tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN April 4, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
at&t, no way. we offer 35 voice features and solutions that grow with your business. at&t, not so much. we give you 75 mbps for $59.95. that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. we'll take it live, first time in a week. lot to discuss, president not being a target in the russian probe. and, of course, problem pob trade war with china. china announcing a 25% tax on 106 american exports including
the crucial soy bean. more on why that really matters in just a minute. this is the official list of the nearly 1300 chinese goods the u.s. is proposing to be fax taxed. we are talking blood products, engine, aviation and so much more. stock market tumbling 500 points by mid morning. the market bouncing back a bit. slight recovery, right around the same time these comments came in from
the president's new chief economic adviser, larry kudlow. >> is it possible that the stiff new tariffs against china are, in fact -- >> it's part of the process. i would take the president seriously on this tariff issue. there are carrots and sticks in life but he is ultimately a free
trader. he wants to solve this with the least amount of pain. >> can you
have growth if there's a trade war? >> hopefully we won't get to that. >> christina alesci, do you think the kudlow comments have something to do with the dow bouncing back a little bit? >> the timing is right there, as you laid out in the introduction, brooke. what the administration did was it witnessed such a steep and dra dramatic reaction to counter the market to give a wink at the market. he even used some warm and fuzzy language about keep your eye on th rainbow.gold at the e of wilb ross, commerce secretary
out there sayinat the end of every shooting war, there is a negotiation. so, it was a wink to the market that this may be a negotiating ploy. this is a really messy one, brooke. there were companies that took big hits today. we're talking about boeing, gm, ford. gm took this extraordinary move and issued a statement, emphasizing the interdependency between the u.s. and china. it's a really messy way to get to the negotiating table if that's what this is. >> we have the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. deeper dive right now, katherine renpell. larry kudlow says people shouldn't overreact to this news and said the negotiation is all mentioned secretary wilbur ross.
i'll play that soundbite as well. >> even shooting wars end with negotiations. somebody signs a treaty with someone else, it has whatever terms it has. >> already 500 billion down, you can't lose. kudlow has been saying. is that kudlow saying bring it on china? >> they have conflicting messages here. trump wants to show that he's not bluffing. china doe nd to capitulate. if, in fact, he's serious and he does plan on implementing all these tariffs. for most of them, in any case, that freaks out markets because
markets know if, in fact, these tariffs go into effect in the united states and go into effect in china. this hasn't been done, right? kudlow made the point this point this morning that it still has to go through processes. >> that the best possible outcome if, in fact, none of these tariffs happen. they're bad for companies. unintended consequences which kudlow knows. less than a month ago he co-authored an op-ed that said if you look at the history, there are always losers essentially. so they know these tariffs would be very, very bad. if, in fact, these tariffs go
into effect, everybody loses. contemporary to what kuow says, nobody -- >> what about this pot of gold? kudlow on fox news ss the will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. in that pot you'll see better economic growth, more trading and better wages. he calls it a growth play. what might he be seeing that all of those who have been criticizing them maybe don't see? >> look, it's a little bit unclear, brooke. i think what they're trying to say is trump is going to get us better trade deals. that's what he's after in the end. what he means by better trade deals is unclear. the things that china has been doing that's bad for u.s. companies -- and they have been misbehaving -- have mostly to do with intellectual property, acquiring u.s. companies that want to do business there, turn over some of their intellectual property, that sort of thing. the way you resolve those kinds
of issues are not through macho trade war efforts. it's through the wto. it's through getting together with our allies, something like the transpacific partnership, which we pulled out of last year. we have lots of tools available to negotiate better trade deals but it's not clear that trump really realizes what the problems are or how to solve them. >> i think it's key in this conversation to say who has hit the hardest. this is theheartland. this is who produces these soy beans. you can see that the majority of the color on your screen is red. >> yes. that is no accident. china is trying to go after industries located in areas that are politically sensitive for this administration.
