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Nashville Mayor Resigns Amid Sex Scandal; Trump and Swedish PM Meet. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 6, 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] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Live pictures there as we are watching and waiting for this joint news conference to begin with the President of the United States and the Swedish Prime Minister, much to ask him about. North Korea's news, the Sam Nunberg episode that was yesterday. They reported lack of chaos in the White House.
So, what we're waiting for that, stick around, meantime, this is the story everyone else is talking about today the mayor of Nashville announcing her resignation amid this sex scandal. She is a Democrat; her name is Megan Barry. She has been under criminal investigation since admitting she had an extra marital affair with her body guard. Her resignation today comes after she pleaded guilty to felony theft. It is unclear if this plea is directly related to that affair. Here are her parting words to the city of Nashville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGAN BARRY, DEPARTING MAYOR OF NASHVILLE: Nashville with its boundless energy, its infectious optimism, it has never encountered an obstacle it couldn't overcome attitude will in the years ahead continue its steady march towards the very top of the list of great American cities. It's a continued climb that I will watch but I will watch as a private citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to Nick Valencia, who has been following this whole thing for us, where to begin? What about this whole pleading guilty felony theft. What is she accused of stealing, what are the penalties she is facing.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think, Brooke, we should first start By acknowledging just how unusual this is for a female politician to
resign as a result of a sex scandal. The specifics about that criminal charge --
BALDWIN: Women behave badly as well.
VALENCIA: Yes, you know, it seems that way here, especially for the Nashville mayor, the personal theft of over $10,000. Specifically, we don't though what she took. We have to assume it's related to this sex affair. But she's agreed to pay back $11,000 of improper billing of overtime, while she was cheating on her husband with head of security. Same goes with him about $45,000 he's agreed to pay back. They're both to be put on three years of probation.
What's interesting to note here, Brooke, is up until now about a month of this scandal surrounding the mayor in her office. She said she wasn't going to step down. In fact, her approval rating didn't drop below 60 percent. But as a part of this plea deal of this criminal charge of felony theft she's agreed to resign. Her resignation will take effect at 6:00 p.m. eastern.
It is also interesting to note that this affair may have stayed private between her body guard and their families, if not for the investigation done by a local news station there, who essentially started following the money. They saw that her head of security had incurred tens of thousands of overtime over the course of two and a half years. That didn't seem right to them. They started looking into the relationship. That's when this sex scandal was made public, now the mayor, former Mayor Megan Barry stepping down.
BALDWIN: Nick Valencia. Thank you very much.
VALENCIA: You got it.
BALDWIN: We are mere minutes from hearing the President of the United States joint news conference, we'll be back in a moment.
[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: All right. So, we are back. It looks like we are getting there. People getting seated ahead of this joint news conference with the President, the PM of Sweden. We have Dana and Jamie here with me and let me just briefly read just to put, I don't want to say it's a button on the whole Nunberg thing, but Roger Stone, his mentor did just tweet that Sam Nunberg marches to his own drummer. He is not speaking at my behest or direction. That's just coming. Jamie, what do you think? What are your biggest questions for the president as we await?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Nobody's had access to him to really ask any questions for a while. So, it seems going to have personal and you're going to have policy. On the policy front, North Korea, the tariffs are obvious ones, personal, Sam Nunberg, Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, H.R. McMaster.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely and the fact of the matter is there is so much chaos. There are so many questions on the personnel side on the Russia investigation side to ask the president. But there are very, very real, very important policy questions like Jamie said, North Korea you know number one on the international front and the tariff question is an international issue as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Sweden.
BALDWIN: Here we go, let's go live. [15:38:11]
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. Thank you.
I'm honored to be joined by Prime Minister Lofven of Sweden at our first meeting in the White House.
Sweden is one of our oldest and closest partners. It was among the first European nations to offer the United States an unsolicited treaty of friendship, a treaty signed, believe it or not, in 1783. That's a long time ago.
My daughter, Ivanka, had a wonderful time watching American and Swedish athletes compete in the recent men's curling final at the Olympics.
That was something. It was a little upset, but that wasn't expected, but that's OK. We'll take it, right? All of the athletes should be immensely proud of the great job they did.
The prime minister and I have just concluded a series of very productive meetings. The relationship between the United States and Sweden is one based on shared values, including respect for individual rights, the rule of law, and human dignity. These common principles are the foundation of our partnership, and we have had a great partnership for many years.
We look forward to exploring further opportunities to increase our security and our cooperation in every other way, and we encourage nations around the world to share responsibility for our common defense.
We appreciate Sweden's leadership on the United Nations Security Council, and look very much forward to working together in the coming months.
