. And --
PRUITT: -- there -- we have done a tremendous amount as a country to achieve reductions in CO2 and we have done that through technology and innovation. We will continue to do that. We will continue to stay engaged.
ACOSTA: Are they a little worried that you're putting your head in the sand?
PRUITT: There's no evidence of that.
ACOSTA (voice-over): White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters earlier this week that he would check on whether the president still believed climate change is a hoax, as he stated in the past.
Did Spicer have a chance to clear that up with the president?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion.
ACOSTA: Spicer and Pruitt joined a growing list of top administration officials dancing around the climate question.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Does President Trump still believe climate change is a hoax?
GARY COHN, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Look, President Trump believes he was elected to grow the U.S. economy and provide great job opportunities.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Does the president still believe global warming is a hoax?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP COUNSELOR: The president believes in a clean environment, clean air, clean water.
ACOSTA: Overseas there were some notable reactions to the president's decision from French President Emmanuel Macron, who invited American scientists to move to France.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Because wherever we live, wherever we are, we all share the same responsibility. Make our planet great again.
ACOSTA: To Russia's Vladimir Putin, who appeared to defend Mr. Trump's choice.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We should not create a big noise on this issue.
ACOSTA: On the subject of Russia, there are other pressing questions facing the White House, such as whether the president will invoke executive privilege to block former FBI director James Comey from testifying on capital Hill next week. Spicer said that's up in the air.
SPICER: It's got to be reviewed.
ACOSTA: But he insisted the president is standing by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner amid questions about the White House adviser's dealings with the Russians.
ACOSTA: And EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made it clear to reporters that the president is open to starting a new round of negotiations for a new Paris climate deal. But over the last 24 hours in response to the president's announcement, world leaders --
[05:05:00] ACOSTA: -- including key U.S. allies, have said that's not happening -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
HOWELL: Jim Acosta, thank you.
Let's bring in Leslie Vinjamuri now. A lot to talk about today. She is an associate professor at SOAS University of London and is on the U.S. program at Chatham House.
Leslie, good to have you with us.
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Thank you.
HOWELL: So let's talk again about this question that just will not go away. Climate change, a question that no official there at the White House will answer. The president has stated before that he believes that it's a hoax.
What do you make of this, that none of these officials, when asked repeatedly over and over and over and over again, dodge the question?
VINJAMURI: Well, it's clearly not something that they want to be drawn on for the very obvious reason, which is that it's something that can be -- they can be proven wrong on. Now it's harder to make the clear claim about the most optimal strategy for dealing with climate science and climate change.
But if Donald Trump now stands up and says together with his -- those people around him that the science is wrong, he stands to be proven wrong and this is not something where he wants to be drawn.
So of course, he's making the case, if you go back to his speech, that this is a treaty that's not in the interest of the United States; he's framing it in terms of jobs.
Here, of course, the information goes against him, too. It's showing the job growth in clean energy and solar especially has been tremendous over the last decade. Stepping back from Paris puts American industry, American competitiveness at grave risk.
And this is why we're seeing such momentum across the private sector in the United States, across cities; governors, mayors, university presidents and people coming out in very strong support of meetings the target that have been set by the United States under President Obama in Paris, with or without the president.
Remember that the United States cannot actually legally withdraw from this agreement. It can state that it wants to withdraw. Only in November 2019 it will take a year to then withdraw.
So this is something that will actually take place under the next administration. And so it will become a very important campaign issue. But on the issue of climate science, Donald Trump is walking back from
making any public declaration of what his own views are on that at this moment, most likely because he knows that he's wrong.
HOWELL: Another question that will not go away for the Trump White House, Russia and questions about whether the U.S. president will use executive privilege to prevent the former FBI director, James Comey, from testifying next week. First, Leslie, explain executive privilege.
Can the president use this to stop Mr. Comey?
And what would the optics be if he were to do so?
VINJAMURI: Well, the president, of course, can invoke executive privilege if he thinks that there's information that is in the public interest to withhold.
