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Nunberg: Mueller Has Something on Trump; Will Trump's Tariffs Help or Hurt American Workers; Trump Administration Reverses Course on Elephant, Lion Trophy Hunting. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 10, 2018 - 17:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[17:00:00] STORMY DANIELS, ADULT PORN STAR (voice-over): Sort of a double-edged sword where a lot of people are very interested in booking me for dancing and stuff like that, so I'm getting more dance bookings. I usually only dance once a month and now I'm dancing three or four times a month. That's been really great. But because of that, it's sort of overshadowing a lot of the adult films that I'm supposed to be promoting and a lot of the mainstream projects I was actively working on have been indefinitely put on hold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: CNN White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez, joining me now live.

And, Boris, is this going to put more pressure on the White House to respond?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, maybe for a typical administration, but we know this is certainly not that. These new revelations about Michael Cohen's use of a Trump Organization e-mail to coordinate that nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels' attorney, leading to a lot of questions and some exchanges really challenging the voracity of the idea that President Trump had no idea that Michael Cohen was doing this. Cohen, obviously, maintains he did this on his own and not at the president's behest.

He gave a statement to CNN in which he addressed some of those concerns. He writes in part, quote, "The funds were taken from my home equity line and transferred internally to my LLC account in the same bank. I didn't wire it to Russia. I didn't wire it to Syria or Africa. I wired it to an IOLA account in Beverly Hills. It was my money."

Then he goes on to say, "I sent e-mails from the Trump Organization e- mail address to my family, friends, as well as Trump business e-mails. I basically used it for everything."

So essentially, he's saying that it's not significant that he used the Trump Organization e-mail to orchestrate this deal. It still doesn't answer the question why, in one of those e-mails exchanges, does he say that he can't expedite a payment to Daniels on a specific day because the Trump Organization is closed on that day for a holiday. So there's still some questions there.

We have seen the president tweet about a number of different things, though he still hasn't tweeted about, specifically, this story, even though we have been discussing it for several weeks now.

The president is heading to Pennsylvania later today. He did tweet about that. He should be leaving the White House shortly. Reporters will have a chance to shout questions to him upon his departure. He's heading to a district in Pennsylvania, district 18, where there's a special election being held. He's supporting the Republican candidate, Rick Saccone. There is some doubt among Republican insiders whether Republicans can hold on to a seat they have maintained for quite some time. That not only has to do with momentum on the side of Democrats, this being the first midterm of a Republican administration, but further, it leads to a question about where the president stands among his base with all these controversies swirling, not only the Stormy Daniels saga, but the Russia investigation, turnover and turmoil at the White House. If he loses, the candidate, Rick Saccone, that district, it's notable also, Ryan, because President Trump won district 18 by 20 points in the 2016 election.

NOBLES: Yes. And, Boris, as we well know, there are many times where the president uses that short walk to Marine One on the South Lawn to set the record straight from his vantage point. So I'm sure you'll keep us up to date if that takes place today before he heads to Pennsylvania.

Boris Sanchez, live at the White House, thank you.

And now, a CNN exclusive. Porn star, Stormy Daniels, talks to CNN just days after filing her lawsuit against the president of the United States concerning their alleged affair back in 2006.

CNN's Nick Valencia caught up with Daniels last night at a south Florida strip club where she was performing.

I do want to remind you, Trump's longtime lawyer made a $130,000 payment to Daniels weeks before the 2016 election. The White House says the president has denied all of Daniels' allegations.

So let's get right to correspondent Nick Valencia, live in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Nick, what is Stormy Daniels' side of the story? What did she have to say when you talked to her last night?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, she stood firm and maintained her claim. She didn't want to talk about the pending litigation. That was one of the agreements we had going into this audio interview. We weren't allowed to have a camera inside the strip club, and she didn't want to go on camera, just recording audio.

But I was sort of taken back by how much in stride she took the circus surrounding her life. She didn't, of course, talk about the litigation. Didn't want to talk about the president either. But did talk about how this entire ordeal is affecting her career. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA (voice-over): So what has this done for your career?

