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Remarks By President Trump In Cabinet Meeting; Diversity Visa Lottery Program. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- as soon as possible. He came in through the diversity program as you know, and we're going to stop that. We're going to as quickly as possible get rid of chain migration and go to a merit-based system.

Terrorists are constantly seeking to strike our nation, and it will require the unflinching devotion to our law enforcement, homeland security and intelligence professionals to keep America safe. We will take all necessary steps to protect our people and our communities and to protect our nation as a whole. We have to get much tougher. We have to get much smarter. And we have to get much less politically correct.

We're so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything. And that's not only our country, that's other countries too that are having very similar problems. And we have to get tough, we have to get smart. We have to do what's right to protect our citizens.

We will never waiver in the defense of our beloved country. Ever. And we'll never ever forget the beautiful lives that have been taken from us. That was a horrible event and we have to stop it, and we have to stop it cold.

We also have to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They'll go through court for years. At the end, they'll be -- who knows what happens.

We need quick justice, and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke, and it's a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place. And I think I can speak for plenty of other countries, too, that are in the same situation.

So, with that being said, we will be starting our cabinet meeting today. It will be a discussion that will focus on vital issues of tax cuts and tax reform. It will be the largest tax cuts in the history of our country by far. The House is doing very well. They have taken an extra few hours, which will go into tomorrow and they'll be announcing -- and I'll probably be standing with them.

We leave, as you know, for Asia. We're leaving on Friday morning so I'll be standing with them sometime tomorrow. We'll be announcing massive tax cuts and reform. Not just tax cuts because tax cuts which to me is the most important but it will be tax cuts and reform. We've now had two straight quarters of 3% or more economic growth, GDP. But our economy and country cannot take off the way it really should so it's really, really competitive with the rest of the world unless we get the kind of tax cuts for our companies and our middle class, our workers, unless we get the jobs we need. It can't really take off until we get the tax cuts and reform passed.

This week the House Ways and Means Committee will unveil a historic tax plan that will create new jobs, higher wages, which hasn't happened in many years and now it's starting to happen. I'm happy to tell you. Many, many years. People making less money today than they made 20 years ago. You heard it many times before.

But it will lead to tremendous prosperity for American families, communities, and also for our job producing businesses. At the center of our plan are tax cuts for the working Americans. We will reduce tax rates, increase the amount of income that is taxed at zero, and increase the child tax credit which is very important to families.

We'll make the tax code simple and fair so that the vast majority of Americans can file their taxes on a single sheet of paper. We will be simplifying. It will be called simplification, our tax code. We will restore America's competitive edge by lowering taxes on America's businesses for the first time in more than 30 years and it will be a historic cut.

Right now other countries are so far below us and then when you wonder, you see all of these companies leaving one after another. They leave. That's not going to be happening. And I must tell you I've stopped it even before this but we're going to be stopping it in full. People will come back.

[12:35:09] We'll be announcing very shortly possibly right after I get back a major company that's moving back into the United States. It's going to be a major name. People are going to be very surprised. Especially the country from which they are leaving will be surprised.

Under our plan, we'll go from being one of the highest taxed nations in the world to one of the lowest. Meaning more jobs, more factories, more plants, more opportunities right here in America where we want them. We will reduce taxes for businesses of all sizes.

I must add that we're also negotiating right now. We have my full team here, tremendously different trade deals. Our trade deals are horrible. They were made by people that honestly, it's sad. It's very sad for our country. Every trade deal we have is disastrous. We're renegotiating our trade deals.

And if we have support from Congress, we'll make trade deals that are horror shows into very good and respectable trade deals and trade deals that are good for both countries and in fact many countries. But very important is that we renegotiate our trade deals with Mexico as an example, we have a trade deficit of $71 billion. That's NAFTA.

We have trade deficits with China that are through the roof. They're so big and so bad that it's embarrassing saying what the number is but you know what the number is. And I don't want to embarrass anybody four days before I land in China but it's horrible.

And you look all over the world, no matter where we do trade, we have bad trade deals. We're renegotiating those deals as I said I would during the campaign. And that's going to be a big factor in our growth.

Finally, our plan will bring back trillions of dollars from offshore. Trillions. We have in my estimation, $4 trillion that will come pouring back into our country that will be put to work and will be spent by our companies that could never get the money back for many years. And interestingly, it's something that Republicans and Democrats have agreed on for years bring the money back.

What's not to agree? Bring the money back. And they couldn't get it done because it was a lack of leadership. They couldn't get it done. They all agree it should be done. They couldn't get it done.

So we will be bringing that money back for rebuilding America. I'll be announcing tomorrow the new head of the Federal Reserve. That will take place sometime tomorrow afternoon. You'll be notified as to the time. I think you'll be extremely impressed by this person.

