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Trump Makes Statement On New Air Force One; Trump In North Carolina And Continuing Thank You Tour; Tariff Facing GOP Resistance; Trump's Comments on Boeing; Egypt Weighs in on President-elect Trump; Egyptian FM Met with VP-Elect Pence. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired December 6, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 8:00 p.m. in Cairo, Egypt, 9:30 p.m. in Tehran. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
Up first, President-elect Donald Trump wants the federal government to tell Boeing, you're fired. Trump is criticizing a government contract for Boeing to build the next U.S. Air Force One presidential plane.
This morning, he tweeted this, quote, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents but costs are out of control. More than $4 billion. Cancel order."
And here's what he said to reporters when they asked about the tweet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, the plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over $4 billion. It's for Air Force One program and I think it's ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Air Force has budgeted $2.9 billion for two new planes to be ready by the year 2022. But so far, it is only awarded Boeing one contract worth $170 million.
President-Elect Trump is also focusing in on transition business today. He has a series of meetings before heading to North Carolina for the next stop on his thank you tour. He holds a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina later tonight, followed by stops in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday and Grand Rapids in Michigan on Friday.
And Vice President-elect Mike Pence's motorcade has arrived back here in Washington where some lawmakers are concerned about Trump's threat to impose tariffs on goods made overseas.
Let's get the latest on all of this from our correspondents. Jessica Schneider is outside Trump Tower in New York City. Manu Raju is covering the vice president-elect up on Capitol Hill.
Jessica, who are some of the people Trump is meeting with today? What should we expect from him in North Carolina later tonight?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, definitely an adrenaline-fueled day for the president-elect. A morning and an afternoon of meetings will make way for that big thank you rally, the second stop on his thank you tour in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
But first this morning, it has been down to business here at Trump Tower. Donald Trump meeting with an array of people. On that list include Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson.
Interestingly, Rex Tillerson has been added to the potential list of secretary of state nominees. Sources do say that he is a long shot but that Donald Trump is somewhat intrigued by his world view.
Also, Donald Trump just wrapping up, in the last hour or so, a meeting with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. And his national security team is set to meet with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Of course, Kissinger just arrives back here in the United States where from China where he did meet with President Xi.
Could former secretary of state Kissinger have a message for Donald Trump and his national security team, especially in the wake of Donald Trump calling or talking to the leader of Taiwan on Friday and then sending out those tweets over the weekend criticizing China?
But, of course, after all this business is finished, it will be back to what Donald Trump enjoys most, what he does best and what his top advisor, Kellyanne Conway, says he gets his oxygen from. He'll be returning to rallies, this time down in North Carolina.
The rally is set for 7:00 tonight. And one notable thing happening at that rally tonight is that Donald Trump will officially unveil, even though he's already told us about it, officially unveil his pick for secretary of defense, retired General James Mattis.
The four-star General will, in fact, appear with Donald Trump onstage for that big announcement. It's something that Donald Trump has been talking about for the past week.
So, a day of meetings making way for what Donald Trump really enjoys most, some of those rallies happening tonight in North Carolina. Later this week in Iowa as well as Michigan -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, he's going to be going to several of those states that he carried in the presidential election exactly one month ago today.
Manu, the Vice President-elect Mike Pence, he's speaking. He's meeting with lawmakers where you are up on Capitol Hill. Some are, and Republicans we're talking about, not onboard with Trump's call for tariffs on goods made overseas. Is this a sign of a potential rift between the president-elect and some congressional Republicans? MANU RAJU, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is indeed, Wolf. There's
very little support among Republicans for that idea. It really flies in the face of Republican orthodoxy, where, of course, they've pushed for lower taxes for years and to create a business environment that would encourage imports coming from other countries.
Now, Republicans, they are saying that this could potentially spark a trade war, including the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, saying yesterday that there are other ways to deal with this.
And, today, House speaker Paul Ryan also not expressing his support. I had a chance to ask him about it. Here what he had to say.
[13:05:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: So, we think the real solution here is comprehensive across the board tax reform which is what we're going to be hitting the ground running on and working on in early 2017.
