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Trump to hold New Conference; Trump and Abe Reaction to North Korea; Trump and Trudeau News Conference. Aired 2-2:29p ET
Aired February 13, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Expect. But as you know, President Trump is not really one for the pomp and circumstance of most things, particularly here in the White House. And so I think that there's always a possibly that he will shake up what has become the norm for these kind of press conference, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And the norm for these kinds of press conferences, there are a limited number of questions. The reporters, the good ones, they ask multiple part questions so there's really two or three questions in that one question. And normally the president, the visiting leader, they'll answer those questions.
We see staff members, key people walking in right now from the Canadian delegation, from the U.S. delegation. They'll be walking in the front rows and then the reporters will have an opportunity to ask some questions.
Sara, stay with us. We're going to get back to you shortly.
Gloria Borger is our chief political analyst.
It will be curious to see which American reporters are asked - allowed to ask questions because presumably the White House could determine who gets to ask those questions. And they presumably don't want certain questions, like the future of the National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a question like that to be asked.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Probably not. And as we know at the last such gathering with Abe, the president called on two people who were owned by - who work for Rupert Murdoch-owned organizations, and he seemed to get a little peeved when one of those journalists actually did ask an off topic question. So he knows that that's what journalists are going to ask.
And the thing we're all going to be watching for is whether in fact NAFTA does come up because it wasn't in their joint statement and there are disagreements about NAFTA. And the question of whether immigration and refugees comes up, because, of course, Canada has been welcoming in refugees. And we are now going through this controversy in this country about how to allow people in.
BLITZER: David Chalian's our political director.
What are you looking for?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I - you know, this is now - you mentioned the Abe meeting on Friday. This -
BLITZER: The Japanese prime minister.
CHALIAN: The Japanese prime minister. We have the Canadian prime minister. And then we have Benjamin Netanyahu coming from Israel later this week. So it's - Donald Trump is sort of on the world stage with his counterparts while his own turmoil inside the White House is going on, that we've been reading about in headline after headline. This is not yet a buttoned down West Wing operation. Clearly those foreign leaders are reading that as well. So the president kind of has to play at two levels at the same time as he's hosting all these foreign dignitaries. So that's what I'm looking for, Wolf, is how he handles if he gets questions about Mike Flynn, the national security advisor, Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, about the inner workings of the West Wing and whether or not there's going to be a course correction just three and a half weeks into the administration.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, and whether or not he even answers that question, right? I mean he could very well get it, any of those questions, about Reince Priebus, about Sean Spicer, about Michael Flynn, but he could just say, I have no comment, and pivot someplace else. We've seen, I think, in some of these press conferences, he's wanted them to end pretty rapidly, right? And the one with Abe, before Abe got his last question, it looked like Donald Trump was really - really ready to leave and wrap it up. So we'll see how he behaves with Prime Minister Trudeau.
We saw some warmth, obviously, with Abe. And we'll see if that exists here. Of course, Obama and Trudeau, they had a bit of a bromance, and Canadians really loved Obama when he was there. They were chanting, four more years, four more years. So we'll see how their relationship is and what Trump's sort of comments to the Canadian people are, too. A big trading partner for us. So, we'll see.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: : There's no bigger alliance really when you think about it than between the U.S. and Canada. There's talk about the special relationship with the U.K. And then, of course, you have these deep alliances (ph). But the longest peaceful border, big trading relationship. I mean so many people going back and forth. It's going to take super hero like forbearance and stage managing to hide the very severe differences between these two leaders on defining issues, right? Free trade. Trudeau is a pro-NAFTA free trade. Donald Trump ran on breaking up NAFTA. Refugees. Pierre Trudeau, this is a defining issue for him, welcoming the world's refugees. Donald Trump, defining his issue on the opposite end. Climate change as well. I mean those are real - they're not just subtle differences between partners. They are real defining differences on defining issues. How do they manage that relationship, not just in this press conference, but in years going forward? That's going to be extremely difficult.
BORGER: Well, Canada is the top trading partner for 35 states in this country. The president has to keep that in mind. Among those states are the rust belt states that he won in the last election. So he's got to keep that in mind as well. I mean Canada, you know, this president talks about bilateral trade deals all the time and he wants to do that. Well, that's fine, but Canada - you know, Canada is a big trading partner of ours.
BLITZER: It's the U.S.'s largest trading partner.
[14:05:00] BORGER: Large - right and -
BLITZER: And people don't always necessarily appreciate that.