The United States is also grateful to Sweden for advocating for Americans detained in North Korea. I particularly want to thank the Swedish government for its assistance in securing the release of American college student Otto Wambier last year. Terrible, tragic event. We continue to pray for Otto's parents, Fred and Cindy, two terrific people, over the tragic death of their son.
And we remain determined to achieve a de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And there's been a lot of news on that today. Hopefully it's positive. Hopefully it will lead to a very positive result. In economic matters, we are striving for a relationship grounded in fairness and reciprocity.
The United States is one of the largest investors in Sweden, and the Swedish investments in the United States support over 200,000 American jobs. Earlier this afternoon I heard from several Swedish business executives, some of the greatest in the world. Where are you folks? Please, some of the great executives in the world, people I've known for a long time and certainly know of. And they're investing tremendous amounts of money in the United States in supporting also vocational training for American workers.
We are grateful for those investments, and we are committed to working with Sweden to pursue even greater economic cooperation.
We're also continuing to pursue bilateral agreements to advance mutual prosperity. I'm pleased that Sweden intends to procure the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System -- finest in the world -- in a deal worth over $3 billion. This system will increase stability and security in the Baltic Sea region.
A strong and balanced economic relationship strengthens security and prosperity in both of our countries, and this is just the beginning. We have a lot of things that we're working on, and we're working on them really very hard.
Mr. Prime Minister, I want to thank you again for joining us, and I want to thank your great staff, who we met with, and your great business leaders. It was a very interesting and productive meeting. The longstanding friendship between our people, anchored in our shared beliefs and values has greatly enriched both of our countries. And this is just the beginning, our relationship has never been better, and I'm honored to have you here. Thank you. Thank you very much.
STEFAN LOFVEN, PRIME MINISTER OF SWEDEN: Thank you, Mr. President, for a warm and generous welcome. It is a true pleasure to be here at the White House.
This year, Sweden and the United States celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations. And this meeting, I'm -- reaffirms the strength of our relations.
The history has shown that our two nations share fundamental values and interests such as democracy and human rights. We also share a strong partnership that continues to evolve. Today we have discussed how to further strengthen our countries prosperity and security.
As for prosperity, Sweden is one of the largest per capita investors in the United States. And my country may not be big, but we support, directly and indirectly, almost one million jobs in the United States. And some key executives of the companies that provides these jobs are also here with me at this visit.
At the same time, the United States is our most important foreign employer, and many U.S. companies play a vital role in providing investment and creating jobs in Sweden. President Trump and I have discussed how our nations can support jobs and growth. It's a crucial issue for Sweden. That means embracing new sustainable technologies, which permit our economy to grow, at the same time, reducing emissions. And also how we can secure good jobs in a labor market constantly changing due to automation and digitalization.
Sweden and the United States are two of the most innovative economies in the world, and we see great opportunities ahead. Swedish prosperity is built on cooperation, competitiveness and free trade, and I am convinced that increased tariffs will hurt us all in the long run.
And as a Swede, I of course support the efforts of the European Union to achieve trade with fewer obstacles and as few as possible.
Turning to security, the president and I have discussed some key regional and global security challenges, such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but also the developments in -- in Sweden's neighborhood. We have also addressed the constructive cooperation between Sweden and the United States in the United Nations Security Council.
I would like to underline that the trans-Atlantic link is strong, and it remains crucial to responding to global security challenges. Sweden is a military non-aligned country, but we build security in partnership with others, and we greatly value our broad security and defense cooperation with the United States.
And one important example of that is our joint efforts to -- to fight and combat terrorism. Sweden and the United States stands shoulder to shoulder in the global coalition against ISIS, and also in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
And these vital military efforts must go hand in hand with strong political, diplomatic and also civilian support to create sustainable results.
So in conclusion, as we celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations, we are also planning for shared prosperity and security for many, many years to come.
And once again, I thank you Mr. President, for a constructive and successful meeting, and for the very warm welcome that both my delegation and I received.
Thank you so much.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
You spoke about North Korea in the Oval Office, so I'd like to turn to trade if I could. My understanding is that the prime minister came to you with a message from the European Union commission president, saying you put tariffs on steel and aluminum, we'll slap you back with punitive tariffs on bourbon, and jeans and the motorcycles, that you talk about from Wisconsin.
Are you still planning on going ahead with these tariffs? There are some people in your party who have suggested it's not a good idea.
And -- and, Prime Minister Lofven, what is your perspective on -- on tariffs and what message did you convey to the president, from Sweden and from the European Union? Thank you.