DANIELS (voice-over): It's sort of been a double-edged sword. Where a lot of people are very interested in booking me for dancing and stuff like that. I'm getting more dance bookings. I usually only dance once a month and now we're dancing three or four times a month so that's been really great. Because of that, it's sort of overshadowing a lot of adult films I'm supposed to be promoting and a lot of the mainstream projects I was actively working on have indefinitely been put on hold.

VALENCIA: You got a lot of attention. Some of it some negative attention. How are you handling everything?

DANIELS: I've been in the adult business for 17 years, so to make it that long in that business, you have to have a really tough skin. And so it's -- most of it rolls off my shoulder because it's an opinion like, oh, you think I'm a whore or ugly or old or I'm too fat or my boobs are too big or too small or whatever. I've heard -- there's nothing along those lines that someone can say to me I haven't heard. When someone says hey, you're a whore, I'm, that is successful whore to you.

[17:05:22] VALENCIA: This is a little different. Has some of it been hurtful at all? What's your reaction to it?

DANIELS: The stuff that bothers me is the flat-out lie, like people randomly making up stuff.

VALENCIA: Like what?

DANIELS: Like that I'm broke. I'm actually one of the most successful adult movie directors in the business. I have a contract that's been in place for several years. And I actually just renegotiated and got a new contract that was already -- the terms were already set before this stuff happened, and I have a huge -- I got a raise, so I'm doing just fine.

VALENCIA: What do you think about the circus that's happening? This was out in 2011, but now it's like a renewed attention on you and, you know, somebody else that we'll not name here?

DANIELS: I think it's pretty clear with the new developments comes new interest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: There was a bit of an electric buzz inside the club last night, of course. A lot of people came far and wide to see Stormy Daniels in person. In fact, I talked to one patron who flew from Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, he says, just to see her in person. He didn't want to view here as an object, if you want to believe that, but he wanted to be a part of history. Those were his words. I'm sure other people were there for different reasons. She's scheduled to make another two dance performances tonight -- Ryan?

NOBLES: I guess history is in the eye of the beholder in this case.

Nick Valencia, thank you for that report, live in Pompano Beach, Florida.

At the end of the day, is this story with all of its salacious details about anything more than a private citizen allegedly cheating on his wife with a porn star? Well, a new op-ed in "The New York Times" argues it is. Michelle Goldberg writes, quote, "As this drama unfolds, it's becoming clear, for all its sordid details, it isn't really a sex scandal. It's a campaign finance scandal, a transparency scandal, and potentially, part of an ongoing national security scandal. It's salacious and absurd, but we should take it seriously."

I'm pleased to be joined by the author of that piece, "New York Times" columnist, Michelle Goldberg. She joins me live on the set.

Michelle, you raise a lot of good points in this op-ed. And I have seen that criticism from people about the reporting of this story, that it seems that it's just another sex scandal, two consenting adults. We should let it be. You think it's more than that, right?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: That's a lot of people's reaction, including a lot of people who really dislike Trump. That was their reaction when it first broke. That was sort of my reaction. With any other president, you would imagine that paying off a porn star in the final days of the presidential campaign would be a big scandal, but when this emerged in January, I think most people sort of shrugged. You know, for those of us, for people who love Trump, they have already -- this is baked into his persona. For people who despise him, it's maybe the 100th most outrageous thing he's done in 2018.

As the details of the payment have emerged, this payment, it's hard to see any way in which this payment is not illegal. Right? If the payment came as Michael Cohen says, from him. If he made it himself, that's an illegal campaign finance contribution because the maximum you're allowed to donate is $2700.

RYAN: Right.

GOLDBERG: He could also be disbarred for -- against the ethics rules of the bar in New York for a lawyer to loan money to their client. If the -- so if the campaign knew about the -- if the campaign knew about the payment, which I think it's increasingly absurd to pretend that they didn't, they also had an obligation to report this. So there's an FEC violation there.

RYAN: Right.

GOLDBERG: Then there's another -- Citizens for Ethics -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have filed a complaint saying Trump was obligated to disclose some of this information on his federal financial disclosure forms.

NOBLES: Right.

