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Trump Readies New Tariffs on Chinese Goods; Trump Slams Germany at NATO Summit; Thai Rescue Team Talks about Mission. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 11, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:09] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, breaking overnight, the Trump administration readying a new round of tariffs against Chinese goods. This time for $200 billion.

Let's discuss with CNN political analyst Brian Karem and CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.

Some of the things targeted in these tariffs would be handbags, refrigerators, furniture, apparel, mattresses, things that consumers buy. These are 10 percent tariffs, not 25 percent, which the administration discussed before. And to make one thing clear, Nia, this is two months from now. They would go into effect two months from now. But the president had to list them now, the administration did, in order to go through the process here.

But it's clear that he is continuing this process with China saying, I am not afraid of this trade war.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Right. And China essentially saying they're not afraid either. I mean we've seen this tit for tat going on for the last couple of months. We've seen some of the effects of it in the stock market. A lot of those losses have already been priced in, though the market is essentially down from January. We'll see what happens going forward. If we see any of the reverberations from it today in terms of the stock market.

What we don't know yet is how Americans are feeling the tariffs that have already gone into place and if they care, right? We just don't know. I mean we've seen, you know, soybean farmers, for instance, complain. We've seen the U.S. Chamber of Commerce come out and say that states all over the country are going to feel the effects of this. Billions of dollars in losses have been some of the expectations for additions, also job losses, but it hasn't necessarily been felt yet. And so we're really, at this point, in a kind of a wait and see game in terms of where the end is and what it means for the American consumer.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So, Brian, one of the things that our experts, our economic experts, Richard Quest, Christine Romans, Rana Foroohar had told us was that the first round announced I guess last week, they all blur together, if it was contained to that this would -- even though there was a trade war with China, it would be manageable.


CAMEROTA: But as the stakes get ratcheted up and as the tariffs increase, it becomes, you know, the horse has left the gate, yes. So where are we now?

KAREM: Well, that's a good question. And as the economist's know that better than I, remember, the demand curve slopes down. So the more things cost, the less you're going to be inclined to pay for those things. And that's -- where is the payoff, as Nia was saying? That -- when does that tradeoff occur?

The thing to keep in mind with Donald Trump, however, is that, look, he's not -- I -- I -- having dealt with this administration for a year and a half, I find it hard to believe that he's still dealing in reality. With him, he's starring in the movie in his own head, whether it's NATO or tariffs or immigration, he's John Wayne going out to save the country in his own inimitable style. He's the hero in his own narcissistic movie.

So this move it -- with the tariffs falls into that in so much as it may not have a relationship with reality, only with what he sees himself doing. And the cost and effect on the average person in middle America is not figuring into it. And when those costs come home, when the prices of thing start to rise, that -- and -- and people have less money to spend, that's when it's (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: Hang on one second, Brian. I think we're getting live pictures right now. I want to go back to Brussels for a second right now.

CAMEROTA: Angela Merkel --


CAMEROTA: The German prime minister, walking into the NATO summit.

BERMAN: Yes, by this time she no doubt has heard what President Trump said about her, behind her back, frankly. He was meeting with the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, and he said that Germany and Angela Merkel are being held captive by Russia with their energy deal.

It is also notable that Chancellor Merkel is at a particularly precarious time politically in her own country and there are people who know that President Trump smells weakness.


BERMAN: So he's attacking her now.

Also, British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Again, we're watching Angela Merkel walk in.

CAMEROTA: Up to the microphone. Here we -- here she is. BERMAN: For our German viewers, you're enjoying this. We do not have the translation right now. Again, if she says something newsworthy, we'll get back to you on that.

Let's go back, if we can, to the discussion we were having with Brian Karem and Nia-Malika Henderson. John Avalon here as well.

The other big news overnight, the reunifications between these children younger than five years old and their parents, separated by the U.S. government.

We have some numbers we can put up on the screen here of what was actually done and not done. It's not everybody, John, but the process began.

CAMEROTA: Four were reunited. Not everybody. Four. Four. OK, four. Now they were --

BERMAN: Thirty-four -- thirty-four --

CAMEROTA: Thirty-four were expected by the end of yesterday.


