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Orlando Business Shooting; President Pushes Travel Ban; Trump Contradicts his Team; Comey to Testify Thursday; Trump's Infrastructure Plans; Nations Cut Ties with Qatar; Trump Not Walking Away from Climate Issue. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired June 5, 2017 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:54] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We do have breaking news out of Orlando this morning. Right now police are investigating a workplace shooting that we are told involves multiple fatalities. This is according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office there. Alisyn Kosik has the very latest for us.
Alison, what do we know?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're just getting a few details, John, but we are hearing from the Orange County Sheriff's Office. That is in Orlando. That's the scene where this shooting happen. It has been stabilized. The Orange County Sheriff's Office calling the situation contained and stable.
Now, we don't know where exactly at which business this shooting happened, but we do hear there are multiple fatalities. The sheriff's office is saying that people should avoid the area off Forsyth Road and Moss Road. But, once again, we do not know at which business this happened. The Orange County Sheriff's Office just saying that they're investigating multiple fatalities at a place of business.
We are going to hear from the sheriff himself, Jerry Demings. We are expected to hear from him to get more details, John.
BERMAN: All right, but that situation now, we are told, is contained. Again, waiting for the sheriff. We don't know how many people were killed. All we know is multiple fatalities.
Alison Kosik with the very latest, thanks so much.
More news this morning in the wake of the London terror attack. The president had a busy morning writing things down, four posts on Twitter in the span of 19 minutes arguing for his travel ban. This is just one of the things he wrote, "the Justice Department should have stayed with the original travel ban, not the watered down politically correct version they submitted to the Supreme Court."
Joining me here, Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with us. I want to get your take on what the president was writing this
morning, arguing for his travel ban. Actually arguing for the original one, not the one that his own administration changed.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Yes. I mean this isn't news, but there's something wrong with this guy. First of all, he's the president of the United States and he indicates he's mad at the Justice Department for watering down his original travel ban. Now, I'm glad they watered it down. It's still terrible. But he's the president of the United States. I mean he's in charge, first of all.
But, secondly, he makes the case that we've all been saying all along, and that is that this was a travel ban. It was intended as a ban. He has his staff, including cabinet members, going out and saying, no, it's not a travel ban. Those are media's words. And then he posts it in boldface type. This is a president who's completely out of control.
BERMAN: OK, let's take that, because at the beginning you said, you know, there's something wrong with this guy and at the end there you said out of control. What's your evidence for that?
KILDEE: Well, the fact that he contradicts the directives that he gives his own staff. When they march out there and say that this is no travel ban, it's really clear that they're doing what he wants them to do. He can't stick with his own story. He can't stick to, you know, whatever the truth is for that - for that moment. And it's dangerous. He's the president of the United States. He's not some, you know, some guy with a - with a blog. He's the president. What he says actually matters.
BERMAN: Dangerous how?
KILDEE: Dangerous in the sense that he's unpredictable in a way that's not the complimentary kind of unpredictable - unpredictable that he's looking for. He's unpredictable in terms of how our allies see us. He's unpredictable in terms of how we, as Americans, see, and he's supposed to be a leader. He's supposed to exercise moral authority. And he just seems to have no impulse control. And so one day it's tweeting about the travel ban, but he makes pretty substantive, pretty significant decisions every single day. And if he can change his mind on a travel ban, which is headed to the Supreme Court, a policy that really in some ways was the centerpiece of his initial days in office, and just sort of change his mind and say something that contradicts what he has - and his administration has been saying now for months.
BERMAN: You know, what you're saying - what you're saying there is, you know, is a pretty remarkable statement. You're not just saying you disagree with his policy. You're saying that his behavior is putting the country at risk here. That seems to go beyond politics.
[09:35:01] KILDEE: It is beyond politics. I mean I - honestly.
BERMAN: So you're genuinely concerned here?
KILDEE: I am.
BERMAN: This isn't - this isn't trying to throw shade over the White House.
KILDEE: No. No. And, in fact, it's one of the reasons that I think this entire matter, you know, this - this Russia matter, for example, really should be taken out of the hands of Congress. We should have an independent commission because -
BERMAN: There's a special - there's a special counsel now.
KILDEE: There's a special counsel, but even the - the investigations that are taking place right now, I mean I think, you know, I have faith in the people that are conducting them, but I don't have faith that once those investigations are complete that they will be embraced because the Trump administration will simply say it's partisan politics all over again.
BERMAN: James Comey testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Our Gloria Borger reports that a source familiar with his thinking is saying, you know what, had he thought there was obstruction of justice during the investigation, he would have said something at the time. Do you think this is James Comey trying to lower expectations here and say, you know what, you know, the - people in the media, Democrats, might be saying, this is obstruction of justice. He doesn't go that far.
