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Benjamin Netanyahu Tweeted All Right Wing Knesset Members Must Oppose What He's Calling A Dangerous Left-Wing Government; A Group Of Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Wants Answers On The Orgins Of The Pandemic; A British Newspaper Uncovered Documents That Reveal How Buckingham Palace Banned Immigrants Of Color And Foreigners From Holding Clerical Positions At The Palace. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 3, 2021 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:30:00]

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: The United Arab list sitting with the right-wing Yamina Party, sitting with the far-left Meretz Party.

Now as part of this deal Naftali Bennett the leader of the Yamina Party will be the first prime minister as part of a rotating deal even though the Centrist leader Yair Lapid was one the one who had the mandate to form this government.

And there seems to be not be much that unites all of these parties other than they don't want Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister any longer. So if they do manage to get into government it will be hard to see how they will be able to advance policies on some of the most pressing issues facing Israel right now, especially when it comes to the tensions we've seen in East Jerusalem with the Palestinians. We have, of course, the cease-fire with the Hamas-led militants in Gaza.

But despite the fact that they managed to form this coalition, sign everybody on, it's not over. They still need to get that confidence vote, as you noted in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. I needs to happen on or before June 14.

Now there is an effort actually to even replace the Speaker of the Knesset in order to try to speed this along. But Benjamin Netanyahu is going to try whatever he can to stop this from happening. He said in a tweet that, all right-wing Knesset members must oppose what he's calling a dangerous left-wing government.

We'll have to wait and see if he can manage to pull this off. He is the ultimate survivor of Israeli politics.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Right.

GOLD: So you can never say never when it comes to Netanyahu. HARLOW: You can't. I mean he is the ultimate survivor. It's just

interesting he used the word this -- this total leftist coalition given how right-wing Bennett is.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: But Hadas, thank you very much for that.

Let's get some analysis here and some insight with our Global Affairs Analyst Aaron David Miller. He's also the former State Department Middle East Negotiator.

Such a good voice to have on it this morning. And I thought your take Aaron in your new piece this morning, in your tweet, is interesting, because you say, look Biden is a lucky guy. Can you explain how so on the fronts of what this means for an Iran Deal? What this means for sort of just lowering the temperature at least for the next few months?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean he's lucky, Poppy, because you know challenged or shackled with the greatest challenge of national recovery since any president probably since Franklin Roosevelt. He's focused on domestic priorities.

All of a sudden you've got an Israeli-Palestinian crisis, which the administration frankly handled fairly adroitly. And in anticipation of greater instability particularly with Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the coalition.

Now you have a situation in which you have now Naftali Bennett presiding over a hodge-podge, as Hadas said, of parties. But with a kind of mutually assured destruction. These parties, if they want to avoid Netanyahu's return and he'll go into the opposition. He's not being retired to a sort of Israeli bed minister. He can cause a lot of trouble.

But you've got to mutually assure destruction which will mean that the tendency of Naftali Bennett to confront the administration on issues like the Iran Nuclear Accord or to take provocative steps, whoever right word his convictions really are, on the West Bank I think are limited. So I think the administration and frankly has probably bought themselves a few months of respite from this.

SCIUTTO: One change under Netanyahu was to clearly align Israel with one party here in the U.S., the Republican Party and a Republican president, right? And there are Israelis who say -- who lamented that, right?

Said that you -- that has helped create a division here in terms of degree of support for Israel and you're seeing some of that in Democrats being more forward-leaning during this latest conflict in terms of criticizing Israel, expressing support of Palestinians.

I wonder if he's leaving? And you know better than me that you don't count Netanyahu out until he's out the door. But if he's leaving, did he leave that relationship between the U.S. and Israel stronger or weaker?

MILLER: You know, Jim, I work for Republicans and Democrats and voted for them as well. Rarely have I have seen a more destructive set of policies pursued both by Benjamin Netanyahu and our former president to undermine the very adhesive that has maintained this special relationship. Not the exclusive relationship with Israel. We don't need an exclusive relationship.

We (inaudible) special relationship, because there's a high coincidence of values of interest still despite some separation in both parts. But I think both Trump and Netanyahu worked assiduously to make the Republican Party the go-to party in Israel.