TRUMP: Well the United States has been taken advantage of by other countries, both friendly and not so friendly for many, many decades. And we have a trade deficit of $800 billion a year. And that's not going to happen with me.
We have been mistreated by many, sometimes fairly but there are really very few instances where that's taken place. And I don't blame the countries. I blame our leadership for allowing it to happen.
When I was with President Xi in China, as an example, we lose $500 billion a year on trade. We have a deficit of approximately $500 billion a year with China, and we're doing things with China which are very strong, but they understand it. But I was with him, and I said to him in public, I said, "Look, I'm not blaming you. I blame our people for not doing a better job; for allowing this to happen."
But it's like that with many countries, other than smaller. The European Union has been particularly tough on the United States. They make it almost impossible for us to do business with them, and yet, they send their cars and everything else back into the United States. And they can do whatever they'd like, but if they do that, then we put a big tax of 25 percent on their cars, and believe me, they won't be doing it very long. The European Union has not treated us well, and it's been a very, very unfair trade situation. I'm here to protect, and one of the reasons I was elected is I'm protecting our workers, I'm protecting our companies, and I'm not going to let that happen.
So we're doing tariffs on steel. We cannot lose our steel industry. It's a fraction of what it once was. And we can't lose our aluminum industry; also a fraction of what it once was. And our country is doing well. The massive tax cuts, and all of the deregulation has really kicked us into gear.
But I have to work on trade deals. We're working on NAFTA right now, and if we're able to make a deal with Canada and Mexico in NAFTA, then there will be no reason to do the tariffs with Canada and Mexico. But again, other countries, we won't have that choice, and -- unless they can do something for us. As an example, if the European Union takes off some of the horrible barriers that make it impossible for our product to go into there, then we can start talking. Otherwise, we're going to leave it the way it is.
So the fact is, we've been mistreated as a country for many years, and it's just not going to happen any longer.
QUESTION: How do you avoid this escalating -- How do you avoid this escalating into a trade war?
TRUMP: Well, it's -- we'll have to see. You know, when we're behind on every single country, trade wars aren't so bad. Do you understand what I mean by that? When we're down by $30 billion, $40 billion, $60 billion, $100 billion, the trade war hurts them. Doesn't hurt us. So we'll see what happens.
You know, you can also take it. In some cases, we lose on trade, plus, we give them military, where we're subsidizing them tremendously. So not only do we lose on trade, we lose on military. So -- and hence, we have these massive deficit numbers in our country. We're going to straighten it out, and we'll do it in a -- in a very loving way. It'll be a loving, loving way. They'll like us better, and they will respect us much more.
Because even they say, right now, they say, "We can't believe we've gotten away." I mean, two countries have said, "We cannot believe, to be honest with you, we've gotten away with this so long." Now, one of them made that statement before I got elected. He said, "I can't believe I made that statement," before I got elected. But it's one of those things. We have to straighten it out. We really have no choice.
QUESTION: And Mr. Prime Minister, how -- how forceful was your message to the president on -- on what the consequences will be, if he goes ahead with tariffs?
LOFVEN: Well, first, trade is a European Union mandate, so we're a member of the -- the European Union. It's European-managed to -- to -- to handle the trade issues. But as -- as a member of the European Union, I think it's important for us to try to find a way to cooperate between the European Union and the United States.
I fully understand and respect the president's view that we have to look after his own country, the country that you're leading. I understand that fully. That's my primary task as well.
But for me, leading a small country, depending on open trade, we -- the best way for us is to do that with others, because our export equals to 50 percent of our GDP. So for us, it is crucially important that -- that we have this open and free trade.
Today also, I believe that the -- the supply chains are very, very complicated to see. I know that, for example, when we -- when we sell our fighter aircraft, which is a very good aircraft, the content is perhaps 50 percent American. So we want this to be -- to be resolved in cooperation.
And when it comes to steel, yes we have an overcapacity in the world. That's -- that's obvious. But at the same time, it is China that is producing about 50 percent of the steel in the world, so -- and European Union, perhaps 10 percent, and less than that.
So to summarize, I think it was a pity -- again, it's a European Union mandate, but it was a pity also that the TTIP negotiations ended, because perhaps with negotiations and talks we can come into a situation where the European Union and the United States can cooperate. I think that would be a very good solution.
TRUMP: Just to add maybe a little bit further, if you top China, I've watched where the reporters have been writing 2 percent of our steel comes from China. Well, that's not right. They transship all through other countries and you'll see that a country that doesn't even have a steel mill is sending us 3 percent steel, for our country.