CAMEROTA: OK, but that is so far short, obviously, of the number 2,000 -- up to 3,000.


CAMEROTA: And this was supposed to be 104 -- whatever there was --

AVLON: Two hundred (ph).

CAMEROTA: One hundred and two of the littlest kids.

AVLON: Yes. Right. SO it -- yesterday marked the deadline for the first two weeks by which time kids under five, really, you know, young children and toddlers, my children are under two, were supposed to be reunited by their families. By the day the sun rose on the final day of that deadline, only four had been reunited.

[06:35:11] Now, they expected to move another 30 to their families. There's another 25 they say can't be reunified because there are problems, whether they were brought over by traffickers or questions like that.

But this was an utter fail by the administration to meet this deadline and the judge offered a pretty harsh rebuke. He said, these are not aspirational goals. That's a quote. But this is a deadline. And they don't seem to be acting like it. And part of the problem is, is they are scrambling. They could use a lot of happy talk about protecting children.

KAREM: They don't care.

AVLON: But -- well, whether it's callousness or incompetence, the reality is, there was not a plan to reunify.

BERMAN: Hang on. You say callous --

KAREM: That's the problem.

BERMAN: Hang on -- hang on one second, Brian. You say callousness and incompetence. The secretary of Health and Human Services --

AVLON: Would beg to differ.

BERMAN: Azar says, no, no, no, this is great American generosity.


BERMAN: Listen to what he told Wolf Blitzer.


ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities, our grantees. It is -- it is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally. And so we don't have anything to hide about it.


CAMEROTA: Can you believe that?

KAREM: He has never -- they have --

CAMEROTA: Can you believe that?

Hold on, what he's saying is that these are unaccompanied kids. No, they're not. The up to 3,000, most came with their parents. He is trying to change the narrative to make it seem as though we are being the, you know, very gracious hosts for these unaccompanied kids. That's not who we're talking about.



KAREM: They never had a plan to reunite these children. This was a deterrent that they hoped would work. They did not understand the issue. They didn't care about the issue. They only stripped kids from their parents in order to punish them. And the president's comments before he left for the summit when he said, hey, don't come to our country illegally, shows they did not care and did -- and still to this day have no concrete plans. If they had a concrete plan, it would have been put into effect. You can return a library book and get a UPS tracking SKU but you can't track the kids? I'm sorry, they never planned to do it. That's the callousness that we have to understand. And the president did not care about those kids and still does not.

CAMEROTA: Nia-Malika, we're out of time. I'm sorry to short change you. We have so much breaking news happening with NATO. Thank you both very much.

So, what President Trump's strong words for NATO allies mean ahead of the summit. We'll play more for you.

BERMAN: Hulk, smash.


[06:41:22] CAMEROTA: President Trump using strong language with his NATO allies this morning. He wants them to pay up. At breakfast with the secretary-general, President Trump saved his harshest words for Germany.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply -- they got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it's something that NATO has to look at. I think it's very inappropriate. You and I agree that it's inappropriate. I don't know what you can do about it now, but it certainly doesn't seem to make sense that they pay millions of dollars to Russia and now we have to defend that against Russia.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador to the U.N. and to Russia.

Ambassador, it is so great to have your expertise here with us this morning to walk us through this highly unusual breakfast that we just witnessed play out for all of the world to see. These are supposed to be ceremonial photo-ops, or in general they have been. And what do you think the effect of President Trump's harsh words there, or strong words, will be?


Two or three things.

One, obviously we're in the pressure phase of real estate type negotiations over NATO. And so he's putting the heat on to see what he can get. And he's made a little bit of progress.

The reality is that -- and the facts are that NATO agreed that by 2024, which is a little way from now, they would increase their general commitment to defend by 2 percent of their gross domestic product. So we have a ways to go yet.

The second question here is, is he overdressing the alliance? Is he putting to a serious test both NATO and the European Union, about which he and others have problems distinguishing. But there are distinctions.