KILDEE: He doesn't and I guess that's why it's important that he has the opportunity to testify. I think it is important. And this is - I guess I am speaking to both the Republicans and my Democratic colleagues. Let's not jump to any conclusions. Let's let the facts speak for themselves. Let's get this out there.
I've seen enough that causes me to be really concerned about the erratic behavior of the president, but the facts will have to determine whether that behavior actually reaches a standard that goes beyond just, you know, erratic behavior that we need to deal with.
BERMAN: I want to talk infrastructure. The president wants to talk infrastructure. He wants the focus to be on infrastructure this week, although he's sort of undermining his own theme here with some of the tweets he's making, obviously. You know, you're from Flint. This is an area which needs infrastructure improvements, where there's an infrastructure crisis, if you will. What do you want to see from the White House?
KILDEE: Well, I think we need to have an infrastructure plan that is broad, that goes beyond just roads and bridges, deals with water infrastructure, for example. Flint's an example of what happens when you fail to deal with these problems. It causes, you know, incredible cost.
But I think specifically what we need is a marshal plan for our older distressed cities. Older industrial cities that have lost population could potentially suffer in unintended consequences as a result of a big infrastructure initiative which would more efficiently move more wealth and economic activity out of these older places. We need to reset the markets in some of these old communities. So as we move forward on infrastructure, I hope we recognize that
there are unique needs in places like Flint or Detroit or Cleveland, that if not met, could actually, unfortunately, be hurt by big investment.
BERMAN: Congressman Dan Kildee, great to have you here with us in studio. Appreciate it.
KILDEE: Thank you.
BERMAN: Come back.
KILDEE: My pleasure. Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, Thursday's testimony, obviously, will be a very big deal. We'll be watching it. So will the congressmen. CNN will bring it to you live. Special coverage begins at 9:00 Eastern Time. The testimony from the fired FBI director, that begins at 10:00.
All right, cutting ties with a key U.S. ally. A number of countries say that that country supports terrorism. Why this matters to the United States. That's next.
[09:42:10] BERMAN: All right, there's a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East with huge implications for the United States. Six countries have cut off ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and the Maldives, along with the official government of Yemen, are accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism. The nation of Qatar released a statement a short time ago calling the move unjustified. This measure comes two weeks after President Trump was in Saudi Arabia urging all of the gulf countries to crack down on terrorism.
Let's get the latest. CNN's Muhammad Lila joins us now from Abu Dhabi in the UAE, one of the nations that has broken off ties with Qatar.
This is a big deal, Muhammad.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, John.
Yes, absolutely, this is a big deal, especially to U.S. interests in the region. Look, the U.S. has a major military base in Qatar. It's part of CENTCOM or Central Command and it's home to about 10,000 American troops. Those troops are fighting in the mission against ISIS in neighboring Iraq, for example.
Now, it's unclear at this moment if this move will affect the operations of the U.S. base there, but now we're talking about a dispute between key U.S. allies. Oil prices went up already this morning. And, look, some of those countries you mentioned, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, they're all major allies. But here's the other problem, so is Qatar. The those countries are accusing Qatar of sponsoring terror groups, specifically groups like al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. So they're closing their borders, they're closing all air space and trade with Qatar and they're telling Qataris in their countries that they have 14 days to leave.
And, John, look, I don't need to tell you how volatile this region can be, but this is a big concern for the State Department. This morning this is what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to say about all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think what we're witnessing is a growing list of some irritants in the region that have been there for some time and obviously they have now bubbled up to a level the countries decided they needed to take action in an effort to have those differences addressed. We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LILA: And Tillerson later added that the United States is willing to play a role to bring these countries together, but it's not even clear right now if these countries even want to sit at the same table.
And, you know, John, a lot of people are saying, more than Qatar and more than these countries, this is actually about Iran, because some of these gulf countries have accused Qatar of not taking a hard enough line against Iran and some are saying this is what they're doing to bring Qatar back in line so they can form a unified front against Iran.
BERMAN: And, of course, the United States wants a very hard line against Iran also. So it will be very interesting to see how the United States deals with this significant military assets, not just in Qatar, but in some of those states now boycotting Qatar as well.
Muhammad Lila, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
All right, as of just a few minutes ago, Bill Cosby is officially on trial, facing accusations that he drugged and assaulted a woman more than a decade ago. The trial started again just a few minutes ago in Pennsylvania where Cosby is charged with sexual offenses. And walking with him hand in arm in a show of support, actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." More than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, but only two of those women will testify in this case. Cosby says he does not plan to testify. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
[09:45:27] The president may have walked away from the Paris climate agreement, but his administration says he is not walking away from the issue. Much more on that, next.
