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Canadian Hockey Team Bus Crashes; Trade War Talk And Russia Sanctions; Trump Begins Prep For Possible Mueller Interview; Deadly Clashes Rock Israel-Gaza Border; Inside Eastern Ghouta; Markets Fall amid Conflicting Messages; The Real World Effect of Tariffs; Caravan Travelers North to Mexican Border; Bollywood's Salman Khan Awaits Decision. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired April 7, 2018 - 05:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The Trump administration hands down a new round of sanctions against Vladimir Putin's cronies and Russian oligarchs who helped propaganda get into news feeds.

Plus playing chicken with trade: the Dow plunges after Trump calls for more tariffs against China.

And later, CNN talks to U.S. farmers who are concerned about a trade war.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

HOWELL: At 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast, we start the show with breaking news we're following out of Canada. Police there say 14 people are dead, this after a bus carrying young people on a junior hockey team and a semi truck collided; 14 others were hurt in the accident.

The Humboldt Broncos team was on their way to a playoff game. Witnesses say it took several hours for the victims to be pulled from the wreckage. This is where it happened, this part of the nation, western province of Saskatchewan, where the hockey teams, it is a way of life for many people there, these teams idolized by many.

The Humboldt Broncos posted this recent photo of the team. Keep in mind we don't know exactly who was on that bus but, again, this picture of the team, those players mostly in their teens after they won a competition. The community is certainly grieving, given the situation here.

The team statement said this, "The organization experienced an incredible tragedy. The Broncos' bus was involved in a terrible accident which has resulted in multiple fatalities and serious injuries."

Also this from the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted condolences, "I cannot imagine what these parents are going through and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy."

Let's now bring in Ryan McNally, an anchor reporter for CKRM radio, joining us now live by phone.

Ryan, thank you for being with us. I know that you have been in touch surely with your contacts about this bus crash.

What have you learned?

RYAN MCNALLY, CKRM RADIO: Well, thank you for having me this morning. It's been a long, long night. I've learned that 14 people are confirmed dead, another 14 injured. Three of those 14 are critically injured. And they are currently clinging to life right now in hospital.

It has just been a rough time for the entire province of Saskatchewan; heck, let's face it, the entire country of Canada, if you will. We've seen a lot of people rallying behind this junior A hockey team out of Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

HOWELL: And this is a part of the world, certainly, where you started your career, Ryan, in Humboldt from a personal perspective. Help our viewers understand the importance of hockey in that part of the world.

What more can you tell us about this community?

MCNALLY: Well, especially junior A hockey in a community like Humboldt, where, really there, is nothing else in the town that people can rally behind. People take these kids in as their own, whether coming in from out of province, to come play in this city.

It is a rather small city of 7,500 people but mind you -- and it has a small town feel that you would expect in small town Saskatchewan. And really this junior A hockey team was the life breath in this community. And it is a very, very painful night and morning as we continue to learn information from this.

HOWELL: And again what we understand at this point, a Canadian hockey team, this bus that has crashed, 14 people killed on the bus. Again, we had an image but I want to reiterate, it is unclear exactly who was on that bus.

And, Ryan, you will understand the importance of that. There are families that are watching this newscast; if they have not yet heard from officials, we obviously want to make sure that we let officials come forward to share the information as they are prepared to do so.

Ryan, thank you for being with us and please keep us apprised as well.

MCNALLY: Thank you so much.

HOWELL: Now to a new round of U.S. sanctions to tell you about, this time targeting the Russian president's inner circle, partly in retaliation for U.S. election meddling. On the list, seven powerful Russian oligarchs who have close ties to Vladimir Putin. These people some of the wealthiest in the --


HOWELL: -- country. Also named, 12 companies those oligarchs either owned or control. And to drive it all home, the sanctions also target 17 senior Russian government officials. One of the men targeted is Andrey Kostin, the chairman of Russia's VTB Bank. Here is what he had to say to my colleague, Richard Quest.