And the third question is fascinating. Is he taking Mrs. Merkel to task for doing business with Russia, whose president is someone with whom he has a kind of love feast coming up at the end of the week? And now that's public enemy number one of NATO and public enemy of basically all of Europe as he (INAUDIBLE). And he forgets --

CAMEROTA: So -- so explain that. Explain that contradiction.

PICKERING: Yes, well, he forgets Mrs. Merkel speaks Russian fluently. Mrs. Merkel has been, over the years, insulted by Prime Minister -- by President Putin. Putin brought a dog, who he knows Mrs. Merkel rejects entirely, into a meeting with him a few years ago just to show his hutzpah in this particular question.

So Trump seems to be working against alliance solidarity for a goal they have already agreed to, which is to be reached by 2024 and clearly in within sight, although will be difficult. And, once again, he's risking alliance solidarity, particularly in the Balkans, where the Russians -- I mean in the Baltics, where the Russians have put on an enormous amount of pressure, and in Ukraine.

CAMEROTA: So is that the upshot? You believe --

PICKERING: Let me --

CAMEROTA: Hold on. You believe that he is fraying, with these words, he is -- we do stand a chance of fraying these long-held alliances?

PICKERING: Stand a chance is an understatement. I think we have frayed alliance solidarity. The really important question here is will it break? I don't think it will. I think the alliances is, in many ways, stronger than Mr. Trump on this particular question and will hang together. But he is, in a sense playing Russia -- German domestic politics at this particular stage against Mrs. Merkel in an effort either to try to get back at her, or to recognize that she is perhaps the strongest member of the NATO alliance and the European configuration, at least, and someone that he should use as a major pressure point to see what else he can get.

[06:45:12] But, factually, he's pretty much totally out of the picture. Something he tends to be on trade and other issues anyway.

CAMEROTA: But I want to ask you about that in terms of factually because what he seems to be saying -- I mean, look, you know, he doesn't use nuance, OK? Obviously he uses sort of blunt force. And what he's saying -- he appears to be saying is, if Russia's such a bad actor, if you need protection from Russia, why is Germany dependent, up to 60 to 70 percent of their energy, on Russia? He's saying that's inappropriate.

PICKERING: I think that in many ways it is. I gave a speech 15 years ago when I was ambassador in Russia and Europe and said Europe should watch out about being over dependent on Russia petroleum.

CAMEROTA: So he has a point?

PICKERING: Yes, so he has a point there. And I think it's real. I think what's happened is, the change in the energy situation has gone two ways. U.S. fracking has brought a lot of cheaper energy on the market and will continue to do so and can help the Europeans pluralize their sources of oil, of hydrocarbons. The second question has been, as a result of problems, particularly in Japan, both nuclear energy and coal pollution have played a big role in domestic politics and allowed Germany to back out of those alternative sources of energy.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But, I mean, I think the point is, is it OK that they are that dependent on Russia?

PICKERING: I think it's not. On the other hand, I'm not sure at this stage that Mr. Putin's (ph) general approach to President Putin is consistent with the idea of playing the game that Russia is the huge threat. He should figure out which side of that equation he's come down on. His Republican allies in the United States are very much concerned and suspicious about Russia. And we have reason to be. I think he's right in meeting with Putin. I don't think he's right in pressing the allies on 2 percent contributions under a way that really undermines their capacity to be united against Russia in Europe in a defense posture.

CAMEROTA: Great to get your perspective on all of this.

PICKERING: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Thomas Pickering, thanks.

PICKERING: Good to be with you, Alisyn. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Good to be with you too.


BERMAN: A guy who knows a thing or two about diplomacy and international relations.

Coming up, we're going to speak to two rescuers who were so involved with the miracle -- miracle operation in Thailand.


[06:51:10] BERMAN: This morning, Thai medical officials say the 12 boys and their coach who spent more than two weeks trapped in a cave are healthy. Meantime, the world is celebrating the remarkable rescue effort that saved their lives. Joining me now, Major Charles Hodges, the mission commander of the U.S. Air Force unit involved in the rescue operation, and Master Sergeant Derek Anderson, who was a diver planner for that mission.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for everything you did. I think the world needed this miracle these days.

