Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Changes Tone, Commits to "One China" Policy; Interview with Tom Perez; France Foils Imminent Attack; Grammy Awards Set This Sunday; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 10, 2017 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the White House said President Trump agreed at the request of President Xi to honor our "One China" policy. So why the shift? The big shift.

David McKenzie is live with reaction from Beijing but we're going to start with Michelle Kosinsky at the State Department.

Michelle, any explanation other than, hey, the president of China asked me so I switched?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: No, I mean, we're not hearing anything more from the White House. We definitely will later today, though. I mean, they're obviously going to be asked about this because when you see the readout of this call, I mean, you just kind of stop in your tracks and say, what? I mean. even the way that it was worded. Such a departure from all the controversy. Not only on the campaign trail, but just before the inauguration, when President Trump -- well, before he was inaugurated, took that call from Taiwan, shaking things up with China immediately.

And then you see that one line in this readout from their phone call yesterday, that the "One China" policy stands. You know that something happened there. So obviously the relationship is so important that the Trump administration realized, and, you know, it's being attributed in part to the new secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, that he had met with Trump before this call and had this discussion and emphasized the importance of this huge relationship.

I mean, you can say this is one of the biggest relationships in the world, trade-wise, for stability and security. You know, the relationship with the U.S. to the rest of Asia is really pivoting on the relationship between the U.S. and China. So it's clear that the administration realized that focusing first on Taiwan before even speaking to China was going to be a major problem, maybe even the deal breaker in the relationship as a whole, because the president of China was not speaking to the administration after that phone call with Taiwan. So now things have been at least smoothed over initially and now that relationship can move forward.

HARLOW: David McKenzie, to you in Beijing, it's not just that President Trump, and as president-elect, was critical of the "One China" policy. He actually as a private citizen tweeted about it a lot, tweeted about how the U.S. could sell weapons to Taiwan and yet still adhere to his policy, et cetera. Now a complete reversal of course. So it's not just -- you know, he's felt one way for years and now he's clearly changing course.

Are we getting any indication from the government there in Beijing as to why, what may have been said on that call to change the president's mind?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the main issue, as Michelle suggests, is that any relationship with China has to be based, from the Chinese perspective, on the "One China" policy. If President Trump had tried to abandon that or negotiate on that point, speaking to experts here and people involved in government discussions, it just wouldn't have got him anywhere. In fact, one expert says, well, good, now that President Trump has agreed to this, we can avoid a war with the U.S. because really, this is the most fundamental policy of the Chinese government.

Any questioning of it would have not gotten him anywhere with discussions. And there are extremely important trade, foreign policy, and security details that need to be ironed out with the Trump administration. So by getting this out of the way, they do actually move forward with the relationship, which was at a stopping point, Poppy.

BERMAN: And David, any reaction from Taiwan yet? Because obviously they are an interested party, to say the least.

MCKENZIE: That's totally right. And Taiwan will definitely be disappointed. They've put out a release through their spokesman saying that they really value the relationship with the U.S. in fact, though, they really wouldn't have much choice in the matter. These are like two titans agreeing on a policy move. Taiwan will be pushed to the side from a real politic standpoint.

They do have informal relationship with the U.S. and also of course there have been arms and military contacts with Taiwan. But again, Taiwan is the issue that had to be put to the side from the Chinese perspective to move anywhere in this crucial relationship -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Michelle Kosinski, David McKenzie, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it, guys.

Still to come for us, Democrats now rejoicing over the decision from the Ninth Circuit. Those three judges on the travel ban from the president. So can they capitalize on this at the polls?

We're going to speak to someone who wants to be head of the Democratic National Committee, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:39:03] BERMAN: Democrats are out in full force this morning, praising three federal judges after they refused to reinstate President Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim majority nations.

HARLOW: Here is House minority leader Nancy Pelosi just last half hour on what she thinks the court ruling shows the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Whatever you think about the ban, how the president proceeded with this was not only incompetent but it was strategically incoherent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: All right. For more reaction on that and a lot more, let's bring in the man looking to head the DNC, former U.S. Labor secretary Tom Perez. Nice to have you on.

TOM PEREZ, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Great to be on your show, Poppy.

HARLOW: So let's begin with the travel ban. We have a lot more to get to. But look, the president could take this to the Supreme Court, which the White House probably will, but he could also step back and he could take a pause and he could rewrite this with a more narrow scope.

PEREZ: Right.

HARLOW: Is this any version of this travel ban that you could accept given the fact that the former director of National Intelligence, the sitting head of the FBI both said in 2015 look, there are risks associated with this, and the vetting process is not perfect?

[10:40:08] PEREZ: Well, let's be honest. You know, ready, fire, aim is no way to run a government. And that's what they've doing. The three judge -- and it's important to point out that, you know, one of the judges was a Bush appointee, two were Democratic appointees. And they were unanimous in saying that the president exceeded his authority, he had no basis in picking these seven countries. The reality is, this order didn't make our nation safer and it certainly made our democracy --

HARLOW: Yes, sir. What I'm asking you, Mr. Perez --

PEREZ: -- any better.

