Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Welcomes Trudeau to the White House; U.S. Has Limited Options to Counter North Korea; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 13, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: Tonight, Trump welcomes Trudeau to the White House. But behind this hand of friendship lie stark differences over trade
What's the future for these two reluctant neighbors?
I'm joined by Canada's former man in Washington, Michael Kergin; also ahead North Korea puts Donald Trump to the test, firing a new ballistic missile
into the sea.
Barack Obama's former top nuclear adviser, Gary Samore, on Trump's tough foreign policy challenge.
Plus: rare protests on the streets of Moscow, women braving Russia's harsh winter to stand up for their rights.
NEWTON: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Paula Newton in New York.
Some asylum-seekers are fleeing America; at the blizzardy northern border they are risking their lives to cross into Canada, fearful of the future in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now even the people who are in a way, they are not safe. So it means that anytime use government they can deport them back.
So they were scared. That's why most of them, they come here for a better life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: President Trump's ban on seven Muslim majority countries has been blocked by the courts for now. But it is undoubtedly on the agenda for
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who arrived in Washington today; even more pressing for him of course, though, is the economy and NAFTA, the North
American Free Trade Agreement.
President Trump vows to renegotiate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is that millions of good jobs on both sides of the border depend on the smooth and easy flow of goods and services and
people back and forth across our border.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We will be tweaking it, we'll
be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries.
It's a much less severe situation than what's taken place on the southern border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now the deal is, of course, crucial for both countries; the U.S. exports more to Canada, in fact, than anywhere else in the world. Number
two is Mexico, the other NAFTA member.
Now joining me from the Canadian capital is the former ambassador to the U.S., Michael Kergin.
And, you know, in terms of getting off on the right foot here, this relationship, it was blown apart a bit by Donald Trump and what he said
prior to the campaign.
But do you think a lot of good can come from this, now that they decided that, look, we need to revise the foundations of our relationship?
MICHAEL KERGIN, FORMER CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: , I think, that's right, Paula. , I think, Mr. Trudeau really has three basic objectives in
this set meeting; first of all, to establish a good rapport with President Trump, to find common ground, to take the measure of each other and so
The second objective Mr. Trudeau certainly would have would be to brief Mr. Trump on the importance of the Canadian relationship. As you mentioned in
your introduction, the largest trading export market for the United States, that we have a pretty balanced merchandise trade.
The United States has a big surplus in services. That's an investment going into Canada, tourists going into United States. So there is a good
news story for Mr. Trump in terms of the balance of service investments and so forth.
The importance of Canada as an ally in North America, part of the North American Aerospace Defense System, strong border enforcement in Canada. So
these are areas that, I think, Mr. Trudeau will want to convey to Mr. Trump, who may or may not be fully briefed on these issues.
And I guess a third issue that Mr. Trudeau would like to know is, where is Mr. come going on, say NAFTA renewal or NAFTA renegotiation?
What does he have in mind with respect to specific issues?
So, I think, this is more of a general type of introductory meeting, which allows Mr. Trudeau to pick up the phone later on and say, OK, here are some
specifics. Let's get on with actually discussing business.
NEWTON: And now I bet it won't come as any surprise to you that the business -- it was a businesslike meeting -- and that they do get along and
that they can do business.
KERGIN: No, it does. And Mr. Trudeau is, as you know, a very celebrity type of person and, I think, Mr. Trump likes celebrities. You see his
cabinet is full of very successful people. Mr. Trudeau was a very successful politician. He came from behind in our particular election, as
did Mr. Trump.
They both have children about the same age. So, I think, they'll -- and he knows -- they both know how to use social media very --
KERGIN: -- effectively. So, I think, you'll find that they have a fair amount in common in terms of individuals and that's what they'll suss out
with each other as we -- as we go through.
So, yes,, I think, it's probably going to be a positive meeting.
NEWTON: Yes, and the premise you could perhaps give President Trump some details, tips on how to go viral --
NEWTON: -- in a hurry. I don't want to get --
KERGIN: Yes, or how not to go viral, yes.
NEWTON: But you've made -- but you -- but you've made a very astute point. Justin Trudeau has the kind of currency that Donald Trump respects. And
for that reason he will listen to him quite closely in these associations.
I do want to get down -- before we get down to the nitty-gritty of trade, you know, so many people have said they can't even picture these two
leaders together. OK, it's happened now. They're together; they're in the same room; they're shaking hands.
You know, as one person told me -- told me, I mean, basically Donald Trump represents everything Justin Trudeau resents. That might be, you know,
with a little bit of hyperbole there.
But what are other -- for you in your role as an ambassador -- and I know that when you look at the community of nations, Justin Trudeau is headed to
Germany in a few days. He will be speaking to Angela Merkel.
What will they be looking for in terms of tips?