I want to go to London. Clarissa Ward, our senior international correspondent, is on the scene for us.
Clarissa, how are people in Europe, around the world watching this news conference right now, the Canadian leader visiting the White House?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think, Wolf, that a lot of people around the world are looking for some kind of clarity on the North Korea testing of that missile. And while that missile fell harmlessly into the sea some 300 miles from North Korea, there is, obviously, a lot of concern about North Korea's leader, the fact that he is so volatile, the fact that he is not perceived as being a rational actor. And I do think that President Donald Trump really scored some points on the world stage yesterday with a much more kind of measured presidential pragmatic tone than we have become accustomed to hearing from him. But I do think that people will want to know a little bit more, perhaps, about how, potentially, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump together could work as part of a broader international coalition to deal with the very troubling issue of North Korea.
Now, we are used to seeing Kim Jong-un and his father before him testing new American presidents with deliberately provocative acts, trying to get people to the negotiating table by frightening them, trying to exact economic concessions in return essentially for not fueling a nuclear war. But it's clearly a vicious cycle and not one that anyone on the international stage wants to perpetuate. So I do think that maybe President Trump sent a strong signal by showing that he wasn't going to take the bait and kind of fall into that trap. But now I think a lot of people will be waiting to hear a little bit more about how you deal with this very real threat, Wolf.
BLITZER: The North Korea threat, a lot of national security experts say that is the top, the most serious national security threat facing the U.S. right now.
Stand by, Clarissa. We're going to get back to you.
Kevin Liptak is our White House producer.
Kevin, you're there. You were there in Mar-a-Lago over the weekend when President Trump and the visiting Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, they got word that North Korea had launched this ballistic missile. And you wrote a really detailed piece for cnn.com in which you explained how they got the word. The pictures we saw. They - it looked like they were out in the open at Mar-a-Lago, the president's estate there. And some were describing it as a sort of situation room where they were discussing national security information. Walk us through what you eye-witnessed.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Yes, it was a little different than your situation room, Wolf. It was an extraordinary moment down there in Palm Beach. The president hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for what was meant to be a weekend of bonding, getting to know each other. They were on the golf course.
But it was Saturday night when they learned that North Korea, as we know, fired this ballistic missile. They were preparing for a working dinner at Mar-a-Lago. And as soon as they sat down at their table out there on the terrace at Trump's private club, the aides started descending on the table, papers were produced, consultations were underway between these top level security aides. The national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was there. Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was there. And this was all happening out in view, plain view of all the other dinner guests who were there at Mar-a-Lago. And some of them have described what they saw to us.
They saw Donald Trump take a cell phone call while he was being served salad. The salad course. They saw aides illuminate some of these documents with the flashlights on their cell phones. And this is all raising some questions about the security of what they were discussing. Now, we have no reason to believe that what they were talking about was strictly classified. The sources that I talked to down in Mar-a-Lago cannot say whether what was being discussed at that table was classified or sensitive. But there was clearly - they were - they were out there in plain view of these guests, fellow diners down at Mar-a-Lago and I think that speaks to sort of the atmosphere that Trump likes when he's making these decisions. He likes to be out in the open, particularly when he's at this club that he's owned since the 1980s.
He spent the last two weekends there. In fact, he continues to play host while he's down there. On Saturday night, when he was confronting this threat from North Korea, there was a wedding reception underway in the grand ballroom at Mar-a-Lago and Trump dropped by. He said he knew the guests very well. He said they've been members of the club for a long time and they've paid me a fortune.
BLITZER: And, Kevin, this was after he got word of this North Korea ballistic test? He still decided to sort of drop by this wedding that was going on at Mar-a-Lago?
[14:09:58] LIPTAK: Yes. And this is something that Trump is used to doing during his stays there. The grand ballroom at Mar-a-Lago hosts charity fundraisers, wedding receptions, that kind of thing. And Trump is, in fact, very proud of it. He - he added that as an addition on to Mar-a-Lago, when he bought the club in the 1980s, he says that it had to go through an intense rezoning process and so he's very proud of showing it off - showing it off to the people who are there. Of course it is unusual now that he's the president that he would drop into this type of thing. Wolf.
BLITZER: Kevin, good reporting. Thanks very much.
The aides have now brought the pieces of paper, the statements that the president is going to read, the prime minister is going the read, they're on the lecterns right now. Momentarily both men will be walking in, delivering those same.