ANDREY KOSTIN, CHAIRMAN, VTB BANK: I did nothing wrong to America, to American interests. I was always trying to promote good business relationship with American banks, with American investors.

So I am punished because the American administration considers that the Russian government is conducting the wrong policy, and it's very unfortunate.

It shows the very high level of misunderstanding of Parliament and American administration of the intention of the Russian government, of the Russian leadership.


HOWELL: Moscow, though, is defiant toward these new sanctions. The foreign ministry promised a, quote, "harsh response" to it.

It also issued this statement, quote, "Washington continues to frighten with the rejection of American visas and threaten Russian businesses with freezing property and financial assets for getting that the seizure of private property and other people's money is called robbery.

"We would like to advise Washington to get rid of the illusion that we can be spoken to with the language of sanctions."

Let's bring in CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, following the story live in Moscow.

And Nic, what is the overall reaction there in Moscow to these sanctions?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it's been one of pushback in a limited way so far. You've heard what the foreign ministry has had to say; the trade minister has said that people that are affected will be supported.

We've heard from other officials, saying that anyone affected will perhaps get compensation but they will be able to find ways around these sanctions that they are facing.

It didn't have a lot of air time on state television last night, about 30 seconds, which really is indicative of the fact that, this Easter weekend here in Moscow, that the government really hasn't fully formulated precisely what its response will be.

The indications are from the foreign ministry there very clearly that it will be a harsh response to this and they say harsh response to any other further or similar actions that will potentially increase tensions.

So where we're at, at the moment, it does seem that the government is taking stock. We've certainly heard from some of the oligarchs involved, who have been named in these sanctions, Oleg Deripaska saying it is groundless, ridiculous and absurd.

But precisely what the government is going to do in response, that hasn't been articulated yet. But I think that we can expect obviously to hear more in the coming days, perhaps not this weekend though.

HOWELL: And just to push forward on that because again, Russia can't exactly respond symmetrically in response to this.

The response would have to be asymmetrical, yes?

ROBERTSON: This would be, you know, typical of how we've seen Russia respond in the past. Part of the way that they have -- when we looked at this sort of united front of diplomatic expulsions, of Russian diplomats being expelled from the United States and Britain and other countries around the world, most particularly in Europe, Russia has treated countries a little bit differently.

You know, U.S. diplomats who have been expelled from here, PNG, that in a relatively short period of time they will be -- or the possibility was there for them to be replaced.

Will that situation now change?

But what we generally see in Russia's tactics would be to try to perhaps treat some differently to others, to try to sort of separate this united front that they are facing here. So, in that way, it may be asymmetrical.

We've heard from the Russian embassy in Washington saying that, look, when the country is put under pressure, everyone rallies behind the president. That is what is happening now. The recent elections are an indication of just the strength of support that Vladimir Putin has at the moment.

So asymmetrical, they will shape the understanding to the Russian citizens, about what the Russian government is doing, why it is saying what it's saying, why it will push back in the way that it will push back. So it will control the message here.

But it will face that potential difficulty.

How can it inflict significant or similar economic pain on the United States?

For example one of the companies affected here is one of Russia's principal arms exporters. They have said that these sanctions --


ROBERTSON: -- really just show that the United States is trying to gain unfair advantage, essentially in the global sales of weapons.

So you know, how would they come back against that particular issue?

It is very clear that they will come back fighting but as I say, asymmetric is the most likely way forward.

HOWELL: Our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, live for us in Moscow. Thank you so much. We'll stay in touch with you.

There is talk of a trade war between the United States and China. It heated up on Friday and that sent U.S. stocks spiraling downward. The Dow lost 527 points but at one point was down more than 700 points.

The weaker-than-expected jobs report also hurt the index. But the biggest factor was the U.S. president Donald Trump threatening China with $100 billion in tariffs on imports. And that is on top of the $50 billion that he has already threatened. Mr. Trump said that the China threat to retaliate was unfair.

In exclusive reporting, CNN has learned that Donald Trump's attorneys are preparing him for what could be one of the most important interviews of his presidency, this according to a White House official and a person familiar with the situation.

