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Canadian PM: Had "Very Productive" Discussion With Trump; Trump, Canadian PM Trudeau Hold News Conference; Trump Comments On Immigration Raids Across U.S.; Trump On Immigration Raids: "We're Getting Them Out; Trump On Immigration Raids: "We're Getting (Criminals) Out; Question: What's Most Important National Security Matter?; Trump: North Korea Is A "Big, Big Problem"; Trump: "Getting Such Praise" For Our Immigration Stance; Trudeau: I Won't "Lecture" Another Country On Policies; Trump: "Will Be Tweaking" Our "Outstanding" Ties With Canada; Trump Not Asked About Flynn's Fate, North Korea; DHS Chief: Detained In Raids Were Criminal Aliens; Trump Not Asked About Aide Under Fire For Russia Call; Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired February 13, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Prime minister could you answer in English and French for us, please? A little bit of a follow on from my American colleague's question. President Trump, you seem to suggest that Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse for potential terrorism while the prime minister hugs refugees and welcomes them with open arms. I'd like to know, are you confident the northern border is secure?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can never be totally confident but through the incredible efforts already I see it happening of formerly General Kelly, now Secretary Kelly, we have really done a great job. We're actually taking people that are criminals, very, very hardened criminals in some cases, with a -- which a -- with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems, and we're getting them out. And that's what I said I would do.
I'm just doing what I said I would do when we won by a very, very large electoral college vote. And I knew that was going to happen. I knew this is what people were wanting. And that wasn't the only reason. That wasn't my only thing that we did so well on. But that was something that was very important. And I said we will get the criminals out, the drug lords, the gang members. We're getting them out. General Kelly, who's sitting right here, is doing a fantastic job. And I said, at the beginning, we are going to get the bad ones, the really bad ones. We're getting them out. And that's exactly what we're doing. I think that in the end, everyone is going to be extremely happy. And I will tell you right now a lot of people are very, very happy right now.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: Canada has always understood that keeping Canadians safe is one of the fundamental responsibilities of any government. And that certainly is something that we are very much focused on. At the same time, we continue to pursue our policies of openness towards immigration refugees without compromising security. And part of the reason we have been successful in doing that over the past year, welcoming close to 40,000 Syrian refugees, is because we have been coordinating with our allies, United States and around the world, to demonstrate that security comes very seriously to us. And that's something that we -- that we -- that we continue to deal with.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is clear that if you want to have a healthy and secure society or safe society, you have to make sure that you maintain -- that you focus on security. And we have welcomed refugees from Syria. We have been very successful, but we have always taken our responsibility towards security very seriously and our allies including the United States understand this focus very well, and they have done so since the very beginning.
TRUMP: Next, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. President Trump, now that you have been in office and received intelligence briefings for nearly one month. What do you see as the most important national security matters facing us? And Prime Minister Trudeau, you've made very clear that Canada has an open door policy for Syrian refugees. Do you believe that president Trump's moratorium on immigration has merit on national security grounds?
TRUMP: OK. Thank you. Many, many problems. When I was campaigning, I said it's not a good situation. Now that I see it, including with our intelligence briefings, we have problems that a lot of people have no idea how bad they are, how serious they are. Not only internationally but when you come right here. I mean, obviously, North Korea is a big, big problem. And we will deal with that very strongly. We have problems all over the Middle East. We have problems just about every corner of the globe, no matter where you look.
I had a great meeting this weekend with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and got to know each other very, very well. Extended weekend, really. We were with each other for long periods of time. And our staffs and representatives. But on the home front we have to create borders. We have to let people that can love our country in. And I want to do that. We want to have a big, beautiful open door. And we want people to come in and come in our country. But we cannot let the wrong people in. And I will not allow that to happen during this administration. And people, citizens of our country want that.
And that's their attitude, too, I will tell you. We are getting such praise for our stance. And it's a stance of common sense. Maybe a certain toughness, but it's really more than toughness. It is a stance of common sense. And we are going to pursue it vigorously. And we don't want to have our country have the kinds of problems that you are witnessing taking place not only here but all over the world. We won't stand for it. We won't put up with it. We're just not going to let it happen. We are going to give ourselves every bit of chance so that things go well for the United States. And they will go well. Thank you.