So right now you've got a Republican Party that wants to maintain itself in that -- in that fashion and you have at least two or three Democratic views of what it means to be pro-Israel in this country. And the Biden administration is navigating somehow between them.

But I do believe that Bennett will not play to the Republican evangelical base in this country and I think he will -- it will be -- to some degree it will be like the air going out of the balloon frankly. And I think for the U.S.-Israeli relationship I think that's important.

HARLOW: Building on that point Aaron, what do you make of Tom Freedman saying to our colleague Fareed Zakaria on Sunday that, in his mind he said we may be seeing in Joe Biden the last pro-Israel Democratic President of the United States if you look at where the rising left in the party is today.

[09:35:10]

Do you think he's right?

MILLER: I mean it is -- it's an intriguing comment and it's true. The role model for Joe Biden is not Barak Obama despite their close association. It's Bill Clinton. Both are long-time veteran pals where being, quote, unquote, good on Israel is great for their political careers. But they also have a deep ideological sensibility and their inclination of Clinton and Biden both is to give the Israelis the benefit of the doubt.

But frankly I've been around this block many times and things are changing, there's no question. The diversity of the -- of the Democratic Party, the persistence of the Israeli occupation, the polarization and partisanship I never believed that Israel would become --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

MILLER: -- the third rail of American politics, but in many respects it has.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well Aaron David Miller lots to watch in this coming week or two. We'll see where it ends up. Thanks very much.

MILLER: Thanks Jim. Thanks Poppy.

SCIUTTO: A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants answers on the origins of this pandemic. Up next I'm going to speak with a Republican Congressman who says the Chinese government must be held accountable.

[09:36:15]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:45:40]

SCIUTTO: As President Biden now tasks the intelligence community with investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, he himself says he has open mind to the origin now.

The president's top medical adviser says he still believes the virus started in an animal and moved to humans, but says there should be more investigation, keeping an open mind. He also says that China needs to be more forthcoming with information related to the viruses' origins.

I'm joined now by Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Turner. He also serves on the Intel and Armed Services Committee and has been very vocal on COVID-19 origins. Congressman, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-0H): Good morning Jim. Thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: Listen. I spent -- I was telling you before we came on air, I've spent a lot of time in China. I've reported there. I've worked there. I've seen what the government is capable of in a lot of bad ways, frankly.

I want to ask you, do you -- have you seen proof that this virus leaked from the lab or is it in your view a question where there's some evidence that needs to be further investigated? Are you convinced or are you looking for further investigation?

TURNER: Sure. Well Jim, you can start intuitively, right? And the Wuhan Lab is in Wuhan and from -- and conducts this type of research. The outbreak occurred there. It didn't happen in Shanghai, it didn't happen in Paris --

SCIUTTO: Right.

TURNER: -- so intuitively it raises the level of you need an investigation. Now the House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee issued a report, which is on our website, and page 12 of it details a reported circumstances that certainly lead to a conclusion that we need further investigation, that there is very circumstantial evidence that Wuhan Lab is the source.

And we're also very concerned about a Chinese government cover-up, because you know certainly the -- both the World Health Organization and China, as they have made pronouncements and undertaken investigations, it's been very suspect. It's great that Dr. Fauci is now, as you said, to the point where he

has said this needs further investigation. The president himself has tasked the intelligence community --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

TURNER: -- to relook at the intelligence evidence. But this is very critical because if this is manmade, it certainly of grave concern of what China's intentions are. If it was accidental it certainly goes to even the dangerousness of the type of work that was being done unchecked at the lab.

SCIUTTO: Understood. If it is corroborated, right, conclusively that that was the origin of this, how exactly in your view should China be held accountable?

TURNER: Well there are a couple of things here. You know, first we have to determine, you know, was this an accidental leak and they were just doing dangerous research or was this intentional? In our report we lay out a number of circumstances where even the intelligence community and the State Department have raised concerns about the Chinese military involvement with the lab.