The attorneys are reportedly going over potential topics that special counsel Robert Mueller may ask Mr. Trump. All of this part of Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling. Long-time Trump confidant Roger Stone tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that the president should not talk to Mueller. Listen.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: In your opinion, should the president ever sit down with the special counsel?

ROGER STONE, TRUMP ADVISER: I have written and said on "Info Wars" repeatedly that I thought it was a perjury trap, that there is every possibility the special counsel is looking at some process-related crime that doesn't relate to Russia.

I obviously believe the special counsel has a political bias, as demonstrated by the FBI text messages and e-mails that have surfaced and the political nature of this investigation. So I think it is very dangerous for the president to do so.


HOWELL: Roger Stone there speaking with my colleague, Anderson Cooper. Keep in mind the president has not formally agreed to sit down with Mueller. Let's talk about all of this with political analyst, Ellis Henican, a columnist at Metro Papers and bestselling author.

It's good to have you with us.



HOWELL: OK. So if there is a trade war, what would the impact be?

The president has had this to say about the potential of that. Let's listen.


TRUMP: The easiest thing for me to do would be just to close my eyes and forget it. If I did that, I'm not doing my job. So I'm not saying there won't be a little pain but the market has gone up 40 percent, 42 percent, so we might lose a little bit of it. But we're going to have a much stronger country when we're finished.


HOWELL: All right, so a little pain there, Ellis.

Who would feel it, a little pain?

HENICAN: All of us on all corners of the world. I don't know an economist who is shrugging about this quite as much as the president because there is this natural tit-for-tat reaction. We sock tariffs on them, they sock them on us and, when it ends, nobody knows.

HOWELL: But as far as the impact, just so viewers can understand exactly what that means, I mean you are talking about goods that you get at a Walmart or things like that.

What exactly would the impact be?

HENICAN: Rising prices would be the one that consumers would feel the most. George, I have to tell you, many Americans are not aware of where all the goods that we use come from. And a whole lot of the cheap ones are coming from China and other low-wage countries, many of them in Asia but other parts of the world as well.

And the more tariffs or taxes you put on those imports, the higher we will pay at the cash register.

HOWELL: And with regard to a possible trade war, the president's new economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, tried to tamp down fears, saying there is no trade war and all the talks of tariffs are only a negotiating proposal.

That eased the freefall somewhat but you only until the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, quote, "there is a potential of a trade war."

Well, that seemed to change the dynamic.

So what is it here, Ellis?

Is it a trade war or is it not?

HENICAN: Well, they're getting closer. And the dynamic is upped a bit as well by the comments on Friday, the president who's threatening another $100 billion worth of tariffs against the Chinese. So, no, we are not actually there yet. They are not actually in place.

But the rhetoric is going hard. With Donald Trump, it is always possible that there is talk and we pull back before the action happens. But I would say that, at the moment, it feels like we're skating in that direction.

HOWELL: Also want to get your perspective on the advice given by Roger Stone to the president --


HOWELL: , speaking with our colleague, Anderson Cooper. Just to get a sense of whether the president should talk to Robert Mueller if invited to do so. Your thoughts.

HEILEMANN: First of all, be careful with the word "invitation," George, because in the end the special counsel here under our laws almost certainly has the right to legally force a subpoena the president to talk.

So listen, any lawyer and any political adviser would say don't do this, Mr. President there is only danger here for you. But in the end, he may not have a choice. He may be forced to talk.

HOWELL: And last question, the EPA director under a great deal of scrutiny right now and the question, will he keep his job?

Is the EPA director, at this point, a major liability for the U.S. president?

Where do you see this playing out this week?

HENICAN: Well, you know, we all spent Friday night waiting for Scott Pruitt to be fired. The evidence against him is just piling up. Certainly politically it seems likely. The chief of staff is urging his firing. It doesn't feel like he will be around much longer.

