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U.S. Tariffs against China and Chinese Retaliatory Tariffs Take Effect; Health and Human Services Secretary Unable to Account for All Immigrant Children Separated from Parents. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 6, 2018 - 8:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN EARLY START CO-ANCHOR: The U.S. hit China with tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods. China immediately responded with its revenge tariffs of equal value, accusing the U.S. of launching the largest trade war in economic history, calling the U.S. a trade bully.

China threatening high-value U.S. exports, cars, crude oil, cash crops like soybeans. The farm goods here are strategic, you guys. They're hitting state, even counties that voted for President Trump. Now, the U.S. tariffs are targeting high-tech industries that China has vowed dominate -- aerospace, robotics, manufacturing, autos. American companies will pay these tariffs when they import the goods. They can absorb the cost or they can pass it along to consumers. So far the U.S. has avoided slapping tariffs on things that consumers buy like shoes and cell phones.

But if you look at what the president is threatening, they might not be able to do that forever because the president, if he follows through on his trade threats to hit $500 billion in Chinese goods, that's what he told reporters yesterday, $500 billion. That's roughly the amount the U.S. imported from China last year. Consumers would also be a loser if this continues on, if this grows beyond the $34 billion this week, $16 billion next week. Here are the losers -- domestic manufacturers, they pay to import foreign metals, the products they're going to sell, pork producers, soybean growers, both are affected by the retaliatory tariffs. In fact you have 100 soybean growers head to Washington next week to explain how trade actions are hurting their livelihoods.

Only one clear winner I can see so far, and that is the domestic U.S. steel industry. A couple of furnaces back up and running, a few hundred people have been rehired in Illinois. That is one domestic industry that is benefitting. Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Christine, thank you very for explaining all of that to us. Let's bring in CNN international business correspondent and host of "Quest Means Business" Richard Quest, and CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza. Richard Quest, how do you see this trade war that started at midnight last night?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is serious and it is going to get worse. The goal now, Alisyn, is really two things. It is containment versus escalation. If they can keep it just at the current levels, there won't be much economic damage. But the president has already said that China's tit for tat retaliations will get up. And as Christine Romans just said, we're heading up towards the hundreds of billions.

So the goal here is do they contain it as it is, which would be bad enough. Trade wars are horrible. They get worse, they have long- lasting economic damage, people lose their jobs. If this escalates, it will escalate fast, and now we have to see who and what and where is going to manage to put the lid on it.

But remember one other thing. It's not just China. The U.S. has laso embarked on a trade war now with the European Union, Mexico, Japan, Canada. This is really nasty stuff.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A multifront trade war, Richard Quest. Who wins in a trade war, Richard, generally speaking?

QUEST: In the long term, no one. The last time tariffs were used in the U.S. steel in the early '90s the numbers showed more people lost their jobs than gained in the steel industry by the extra tariffs. So don't be fooled by this. Let's take General Motors. General Motors is being tariffed on its cars sent from Europe to the U.S. It's being tariffed on the steel that it brings into the U.S. It's being tariffed on the cars it makes in the U.S. and sends to China. General Motors is a perfect example of a company that is literally being clobbered every which way and backwards. If you can show me a winner in that scenario, I'll take the hat off to you if I was wearing one.

CAMEROTA: There you go. So Chris Cillizza, what's the political calculation of the Trump administration, because there's always a political calculation? So are they just betting that farmers in Iowa and General Motors will somehow be -- forgive them come the midterms or come 2020?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I think they're betting that the tone of toughness will matter more than the potential hit that folks like those farmers in Iowa will take, which is Donald Trump promised that he will make America great again by making better trade deals, by renegotiating, by making sure that other countries did not take advantage of the United States in the ways that he believed they had in the past.

This is something he talked about on the campaign trail. It's not inconsistent with what he has messaged throughout the campaign, throughout his presidency. And honestly, Alisyn, Donald Trump has very few longly held beliefs. His views on trade actually are something he has had for quite some time. So their argument would be, look, voters knew what they were getting when they voted for me. This is one of the things they wanted.

