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Trump Meets with Juncker; Trump Announces Aid for Farmers; Russia Will Help Democrats; Shooter Claims Stand Your Ground Defense. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 25, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:56] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, tough trade talks at the White House. Today, the European Council president, Jean-Claude Juncker, is set to meet with President Trump. Just an explanation of who this guy is. He's the one who called Trump's tariff proposals stupid in March and promised retaliations, saying, quote, we can also do stupid.

This comes as the president says he will give $12 billion in aid to farmers across this country hurt by what? By his own tariffs. Farm exports have been the prime target of retaliatory tariffs from China, mainly. Many Republican lawmakers this morning are more than scratching their heads over this one. Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska likened it to giving farmers, quote, gold crutches and turning American into 1929 again. Senator Rand Paul called it welfare for farmers.

Christine Romans is here to discuss all of it.

So let's begin with this meeting today on trade.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I can't overstate how critical this is here. And it's really important here because the president is threatening huge tariffs on European cars sold in the U.S. and Europe is now preparing another 20 billion in counter-tariffs. So it's messy now.

The president is fixated, Poppy, on this, U.S. cars sold to the U.S. -- the E.U., rather, are slapped with a 10 percent tariff, but the U.S. charge only 2.5 percent on European cars. That's not fair. He's threatening a 20 percent tariff from the U.S.

And then last night he made this offer, both sides drop everything, all trade barriers. He said the U.S. is ready. The E.U. is not. He wants to help American automakers, but they also are against tariffs. Already they're hurting from steel and aluminum tariffs. And most cars are not purely American or European. Most cars sold in the U.S. have imported parts. The supply chain long ago became global. So you're hearing on these company conference calls from, you know, from GM, from Harley-Davidson, even from Whirlpool, that the president's trade policies are hurting them.

HARLOW: Just -- these companies are headquartered in the heartland that helped get this president so much to the White House.

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: It's fascinating.

This bailout for farmers. Wow, I mean the backlash.

ROMANS: I know and from -- especially from his own party is very concerned about this.


ROMANS: You know, he's offering this $12 billion. And a farmer you're going to speak to in a few minutes, he called it like a Band-Aid on a broken leg, this bailout. A Trump supporter from Minnesota.

Farm exports have been the target of retaliatory tariffs from U.S. trading partners. The agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, says the government will help the hardest hit products, soybeans, corn, dairy, pork, partly using funds from a New Deal era program, a depression era program, to boost farm prices. Purdue calls this a short term solution.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says what farmers need in the long term are markets and opportunity, not government handouts. GOP lawmakers, Poppy, with few exceptions, are concerned. Senators John Thune, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, they say farmers need trade deals, not welfare.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: This $12 billion announced today suggests that this is going to be a longer term problem than the president said, you know, this -- trade wars are easy to win. Not so much.


ROMANS: The aid starts in September, just in time for elections.

But "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board, Poppy, this is -- says this move doesn't fool voters. Trump may think his farm tariff bailout will get Republicans past the November election, but sooner or later bad economic policy becomes bad politics.

Senator Ron Johnson says this Soviet-type economy we're talking about here. We have cominsars (ph) and government deciding who gets steel exemptions and what countries and what products get tariffs.

HARLOW: Yes. Well, and just wait for the, you know, other industries, like Lisa Murkowski who are saying, you know, that the -- the industries are saying, what about us?


HARLOW: Do we get a bailout? ROMANS: Well, if you're passing out $12 billion in aid, you know,

other industries are going to come -- but I will point out, by the way, the Republican Party fiercely opposed to bailouts for industries during the financial crisis when the economy was tanking.


ROMANS: Now the economy is very strong and we're talking about bailing out -- bailing out industries.

HARLOW: Remember what those like -- like Mitt Romney said about bailing out the auto industry, well, look where they are now.

ROMANS: Right. Exactly.

HARLOW: All right, thank you, Romans. Good to have you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: So the man that Romans just quoted from Minnesota joins me now. He's a soybean farmer who's also a big Trump supporter. On the phone with me is Michael Petefish, the president of Minnesota's Soybean Growers Association. A fifth generation soybean farmer.

Nice to have you with me. Thanks for joining me.


[09:35:00] HARLOW: From one Minnesotan to another, I hope you're enjoying the beautiful but hot summer there. I know that you guys are talking about this around the clock. This would mean more money in your pocket. I mean you're a Trump supporter. You voted for him. But you don't like this. Why?

PETEFISH: Yes, you know, it's -- it's not about the man or the party, it's about specific policies. And we, in agriculture, are very supportive of trade. And this president has not been. And so we take issue with that specific policy decision of his.