[09:50:00] BERMAN: All right, this morning, secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that President Trump believes that climate change is important and isn't walking away from the issue, just the Paris climate agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the president indicating his desire to re-examine, enter into discussions with others, perhaps a new construct of an agreement, indicates his recognition that the issue's still important and that he wants to stay engaged on the issue. He's not walking away from it. He's simply walking away from what he felt was an agreement that did not serve the American people well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, joining us this morning is the chairman and CEO and the president of American Electric Power, Nicholas Akins.
Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Chairman, here.
NICHOLAS AKINS, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER: Good to be with you, John.
BERMAN: You heard from Rex Tillerson, an energy guy - Rex Tillerson's an energy guy, like yourself.
BERMAN: You know, obviously, he ran Exxon Mobil for years. He actually was in favor of the United States staying part of the Paris climate deal. Where do you stand?
AKINS: Yes, I think it was - it was disappointing when he got out of the agreement. But at the same time, I think it's really encouraging that he's going to stay engaged with the international community because we do a lot of work with the international community about technology deployment and those types of things to advance around a cleaner energy future. So I think it's great news to stay engaged. It is an international issue that we need to solve from that standpoint.
BERMAN: Do you think - are you confident, or what proof do you have that he will stay engaged. Former Secretary of State John Kerry said, maybe not so eloquently, it's like O.J. Simpson saying he's going to go out and find the real killer. Everybody knows he's not going to do that.
AKINS: Well, obviously, we don't know what the president will decide ultimately to do. But at the same time, American business, the U.S., my company continue to be involved with a clean energy future because that's what our customers and shareholders expect. We've reduced our carbon emissions 44 percent since 2000 and will continue that progress because there's a transformation that's going on from a generation resource perspective in this country.
AKINS: And there's a rebalancing associated with that. BERMAN: So you used the words transformation and rebalancing here. A
lot of the - obviously, a lot of this discussion, particularly from the administration, has been about coal and coal jobs. The United States has lost 40,000 coal jobs since 2011 by some counts. You know, 60 percent of coal jobs have gone away in Kentucky alone. Is any policy change from the United States going to change what you just called a transformation like that in the energy industry?
AKINS: I think, clearly, if there's policies that allow continued coal operation, that's a great thing. But at the same time, coal will remain a part of the mix, but it will be a lesser part of the mix because these resources are being - becoming prevalent from very different aspects in terms of natural gas that's, obviously, been taking place, but also renewables, solar, wind, other forms of energy storage. Those kinds of applications are becoming more and more of a process of being able to deploy relative to our generation resources. So I think it's moving a different direction.
BERMAN: It's moving a different direction. Coal will be a lesser part of the mix. And do you think in some ways the administration or the president has been selling a false promise, suggesting that he can bring these jobs back?
AKINS: Well, I think - I think certainly we'll be able to maintain existing jobs. As far as jobs coming back, that remains to be seen, but I think it's clearly, the market will have to decide where the future generation mix is going to be. And as I mentioned earlier, with our shareholders and customer expectations around a clean energy environment, there are just resources today that didn't exist just a few years ago, and those resources are becoming more and more prevalent. So that rebalancing is good because it mitigates risk for our consumers.
BERMAN: Green energy is somewhere where environmentalists say there are jobs to be won there. Democrats - you know, the Obama administration always pointed to job opportunities with so-called green energy. Do you think that is overpromising?
AKINS: No, I don't think so because you see in even new developments since the time President Obama was in office. Today, you also have big data analytics that are driving efficiencies in the grid itself. So - so the electric grid itself. And that's really a key area for us to further optimize our energy resources. So you're going to see energy efficiency, you're going to see transmission. You'll obviously see solar, wind, other forms of renewables and natural gas. Those will be the fuels of choice in the future.
BERMAN: What do you think the solution is for people who have lost their jobs in the coal industry over the last, not just five years, but really 10, 20 years?
AKINS: Yes, John, we're working really heavily on economic development in those regions. And certainly you - we've found out that through studies we have done there's eight times the propensity around the ability for people in those regions to work with machinery and equipment. That lends itself well to aerospace, defense, and other manufacturing. So we're really working on sites that we - we already have authorized to bring businesses, manufacturing to those areas to put not necessarily coal miners back to work in the coal mines, but certainly back to work from a manufacturing perspective.
[09:55:02] BERMAN: Nicholas Akins, really appreciate your perspective on this. Thanks so much.
AKINS: Thank you, John.
BERMAN: All right, we do have more breaking news this morning. Just moments ago, President Trump went after the mayor of London again. He wrote this, "pathetic excuse by London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who had to think fast on his no reason to be alarmed statement. Mainstream media is working hard to sell it." We're going to have much more on this. Remember, the London mayor is dealing with a terror attack in his own city, now under attack by the president of the United States. Much more on this after the break.
BERMAN: All right, good morning. We have breaking news this morning.
[10:00:01] The city of London is dealing with the aftermath of a terror attack. The major of London dealing with the aftermath of a terror attack and also now new criticism from the president of the United States.