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President Donald Trump Wrapped Up A Press Conference With The Prime Minister Of Norway. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired January 10, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And she was for other types of energy that don't have the same capacities at this moment, certainly. So I just want to say that it's a lot better to work with other countries.
We are working with China on North Korea. We are working with various other countries. And I think we are doing very well. We had a great talk as you know and as you reported. We had a great talk this morning with President Moon. And I think that a lot of good things are happening. We are going to see what happens.
But working with other countries, whether it's Russia or China or India or any of the countries that surround this world, and encompass that world, that's a good thing, John. That's not a bad thing. That's a very good thing. OK. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, prime minister, Norway strongly supports the Paris agreement and has expressed regret that you decided to leave it. What could persuade you to remain? And what kind of common ground did you find in your talks today on this topic?
TRUMP: Well, it wasn't a major topic, I must tell you. We talked about other things, including mostly trade. But I'll say that the Paris agreement as drawn and as we signed was very unfair to the United States. It put great penalties on us. It made it very difficult for us to deal in terms of business. It took away a lot of our asset values.
We are a country rich in gas and coal and oil and lots of other things. And there was a tremendous penalty for using it. It hurt our businesses. According to some estimates, we would have had to close businesses in order to qualify by 2025. Whereas an example, China, by 2030, they don't kick in until 2030. Russia someplace in the mid- 1990s that was their standard and that was never a good standard because that was a dirty standard for the environment.
It treated the United States very unfairly. And, frankly, it's an agreement that I have no problem with, but I had a problem with the agreement that they signed. Because, as usual, they made a bad deal. So we can conceivably go back in. But I say this, we are very strong on the environment. I feel very strongly about the environment. Our EPA and our EPA commissioners are very, very powerful in the sense that they want to have clean water, clean air, but we also want businesses that can compete. And the Paris accord really would have taken away our competitive edge. And we are not going to let that happen. I'm not going to let that happen.
ERNA SOLBERG, NORWAY PRIME MINISTER: As we talked about during this, because we have strict regulations to reach our Paris targets, that means that we have very strong policies for environmental friendly technologies, which is part of why the United States now have a surplus in the economy towards Norway. So to never miss up on a good opportunity with good environmental standards.
TRUMP: One of the great assets of Norway is a thing called water. And they have tremendous hydro power, tremendous. In fact most of your energy or your electricity is produced by hydro. I wish we would do some of that. But hydro power is fantastic. And it is a great asset that you have. Thank you very much. Great honor. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Special counsel still determining whether there was collusion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Good afternoon. And welcome to our special coverage. I'm Jake Tapper live in Washington.
President Trump there taking questions during a joint press conference with the prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg. The President balked when asked if he would grant an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller saying there was collusion and we will see what happens. He also tried to clear up some confusion on his stance on the immigration deal.
Let's talk to my panel and discuss what we just saw.
First of all, he said many times no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. But the question was, would he be willing to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller as has been discussed in the press a lot. And Gloria, he wasn't very clear at all. In fact he seemed to suggest that he might not be willing to.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think he has been talking to his lawyers. And I think the President's instinct from our reporting is to want to go out there hand just clear the air as he said last June. He said 100 percent I want to testify about my -- what I said to Comey. And today he said, well, there is no collusion. It seems unlikely that he would have an interview.
So it seems to me that what he is saying and then he went into chapter and verse about how Hillary Clinton was interviewed over her emails, over the July 4th weekend, there was no recording, there were no notes taken. And the clear implication there is, why would you do something any different for me than you did for her? And I think that he is taking a look at precedent. And so it seems to me that they are not eager to put him in front of Mueller.
[15:35:06] TAPPER: And Symone, he called it a Democrat hoax.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think he is a little off his rocker there. And correct, it is not a hoax. I think everyone is in agreement that something is a foot here. We need to find out what. And Russia definitely meddled in the elections. We just don't know to what extent the Trump campaign or any Trump folks were engaged and involved.
What I found interesting in what he said about Hillary Clinton was that, you know, she came in, she wasn't under oath. And I think that if the President is under the assumption just because you talk with the FBI and no one swears you in you can say whatever you like, that is incorrect. There is something that - there is a statute that says you cannot and she will not make false statements to government officials. That includes the FBI. So I think if the President lawyers end up sitting him down with FBI and Mueller team I hope he knows he shouldn't lie to them if he is under oath either.