HARLOW: So what does that mean when it comes to 2020 for you? Because you said to my colleague Dan Merica here at CNN, this is just -- this is politics, this is political, and you said it's pretty certain that this is to shore up midterm support. Does the president maintain your support come 2020?

PETEFISH: You know, I think the -- the jury is still out on that. Timing is critical on this trade deal. If in three or five years we have a better trade agreement, that won't matter to most farmers because we're hurting financially now and we won't have the ability to continue to run our businesses in the red for the next several years. So the trade needs to get fixed now. And if it doesn't, you know, those will be considered in 2020 for sure.

HARLOW: But what the president is saying this morning, Michael, let me quote one of his tweets, are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off? So he's saying, look, take this $12 billion aid package, take this as a short-term fix. It would help you in the short term, but you are not a fan of it. Can you explain that to our viewers?

PETEFISH: Well, if $12 billion was enough to cover the financial damage, that would be one thing. But I don't think -- I think the damage to soybean farmers alone, you could make the argument, is $12 billion or more. So when you throw in other commodities, other agricultural products, other industries, $12 billion is sort of just scratching the surface of the actual economic impact.

And what's concerning is the future. If -- even if $12 billion did solve the problem this year, what about next year? What about the year after? Are we going to continually pump $12 billion into the farm economy? What we need is markets, and we need better trade deals or trade deals in the first place because we think we're competitive on a global stage. And so if we have access to other countries' markets, that's really what we want. We want to be able to sell our products into other countries with limited tariffs.

HARLOW: And we know the president is heading to Iowa tomorrow. It's the biggest soybean-producing state in the country. And Minnesota is right next to that, both literally and figuratively when it comes to producing so many soybeans. So clearly this announcement was made, you know, as he heads there.

Michael, we wish you luck to you and all your fellow farmers. Thanks for being with me.

All right, so some sad news to report to you this morning. A legend in the car industry has died. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne passed away this morning. He was 66 years old. He is credited with rescuing Chrysler from the financial crisis. He resigned as CEO just a few days ago due to complications from surgery. "The Wall Street Journal" remembers him this way, quote, it is likely that Chrysler wouldn't exist today without his sacrifices.

Back in 2010, a year after he brought Chrysler out of bankruptcy, I asked him how he was going to turn the company around.


SERGIO MARCHIONNE, FORMER FIAT CHRYSLER CEO: I think that this is our moment. Our moment is to go back in and start making cars that people like and to make -- sell them at a profit. I know it sounds incredibly trivial, but it's that simple. If we ignore that objective, we're going to blow this opportunity all over again.


HARLOW: Well, he did just that. Last year Fiat Chrysler sold 2 million vehicles in the United States, more than double where it was in 2009.

Our thoughts with him and his family.

All right, imagine democracy where you have no idea who your president is talking to when it comes to other world leaders and what they're talking about. That's now a reality. The White House is no longer going to give us readouts of the president's calls with foreign leaders. Details ahead.


[09:43:16] HARLOW: Welcome back. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

CNN has learned that the White House has decided to stop releasing summaries of conversations between President Trump and other world leaders. Providing these so-called readouts has been a long standing practice of both Republican and Democratic administrations. Right now it is unclear if this is just a temporary move by the White House or if this is something more permanent.

Meantime, the president is pointing to Russia as he argues Russia will meddle in upcoming elections, but he says Russia will do it to help Democrats. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is with me now.

Nice to have you this morning, sir. Thanks for being here.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: It's good to be here, Poppy.

HARLOW: So this is what the president wrote on Twitter, saying, they definitely don't want Trump, referring to Russia, and says, yes, they'll meddle, but they're going to help the Democrats.

As a Democratic senator, what do you say?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, President Trump apparently forgot what President Putin said in their Helsinki summit. He was asked by one of the supporters who he supported, and he said, I support President Trump. I supported him in the past election. We know that. That's what all our intelligence leaders have found. Our focus now is to make sure that they don't interfere in the 2018 elections, whether for Democrats or Republicans.

But we need to protect our democracy. That's why Senator Rubio and I introduced the Deter Act and it is gaining traction.

HARLOW: The Deter Act, which I want to ask you about in a moment.

Right before we get to the Deter Act, though, you said to my colleague, John Berman, just about a week ago, when asked about inviting Putin to the White House, sort of this summit 2.0, you said that's the definition of insanity, OK. But let me ask you this. I mean you would agree that the United States should have a -- I mean it would be nice if there was a better relationship between the United States and Russia, right? So how do you -- how do you get there if you don't talk, if you don't meet?