[08:05:10] I'm with Richard in that I think that thinking you want to be tougher on other countries on trade is different than the actual practical implications on your life of a trade war, and then that's what we have now entered into, that stage of it. This is what Trump's rhetoric begets. Now let's see what people think of it. JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's almost like words from a

president have consequences. But wait, the president did tell us that trade wars were good and easy to win. It's almost like Richard is telling us that isn't true. And as Richard also points out, it's one thing to have the political points to say it's time we get tough with China, but it makes far less sense to expand on a multifront war where the president is finally standing up to the Canadian menace and calling it good for the world. It's not.

CILLIZZA: And using national security reasoning to do so, John, let's not forget that. This is the thing, his basic view, he says this all the time on the campaign trail, is I was elected to be the president of the United States, not the president of France or Canada or China. I think people like that rhetoric. They like someone who says -- or at least a chunk of people in the country like that rhetoric. They like someone who says he's looking out for us, he's looking out for me, the forgotten man and woman, to borrow Trump's language. The issue is, again, words have meaning. When you do things like this, it doesn't happen in a vacuum. Retaliation happens, and that retaliation impacts the very people who support Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Richard, does China blink? Will any of this force China to act in a different way?

QUEST: I've no doubt that China will negotiate around the edges. Let's be clear, China has some really miscreant behavior. They've stolen I.P., they've put in place joint ventures that don't work. China is not the good guy in all of this. Everybody agrees China needs to change its trading policies.

However, China is now the second-largest economy in the world. It's growing. It's got allies in other parts of the world that the U.S. really could do with. So I think China doesn't blink, but China playing the long game negotiates. The question of course is at what point will President Trump agree that he's got enough to back down. I don't think that will happen any time soon. I think we're in this for the long haul because what China will do is start using non-tariff barriers. They'll make it more difficult for U.S. corporations to do business, have different capital requirements, joint ventures. You watch. China is going to send a message to U.S. corporations, you do business in China on our terms.

BERMAN: And we're already starting to hear reports from China that's happening. Richard, you mentioned the multifront trade war that the United States is in, and John was talking about Canada and whatnot. Wouldn't Canada, the Europe Union, Japan, South Korea, many of these countries that the United States has now engaged in trade fights with, wouldn't that be valuable allies in the fight against China?

QUEST: That's the whole point. That is the whole issue with China. The president decided to fight everyone at the same time, particularly those people, those countries, those allies that he actually needs to help prosecute against China. And you do not win friends by tweeting abuse at Angela Merkel at a time in Germany when her coalition is on its last legs. You do not make friends by insulting Theresa May or making life difficulties for her when she has got Brexit negotiations that are about to fall off a cliff. The U.S. has really done a number here. The administration has managed, to put it crudely, has managed to piss off every single one of its allies at a time when it needs them if it's going to prosecute the justifiable case against China.

CAMEROTA: Richard, one last question. What about what Chris and John have been telling us about this is what he ran on. This is what voters voted for. Donald Trump has been consistent in this, people knew that he wanted to get tough on trade.

QUEST: Absolutely. And they're going to get the results. Completely agree, the American people knew exactly what they were buying. He promised them a trade war, he's giving them a trade war. What he didn't tell them was that trade wars are nasty and have job loss consequences. They will start to see it.

Remember what I said at the beginning. The goal now is the battle between containment versus escalation. Contain what you've got and there's very little economic damage. But if you go down the road of escalation, then soon you're going to start seeing it. You're seeing it already. You're seeing it with soy bean farmers. They're paying more. It's going to get worse.

BERMAN: Richard Quest.

AVLON: Ironically, the people who are going to feel the most pain politically are voters in the heart of Trump country, the Midwest and upper Midwest.

CAMEROTA: That will be interesting. Gentlemen, thank you very much for explaining all of that.

BERMAN: The secretary of Health and Human Services estimates that 3,000 children, maybe less than that, children still separated from their parents. How can he not know the exact number, and what does this stay about whether the administration has a plan to reunite these children with their parents?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So exactly how many children are in government custody separated from their parents by the U.S. government? We don't know because the secretary of Health and Human Services won't tell us, at least not exactly. He estimates it's under 3,000 children. He estimates children. How could the government not count?

Joining me now, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro and Jason Miller. Ana, first I want to go to you here. I was shocked when I heard the secretary of Health and Human Services toss around these figures yesterday like he was estimated matchsticks in a jar. He estimates it's fewer than 3,000. What does it say to you that they didn't count?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First I think it seeks to incompetence, but then I also think it speaks to the entire tone of the Trump administration when it comes to immigration and the way they dehumanize immigrants. They just don't see them at the same level. They don't see them at -

you know they see them second class humans. You know we see it time and time and time again with this administration. Look it's shocking to the conscience. It's disappointing to see how little the republican congress has done to provide a check and balance and to demand answers.