But there is a real question about what the scope of that executive privilege is in this particular instance. The optics, right, of asking former FBI director Comey, who is very well respected across Washington, not to testify would suggest that the president has something to hide. So it's a very politically difficult decision to make.
But legally, it's also not clear the extent to which that executive privilege, what the extent of that is.
So, for example, would this be only concerning private communications of the FBI director Comey had?
Or would this also cover the communications that took place directly between President Trump and FBI director Comey?
So those -- that latter set of communications seems like it wouldn't likely fall under executive privilege.
But remember, there's also the separate criminal investigation that's taking place under the authority of the special counsel, Mueller. And that executive privilege does not govern; Trump has no capacity to declare executive privilege over that investigation.
In any case, I think this is something that's being hotly debated amongst lawyers inside of Washington. And I think if there was -- if it was a clear-cut issue, it's likely that it would have already been declared. So I think we need to watch this. But I suspect that this -- that Comey will go ahead and testify this week.
HOWELL: Leslie, there is some reporting from "The New York Times" suggesting that the president will not use executive privilege, that he will allow Comey to testify. So we'll obviously have to watch this space to see how this plays out. Leslie Vinjamuri, live for us in London, thanks for the insight today.
VINJAMURI: Thank you. ALLEN: The response by world leaders to President Trump's decision to pull the out of the Paris accord has been pretty unanimous. They say they are disappointed and they're pledging to uphold the deal despite the U.S. exit.
How will they do that, though?
CNN Paris correspondent Melissa Bell joins us now from the French capital with more on the reaction there.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Natalie.
One of the priorities, of course, for European leaders who continue to back this --
BELL: -- Paris climate deal is how to find the money that the United States had been due to contribute to the world's poorest nations in order to help them achieve their objectives and then this global deal to hold.
Clearly, there's been a great deal of unity expressed here from Europe over the course of the last couple of days, ever since that announcement in the Rose Garden, also a great deal of frustration and disappointment.
I think to understand the disappointment here in Europe and perhaps specifically in Paris, you have to really cast your mind back a year and a half to the euphoria that had followed after 195 nations struck a deal that few had imagined possible.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the long awaited sound of a deal: 195 countries had agreed to act together to save the planet.
LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: I had in front of me the representatives of all the world. And for the first time in history, I was able to strike the gavel. It meant that it was a new step for humanity.
BELL (voice-over): Laurent Fabius presided over the Paris negotiations. He says the deal is now a matter of life or death.
FABIUS: The question is the question of food all over the world, the question of oceans, the question of typhoons, the question of migrations. You know, there are so many problems with some migration. But if you multiply by 100, at the end of it, it's peace or a war.
BELL (voice-over): At the time of its signing, which brought together more than 190 nations, there had been a sense of disbelief that the deal had proven possible at all. Many had wondered whether the world was ready for Paris. Now just 18 months later, the question is how the world could do without.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Because wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again.
BELL (voice-over): French president Emmanuel Macron expressing France's resolve with a twist on President Trump's campaign slogan. Other world leaders from China to Germany also vowing to honor the deal.
The strength of the world's reaction has surprised Laurence Tubiana now, who led France's negotiations. She says it shows how strong the Paris agreement is.
LAURENCE TUBIANA, FORMER FRENCH CLIMATE AMBASSADOR: That the future, it's just because that's the modality and that's what I think the Trump administration is just missing. They don't understand that the train has left the station. The matter is just to be out; it's just like you look at the train and it's just going and you are not in it.
BELL: Adding to that sense of disbelief in Europe is what you just heard there, which has been at the heart of so many of the reactions since that announcement from the Rose Garden, George.
That is the idea, that quite apart from the question of America's standing in the world, of its reputation as a stable and steadfast ally, there is, more broadly perhaps and perhaps more importantly for Americans, this idea of what with it will mean economically for the United States on the very measures chosen by Trump to defend his decision.
