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Netanyahu: We Have Proof Iran Has Nuclear Weapons Plans; Trump/Muhari Press Conference. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired April 30, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If they still have the know-how, are we better off nixing the deal so we can see what they're doing or are we better off without it? Third, Iran didn't come clean about the advanced weaponization, secret facilities. That's very interesting, OK, because that's a violation of the deal. Now, again, the deal proponents will say fix the violation within the deal. Increase the sanctions, keep the access. But if they have evidence there are real violations, that's very important. Then it the Iran deal was based on lies. That's not really a revelation, that's an opinion. That's countered by the people who said, no, the Iran deal is based on trust, but verify. That all the deal's mechanisms are meant to make sure they're not lying. Is it perfect? No. There are a lot of problems with the deal. But this won't change any minds. If you think the deal is good for holding Iran accountable, you still think that. President Trump doesn't seem to be one of those people.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Samantha Vinograd, you're with us.
You were a help this preparing that 2015 deal. You worked in the Obama administration for the National Security Council at the time. Were the Iranians required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of that agreement?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They were. And Josh really laid this out quite well, because we know that the Iranians lied in the past. Netanyahu likes to make these theatrical presentations. He did it at the U.N. several years ago with a picture of a ticking nuclear bomb. The key focus here is whether the Iran lied when the IAEA was inventorying what they had leading up to the 2015 agreement. That's a key point. And, second, whether they have lied since that agreement was signed. So from 2015 to 2018, did they in some way mislead international inspectors as to what they had. One key point, I'm amazed by the Israeli intelligence process.
GLORA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
VINOGRAD: They were able to go into Iran, not just to see what was physically in Iran, but in some way remove that material and have access to 55,000 pages of documents and disks. Whoever they were working with in the Israeli government really are top notch to be able to do that.
BORGER: I think it is stunning that they got into these top-secret archives and managed to leave with an awful lot of stuff. I also believe, by the way, that it's important that he gave the first speech here in English. That means that he spoke with President Trump, as we know, and Pompeo, as we know, and I don't think that he would have done this this way without having gotten a sort of tip from the president or a go-ahead from the president saying, I want you to present this, and I want you to present this to the American people, so they can see how the Iranians were lying and why you know the Iranians were lying. Because again, this intelligence operation is kind of stunning.
BORGER: And it may well prove that they were lying to the IAEA. If that is indeed the case, then I think, as Josh is saying, this is a huge problem.
BLITZER: It's interesting, we're showing live pictures from the Rose Garden, the president of the United States about to have a joint news conference with the visiting president of Nigeria, Mohammadu Muhari. And there will be questions from American journalists, from Nigerian journalists. I assume something might come up from this statement of the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, because the U.S. has two weeks to make a final decision.
NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: May 12 is the big deadline. You heard President Trump when he was standing next to president Macron that Macron knew what he was going to do. All the signs so far have pointed to him withdrawing from the deal. This is something he said over and over again on the campaign trail. Pompeo also recently said it was likely they would pull out of the deal. Gloria, you touched on something very important. Netanyahu literally speaking Trump's language there in presenting that in English, and also with this dramatic reveal. It's almost like the president from apple does with pulling back the curtain of intelligence. This will give Donald Trump more fuel for his argument that the U.S. should pull out of the deal. He didn't have much new fuel, right? It was America gave too much money to Iran as part of this deal, but it was a bad deal. Here, if some of this stuff is true that there are violations, maybe he has more ammunition --
BLITZER: He did say, Josh, he did say the Israelis collected half a ton of material from these secret vaults in Iran, 55,000 pages, 55,000 files. He said 183 C.D.s. He immediately said the U.N. has already shared in information with the U.S., is willing to do it with other countries as well as the IAEA.
ROGIN: Right. He said the U.S. could vouch for it. Mike Pompeo was CIA director until a week ago. The question is, is the U.S. intelligence community going to release its own assessment of this material? Have they gone through it? What about the IAEA? How come he's putting on a presentation through Power Point two weeks before the thing instead of actually submitting all of this information and getting it vetted in advance, right?