As part of our push to renew our prosperity, I'll also be making a very historic trip on Friday as I said. Our visit will take us to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines. And you remember the Philippines the last trip made by the President that turned out to be not so good. Never quite got to land.

And we will host meetings with world leaders across the Indo-Pacific region. I look forward to it. We're going to meet a lot of presidents and leaders of countries that have been friends and had become very good friends of mine and we have great trade relationships other than the fact that we are right now being taken advantage of. But I think they'll start changing them pretty quickly.

Key administration officials including Secretary Mnuchin and Gary Cohn will be staying back from the trip in Asia to remain vigilant and making sure the tax cuts pass. So if I have any problems, I will be blaming Mnuchin and Cohn. Believe me. They'll be hearing from me. But I think they're going to do very well. We are doing very well.

And the House, I must tell you, they've been working really hard and they're coming up with a great plan, and the Senate is coming up with a great plan. And they're going to be put together and something is going to come out of that that will be I think really, really something very special.

Again, we're doing Senate, we're doing House. Let's put together and then we have our beautiful new tax cuts and reform. And I think it will be very special.

I'm also counting on our great vice president, Mike Pence, and the rest of my cabinet to continue to push forward the tax cuts and reform while I'm away, and they're going to be all over the country. They'll be all over the country working on it. But specifically, they'll be working on the members of the House, members of the Senate. [12:40:11] We think we'll actually get some Democrats to join us in the Senate because frankly I actually think they'll lose their elections in those communities and those states because the people of those states and the people of all states need tax cuts. Again, we're the highest taxed nation just about in the world. We need tax cuts.

So with that, we'll start our cabinet meeting. We have a wonderful group of people. We have a great cabinet. They're doing an incredible job. I don't think they've been given the credit they deserve but that doesn't matter quite yet. We'll let you know when it's time to tell you about it but we have done.

At the border we've done a fantastic job. We've done great with the military. ISIS is being decimated. They're being decimated. But they quickly move to other places in the world like Africa and others and we're there to meet them.

This has never happened. We have done more to annihilate ISIS than eight years of the previous administration. So we are doing a real job. We're actually making tremendous strides in Afghanistan also. And I think you see what's happening. You see what's happening.

So, we've done a largely -- really a job that's been very, very well respected by many. One of the things that has happened that nobody is paying attention to but you're going to see it this week are judges, federal judges. Not only Justice Gorsuch who's doing fantastically on the Supreme Court but we have many judges that are being approved at the district level, federal district judges and court of appeals judges.

We'll have -- at this moment we'll be up to fairly soon the approval of 145 federal judges. And the Court of Appeals about 17 at this moment. So we will have a big percentage of the court will be changed by this administration over a very short period of time.

I don't believe, other than perhaps when they started the whole process, I don't believe anybody has come close. So we'll have 145 and that number will be increasing with time. A 145 district court judges and we'll have 17 Court of Appeals judges.

And I must tell you, the Wall Street Journal gave us great reviews on that. Really fantastic reviews. But I think it's a very important element that should be pointed out because a lot of people don't know it.

So, again, tomorrow is a big announcement. And we'll have another announcement having to do with the tax cuts. That will be out tomorrow pretty early. And I appreciate it and I will see many of you on the trip to Asia. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you want the assailant from New York sent to Gitmo?

TRUMP: I would certainly consider that. Yes. I would certainly consider that. Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how did the diversity program fit into his plot do you believe sir?

TRUMP: Well, they say he came in through that program so we'll see. We're looking at it but they say he came in. I don't want -- I want -- look, it's very simple. What we are demanding is merit-based immigration.

We want people that are going to help our country. We want people that are going to keep our country safe. We don't want lotteries where the wrong people are in the lotteries and guess what? Who are the suckers that get those people?

And we want a merit-based system. And we do not want chain migration where somebody like him ultimately will be allowed to bring in many, many members of his family and we don't want that. Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you believe any members of his family represent a threat? Do you believe any members of his family represent a threat to the country, sir?

TRUMP: They could. They certainly could. He did. They certainly could represent a threat.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, have you decided not to reappoint Janet Yellen? ] TRUMP: Thank you very much. I think Janet Yellen is excellent. I think she's excellent. I didn't say that. I think she's excellent. Thank you very much.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: The president of the United States in the cabinet room speaking on a number of issues.

One, his promise to name a new chairman or chairwoman of the Fed tomorrow. Number two, promoting his tax cut plan. Most of it though spent on his reaction, his assessment of the terror attack in New York City, his home city. A terrorist attack, a deadly terrorist attack on President Trump watch in his home city.

With me to continue to the conversation, CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN's Dana Bash, our counterterrorism analyst Peter Bergen, Law Enforcement Analyst, Art Roderick.