Canada and the United States have been neighbors a long time. And Canadians and Americans have stood together, worked together, at home and around the world. We have fought and died together in battlefields in World War I and World War II, and Korea, and Afghanistan. But there have been times where we have differed in our approaches. And that's always been done for million respectfully. The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves. My role, our responsibility, is to continue to govern in such a way that reflects Canadians' approach and be a positive example in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
TRUDEAU: Well, ask my question in French and then for you I'll state it again English.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Prime minister, I heard you correctly, you said that Canadian businesses, Canadian workers are concerned for their businesses and for their work and jobs concerning the renegotiation of NAFTA. So what guarantees did you get from this government that we will keep our jobs and our businesses in the renegotiation of NAFTA? Mr. President?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, during the last three months you have denounced NAFTA. You have talked over and over about the Mexican portion of the agreement, very little about the Canadian one. My questions in two short parts, is is Canada a fair trader? And when you talk about changes to NAFTA, concerning Canada are you talking about big changes or small changes? Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all (INAUDIBLE) thank you for your question. It is a real concern for many Canadians because we know that our economy is very dependent on our bond, our relationship with the United States. Goods and services do cross the border each way every single day. And this means a lot of -- millions of jobs for Canadians. And good jobs for Canadians. So we are always focusing on these jobs. But there are also good jobs, millions of jobs in the United States that depend on those relationships between our two countries.
So, when we sit down as we did today and as our teams will be doing in the weeks and months to come, we will be talking about how we can continue to create good jobs for our citizens on both sides of the border. And during this exercise we continue to understand that we have to allow this free flow of goods and services and we have to be aware of the integration of our economies, which is extremely positive for both our countries.
And this is the focus that we will have in the coming weeks and months to come.
TRUDEAU: Aware of the fact that much of our economy depends on good working relationships with the United States, a good integration with the American economy, and the fact is 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. And both President Trump and I got elected on commitments to support the middle class, to work hard for people who need a real shot at success. And we know that by working together, by ensuring the continued effective integration of our two economies, we are going to be creating greater opportunities for middle class Canadians and Americans now and well into the future.
TRUMP: I agree with that a hundred percent. We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll 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 taking place on the southern border. On the southern border for many, many years the transaction was not fair to the United States. It was an extremely unfair transaction. We're going to work with Mexico.
We're going to make it a fair deal for both parties. I think that we're going to get along very well with Mexico. They understand, and we understand. You probably have noticed that Ford is making billions of dollars of new investments in this country. You saw Intel the other day announce that because of what I've been doing, what I'm doing in terms offing regulation, lowering taxes, et cetera, they are coming in with billions and billions of dollars of investment and thousands and thousands of jobs.
General Motors likewise is expanding plants and going to build new plants. Fiat Chrysler was at a meeting where they are doing the same. Jack Ma. We have so many people that want to come into United States. It's actually very exciting, I think it's going to be a very exciting period of time for the United States and for the workers of the United States. Because they have been truly the forgotten man and forgotten women. It's not going to be forgotten anymore, believe me.
So our relationship with Canada is outstanding, and we're going to work together to make it even better. And as far as the southern borders is concerned we're going to get that worked out. We're going to make it fair but we are going to make it so that everybody is happy. It's very important to me. Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.
WOLF BLITZER, THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER HOST: The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Canada wrapping up relatively short news conference. Four questions, two American reporters, two Canadian reporters. Stressing the excellent relationship they both declared that the United States and Canada have right now. The president vowing that that relationship will even get better in the years to come. The prime minister also saying that Canada welcomes this new relationship that is emerging even though there are serious differences that were expressed during the past several months by both of these respective men, Gloria Borger.