>> they're thinking that way? >> i think so. there's no way they couldn't realize that. you mentioned soy beans but more than half of iowa's top 20 exports are hit byes they newly announced tariffs. that's soy beans, corn, ethanol, pork. and the u.s. ambassador chinese companies importing iowa goods. in the trump heartland, in these particularly sensitive states where we have an ambassador from where, of course, the president ial caucus occurs.
it's not a coincidence. >> thank you very much. a pork farmer is coming up from illinois. we'll talk to him about how this could hit him the hardest here. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> now to this. coming up. is the glass half full or half empty for the president in the russia probe? will the president ultimately sit down for an interview with the mueller team? also, he will keep troops in syria for now. he has made it known that he wants an exit plan, asap. we are standing by for that white house press briefing on a day when the president is promising secure action. what does he mean by that exactly? we'll take that briefing live. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin
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. we are back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. congress has announced facebook founder mark zuckerberg will testify next week. he will go before the house commerce committee next wednesday. facebook has been under fire since information was reportedly access eed of 50 million facebo users without their knowledge. special counsel robert mueller recently told president trump's legal team that the president of the united states is not a criminal target in the investigation at this time but
mueller is still pushing to interview the president. no decision has been made as to whether trump will testify but his legal team needs to respond and respond soon. with me now, senior justice correspondent, evan perez and ambassador norm eisen, former ambassador to the czech republic and formtell us about these conversations. >> they've occurred in the past month. in particular there was a discussion between the president's lawyers and the special counsel. special counsel made it clear, at this at this point he is not a criminal target in this investigation. but they also told him that he is more than a simple witness. obviously, he participated in some of the events that they're investigating, including possible obstruction. so he is something in between.
so the interference there, at least the way that his legal team interpreted it, is that he is a subject. some people may hear that he's not a target and see that as a celebration. he is still at the center of an investigation and there is still risk to providing testimony to the special counsel. >> mr. ambassador, i'll leave it to you to explain. more than a witness, not a target. explain the difference. subject, target, witness. who is he in the eyes of bob mueller? >> brooke, thanks for having me back. there are three levels. i knowhis fm decades of practice, representing people, including in cases involving bob mueller. i'm sure what those trump lawyers were hoping for is you are not really interested, mr. special counsel, in my client, are you? they didn't get that.
they didn't get a mere declaration that trump is a witness, that they're not focused on him. now the worst news of all is your client is a target. that means they're a punitive defendant in the case. they're likely to be charged in the case. and that has a variety of consequences in terms of when a grand jury is sitting. the client has to be notified, given an opportunity to present. then there's the in between category. i'll tell you, i've done this for a quarter of a century. and this struck terror into my heart, too, brooke. your client is a subject. that means they're within the scope of the investigation. that is ominous because, this happened to me, a client can go from a subject to a target. one witness, one piece of paper, even their own mouth. >> this whole issue of subject,
target, more than a witness, this all came up when the two sides were discussing the possible sitdown with the president. i'm wondering in all of your dealings with officials over the years, might this be a strategy on behalf of the mueller team? okay, you're not a target? in order coaxing the president in to sitting for this interview. >> i think a lot of people would say this is dishonest but given a certain set of facts, i think you can go, as the ambassador just said, very quickly, very easily from subject to target in an investigation. that's why it poses such great risk for the president. you see how he talks. imagine that behind closed doors where he gets irritated at the questions being asked of him and just blurts things out. you could see that ending up being a huge problem for the president and that's why his
lawyers have been so cautious. >> mr. ambassador, you were nod i nodding. he is apparently pleased that he is not seen as a target. but your point simply being he may walk into the door in this interview not being a target and that could completely change. >> that's right, brooke. three risks. number one is he moves himself from subject to target. he thinks he's going to downgrade himself from subject to witness but it could go the other way. and prosecutors, you know, they don't give you a promise of where you're going to end up. number two, the risk of making a false statement, as evan was saying. it's colossal with this president. 2,000 lies, according to "the washington post" in his first year alone. constantly lies. seems he can't talk or tweet without lying. that's why john dowd walked out
of there. third risk, there's reporting that mueller will write a report on the president and it may be that mueller is going to kick this over to the house of representatives and trump may dig his own grave there with what is said. no wonder his lawyer, john dowd, quit. i would not allow the present, if he were my client, to testify under these circumstances but then i wouldn't take the president for a client. >> evan, back over to you. on "the washington post" reporting, mueller is filing a report about the president's actions while in office. what more do you know about these reports? >> the first part of that would be some kind of report that looks at the obstruction picture. the question is, where would that report end up? he still reports to rod rosenstein, acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation. the report would end up in his hands and then he would have to
