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Trump on One China Policy; Backlash at Town Halls; Iranian Anti-Trump Message. Aired 9:30-10:00a ET

Aired February 10, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: How you both have your act together today. Thank you so much for being with us. Really appreciate it, guys.


BERMAN: So, still to come, we're going to talk about what looks like a retreat from President Trump on this One China policy.


BERMAN: Why now? Why now? What has changed and what deal did he get that he promised he would get from China to make this change? We're going to speak to a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, next.


BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. John Berman here.

HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow. So glad you're with us this Friday.

This morning, what could be the first foreign policy retreat from the Trump administration on China. We are getting details about a phone call between the president of China, President Xi, and President Trump.

BERMAN: After months suggesting the longstanding American One China policy was up for negotiation, now all of a sudden the White House says President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our One China policy.

[09:35:06] Joining us now is Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He came all the way up to New York just for this interview.

So, congressman, thanks so much for being here.

REP. TOM GARRETT (R), VIRGINIA: Any time that I can be with you guys.

HARLOW: Our premier week, you're capping it off.

GARRETT: There you go. BERMAN: So, congressman, you just heard, or you just saw, the

president's statement overnight from his call with President Xi on One China. Now the president says he supports the One China policy. I want to play you what he did say in December about it because it's very different. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I fully understand the One China policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.


BERMAN: Unless we make a deal. Do you know of any deal that he made that caused this reversal?

GARRETT: Well, I would submit that if you give away the One China policy on the front end, that you can't glean anything from that negotiation. And I think that you all well know, and certainly I'm aware, that what we see as it relates to international relations is not always the totality of the agreement. So I think -

HARLOW: So you think - are you saying you think this statement from the White House is misleading or leaving something out?

GARRETT: No, I think that Mr. Trump prudently recognizes the One China policy as the United States has since 1979.

HARLOW: So is it in the best interest of the American -

GARRETT: But we don't know the entirety -

HARLOW: Do you think - because a lot of people that I talk to across middle America, you know, don't like the amount of power that they believe the United States gives China when it comes to trade and different economic deals as it comes to jobs. So - and that's part of what, as you know, played into the president taking the call from Taiwan saying, why are we all - all of a sudden, why has it just been One China policy for four decades and that's OK?


HARLOW: Do you think the One China policy is best for America?

GARRETT: Ultimately there are a lot of things that goes beyond trade and jobs, ultimately to the environment. But, you know, we're shutting down coal power plants. The Chinse are opening them up. But if he were to -

HARLOW: No, but I guess, I mean can you be on the record saying whether or not you think the One China policy is best for the American people?

GARRETT: I think it is in the world we live in today. HARLOW: You do?

GARRETT: However, if you concede an acknowledgment of the One China policy, when you're the president-elect, before you've spoken with Xi, you've lost the opportunity perhaps to extract concessions.

BERMAN: But he did.

HARLOW: He did it December 11th.

BERMAN: He did. I mean he conceded -

HARLOW: When he was the president-elect.

BERMAN: He conceded in his first phone call as president with him Thursday night. That's when he conceded, right?

GARRETT: Correct, but he did not before he was sworn in and he did not before he spoke to Xi. And so we -

BERMAN: There are people -

GARRETT: What we know - what we know is, that we don't know the entirety of the discourse between President Xi and President Trump.

BERMAN: That is very fair. We don't know every word that was spoken in the conversation.

One of the things that some observers are looking at and saying, though, is -- was because President Xi was silent gave President Trump the silent treatment basically on this and he - there are people who say he forced the president to essentially agree to the One China policy as terms for having any dialogue at all.