Let's discuss what we just heard. Interestingly there was not any question about the future of the president's National Security adviser, Michael Flynn. That's a big news story today. But the two American reporters who asked questions asked questions -- asked questions about the U.S./Canadian relationship. Presumably that's what the White House wanted.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It is clearly what the White House wants and I don't know whether they arranged that in advance or not. But, it's clearly they wanted to stay on top. What struck me about this presser was a few things. First of all, the president seems completely not comfortable in these situations. Whether it's because he doesn't want to answer the questions or -- I --it's just -- he's just not comfortable in these -- in these situations.
It's like somebody put him in a straitjacket and he can't figure out a way out of it. Also, I thought that he had difficulty answering the question posed by the Canadian journalist about refugees, which was quite a good question, which was, do you feel safe because we let in all our -- we have open arms and you want to close borders? And he didn't answer the question about refugees. Instead he went back to a stock answer on we're keeping out criminals in this country. And -- which is not the same -- you know, answering a different question, basically.
And also I thought that Trudeau threw a little shade at the president at one point when he said that we want to be a positive example in the world. And we can't lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves. And I thought, it wasn't direct, but it could be interpreted as just throwing a little shade at President Trump.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That came on the heels of him saying that they had accept 40,000 Syrian refugees. And did so in a way to also make sure that their country was secure.
CHALIAN: And no doubt, that was one of the examples he was talking about. I also thought he had a whole sort of don't rip up NAFTA, Mr. President section, where he talked about the mutual respect they have to have. And even though they won't always agree that this is an essential partnership, strong, vital economic ties, citing that statistic you mentioned memorandum, 35 states. So there was a sort of like be careful what you are doing here.
BORGER: You need us.
CHALIAN: Yes. You need us. But I agree with you overall about President Trump's demeanor. I mean, yes, he did not answer that question. Instead about Syrian refugees he went to sort of the ice deportation stuff from this weekend. It was a completely different topic that he answered on. He -- but he just -- that does not look like someone who is enjoying themselves. And he comes and reads this prepared opening statement word for word basically off of the paper that didn't seem geared towards driving a strategic vision overall for president Trump about what he wanted to drive today.
Other presidents in the past, even when the foreign leader is there, they have found a way to use these events with the other leader to sort of drive through what they want -- what they want the attention on that day. This just seemed almost perfunctory for him. And not -- he just doesn't seem somebody relishing.
BLITZER: Let me play the clip -- let me play the clip, Nia.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: OK. BLITZER: On the refugee, a sensitive issue, Canada is welcoming in Syrian refugees, as far as President Trump is concerned he wants an indefinite halt to Syrian refugees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, you seem to suggest that Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse for potential terrorism while the prime minister hugs refugees and welcomes them with open arms. Si I'd like to know, are you confident the northern border is secure?
TRUMP: We're actually taking people that are criminals, very, very hardened criminals in some cases, with a -- which a -- with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems and we're getting them out. And that's what I said I would do. I'm just doing what I said I would do when we won by a very, very large electoral college vote. And I said at the beginning we are going to get the bad ones, the really bad ones. We are getting them out and that's exactly what we're doing. I think that in the end everyone is going to be extremely happy. And I will tell you rate now a lot of people are very, very happy right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, Nia, he really didn't answer the Canadian reporter's question. But he went on to this other sensitive issue right now. Is the U.S. moving more rapidly to deport undocumented immigrants here in the United States?
HENDERSON: You know, I mean there is a broken record quality to Donald Trump. He seems to rely on the same talking points. Doesn't seem to have a lot of fluency in many issues, even when he's reading from these prepared remarks. Oftentimes it seems like he may be reading it for the first time, maybe second time. I think that's what we are starting to see. There again he is talking about his massive electoral college victory, which really wasn't massive.
And so -- he I think relies often on cliches. Then he said there for instance that people are very, very -- I don't even know what he's talking about, people are very, very happy. I don't know if he is talking about ice raids or what, but again, it wasn't an answer to the question. It seems like they are trying to create a scenario in these news conferences where he isn't very comfortable. They're trying to make him as comfortable as possible.