As you just heard, there is this idea that the reach for an energetic transition is actually one that makes economic sense and that is more likely to provide job growth than to harm job creation -- George.
ALLEN: All right, Melissa Bell for us, thank you so much.
HOWELL: The president of Russia has a message for the world. Quote, "Don't worry, be happy." We'll explain exactly what that means and how it's connected to the U.S. president as CNN NEWSROOM continues.
HOWELL: A warm welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.
We've been reporting on this. It is not clear if the U.S. president, Donald Trump, will use his executive powers to stop the former FBI director, James Comey, from testifying before Congress. "The New York Times," though, is reporting that Mr. Trump is unlikely to do so.
ALLEN: Comey's testimony is all a part of the investigations that have cast a cloud over the new White House, as authorities dig into the Trump team's alleged ties to Russia. Our Michelle Kosinski takes a closer look at that.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House today not ruling out that President Trump could invoke executive privilege and try to stop James Comey, the FBI director he fired, from telling his side of the story.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: The president will make that decision.
KOSINSKI: Comey, now scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday morning, is expected to talk about one-on-one conversations he had with President Trump while Comey's office was investigating Trump associates' contacts with Russia.
Conversations that Comey kept notes on and in which, sources tell CNN, Trump asked him for his loyalty and may have tried to persuade him to drop the investigation against national security adviser Michael Flynn, all of which the White House has denied, but a claim executive privilege could be undermined by the president's own words.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said, "If it's possible, would you let me know, am I under investigation?"
And he said, "You are not under investigation."
KOSINSKI: Those public comments could be enough to tank any claim that the contents of the talks should be kept private. Today a source close to Comey tells CNN he was disturbed by what the president said to him and felt Trump didn't understand it was inappropriate.
Put all together with Trump's firing of Comey, many believe it could amount to obstruction of justice.
TRUMP: When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, "You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story."
KOSINSKI: Questions remain, too, over why Trump adviser and son-in- law Jared Kushner secretly met with a Russian banker and former spy at an undisclosed location, allegedly to establish a secret channel of communication with the Kremlin before the inauguration.
The bank maintains Sergey Gorkov was meeting with Kushner as a businessman. The White House says it was part of Kushner's work on the Trump transition.
It has since emerged that Kushner also had multiple undisclosed contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The White House initially said one meeting was just a courtesy visit, but sources now explain they were discussing possible collaboration between the U.S. and Russia in Syria.
A former State Department official, Dan Fried, tells CNN he and former colleagues were worried when the Trump administration, post- inauguration, started working on a plan to potentially lift sanctions against Russia that were imposed for taking over Crimea as well as hacking in the U.S. election, which disturbed him enough to reach out to lawmakers to try and stop it.
DANIEL FRIED, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EUROPE: Lifting sanctions without the Russians doing anything as a free gift, struck me, strikes me now as a bad, bad idea. My colleagues were concerned about this and so was I at the time.
KOSINSKI: Putin himself denied there were any secret agreements with the Trump team.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): No. There were no agreements. They didn't even get near it. They didn't even manage to start any kind of talks.
HOWELL: All right. And that was CNN's Michelle Kosinski reporting there for us.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is once again denying that Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election. At a wide- ranging news conference, Mr. Putin also spoke highly of the U.S. president.
ALLEN: And he answered questions --
ALLEN: -- about Donald Trump's controversial decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. Here is our Brian Todd with that.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was trademark Vladimir Putin, appearing on stage in a marathon interview forum. The Russian leader surprised the audience in English...
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Don't worry, be happy.
TODD (voice-over): -- invoking the '80s singer, Bobby McFerrin, sarcastically describing the anger around President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.
But in his native tongue, the former Soviet spy turned politician was far less sunny, continuing to deny Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, while attacking former candidate, Hillary Clinton, saying her campaign just can't admit its own mistakes caused her loss.