How do we do business with Donald Trump?
KERGIN: , I think, that what -- first of all,, I think, -- what's really important -- whether you don't want to do is talk to Donald Trump first off
on -- in a telephone call on any substance (ph). , I think, the Australian a prime minister learned that to some his regret and to the regret of that
The idea, I think, with Donald and everybody -- but I've heard talk about him is he is very amiable in private conversation and so on -- or by
letters. He wrote a very nice letter to the president of China, for example.
So I think the advice that -- if there were advice -- but does -- this is a sort of the thoughts that Mr. Trudeau might have with Angela Merkel, at --
you want to deal with him in a -- on a face-to-face basis, have an opportunity either to come to Washington to meet with him or to have an
opportunity to have Trump, as he probably will, the G20 meetings get to Germany.
But that the idea here is to refrain from any comments about Mr. Trump's domestic policies, some of which, obviously, are very different from what
Germany or Canada would aspire or condone with respect to refugee and immigration and so on.
But try to stick to issues, where there are common interests: European security, North American security, the importance of the economic
relationship being a balanced one, these sorts of files, I think, are ones that one wants to deal with rather than starting to get too much into a --
how Mr. Trump is governing the United States.
He is the elected President of the United States; that foreign leaders should respect and they may have their own views about how it's doing but
not to get into that.
NEWTON: Yes, and Trudeau's cabinet, Trudeau himself and his cabinet has been incredibly disciplined about not saying anything, even during those
days in the campaign, about U.S. policy.
When we get down to the nitty-gritty of trade there, I mean, it is basically, as you know, a long, tortured story of disputes in NAFTA. It's
a great trading relationship that has its irritants, most principally on softwood lumber and on dairy and poultry.
Of course, those issues haven't gone away. I want to talk to you, though, about this broader border tax proposal that's not just perhaps being
proposed by the Trump administration but also by Speaker Ryan, for instance.
What will they be looking for?
What will all those allies that depend on the United States for trade be looking for in terms of will they moderate that stand?
And to remind everybody, that could hurt a lot of economies if the United States decides to plow ahead with that America First -- and that means were
going to have that border tax imposed on goods coming into the United States.
KERGIN: That is a huge issue. You're absolutely right. The issue is that it would also hurt the United States because one can be absolutely certain
that there be retaliation of like measure by the trading ally (ph).
The interesting thing, though, is, from what I've been able to read, Paula, it's more basically coming out of Paul Ryan. I don't think Mr. Trump at
this point has actually embraced that view -- and of course we're still waiting to have the appointment his key trade representatives and Secretary
So I think we have to wait a little bit to see where that's going. But certainly if that gets implemented as an actual border adjustment tax, the
retaliation will be very quick and very severe, both from his largest trading partners, China, Mexico and Canada, not to speak of the European
Union, which is a very large one.
So my guess is that many of our allies will be talking to Mr. Trump and say, well, here are the costs involved if you go into that -- in that kind
And I think they can be measured quite significantly as being costs for increased prices, very important prices, for Trump's particular
constituency, which are the Walmart people, the people who --
KERGIN: -- depend on consumer durables and the -- and food issues coming up from Mexico and from Canada, for that perspective.
So I think we have to see a little bit where that goes. Yes.
NEWTON: And as you said, all politics are local when it comes to that and that border tax will make that very clear if they try to impose that.
Michael Kergin, live there from Ottawa, we appreciate you being with us today.
KERGIN: Very happy to be with you. Thank you, Paula.
NEWTON: Now as Donald Trump builds his relationship with Canada, a vital infrastructure erodes back home. Tens of thousands of people in Northern
California have evacuated after the country's tallest dam was damaged by erosion.
The worst-case scenario the Oroville Dam could unleash a nearly 10-meter high wall of water downstream. Now authorities are planning their next
move. But they do report the water level of the lake behind the dam is, thankfully, dropping.
NEWTON (voice-over): Now after the break, we move on to a global threat as North Korea launches a ballistic missile and the U.N. reacts.
NEWTON: Right now the U.N. Security Council is preparing to hold an emergency meeting, responding to troubling new developments in North Korea.
Monday, Pyongyang celebrated the successful first flight of a new ballistic missile. It's the country's first to use a solid fuel engine, a big step-
up in its nuclear missile capabilities.
But it wasn't just the missile being tested. Pyongyang is also, of course, testing the boundaries of the new administration in Washington. President
Trump responded in a joint appearance with Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, strongly condemning the test. This was Mr. Trump's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent. Thank
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: And that was it, that short statement is all we've heard from the president so far. Now it made no direct mention of North Korea.
I'm joined by Gary Samore. He was a top nuclear advisor to President Obama.
And we thank you for joining us.