So it looks like they're relying on people from conservative outlets, like The Daily Caller to ask him questions that he doesn't have to get very specific on. He goes very broad. They asked him for instance, had a question about NAFTA, what exactly are you going to do with it. He said they're going to do certain things and they're going to tweak it. I don't know what that means. Maybe somebody else knows what that means. But yes, I mean, at some point --
CHALLIAN: And then his greatest threat or whatever he proceeds as the other question, what he thought it was the biggest challenge. The questions are kind of absurd. HENDERSON: Yes, yes.
BORGER: He said North Korea is a big, big problem.
HENDERSON: Right, right. Which we know. So, yes, I mean, I think there are concerns that this president doesn't necessarily do his homework, doesn't read a lot, doesn't read the briefing books that he should be reading. And I think that shows up in these press conferences and it's --
BLITZER: Well, Jim Sciutto (INAUDIBLE) go ahead.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, we talk going in, they've got these big disagreements, Syrian refugees, trade, et cetera. they didn't deal with them directly. They weren't asked in some cases hard enough about it and both of them kind of retreated to talking points. But I think in there you had their messages, as you said, Gloria, Justin Trudeau throwing a little shade saying we're going the lead by example.
We're not going to tell you what to do but our example I'm comfortable with it, I'm going to hug the refugees and you're not going to stop me, right? And Trump though he diverted and he didn't answer the question about refugees, he answered about the ice raids, he did say, you know, when it comes to the wrong people, we cannot let the wrong people in and I will not allow that to happen during my presidency.
You know that from his point of view that's not just criminal immigrants, he is talking about terrorists, right? Coming from these countries. He is not backing off. Apparently his reference, apparently, he is hearing from people who like those stances, right? So he is going to stick with that. On the trade issue it's interesting to me because he seem -- Donald Trump seemed to direct his fire at Mexico on that, right? He said we got in a bad deal and I was like, wait a second, is he saying a bad on Canada? No, he said on Mexico. He says like, you guys Canadians apparently are OK on NAFTA. But the Mexicans really are problem, so, maybe that's the way that he come around.
HENDERSON: Because our trade and balance with Canada is not as large it is with Mexico and that is, you know --
BORGER: He thinks that's a bad thing.
HENDERSON: That's what he uses but I thought to a Trudeau was doing was reminding him by the way, you need us too.
BORGER: Because all those 35 states, some of them Michigan, Ohio, he did not say, but those are states this president won. BLITZER: And Canada is the U.S.'s largest trade partner. Clarissa
Ward, our senior international correspondent in London. You were listening very closely. Clarissa, what did you think?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIOANL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think just to echo what everybody is saying, it was quite clear that this was very heavy on platitudes and very light on substance. And I think the most striking example of that was when the question of North Korea came up, and as you have already said, President Trump said it's a very, very -- it is a very big, big problem and we will deal with it very strongly. Again, as what Nia was saying, what does that mean? How are you going to deal with that?
The international community with like some sort of an assurance that there is sort a coherent policy at least being assembled. So, clearly I think the two main thrusts of this press conference were to say that that, you know, obviously the relationship with Canada is important and that the driving force behind that is trade and also terror. It was interesting to hear both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump really emphasizing Canada and the U.S. as fighting terrorism together.
You heard Trudeau repeatedly make allusions to the fact that the fact that of course Canada and the U.S. have fought alongside in Korea and Afghanistan. Canada is also part of the coalition against ISIS. Although interestingly what did not come up is s that as of February 22nd, Canada will no longer be participating in bombing raids as part of that coalition. It will be just taking on more humanitarian aid and training role. But clearly at trying to emphasize areas of commonality with trade and terror being the two primary ones.
BLITZER: Clarissa stand by. You know, Gloria, it's interesting that the big news here in Washington, the fate of the president's national security adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, that was not asked of the president. And people are of course, they're going to take a look both at who were the American reporters that the White House decided would be called upon to ask questions. Scott Thumen, Chief Political Correspondent for ABC7 news, the local ABC and CNN affiliate here on Washington owned by Sinclair Broadcasting and Kaitlyn Collins the White House Correspondent for The Daily Caller, a conservative website. People are going to be saying, well those are the questions that the White House -- those are the questioners the White House decided to call on for this moment.