PUTIN (through translator): They decided to say it's not our fault, it's the Russians' fault. It's like anti-Semitism, to blame the Jews for everything. We all know what this can lead to: nothing good.
TODD (voice-over): At the same time, Putin spoke admiringly of Donald Trump's successful campaign.
PUTIN (through translator): The Trump team was more effective during the election campaign. He found an approach to the electorate that worked for him.
TODD (voice-over): But he wasn't done there. On the heels of his comment on Thursday that Russia, quote, "patriots," not the Russian government, might have hacked the U.S. election, Putin gave another denial, referring to U.S. intelligence reports on the hacking.
PUTIN (through translator): I read these reports. There is nothing specific in these reports, just assumptions and conclusions.
TODD: And he denied any discussions about sanctions between his government and the incoming Trump administration. Analysts say Putin is looking for deniability, trying to prevent investigators from tracing any alleged interference in the election directly to him.
But at the same time, they say, it appears he is loving the attention and the strife inside the U.S. political system.
WILL POMERANZ, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE KENNAN INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED RUSSIAN STUDIES: He now has a president who wants to have better relations with Russia; he has a scandal that has weakened the U.S. president and he has a U.S. president who is busy lecturing his best allies about climate and about NATO. So there's lots of things that Putin is enjoying about the current crisis.
TODD: Vladimir Putin also came to the defense of the man who works for him here at the Russian embassy here in Washington, Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who's at the center of the investigations into Trump's aides' contacts with the Russians.
Putin said, quote, "Our ambassador met someone. That's what the ambassador must do."
He said, "Reports of secret deals before the inauguration are plain hysteria" and, quote, "How should we stop that? Take a pill or something?" -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Let's go to Clare Sebastian, she's live in our Moscow bureau for us.
Clare, certainly a different Vladimir Putin and a different government from Moscow that would say nothing at first and now he's seeming to enjoy talking about all of this.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Natalie. For months, we've been hearing simply various different ways of saying no comment from the Kremlin. A lot of analysts have told me here that the sense was that if everything they were saying was being used against Trump, it was best to say nothing at all and also to avoid contradicting themselves perhaps because it was so unpredictable, everything that was coming out of Washington.
But now, over the course of the last few days, we see a different approach from the president. He's much more vocal, much more perhaps defensive, even at times emotive in his descriptions of things.
But of course there's very little that President Putin does that isn't completely calculated. So he may see that this is the moment for him to start defending Russia's position, perhaps ahead of this reported meeting between Trump and Putin, that may happen at the G20 in July.
One Kremlin watcher here told me that perhaps Russia is looking at the deterioration of its relationship with the U.S. and seeing that it's happening in a way that's completely out of its control. So it's trying to wrest back control of the situation to try and control the conversation and the agenda.
And perhaps, as well, there's an opportunity here for Putin domestically in the chaos that's going on in Washington, which is only set to get more intense perhaps next week, as the former FBI director is set to testify. There's an opportunity for him domestically to appear more calm, more professional by comparison.
But very little difference in the actual content of what he's saying, sticking to the same political lines but certainly a difference in the approach.
ALLEN: It will be interesting if these two leaders do meet.
Can you imagine the camera snapping that photo op?
But it does seem like Vladimir Putin is kind of getting what he wants as far as the attention.
But still the sanctions remain, don't they?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, absolutely. This is a real thorn in his side, I would say, both politically painful and painful for the Russian economy. Of course, he was speaking there at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, a blockbuster annual event, that really is his stage and his spotlight for the taking.
And he did also speak to U.S. business leaders. He said, please help us restore --
SEBASTIAN: -- normal political dialogue. Please help the new U.S. administration.
And I think there really was a reference there to sanctions because, of course, here in Moscow, the view is that normal political dialogue can't resume while sanctions are in place.
And certainly he mentioned, as well, that there was a significant reduction in trade between the U.S. and Russia. He talked about lost economic opportunities. And Russia has really been looking, Natalie, for any clues coming out of the Trump administration for that suggested lifting of sanctions that Trump talked about on the campaign.