HARLOW: What I'm asking you, Secretary Perez, is there any form of one that you could live with? That you think Democrats could get on board with?

PEREZ: But the reality is this president doesn't talk to Democrats. This president doesn't even talk to the Justice Department. So many of his orders are --

HARLOW: He had some Democratic lawmakers over to lunch at the White House as you know.

PEREZ: Well, you know what, when you look at all the nominees that they put forth, when you look at what they're doing in the first two weeks of this administration, the first act was to make it harder for first-time homebuyers to buy a home. The other day they made it harder for people saving for retirement to do that. So, you know, this notion that there's been consultation with Democrats, that certainly flies in the face of reality. This White House is, again, ready, fire, aim. And this president needs to read the Constitution before --

BERMAN: Mr. Secretary, just -- I'll move on, but are you not going to answer the question about whether or not you could accept some kind of executive order? Because I'll move on if you're not going to answer that.

PEREZ: Well, listen, you know, the reality here is that, you know, the seven countries that were identified, as the court correctly pointed out, there was no evidence that there was that danger there. So, you know, when you -- I think it's really important to look at the decision. I think it's really important to look at what was done in the Obama administration when refugees are coming in the country, they are vetted very, very carefully. And I wish the president would vet his nominees for Cabinet secretaries better.

HARLOW: OK. We have a lot more to get to here.

PEREZ: Sure.

HARLOW: But they are seven countries that were selected by the Obama administration for more intense vetting, not for a ban, but they were selected by the previous administration, John.

PEREZ: But there is a little difference between more vetting and a ban.

HARLOW: There is.

BERMAN: There is, there absolutely is. All right. Politics. As you are running to run one of the nation's major parties, the Democratic Party, overnight we saw some demonstrations at town meetings that Republican members largely are having. A lot of these demonstrations about Obamacare, there are also other subjects. Jason Chaffetz, you know, faced a lot of shouting yesterday in Utah.

A lot of people look at these pictures, which I think we have some pictures.

HARLOW: Yes. Let's show them.

BERMAN: If we can show that as we're talking to you, people look at these pictures and say this is reminiscent of what happened with the Tea Party back in 2009 and 2010. And my question to you, as a student of politics, as you look back on what the Tea Party was able to accomplish, what lessons have you learned from them that you may implement or you would like to implement for the Democratic Party?

PEREZ: Well, I mean, to me the basic lesson of the 2016 election is, we've got to get down to the basics. We've got -- we will succeed when we demonstrate our values every single day. And January 20th was an important day, but frankly, January 21st was far more important. When you see millions of people marching across America. I've been in a couple of airports with folks who have been rallying against the ban that we just discussed.

And when we get down that those basics, when we organize, when we explain to the American people that the Affordable Care Act is a lifesaver, not a job killer, when we explain to the American people that this travel ban is not making America safer and it's making our democracy lesser, when we go forth and tell them that this president isn't draining the swamp, he's just filling it with more billionaires and he's making it harder to buy a home, he's making it harder to save for retirement, he nominates a person for the Labor Department who is someone who sued the Labor Department for --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: About the Tea Party, though. About the Tea Party, though. One of the things, Mr. Secretary, that the Tea Party did was, you know, they rallied members of Congress, a lot of them did what you said was obstruction or Democrats said was obstruction at the time. Are you willing to stand up and try to stop the wheels from turning in Washington altogether?

PEREZ: Well, I think grassroots organizing is not obstruction. And people were out there in Utah and people were out there in airports because they're standing up for American values. I think that's quintessentially American. And I'm heartened by the fact that so many people that I meet day in and day out are saying, Tom, we've got to make sure that we're demonstrating who we are as an American people.

HARLOW: So --

PEREZ: We've got to make sure we're fighting for health care. And so I applaud the efforts of folks who are out there in the front lines, whether it's in an airport or whether it's in a town hall meeting.

HARLOW: Secretary Perez, you just said something that caught my attention. You said we as a party, the Democratic Party, we need to be out there, quote, "demonstrating our values."

[10:45:04] What are the lessons learned from Secretary Clinton's loss in this election where she was not demonstrating the values of the party that you believe the next candidate in 2020 needs to take a page from and learn?

PEREZ: I think when we show our values every day, the values of economic security. The Democrat Party has always stood for economic security, building those building blocks of self-sufficiency. Whether it was Social Security - -

HARLOW: And specifically what did she not do --

PEREZ: Well, we didn't --

HARLOW: -- that you want your pick in -- that you want your pick in 2020 to do? PEREZ: Well, we need to make house calls. We need to have an

organizing presence in every state. We need to build 50 strong state parties so that we're organizing. You know, in Wisconsin, for instance, Mitt Romney got more votes than Donald Trump, but Donald Trump won Wisconsin because we didn't talk to the people in Milwaukee. We ignored them. We ignored wide swaths of rural Wisconsin. And if I have the privilege of being the chair of the DNC, we're going to make sure we're talking to people in every zip code, talking about the message of opportunity and inclusion. Because when we put our values out there, we win. When hope is on the ballot, we win. When fear is on the ballot, we don't do so well.