decide whether or not there's something to go forward on and whether to turn this over to congress. i think as the ambassador pointed out, a lot of -- the justice department regulations right now say that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime. therefore, the way this would be resolved is for congress to decide whether or not this is an impeachable offense. and this is where mueller comes in. mueller would prepare, essentially, the reasoning, whether he believes there's any crimes that happened here, even if they're not indictable. there is reason for congress to take them up. that's where this eventually ends up, brooke. >> will land. >> this is the end of the investigation, where congress and politicians decide whether the president needs to leave office as a result of this. >> it's important to remind people even though we keep talking about the special counsel. it is ultimately up to congress. thank you both so much. new questions about the man
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u.s. soy beans, cars, airplanes. stock market on the left side of your screen. right side, live pictures from the press briefing room at the white house where we should see sarah sanders momentarily. lot for her to discuss. we bring in senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny, standing by in that briefing room along with a couple of others here. jeff zeleny, first to you. we saw larry kudlow, top economic adviser do some of the rounds today, trying to maybe quell fears that this is the opening salvo of some sort of trade war, despite the president's tweet, which does seem contradictory to the message from larry kudlow, which is don't overreact. >> that was larry kudlowe's debut, if you will, on the government side of this. he was out doing interviews this morning on the north driveway at the white house, talking openly about how this is a process and it's not the end of the negotiations but indeed the beginning. it is a notable that we've seen
a consistent pattern here. the president will send something out on social media online and there's no administration official to sort of explain it or back it up. that is what larry kudlow was trying to do. certainly trying to ease the concern of the markets here. the fact that this is happening in a mid term election has many republicans concerned and worried. the fact of the matter is if you look at maps of the country from manufauring sector, the are many congressional seats up. the republicans are worried about holding anyway. from a political context, it certainly is worrisome. from simply a governing and economic process also the white house has not really explained the long game here. i would not be surprised if larry kudlow comes into this briefing room, stands behind me here at some point. >> really? >> and explains this. we'll see if it happens today. of course, he's very good, very popular on wall street, of course. we'll see if that happens. that certainly is something that
the president is bringing advisers on who are good communicators. that certainly is a possibility here. so many things to talk to the white house press secretary. today, of course, this is just one of them. syria, the border, so many other questions that the white house has yet to answer, brooke. >> on syria because, of course, it all started with the president's speech in ohio a week ago, right? he surprised the pentagon in saying i want the troops, 2,000 or so american troops in syria to withdraw, leading to questions this as the pentagon was planning to send more troops over to seara. he met with national security advisers yesterday at the why house, expressed his interest in withdrawing. yet what was his decision out of that meeting? >> certainly the president is eager to withdraw at some time. there was a big discussion here yesterday at the white house.
it's not exactly what the president was hoping for, at least in terms of the swift timing of this. traordinary watching the global envoy say essential the exact opposite of what the president was saying. it speaks to the fact that the president has a lot of advisers, some are outside the government. he's following his instinct more and more on everything but i expect those questions to be asked today as well, brooke. >> jeff zeleny, we'll stand by for that briefing to begin. thank you so much. see you in a bit. scott pruitt, we'll discuss his recent remarks next. and also coming up that white house press briefing. stay with me. i'm very proud of the fact
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embattled epa chief scott pruitt said he was unaware of the initial white house directions. he was asked about this moments ago. >> why did you go around the president and white house and give pay raises to two staffers is this. >> i did not. my staff did. i found out about that yesterday and changed it. ppo process should have been respected and i issued a statement yesterday walking back those pay raises. >> so should someone be fired for that? >> that should not have been done. >> who did it? >> there will be accountability. >> career person or political person? >> i don't know zplu don't know who did this? >> i found out about this yesterday and corrected the action. if we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it. >> let's talk about this. we were talking to elaina at the