So we have to understand to this line also because it will go to our approach to what is China doing and how do we address it. If it's intentional obviously the whole world has a greater level of concern and China needs to be held accountable by the world for the nearly three million people who have died from this disease.

And if it's -- if it is, you know, unintentional but it did occur manmade, we have an issue of a cover-up and we have an issue of how do we address this dangerous type of research and the practices that are going on China.

SCIUTTO: No question. Those are key questions, exactly. Accident, you know, and cover-up concerning enough. But if it was the next step where they were doing, you know, gain-of-function as it's known, research to potentially weaponize, that's a -- that's a who other question more serious.

I do want to ask, I get your and other Republicans, and by the Democrats, I spoke to one yesterday who's joining with Republicans in calling for a deeper investigation, I get the interest in that.

As you know we had a domestic threat on January 6. You were in the Capitol as it happened, and yet not call from Republican leadership for a bipartisan investigation, commission to investigate that. I mean, and by the way I read the letter from Republicans calling for an investigation into COVID-19 origins.

I mean, they're saying we want the full range of tools available to Congressional investigators, that includes subpoena power. I mean, exactly the kind of thing that January 6 commission was going to have in a bipartisan way.

So why investigate the China virus origins aggressively in that way but not January 6?

TURNER: Well Jim, I disagree with your premise. I mean, I think everybody is for bipartisan investigations. The problem is, is the politicization of all of this by Nancy Pelosi.

If you want bipartisanship ask Nancy Pelosi why she won't bring Republican bills even to the floor and then she wants to bring a bill which she claims it to be --

[09:45:00]

SCIUTTO: Yes, but 35 Republicans voted for her.

TURNER: -- hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

SCIUTTO: Thirty-five Republicans -- and it was negotiated by a Republican.

TURNER: Then she brings the bill to the floor where she claims it's going to be bipartisan, where she is always -- already so completely politicized January 6. We have over 400 criminal investigations that are ongoing about January 6. That's where these investigations need to be.

I think one of the important questions that probably Nancy Pelosi needs to answer, which would help the bipartisan aspect of any investigation in what was her role or her office's role and the lack of appropriate security on January 6.

And I think these are questions --

SCIUTTO: OK, fair question. As was --

TURNER: -- that people want --

SCIUTTO: -- as was the president's role --

TURNER: -- and people want to know the answer, she can -- she can answer those things without a bipartisan question --

SCIUTTO: Understood.

TURNER: -- without a bipartisan inquiry. And bring bipartisanship to this.

SCIUTTO: Forgive me.

TURNER: And that's really where we need --

SCIUTTO: Forgive me --

TURNER: -- we need -- we need the House to go back to a bipartisan --

SCIUTTO: Congressman?

TURNER: -- environment with the speaker -- SCIUTTO: Congressman, I know you want to put it all on the speaker, but as you know, 35 of your Republican --

TURNER: It is the speaker.

SCIUTTO: -- colleagues voted for it. And a Republican --

TURNER: It is the speaker.

SCIUTTO: -- a Republican tasked by Kevin McCarthy negotiated the terms of this commission and granted many Republican requests. I talked to Don Bacon another of your Republican colleagues last week who said -- and voted for it and said, they gave us kind of all we wanted with this commission. So I'm just curious, why not let that investigation go forward?

TURNER: Jim, I can only give you -- I can only give you -- Jim, I can only give you my answer. I can't answer for all Republicans or everybody who votes. And my answer is, is that Nancy Pelosi has so made this so partisan that I can't trust that her claims of a bipartisan commission is a bipartisan commission.

She can start by returning the House to a bipartisan regulator order by allowing Republican bills to go to the floor. By coming forth and saying what was her role in the lack of security on January 6. And I think she could go a long way of building those bridges. I mean there's a lot of bipartisan work that's going on. I'm working --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

TURNER: -- with Senator Gillibrand on sexual assault in the military. We're doing bicameral, bipartisan bill. But you just won't see Nancy Pelosi doing that. She doesn't reach across the aisle and have there be bipartisan work.