TAPPER: Josh, I'm going to come to you in one second. But they are about to clear the room, the east room with the President so I do want to go to CNN's Jim Acosta.
And Jim, what struck you from the questions the President took an answer?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I think the President made it very clear that the wall has to be part of the solution to provide protection to those DREAMERS who are facing deportation. I think make no mistake at this point the President is using those 800,000 young undocumented people as bargaining chips in all this.
And you know, I talked to A democratic aide last night, Jake, who said listen, if this is ridiculous in terms of the requests coming from the White House, if they are demanding a wall in exchange for these DREAMERS that there could be a problem. And so I think that issue has not been settled yet in terms of President's insistence on the wall.
And as far that is concern - and just to pick up on what you were saying a few minutes ago with the panel about the question to the President about whether he would appear with the special counsel's office and sit down with Robert Mueller team to talk about the Russian investigation. I think one thing we have to make clear, that President said this time and again that it's been determined that there was no collusion.
The special counsel's office has not determined yet whether or not there was collusion. That is still a matter before the special counsel's office. And I suppose if and when Robert Mueller comes in front of the cameras to outline the outcome of his investigation, that matter will be put to rest. But at this point when the President goes on and says that it's been determined that there was no collusion in terms of his campaign activities with the Russians, that's just not true. It's not true at this point because the special counsel office has not weighed in, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jim Acosta, at the east room for us. Thank you so much.
And Josh let me get to you. We will get to immigration in a second. But you do you think the President can actually avoid testifying if Robert Mueller wants him to testify? He said, you know, we will see what happens. It is unlikely there would have to be an interview if there has been no collusion proven. That seems to suggest that he is kind of objecting to it?
JOSH HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think we should put the cart in front of the horse and the premise. The question himself was that his lawyers were currently in negotiations with the special counsel office about whether or not it was necessary for the President to appear. Now, they could very easily conclude that it's not necessary. That they have the information. Or they could conclude that written testimony is sufficient. Or they could conclude one of 1,000 different things. So I think what the President just said his legal team is probably given top 10 high fives how about how well he handled that question because there is a lot of ways to get in trouble there and he avoided it.
TAPPER: Yes. I mean, and he says we will see what happens. That was fundamentally his answer.
BORGER: Well, you know, when I think they are having discussions, the Mueller team and the President's lawyers, whether it's over the phone. And I think that it's part of a negotiation. If you are the President's lawyers right now, you probably do want to have written interrogatories, answer questions in writing. If you are on team Mueller you might say, look, to conclude this investigation, one way or the other, we need to see him face-to-face. And I think what the President's team is trying to find out now is it what do you want to ask him about, you know. Is collusion off the table? What are we talking about? Are we talking about obstruction? So I think these are conversations that are probably ongoing.
And I think they keep the President informed on this. And I think he is probably getting some input from his lawyers about what they think is best for him. Because his instinct, as we heard last June, he said 100 percent I would testify before Mueller about my conversation with James Comey. Now not so much.
TAPPER: Do you agree, Symone? I mean, is the question here President Trump trying to put the emphasis on the collusion idea, so that he doesn't have to answer questions about whether or not there was any obstruction of justice?
SANDERS: Maybe that's not so he doesn't have to answer questions, but let's just say it comes back - let's just say, when and if it ever comes out may perhaps there was no collusion. We do not know.
SANDERS: At this point. Donald Trump is now vindicated because he has been the main proponent to say I told you from the beginning there was no collusion. So I think in his mind perhaps what I gather from all of the things that he said about this investigation is that he perhaps thinks collusion is one of the most, if not the most egregious things that this investigation could come back and say that he has done. And so this is the thing he harp's on. I wonder if he thinks about obstruction.
[15:40:11] HOLMES: It is also a reason for the investigation itself, right. I mean, nobody started investigation in order to investigate the investigation which is where we are currently add.
BORGER: That often happens.
HOLMES: It does often happen which is why special counsels I think everybody is reminded against since 1990s why these are difficult business for both parties, Presidents of the United States, because they just kind of end up to be endless prosecution. But look, the collusion thing thus far, there is no evidence.
SANDERS: That we know of.
HOLMES: That we know of. And you know, I think the President and his team are really looking forward to trying to have this over with as quickly as possible.