Jim Sciutto, it's pretty extraordinary, North Korea launch a ballistic missile test - and we've seen the photographs, they're hanging out at Mar-a-Lago having dinner and they're getting word of a sensitive issue like that.
SCIUTTO: Listen, whether it's the papers or the phone calls, you don't do that in public. I mean it's such an obvious call. I had a security clearance. They used to have Marines that went around to secure part of the building to make sure you didn't leave a classified document just on your desk in a secured part of the building. And, again, we don't' know what those documents are, but if they are anything close to something that the public shouldn't be seeing, you don't do it in public. But then it's the phone calls, it's the conversations with the foreign leader on the most sensitive national security topic of the day. It's just remarkable. It's remarkable. The world unprecedented has been so overused -
SCIUTTO: (INAUDIBLE) including in a book.
BORGER: Yes, a really great book.
SCIUTTO: But - and it raises legitimate questions about whether that's an appropriate place and with - with appropriate public visibility for the president of the United States to be talking about -
BLITZER: You just saw the vice president walk in, went over to the Canadian delegation, shook hands with some Canadian officials. The U.S. delegation is there in the front row as well. Momentarily, the president and the prime minister will be walking in.
Gloria, you wanted to make a point.
BORGER: Well, it just - it just looks so unprofessional. And it looks as if everything is being kind of done in an ad hoc way. When you have something that occurs that is dangerous by all accounts, and serious by all accounts, perhaps it's best to pull the president aside and take his national security adviser with him and brief him perhaps in a separate room that would be out of view.
CHALIAN: What's amazing is, we know that the White House communications agency, this is their job, right?
BORGER: Yes, and -
CHALIAN: Wherever the president travels, they set up secure communications in a separate room. The - I mean there's no doubt that that exists. Why Donald Trump and his team did not avail themselves of that is befuddling.
HENDERSON: Yes, I mean I think Donald Trump likes the publicity. He likes sort of the performative aspects of the president. I mean that's one of the reasons why he's always in the Oval Office signing executive orders and showing them to the camera when they're in there. He talks about the White House as akin to - being akin to a movie set. And so in some ways I think it is appalling and probably dangerous as well, but in some way not surprising given who Donald Trump is. I mean you would think it would be up to him to say, maybe I should go in a secure location.
BORGER: No, it should be up to the national security adviser. Honestly -
HENDERSON: But - but it should also -
SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.
HENDERSON: But I think it should also be up to him. You would think he would want to have these conversations in private.
SCIUTTO: I think we should -
BORGER: Well, these are people who have had no experience -
BORGER: In these jobs. And this is where it's not just protocol, but it's security, as Jim points out.
BORGER: They should know that this is the protocol. This is the protocol because we need to have secure communications and conversations. And, by the way, Abe had some interest in what was going on as well. And perhaps the two of them could have gone off somewhere and met wither their own security teams -
BLITZER: And -
BLITZER: And they did. They did jointly make statements at, what, 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday night in which Abe delivered a more robust statement, a lengthier statement. The president issued one statement saying the U.S. stands 100 percent behind Japan during this kind of crisis.
SCIUTTO: And this, by the way, is a roving pair of eyes and ears, right?
HENDERSON: Right. Yes.
BORGER: Yes. SCIUTTO: I mean it's so easy to hack mobile devices. There's a reason why Mark Zuckerberg has a little piece of tape on his camera, right? I mean it's so easy - they were illuminating the documents with their phones.
SCIUTTO: I mean it's - there are a thousand different possibly -
BLITZER: We'll show those pictures later.
HENDERSON: I mean this -
BLITZER: Michelle Kosinski, while we await the president and the prime minister. They'll be walking out momentarily. If I interrupt you, you will, of course, understand.
What's the - what's the mood over there at the State Department? You've got a lot of career diplomats, foreign service officers who are watching all of this unfold with a very, very worried tone.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, so much now is coming from the White House, being driven by the White House. There have been questions here within the State Department as to what exactly policy will be moving forward. Those top level management positions still haven't been filled. I mean there are still people doing their jobs and many people wanting to do their jobs, but they're getting their marching orders sometimes spur of the moment, from the White House. So they, as much as us, will be watching this to find out what the tone is and where it's going, is anything announced in terms of, you know, any changes or something coming down the pipe.