(CROSSTALK) ROGIN: So not a lot of people are going to take Netanyahu's word for it. They're going to want to see what our government has to say. Second, U.S. negotiators are working on this right now, every day, trying to come up with fixes. Some of these fixes address these problems, the sunsets, the missiles, the secret programs. This is what we are negotiating with the people who were part of the deal, the Europeans. And here's someone who's not part of the deal sort of kicking out the legs from under that negotiation, OK.
[13:35:44] BLITZER: But, Samantha, correct me if I'm wrong. The IAEA and the other international organizations involved in monitoring compliance with the 2015 agreement say Iran has been fully in compliance with this arrangement.
VINOGRAD: They have said that. And that's why it's interesting, to Josh's point, why Netanyahu released this information when he did publicly rather than going directly to the IAEA. By the way, why didn't he share it with Macron and Merkel before they came to Washington and lobbied for the United States to stay in the deal. In many ways, Netanyahu, if this information is true, set up Macron and Merkel to look a little bit foolish, because they were just in D.C. saying there's no way to withdraw from the deal because it's working, and now we have a direct counterpart to that with President Netanyahu.
BORGER: We're going to hear from them --
BORGER: -- because I think they're going to want to look at this. And of course, we'll hear from Iran, right? Because they'll say, this is all bogus, this is old, we didn't lie to the IAEA in 2015, et cetera, et cetera.
But again, to your point, Josh, the timing of this --
BORGER: -- is so interesting. Because it's so close.
ROGIN: What that tells me is that the administration, in cooperation with the Israelis, are prepping the public case for pulling out of the deal.
ROGIN: That kind of tells us the decision has been made.
ROGIN: That's the only way to read this. If they were still up in the air, they wouldn't have rolled all of this out.
BLITZER: Josh makes an important point. I don't think the Israelis would have released all this information if they wouldn't have received a green light from Pompeo and President Trump personally. They told them, this is all we have. Is it OK with you guys if we release it?
HENDERSON: Yes. And I'm sure -- the White House might have said, please release it, and Netanyahu releasing it in a way that's very easy for the Americans to understand. Imagine, this is something that will be on the news, as it is now, be on the nightly news as well. And it really, I think, makes it really easy for the average American to understand and maybe even side with Trump who, so far, has raged against this deal but hasn't been at the point of wanting to withdraw. And now he's got this new evidence that will need to be verified and sorted through as an --
BORGER: He said it in English first.
HENDERSON: Yes, that's right.
BORGER: He did this for American consumption. It's very clear to me that he got the go-ahead from the president of the United States, because he wouldn't have done it otherwise, and from Pompeo to do this. And they may well be locked in. But I think it's also their way of showing Macron, Merkel, et cetera, that, you know what, here's what we know. Now you tell us why we ought to stay in. And the Europeans may feel like they got the rug pulled out from under them.
BORGER: And I wonder what the impact of that is going to be.
ROGIN: There is a chance here that the Trump administration could use this new information as leverage on the Europeans to get a better fixed deal if that's what they want to do. They could say, no more nitpicking. Let's get the strongest fix deal as possible. They have a few weeks to do that. That still might happen. Let's see. Maybe the Europeans come back and say, OK, now we understand what's really going on. We'll give you this, this, and the other.
BORGER: Is that enough time to look at everything, though?
BLITZER: I'm curious. Samantha, you worked in intelligence for a long time when you were working at the National Security Council during the Obama administration earlier before that as well. For the Israelis to release all these documents, to release the C.D.s, to show that they had access to the most sensitive Iranian nuclear program around, it's a big deal because, in effect, they're telling the Iranians, you know what --
BLITZER: -- you've got problems over there. And the president is walking out with the visiting president of
Nigeria right now in the Rose Garden. They'll both be making opening statements.
Hold your thoughts. We'll continue on this.