BORGER: And they have cooperated. They have made a point of saying, I mean, you have heard Ty Cobb who is inside the White House dealing with all of the paperwork and dealing with everything that goes to special counsel. He has said time and time again, we are fully cooperating. We want to give you everything you can. So by the time this point in the investigation comes, where they have to kind of sit around a table and say what do you want, what have you got, and feel each other out? They feel that there is good blood, you know.
The President hasn't been tweeting about Mueller. They have gotten him to be quiet on that. And so now, they got to figure out the answers to the threshold questions about their client, the President.
SANDERS: Yes, but there has been a coordinate coordinated effort, though, on the part of the Republicans on the Hill, off the Hill, in the Republican National Committee to discredit Mueller. Press it of some of the President's ally to discredit this investigation. So while the President himself has not tweeted, one could argue the President's allies have made it quite difficult to try to discredit the special counsel and his investigation.
BORGER: Good cop, baaed cop.
TAPPER: Let's turn, if we can now, to immigration. The President was asked if a wall, a border wall had to be part of any deal that help the so-called DREAMERS. The DREAMERS, of course, to remind you at home, those are the individuals about 690,000 undocumented immigrants brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own when they were children.
There was some confusion yesterday because of that 55 minute televised negotiation where President Trump seemed at some points to be taken both sides of a debate. So he was asked to clear it up today whether the border wall had to be part of it. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you willing to sign an immigration bill that does not include build ago border wall?
TRUMP: No. That will include the wall. We need the wall for security. We need the wall for safety. We need the wall from stopping the drugs from pouring in. I would imagine that the people in the room, both Democrat and Republican, I really believe they are going to come up with a solution to the DACA problem, which has been going on for a long time. And maybe beyond that immigration as a whole. But any solution has to include the wall, because without the wall it all doesn't work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And, Josh, the premise of the question was, you said yesterday, Mr. President, that basically you would sign whatever this group of bipartisan lawmakers came up with and put in front of you. You would sign it. What if it didn't have the wall? That's unlikely because Republicans would insist. But he clarified there.
HOLMES: Right. And I think that's helpful for negotiations, you know. I mean, without trying to sound too simplistic about how this works, but you have two problems, right. We got the DACA problem than needs to be fixed.
TAPPER: That's the DREAMERS.
HOLMES: And there is the deadline. We also have a border security issue that the President campaigned on that, you know, I think you can make a strong argument to win the primary over and certainly had a heck of a lot of support in the general election for. And that's the idea of this border wall.
Now, both parties don't agree on how to fix either, but combined that's how a negotiation works, which is why I think he was trying to demonstrate yesterday on live TV is that you have a position, we have a position, surely we can find accommodation here and fix both problems.
TAPPER: Except if I can say Senator Diane Feinstein of California said she would like a clean DREAMERS bill, a clean DACA bill.
HOLMES: Do you think that is going to happen?
TAPPER: I know. I know. But she was just saying just the bill that addresses the dreamers that expires their legal status expires in March, just that, because we all agree on that. And the President said, sure, a clean bill, absolutely. And then the House majority lead are Kevin McCarthy felt like he needed to step in and interpret what President Trump meant by a clean bill. This is sought number three. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, you need to be clear, though, I think what senator Feinstein is asking here, when we talk about DACA, we don't want to be here two years later. You have to have security as the secretary would tell you. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So I mean, there was this need to explain.
BORGER: A little clean up there. And I think there is a little ambiguity here and maybe it's on purpose, Josh, which is we are suddenly talking about border security rather than the wall on Mexico is going to pay for it. So what is border security? What does that mean? I mean, everybody can agree on border security, I presume, in one way shape or form. Is it a wall? Is it fixing existing fencing? Is it - I mean, what does that mean right now in terms of getting something done by a deadline with Congress? I don't know the answer to that. Do you know the answer to that?
[15:45:19] HOLMES: Look.
SANDERS: Interpret for us, please.
HOLMES: A wall clearly has symbolic value to the President and his supporters and a whole lot of Americans there. Now the question is what does that wall actually look like? We saw a whole bunch of options for the President to choose at one point. But there is also additional border security thing. There are also things like the chain migration and merit based visa programs and things that the President has spent a lot of time talking about.
I think all of that has to be in the discussion. I think that's what he wants to do here. But I think where he is frustrated is every time that he brings one of these things up you have got the Diane Feinstein of the world saying, you know, we just want to do DACA alone. Well, nobody is going to do DACA alone.