[14:15:13] But I think when you look at these two leaders together, you think about the relationship that Trudeau had with President Obama, ideologically, culturally. You know, they were roughly the same age. They shared so much in common. And now you see Trudeau meeting Donald Trump, and I - there are many question marks there. I mean there's a lot that's been said about the obvious ways they differ. They do have things in common on trade, the Keystone pipeline. There are things that they can talk about and make nice about and, you know, make this a very positive press conference. But you think back to when you had Trudeau -
BLITZER: All right.
KOSINSKI: What's that, Wolf?
BLITZER: Michelle - yes, hold on, because here comes the prime minister and the president. The president will speak first.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.
Prime Minister Trudeau, on behalf of all Americans, I thank you for being with us today. It is my honor to host such a great friend, neighbor, and ally at the White House. A very special place. This year, Canada celebrates the 150th year of confederation. For
Americans, this is one of the many milestones in our friendship, and we look forward, very much forward, I must say, to many more to come.
Our two nations share much more than a border. We share the same values. We share the love and a truly great love of freedom, and we share a collective defense. American and Canadian troops have gone to battle together, fought wars together and forged the special bonds that come when two nations have shed their blood together, which we have. In these dangerous times, it is more important than ever that we continue to strengthen our vital alliance. The United States is deeply grateful for Canada's contribution to the counter-ISIS effort. Thank you.
Now we continue to work in common and in common cause against terrorism and work in common cooperation toward reciprocal trade and shared growth. We understand that both of our countries are stronger when we join forces in matters of international commerce. Having more jobs and trade right here in North America is better for both the United States and is also much better for Canada. We should coordinate closely and we will coordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent and to keep everyone safe.
Prime Minister, I pledge to work with you in pursuit of our many shared interests. This includes a stronger trading relationship between the United States and Canada. It includes safe, efficient and responsible cross-border travel and migration. And it includes close partnership on domestic and international security.
America is deeply fortunate to have a neighbor like Canada. We have before us the opportunity to build even more bridges and bridges of cooperation and bridges of commerce. Both of us are committed to bringing greater prosperity and opportunity to our people. We just had a very productive meeting with women business leaders from the United States and Canada, where we discussed how to secure everything that we know, the full power of women can do better than anybody else. We know that.
I just want to say, Mr. Prime Minister, that I'm focused and you're focused on the important role women play in our economies. We must work to address the barriers faced by women and women entrepreneurs, including access to capital, access to markets, and very importantly, access to networks. In our discussion today, we will focus on improving the ways our government and our governments together can benefit citizens of both the United States and Canada, and in so doing, advance the greater peace and stability of the world.
Mr. Prime Minister, I look forward to working closely with you to build upon our very historic friendship.
TRUMP: There are incredible possibilities for us to pursue, Canada and the United States together.
Again, thank you for joining us and I know our discussions will be very, very productive for the future of both countries, Mr. Prime Minister. TRUDEAU: Thank you, Mr. President.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for joining us. I'd first like to start by extending my sincere thanks to President Trump for inviting me down to Washington.
Any day I get to visit our southern neighbors is a good day, in my book, particularly when it's so nice and warm compared to what it is back home. We are suffering under a significant winter storm that's hitting our Atlantic provinces particularly harsh.
So I just wanna send everyone back at home my thoughts as they shovel out and impress on everyone to stay safe.
TRUDEAU (through translator): ...and myself have had a very...
TRUDEAU (through translator): We had the opportunity to get to know one another better and more importantly, we had the opportunity to talk between the unique relationship between Canada and the United States.
TRUDEAU: ...on both sides of the 49th parallel have understood that the bond between our nations is a special one. No other neighbors in the entire world are as fundamentally linked as we are.
We've fought in conflict zones together, negotiated environmental treaties together, including 1991's historic Air Quality Agreement. And we've entered into ground-breaking economic partnerships that have created good jobs for both of our peoples.
Canadians and Americans alike share a common history, as well as people-to-people ties that make us completely and totally integrated. Our workers are connected by trade, transportation and cross border commerce.
Our communities rely on each other, for security, stability and economic prosperity. Our families have long lived together and worked together. We know that more often than not, our victories are shared and just as we celebrate together, so too do we suffer loss and heartbreak together.
Through it all, the foundational pillar of which our relationship is built, is one of mutual respect and that's a good thing. Because as we know, relationships between neighbors are pretty complex and we won't always agree on everything.
But because of our deep, abiding respect for one another, we're able to successfully navigate those complexities and still remain the closest of allies and friends. Make no mistake, at the end of the day, Canada and the U.S. will always remain each other's most essential partner.