I want to hear what the president of the United States says and the Nigerian president. Then they're answering questions.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I'm honored to host President Buhari, of Nigeria, at the White House right here in the beautiful Rose Garden.
President Buhari, I want to thank you very much for traveling to Washington for these important discussions. It's a true pleasure to welcome you to our nation's capital.
Nigeria is the largest democracy in Africa. As I conveyed to President Buhari in our discussions, the United States deeply values and appreciates Nigeria's role as a strong democratic leader in the region.
The United States is currently working to expand trade and commercial ties with African nations, including Nigeria, to create jobs and wealth in all of our countries. We hope to be the economic partner of choice for nations across the continent and all around the world.
And you see what's happening with respect to trade and the United States. We are being respected again.
I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world, that we also will be supporting you and that they will, likewise, support us in our bid, along with Canada and Mexico, for the 2026 World Cup.
We will be watching very closely. And any help that they could give us in that bid, we would appreciate.
I'm pleased that Nigeria is one of our largest trading partners in the region, and we look forward to growing our trade relationship based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.
But we give Nigeria well over $1 billion in aid every year. And we have already started talking with the president about taking down the trade barriers -- very substantial barriers to the United States trading with Nigeria. So we think that we are owed that.
President Buhari has also taken several steps to fight corruption and improve the Nigerian business climate. And, most of all, to me, yet again, is ripping down those trade barriers.
These measures will make it easier for Nigeria and the United States companies to invest, and we will be investing substantially in Nigeria if they can create that level playing field that we have to, very much, ask for and maybe demand. I especially want to thank President Buhari for Nigeria's partnership and leadership in the fight against terrorism. He's been a real leader.
Nigeria was one of the first African nations to join the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and Nigerian forces are currently leading regional efforts against ISIS in West Africa. And doing very well, as we have.
Nigeria is also leading African nations in the fight against Boko Haram and -- another ruthless jihadist terrorist group. They -- we've been reading about them. They kidnapped the young girls and young women, many of whom never are seen again. It's tough stuff.
This summer, it was my honor to meet with two brave young women, Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April of 2014 at the secondary school in Nigeria.
I was deeply moved by their inspiring stories of courage, resilience and survival. They really were two amazing young women.
I told Joy and Lydia, my administration is committed to combating both jihadist terrorism and the scourge of human trafficking and smuggling.
In the world today, there is more human trafficking than there has ever been, if you can believe this. They use the internet better than almost anybody is able to use the internet. So think of it: In a modern world, in this world, there's more human trafficking and slavery than at any time in the history of this world. It's hard to believe.
To protect Americans from these menaces, I have called on Congress to close deadly immigration loopholes that are exploited by terrorists, traffickers and criminals.
Just look at our southern border and our weak and obsolete immigration laws. They are obsolete and they are weak and they are pathetic. And there's no country in the world that has laws like we do. They've got to change and they've got to change now for the safety of our country.
We're also helping our Nigerian partners by facilitating intelligence cooperation and providing training and military equipment to Nigerian forces.
For example, we recently sold Nigeria 12 U.S. A-29 Super Cutano (sic) aircraft -- it's a great aircraft -- in the first ever sale of American military equipment to Nigeria. These new aircraft will improve Nigeria's ability to target terrorists and protect civilians.
Finally, we're deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It's a horrible story.
We encourage Nigeria and the federal, state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and including Christians.
Mr. President, thank you again for visiting the White House and being with us today. Nigeria is a valued partner and a good friend.
I look forward to working closely with you to deepen our cooperation and forge an even closer partnership. The United States is committed to working alongside Nigeria as we seek a future of strength, prosperity and peace for both of our countries.
Mr. President, thank you very much. Thank you.
MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA: Mr. President of the United States of America, ladies and gentlemen of the media, it has been a pleasure and honor to visit Washington, D.C., at the kind invitation of President Donald Trump.
Nigeria and the United States share a long history of close and cordial relations, which encompass political, economic, military, social and cultural cooperation.
