Return to Transcripts main page


Iconic American Brands Suffer Under Trump's Tariff Wars; 900 Plus Parents Will Not Be Reunited with Children by Deadline Today; Veterans Group Criticizes Trump for Not Visiting Troops in A War Zone. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 26, 2018 - 15:30   ET



LINETTE LOPEZ, SENIOR FINANCE CORRESPONDENT SENIOR FINANCE CORRESPONDENT BUSINESS INSIDER: President Trump is doing. Farmers don't want a handout. They want to earn their money fairly. This is not what I think they saw happening. What the Trump administration is probably trying to do is close down a few fronts on the trade war. You can't fight Canada and Mexico for NAFTA

and fight China and fight Europe at the same time.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You need to have allies.

LOPEZ: You need to have some allies.

BALDWIN: Is that what the Juncker meeting was?

LOPEZ: It seems like that's what it was. We still don't know about auto parts and auto tariffs in general which would be a huge, huge problem for the Europeans. And might ruin this whole piece that Trump is negotiating. We don't know that yet. I think also a lot of the things that Trump, and Juncker said to each other will need to be hammered out this detail and it will be complicated. That's not something this administration has shown us it can do.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Linette Lopez. We are looking at life pictures of the president speaking in St. Louis speaking of trade, talking trade there today.

Just a short while from now that final deadline to reunite more than 900 migrant parents with their children and the Trump administration is not going to make that deadline. We will take you live near the border to find out what happens next.

And more on our breaking news. The man in charge of the Trump Organization's finances has been subpoenaed to testify as part of this southern district of New York criminal probe. One source says this is the person who knows where all the financial bodies are buried if those parties exist. Standby. We have no details coming up.


BALDWIN: Deadline looming for the federal government. Protests today in McAllen, Texas, as the government faces a 6:00 p.m. deadline to reunite all the children taken from their families at the border. The administration is expected to miss said deadline by more than 900 parents, and here is why. Check out the numbers with me. 463 parents are no longer in the United States, likely deported without their children. 191 immigrant parents won't be reunified because according to the government they either have criminal records or declined to be reunified. The government says 260 parents need further investigation. Rosa Flores is live at the border town of McAllen, Texas. What's the situation there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we have seen protests this morning here outside of the McAllen bus station where a lot of these reunited families are being dropped off, so they can take their bus tickets and go on to family and friends around the country. As you mentioned the bottom line on deadline day is that while the United States expects to meet the deadline they will only meet it for the parents that are, quote/unquote, "eligible to be reunited" with their children.

Those are expected to be reunited today. Then bucket of parents unfit to be reunited and those include people with perhaps criminal records, DUI, parents who have been released from federal custody, meaning they're no longer in the custody of the United States. They are somewhere around the country and they can't be found.

And then there is another subsection, the parents who have already been deported out of this country. We talk to one group who has six parents that they are working with, some of them they can't find them. They're somewhere in central America. In one case it is the dad and the son who entered this country and were separated in late May. The dad was then deported in early June and right now that father is sitting in Honduras hoping to reunite with his son. The son is somewhere in the United States in the custody of the U.S. government. The big question is about parental rights. Take a listen.


EFREN OLIVARES, TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT DIRECTOR: No criminal sentence includes losing your parental rights. Sometimes the additional criminal history these parents have is a previous border crossing. It's not even a violent crime much less a crime of moral turpitude or anything like that.


FLORES: In the case of this father, this organization says the father did not have a criminal past and, Brooke, here is what the organizations here on the ground are saying and are expecting in the coming days and weeks. They'll be hearing from dozens, hundreds of parents already deported and who are looking for their children, and they are desperate. In their country of origin looking for their children. And their children are in the custody of the United States somewhere around the U.S. in shelters. Some of them get one or two phone calls with their children. The signal is bad where a lot of these parents live. The cell signals may be weak. Internet signal is not great. It's very difficult for these families as they grapple with the fact that they are not reunited with their children yet. And their children are in shelters somewhere in the United States.

BALDWIN: I cannot imagine. Rosa Flores, keep telling their stories, thank you so much, and McAllen. Next, another Sacha Baron Cohen prank paints one Arizona town as a group of racists. You will see the clip, and the mayor will join me live to respond.


BALDWIN: A progressive veterans group is going after President Trump for his treatment of our men and women in uniform. The president has yet to visit any service members in a war zone, but we did learn recently the working budget for that military parade he wants on Veterans Day is in the ballpark of $12 million.

[15:45:00] So, Vote Vets.Org. tweeted out this message earlier this week. We'll throw it up on the screen. Which says Trump has spent 123 days golfing or one-fifth of his term at the cost to taxpayers of $72 million plus and still hasn't visited troops in a war zone. #noTrumpparade.

VoteVets chairman, John Soltz is with me now. I want you -- I saw this. You tell me why the tweet. What's the significance?

JOHN SOLTZ, CHAIRMAN, VOTEVETS.ORG: Well, I think there's a lot of people inside the military including the senior military leadership who think the Trump parade is ridiculous. The military is overextended right now. We've got a lot of operations in Eastern Europe. We obviously have issues on the Korean Peninsula. U.S. Troops have died under the administration in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and so forth. All over the world. It's rather ironic that the president seems to think the military works for him, yet he has not gone out and does what any military director does by visiting the troops in the combat zones.

BALDWIN: Two thoughts, one, he does think veterans -- he does stand with and meet veterans and perhaps the administration would say this military parade is to honor veterans.