BORGER: Well, and I think they did it at the last press conference, with Abe. And this is a clear strategy of the White House to downgrade the influence of the so-called mainstream media who might be asking the questions about your national security adviser, the future of your national security adviser, perhaps asking about North Korea. Perhaps asking about some other questions and putting these other people up front and limiting the scope of what is going to be asked at a -- at a press event. It's clear that the president wants to do that because he was annoyed last time when somebody went off topic.
And he said it. And so I think there is one person that people that people in the White House listen to, and that's the President of the United States. So I think this isn't clear response to what -- to what he wants and to what -- and to what they want. And it's a way, unfortunately, of sort of quieting the rest of the -- of the press.
BLITZER: What did you think?
CHALLIAN: Yes -- no. I think Gloria is totally right. I mean, obviously from the White House perspective, here they have the Canadian Prime Minister. They do want to talk about some of these issues that they put forth in their joint statement, economic cooperation, what have you, national security cooperation as well and they wanted that to be the focus. They know that if they take two questions on General Flynn that nobody is going to come out of the press conference talking about that. So, they clearly tried to structure it by having friendly reporters ask questions on topic.
And they are able to avoid what they would think is sort of a distracted shiny object kind of moment. And instead focus on the topic at hand. The problem becomes, at what point, if you do that all the time, and you're not doing interviews as regularly, and you haven't -- you're not holding a full-fledged news conference where you are asking a sweep of reporters, you're just doing these two and two events so far, at what point are you walling yourself off from reality of sort of the issues around your presidency and not be forthcoming with the American people?
HENDERSON: Yes. I think that's right. I mean, there is -- we're talking about this before. I mean, I think there is a fishbowl quality to this. How do you keep Donald Trump comfortable? I think it's part of reason he goes to Mar-a-Lago on the weekends. He wants to be in a comfortable environment, where they are his fans and I guess paying customers in some respect, people who are club members to Mar-a-Lago. He wants that audience, he wants that sort of adulation, right?
And so, I think this is partly related to why we're getting these questions from kind of friendly outlets, they don't want to make this -- they don't want to make this president uncomfortable. I think his staff is constructing it that way?
SCIUTTO: Let's be clear. They're not off-topic questions, they're just off the topics they want to talk about. But I mean, Flynn is very much in the conversation. Relates to the, you know, the primary issue, national security with Russia and North Korea challenging questions about how they're handling these key issues. They clearly don't want it, it's a reason why President Trump hasn't talk -- has only talk to certain outlets, right? In his interviews as well.
BLITZER: And one thing we did learn about the Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador here in Washington, Jim Sciutto today from Adam Schiff, the ranking democratic on the house intelligence committee that in addition to the phone conversations which may have been monitored by U.S. Intelligence, there may have been encrypted conversations between General Flynn and the Russian Ambassador before the inauguration.
SCIUTTO: If confirmed, potentially explosive, right? Because that shows intent to avoid eyes and ears as you're having this conversation. Which gets to the very question of what exactly were you talking about then if you wanted to do it under a cover encrypted conversations as the incoming national security adviser of the United States with a prime adversary Russia. A really remarkable comments from the ranking member on the house intelligence.
BLITZER: Yes. We're just getting started, a lot more coming up. Our special coverage will continue in just a moment or so with Brooke Baldwin.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Here we go. Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me. You just saw that joined news conference from the White House there between President Donald Trump and the Prime Minister from Canada, Justin Trudeau there. The two met, actually this is the very first time today. And while the president, you heard him there of course reaffirming the U.S. support for Canada, he was confronted with the difference between two nations, specifically on refugees.
President Trump is now trying to restore a ban on Syrian refugees while Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted, "To those fleeing persecution, Canadians welcome you." Here is more from the presidents at the news conference.