But the president loves him. He's been very effective in pulling regulation off of business. And so he does have a lot of internal support. But, boy, it is getting tougher by the hour.

HOWELL: Ellis Henican, thank you for the perspective.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead, more violence to tell you about along the Israel-Gaza border. We'll have the latest in a live report from Jerusalem as we return.

Plus a firsthand look at one of Syria's worst conflict zones. CNN reports from inside Eastern Ghouta. Stay with us.




HOWELL: A look at what is happening on the Israel-Gaza border. Friday turned into another day of violence and death. Palestinian protesters created thick, black smoke with burning tires. Israel says some tried to damage a security fence through explosives and firebombs.

The Israeli forces responded with teargas and water cannons; in some cases they even used live ammunition. Palestinian health officials say at least nine people were killed. The so-called March of Return protests started last week. Thousands of Palestinians have been taking part in it. They are trying to reach --


HOWELL: -- Israeli territory to reclaim what they say is Palestinian land.

Let's get the very latest from our international correspondent, Ian Lee, live in Jerusalem, following the story.

Ian, what is the expectation about this day compared to others that you have been covering?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, today we still have those people, George, who are out at those camps. They are keeping a vigil, if you will, over the course of the next five weeks.

Today the situation is calmer. We are seeing, though, funerals of some of the people who were killed in yesterday's violence, including one journalist. That makes nine people killed from yesterday.

And the total since all the protests began last week is now at 31 people. Over 2,000 people have been injured in this violence. And it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon.

You know, we were gauging this last Friday to see how long, if this movement has momentum to it because they called for originally six weeks of protests leading up to mid-May and yesterday proved just as deadly and just as violent as these protesters tried to go to the border, they say they are trying to cross over.

But for Israel, that is a red line. They say that they reserve the right to use whatever forces to protect their sovereignty. And so you do have the ingredients for this friction that we see, which results in these deaths and injuries. HOWELL: Also Israeli officials concerned about what we're seeing right here in this image, again, Ian, these tires that have been set on fire, basically to create a smokescreen. And Israeli officials saying that they are concerned about how that will affect their ability to respond.

What more can you tell us about it?

LEE: Yes, we were out at the front yesterday in the central part toward the central part of Gaza. And we saw these huge columns of black smoke. And you can actually see them dotting the Gaza border, about five different camps where you could see it.

And this black smoke would blow across from Gaza into Israel. And it would obscure the sight of the Israeli forces.

Now the Gazans and Palestinians say that they are doing to obscure the sight of the snipers. And they also had mirrors, they were using mirrors to try to blind snipers because those are the people using the live rounds. And so they say this is to protect the protesters.

The Israeli military, though, when we were talking to them, they said that this smoke also does act essentially as a smokescreen for protesters to move closer to the border. They released the video of one protester cutting at the fence. And they say that also makes it a more dangerous situation for the soldiers.

So you know, this is a tactic that we've seen evolve, likely to probably see next week as well. And during the course of this last week, we saw them gathering thousands of tires from across the Gaza Strip to light them on fire, to create these smokescreens, definitely something that they believe is effective.

And again, probably see it again over the course of the next five weeks -- George.

HOWELL: Ian Lee following it all live for us in Jerusalem. Thank you, Ian, for the reporting.

Now to Syria, pro government forces there are getting closer and closer to seizing all of Eastern Ghouta. They have reportedly launched an assault on Douma, the latest enclave's rebel-held area. Aid and monitoring groups say airstrikes and shelling killed dozens of people on Friday.

Rescue volunteers from the White Helmets say at least 35 of the dead were civilians. State media report rebel shelling also killed four people in nearby Damascus. The fighting effectively ends a short cease-fire that was in place. Both sides blame each other for the renewed offensive.

The U.N. secretary general once described it as hell on Earth. Eastern Ghouta has seen some of the worst fighting in this civil war in Syria. Fred Pleitgen recently got to see that destruction firsthand. Here is his report from inside Eastern Ghouta.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A drive into the wasteland that used to be the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. Years of siege and fighting have laid waste to what was once a thriving business district.