[12:45:16] I want to go back if we have the tape and just play at the top as he was responding to this. He said we need to have strength, we need to have resilience, this is the president of United States saying what he thinks has to happen in this terrorism case and others.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We have to get much tougher, we have to get much smarter, and we have to get much less politically correct. We're so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I'm struck sometimes at these moments by the fact that is the cabinet room at the White House and he lives there. Does he realize he's the president and has been for nine months.

Is there anything the Trump administration has proposed that would make us much tougher or much smarter if that's necessary? And I'll leave that to the law enforcement experts. The budget they have proposed cut counterterrorism programs, cut aides to the cities like New York City --

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-five percent.

KING: Yes, like New York City they have to deal with this everyday and probably more than American city. But whether it's large or small local police will tell you this is their biggest nightmare right now. Some guys got a rented truck and into drive into a crowd somewhere. What can we do to be much tougher or much smarter? And, again, please correct me if I'm wrong, has he proposed anything that would be much tougher or much stronger?

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: When you look at this just from a law enforcement perspective and the police are going to do whatever they're going to do and they're going to figure out how to get it done. Whether there's a cut in budget, whether there's not a cut in budget, whether there's more money coming in or not. I think when you look at the police officer on the ground they're going to respond like they responded here to this particular incident. Is there anything that he's done? I think cutting budgets, that's not a good thing, that doesn't help.

KING: Nothing happened, it's a proposal.

RODERICK: Right. It's a proposal --

KING: It's a Trump administration proposal.

RODERICK: You know, I think now with this particular point in time, maybe they'll relook at that and possibly put more assets out there and do more around the country what New York City has been doing.

KING: But he sounds like the candidate.

UNIDENATIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: He sounds like the candidate who ran for president of United States and not the president -- I've come back. He was trying to explain and I don't think he did it quite the way it works. The diversity of visa program which he now says he wants to eliminate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. KING: Again, if this is such a bad program, he's the Republican president. The Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Republicans control United States Senate. This was a bipartisan proposal when it was signed into law by a Republican President George H.W. Bush.

If, a, if it was so bad, why haven't they proposed doing something about it? And B, all of the information we have before us right now, Peter, is that this suspect was radicalized here in the United States. Whether he came in through the diversity visa program, whether he came in illegally, whether he came in on a student visa, however he came into the United States, what does that matter if years later after he was here is when he was radicalized?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well that's a subject that is clearly a matter of debate. I mean but the fact is that people radicalize here. But I want can just return this question on how to get tough. I mean the conviction rate in federal terrorism cases in this country is 99%. So you've got one percent chance of requital when this goes to a court in the southern district of New York very close to where it happened. I mean we know what's going to happen.

Now the president again, said, send this guy to Guantanamo. That's a guarantee that thing that go on for decades. I mean the operational commander of 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been in American custody in Guantanamo, you know, now for almost decade and a half. He still hasn't been charged. So one way to guarantee a lack of justice is to send him to Guantanamo, plus, this guy is a legal permanent resident and the people in Guantanamo are far it is.

So this is not a sensible idea and it's not a way to get quick justice in a way the president suggested.

BASH: But that's the kind of big debate right now is whether it should be about quick justice even for somebody who is a legal resident here for a terror attack. Somebody who, you know, sort of claims that ISIS is behind what he does or the law should be changed dramatically so that even someone like that could be charged as an enemy combatant. And it's a huge, you know, culture clash and obviously a clash of questions of civil liberties versus, you know, kind of the global terrorist issue that we're on right now.

One thing that I want to also point out is the way that the president made the diversity visa program he made it sound like, you know, everybody has a got a lottery number and you've, oh look, they picked b four, five, six, seven, eight come on in. And then they just come in and nothing happens. No, that's not how it happens. Ye it is a program as he said that was setup in a bipartisan way where people from countries where the immigration levels are very low can come in. But they are subjects to the same screening as everybody else who comes into this country.

Now, whether that screening needs to be stepped up, that's a different question. But if you're just going to really get rid of this program and maybe, you know, keep out people who could be really good citizens for this country and that seems like potentially a short-term knee jerk solution instead of looking at the more global question because this guy could have been coming in on a different kind of visa and it would've potentially had the same outcome.

[12:50:15] KING: Yes. And so the point I made earlier about that he -- we have a Republican president and all Republican controls Congress. There is a proposal to eliminate this program. It's in the House Judiciary Committee which has a Republican chairman and a Republican majority.

I know president is beating up on Senator Schumer because Senator Schumer was part of this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

KING: Senator Schumer was part of this. He was part of this back in the day.

Another interesting point is that, Nia-Malika Henderson, is that is the president's hometown. Maybe he feels more personal about it. But quick justice mean strength, resolve, the tweets yesterday that this guy was a sicko. Much tougher than were a month after Vegas, 58 people were shot dead, the president could pick-up a phone and call his treasury department and bureau of alcohol and tobacco and fire arms and have them by regulation rewrite what the Obama administration did and say bump stocks are illegal. You can't sell those things anymore. That hasn't happened.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. That hasn't happen and, you know, immediately after that he was very much saying he didn't want to politicize it. He, you know, was too early to talk about gun control or gun regulations. And since then nothing has been done.