Our two countries maintain a strategic partnership for peace and security, conflict resolution as well as a global fight against terrorism. We also share common futures as secular federal states practicing a similar democratic model of governance and committed to the universal values of fundamental human rights and freedoms, free enterprise, social justice and the rule of law.
President Trump and his team and myself and the Nigerian team discussed issues related to security, trade, governance, human rights and humanitarian crises.
We congratulated the leaders of the North and South Korea on their historic summit, and we applaud them for the positive commitment they have made towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump deserves a great deal of credit for his statemanly role in transforming so dramatically the course of events in that region.
We also congratulated the United States government on the important role it played in the defeat of ISIS, although some of the remnants have found their way to the Sahel region. We recognize the strong United States support in our fight against terrorism, and also appreciated very much the United States agreement to sell 12 Super Tucano A-29 warplanes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism.
To contain the spate of insurgency in Nigeria, the federal government has adopted a monthly sectorial approach involving related government agencies to address the social, economic and political dimensions, while the armed forces of Nigeria assist the (inaudible) authority to provide security and maintain law and order.
As part of efforts to address emergent cases of insurgency in the country, the Nigerian military adopted -- the Nigerian military adopted counterterrorism insurgency approach codenamed Operation Safe Corridor to deradicalize, rehabilitate and reintegrate willingly surrendered Boko Haram members into the larger society.
This program is currently embarking on a number of projects, including secure operation (ph) centers and integrative farms comprising poultry, fish pond and greenhouse farming, among others.
A number of international partners, including International Organization for Migration, have contributed to the success of Operation Safe Corridor. We indicated that we will appreciate whatever support we could also get from the United States.
We express (ph) gratitude to the United States support in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the northeast of Nigeria, as well as humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons through agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development and other international partners.
The United States of America has been to date the biggest contributor to the humanitarian response, and last year gave approximately half a billion United States dollars in cash and in kind contribution through the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations. This mainly supported protection activities, health, food assistance and shelter.
We are doing all we can to secure the release of the remaining abducted school girls from Dapchi and Chibok. In this context, we will continue to welcome United States collaboration in intelligence gathering, hostage negotiations and information sharing.
The government is taking necessary steps to promote the peaceful coexistence of herdsmen and farmers by focusing on (inaudible) security and enforcing legislation that will guarantee herders and farmers access to land.
I extend sincere congratulations to President Trump and his government on the impressive performance of the United States economy under his watch.
Our aim is to diversify our own economy by focusing on agriculture and food security, power and infrastructure. We have cut the importation of rice by 90 percent, thereby saving a significant amount of money.
We very much welcome increased United States investment in Nigerian economy, especially the non-oil sector. Economic relations between Nigeria and the United States are anchored on several mutual instruments (ph), namely, the Bi-National Commission, Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
The Bi-National Commission in particular, comprising bilateral political economy, governmental and humanitarian partnership, is a basic economic framework for engagement between our two countries.
Nigeria's trade volume with the United States stood at 6.07 billion United States dollars, according to 2016 statistics, and comprised 4.76 billion United States dollars also of Nigerian export to the United States, and 1.894 billion United States dollars exports to Nigeria. We urge greater effort to increase these figures substantially.
We thank the United States government very much for cooperation we have received in our effort to recover stolen funds. Our two governments have put the machinery in place for their respective attorney generals to collaborate in ensuring the return to Nigeria of over 500 million United States dollars of looted funds siphoned away in banks around the world.
In this connection, we congratulate the United States government on launching a Kleptocracy Asset Recover Initiative, which was spearheaded by the United States Department (ph), addressing asset forfeiture and money laundering. We hope that we can continue to count on the United States support in this area.
The government of Nigeria remains deeply committed to the principles of human rights, as well as promotion and protection of people's freedom, even in the process of fighting terror. We commit to ensure that all documented cases of human rights abuses are investigated, and those responsible for violations held responsible.