Amid the ruins, some are trying to return, praying, like Sahil al- Kalish (ph), that businesses like his tomato sauce factory will come back to life.

"God willing," he says, "we will try and rebuild this factory in a fairly short time and then start producing again."

Eastern Ghouta, an area with nearly 400,000 inhabitants, was under Islamist rebel control for around six years. After a fierce offensive --


PLEITGEN (voice-over): -- Syrian government forces managed to take back most of the territory, displacing tens of thousands of civilians.

PLEITGEN: Much of Eastern Ghouta looks exactly like this, buildings either completely flattened or at least badly damaged. But even in this situation, people are trying to come back and bring back some semblance of life.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): An almost impossible task, as fighting continues in areas nearby.

Yasar al-Hajj (ph) says he is lucky his apartment is still somewhat intact.

"Life was difficult beyond description," he says, "but we had to adapt to it. For instance, we had inedible barley but we had to eat it anyway."

The vast majority of Eastern Ghouta's residents remain displaced in shelters around Syria, while those who have been able to come back face a long and tough road, trying to rebuild their district and their lives -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Eastern Ghouta, Syria.


HOWELL: Fred, thank you so much.

Two nations trading jabs. The presidential rhetoric gets heated as fears of a U.S.-China trade war grow.

Plus this:



RON HECK, FARMER: Well, it's a matter of concern when your largest soybean export customer is having negotiations with your government.


HOWELL: The real effect of a possible trade war already being felt in farms across the United States. Stay with us.




HOWELL: Live coast to coast across the United States from London to Sydney and all points in between, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM --


HOWELL: -- live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you.


HOWELL: You can call it a tit-for-that, raising the stakes or even trying to level the playing field. But whatever you call it, the heated rhetoric of a possible trade war between the United States and China is taking its toll on the stock markets and maybe on your own bank account.

Just this week, there have been threats and counter threats, with the U.S. president threatening $100 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese imports. But add in the confusing and contradictory messages from the White House and investors are paying the price. Our Clare Sebastian reports from the stock market in New York.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a down day from the beginning on the stock market but the selling really accelerated in the second half of the day. President Trump's threat to impose an additional $100 billion in tariffs on China on top of the $50 billion both sides had already threatened really rattled already fragile stock markets.

And it wasn't just the potential economic fallout of tariffs. Rising consumer prices, potentially slower economic growth, it was the somewhat confusing messages coming from the Trump administration.

First, President Trump himself took to the airwaves this morning in a radio interview, saying, we don't have a trade war. We've already lost. Then his chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, also tried to firefight shortly after that, saying we are not running a trade war, we still plan to negotiate.

And then the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin went on television. And this is what he said to CNBC.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The tariffs will take some period of time to go in to effect. There will be public comments. So while we're in the period before the tariffs go on, we'll continue to have discussions. But there is the potential of a trade war.

And let me just be clear, it is not a trade war. The president wants reciprocal trade.


SEBASTIAN: Mnuchin's comments voicing the market's worst fear that a trade war is actually possible. He also avoided questions on whether the two sides were in negotiations, something the markets had been banking on. And China didn't help matters either.

Commerce minister said Friday it will not hesitate to fight back at any cost.

In the end the Dow closed down more than 500 points, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also down more than 2 percent. The fear down here on Wall Street is that the weekend will bring more uncertainty and more confusion -- Clare Sebastian, CNNMoney, at the New York stock exchange.


HOWELL: Clare, thank you.

Surely the impact of all this is being felt on Wall Street but it's also being felt on farms across the United States. If China follows through on its threat to raise tariffs on farm produce, many of the states that will be affected are those that voted for the U.S. president, one of those states, the state of Iowa.

And that is where we find our Martin Savidge with this story.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): This could be America's next war zone, Iowa. If a trade war between the U.S. and China breaks out, then America's heartland is on the front lines. And Ron Heck's farm will be one of the many battlefields.

(on camera) How worried are you?