SOLTZ: Yes, we're not a banana Republic or a former Soviet bloc nation who uses the military to promote strength. Soldiers, airmen and Marines are taught to speak lightly and carry a big stick. I would argue in a military that has military operations going on all over the world spending $12 million of their money to watch 7,000 U.S. troops lose Veterans Day with their families to march for him down Constitution Avenue probably isn't the best use of our resources right now. It's unprecedented and something we haven't done since we won the war in '91.

BALDWIN: Explain, John, to civilians who are watching why it so matters for a president, any president, to visit military theater. What message it sends to our troops?

SOLTZ: Our president didn't serve in Vietnam. Everyone knows the facts now, he said he had bone spurs, he had five draft deferments. Every military commander whether you're a lieutenant or an ensign in the navy or a general officer goes to visit the troops in the field. If you command a battalion, you go visit your troops when they're training. If you're commanding troops right now in Kuwait, you into Iraq to visit your troops in Iraq. It is the core of who we are as military officers.

BALDWIN: Why is that important? Why is that so important? What is the message it sends?

SOLTZ: Because you have to go see what they need. You have to go out there and say how is the fight? What do you need? What supplies can I get you?

You have to understand what's going on, on the ground to make decisions to win. And our president right now has gone to his golf courses almost 150 times since he's been president, yet how does he know about a strategy change in Afghanistan if he doesn't go there and see it?

It's a similar argument Republicans made against Barack Obama when he was running for president so if this president is going to be commander in chief and make these life and death decisions, he needs to get on the ground and learn what's going on.

BALDWIN: John Soltz,, thank you so much.

SOLTZ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news. He is the man in charge of finances at the President's empire and now he has been subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen, what this means for the president. And we're learning Robert Mueller is looking at the President's tweets in what could be an obstruction of justice case. Those details ahead.


[15:55:00] BALDWIN: President Trump is in the Midwest today reassuring farmers and manufacturers who have been worried and anxious about the president's promise to raise taxes on overseas trade. He once claimed the U.S. was like quote, "a piggy bank" to some of our biggest trading partners. But after weeks of trade war fears, and iconic brand showing that they would be hit by these steep tariffs. The president announced a deal to work toward a trade truce with the EU.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We agreed today first of all to work together toward zero tariffs, zero nontariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.


BALDWIN: Now, maybe it is a negotiating strategy, but this president seems to love giving the American people a good whiplash. So, with more, CNN political director, David Chalian. David, these reversals, and I know you have to run through some, they seem especially common when it comes to dilemmas of his own making. DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Without a doubt, Brooke, these are all dilemmas of his own making. It is what you get when your governing style is to govern from the hip. Right, without a fully thought through process

I have been now thinking back to June we have seen over the last five weeks a few different occasions where he really has reversed course on certain things. Remember on immigration he initiated that zero- tolerance policy. What was the fallout from that? That children were being separated from their families. So much pressure from Republicans, Democrats and the public, going to keep families together. We know the latest numbers show there are still separated families that have not been reunified.

How about when he went overseas? He gives the bombshell interview and praise one of her future likely opponents. He tells a story that he apologized to her and he was nothing but -- a character trait we don't see with Donald Trump. So far, the oldest and closest allies are in the EU. He is under a ton of pressure from Republicans on Capitol Hill, big business and companies, bottom lines being effective. He is holding a big statement. He says he is finding a solution. He will say this is the art of successful negotiation but clearly, he is reversing course here from the trade war rhetoric that he was in.

When it comes to Russia we saw him in Helsinki side with Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence community as to the matter of election meddling. It caused complete havoc inside the White House because of the on slot and back lash they were receiving. He gets back home, and this is a rare thing, also. He is sitting there with scripted copy saying I meant to say why wouldn't it have been Russia instead of why would it have been Russia? He thought that clarified everything. I think there are a lot of questions about the relationship still.

The President tried to clarify it and then finally he issues this surprise announcement, blind sides his Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats that he has invited Putin to the White House this fall. What did we learn from the national security adviser yesterday? That is being put off until 2019. One of the things that you and I have observed about Donald Trump over the course of his business career and campaign and as President has been he doesn't back down. He quadruples down. That has been a trademark sort of characteristic. Over the last five weeks on these issues of his own making he has definitely adjusted to or responded to the back lash in ways that I don't think we have seen much before.

BALDWIN: Why do you think he is doing that? Do you think it has to do with the fact that he has fired a number of people, a lot of people he disagreed with are gone so he is making decisions by himself, so he then is having to walk them back? Why is this happening?

CHALIAN: It's a good question. There is no doubt that he is sort of on version two of his overall team. We have seen a lot of exits from the administration in terms of the original personnel that was around him who perhaps guided process. He has become more comfortable on the job. He is surrounding himself with people that were not as likely to serve as guard rails against this kind of stuff. As I said he has a tendency to govern from the hip and respond to a fox news segment not with the process that is fully thought through. When you roll it out, it goes more smoothly. I think he is facing the repercussions of that.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

CHALIAN: Thanks.

BALDWIN: That is Demi Lavato. We have news just in that she is heading to get drug abuse treatment according to a source. It is not her first time in rehab. She sought out professional help for substance abuse entering a facility in 2010. She has been open about her struggles with an addiction to cocaine and alcohol as well as mental health issues and an eating disorder. We wish her all the very best.

[16:0:00] I am Brooke Baldwin here in New York. Thank you for being with me. Let's go to "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper which starts right now.