I think tax reform is the answer to that problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, they're talking about a broader rewrite of the tax code, Wolf. And it's something that they believe could address some of the concerns that Donald Trump is raising about companies shipping jobs overseas. But not necessarily imposing a punitive tax on those companies that do that.
Even John Cornyn, the number two Senate Republican, I had a chance to ask him about that Trump idea. He would not embrace that approach. He said, let's look at doing this in a broader rewrite of the tax code next year.
But it really just goes to show you, Wolf, once they getting into the details on legislation, it's going to be very hard to keep the party united. Right now, they're singing from the same song sheet. But when they get into the details, a lot harder when legislation starts moving, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Manu and Jessica. Guys, thanks very much.
Let's talk about the transition and more, some of the key issues facing the president-elect. Joining us from Capitol Hill right now, North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows. He's also the new chairman of the influential House Freedom Caucus.
Congressman, congratulations. Thanks very much for joining us.
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: Thank you. It's great to be back with you, Wolf. Thanks so much.
BLITZER: So, where do you stand? Where does the Freedom Caucus, which is a lot of Tea Party supporters, where do you guys stand on this proposal to impose tariffs on certain countries or companies that produce products overseas, outside the United States, that want to export those products to the United States?
MEADOWS: Well, you know, most of us are free traders, and so when you look at tariffs, it doesn't get a warm reception.
But I think when you look at the top 10 priorities of what this administration has proposed to do, tariffs is not in that top 10. So, as we look at this first 200 days -- you've heard the speaker mention tax reform. I've been in contact with some of the President-Elect Trump advisors on tax reform. I think we can find real unifying messages there.
But it's all about making sure that jobs and American jobs are priority one. I think that's the overarching strategy. It's maybe the tactics that we disagree on.
BLITZER: Well, that's a significant tactic because you heard Donald Trump --
It is without a doubt.
BLITZER: -- repeatedly. He said if a company, like Carrier or Ford or a General Motors or some other company, moves a factory to Mexico or someplace else, they want to sell products back here in the United States, he wants to impose a 35 percent tariff which would clearly make those products for American consumers a lot more expensive.
But you would strictly -- you would strongly -- the Freedom Caucus would strongly oppose that, I assume?
MEADOWS: Well, I think, you know, we haven't taken any official decision or made any official proclamations on that.
I can tell you, last night, we had our meeting. That was not one of the topics that we talked about. We really talked about the repeal of Obamacare.
But I think, in general, most of our members would be against tariffs and would not support that. That's what you -- why you have two different branches, an executive and a legislative branch. We've got to work together to make sure that jobs are a priority. And I think that you'll find that in the first 200 days, Wolf.
BLITZER: On Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, repealing and replacing Obamacare certainly a key promise from Donald Trump, from Republicans. And members of Congress, members of the House, you're working on plans right now to do that.
Paul Ryan says a repeal won't leave people worse off, but those plans could take, he says, maybe as many as three years to implement. Are you OK with that?
MEADOWS: Well, we're not. We've gone on record that what we want to make sure of is that we do a repeal and replacement in this next Congress coming up.
I think the American people are tired of us kicking the can down the road, waiting for some future Congress to make a decision. So, anything that we do, the repeal and the replacement, I think, needs to come together and be in a -- in no more than two years as we look at it. So that we don't have an inadvertent failure to really support those that need the most help.
And so, I can tell you, the Freedom Caucus will be pushing for a shorter time frame on that, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, two years to -- because, as you know, about 20 million Americans, they now have health insurance. They didn't have it before. You want to make sure that those 20 million are protected. Is that right?
MEADOWS: We have to really look at making sure they're protected. You know, when we look at safety nets, I think that's an important aspect of that, for both Republicans and Democrats.
And so, as we craft a replacement, it's making sure that we don't harm anybody in the process. And I think we can accomplish that.
I know that, potentially, the new secretary, Tom Price, my good friend, has a number of ideas. But we'll be working with him closely to make sure that we don't leave anybody behind.