I want to get to the technicalities as much as we can first. Solid fuel engine and in terms of what this could actually do, was this a significant
and successful test as far as you're concerned?
GARY SAMORE, OBAMA NUCLEAR ADVISER: Well, the solid fuel missiles are much more effective from a military standpoint. They're easier to transport,
they can be fired on shorter notice, easier to conceal.
So if it's true that this was a test of a solid fuel system, as appears to be the case, then it is a significant advancement in terms of North Korea's
Where they are in terms of developing a missile that could strike the United States, I think it's very hard to make a judgment; they've never
tested anything that long range. And I don't think we know enough really to make a very good estimate of how far away they are from having that kind
of a long-range system.
NEWTON: Which is going to be especially unnerving for those who follow these issues. I want to get now to the reaction from President Trump. It
was measured and restrained; I daresay it probably disappointed North Korea a little bit because they didn't get, you know, a more pronounced, animated
reaction from him.
But what do you think?
Do you think this is the right way to play it at this point?
SAMORE: Well, the U.S. doesn't have any really good options to prevent North Korea from carrying out these kinds of tests. We don't have
attractive military options because of the risk of triggering a larger conflict.
So outside of condemnation and seeking further sanctions at the U.N. Security Council, we really have limited options. And I think so far
President Trump has pretty much responded in the standard, routine way that previous administrations have responded, pledging support for allies,
seeking action at the U.N.
And that's pretty much the best that we can do.
NEWTON: You know, one thing that might expand those options, though is if China played a greater role in all this. President Trump has complained
that China is not pulling its weight when it comes to trying to get North Korea to behave.
What do you think?
Do you think there is scope there for it?
And we've talked about it before; many people want China to do more.
Do you think they're at that point, where they could step in a little bit more forcefully?
SAMORE: Well, the Chinese have come a long way. I mean, in the last two years, in response to Kim Jong-Un's nuclear tests, the Chinese have
supported two relatively --
SAMORE: -- tough U.N. Security Council sanctions, which, for the first time, attack or impose some penalty on North Korea's general exports and
economy. And we have to very subtly try to work with the Chinese to get them to support stronger sanctions if Kim Jong-un continues to carry out
At the same time, I think we have to be realistic, that China is going to be very, very reluctant to impose the kind of draconian economic sanctions
that would be necessary to force North Korea to give up its nuclear missile program or, better yet, to cause the regime to collapse.
We can work with the Chinese but it's not going to be a magic cure.
NEWTON: You are obviously doing a deep dive on these issues for the Obama administration for quite a while,
Do you know who's advising the Trump administration on this?
Have you been in contact with anyone?
SAMORE: Well, it's really too early to tell. Secretary Tillerson, of course, was just confirmed; he doesn't have his full team in place.
I think the White House team on the National Security Council under General Flynn, they're very much focused on the Middle East and most of them are
strong Middle East hands with a lot of operational experience, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So at this point there does appear to be a bit of a vacuum in terms of personnel that will be assigned responsibility for dealing with North
Korea. We know General Mattis, of course, had a very successful a trip out to the region to reassure allies.
But I think it will be sometime before we can begin to see who will have primary responsibility for North Korea in the Trump administration.
NEWTON: And yet it's fair to say and President Trump has hinted that President Obama told him, look, this is going to one of the most difficult
security issues that you will deal with in your presidency.
Does it worry you in terms of there not being anyone at the helm right now, that really understands those issues at play?
SAMORE: Well, this is a long-term problem. I mean, North Korea has been advancing its nuclear missile program for at least the last three
presidents. And we been unable to stop it. Clinton tried; Bush tried; Obama tried. They all failed.
So, you know, it will -- it would take something quite extraordinary for President Trump to be successful where the other three failed.
NEWTON: You know, we're going to move on, if you don't mind, to the issue of Iran -- and it is connected to what we're dealing with now in terms of
the expertise needed to really understand these deals.
I want to start with the fact that you at first did not back the Iran deal. Then you did back the Iran deal.
Why do you think it's a good deal that the Trump administration should keep in place?
SAMORE: Well, there isn't a better alternative. The United States can't unilaterally abrogate the agreement without antagonizing the other
countries that helped to negotiate it, the so-called P5+1.
And it would be very difficult for us to reconstruct the international sanctions regime if we were blamed for blowing up the agreement. So, for
the time being, I think, the Trump administration has done the sensible thing, which is to abide by the agreement as long as Iran does.
Nonetheless, I think the agreement is quite shaky; I think that increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran could act to erode political support in
both the U.S. and Iran for the deal.
And over the next months and years, it will be interesting to see whether the agreement can survive.
NEWTON: Yes, the Trump administration would come back to that and say, look, a bad deal is still a bad deal and we shouldn't be a party to it.