And it seems frankly the opposite. It was just a week ago that Trump's economic adviser talked about, rather than lifting sanctions, they might think about strengthening them. So it's a very painful issue here in Russia and something that is really, as we saw, top of the president's mind.
ALLEN: Clare Sebastian there for us in Moscow. Thanks, Clare.
HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM this hour, the U.S. president pulled out of the Paris agreement for a better deal for America, he says.
But what about his own views on climate change?
His answer is not as straightforward as you might think.
ALLEN: Plus, U.S. businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has a message of the U.N. climate office. Millions of dollars will be there, even if the U.S. doesn't pay up. We'll tell you what Bloomberg is planning.
HOWELL: We're live on the air in the United States and around the world in this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): 5:29 on the U.S. East Coast early in the morning here. Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. Our top stories:
HOWELL: As we mentioned just a moment ago, uncertainty surrounds the president's private thoughts on the very important issue of global warming.
ALLEN: Yes. Whatever they are, his current silence is big change from the approach he took before becoming president. Gary Tuchman reports.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump hasn't made it clear where stands on climate change, but as candidate Trump and citizen Trump, he certainly did. In December 2015, he had this to say.
TRUMP: While the world is in turmoil and falling apart in so many different ways especially with ISIS, our president is worried about global warming. What a ridiculous situation.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then there was this in September 2015.
HUGH HEWITT, TALK RADIO PERSONALITY: Do you believe that the temperature of the Earth is increasing and what would you do if you do believe that vis-a-vis global climate change?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, I'm not a believer in global warming, I'm not a believer in manmade global warming.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): He said this about President Obama in April, 2016.
TRUMP: He said global warming is our biggest problem, OK. We have some big problems. We may have a global warming problem, but it will be of the nuclear variety if we don't have smart people in office and soon.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then this moment during the campaign.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it is real.
TRUMP: I did not --
CLINTON: The science is real.
TRUMP: I do not say that.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But all you have to do is look at President Trump's Twitter feed to see that he did say that in 2012.
"The concept of global warning was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
In fact, his Twitter feed, with scores of tweets on the topic, gives a pretty clear window into where he stands on the issue.
There is this in January 2015, "It's record cold all over the country and world. Where the hell is global warming? We need some fast."
And this in February 2014, "It is not climate change. It is global warming. Don't let the dollar-sucking wise guys change names midstream because the first name did not work."
And November 2012, "Let's continue to destroy the competitiveness of our factories and manufacturing so we can fight mythical global warming. China is so happy."
Interestingly, back in 2009, Donald Trump did sign a letter along with dozens of other business leaders calling for meaningful and effective measures to control climate change. And there have been occasions where he sounded a bit like he was on the fence.
TRUMP: I'm still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I'm somebody that gets it and nobody really knows. It is not something that is so hard and fast.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But overall, his blizzard of tweets and almost all of his televised comments on the topic have revealed an overwhelming sentiment.
TRUMP: I am not a believer in climate change.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Donald Trump has never been shy about expressing that -- at least until now -- Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
HOWELL: Gary, thank you.
The former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is among the U.S. business leaders vowing to stay the course on the Paris climate agreement.
ALLEN: The billionaire philanthropist knows a lot about the issue in his role as a special envoy with the United Nations; in this international exclusive, Bloomberg spoke at length with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, beginning with why he has pledged $15 million to the cause.
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MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR OF NYC: The agreement calls for countries to make a contribution so that the organization has the funds it needs to do its work. America's commitment is something about $15 million.
And if the federal government, our federal government chooses not to pay that, I've said that Bloomberg Philanthropies will put $15 million into the organization; although, if others want to join us, it would reduce our commitment.