HECK: Well, it's a matter of concern when your largest soybean export customer is having negotiations with your government.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): And President Trump's take no prisoner negotiating style is worrying the rural constituency that helped put him in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have some concerns with the president.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): China is threatening to put a 25 percent tariff on all U.S. soybeans. The result for Iowa's soybean farmers has been a week of stomach churning values swings for a crop that hasn't even been planted yet.

HECK: Well, I grow more than a 125,000 --


HECK: -- bushels a year, so a 50-cent reaction is $50,000. So that's a big deal.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): America is the number one producer of soybeans.

GRANT KIMBERLY, SOYBEAN FARMER: In the United States, one of every three rows that you see driving down the road up a soybean field will end up in China.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Grant Kimberly is sixth generation farmer in his family. Like many, he's hoping the tariff threats don't become reality.

KIMBERLY: I want to encourage both governments to continue the dialogue and --

SAVIDGE (on camera): You would like cooler heads to prevail.

KIMBERLY: And make sure that cooler heads prevail in this whole situation.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But for pork producer Dave Struthers, just the threat of tariffs on pork could have a significant impact on the price he gets today for his pigs.

DAVE STRUTHERS, HOG FARMER: A market hog right now is only worth about $100. It takes me about $120 to produce it.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): He says he's losing about $2,000 a week and he's already thinking of going to the banks for loans. But crop prices aren't the only thing a trade war might jeopardize. There's also a very real political price that Republicans could pay at the midterms and beyond.

You see, the biggest pork and soybean states are overwhelmingly red states controlled by Republicans.

(on camera) You don't think the Chinese just sort of capriciously picked soybeans?

KIMBERLY: No, the Chinese are very politically astute.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Kimberly has firsthand insight. His family is personal friends with Chinese leader Xi Jinping who even visited Kimberly's farm six years ago.

(on camera) The man who was now the president.

KIMBERLY: Exactly. SAVIDGE (on camera): As American farmers calculate the cost of a potential trade war, some already have become victims.

STRUTHERS: That's the problem, you know. There's innocent victims here.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Which means GOP leaders should be concerned with the potential cost in rural American votes.

(on camera) Did you vote for this president?

STRUTHERS: I did vote for this president.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you in any way feel regretful?

STRUTHERS: You know, I want to see this play out. Am I going to vote for him again? I'm going to say it depends on who's running against him.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Martin Savidge, CNN, Perry, Iowa.


HOWELL: Let's talk about all of this with David Andelman, a visiting scholar at the Fordham Law School Center on National Secretary. He's a contributor to CNN Opinion and a former foreign correspondent for "The New York Times," live in Paris this hour.

Thank you so much for your time today.

DAVID ANDELMAN, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL: Thanks for having me, George.

HOWELL: Mr. Trump's top economic adviser literally found out about these tariffs on Thursday evening. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did the president first tell you that he would announce these additional (INAUDIBLE) tariffs?



HOWELL: There you have it. So it is an evolving possibility.

The greater question here, is there is a looming trade war or not?

Or is this somehow playing chicken or some sort of negotiating tactic in your view?

ANDELMAN: Well, Trump certainly consider it is a negotiating tactic. But the fact is that what he doesn't understand is that trade is a -- not a zero-sum game. It is a multinational game, especially in this day and age. So it is not just the United States versus China or China versus the United States, which would be effectively a trade war between two countries. It is a global issue. And it drags in a whole lot of other players. If the United States doesn't have any allies in this, we'll lose. There is no doubt about that.

China is a very strong and powerful country and has a very strong and powerful economy. And it is single mindedly focused on one final aim and that is making China great again.

So we have to understand what the stakes are here. And they go far beyond simply some farmers in Iowa, which is very big but not necessarily the whole picture.

HOWELL: This president certainly transactional and binary in his approach but from what we've seen -- and this situation, as you point out, very nuanced.

And we're hearing really some pushback from Republican senators on it like Ben Sasse, who had this to say about it, quote, "Hopefully the president is just blowing off steam but if he is even half serious, this is nuts.