GOLDBERG: And then there's, finally, I think, what this tells us about the Steele dossier. This doesn't confirm, obviously, the most out-there claims in the Steele dossier, but the Steele dossier's central claim is that Russia is blackmailing Trump with sex tapes. This tells us that Trump is blackmailable.

(CROSSTALK)

NOBLES: That he's vulnerable.

GOLDBERG: He's vulnerable.

NOBLES: This is not necessarily a Russian issue, but it shows a wider problem that the president may have.

GOLDBERG: That the president has these -- and it's interesting, if you read the nondisclosure agreement, which is included in the lawsuit, it talks about how she's obligated to turn over photographs and videos. And so to have a president with that kind of material out there, and I think it's highly unlikely that she's the only one, makes him vulnerable to all sorts of hostile interests.

NOBLES: Isn't he also in somewhat of a catch-22, the president? Because in a sense if he says he's unaware of the agreement as it exists, does that mean the NDA is invalid? Could it mean that?

[17:10:06] GOLDBERG: From the lawyers I talked to, yes. And there was a professor I spoke to who said when he started going over the NDA, he was really surprised to find that Stormy Daniels had a case. Because what he told me is that it would have actually been fairly easy for a moderately competent lawyer to have drafted an NDA that the president didn't have to sign, that his lawyer could have signed in his stead, but that's not how it was drafted. And so he thought it was fairly open and shut that this is not valid.

NOBLES: Yes. And I wonder just in terms of the White House response, if Sarah Sanders is asked about this, she immediately turns it away, says it's something that has been asked, answered, and moves on.

GOLDBERG: She has finally kind of obliquely confirmed the president is a party of all this. When she said that the arbitration

NOBLES: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLDBERG: Right. The arbitration was won in the president's favor, that tells us the president is part of this legal morass.

NOBLES: Right. Right.

Very interesting column from Michelle Goldberg --

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

NOBLES: -- of "The New York Times." Suggest you check it out.

Michelle, thank you so much for joining us.

GOLDBERG: Thank you so much for having me.

NOBLES: Will steel tariffs be enough to spare President Trump and his party an embarrassing defeat? In a couple hours, Mr. Trump will speak for a GOP candidate locked in a tough special election race. We're looking at a live picture there of Moon Township, Pennsylvania. It's a district the president won big, but it's in danger of falling to a Democrat. We'll take you there live, next, in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:15:39] NOBLES: President Trump soon to rally ahead of 2018's first special election, a must-win race for Republicans in the heart of Pennsylvania's steel country. His move to slap punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum may be a big part of his effort to help Republicans win this congressional House seat. Republican Rick Saccone, a state representative, has struggled with fundraising. He's running against Democrat Connor Lamb, a first-time candidate and a Marine captain. Trump won this district by nearly 20 percent in 2016, and a loss here could be embarrassing.

Let's get to Jason Carroll in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. He's been covering the race since the beginning.

Jason, what can we expect to hear from the president tonight?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A couple things. He's going to talk about the economy. He's going to be talking tax cuts. He's going to, obviously, be talking about tariffs. Very popular notion here, as you can imagine, in steel country. In fact, there's been some speculation that part of the reason why some here are thinking that the White House made that announcement this week, just days ahead of the special election, was to somehow give a boost to Rick Saccone. And right now, Rick Saccone needs just that.

I think a lot of people sitting at home, Ryan, might be wondering, why so much attention, those who are not political junkies, at least, trying to figure out why so much attention is focused on a race such as the 18th district. Part of the reason for that is this is a race that Trump won by some 20 points when you're looking back at the past election. This is a race that Rick Saccone should be handily winning at this point. And the reality is, it's very, very tight between himself and Connor Lamb. That's got the GOP worried. That's why President Trump was here just a short while ago, why he's paying a second visit to the district. He knows what's at stake.

This race is not just about Rick Saccone. It's also a referendum on President Trump. Remember, Rick Saccone is the man who ran being more Trump than Trump. So what Trump is trying to do is come here, tout all of the things he's done right so far in his administration, and hopefully, give a last-minute, much-needed boost to Rick Saccone -- Ryan? NOBLES: And, Jason, I want to show this tweet that the president just

fired off a few minutes ago. I'm going to read it for you. Quote, "The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on steel and aluminum. If they drop their horrific barriers and tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likely likewise drop ours. Big deficit. If not, we tax cars, et cetera. Fair."