atlantic who broke this story as it pertains to the two staffers that scott pruitt brought over from oklahoma when he got the job in d.c., he wanted to give them raises, tens of thousands of dollars worth in raises. went to the white house. the white house said no. kaitlan, it sounds like he he's putting it on his staff and he didn't do it, even though the safe drinking water act loophole was used. >> that's right. he seems to defend himself, saying he didn't know about it until yesterday and as soon as he found out about it, he changed it. to be clear, they were ma massive pay raises for two staffers from oklahoma, where scott pruitt is from. so that raises the questions of just how he would not know. these are tens of thousands of dollars in pay raises, not just insignificant numbers here. we're talking very big numbers in pay raises for people who typically do not make big paychecks and scott pruitt is sitting here, saying he did not
know about it. you saw fox's ed henry push back on that saying you run the agency. how would you not know about something like this, something as significant as this? it's government spending. it's taxpayer dollars. how would you not know these were authorized? first that we've been hearing from scott pruitt since he has been amid this scandal. his job certainly has been on the line this week. even though the president himself has discussed confidence in pruitt. as we reported he called him and told him he has his back right now and he should keep working and going on over at the epa, it makes you wonder. clear lit president will be watching this interview when it airs in full. if he doesn't think that pruitt does a good enough job defending himself, just how long he's going to be hanging around here, brooke. >> from our own reporting, karem, the president is more
irked by the publicity around this embattled epa chief rather than the bad behavior. as kaitlan said, the president called scott pruitt and said we like you. hang in there. pruitt sitting down for this interview, is that part of him trying to keep his job? >> we've seen in the past the president has given -- spoken kindly to and given assurances to members of his cabinet that he then turns around and terminates a few hou later. they could go hand in hand easily. i think it dends. certainly if scott pruitt does not come off well in that fox news interview, i don't think the president will be that inclined to give him a pass on that. the president does care a lot about how he appears on television, about those who are his proxies and speaking for him on television doesn't go well when you don't put on a good face. so in that way, yeah, it's a very existential moment for scott pruitt. and given the fact that the
president doesn't need more complications, more complicated press on things that we're nre necessarily problems for him prior to this scandal emerging. >> thank you, ladies. stand by for me. have to imagine sarah sanders will be asked about that and many other issues. outgoing security adviser h.r. mcmaster made incredibly strong remarks on russia on his way out the door last night. why he says the kremlin's confidence is growing.
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new tariffs. >> i would take the president seriously on this tariff issue, you know. there are carrots and sticks in life but he is ultimately a free trader. he said that to me. he has said it publicly. so, he wants to solve this with the least amount of pain. >> can you have growth if there's a trade war? >> hopefully, we won't get to that point. >> he says hopefully, we won't get to that point. larry kudlow, trump's new chief economic adviser in the white house, being bombarded by the white house press corps with questions on what is going on with this counterpunch from china, slapping tariffs right back on u.s. products like soy beans, which is a huge, huge deal. richard quest is back with me today on the kudlow remarks, on trump's tweet this morning. when you're already $500 billion
down, you can't lose, which to me sounds contradictly from what we've heard from the president's other people. >> look at the last line of his earlier tweet. >> that's not one. >> this is important as well. we're not in a trade war with chiena. that's a bit of peasantry as to whether you are in a trade war yet. but we cannot let this continue. that's the important bit. that's t bithat says i will take action. what he did, of course, what the u.s. did yesterday announcing its planned tariffs on ip theft, china predictably responded. when you and i were talking yesterday, we said, look, with this 3 billion pork and apples and things. wait for the real stuff. >> this is the real stuff. soy beans is the real deal. >> $50 billion, aircraft, soy beans and chemicals. and all things that go to the heartland of american manufacturin
manufacturing. >> larry kudlow, though, said listen, looking at it from a macroperspective this is smart growth will, increase wages, gave references to look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. what is the pot of gold? people in middle america aren't seeing the pot of gold. >> kudlow is right. very good man. he's right. there is a pot of gold. and the u.s. has a very valid point when it comes to not only steel tariffs and intellectual property theft. there's no question that the u.s. has a strong, valid case that china has been cheating on trade. the president is right. the issue is whether this is the right way to go about it. >> got it. >> do you go about it with the wto? chinese have just announced they are going to the wto. or do you do this sort of tweeting at 280 characters or less? if you go down this route, remember, we talked about the
tower. the tower that -- >> where it needs concrete at the base but not getting the concrete it needs. >> no, no, we're not getting concrete. the president's got a digger. >> and the tower is starting to -- >> undermining the foundations. and that's what we saw this morning. markets, look at the dow. >> flash it up on the screen. >> a market that's down 500 at the open. >> here you go. >> rise back up again. you could say to me, richard, but you're wrong. look, it's up 117. this is not normal. this isn't reasonable. this isn't a responsible market. it's having external forces against it and it cannot cope. >> richard quest, thank you. we're waiting for the press briefing. you know sarah sanders is going to be asked about this. back in a moment.