BLITZER: What did you think of the president-elect's statement today, saying to Boeing, in effect, I said it earlier, you're fired. He doesn't like the cost estimates of a new -- a couple of new Air Force Ones. He says, you know, that's not acceptable. What do you think about that?
[13:10:02] MEADOWS: Well, you know, he's a take-charge kind of guy. He's wanting to drain the swamp, Wolf. You heard him on the campaign trail. He's serious about draining the swamp here.
And when he sees waste or budgets that go out of line, I think it's important for him to call it out. And as we look at that -- this will not be the only thing that he looks at. It's really a real reform.
When we look at the State Department, I think there's a whole lot of areas that he can look at, in terms of reforming that with whomever his pick may be.
And so, I applaud him for taking a bold move. He's going to get criticized for it. But I think that it's time that we do business differently here in Washington, D.C.
BLITZER: Mark Meadows, the Republican Congressman from North Carolina. Once again, thanks so much for joining us.
MEADOWS: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Vice President-elect Mike Pence, by the way, he will be on "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper later today live. That's at 4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Coming up, President-Elect Trump's trade agenda hits its first major hurdle. Congressional Republicans. We're going to have more on this.
We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: A part of Donald Trump's economic plan may have hit a speed bump of sorts. Some Republicans in Congress are resisting Trump's call for tariffs on foreign-made goods and higher taxes on companies that ship jobs overseas.
[13:15:07] Joining me to talk about that and more, CNN's Politics Executive Editor Mark Preston.
[13:15:00] BLITZER: Republicans in Congress are resisting Trump's call for tariffs on foreign-made goods and higher taxes on companies that shift jobs overseas.
Joining us now to talk about that and more, CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston, "Time" magazine contributor Jay Newton-Small, and Greg Ip, chief economics commentator for "The Wall Street Journal."
How much resistance, Mark, is Donald Trump facing now in his proposal to increase tariffs on companies that move their factories, for example, overseas and want to export their products back into the United States?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, we certainly saw just a few moments ago we saw Mark Meadows. It took him a while to actually get there and say that -- that his caucus or his conference of really conservative lawmakers would largely not be in favor it. In addition to that, we saw Paul Ryan actually not engage in it, did not want to engage in it. Said that he wants to change the tax code. And, of course, we saw House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy say that, listen, what we need to do is that we do not need to get into a trade war.
Basically, though, all these members of Congress are trying to avoid fighting with Donald Trump right now. It's not a good political position to get in to get on the wrong side of Donald Trump on these issues. I think when we get into January and February, though, Donald Trump is going to see that the reality of getting things done on Capitol Hill is not as easy as just stating them on Twitter.
BLITZER: There seems to be, Jay, a significant ideological divide, let's say, between Donald Trump and his people as opposed to the free traders up on Capitol Hill who say don't impose these tariffs, it's just going to raise prices for the American consumer.
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Absolutely. I mean that includes his own vice president. If you look back, Mike Pence has a long record of voting for free trade deals. And so this is something that's always separated Donald Trump and the rest of the party is this division on trade. And the real question is, can they -- can they sort of bridge that? And that's why you see a lot of the leaders being incredibly careful here not to say anything bombastic, not to burn any bridges, but to really say, well, tactfully we disagree, but let's talk about it and let's see where we can go and let's find some common ground here where we can do something but not exactly raise tariffs on companies exporting jobs overseas.
BLITZER: You're an expert on this area, Greg. How concerned should the American public be, the international community for that matter as well, about a trade war between the United States, let's say, and China or Mexico or Japan, or other countries right now? The fear, of course, is that could lead to a huge worldwide recession.
GREG IP, CHIEF ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, we've had actions like this, very sort of like specific actions for many years now. One action does not necessarily lead to a trade war. Congress, unfortunately, may oppose these sorts of tariffs but they don't really have a lot of say in this matter. By design, all our laws give almost all the discretion to the president to impose tariffs. He can use section 301, which is a very targeted tool. The executive branch controls all the anti-dumping and counter-veiled (ph) machinery, all those things. There's a law on the books that would allow Trump to raise tariffs, impose a 15 percent across the board tariff on any country for six months. Ironically, the idea behind this was that congressional law ruling gave us the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in the '30s, which made the Great Depression worse.