But it's an incredibly consistent from the Trump administration. From day one on this they've been doing nothing but gas lighting. Right? I mean issuing a policy that was not necessary, then saying that they didn't have that policy.

Then issuing an executive order that was not necessary to get rid of a policy, that could have been gotten rid of a policy that could have been gotten rid of with out an executive policy, And then not executing the policy, the executive order that they signed, so the entire thing has been nothing but smoke and mirrors from day one involving children and human suffering.

BERMAN: So Jason Miller you're a communications expert. It's your business. You did not think that it was helpful to this administration to run Secretary Azar out there yesterday to say those things, correct?

JASON MILLER, COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Absolutely yesterday was a PR 101 failure. One of the basic tenants and communications strategy is don't speculate. And so if you don't have the number don't go out there and speculate. And so it went from estimation of slightly - or an exact number of slightly more than 2,000, I don't have the exact number memorized, to somewhere under 3,000.

And so with the two problems there, one they are saying that they don't know the exact number. And then number their still guessing, their increasing it by almost 50 percent, but I think JB(ph) an earlier point that you made was that it also it makes this a numbers argument as opposed to the human element.

And this is where I think this really has gotten things off track, because the public poling has shown that 64 percent of people that those who enter the country illegally should be deported. But also 88 percent of people think that families should be kept together while they are going through that process. Before their then deported, before they leave country.

And so it's very clear that people don't want to see families separated. And so we need to get them back together as soon as possible. I know people in the government are working very hard to this point. But yesterday from the PR perceptive I think was a fiasco.

BERMAN: Yes, and it's not just PR is it? I mean again we're talking about children Ana. We're talking about human beings. And whether or not you agree with the policy of separating them, to not acknowledge that these are children right now separated from their parents, not just some figure.

Again it was very surprising to me.

NAVARRO: And look it's not going to go away. It's a story that has now lasted for more than two months. And it's a story that keeps tugging at the heart strings of America. We see the heart wrenching images of little children reuniting with their parents, with their mother as we saw yesterday finally.

A lot of it has been as a result of court action. I think your going to see a lot more court action come out of this situation, when the government does not meet its deadlines. It's amazing, they can't even give you a number of how many kids are in custody and still separated?

And their supposed to reunite all of those kids in a matter of days, in a matter of days. And you know all 3,000 of them in a matter of weeks. And they can't even tell you how many there are. Listen if Federal Express were behaving this way with - you know FedEx was doing this with shipments of widgets, we'd be in an uproar.

We would be clogging up the customer lines because they couldn't find my new pair of shoes that I just ordered on Zappos. And these are children.

BERMAN: Yes, and look if you want to argue about asylum, if you want to argue about whether it's a deterrent. That's fine have that argument. But these are children, if you're going to separate them, count. Count and know where they are. And I think the three of us are in agreement on that.

Jason I want to get your take on something we heard last night in Montana. President Trump was at a rally, rallying supporters. There this was a political event and he loved it. He was in the moment. You know it and you could see it. He chose to talk about President George H. W. Bush, 90 plus years old, battling all kinds of illnesses, up in Kennebunkport, Main.

And he talked about one of President Bush's really clarinet calls for a 1,000 points of light, volunteerism, civic duty. This is what President Trump said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, US PRESIDENT: You know all the redirect you see here the 1,000 points of light. What the hell was that by the way? 1,000 point of light what did that mean? Does anyone know?

I know one thing. Make America great again we understand. Putting America first we understand. 1,000 points of light I never quite got that one. (Inaudible). What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? Oh, and it was put out by a republican.

TRUMP: Putting America first we understand. Thousand points of light. I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? And it was put out by a Republican."

(END VIDEOCLIP) BERMAN: Two questions, Jason. Do you know what a thousand points of light means? And question number two, should the president be talking about - like this about George H.W. Bush up in Kennebunkport, Maine?

MILLER: Well, I'm a huge fan of president - former President Bush. In fact, the very first political rally I ever went to, I had a Bush sign in my hand and was getting shouted out by the Clinton people in attendance of the Clinton rally. It was in Seattle, so I almost barely made it out alive. So I'm a huge fan.