And today's conversations have served to reinforce how important that is for both Canadians and Americans. As we know, 35 U.S. states list Canada as their largest export market and our economies benefit from the over $2 billion in two way trade that takes place every single day.
Millions of good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the border depend on this crucial partnership. Maintaining strong, economic ties is vital to our mutual success and we're going to continue to work closely together over the coming years so that Canadian and American families can get ahead.
TRUDEAU (through translator): As we know, 35 U.S. states list Canada as their largest export market and our economies benefit from the over $2 billion in two way trade that takes place every single day.
Millions of good middle-class jobs on both sides of the - both sides of the border depend on this crucial partnership. Maintaining strong, economic ties is vital to our mutual success and we - we're going to work closely together over the coming years so that Canadian and American families can get ahead.
TRUDEAU: I'd like to highlight (OFF-MIKE) that President Trump and I discussed today. At the end of the day, the president and I share a common goal. We both want to make sure that hard-working folks can go to work at a good job, put food on the table for their families and save up to take a vacation, every once in a while.
That's what we're trying to do, here. Today, we reiterated that our nations are committed to collaborating on energy infrastructure projects that will create jobs while respecting the environment. And as we know, investing in infrastructure is a great way to create the kind of economic growth that our countries so desperately need.
TRUDEAU: In that same vain, we know that insuring equal opportunities for women in the workforce is essential for growing the economy and maintaining American and Canadian competitiveness on the world stage.
As such, the president and I have agreed to the creation of the Canada-United States Council for advancement of woman entrepreneurs and business leaders. This initiative is more than just about dollars and cents, this is about ensuring that women have access to the same opportunities as men. And prioritizing the support and empowerment of women who are senior business leaders and entrepreneurs. In doing so, we'll grow the Canadian and the American economies and help our businesses prosper.
TRUDEAU (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Finally, President Trump and myself have agreed to work together to fight against the traffic of opioids across our border. The vise (ph) of illegal use opioids in our society is nothing less than a tragedy. We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of Canadians and Americans.
Ladies and gentlemen, President Trump, I know that if our countries continue to work together, our people will greatly benefit from this cooperation.
TRUDEAU: ... demonstrated time and again, that in order to tackle our most pressing issues, both foreign and domestic, we must work with our closest allies, learn from each other and stand in solidarity as a united voice. With a level of economic and social integration that is unmatched on the world stage, Canada and the United States will forever be a model example of how to be good neighbors.
Winston Churchill once said, that long Canadian frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans guarded only by neighborly respect and honorable obligations is an example to every country and a pattern for the future of the world. That, my friends, is the very essence of the Canada-U.S. relationship.
I look forward to working with President Trump over the coming years to nurture and build upon this historic partnership. Once again, it's a tremendous pleasure to be here in Washington.
TRUDEAU (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Thank you very much.
TRUMP: OK. We'll take a couple of questions.
Scott Thuman, Scott?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
You just spoke about the desire to build bridges, although there are some notable and philosophical differences between yourself and Prime Minister Trudeau. I'm curious as you move forward on issues from trade to terrorism, how do you see this relationship playing out? And are there any specific areas during with which, during your conversations today, you each decided to perhaps, alter or amend your stances already on those sensitive issues like terrorism and immigration?
And Prime Minister Trudeau, while only in its infancy so far, how do you see this relationship compared to that under the Obama administration?
TRUMP: Well, we just began discussions. We are going to have a great relationship with Canada, maybe as good or better, hopefully than ever before. We are some wonderful ideas on immigration. We have some I think very strong, very tough ideas on the tremendous problem that we have with terrorism.
And I think when we put them all together, which will be very quickly, we have a group of very talented people. We will see some very, very obvious results. We're also doing some cross border things that will make it a lot easier for trade and a lot better and a lot faster for trade. We have -- through technology, we have some really great ideas and they'll be implemented fairly quickly.
TRUDEAU: One of the things we -- we spoke about, was the fact that security and immigration need to work very well together and certainly Canada has emphasized security as we look towards improving our immigration system and remaining true to the values that we have. And we had a very strong and fruitful discussion on exactly that. There's plenty that we can draw on each other from in terms of how we
move forward with a very similar goal, which is to create free, open societies to keep our citizens safe. And that's certainly something that we're very much in agreement on.
TRUDEAU: Tondawik Charles (ph)
[14:29:56] QUESTION: Mr. President, and Mr. Prime Minister, and, Mr. Prime Minister, could you answer in English and French for us, please. A little bit of a follow-on on my American colleague's question.