[09:45:05] VAN HOLLEN: No, absolutely, Poppy. We want a better relationship with the Russians. And you have to have a conversation. It has to be based on mutual respect. It doesn't help when the president of the United States goes into the meeting and says that the problems in the Russian-U.S. relationship are all America's fault, which is what he did going into Helsinki. Remember he tweeted out that this was all on the United States.

HARLOW: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: He didn't mention the fact Russia invited Crimea and aggression in Ukraine and interfering in our elections. So, yes, we should talk, but we need a president who's not going to roll over to everything that Putin asks for. And it is very scary that they went on this long walk and nobody knows. And now it looks like, from what you just reported, that this White House is going to double down on the idea that the president can have these conversations and nobody else knows what happened. Hopefully we'll learn a little bit more today when Secretary Pompeo testifies here.

HARLOW: And let's listen to what Secretary Pompeo said just yesterday, giving us a little bit more insight to what happened behind closed doors between President Trump and President Putin.


QUESTION: What is your understanding of the agreements that were made between President Trump and President Putin there?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The president's been clear about some of the things that were agreed to. We're going to begin to put together a business council. There will be places we'll start (INAUDIBLE) processes. There were -- there were many things that came from what I view as an incredibly important meeting between President Trump and President Putin. One that I'm -- I think the world will have benefited from when history is written.


HARLOW: He says, when the history books are written, the world will see that the world benefited from this meeting. Is he right?

VAN HOLLEN: Poppy, look, here's what we know or here's what we don't know. We really don't know what President Trump said. And what we do know is that President Trump has been dishonest with the American people repeatedly. And we also know that Putin is a very calculating person. And Putin will exploit all the uncertainties that came out of that meeting, which is why it's important that we have people who were there recording these conversations. I mean the president's people. And so we really know what commitments were made on behalf of the United States.

And what we do know from that meeting is what happened in the press conference, which the whole world saw --

HARLOW: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: Where President Trump sided with Putin on the question of Russian interference saying, no, no, I believe Putin, they didn't interfere. So all we can take from it, Poppy, is what Trump told the world after that meeting. HARLOW: As you know, he has since, you know, tried to walk that back

saying he meant wouldn't instead of would.

But let me ask you about the Deter Act, OK. This --

VAN HOLLEN: And the dog ate -- and the dog ate my homework, right? I mean, come on.

HARLOW: I hear you. Let the American people decide.

So you have the Deter Act with -- you co-sponsored with Marco Rubio, Republican Senator Marco Rubio. You've got a lot of bipartisan support. A lot of Republicans and Democrats that are backing this.

And just so our viewers understand what this would do, this would make sanctions against Russia mandatory should the DNI determine that Russia meddled in the election. That termination would need to be made within a month of the election. Sanctions would be automatic and they would be harsh. McConnell has signaled willingness to take this to the floor.

Can you give us an update on where this stands, if you think a vote is likely and when and what passage looks like is possible in your mind?

VAN HOLLEN: Sure. Look, we're moving in the right direction. As you said, it's gaining steam and momentum. More and more senators on a bipartisan basis joining the effort. Senator Crapo is the chairman of the Banking Committee. Senator Corker, chairman of Foreign Relations Committee. I've spoken to both of them. We're going to be having hearings. And then hopefully a mark-up. A vote on these bills in committee and get them to the floor of the Senate as soon as possible.

It is hard for anybody to argue that we don't have a duty to protect the integrity of our democracy. And that's what this bill does. As you said, very simple.


VAN HOLLEN: I mean if the Russians get caught again, they will know that there will be automatic and harsh penalties. And so if you're Putin, you will think twice before you interfere.

HARLOW: I do want to quickly note this poll that does have some interesting findings in terms of Republican voters. And what it finds is that 60 percent of Republicans, this is a new Quinnipiac poll, trust President Trump more than U.S. intelligence.

Quickly, your read on that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, this is part of the whole effort of Donald Trump to sort of make what is real unreal and make what is unreal real. And it is a scary moment in our country. He has tried to throw the press under the bus. He doesn't like it when people report the facts when he doesn't like the facts that are being reported. And so you've seen a disinformation campaign right out of the White House, out of the president, from the beginning of his administration. So I do worry very much when you have the American people not believing the very people that Donald Trump appointed, by the way, as the head of our intelligence agencies. And people like Secretary Pompeo is going to be testifying this morning and others.

[09:50:18] HARLOW: He will be -- yes, he will be on The Hill today with a lot of questions about that summit.

VAN HOLLEN: That's right.

HARLOW: Senator Chris Van Hollen, appreciate the time. Thank you very much.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you.

HARLOW: We'll be right back.