SANDERS: But I mean, there is it large widespread broad support for DACA, Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, for the dreamers, that over 80 percent of Americans.
TAPPER: And majority of Republicans as well.
SANDERS: So that is why.
BORGER: And the President.
SANDERS: And the President clearly loves the DREAMERS.
TAPPER: But he is talking about the legislative for practicalities.
HOLMES: That may very well be the case. But we also have gravity. Gravity exists in a Republican-controlled Washington where they couldn't get that through if the President endorsed to the whole party. And so there has to be an accommodations here. And the grandstanding I think is where most Americans get frustrated saying, look. I understand. I'm actually with you on the issue. But let's give a little bit final accommodations.
TAPPER: But what you know who is really - I mean, what Josh is talking about is the President's base. And the idea of just allowing the dreamers to have some sort of legal status without a border wall, without something in exchange, would infuriate them to no end. In fact, we are going to play Sot 4 control room. I want you to listen to a little bit of Ann Coulter on FOX Business, in which by the way, Ann Culture who has been a very strong supporter of the President, wrote a book called, I think, "in Trump we trust." That's just from my memory. I didn't read it but that she is very strong supporter. Take a listen to her protesting what we saw yesterday in that negotiation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR/AUTHOR: I think we can call this the lowest day in the Trump presidency. I mean, it was clearly trying to overcome the bad President of this Michael Wolff book by showing, no, he is in command. But in fact what he did was fulfill every description of him in the Michael Wolff book. He doesn't listen. He has no command of the facts. He agrees with the last person who speaks to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Lou Dobbs is objecting there because Ann Coulter wasn't pro- Trump enough for the segment. But the fact that I was jumping on there, with this comment by Coulter, is he agrees to the last person speaks to him. That was the criticism Coulter was making and that specifically was about Diane Feinstein. Ann Coulter said, my God, he disagrees with the last person. You see him agrees with Diane Feinstein and then turns on to agrees of Kevin McCarthy. So I mean, there is the reality of the conservative base. You say gravity exists, the real. And what's bringing down that gravity is the conservative base.
SANDERS: But I mean, there is also the reality that they clearly need the Democrats to do this deal. Republicans are in charge of Washington right now. But the fact of the matter is they need Democrats to get some things done. This just goes to show how fractured their Republican caucus on the Hill actually is.
And so this as much as this is a test for President Trump. It is also a test for Democrats, I believe. And Democrats continuous to say, we stand for the dreamers. We bring here for the Dreamers. But every single opportunity Democrats on the Hill has had to legislatively demonstrate that quote-unquote "have the back of young people, Dreamers of this country, they have failed." They have failed to get legislation over the line.
And so I would venture to say dreamers don't have until March. We have, and former secretary Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary, says they had until January 19th. And so this is critical. And if this doesn't happen, if Democrats are willing to countdown to the President, the Republicans and build this wall, waste our tax dollars, I think they are going to have to pay for it just as much as the president (INAUDIBLE).
TAPPER: And this is the gravity on the left. These are progresses who are arguing that Democrats need to take a stand and just get a clean DACA bill, dreamer bill through.
BORGER: Right. And how strong is the gravity on the right? This is a question I have now. You have Steve Bannon, he is kind of untethered right now. And a source close to Bannon said to me, he is going to fight DACA. Will that matter? You know, we don't know the answer to that.
BORGER: You heard Sheriff Joe Arpaio who said on CNN today that whatever the President wanted to do on DACA he would be with it because he trusts and supports the President. So if Joe Arpaio is going to be with the President, whatever he decides to do on DACA, what does that say about the rest of the base? Do they have much faith in Trump that they will say, OK, if you think this is the best thing we are just going to forget what you campaigned on?
[15:50:02] TAPPER: I want to bring in Dana Bash right now. Dana who has done a lot of reporting, obviously on the debate over immigration. And this is the conundrum. There is obviously a deal to be done. With some sort of border wall and President Trump, when the cameras left that meeting yesterday, according to Senator Jeff Flake, who we talked to yesterday, was much more malleable on the issue of the border wall. Did not have to be a 2,000-mile wall.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly.
TAPPER: It could be 700 to 800 miles and it could -- parts of it could be fence, et cetera. That plus something for the DREAMERS, there's the deal --
TAPPER: But there are people on the right and the left who say, no.