I mean, Jason, I have to imagine it's this kind of tweet and this kind of message that's going to go over pretty well for those people that are standing behind you in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.

CARROLL: And let me tell you, it's already gone over well. I have been in various parts of the 18th district just outside of Pittsburgh and the suburbs, all the way down to the more rural part of the district where coal country is very much in play there, and this notion of tariffs is still and has been very popular with a number of voters here in the 18th district. And one voter put it to me this way. I said, what if this doesn't work out with the tariffs? He said, look, we feel as though this president is at least making the effort. We feel as though this is a man who is on our side. And that's not something some folks in the 18th district feel as though they have seen in the past.

So what you're seeing there with these tweets is going to go over extremely well with the crowd here tonight -- Ryan?

[17:19:05] NOBLES: Jason Carroll, with the backdrop of hundreds of Make America Great Again hats, anticipating the president's arrival to moon township, Pennsylvania.

Jason Carroll, thank you.

Just a reminder, CNN will bring you live coverage of the president's speech at that rally. It's expected in the 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour.

It's been an incredible week in the special counsel's investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. One of the more interesting developments? A former Trump campaign aide goes from defiantly saying, "screw it," to actually testifying. Details on that just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: President Trump might be preparing to make some changes to his legal team. According to "The New York Times," he's interested in hiring this man, Attorney Emmett Flood. He's known for representing President Bill Clinton during the impeachment process. According to the paper, Trump and Flood met in the Oval Office this week, but no official decision has been made.

I want to talk about this possible change with my panel, CNN political commentator and assistant editor for "The Washington Post," David Swardlick, and CNN legal analyst and former New Jersey attorney general, Anne Milgram.

Anne, let's start with you.

I mean, the president looking to hire someone who has a unique understanding of the impeachment process, is there anything we can glean into this?

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If we think about it, there aren't that many lawyers who would have had the experience that Mr. Flood has had with the impeachment process. And so it certainly -- I think, the one thing it tells us for sure is the president understands that this will not be over soon, and that he has to keep a strong legal team going. Specifically bringing on someone who has experience with impeachment tells us he may be bracing for potential charges, if not to him, then to others close to him.

[17:25:17] NOBLES: There's a finite number of lawyers in America --

(CROSSTALK)

MILGRAM: A very small number of people who would know this.

(CROSSTALK)

NOBLES: Doesn't happen all that often.

But, David, is this smart on the president's behalf? If Democrats win control of the House in the midterms, how serious of a possibility is impeachment?

DAVID SWARDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Democrats would certainly regain subpoena power, even if they get one of the Houses in Congress. They would control committees in that House or both Houses if they won both House, and, thereby, be able to control the flow of information. I think we're a long ways away from knowing whether or not the Democrats or, certainly, Republicans would actually make a move toward impeachment.

But, look, this clearly signals, as Anne is saying, that the Trump legal team is taking things seriously. You wouldn't even have this sit down with Emmett Flood if you weren't worried about things down the road. If you read "The New York Times" reporting by our CNN league, Maggie Haberman, the Trump team said, look, they're not concerned, but obviously, you're concerned if this is the move you're making at this stage.

Similarly, "Wall Street Journal" is reporting this morning that Trump's team is trying to negotiate with Special Counsel Mueller to -- in exchange for the president's testimony, that he will wrap up the investigation in a fixed period of time. But again, you would only make that move if you were worried about what might come out in the questioning. And Mueller, of course, can always just subpoena the president.

NOBLES: Yes, Anne, does it work like that --

MILGRAM: It doesn't work like that

NOBLES: -- when you're in negotiations with prosecutors?

MILGRAM: No.

NOBLES: You'll say, I'll interview with you, but you have to have the investigation over by a finite time?