HARLOW: All right, questions continue this morning after a Florida man was shot and killed during a dispute over a parking space. And the shooter could avoid charges because of a stand your ground law in Florida. Let me walk you through what happened. Take a look. This is surveillance video from last Thursday. And it shows Michael Drejka confronting a person who was parked in his parking spot, a handicapped spot. You can see the woman's boyfriend, Markeis McGlockton, approach Drejka, push him to the ground there.

[09:55:19] While on the ground, you can see Drejka pulls out a gun. McGlockton appears to back away a few steps. Watch this again. Drejka fires, hitting McGlockton. After McGlockton is shot, he stumbled back into the convenience store, died in front of his girlfriend and his five-year-old child. Now, Drejka again leaves behind three children. Drejka, who shot and killed McGlockton, has not been arrested because of the stand your ground law in Florida. Here's how the Pinellas County sheriff explained it.


BOB GUALTIERI, PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF: He had to shoot to defend himself. You know, and those are the facts and that's the law.


HARLOW: Well, the framework of the Florida law says that the state has to provide, quote, clear and convincing evidence proving the shooter deserves to be prosecuted. That's pretty vague. At least 24 states have different versions of a stand your ground law. Our next guest believes the moment where McGlockton backs away raises big questions about whether that law should apply in this case.

With me now is criminal defense attorney Anthony Rickman. He's in the Tampa area. That's close to where this incident took place.

Thanks for joining me.


HARLOW: Let's listen to a little bit more of the Pinellas County sheriff explaining why no charges have been brought.


BOB GUALTIERI, PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF: It's a violent push to the ground. This isn't just a shove. He slammed him to the ground. And he said when he was on the ground, because he's in fear, that the next thing that's going to happen is he's going to be reattacked by McGlockton. He felt that he was at peril and that he needed to shoot to defend himself.


HARLOW: Is that shove to the ground enough, do you believe, for stand your ground to apply here to protect him from prosecution?

RICKMAN: Quite frankly, no. And in looking at what we see here and whether or not stand your ground law applies, it's important to know what stand your ground says. And what Florida's stand your ground says that if you are attacked in a place where you have the right to be, you don't have to retreat. You could stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if you have reasonable belief that there is imminent, serious bodily injury or death. And the key term in the law is imminent. And what we see in that video, there's no doubt about it. It is a violent shove of Drejka. He falls to the ground. He tumbles. May even have hit his head.

HARLOW: Right.

RICKMAN: But after the shove, that's what's important. What we see is McGlockton step back, almost disengage Drejka.

HARLOW: And we see that.

RICKMAN: He almost -- he turns his body.

HARLOW: But -- but -- yes, and we see that. My question to you about the Florida law specifically though is that it's changed. It's actually changed and become a little bit more open ended and it seems to become even more sort of up to interpretation in terms of what you see. What's different now about the Florida stand your ground law from what it was?

RICKMAN: What's different is in 2017 the Florida legislature changed the burden of proof. And they changed the standard on Florida's stand your ground. Previously it was up to the defendant to assert immunity understand your ground law. And the defendant had to go to court and prove why he was in fear. The burden has since shifted in 2017 and now lies on the state attorney's office to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was justified -- or wasn't justified in killing. And basically they're forced -- the change in the law forces law enforcement, forces the state, to put themselves in the shoes of the defendant and say was his use of force reasonable. And now the state has to show that he wasn't reasonably justified. HARLOW: Right. So on that point, just quickly, what happens now is

that Florida's state's attorney has to decide whether or not to seek a grand jury indictment, right? How likely do you think that is it happens? I mean where does this legally go?

RICKMAN: So legally what happens is, the sheriff's office sends over all the information to the state attorney's office. The state attorney's office, through their investigators, conduct an independent investigation to determine what, if anything, to charge Drejka with. They're going to look at the facts, look at the evidence, look at Drejka's possible prior history, prior threats he made, look at the video most importantly and make a determination if they can meet their burden.

And they're looking at it two ways. Number one, can they meet their burden at a stand your ground hearing, meaning clear and convincing evidence? Secondarily, can they prove at trial if they meet this burden beyond a reasonable doubt that Drejka wasn't justified in using deadly force.

HARLOW: Right. And --

RICKMAN: And they can either take the case to a grand jury or charge him with (INAUDIBLE) information.

HARLOW: Right.

I appreciate you being here. We're out of time this hour, but thank you. We'll keep on this case for sure.

RICKMAN: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: Anthony Rickman, appreciate it.

Also want to update you on what's happening in Nicaragua. At least 300 people have now died in Nicaragua as these political protests rage on. This is according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights. This violence began in April. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest the government changes to their social security system. President Daniel Ortega is calling the protests terrorism, has rejected demands to step down.