But we would get whatever the American government's obligation was. The organization can count on the fact that they will have those funds to do its important work.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: You are -- you know, the businessman's businessman. You are now putting your money where your mouth is. I want you to address, once and for all for people who may get confused by all the stuff coming of the White House now, out of the EPA administrator, that the climate deal is bad for --
AMANPOUR: -- American business, for jobs, for American economy. He said it over and again today. He said the reason that the president has pulled out is because this deal has come at the expense of the American economy. BLOOMBERG: There's absolutely no evidence of that. In fact, the reverse is really true. There'd been probably 10 times the number of jobs. Maybe, I think the number is actually like eight times the number of jobs created in renewables compared to what's been loss in the fossil fuel industry.
Businesses change along with technology and what consumers want. And today people want less coal and more renewables. And so there are fewer jobs in coal and more jobs in renewable. That's the trend that happens all the time in every part of our world.
But the bottom line is, a better environment creates more opportunities than it takes away. It is something that is in our economic interests; it's in the interest of our health. It's what we're going to leave to our children.
I just don't know where those numbers come from. They make them up, I think, and there's just no evidence whatsoever that COP 21 has hurt our environment, hurt our economy. In fact, in America, the American industry in total has benefited greatly from all of the things we're doing.
And you see even big companies like ExxonMobil running full-page ads in the newspapers, urging the president to have America work with other countries and comply with the COP 21 agreement. If the world's biggest oil company thinks this is a good idea, I find it hard to understand how the secretary does not.
AMANPOUR: Well, I must say it is all very, very difficult to sort of compute, especially when the following has been uttered by the President of the United States, that one of the reasons he did this is so that the world will stop laughing at America. He believes the deal was so negative, so harmful to America, that the rest of the world is laughing.
And, again, today, Scott Pruitt said that the reason -- and you're there in France -- the reason people like President Macron or Angela Merkel or the other allies have been, you know, begging the U.S. to stay in is because they want U.S. economy to hurt and their economy to benefit.
BLOOMBERG: Well, I think somebody has to explain to the president he's obviously been misinformed and the secretary has been misinformed. That's not the case. It's exactly the reverse.
America does have some obligations to its own people to stop polluting any more than is necessary, to continue to reduce the amount of disruption, of the -- hurting the environment because this is the air we breathe. This is the air -- this is the water we drink. This is done -- our environmental efforts are done for the American people.
It's true the rest of the world depends on them. But also America suffers when the rest of the world doesn't do its share. And so what we have to do is be a leader and show that we are willing to do what we agreed to and even more and to convince other people to do it. The world is one environment. And if somebody pollutes any place in
the world, we're all going to suffer. And if somebody reduces the amount of pollution that they cause, everybody around the world benefits. This is not an either/or thing. This is a thing where we're all in it together.
And I think it's just a shame that the president's staff has not explained to him or to the secretary why this is certainly in everybody in America's interests. And it's my understanding that his daughter does understand this and has tried to explain to him.
Hopefully the best thing that would happen is the president gets some more advice, thinks about it and concludes that the American government should participate. This is not an agreement that's going to be renegotiated.
But if America wanted to, it could say we'll go even further. And that's what the American pledge is all about, trying to get us, the individuals and corporations and local governments, to do what we had committed to do as a country and to even go further because we will be the beneficiaries of every bit of progress we make.
ALLEN: Michael Bloomberg there.
There are just days now until the U.K. snap election. And whichever side of the divide voters are on, there's no escaping the big issue, Brexit.
HOWELL: It's a big issue. We'll have that story.
Plus, some people are calling Sean Spicer, the press secretary, the incredible shrinking man. Why the White House press secretary is shying away from the cameras more and more. We'll have that story. Stay with us.
ALLEN: Five days are left of campaigning in the U.K's general election. And the contest could be a close one. Polls suggesting that Labour, the opposition party, is gaining on the Conservatives.
HOWELL: The candidates are spending Saturday campaigning in the north of the England. But Friday, they answered questions on the BBC's "Question Time." Prime Minister Theresa May addressed one of the biggest issues at the moment, the issue of the environment. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why haven't you signed a letter to Donald Trump condemning his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement?
