Return to Transcripts main page


Canadian Prime Minister Calls U.S. Tariffs "Insulting;" America's Tariff Troubles; Trump Lawyers Sent Letter To Mueller; Bill Clinton: A Dem President Would Face Impeachment. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 4, 2018 - 05:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the United States is quite frankly insulting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he is overreacting. I don't want to get in the middle of that.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Unanimous concern and disappointment, G7 leaders waging a fierce campaign against the president's new tariffs. Now Senate Republicans are trying to slow the president down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have everything you need. What else do you need? Man up?


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: New claims from the president's legal team if a subpoena is unnecessary. The president cannot obstruct justice. He can pardon himself. His recollection keeps changing. By the way, he dictated that misleading statement about the infamous Trump Tower meeting.

BRIGGS: And many women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer may not need chemotherapy. This groundbreaking study could lead to major changes in treatment worldwide.

ROMANS: This is getting a lot of attention. Chemotherapy can raise risk of heart disease and leukemia later on in life. Amazing to be able to eliminate that for some women.

BRIGGS: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, June 4th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. Let's start here. United States is isolated. The Canadians are insulted and the finance ministers of the six largest economies issue a rare rebuke. Unanimous concern and disappointment in President Trump's metal tariffs. The U.S. hit the E.U., Mexico and Canada with steel and aluminum tariffs citing a national security threat, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls offensive.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: The idea that the Canadian steel in the military vehicles in the United States, the Canadian aluminum that makes your fighter jets is somehow now a threat. The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.


ROMANS: The president and his team are steadfast on this. Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow says the tariffs are not an attack on Canada.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Mr. Trudeau, I think he is overreacting. I don't want to get into the middle of that. As a fine friend and ally of the United States, nobody denies that, but the point is we have to protect ourselves.


ROMANS: That's what the three U.S. allies say, too. They plan to retaliate with their own tariffs on everything from farm products to blue jeans. That could raise prices for U.S. consumers and risk jobs.

Congressional Republicans are fuming here. Senator Bob Corker says they are working on a plan to push back on these tariffs. At the same time, the Chinese are furious too after the U.S. targeted $50 billion in Chinese goods. China warns that those tariffs will kill any possible trade deal overall.

The U.S. and China just wrapped up their latest round of trade talks this weekend. Now trade adviser, Peter Navarro, says Trump's China policy is measured, thoughtful and strategic.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: We love to have a peaceful and friendly relationship with China, but we also are standing firm on the idea. The president is the leader on this --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How far are you willing to go?

NAVARRO: -- for decades.


ROMANS: He says the Chinese have been going after this country for decades and we must protect intellectual property here. The structural relationship just needs to change and that's where we are here.

BRIGGS: All right. Joining us this morning from Washington, Daniel Lippman, report for "Politico," co-author of the "Politico" playbook. Good to see you, Daniel. Hope you had a great weekend.

Let's talk a little bit about the impact of these tariffs. The G7 is on Friday. The president theoretically will not be met with open arms. Bob Corker, the tweet that Christine read, he is working with like-minded Republican senators to push back on the tariffs. How will the tariffs play out in Congress this week?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER AND CO-AUTHOR, "POLITICO" PLAYBOOK: I think a lot of Republicans in Congress are afraid that these tariffs are going to hit the Midwest and their voters hard because of the retaliatory measures. The farm country like open and free trade.

And so, when you get in for a tit-for-tat, no one really succeeds. That is what Trump does not understand. You don't want to get into another great depression when you had the Smoot/Hawley Act that really greatly limited free trade.

If the Republicans get womped in November in part because of this, then they are going to have more leverage because, you know, Trump can't say that this helps people around the country.

ROMANS: It is just fascinating to think of the G7 finance ministers meeting over the weekend. For the first time in my memory, you have seven major economies and six of them rebuking the United States. The U.S. could not sign on to the communique essentially because the communique was about how the U.S. is wrong here.

This is what "USA Today" says in an op-ed on trade. The president's erratic policies do real harm over the long term. Businesses require stability when they make decisions about major investments.

[05:05:04] Both the United States and its chief allies need the world's only super power to act in accordance with consistent principles not according to the latest whims of a leader who sees each day as a new episode of reality television show.

What is fascinating to me is from inside the administration you hear this is a president pulling the levers. That he had been put off by the globalist in his team to delay and exemptions for the steel, aluminum tariffs.

Now the president is saying we are tough on China for stealing intellectual property and protecting our high-tech industries and go after and protect our own steel and aluminum business. This is the president making these choices.

LIPPMAN: You are completely right. I think Trump has long since the '80s been a fierce advocate for these types of measures. So, it is not a surprise that he chose to make a stand on this issue. There is a split screen in the next few weeks where he will be chummy with Kim Jong-un. He was smiling with the North Korean vice chairman a few days ago at the White House when Bill Clinton had a policy of you don't smile with these guys. You don't want to lend approval to them.