But I think stepping back for a moment, we have to understand what Trump's logic is. He doesn't want to start a trade war. He sees this as a negotiation. He believes and he hopes that the threat of the 35 percent tariff will actually get companies to do what he wants them to do without actually having to go to that step.
BLITZER: Do you understand, Mark, and I know a lot of have been scratching our heads this morning, why all of a sudden, on this morning, Donald Trump tweets about the Boeing Air Force One contract, basically saying much too much money, forget about it?
PRESTON: Right. It may -- it must be a stream of conscience because just a few weeks ago he decided to say that a few million people did not vote. I mean, and, in fact, we had voter fraud among a couple million.
I honestly think that Donald Trump must get wind of a little bit of news, he might have heard it yesterday, perhaps he heard it this morning, and then he just does a stream of conscious and puts it out there. That's very danger when you're the leader of the free world, let alone the commander in chief of the United States.
BLITZER: Because there is a lot of concern that he goes after Boeing, which is what -- the largest if -- you know, maybe one of the -- the largest exporters of American-made products around the world. Is it the largest right now? Maybe.
NEWTON-SMALL: Yes. And this is -- I mean, look, it's such a free- wheeling thing and I think it's certainly something that it keeps everybody on their toes, right, like whether it's taking phone calls from Taiwan. And there's a lot of areas where he does disagrees with Republicans, not just on tariff. If you look at infrastructure spending, for example. No Republicans want to do deficit spending for this. Donald Trump has said he's open to that.
If you look at Medicare and Medicaid, these are things that Republicans want to cut, they want to rein in and he has said -- he's vowed to protect them. So there are a lot of areas here where Republicans are very worried that he's going off-script, that he's not representing the base and not representing the establishment.
BLITZER: Greg, how significant is this? Because Boeing employs, what, hundreds of thousands of people in factories here in the United States. They export enormous numbers of planes. China, for example, by some estimates over the next 10 or 20 years, they're going to be spending hundreds of billions of dollars getting a new series of aircraft, commercial aircraft. They could go to Europe to get Airbus or they could come to the United States and get Boeing. So there's been some concern throughout these past few hours since Donald Trump's tweet, why is Donald Trump sort of besmirching Boeing right now?
[13:20:06] IP: Well, I think we have to, first of all, figure out where this goes. All right, I actually don't think there's anything terrible about the president saying, I don't think the taxpayer is getting good value for its money by spending x-dollars on this aircraft. I recall Barack Obama said something similar about the new helicopters that were planned for him when he --
BLITZER: Marine One.
IP: Exactly. Right. I think so --
NEWTON-SMALL: Which they (INAUDIBLE).
IP: That's right. So for the president of the United States, or the president-elect to say, hey, there's a better way to get value to the taxpayers' money, it's completely appropriate. I think when you start to worry is when he draws a link between that to other issues. Does he say, unless Boeing stops outsourcing production of x to country y, we're not going to buy that thing.
I think that this country has put in place processes and like procurement guidelines and so forth specifically designed to make sure that these sorts of transactions between the government and the private sector are above board, they're transparent, they're done with the public interests and the taxpayer in mind. Right now we haven't seen that. But it's the sort of thing you want to watch for.
BLITZER: Yes. And Trump -- Trump says he wants Boeing to make a lot of money. He just think it's -- it's going to cost U.S. taxpayers way who much to get two new Air Force Ones down the road.
PRESTON: Yes, just -- and Greg is absolutely right. You know, a president trying to keep jobs here is admirable. The fact is, though, his facts aren't correct. I mean Boeing's first contract was only for $170 million. And Donald Trump just throws out very broad directives, which, again, I think is dangerous. BLITZER: And there's really only two companies that could build Air
Force One. It would either be Boeing or Airbus and you know the president of the United States is not going to fly in a European-made plane.