Now look, I wouldn't have tweeted the policy last night. I'm a huge fan, obviously, also of make America great again. I think that's a great slogan. I think this a little bit blown out of proportion. I mean, let's not forget that Dana Carvey made an entire thing.

I mean, people rallying (ph) picked out thousand points of light. President Trump did not even mention President Bush by name. He just - he tweaked (ph) the slogan. You know, I looked through some of the rally coverage from last night. I didn't even see a mention of this in the Washington Post or Politico stories on the rally.

So look, it was a throw away line. I don't think it was that big of a deal, and people have criticized the line in the past. And so, let's not make a mountain out of a mole here.

BERMAN: All right, notable that you now look at the Washington Post and the Politico as, you know, reports of record here. The president often doesn't. Ana, I know you have strong feelings towards the former president. Let's not forget President Trump also frequently eludes to things that John McCain has done in much the same way.

NAVARRO: Look, first of all I'm not surprised that he doesn't know what a thousand points of light mean because it's all about public service. It's all about service to America. It's all about volunteering, something that Donald Trump has never done.

Remember that George Herbert Walker Bush began volunteering for this country when he was still a teenager. He had to get special permission to go serve his country, to go wear this country's colors, something that Donald Trump, the draft dodger and chief avoided five times. So it's not surprising that he didn't - he never got it.

Of course he never got it. He does not get volunteering. He does not get charity, being charitable and doing service. And what we see with Donald Trump is a thousand points of darkness.

Every time you see somebody berate an American for speaking Spanish, that's a point of darkness. Every time you see somebody call the cops because a black family is grilling, that's a point of darkness. When you see somebody call the cops on a little black girl trying to sell lemonade, that's a point of American darkness.

And so, I'm surprised he doesn't get the points of light - the thousand points of light, and I would tell him to look in the mirror because he is very much responsible for so many of the points of darkness going on in this country today. BERMNA: Ana Navarro, Jason Miller, I want to thank you both for coming on, and I want to thank you both for having a discussion about these children as human beings, not just facts and figures. I mean it, guys. I appreciate it. Alisyn -

CAMEROTA: President Trump says that he is prepared to meet with Vladimir Putin. What does that mean? What will they talk about? What's on the agenda?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon as he attends the NATO summit. The president addressed that upcoming meeting at a rally last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: They're going, "well, President Trump, be prepared. You know President Putin in KGB and this and that." You know what? Putin's fine. He's fine. We're all fine. We're people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I've been preparing for this stuff my whole life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois. So Putin is fine. We're all people. Do you think that's the right message that President Trump should bring to this meeting?

SEN. MIKE QUIGLEY (D) I.N.: I guess I wonder what our allies think. The president also left it open to recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea. If I'm Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltics, even Poland, I'm wondering if I'm next to be sold out, particularly if you couple it with his ongoing attacks on our allies.

Does anyone in NATO trust us? The world order created after the Second World War is under attack by it's primary architect.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, you're on the Intel Committee. I wonder what you think of the fact that this lethal, Russian nerve agent has now poisoned another two Brits who apparently came in contact with it in a public park in a small town of Amesbury, England. And do you think the president will bring that up, and should he with Putin?

QUIGLEY: Of course. I mean, when I was in London a little over a year ago, it's the first thing they raised. They said, "you know, your president is close to a man who kills journalists. You know, your presidents clan (ph) - when he says oh, he's KGB. He's fine. He's not fine." These are folks we've been at war with on an intel side for some time.

It's a very scary proposition. We are attacking our closest allies and embracing someone who has made our world a lot less safe. The fact of the matter is those allies aren't going to trust us when it matters, and it does matter, I think, for at least two reasons.

Those are allies who fought and died with our troops in numerous conflicts. We're going to need them. They also share critical intelligence information that keeps us safe on a daily basis. So even if they don't get quite to the GDP that the president wants, we're a lot safer with them and we're stronger economically working with them.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about Russian meddling in the upcoming election, which our intel chiefs say they are planning to do. You are on the Cyber Security Committee. What's being done to stop that meddling?

QUIGLEY: So I was able to procure about $380 million in the '18 budget to restore our election infrastructure. Unfortunately, my colleagues across the aisle had zeroed that out.