GARRETT: Well, it fascinates me that people would operate in a vacuum. I was in the military and had a TSSCI (ph) clearance. I had, you know, access to information that I can't share. I can assure you that the American public, for better or worse, is not privy to the totality of the conversation between President Xi and President Trump. Had he come in and said status quo anti (ph), we're going to do it exactly like the previous administrations have since 1979, then the latitude to reach agreements with China on things like trade, on things like how they treat their workers, on things like their environment - environmental policies and their carbon emissions is out the window. So I think candidly it was prudent. And I would believe, based on what I know of this administration, there was a reason that they sort of made that something that was in play to begin with.

BERMAN: All right, so you think something else - we're going to get something else out of this eventually?

GARRETT: I think we'll start to see over time a dynamic between the United States and China that's different than the previous eight years.

HARLOW: All right. We'll watch because that's what a lot of the president's supporters wanted and were promised.

Let's get your take on the travel ban. A stunning repudiation of the president's executive order. A unanimous 3-0 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court. Your take? Where should the administration go to here? They could take it to the Supreme Court or should the president rewrite it, narrow thee focus?

GARRETT: You - you - look, ultimately the easiest thing to do is to rewrite it. But if you look at the - if you look at the law, I believe it's subsection F of 1182 U.S. code -

HARLOW: It is.

BERMAN: Right.

GARRETT: It essentially says the president may do what the president chooses to do. If - if we look at -

HARLOW: Is this the change - in 1965 an additional law was added that doesn't just make that the only law that applies.

BERMAN: And also I can assume these three federal judges also knew - knew the code and knew the law when they made their decision.

GARRETT: Right. And so I think that the breadth of the ruling as it related to individuals who had a here before (ph) right to be in the United States, green cardholders, et cetera -


GARRETT: Was what caused the hang-up. The easiest thing -

HARLOW: So you think - would you advise the president - if you were on the phone with him, would you say, Mr. Trump, don't take this to the Supreme Court, rewrite it, make it more narrow and try to win?

GARRETT: Yes. And here's why. It's not about winning, it's about doing what's right for the United States. And so -

HARLOW: So you don't think his initial executive order was right for the United States?

GARRETT: Look, there is a legitimate interest - and I asked General Flynn this the other day when we spoke - when you took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, do you find implicit in that oath thorough vetting of individuals who choose to come here? He said, I do, I think that's part of my oath. I do as well. Statistically, the threat is small, but based on data, the threat is real. And so due diligence is appropriate. We are now in a holding pattern. And if indeed the threat is real, getting out of the holding pattern and getting a policy in place makes sense.

[09:40:15] BERMAN: Congressman Garrett, again, just to be clear, you want - you would advise the president to rewrite it at this point rather than fight it? GARRETT: Look, ultimately there's no sense in fighting for fighting's

sake, it's about good policy for America.

HARLOW: Sure. But do you think he will?

GARRETT: Ultimately we're all getting to know President Trump together.

HARLOW: It's nice to have you on.

GARRETT: It's wonderful to have you guys.

BERMAN: It's nice seeing you (INAUDIBLE). Come back again. Appreciate it.

GARRETT: Love too. And thanks for what you do.

BERMAN: Thank you.

HARLOW: Of course.

All right, happening right now, you're looking at live pictures. This is right ahead of his visit to the White House. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe taking part in a wreath laying ceremony right now, a beautiful day, there at Arlington National Cemetery. This comes before he sits down with the president for their first face-to-face meeting since the president took office. But you'll remember, there is an interesting relationship here. Abe was the first foreign leader that the president met with when he was president-elect. We'll be right back.


[09:45:19] BERMAN: Got some really revealing images from overnight. So many members of Congress are heading back to their home district. They're facing intense pressure on Obamacare. Voters are flocking to these town meeting. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz went home to Utah. He faced a packed house overnight.

HARLOW: And he certainly got an earful from a lot of Democrats. Look at that, screaming at him. All of this in ruby red Utah, a state the president handily won.

Our Kyung Lah was there.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The town hall welcome for Congressman Jason Chaffetz -

CROWDS (chanting): (INAUDIBLE).

LAH: Jeered.