Yet, he is attacking our allies in terms of the measures. You know, John Hudson reported that the U.S. or Singapore may pay for Kim Jong- un's hotel stay. That is just an interesting contrast.

BRIGGS: Yes, think about the next eight days. You've got the Singapore summit and G7. Pivotal week for the president. All of this is the back drop with the economy and it is humming.

Job numbers were outstanding. The unemployment at an 18-year low and it appears the president cannot really focus on that. Over the weekend, he had seven tweets about Russia-related matters. Who did they put on the Sunday shows? Rudy Giuliani to talk about Russia.

He was on ABC and NBC and then he told "The Huffington Post" this. This is an interesting that will raise a few eyebrows, "In no case can the president be subpoenaed or indicted. I don't know how you can indict while he's in office.

If he shot James Comey, he would be impeached the next day. Impeach him. Then you can do whatever you want to do to him." OK, I don't know what the impact of that statement is.

But if you are the president, why do you want Rudy talking about the Russia matters and why not have everyone focus solely on the economy and what you are doing for it?

LIPPMAN: He thinks that Rudy is a good bulldog defender of him. They have known each other for decades. I'm not saying that he is, but Trump thinks he is because his previous lawyers were either misinformed by Trump or just over their skis.

Ty Cobb gossiping at a restaurant and overheard by Ken Vogel who wrote a "New York Times" article. Rudy is someone not making really much legal maneuvers. His main job is to help Trump in the media.

If he makes mistakes like shooting Jim Comey thing, how do you even think of something like that? Maybe harkening back to the Fifth Avenue comment Trump made.

BRIGGS: I'm not sure it is a mistake. It's not clear that the president doesn't want him out there saying these things until we find out otherwise, we have to assume it is his agenda.

ROMANS: What is your sense of the 20-page letter that was in "The New York Times?" who leaked that?

BRIGGS: From Dowd to Sekulow to the special counsel, yes, the "New York Times" 20 pages over the weekend.

ROMANS: What is your sense of where that came from and the impact of that? LIPPMAN: It is hard to say who the sources are for the "New York Times." Once these types of documents start floating around D.C., it is a case of a Trump lawyer who wrote that passed along to a friend for review and the friend gives it up to "The New York Times," but leaves a couple months to have the trail tied back to them.

When I get a good tip from someone. They say wait a couple days. Once the information starts circulating, it will not look like it came from me. That's a standard journalism practice with sources.

BRIGGS: In the letter, the president acknowledged dictating the response regarding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians. We will ask you about that, the impact of that statement in about 30 minutes. Thank you, Daniel.

LIPPMAN: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Former President Bill Clinton out there, he says impeachment proceedings would have already begun if a Democrat was president. Clinton who was, of course, impeached thinks Republicans would not be as tolerant if something like the Russia investigation (inaudible). Here's what he told CBS.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I think if roles were reversed and this is me just talking based on my experience.

[05:10:09] If it were a Democratic president and these facts were here, most would believe impeachment hearings would have begun already.


BRIGGS: Bill Clinton also took issue with the president's rough rhetoric and name calling.


CLINTON: I don't like all this. I could not be elected anything now because I don't like embarrassing people. My mother would have whipped me five days in a row when I was a little boy if I spent my time bad mouthing people like this.


BRIGGS: Christine Romans not happy about the mom whipping me reference.

ROMANS: We don't whip kids anymore, Mr. President. I understand your point.

BRIGGS: We should mention the former president out on CBS. He is sitting with James Patterson, best-selling author. They have a political thriller coming out there. (Inaudible) together should be interesting. ROMANS: All right. Melania Trump set to attend a White House event honoring Gold Star families tonight. The reception is close to the media. It will mark the first time Mrs. Trump has participated in an official event in almost a month.

On May 10th, the first couple greeted American prisoners freed by North Korea at Joint Base Andrews. Four days later, the first lady underwent what her spokeswoman called a benign kidney procedure. She has not been in public since.

Officials say Mrs. Trump will not join the president for G7 summit or the summit next week with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. The latter I'm not surprised by it. The former, she did go to Italy for the G7 last year, so she'll be skipping it this time.

BRIGGS: OK, speaking of that summit, the president eight days from meeting with Kim Jong-un, but another world leader is headed to Kim's front door. What Bashar al-Assad's expected visit to North Korea means for nuclear talks?



ROMANS: Welcome back. It's 15 minutes past the hour this Monday morning. Just eight days until President Trump meets with Kim Jong- un. North Korea says Kim plans to sit down with another leader, Bashar al-Assad. North Korea's state news agency says the Syrian president is planning to visit with Kim in North Korea.

Alexandra Field has more live from Seoul. We know he just had a visit from a top Russian official last week. What is going on with the new diplomacy in the North?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Christine, U.S. leaders like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that they believe that North Korea is really contemplating a strategic shift, the kind that's never made before. They have a lot of optimism about North Korea turning in a new direction.