I want to get to the issue of whether or not the deal is even enforceable. Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz spoke to me and others, really selling
this deal. He was the architect of this deal. He's an astute physicist, as you know.
We now have Rick Perry, yet to be confirmed; he is the new Energy Secretary.
What would you tell him?
Do you think he's going to come in there and say, look, we have no way of knowing if Iran is actually abiding by the agreement as set out on paper?
Is there not some enforcement issue that might take hold here in terms of making sure that the deal is obsolete?
And you know there are those within the Trump administration already saying big deal. This deal is not worth the paper it's written on.
SAMORE: Well, I think we have confidence that Iran is abiding by the terms of the agreement at its declared nuclear facilities. Those are the
facilities that the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have access to.
And they do a very good job of monitoring and reporting on what happens at those declared facilities. So the question, the real question for
verification is whether Iran is cheating at secret facilities. And on that we depend very heavily on our intelligence agencies, along with the
intelligence agencies of our allies, Israel, U.K. --
SAMORE: -- Germany and so forth.
And as far as I'm aware, we do not know of any Iranian cheating at such secret facilities. Now Iran has done that in the past. So I think, you
know, to verify this agreement requires a lot of vigilance and a lot of effort.
And I think we have a reasonably good chance of catching Iran if it cheats in any significant way.
NEWTON: Reasonably good -- I dare emphasize that. Apparently Governor Perry just found out that this nuclear deal would be under him at the
Energy Department. So we will wait and see. And I'm sure that there are very professional people like yourself, who are still there and able to
help him out.
Nonetheless, very complicated. And we thank you here for being here on the program to help us sort it out.
Now we move away -- we say we're moving away from warfare. But for many of the women in Russia, they feel as if they are waging war in their homes
every day. These are women facing violence. The sensitive images we're about to show you reveal how one person is helping them move on.
In Russia a woman is trying to heal victims with her tattoo pen, turning physical scars and emotional wounds into art. Butterflies replace
beatings, allowing women to start a new phase in their lives.
Up next, we'll look at another way women in Russia are taking matters into their own hands and fighting back against a controversial new law.
NEWTON: And finally tonight, Russia has introduced a new law that decriminalizes some forms of domestic abuse.
Now parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of reducing penalties for violence against family members, which kills around 12,000 women in the
country every year. That's one every 44 minutes. And those are only the crimes that are actually reported.
But imagine a world where injustice emboldens women to fight back even harder against what they say is dangerous legislation that will, in fact,
encourage abuse. CNN's Clare Sebastian on the story.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sometimes the home is the most dangerous place, reads the sign. In a Moscow park, this small but
determined group, braving at times heavy snow and a heavy police presence, to have their voices heard.
Russia has just passed a law reducing punishment for domestic battery. But clearly there are those who oppose that law who are not giving up.
In fact, they say it's actually helped bring the issue of domestic violence into the spotlight.
Russian lawmakers who backed the new lawyer say it's simply about minimizing government interference in family life.
For antiviolence activist Ilona Popova (ph), the rally is a breakthrough in itself. When the law was debated in parliament, she was forced to protest
alone outside. Permission to hold group rallies repeatedly denied.
Now that the law has been passed, she says the fight is just beginning.
ILONA POPOVA (PH), ANTIVIOLENCE ACTIVIST: I think that because of that law, the crimes inside family would increase. And of course we need to
start the new campaign for the law against domestic violence, a stand-alone law.
SEBASTIAN: The stand-alone law, currently a draft, is designed to help prevent domestic violence through restraining orders and increased legal
rights for victims. Popova (ph) has started an online petition in support of it, which now has more than a quarter of a million signatures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And here is the slogan, "Let's stop domestic violence."
SEBASTIAN: The key is building awareness, says Larissa Panarina (ph), deputy director of The Anna Center (ph), a two-decade-old helpline service
for domestic violence victims in Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It says -- he said that he would never hit you again. But he said the same thing last time as well.
SEBASTIAN: The Anna Center (ph) was recently designated a foreign agent under Russian law regulating non-government organizations who receive
funding from abroad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that we are funded by their international and foreign foundations, it's because we are not funded by their Russian
authorities. Unfortunately, the issue is still not seen as a serious issue.
SEBASTIAN: At the Moscow rally, we find Marie Devtian (ph) one of the authors of the new legislation to help prevent domestic violence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure that in future we will pass law.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you so sure?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it is evolution; 143 countries passed this law. So Russia today is not the same Russia that was 10 years ago.
SEBASTIAN: In a country where it's estimated 12,000 women die a year from domestic violence, this small but growing opposition is just getting
started -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, Moscow.
NEWTON: And those brave women, they have been coping with this issue for several years and continue to try and change those laws.
That's it for the program tonight. And remember you can listen to our podcast, see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Thanks for watching and goodbye.