And many countries are doing it. But it comes from China. So China doesn't send us 2 percent; they send us a much, much higher level than that, but it's called transshipping. So it doesn't look good when it all comes out of China, so they send it through other countries and it comes to us.
And it's putting our steel mills out of business. Our aluminum mills are going out of business. And we need steel and we need aluminum. And you know, there's a theory that if a country doesn't have steel, it doesn't have a country. And it's true. So this is more than just pure economics. This is about defense. This is about the country itself.
But again, remember this, we lose $800 billion a year in trade. And I think I was elected, at least partially on this issue. And I've been saying it for 25 years; our country's been taken advantage of by everybody, by everybody -- almost everybody. And we can not let that happen any longer -- not for our companies and not, most importantly, for our workers. So we're not going to let it happen.
STAFF: OK, Tina (ph), TT News Agency?
QUESTION: So, Mr. President, thank you for hosting us. You mentioned that Sweden has helped the United States with North Korea.
How do you see your collaboration in the future -- to create a future of a peaceful Korean Peninsula? How do you see Sweden's role there? How do you both view the collaboration?
QUESTION: And as a follow up to that as I may, Mr. President, I know that you follow the development in Sweden, closely, especially when it comes to immigration politics. Now that you spent some time with our prime minister, how do you view Sweden in general? What is your take, and also on our immigration politics? Thank you.
TRUMP: I think you have a wonderful prime minister, I have to say. We've gotten to know each other. Certainly you have a problem with the immigration, it's caused problems in Sweden. I was one of the first ones to say it. I took a little heat, but that was OK, because I proved to be right.
But you do have a problem, and I know the problem will slowly disappear, hopefully rapidly disappear. But as far as our relationship with Sweden, it's going to only stronger, only better, both in a military sense and a trading sense and economic sense.
You know, Sweden is a -- I think the largest -- the eighth largest investor in the United States, and they like me very much because the market is up almost 40 percent since Election Day.
So I've made a lot of business genius's look even better, so they like Trump. But -- but you know it's been up very substantially, but I believe Sweden is about the eighth largest investor in the United States and that's quite a -- an achievement.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) North Korea. TRUMP: We've been working on North Korea. Sweden has somewhat of a relationship with North Korea. We've been working with North Korea. As I said, Otto was really brought home unfortunately a very poor condition, but Otto was brought home largely with the help of Sweden. And they're terrific -- terrific people. People from Sweden, Swedish people, are fantastic people. I have many friends in New York and Washington from Sweden and they are fantastic people. Thank you.
QUESTION: And Mr. Prime Minister, how do you view Sweden and North Korea and the U.S.?
LOFVEN: We -- we have to find a dialogue. I know it -- it's not -- it's not easy, but that's the way it has to be. It's a very dangerous situation, and we -- we need all to be very concerned about the development of nuclear weapon.
But we -- we must look at the -- the peninsula, the region, the world, and this has to do with -- with world peace or -- or something else. So the key actors is -- is obviously the two countries, South and North Korea, as well as the United States and -- and other big countries; they are the key actors.
We've said that we can provide -- we can -- we can be a channel or -- or do whatever we can to see that the dialogue is -- is smooth, not being naive, it's not -- it's not up to us to solve this problem, but we can definitely with our long presence on the peninsula, both in South and North, we have a -- an embassy in Pyongyang for example, we've had that since 1973, so with that relation with North Korea, I believe that they trust us.
We're an non-aligned country and a non -- a military non-aligned country, and I think we can -- we can -- if -- of the president decides -- the -- the key actors decide if they want us to -- to help out, we'll be there.
TRUMP: They really have been terrific, really terrific.
Sager Angetti (ph) Daily Caller, please, sir -- Sager (ph)?
QUESTION: Thank you Mr. President. Since my first time before you, I thought you might indulge me with two questions.
First, sir, do you believe that North Korea's recent willingness to talk is sincere or is it an effort to buy time for their nuclear program and to what do you owe this recent openness to talk?
TRUMP: Me. No, I think that -- nobody got that. I think that they are sincere but I think they're sincere also because the sanctions and what we're doing with respect to North Korea, including the great help that we've been given from China, and they can do more, but I think they've done more than certainly they've ever done for our country before, so China has been a big help.
I think that's been a factor, but the sanctions have been very, very strong, and very biting. And we don't want that to happen, so I really believe they are sincere. I hope they're sincere. We're going to soon find out.
QUESTION: You would like to see some change in the people around you. Does that include your Attorney General Jeff Sessions or either of your cabinet secretaries?
TRUMP: No, I don't really want to talk about that. I just said that the White House has tremendous energy. It has tremendous spirit.