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I haven't because I actually have spoken to Donald Trump and told him that the U.K. believes in the Paris agreement and that we didn't want the United States to leave the Paris agreement.
The G7 leaders sat around the table last week and spoke to -- and told Donald Trump -- the six of us told him that we believe the Paris agreement was an important international agreement on climate change, that we wanted the United States to stay in it.
I've spoken to him. I spoke to him last night about this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he say?
MAY: Canada and Japan haven't signed the letter, either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: "What did he say?"
She didn't answer that.
On the same show, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was pushed on something he's long opposed: Britain's nuclear deterrent program, Trident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the reality where you're faced with the prospect that you may have to use it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just ask you for a simple answer.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: The reality is that we have to obviously try to protect ourselves. We would not use it as first use. And if we did use it, millions are going to die. You have to think this thing through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: All right. But there's always another big issue that is front and center, especially with British politics: Brexit. But the political landscape has changed dramatically since that decision to pull out of the E.U.
ALLEN: Many of the prominent voices that had called for the U.K. to leave seem to have faded away. Nina dos Santos reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (MUSIC PLAYING)
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): They were the faces, the headlines and the driving forces behind the Brexit campaign. But since calling the E.U. referendum...
DAVID CAMERON, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: I will go to Parliament and propose that the British people decide our future in Europe through an inert (ph) referendum on Thursday, the 23rd of June.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Most of the men behind the country's momentous decision have hardly stuck around to pick up the pieces.
David Cameron, who staked his career on the U.K. choosing to stay in the E.U., resigned almost immediately after losing the vote.
CAMERON: I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Now he is making a fortune on the speaking circuit and has built a reported $30,000 shed in his backyard to write his memoirs in.
One of the most vocal proponents of Brexit was Nigel Farage.
NIGEL FARAGE, UKIP: (INAUDIBLE).
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): For years, he's waged a war against the E.U.
FARAGE: I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Now he is no longer head of the U.K. Independence Party and is instead forging a career in radio and TV...
FARAGE: Good evening, everybody. Well, I think I was the last to know.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): -- and making friends with Donald Trump.
Also, getting close to Trump, Michael Gove (ph), Cameron's former justice secretary, who led his party's hard Brexit battalions with misleading claims of huge savings to be had with the health service.
He stood for the party leadership and lost after knifing his wing man, Boris Johnson, in the back. Gove, a former political writer has now returned to journalism, scoring a major interview with the U.S. president in his first month on the job.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: I can sing the "Ode to Joy" in German.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): If not always liked...
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): -- one of Brexit's most colorful characters is the only one left in the British government. Boris Johnson was made foreign secretary by the new prime minister, Theresa May. But he has largely been sidelined.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boris is sitting perfectly comfortably and...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- air of repose about the fellow.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.
HOWELL: Well, the group, it's the Black Eyed Peas. The focus, it's love. They are bringing love this weekend to two huge events in the United Kingdom.
ALLEN: The hip-hop group will perform Saturday at the Champions League final in Cardiff, Wales. Then they head to Manchester to perform join Ariana Grande's One Love benefit concert Sunday.
HOWELL: This event will honor victims of the May 22nd attacks. That's when 22 people were killed. And the Black Eyed Peas told our Hala Gorani they'll sing exactly the right song. That song is "Where Is the Love?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TABOO, MEMBER, THE BLACK EYED PEAS: That song, "Where Is the Love?" was created after the events of 9/11. And still, to this day, 2017, people ask for it. You know, people go online and say we need this song.
Whether things are happening in Paris or in the United States or in Manchester, that song speaks to the world and it strikes a chord with the world and we're glad that we're able to perform it. It's sad that, when something bad happens, that song has to be the thing that we rely on to provide our perspective and our therapy for the people that need it.
But we're just going to out there with an open heart and just spread love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Ahead of the concert, Ariana Grande visited fans at the hospital who were wounded in the attack at her previous show in Manchester.