I thank you very much for listening.
TRUMP: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much. Thank you, sir.
Steve Miller of the Washington Times, please, Washington Times. Thank you, Steve.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
I have a two-parter on immigration.
Last week in the Supreme Court case over your travel ban, the lawyers for the opponents said that if you would simply apologize for some of your rhetoric during the campaign, the whole case would go away.
And I was wonder if you would be willing...
TRUMP: I don't think it would, number one.
And there's no reason to apologize. Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster. They're laughed at all over the world. They're laughed at for their stupidity. And we have to have strong immigration laws.
So I think if I apologize, it wouldn't make 10 cents worth of difference to them. There's nothing to apologize for. We have to have strong immigration laws to protect our country.
QUESTION: And looking to the future, the caravan has arrived at the U.S. border.
TRUMP: We've been watching it. We've been watching it.
QUESTION: And I'm just wondering in your opinion, or in your estimation, what percentage of those people do you believe are deserving of asylum in the U.S.?
TRUMP: Well, I won't get into percentages.
But we are a nation of laws. We have to have borders. We don't have borders, we don't have a country. And I've been watching for weeks as the caravan came up. And, you know, the Mexican laws are very tough on immigration, extremely tough.
And it started out with way over a thousand people. I guess now it's down to about a hundred going all through Mexico. People don't realize what a big country Mexico is. But it came down by a lot.
And now we're working on the border with the worst laws any country -- no matter where you go, all over the world, they can't even believe it. And we're doing the best we can with it.
But we have to have changes in Congress, and we have to have it quickly.
We need a wall, number one. And you see that right now, you know, where they are, even though it's not a particularly good wall, and even though a small percentage can climb to the top, they have to be in extremely good shape. But a small percentage can climb that particular wall. We have a wall that's much more difficult.
But if you didn't have that, you'd have thousands of people just pouring into our country. You got to have a wall.
And we need border security. And we will have border security.
As you know, we're sending many, many National Guardsmen down to the border. Most of them are already there. And that's having a big impact.
But we need a change in the law. Catch and release is ridiculous. If they touch our property, if they touch our country, essentially, you catch them and you release them into our country. That's not acceptable to anybody. So we need a change in the law.
QUESTION: Mr. President, when you were sitting down in the Oval Office with President Trump, who ran on not wanting to be the policeman for the world, what kind of arguments did you make to convince him to continue a military presence for the U.S. in your country? And what arguments did you make to him? How receptive was he?
BUHARI: I can't know (ph) you mean by United States presence in my country. They send a training team, based on their experiences, to train our officers in some of our training institutions and move to the (inaudible) area to see how (inaudible) are performing. I think this is one of the best things the United States could do for us to stabilize the country.
QUESTION: And you agreed with that?
BUHARI: I do. Very much so. That's why I thank him for it.
QUESTION: Thank you.
TRUMP: Well, we more and more are -- because it's a very fair question.
We more and more are not wanting to be the policemen of the world. And we're spending tremendous amounts of money for decades on policing the world and that shouldn't be our priority. We want to police ourselves, and we want to rebuild our country.
And the president understands that. And they've come a long way. They're doing a great job. We're contributing to that job, but they have done a great job.
What we do want to do, though, is open Nigeria and other countries up to trade, because we have spent over the last decade a number that's so large, you wouldn't even believe it. And I think we'll be treated in a reciprocal fashion now, as of today. So I think that's going to happen. And I have great respect for the president.
How about Jordan Fabian? Where's Jordan?
Jordan, The Hill?
QUESTION: Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
I want to ask you about Iran. The Israeli prime minister just gave a speech, very critical of their nuclear program. I want to ask if you're -- have made up your mind to pull out of that deal.
And if you do pull out of that deal, do you think -- are you worried that sends the wrong message to North Korea, as you seek to enter nuclear talks with Kim Jong-un?
[14:00:03] TRUMP: No. I think it sends right message. You know, in seven years, that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That's not acceptable. Seven years is --