Major, let me start with you here.

One official, one Thai official said, we achieved mission impossible. What do you make of the success? MAJOR CHARLES HODGES, MISSION COMMAND FOR U.S. AIR FORCE UNIT IN RESCUE OPERATION: I agree. It's amazing what we were able to do when we work together. We knew this was an extremely high risk mission with a low probability of success. And, honestly, we kind of surprised ourselves in many ways. But working with the Thai folks and the international community, it was an incredible experience. And, obviously, we came out on top. So, yes, it was mission impossible.

BERMAN: Now, major, you were in cavern three. That's part of the way into the cave complex. All those boys and their coaches, they were leaving, they passed through you. I think you interacted with them. How did they seem to you? What was that like?

HODGES: Negative. Negative. So I was up in the operation center trying to command and control all of it. I was not down in chamber three.

BERMAN: Master sergeant, you were in chamber three, I heard you say then?

MASTER SERGEANT DEREK ANDERSON, DIVE OPERATION PLANNER: Yes, correct. Not the entire time, but I was back and forth just passing information and insuring that things were running smoothly.

BERMAN: And did you have a chance to see these children as they were exiting this complex?

ANDERSON: Yes, not every single one of them, but I did see a few of them in between the days of the rescue effort.

BERMAN: And what was that like? What condition were they in when you saw them?

ANDERSON: I mean, I think the biggest thing to know is that, you know, that the children were happy to finally be out on top of the surface again. Again, we weren't really getting too involved. Once the children got past chamber two, they were handed off to the Thai officials and medical personnel and they handled them from there. So I didn't have a whole lot of involvement beyond that.

BERMAN: Major, we saw the global effort involved here. The Thai navy SEALs, in a certain way, they were the tip of the spear. But so many countries were involved here. Explain to me the collective effort that was need.

HODGES: Yes. So this absolutely would not have been possible if it weren't a multinational effort with everyone coming together. And you obviously have the U.K. dive team that was there. There was a team of four or five European divers that were able to help out to be the support divers for the U.K. dive team that was there. There was the Australian Federal Police that was lending a hand for the kids coming out of chambers three through one. We were there as well helping out with that. There was a Chinese contingent there.

While the SEALs were leading the show, there's no way that this would have been possible if it weren't everybody working together to put their brains together on this, put the planning together on this. And then, at the end of the day, just putting their hands together on this and make this happen.

BERMAN: Master Sergeant, what was the hardest part of this? You were so involved with the planning.

ANDERSON: I think initially it was just locating them, you know? There was a lot of speculation of where they could be with the higher areas that would still have air in the cave that -- versus the ones that were flooded. But I mean I think after we located them, the most difficult was just the access, you know? They were so far back into a cave that's extremely tricky, and then on top of that cold, flooded waters with almost no visibility, pinch points that created even more, you know, dangerous areas for divers and the children.

[06:55:02] And so I think that when you collectively look at all the specific dangers, that's why everybody was saying that this is one of the most difficult and historic rescues was because, one, something like this has never been done, and then, two, tackling a problem that had so many, you know, critical decision points became an enormous task and I think that's why it required this level of effort from around the world to actually succeed.

BERMAN: Major, was there ever a moment of doubt?

HODGES: Absolutely. The whole time we had doubts on this. As Sergeant Anderson was saying, we have never done something like this. At the same time, though, we understood that there was no other option. Working with the Thai, we had realized that they had gone through the decision matrix the right way and every other option was quickly leading to dead ends. And even though this was extremely risky with a low probability of success, there were no other options. Especially once we found the kids, we knew that we had to follow through on this. And, thankfully, I've been taught to take risks and be bold and in this situation it absolutely worked out for the best.

BERMAN: Thank goodness you have been taught all those things.

Major Charles Hodges, Master Sergeant Derek Anderson, again, thank you for everything you did and thank you for being with us this morning.

HODGES: Thank you.


BERMAN: President Trump just arrived at the NATO summit. You're looking at live pictures right now. We'll have new details ahead of the controversy he has already begun to stir.


[07:00:06] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: All right, good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day.