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and feeds so grass can thrive, all guaranteed. only from scotts. our backyard is back. this is a scotts yard. president trump, who has been saying publicly he wants the u.s. out of syria, after puzzling his own defense department and state department unaware of suc plans, the president telling his nional security team he is willing to keep u.s. troops in syria in the short term but also made known he wants an exit soon. but want you to listen to what u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley also said today. >> it's a sad fact just a few years ago a single chemical weapons attack would have united us in shock and anger.
it would have been enough for us to take immediate action. now we have a regime that uses chemical weapons practically every other week. it has consequences. when we let one regime off the hook, others take notice. >> retired general mark hertling and fred pleitgen. our lack of action has consequences, nikki haley says. is it too early to even be talking withdrawal? >> reporter: well, i think certainly at this point in time if you speak to people on the ground and look at the other powers engaged in syria, brooke, they are certainly looking to see whether the u.s. actually
does withdraw. the whole back and forth, what the president wants, suggesting that maybe the saudis should pay if america stays here longer. that's undercut the american strategy on the ground. turkey, iran and russia, by far the most powerful players on the ground in syria right now at the expense of the cdibility of the united states. those three countries had a summit today in turkey where they essentially talked about the future of this country. of course, the u.s. was not at the table. if you look where i am right here, in damascus, in this area, the forces loyal to president bashir al assad are making huge gains right here and the russians are brokering. having to go to parts of northern syria. if you look at the facts on the
ground you can see russia obtaining its military objective on the ground and turks doing essentially the same thing. sources loyal to us very much in limbo. they fought with the u.s. against isis, in some places continue to do so. a lot of them are quite angry. america might leave them behind, they fear. brooke? >> this is a president who talks a lot about america first. he talks about the trillions of dollars important in this part of the world for 17 years. that's what he said yesterday. he also has said let other people take care of it. he wants the ownness to be with the leaders in that region. the question is so then who? there is obviously a lot of coordination with allies. fred alluded to this. what would happen if the u.s. pulled out? >> there would be a loss of trust not only in the united states but in the u.s. military.
a lot of people are depending on us to continue to be their partners. and truthfully in many times in the past we've done the same kindf things to kurdish forces on several occasions. my conversations withse that i knew in iraq, their kurdish regional government, are telling me they're beginning to lose trust if they haven't lost it already in the united states. that would be a short-term issue. the long-term issue is what is going to happen, as fred just said, with russia, iran and turkey? turkey being especially important because tess a nato ally. what is going on in terms of how the u.s. is perceived in not only the middle east but in europe because of these actions. and what's going on, on the battlefield. the military operations is only one small piece of this every adviser on the president 's
staff, secretary mattis, ambassador haley you just pointed out, mcmaster have all said we need to realize what goes on post and the strategy. >> the turks and the russians. would russia directly benefit from the u.s. withdrawal? >> yeah, absolutely. we've known that for quite some time and we were excluded from this particular meeting which, in fact, will divvy up responsibilities in turkey -- excuse me, in syria without our input. and, yes, russia would be extremely beneficial to this for two reasons. first of all, they get their bases insyria, which is what they've beenking to do, since the start of them
supporting this conflict. they also put another wedge in nato. they also support iran, just as the u.s. is saying, hey, we've got to relook the iranian nuclear deal. russia not only has the short term tactical perspective of what's going on with these conversations about northern syria, but, brooke, i've got to tell you, this is strategicness at the brain surgery level. they know what they're doing and do it extremely well. not just this area but other parts of the world. >> you've spoken about general h.r. mcmaster, leaving his most as the president's national security adviser. he had a lot to say on russia last night. listen to this. >> russia has used old and new forms of aggression.
russia brazenly and implausible denies its actions and we have failed to impose sufficient costs. >> so, he is blasting russia on his way out the door. rex tillerson blasted russia as he left the state department. do you get the sense that these guys finally, leaving, are able to say how they really feel, want to get it out on public record? >> i don't think so, brooke. h.r. has said this before. he pulled a bunch of generals together right before he was going to -- retired generals before they we goi to unveil the national security strategy. h.r. has been adamant about not only russia, but several other parts of the world where he believes we're failing. and it was written into the nss document, the thing that was unveiled about six weeks ago. the key questions that many of usn