HARLOW: Look, she didn't go --

PEREZ: And we didn't talk --

HARLOW: We're out of time. She didn't go to Wisconsin once in the general. I think you guys are going to be eating a lot of good cheese in the great state of Wisconsin.

PEREZ: Cheese is good for you.

HARLOW: It is indeed, in 2020. Secretary Perez, we appreciate your time, thank you.

PEREZ: Thank you.

HARLOW: Still to come for us, four people arrested in southern France after police foiled what they are calling an imminent terror attack. We're going to have a live report from France straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:50:32] HARLOW: All right. We're following breaking news this hour out of France. French police have foiled what they're calling an imminent terror attack on French soil. Police conducting a raid in Southern France arresting four people, one of them a 16-year-old girl.

BERMAN: Authorities found a lab that had TATP, this is the same explosive material used in attacks all around the world but especially in Paris and Brussels.

CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now from Paris. Melissa, what are you learning?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're hearing that these four individuals are now being questioned in Montpellier by anti-terrorist policemen. They are then to be transferred to the outskirts of Paris here later today for further questioning.

The attack was, as you say, imminent. That's been confirmed by French authorities. We don't have any word yet on what specifically the target was, whether or not it was to be in Paris or elsewhere. We're continuing to dig around to try to find out more about that. Nothing else either so far on the nationality of those who were arrested. What we do know is that one of them was a 16-year-old girl who was the partner of one of the men.

Now according to early reports that have yet to be officially confirmed, John, the plan was that the young man of about 20 would carry out the attack while the young girl would seek to get to Syria in order to be taken care of as a sort of widow of the jihad. Rather as we've seen at the "Charlie Hebdo" with Boumediene, who'd been the partner of Coulibaly, one of the men involved in that attack on "Charlie Hebdo."

Those are the initial reports that we're hearing from sources close to the investigation. But for the time being, very little else that these poor people were planning that imminent attack at a range of places at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Once again, French authorities congratulating policemen on their work. This is the fruit of a two- week investigation. They had been closely watched by authorities. And again, according to early reports, it was the fact that she was seeking to get to Syria that alerted authorities and on the site, as you mentioned, those quantities of TATP were found, that same explosives which has the advantage from the point of view of would-be terrorists of being something you that you could make at home fairly easily, being the same explosive that was used both in November 2015 here in France and also Davenport Airport in Brussels, John.

BERMAN: All right. Melissa Bell for us from Paris again. This breaking news, word of an imminent plot, perhaps foiled there. Four people arrested. We'll get back to Melissa with more details on that. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:37] HARLOW: Get ready for the glitz, the glam, and of course the music. The 59th Annual Grammy Awards right around the corner. Of course it is this Sunday.

BERMAN: Mostly the glitz and the glam. That's what we're here for.

Want to bring in CNN's Stephanie Elam. She's got the latest on who's nominated and what we can expect when it comes to glitz and glam -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think this one is glitz and glam, but it think even bigger than that this one, John and Poppy, is the music. And you've got some big contenders. You got Beyonce, you got Adele. In fact if you want to know what you're looking for at the Grammys, take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELAM (voice-over): From Adele to Beyonce, the Grammy Awards honor the biggest names in music and 2017 is no exception.

JEM ASWAD, SENIOR EDITOR, BILLBOARD MAGAZINE: It is the Vatican, sort of, of the music business and of music entertainment.

ELAM: Beyonce leads the charge with nine nominations, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and the night's most competitive prize, Album of the Year.

The singer's latest collection, "Lemonade," faces off against Adele's "25," Justin Bieber's "Purpose," Drake's "Views," and Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide to Earth."

Awards aren't the only thing on deck at the Grammys. Expect some big collaborations. Lady Gaga with Metallica and The Weekend with Daft Punk are just a few of the duets set to hit the stage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ELAM: So that's just an idea and you know what else you can probably expect is some tribute to Prince. Remember we lost the iconic musician last year so expect that on music's biggest night that there will be something to remember him by. But if you want to just take a look again at those big -- the big award of the night is Album of the Year, just to give you an idea again, you've got Beyonce with Lemonade, you've got Adele's, you've got Justin Bieber, and Sturgill Simpson. Now if you notice here almost of these titles are just one word. So that may have been a trend in 2016, guys. I'm just noticing that. Sturgill Simpson, though, taking it long. Never know what that has to mean with anything but hey.

HARLOW: Do you have your dress? Do you have your dress, Steph? I know you're going.

ELAM: I'm going to be on the red carpet. It is a very long red carpet. I will be out there. I'll be posting pictures. I'll be tweeting. I'll be trying to look a little different than the news lady that I am right here right now.

HARLOW: Just don't wear the same dress as Beyonce, OK, Steph?

ELAM: I'll try. That's going to be hard. Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

HARLOW: Thank you. Have fun.

Thank you all for being with us all week. It's been good.

BERMAN: It's been awesome. Come back next week.

HARLOW: Bye, guys.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)