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CNN NEWSROOM

Pence: Trump and I May Never "See Eye to Eye" on Jan. 6; Axios: Trump to Make Fauci a Top Target at Upcoming Rallies; Sen. Manchin: Not Giving Up on GOP Yet for Infrastructure Deal; U.S. Report on UFOs Leaves Mystery Unsolved; Mexico to Hold Midterms After Murderous Campaign Season. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 4, 2021 - 13:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:33:14]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Former Vice President Mike Pence is taking a rare departure from loyalty -- sort of.

But first a reminder. On January 6th, a pro-Trump mob chanted, "Where is Mike Pence? Hang Mike Pence."

As they rampaged the U.S. capitol, they chanted this while then- President Trump did nothing for hours to stop them.

Instead, he attacked his V.P. on Twitter because Pence made it clear he would not block congressional certification of the 2020 election results.

Trump threw Pence under the bus, as Pence, his wife, his daughter fled for their lives.

Despite that and despite 2024 talk, Pence has yet to really throw Trump under the bus. He did, however, say this last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I said that day, January 6th was a dark day in the history of the United States capitol.

You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don't know if we'll ever see eye to eye on that day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Never see eye to eye.

With us now Bill Kristol, former adviser in the Bush 41 administration, currently the director of Defending Democracy Together, a group of prominent anti-Trump conservatives. He's also the editor-at-large of "The Bulwark."

Bill, good to see you on this Friday.

What is your reaction to what we just heard from Pence and this moment?

BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER & EDITOR-AT- LARGE, "THE BULWARK": Donald Trump called him a coward on January 6th and has subsequently repeated that term several times.

And now Mike Pence says, you know, he differs with Trump a little bit but it was the greatest honor of his life to have served for President Trump.

I don't know. What can one say?

[13:35:02]

I can't envision having someone call me a coward for behaving properly and for upholding the Constitution, repeating that charge many times, and then saying, you know, a month or two later, a few months later, what an honor to have worked with that person.

CABRERA: Do you think the base even cares about what former Vice President Mike Pence has to say?

KRISTOL: I don't know. I mean, to some degree, I think there's probable some sense that he served President Trump pretty well.

And his calculation is obvious. He gets credit for being Trump's vice president. He gets credit from Trump loyalists. He gets credit from the establishment for not going along January 6th.

He straddles the two groups and maybe the process works out and he becomes the nominee. It is not impossible. It is not impossible.

But I was chief of staff to a vice president and I can't even process the thought, of course, of George H.W. Bush calling Dan Quayle a coward and repeating the charge many times. And then Dan Quayle saying what an honor to have worked with him.

The whole thing is so crazy that you don't even know -- I can't think of an example. I don't think in American history it's really quite like this.

But, again, from a personal point of view -- I've known Mike Pence a long time.

I really am astonished at the -- it is one thing -- I don't think he has to sound like me talking about Donald Trump or denounce him every time he speaks but the greatest honor of his life to have worked for him?

CABRERA: Do you think it is just a lack of courage to speak out?

KRISTOL: Yes, a calculation I guess. And sort of -- honestly, I would say -- this will sound harsh -- but I

really believe working for the guy for four years, really more than that if you count the campaign, swallowing hard and having to defend him for indefensible things and suck up to him, frankly, because that is what Trump likes, I think that does something to your character.

CABRERA: And so now Trump is set to speak this weekend at a Republican convention in North Carolina tomorrow. This, as he continues to spew lies and delusions.

Now according to "Axios," Trump plans to make Dr. Fauci a top target at his rallies. Fauci set to become his next punching bag, so to speak.

Trump is pushing a platform of rage, division rather than policy. Is that a winning strategy?

KRISTOL: I wish I could be sure it wasn't. And I think it does lose him some support and causes some people to shy away.

But what price has he paid? What price has he paid for pushing a total lie, a total fiction, one of the most dangerous lies, led to violence on January 6th.

And it's now has led to lots of dangerous efforts at the state level and so forth and, really, damaged our democracy.

He is leading the Republican Party. Half will support him in 2024 they say. He is invited to speak at the state convention of a major Republican Party.

I mean, I think Trump thinks he is doing fine.

CABRERA: The majority of Republican lawmakers are going along with it all. They are staying glued to Trump.