BASH: That's exactly right. Which is why the President and the people who were in that room yesterday have to be ready to hear much more from Ann Coulter on the right and people like her, that they are disappointed. And they are going to have to be prepared to hear much more from people on the left who can't imagine anybody with a "D" next to their name doing any deal with the President. People who are demanding that their democratic representatives don't sell out the DREAMERS, and from their perspective selling them out means agreeing to compromise along with that.
And so that's why you heard Dianne Feinstein say what she said yesterday, that we just want a clean DACA. We just want a deal with DREAMERS because she is getting pressure from the left in her reelection this year in California.
So, look, at the end of the day, people are out of practice in this notion of compromise. It's an art of compromise. And the art of compromise means you really make the bases angry. And the question is whether or not this is the time and whether or not the President is willing to use his political capital with the Ann Coulters of the world to make the deal. TAPPER: And the President said he would take the heat.
BASH: He did.
TAPPER: But we shall see. We have got a lot more to stick - lot more to talk about. Everyone stick around. We are going to continue to cover as another act of the Trump show unfolds. Stay with us.
[15:51:11] TAPPER: Welcome back to our special live coverage.
You are looking from video - a look at video from the White House east room from about an hour ago. President Trump wrapped up a press conference with the prime minister of Norway. My political is here with me to digest.
And before we lose her, I want to bring back Dana Bash.
Dana, President Trump said earlier today at a pool spray at a cabinet meeting how well he did yesterday at the 55-minute negotiation that was televised on immigration issues. How good the reviews were. How pleased people were with her performance, although he doesn't think of it as a performance, he thinks of it as work. And yet he may have undone some of that good will with some of his comments about the libel laws.
TAPPER: And attacking the Russia investigation and more.
BASH: I agree, Jake. It was -- it was such a different kind of President that we saw yesterday, and the reason that he got the reviews that he's talking about is because he didn't talk about himself. He didn't talk about kind of random things. He was focused on the issue at hand, which was immigration. He, you know, welcomed the cameras in, which was pretty remarkable. And engaged with the Democrats and Republicans.
Obviously there were questions about his grasp of some of the facts with regard to immigration and DACA. But the broader takeaway was that the reason he did well, in his words, was because he was focused on doing his job.
And today instead of talking about the issues before him and his cabinet, the people he was meeting with today, he talked about his performance, and as you said, you know, suing people and changing the libel laws, which is something he has been obsessed with for decades since he was a private citizen and angry over and over again about the way people had reported on him and threatened lawsuits many, many times.
So it is kind of the tale of two Trumps that we have seen so many times, that the lesson learned from yesterday wasn't necessarily the right one.
TAPPER: Thanks, Dana.
And, Josh, I think it's fair to say that the Donald Trump that we saw yesterday, the 55 minutes of the negotiation, maybe not a policy wonk, to say the least, but there in trying to get a deal, seeming affable, seeming in command of the room, if not the facts. That that was the person a lot of people hoped for after he got elected. The guy -- the deal-maker. And then there is a guy who does tweets calling Dianne Feinstein sneaky Dianne and that sort of thing. And that's the other side we see a lot as well.
HOLMES: Right. You get both, right? And the one thing that Republicans are heartened by is they are convinced to their core the way he governs is what you saw yesterday. We are talking about the tax package or all the various end of the year negotiations and where we are at currently with immigration. It's not what the media obsesses about, right? It's not the tweets. It's not the, you know, controversy that he throws out there. He actually has the wheels of government moving, despite everybody's attention on everything else. And so look, I understand there are a lot of opinions on that.
SANDERS: Do you really believe that, Josh? I don't know. I feel like Donald Trump can put on for the cameras and Donald Trump that he has been in reality television for a-while. He will put on for the cameras. He knows how to put on a really cute show, but if he has control of governing, I'm not convinced.
BORGER: And I would argue that the tweets, not to gang up on you, but I would argue that the tweets are the truest Trump. That those are the real, unedited what I'm thinking at this particular moment Trump.
BORGER: And that, you know, you can rein him in and say, OK, this is what we are doing today and he knows he has got to respond to the Michael Wolff book, et cetera, et cetera, and he is a performance artist, you know, to a great degree, which all Presidents are, by the way, but that the truest things are when he is full of grievance and tweets in the morning or at night or whatever it is about just --.