MILGRAM: No. It definitely doesn't work like that. I have prosecuted at the state, local, and federal level. People who are being investigated don't get to come in and say what they're talk about, when they'll talk, when the investigation has to be over. Of course, if the president feels like he's in legal jeopardy, he can take the Fifth Amendment, refuse to offer testimony based on the grounds that he could incriminate himself. But short of that, this is really Robert Mueller's decision to make when he'll talk to the president. He can issue a subpoena to the president if he thinks that's the right thing to do.

And so I think that -- I understand why the president's counsel is trying to negotiate these things. I don't see any possibility that the special counsel would agree to any of the limits, the time lines. I mean, it doesn't work that way, nor should it, because you don't know what the president would say. The president could say something that required six months of investigation.

NOBLES: Right. You could extend the investigation, the interview could.

MILGRAM: Right. You would never hamper -- you would be hurting the investigation if you agreed to that.

NOBLES: OK.

So, David, remember the name Sam Nunberg? That story --

(CROSSTALK)

SWARDLICK: It seems like a lifetime ago.

NOBLES: It happened a month ago. It actually happened earlier this week. He, of course, gave a series of interviews on Monday, said he wasn't going to go in front of the grand jury. Then ended up doing it. Then said after the fact that he believes there is reason that this investigation goes forward.

I mean, from your perspective, where do you rank Nunberg's role in all this? Is he just an adviser who really has no real impact on the overall investigation or Trump world, or could he be an important player in the Mueller investigation?

SWARDLICK: Ryan, I think it's hard to rank Nunberg. He's walking this fine line after those crazy series of interviews earlier this week where he's trying to say, look, yes, it's my duty, after all, after I didn't want to go in and talk to the special prosecutor, that, yes, as a lawyer and an American, I'm going to talk to the special prosecutor, which he did. But at the same time, saying, yes, there are serious things here, which I talked about but, on the other hand, no, I won't tell the press what I talked to special prosecutors about, and it may involve people that were in the campaign, but it doesn't involve President Trump. So it's hard to get a gauge on where Nunberg is.

But I think we can see developing here is that there are a lot of threads that Special Counsel Mueller is pulling on here. He has Nunberg. He's got this inquiry now that he can go forward with into whether Erik Prince met with this Russian sovereign wealth fund manager in the Seychelles and whether that was a coincidence or whether there was something more to it. He's got -- my colleagues at "The Post" are reporting that President Trump sent a letter in 2013 to Putin inviting him to the Miss Universe, which touches on a whole bunch of different threads in this investigation. Have they proved a crime yet, I don't think they have, a criminal conspiracy. But it certainly suggests that there's a lot more to this and we're nowhere near the end of the investigation.

NOBLES: Anne, Nunberg was in the grand jury for almost six hours. Does that tell us anything about that interview?

[17:29:41] MILGRAM: It's certainly a long period of time. That's a long period of time for a witness to be in a grand jury room.

I think there are two possible thoughts about Nunberg. One is, remember, they're asking him about all these other people that we know are potential subjects or witnesses at least in this investigation, Hope Hicks, Steve Bannon, the whole group of people that have also been interviewed by the special counsel. So we know already from the subpoena that that's a part of the conversation. So it could be it's about Nunberg. It could be it's about what Nunberg knows about the other people. That's the first point.

[17:30:00]

The second point is when you do a case like this -- and I have done a lot of political corruption work -- you always want to lockdown witnesses. It's both possible that Nunberg was in the room or had specific conversations with Roger Stone or with other folks that the special counsel wants to know about. It's also possible they want to lock him down as to any conversation or stories he had with any of those people because he was a member of the campaign for a significant period of time, or both.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Anne, David, I want you guys both to hang on for a second.

I believe the president is en route to Pennsylvania. He's going to speak at a rally tonight in support of his preferred candidate, Rick Saccone. Let's take a listen. He did speak to reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE). It's going to be something very special. He has a lot of support. It's going very well. (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: All right, not a heck of a lot of substance from the president. Touched a little bit on North Korea, talked about the fact he's heading to this rally in Pennsylvania.

We always want to watch when the president makes these trips to Marine One because sometimes he likes to break news in these short trips. Didn't choose to do that today, but we'll see what he has to say when he arrives in Pennsylvania.