"China is guilty of many things but the president has no actual plan to win right now. He is threatening to light American agriculture on fire." He goes on to say, "This is the dumbest possible way do this."

Your thoughts there.

ANDELMAN: Right, well, it certainly is. And one of the reasons it is that we really haven't thought it through very effectively. If we were going into a war like this, we need allies.

One of the allies that we just kicked under the table or threw under the bus last year was the 13 countries that were members of the Trans- Pacific Partnership, which Trump immediately, as soon as he came into office, basically pulled out of.

That was a huge mistake. The TPP has gone ahead --


ANDELMAN: -- it is a potentially a huge counterweight to China, it has Japan in it, Australia, Canada, a number of South American countries that produce the kinds of products that China could need and could turn to in lieu of the United States, if these tariffs continue and actually go into effect.

So really the biggest issue right now is, who are we going to partner with?

Because we can't win this alone. Trade is not a binary issue. It is a multinational issue. It is a global issue. And Trump doesn't seem to have appreciated that yet. Perhaps he will in the future but it could be a very dangerous future. HOWELL: One point of this, that many do seem to support the president on his argument about intellectual property. Many supportive of the president's stance to do something about it.

What are your thoughts on it?

ANDELMAN: Well, intellectual property has been a huge issue, no question about that. But I wonder how actually we approach that.

Do we approach it as a tariff or do we approach it as an issue between companies, between corporations, in a whole different set of circumstances?

Because tariffs do not affect intellectual property. Intellectual property is a separate issue. Just as an example, one of the retaliatory measures that China could take is simply to look at the finances of our two countries. China is the largest single holder in the world of American Treasury bonds, of our debt. They own $1.2 billion in our debt.

If they suddenly began to unload some of that, if they stop buying our bonds in the future, that would be a huge hit to the United States, if could raise our interest rates. Mortgages could go up to 12 percent, 15 percent even.

This is a huge danger in the future and we have to understand all the ramifications of this before we actually go in and take on China with trade as against intellectual property. They are neither apples and oranges.

HOWELL: David Andelman, thank you so much for your time and perspective today.

ANDELMAN: Thanks for having me.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, they are tired, hungry and desperate for a better life. We'll hear from the migrants crossing Mexico in the caravan. Stay with us.





HOWELL: A migrant caravan soldiers on through Mexico. It started with 1,100 Central Americans nearly two weeks ago. Since then, the group has dwindled down to the hundreds. They are now in Puebla, about two hours from Mexico City.

These migrants left everything behind, even children, with the aims of finding a better life. Our Leyla Santiago spoke with one woman about her journey.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANTIAGO: She is from Guatemala.

(Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANTIAGO: She says because of the delinquency and the violence she left Guatemala.

(Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANTIAGO: So she is going to stay here in Mexico. She says she is going to Tijuana, and from there -- gracias -- from there she wants to stay there and make money and send that back to Guatemala to help her children that she left behind there.

This is actually not the first time that I have heard a story like this. The people here telling me they are fleeing violence from either Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras, they are fleeing the corrupted government or they are just trying to find a better life because they can't find a job in their own country.


HOWELL: Leyla there with the story of people fleeing, trying to find a better life. This migrant march comes as the U.S. president deploys troops to the Mexican border. The National Guard says 500 troops plus vehicles and helicopters are on the way. The U.S. Defense Secretary authorized as many as 4,000 to go.

Federal law prohibits the soldiers from enforcing immigration law but they can provide air support and to help with intelligence gathering and construction.

The heightened focus on the border leaves some residents in nearby towns wondering about their future. Our Ed Lavandera has more now from South Texas, Laredo.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first National Guard soldiers called up by President Trump have started moving to the U.S. southern border and these moves are once again raising concerns in border towns about what else is to come.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Joseph Hein is bracing for the fight of a lifetime. He owns nearly 600 acres of ranch land outside Laredo, Texas, and he wants to keep any kind of border wall off his property. JOSEPH HEIN, RANCHER: I can be the type of person that sides on the side of logic. But if you suspicious me, I'll fight you back. And if I think I'm in the right, you don't want to fight me.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Wall construction could come through this area but, until it does, President Trump is planning to secure the border with up to 4,000 National Guard soldiers. The announcement has raised the stakes for those still trying to push back on the plan to build new segments of border wall from Texas to California.