President Biden has been trying hard to work with Republicans on his agenda. It seems to be getting him nowhere. No done deal yet.

But We have heard from moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who is key here. He is still holding out hope for bipartisanship. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We're going to make the Senate work the way it was intended to work. I'm totally committed to that.

I'm not throwing caution to the wind. I have never desired to do that. I've listened to everybody's point of view.

But the bottom line is this country has got to unite. We can't divide it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: But remember, McConnell said this in May. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): One-hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Bill, do you really think Republicans are going to give an inch?

KRISTOL: Not many inches or at least not on a lot of key issues.

The question is whether Joe Manchin and Senator Sinema and President Biden ultimately are letting this play out in a way that shows people they did their best. They went the extra mile for bipartisanship.

But they are willing to bust the filibuster and pass key legislation ultimately or are they going to let themselves be just tied up by wishing that politics were different than it is right now?

CABRERA: That is the big question. We'll see the outcome hopefully soon.

Thank you so much, Bill Kristol, for being with us.

[13:39:24]

Are we really alone? CNN learns new details about an upcoming declassified report on UFOs.

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CABRERA: Those kept awake by the mystery want answers but they apparently won't get them from a long-awaited government report on UFOs.

The Pentagon is about to declassify what it knows about aerial phenomena, like these seen by U.S. Navy pilots in recent years.

While sources tell CNN officials have no evidence that they are alien spacecraft, they can't rule it out either.

CNN's Tom Foreman joins us from Washington to walk us through this.

Tom, what are we learning from this report?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you want to know something about UFOs this could be the report for you because it is full of nos. No evidence UFO sightings are aliens is what we are expecting to hear.

But there's no idea what the aircraft are. All of the intelligence analysis, they just don't know. It is something out there that is still mysterious.

And they are going to suggest this is not American technology, whatever it is. So with all of those nos out there what can we expect it might say yes

to? This becomes a big reach.

They're not ruling out the possibility that this could be alien spacecraft. What is that? One in a million? One in a billion? One in a trillion? I don't know.

They are not ruling out the possibility of an alien spacecraft. So all the enthusiasts are saying, so you telling me there's a chance?

CABRERA: Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

Like you said, you're telling us what it likely isn't or what we don't know. But if we're not doing it, if it isn't aliens, what could it be?

FOREMAN: Well, what it could be is the work of some foreign adversary.

[13:44:59]

Look, Russia and China have to be way up at the top because they're the countries with the military power and technology to maybe develop some kind of aerial vehicle that we don't fully understand yet, some sort of new technology.

And despite the fact they're saying, it is not American sure it could be secret U.S. government technology.

There have been many examples in the past where our government and other governments have had stealth aircraft and advanced spy aircraft, which they've kept hidden for a long time by simply saying, no, no, we don't have anything like that.

So we don't know what this is. We just know that, finally, the government is admitting they saw something. That is a big step.

I'll tell you, Ana, the other day -- I've never seen a UFO but I was pretty sure I heard one. I was in my back yard. It got louder and louder. Looked up. Cicadas.

CABRERA: I was going to ask what it sounded like. In my head, I think of doo-doo-doo-doo.

(LAUGHTER)

FOREMAN: Exactly.

CABRERA: Those darn cicadas throw you every time, don't they?

Thanks, Tom.

FOREMAN: Good to be with you.

CABRERA: It's already a very deadly election. Deadly beyond deadly. I mean dozens of people have been killed ahead of Mexico's version of the midterms this weekend. And the outcome could have huge consequences for the United States.

Stay with us.

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CABRERA: There are neighbors to the south, and what happens there impacts the U.S. This weekend could be pivotal.

Mexican voters will cast their ballots in mid-term elections after seeing dozens of candidates murdered in the run-up to Sunday's vote.

Thousands of contested House seats, governorships, mayoral posts all have the country at a crossroads.

And at the center, Mexico's controversial president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He is not on the ballot but critics fear he is on the verge of a dangerous power grab that could push the country further from democracy.

CNN's Matt Rivers explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SHOUTING)

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO for short, a man who, depending on who you ask, is either a demagogue or a deity.

(CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

[13:50:05]

RIVERS: Plenty here love him. His consistently high approval ratings built on a folksy image, champion of the poor, bashing Mexico's elite, and promising a redistribution of wealth.

ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICAN PRESIDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

RIVERS: "We said even before taking office that a transformation was needed to reverse Mexico's breakdown," he said.

(MUSIC)

RIVERS: And the way he wants to solve Mexico's myriad problems is by centralizing power in the presidency.

Mexico's Democratic institutions are so broken, his argument goes, that only he and his party can be trusted to fix things. Disagree and you're the enemy. (on camera): Among the independent institutions or groups that AMLO

has attacked recently, the judiciary, independent election officials, the central bank, a government transparency data base, opposition candidates, the free press, feminists, and green energy supporters.

(SHOUTING)

RIVERS (voice-over): If that all sounds strikingly familiar to the playbook of a recent U.S. president, well, it is. Yet, the Biden administration has stayed very quiet about AMLO's assaults on Mexican democracy.

A few hours ahead after virtual meeting last month with Vice President Kamala Harris, AMLO accused the U.S. of, quote, "promoting coup plotters" because the U.S. provides funding for a Mexican anticorruption group that's been critical of AMLO.

At least in public, Harris didn't take the bait.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: This partnership I believe couldn't be more important today. Our nations face serious challenges.

RIVERS: Challenges like migration, as hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving at the U.S. border pose a big problem for the U.S.

Some believe staying quiet on Democratic abuses helps ensure AMLO's cooperation in one key area.

JORGE CASTANEDA, FORMER MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Keeping the Central Americans out, basically doing the United States' dirty work for it. I think that was Trump's quid pro quo. And for all appearances, it's Biden's quid pro quo.

RIVERS: At least for now, the Biden administration might be waiting to see what happens on June 6th when Mexico's mid-term elections will help decide if Morena, AMLO's political party, wins super majorities in Congress.

That could mean pushing through constitutional reforms that might even include extending AMLO's time in office.

CASTANEDA: This kind of power grab, this kind of concentration of power, in a country like Mexico, can only lead to economic collapse, to further violence, to further corruption.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: That was Matt Rivers reporting for us.

And coming up here, Facebook making it official, banning former President Trump until at least January 2023. And now Trump, as you can probably imagine, is lashing out.

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[13:57:25] CABRERA: A coalition of realtor groups wants the Supreme Court to block an order from the CDC that prevents landlord nationwide from evicting tenants who don't pay rent.

The current moratorium, which was enacted at the start of the pandemic, is set to expire at the end of the month.

The realtor groups argue that Congress never gave the CDC the amount of power it has now. And that the moratorium resulted in over $13 billion in unpaid rent per month.

Some researchers estimate food insecurity has tripled among U.S. household with children during the pandemic.

Today's "CNN Hero" had her business shutdown by the pandemic so she redirected her passion and talent to help those most in need.

Chef Q. Ibraheem provided free nutritious meals and kept the community fed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHEF Q. IBRAHEEM, CNN HERO: I witnessed that people are literally a paycheck away from not eating. That's heart breaking. That's unbelievable. But it's so very real and it's continuously happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Woo.

IBRAHEEM: We've served over 60,000 meals in the past 14 months. I'm inspired to keep going because the need has not stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Woo. We got goodies.

IBRAHEEM: It's a great feeling to know I'm able to ease the burden, if just a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's beautiful. I see okra, too.

IBRAHEEM: I'm giving them a sense of understanding we are in it together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You all enjoy.

IBRAHEEM: A sense of knowing that people in your community do care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: To read more about that wonderful woman, Chef Q., and her ongoing work to ends people don't go hungry during the pandemic, go to CNNheroes.com. And you can also nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero."

So it's Friday. Time for the comeback. As more people are vaccinated and COVID restrictions ease around the country, here is how some of you are celebrating.

Biker Dave sent this in on Twitter. He says he took his mother, who is recovering from cancer, to her first Seattle Sounders game.

And check out Lee-Anne Aroyio (ph) and her god daughter. They're marching in their hometown Memorial Day parade. I love that.

And this scene never gets hold. This is Hilton Wahman (ph). He says he visited his kids in New York after 16 long months apart.

So many smiles. Keep sharing your comebacks with us, please. Tag me, @AnaCabrera, and use the hashtag, #thecomback, so we can search later.

Have a wonderful weekend. That does it for me today. Thank you so much for joining us. We'll see back here Monday afternoon.

NEWSROOM with Alisyn and Victor starts after a quick break.

[14:00:09]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.