SCIUTTO: To your credit your bipartisan work --

TURNER: She actually --

SCIUTTO: -- but point of fact, it was a -- it was a bipartisan proposal. I do want to play you the comments from Michael Fanone. You know this well, but our viewers may forget and this is video of him being carried down the steps of the Capitol in the midst of the January 6 Insurrection.

This was his response to Republicans in the Senate blocking -- filibustering the bipartisan commission. I just want to get your response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FANONE, DC POLICE OFFICER INJURED IN CAPITOL INSURRECTION: It was absolutely disgraceful. In a lot of cases we can't look to our elected leaders anymore. We need to make a decision, a conscious decision as to, you know, what type of country do we want to live in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: What's your answer to him, an officer who suffered that day, to his comments there?

TURNER: Right. Well, I think this -- the question needs to be posed to Nancy Pelosi as to how she can -- she -- I mean you premise that it's bipartisan. It was not bipartisan.

SCIUTTO: Thirty-five Republicans voted for it.

TURNER: Absolutely. Nancy Pelosi does not have the --

SCIUTTO: It was negotiated by a Republican.

TURNER: -- 35 -- right, 35 Republicans trusted her, I do not. And until she returns the House to a bipartisan work where she will allow both Republican and Democrat bills to come to the floor, where she comes forward and says what was her role on January 6, all of this becomes a show trial and it becomes not bipartisan but Nancy Pelosi's political agenda. I can't trust that. And so she doesn't get my vote for that. If there truly was, Jim --

SCIUTTO: I (inaudible).

TURNER: -- as you had said, a bipartisan effort that was truly not politically driven by Nancy Pelosi, that would have had my support. That wasn't this Jim.

SCIUTTO: Final question, if I can. You're speaking to us from Dayton. I went to Dayton a couple of years ago, sadly to cover --

TURNER: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- to cover the shooting there and it was personal for you because you're daughter -- your own daughter was very close by as it happened. In the wake of that shooting, you, unusual for a sitting Republican lawmaker called for legislation preventing the sale of military style weapons to civilians, a magazine limit and Red Flag Legislation.

Do you, these two years later, still support those changes? And if so, why vote against background checks? Another measure supported by a broad number of gun owners.

TURNER: Right. Jim, so -- well, after each of these events we sadly as a nation hear the same story over and over again. And even you reported in the last several mass shootings that we've had where there are individuals who have information, who know that the perpetrator, the person who commits these heinous crimes has told others, has begun actions to execute these types of plans and nothing is done to stop them.

I -- background checks in this instance, as you know in the Dayton, Ohio incident the individual had actually passed a background check. I do think that we need to have a national conversation as to how we address this because the story is always the same. People know. SCIUTTO: Yes.

TURNER: No action's taken and then tragedy results.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I hope we have that national conversation. Congressman Mike Turner thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

TURNER: Jim thank you so much. I appreciate it.

SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.

[09:49:55]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:54:30]

SCIUTTO: This morning the British newspaper, "The Guardian," has uncovered documents that reveal how Buckingham Palace banned immigrants of color and foreigners from holding clerical positions at the palace until at least the late 1960s.

HARLOW: Let's go to our Anna Stewart. She joins us outside of Buckingham Palace. Anna, the palace is addressing this by saying what this morning?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the report is disturbing and it's coming, of course, just weeks after the palace actually denied that they were racist following the comments from Prince Harry and Meghan. We asked them for a response to this latest shocking report.

[09:55:00]

They don't deny the report. Instead they've said this, "Claims based on a second hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern day events or operations. The principles of Crown Application and Crown Consent are long established and widely known."

Now quite aside from the historical context and it appears that there really systemic racism within the institution of the Royal Family, at least in the '60s, does the fact that to this day the Royal Family are actually exempt from equality laws. That's what it means by a Crown Application and Crown Consent.

Now the palace say they do comply with such legislation in spirit and in practice, but complaints of this sort are dealt with in-house. And plenty of people, particularly after the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan by Oprah Winfrey, plenty of people questioned, is that process good enough and the Royal Family denied they are racist but are they doing enough to protect and promote diversity within the royal household?

Poppy, Jim?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Anna Stewart. A story to follow. Thanks very much. And we'll be right back.

[09:56:05]

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