PETE SAENZ, LAREDO MAYOR: Well, I'm worried because it hasn't ceased. As a matter of fact, it's gotten more boisterous. And maybe the wall may work someplace else. But it doesn't work here for us.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Laredo mayor Pete Saenz says that the wall would be devastating to this city's economy. Laredo is one of the largest ports in the United States. More than $200 billion worth of trade passes through this border town every year. Saenz is the only border mayor who has ever hosted President Trump.

SAENZ: We're excited to have Mr. Donald Trump here in Laredo, Texas.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The mayor voted for Trump. But the endless push for the border wall and a tax on NAFTA has left him questioning that support.

LAVANDERA: Could you vote for him again?

SAENZ: I don't know. I guess it depends on what improvements are made.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Improvements are needed, according to National Border Patrol Council spokesman Hector Garza.

HECTOR GARZA, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNSEL: It's a very busy are for our border patrol agents and for human and drug smuggling.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A wall is something many border patrol agents welcome, especially along this stretch of the Rio Grande on the edge of Laredo.

GARZA: We don't believe building a wall from sea to shining sea. We believe in having our physical barriers and walls in strategic locations.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But Laredo's mayor says building a wall will only create more problems and wants President Trump to come back to see for himself.

LAVANDERA: You had that chance once before.

Did it work?

SAENZ: No, I don't think so.

(LAUGHTER) LAVANDERA (voice-over): That leaves border towns and residents like Joseph Hein wondering what their towns will --


LAVANDERA (voice-over): -- look like in the future.

LAVANDERA: The Arizona National Guard says about 150 soldiers are being moved toward the Arizona-Mexico border. Texas National Guard says some 250 soldiers will begin the process of moving this weekend.

All in all, there could be more announcements of deployments as President Trump says he wants to see anywhere between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard soldiers moved to the U.S. southern border -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Laredo, Texas.


HOWELL: Ed, thank you for the report.

We'll be right back after the break.





HOWELL: One of the world's highest paid actors will be out of jail in a few hours' time. Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted bail after being convicted of killing a rare protected antelope and was sentenced to five years in prison. He is appealing that sentence. Let's bring in journalist Liz Neisloss in New Delhi.

What is the latest here?

LIZ NEISLOSS, JOURNALIST: Well, George, the latest is that India's most popular actor, by most tallies, can walk free for the moment. He got bail; that means that he can leave. His lawyers expect him to leave jail at the latest in --


NEISLOSS: -- a couple of hours by early this evening local time. At that point, though, his lawyers will then move on to get a suspension of the sentence. They will also take this case forward toward an appeal.

But outside the court, the intensity was absolute. The lawyers were mobbed by the media; fans were packed, they were dancing, they were jubilant. This is an extremely popular actor and emotions run very high around this case -- George.

HOWELL: And Liz, very quickly here, we have about 20 or 30 seconds, but this really was someone who has -- he's been seeing this case drag out for nearly 20 years.

NEISLOSS: Yes, he has. It is not unusual for cases in India to drag on in the courts for years. In this particular case, though, he has lawyers that have been filing appeals, questioning and requestioning witnesses.

So this case has moved through several courts, hence the 20 years. He has also been acquitted after quite an also lengthy trial procedure of two other poaching cases. So this is an actor who has gone through years of court deliberations -- George.

HOWELL: Liz Neisloss, summing it up, 20 years in about 20 seconds. Thank you so much for your time today and we'll continue to follow this case.

And thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. For our viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For viewers around the world, "AMANPOUR" is ahead. Thank you for watching the cable news network, CNN, the world's news leader.