I mean this was a presidential who very much ran on law and order and getting tough. And Republican voters very much believe that he would have a different course and a different vision in terms of how to prosecute the war on terror, how to treat of prospects of terrorists in the country. But you do get the sense that he is -- so always going from pillar to post like he doesn't necessarily have a focus or discipline on one particular topic.

And you saw that today in many ways in that press conference and he was repeating himself a lot. Kind of all over the place in terms of what message he wanted to drive, whether it was about tax reform, whether it was about, you know, any other subject Guantanamo Bay.

And so I think it is interesting to see him sit there in the Oval Office and very much sounds like sort of the bystander president as if he hasn't been in office for the last many months and able to drive a vision and drive American course in terms of how to treat terrorism, how to treat terrorism. how to reshape the laws. And to essentially just spout off in the same way he did as a candidate.

I mean if you look at to the things he said as a candidate, it's almost word for word. This idea of we need to get smarter, we need to get tougher. People are too PC. What that means in terms of what he actually wants to do is still very much unclear.

KING: What have they done? You heard his chief of staff -- I don't know if we have the sound, tell me if we do. An interview on Fox News the other talking about he was asking -- it's just define extreme vetting. What does that mean? Do we have that? We don't have that. We'll try to get that.

But what have they done? I mentioned if you want to change these things, there are legislative proposals he could make. The budget they lay down which a lot of people would say it's just marker and they knew a congressmen never approved those cuts, but they did proposals cuts. What have they done? We've gone through the travel ban, Uzbekistan was not to covered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

KING: But by the travel ban this guy came in in seven years ago but Uzbekistan is not covered. And just sit up I think we have another chief of John Kelly staff asked pretty fair question define extreme vetting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, THE INGRAHAM ANGLE: How was extreme vetting -- what is extreme vetting?

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Extreme vetting is we simply interview people and have to satisfy ourselves that the person we're talking to is indeed the person who they claim.

INGRAHAM: Pretty tough to do in some cases. Because I know records --

KELLY: But then it's possible to do in some cases.

INGRAHAM: Right. So they won't come in that. If you can't really verify that, they aren't coming in.

KELLY: If we can't verify, I don't think we should let them into the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This is clearly their view about immigration in the looking out the windshield and looking out the front view. In the rearview, again, this guy came in seven years ago through a program with no such vetting in place number one, number two, the New York City authorities who were pretty good at this say he was radicalized when he got here until we have other information, there's no reason to think otherwise, right?

RODERICK: No. I agree. I mean from purely a law enforcement perspective, clarity is the key. And --

KING: Is that clarity? RODERICK: That to me I'm not sure what extreme vetting is I know what vetting is. And I think we probably have a very good vetting system out there from what I've seen in my time over at homeland. But law enforcement needs clarity because the last thing you need to be doing is asking questions when you're in the middle of investigation as to whether somebody is legally over here or not and they've been properly vetted.

KING: And I'm just getting new information just as we're checking all the agencies from the government. The Department of Justice does confirm he did come in 2010 under diversity visa program that homeland security -- I'm not sorry not the justice department. It's the morning after the day after terrors attack happened just a little over 20 hours ago.

The president went on Twitter this morning and blamed Chuck Schumer saying he's responsible for this program, you saw Governor Cuomo, the Democratic revenue of New York firing back pretty intensely saying this should be a moment for unity not for finger pointing.

Again, any Republican watching and saying the Democrats come out after the shootings and go for a gun control right away and have that debate right away. Would it be best and possible perhaps in this age, would it best that people just understood maybe for 24 or 48 hours and set all that aside or am I asking too much?

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Yes and yes.

HENDERSON: Yes. It's too much. And yes, and we know that the president use this very reactionary, a lot of a talking points come from conservative media.

[12:55:08] It seems like this talking point around Schumer came from that. And then particularly when it comes to terrorism and sort of Islam having a role in a Muslim terrorist, he likes to react in those situations because it fits into his larger narrative about banning Muslims about diversity being a problem. And he want to point to us that maybe we should surveil a mosque.

So it fits into that. So I think he often can't help himself but to find a bad guy, right, in this instance is Chuck Schumer. It's the Democrats and then keep up with this narrative he has about the influence of Muslims and the possible impact that they could have on a country.

KING: He's entitled to his words. He's right we need strength and resilience after things like this. But he's also the president of the United States. If he wants to change something, he has the power to propose it. And we'll pick up that conversation on another day. thanks for joining us today on Inside Politics and doing for some of breaking news Wolf Blitzer picks up our special coverage with the New York City terror attack after a just a quick break. Have a good day.

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