LAH: Drowned out.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I'm trying to be as representative as I can.

LAH: A crowd of 1,000 viscerally tired of D.C. blather.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why aren't you checking out your own president right know and -

LAH: Another 1,000 people say police outside.

CROWD (chanting): You work for us. You work for us. (INAUDIBLE)

LAH: Congressman Chaffetz seeing firsthand the national tide of angry voters.

CROWD (chanting): Get him out.

LAH: In California, protesters swarmed this town hall chasing out the congressman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why didn't (ph) you let us in (ph)?

LAH: From Nebraska to Pennsylvania to Indiana. Knocking on district doors, sitting in, uninvited, channeling post-election anger, a progressive movement called Indivisible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will have three simple targets, your two U.S. senators and your representative.

LAH: Indivisible was founded by former congressional staffers who saw firsthand the power of the 2009 Tea Party to stall President Obama's agenda. Indivisible now claims 3,000 groups and 100,000 members spread across every congressional district.

DONALD AGUIRRE, MEMBER, INDIVISIBLE UTAH: These are the things that we need to ask Jason Chaffetz.

LAH: It's organized. Donald Aguirre live streaming an action plan to Indivisible Utah 24 hours before Congressman Chaffetz's town hall.

LAH (on camera): This is directly in response to the election.

AGUIRRE: One hundred percent. I would say so. From one Donald to another, I'm not going anywhere. And there are millions of people like me that are going nowhere. And for the next four years, we will be at everybody's doorstep.

LAH (voice-over): The new administration is noticing. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer dismissed these protesters as professionals.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, you know, the Tea Party was a very organic movement. This has become a very paid AstroTurf type movement.

LAH (on camera): Are you a political operative?

COURTNEY MORGAN, FOUNDER, INDIVISIBLE UTAH: Absolutely not. I am a nurse. I'm a mom.

LAH (voice-over): Courtney Morgan founded Indivisible Utah, once a registered Republican, and now a self-declared anti-Trump progressive in the Chaffetz town hall crowd with Donald Aguirre, declaring victory. Congressman Chaffetz, cutting off his town hall 45 minutes early.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Salt Lake City, Utah.


HARLOW: Telling. Kyung, thank you for that reporting.

Still to come for us, thousands of Iranians taking to the streets with a message for Americans, thank you for standing up to President Trump's travel ban. We'll have a live report from Tehran, next.


[09:52:51] BERMAN: All right, this morning, hundreds of thousands of Iranians are on the streets. The anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. There are plenty of posters, of course, going after President Trump.

HARLOW: And that's normal. There are anti-U.S. chants and signs. Nothing new. But this year a twist, a messages of praise for Americans who have protested against President Trump's travel ban. Our Frederik Pleitgen is live in Tehran for us. What - what did you see?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was quite remarkable, Poppy. You know this Revolution Day is always a day obviously where people here celebrate the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Also, of course, they take massive swipes at the U.S. as well. But this year more so than before we felt that people were trying to differentiate between the American government on the one side and then the American people on the other hand. And one of the remarkable things that we saw is we saw some kids with posters saying thanks to the American people for supporting Muslims.

Obviously that very much in reference to the uproar and some of the protests that have been taking place in the United States against the executive order and the travel ban which of course hits Iran very, very hard. There's a lot of back and forth travel between Iran and the U.S. Many people here have relatives in the U.S. Of course, many Iranians living in America as well. So it certainly seems as though there's a lot of anger at Donald Trump, at President Trump, and some of the policies, less so at the people of the United States. It's really something that we found was very remarkable at this Revolution Day that we attended today, which really had a massive turnout, Poppy.

HARLOW: It is remarkable indeed and quite a shift from past years, certainly.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you for the reporting, live from Tehran, we appreciate it.

[09:54:26] BERMAN: All right, the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins after a quick break.


[10:00:07] HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Great to see you this morning.

And this morning, the White House is trying to figure out how to push back