HOWELL: Still ahead here, you could call him the face of the White House.
ALLEN: But we're seeing less and less of press secretary Sean Spicer. We'll look at what's behind his vanishing act -- coming up here.
ALLEN: We've got the annual Scripps spelling bee for you now. The kids, you know, those smarties in elementary and middle school.
HOWELL: They are focused and they can spell words that, you know what, I will gladly pass over to my colleague, Natalie Allen, to juggle with and I just won't even attempt it.
ALLEN: OK. This year's competition near Washington was no exception. Round after round went by until 12-year-old Ananya Vinay of Fresno, California, had the chance to win it all with the word marocain.
HOWELL: You did, yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANANYA VINAY, SPELLING BEE CHAMPION: Marocain, M-A-R-O-C-A-I-N, marocain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations --
HOWELL (voice-over): She spelled it. Now my turn to say it. Marocain, OK, was defined as "a fabric used for dresses." Ananya wins $40,000, a few television appearances and an encyclopedia. Congratulations to her.
ALLEN: Which she no doubt will memorize.
HOWELL: For sure.
OK. Since the very first days of the Trump administration, one official has been in the headlines as much as the president himself, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.
ALLEN: But you may have noticed that recently we've been seeing a lot less of Spicey. Here is Jeanne Moos with that.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Now you see him... SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: You are shaking your head here. I mean, it's true. You did it.
MOOS (voice-over): -- now you don't.
SPICER: You are free to use the audio.
MOOS (voice-over): Sean Spicer is a little like "The Incredible Shrinking Man" in the 1957 movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll come right back?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course I will.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN")
MOOS: Not in a dollhouse, but in the White House, playing cat and mouse with the press.
Televised briefings have been rare lately; on Friday, Spicer resurfaced but wasn't able to give the president's views on climate change and exited ASAP.
SPICER: What today happens to be National Leave --
SPICER: -- Work Early Day...
MOOS (voice-over): On Wednesday Spicer ditched cameras, holding an audio-only gaggle, with that eyebrow-raising answer to a question about President Trump's gibberish tweet...
SPICER: The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant like --
MOOS (voice-over): -- leaving reporters scoffing in disbelief.
MOOS: Hey, turn that off. No cameras. Audio only.
MOOS (voice-over): We, too, can pull a Spicer. And his briefings are getting shorter.
SPICER: Thank you, guys.
MOOS (voice-over): One online commenter begged, "Please tell me that news outlets will play the audio-only briefings over GIFs of Melissa McCarthy as Spicer. Be still, my heart."
Like this you mean?
SPICER: I'm not ready to discuss it at this time. MOOS (voice-over): "SNL" may have been prophetic.
MELISSA MCCARTHY, COMEDIAN, "SEAN SPICER": No, wait, is this like "The Godfather," when you kiss me and no one ever sees me again?
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "DONALD TRUMP": Yes.
MOOS (voice-over): It's as if Spicer is a hostage at his own briefings; as one poster noted, "with a 1,000-yard stare." And when he briefed outside the White House, he got more grief.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": He wasn't hiding in the bushes, OK?
He was hiding among the bushes, OK?
MOOS (voice-over): Reporters get treated like misbehaving kiddies.
SPICER: (INAUDIBLE) -- Cecelia (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I see the fish today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It's my --
SPICER: Hold on. Major, Major, Cecelia is asking a question. That doesn't mean you get to jump in --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That --
SPICER: (INAUDIBLE), I'm actually asking Cecelia a question if you could be as polite as to not interrupt.
MOOS (voice-over): It's enough to leave reporters...
SPICER: Please stop shaking your head again.
MOOS (voice-over): -- shaking their heads.
SPICER: Stop shaking your head.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no.
MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
ALLEN: Oh, my, my. Good one, Jeanne.
HOWELL: Thanks for being with us. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. For viewers in the U.S., "NEW DAY" is next. Everyone else, stay with us for "AMANPOUR."