And while North Korea plans to head to this summit with President Trump, they are still strengthening ties to old friends. Two visits from the last couple of months with the Chinese president, plans on the books for a summit with the Russian president, and now a plan for a meeting with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

This news came from North Korean state news agency. They have not assigned a date to this yet. But we know that Syria and North Korea have obviously had warm relations for decades stretching back to the '60s.

Kim Jong-un's grandfather met with Assad's father back in the '70s. This will be the first time the two leaders will come face-to-face. They have, of course, in the past exchange messages of support and congratulations. There was evidence of support when the U.N. released a report last winter citing the latest examples of what they call evidence of cooperation on chemical weapons. Also happening in Pyongyang right now, a shuffle at the top, three military leaders replaced.

It's tough to glean exactly why this happened. South Korean officials say it is unusual to replace all three officials at once, but they suggest North Korea will have its reasons and (inaudible) also weighing saying this could be a sign that Kim Jong-un is working to further consolidate his power.

It could be part of a pattern since 2011 replacing some military personnel since he came into power and could be a sign of preparation for this big sit-down. What we know about the three guys, they are younger and loyalists to Kim and held sensitive high-level positions in the past. We understand they have foreign affairs experience. That would seem to serve well right now.

ROMANS: A new lineup for maybe a new future for North Korea. We shall see eight days to go. Thank you so much. Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: In Guatemala, the death toll rising to 25 in the eruption of the Fuego Volcano. More than 1.7 million people have been affected. Local officials say the eruption has ended, but there is still volcanic ash in the air in the 12-mile radius around the volcano. Warning residents in these three towns to watch out for volcanic rocks and ash.

ROMANS: A groundbreaking study finds some 70 percent of women with the most common form of early stage breast cancer can skip chemo. Researchers used genetic testing on tumor samples to gauge a patient's risk. The results could spare thousands of women from toxic treatment that would not benefit them and help tailor treatment in different types of breast cancer. It is the most common answer in women worldwide. The study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine," getting lot of attention this morning.

BRIGGS: Steph Curry with a record setting performance in the NBA finals. Can the Cavs climb out of the 2-0 hole? Lindsay Czarniak is here with the "Bleacher Report" next.



BRIGGS: Golden State Warriors are halfway to the third NBA title in four years.

ROMANS: Lindsay Czarniak has more in this Monday morning's "Bleacher Report." Good morning.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You knew it would be exciting, but unlikely game two could compete with the game one of the NBA finals. It lacked drama, but not flash. Steph Curry turning in a performance, the curry slurry. It was as though he could not miss. Hitting nine three-pointers. He knew it was going in. He led with 33 points. Warriors now have a 2-0 series lead in finals. The 2016 Cavs were the last team to overcome that deficit in the finals. As for his display of greatness, Steph Curry says this.


STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GUARD: You know, it is not like I wake up and say let's go hit nine threes and get the record. It is about playing the right way and having good intentions on the court and good things happen.

STEVE KERR, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS COACH: He was tremendous, and nine threes and he seemed to hit a big shot every time we needed one. He was fantastic. I thought you were much better today.


CZARNIAK: So that moment is Steve Kerr joking. He told the media to be better after Lebron James walked out of the conference after game one.

[05:25:05] Speaking of Lebron, he is becoming sort of like the Serena Williams of the NBA, very unique fashion choices. For the second straight game, rocking the shorts with his suit, his Tom Brown shorts, now with red socks and white shoes. I love it. He has great legs. You know they say imitation is the best form of flattery, Draymond Green. He actually started this trend a while back. Look at that. They are frayed on bottom. It is on trend.

BRIGGS: I'm old.

CZARNIAK: You should rock it, Dave Briggs.

BRIGGS: No. Nobody wants to see these legs.

CZARNIAK: And speaking of Serena, new mom, Serena Williams will face Maria Sharapova. In the last meeting, she hadn't beaten Serena once.

Finally, a crash before the grand prix began. The pace car lost control. Slams front first into the concrete wall. The top product development executive was behind the wheel of the $123,000 ride. He was fined. He may have some explaining to do to the company why it is all banged up.

ROMANS: How do you explain that on your expense report?

BRIGGS: Exactly. Steph Curry, is there no such thing as a bad shot? He changed the game more than anyone else on the planet.

CZARNIAK: When he is on the court, he can do anything, right?

BRIGGS: Lindsay, thanks.

ROMANS: The G7 could feel more like the G6 plus one. G7 leaders says there is unanimous concern and disappointment about the new tariffs from the Trump administration. The United States not signing on to that assessment.

BRIGGS: And the president's lawyers say he can't obstruct justice, but they do say he dictated Don Jr.'s statement of the meeting with the Russian lawyer despite repeated claims otherwise.