All right, guys, don't go too far away.
Later tonight, CNN's Van Jones looks back at what happened in the 2016 election for a CNN special "The Messy Truth."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN: So, here we are. We're in Ohio. As you know, Ohio went for Trump. We're going to go to one of the bluest counties, Trumbull County, which since 1976 has always voted for the Democrat. Until this year. And they voted for Trump. I'm baffled. I'm bewildered. We got to figure it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You can watch that and a live town hall, live, with special guest Michael Moore, Rick Santorum, and Ana Navarro. That's "The Messy Truth" with Van Jones. It airs live once again 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Coming up, President-elect Trump didn't mince many words out on the campaign trail when he called for a temporary ban on Muslims coming into the United States and extreme vetting. So what will that mean for relations with Muslim majority countries? Like Egypt? Egypt's foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, he's here. He's joining us, live. We'll discuss this -- here he is.
SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: How are you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister.
SHOUKRY: Good to see you.
BLITZER: We'll talk in a moment.
[13:27:06] BLITZER: When Egyptian -- when the president-elect, Donald Trump, that is, won the election, among the first foreign leaders to call and congratulate him was the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el- Sisi. Since the Egyptian military took power in a coup in 2013, the relationship between Cairo and Washington has been rocky at times, but that may be about to change with a new administration.
For more I'm joined by Egypt's foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry. He's the former Egyptian ambassador to the United States.
Minister, thanks so much for joining us.
SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you, Wolf. BLITZER: How's the relationship right now during these final weeks of the Obama administration with Egypt? I know there's still some serious problems.
SHOUKRY: Well, we're always interested in the developing and announcing a relationship. I had the opportunity of see Secretary Kerry when I was here. We signed an important agreement to protect the heritage and antiquities in Egypt. And the relationship has always been one where it's been valuable to both sides and where we have extracted benefit, and so has the United States. But let me challenge you on -- on your introduction.
BLITZER: Go ahead.
SHOUKRY: It was not a coup. It was a popular uprising on the 30th by the Egyptian people which I -- which I participated.
BLITZER: But the military -- the military -- the military organized it. And General Sisi --
SHOUKRY: The military -- no.
BLITZER: El-Sisi was in charge.
SHOUKRY: No, the military didn't organize it. This was the 30 million Egyptians, among them myself when I was retired, that took to the streets and it was the military that protected the 30 million and forged the political road map with the participation of all of the political dimensions of Egypt and decided to depose Morsi and set a course.
BLITZER: Egypt -- now, President Morsi, he was a Muslim Brotherhood leader and we know the problems that he created in Egypt, but he was democratically elected? Is that right?
SHOUKRY: Yes, certainly, without -- don't -- never concerned that he wasn't democratically elected.
BLITZER: Now he's in jail.
SHOUKRY: Now he's in jail because --
BLITZER: How long is he going to be in jail?
SHOUKRY: Oh, he's going to be in jail for the duration of those court rulings that have been issued against him. He's been acquitted of some wrongdoing, but he's been convicted of others. So the term, I think, is 25 years.
BLITZER: All right, let's look ahead. We can argue about whether it was a coup or not a coup.
SHOUKRY: It wasn't a coup.
BLITZER: Let's look -- let's look ahead, talk about the relationship you anticipate developing between Egypt and the United States during a Trump administration. I understand you personally had a chance to speak with the vice president-elect. How did that go?
SHOUKRY: Yes, it was a very important conversation where I reiterated again a message from President el-Sisi, the importance that we attach to the relationship, the strategic nature, our ability to deal more effectively with the common challenges that face us in the region, regaining the security and the stability of states in the region, and that Egypt's role is indispensable in that regard. Egypt's weight and its traditional role as a beacon of modernity and enlightenment is fundamental to regain the stability and to counter the radical extremist narrative.
[13:30:03] BLITZER: What was the reaction in Egypt, which is a country of, what, nearly 100 million people, mostly Muslims, 90 percent if not more Muslims? I'll play a couple of clips during the campaign --