Anne Milgram and David Swerdlick, thank you guys both for your perspective on the Mueller investigation and a whole lot more. We appreciate you being here.

Will President Trump's tariffs help or hurt steel and aluminum workers? I went to the heart of America's steel industry in Ohio looking for some answers. I'll show you what I found coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.

You know their name. You don't know their whole story. CNN presents a rare and intimate reveal of America's most famous family. "American Dynasties, The Kennedys" premieres tomorrow at 10:00 p.m.

Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:37:52] NOBLES: Well, now that President Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum, the question is, what happens next? The European Union is threatening to impose tariffs on U.S. products. And a short time ago, President Trump tweeted this: "The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on steel and aluminum. If they drop their horrific barriers and tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big deficit. If not, we tax cars, et cetera. Fair."

In U.S. steel towns that lost jobs and all but shut down over the past couple decades, the question is, when are the jobs coming back?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES (voice-over): There may not be a place in America paying closer attention to President Trump's proposal to slap a hefty tariff on steel imports than northeast Ohio.

TIM BERRA, PRESIDENT & CEO, HEIDTMAN STEEL: I mean, that's what shaped this valley.

NOBLES: Whether it is the making of steel, the fabrication of steel or the use of steel to make products like cars, medical equipment, and buildings, Cleveland's economy is heavily reliant on the resource, and the impact of these tariffs could be massive and immediate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be a net loss of jobs in the steel consuming industry, for sure.

NOBLES: Heidtman Steel is smack dab in the middle of the steel supply chain. They buy millions of pounds of raw steel, process it, and sell it to companies like automakers.

There's about a ton of steel in a vehicle on average.

NOBLES: Heitman's president and CEO, Tim Berra, said that the tariff plan may offer a quick boost, but then a degree of uncertainty.

BERRA: You see all the steel here? Every day, it goes up in value. That's good for us. Short term. It's still questionable how it's going to impact us long term. NOBLES: Heidtman, a family owned Ohio company, counts automakers

among its biggest customers. The auto industry at this point is nervous about the proposal. The American Automotive Policy Council put out a statement in the wake of the announcement warning that, quote, "This would place the U.S. automotive industry which supports more than seven billion American jobs at a competitive disadvantage.

Bill Gaskin, the president emeritus of the Precision Metal Forming Association, represents hundreds of companies that buy and use steel in their products. And 150 of those companies are based in Ohio. And he warns a decision could lead to job losses and companies closing.

[17:40:13] BILL GASKIN, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, PRECISION METAL FORMING ASSOCIATION: It leaves very little to hire people and do the other things that a company has to do, especially invest in new equipment.

NOBLES: But the people actually making the steel itself are for the tariffs, including Tony Panza, who spent years inside the mills in Cleveland and now represents his fellow employees through the local United Steelworkers. He argues that tariffs will balance the global playing field and create jobs immediately.

TONY PANZA, UNITED STEELWORKERS LOCAL UNION: And certainly, you know, more people working here, more tax money, more tax dollars going to the communities, going to the states. I think in the long run, it benefits everybody.

NOBLES: Gaskins disagrees. He argues, in the U.S., there are 160,000 steel jobs versus more than six million that are related to companies that consume steel.

GASKINS: It's very hard to make the case that this generates more jobs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: And sure, there is concern about the potential for a trade war or for higher prices for cars or for beverages that come in cans.

But conservative, Grover Norquist, is weighing in on Trump's tariffs as well. From his perspective, as a tax reformer, he tweeted this: "Tariffs are taxes." And he tweeted it not once but five times to drive the message home.

Grover Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform, and he joins me now.

And you made that point again today on Twitter before joining us, Grover. Tell me, explain to me from your perspective why tariffs should be looked at as nothing more than taxes?

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: They are. They're taxes at the border. In the history of the United States, from Washington until Lincoln, most of the time, the only taxes we had were tariffs. For 50 years before the Civil War, the only tax that the American people paid were tariffs, which raise the price of all imported goods, but they raise the price of domestic goods. That's how the government raised its money. A tariff is a tax collected at the border. It's paid for by American consumers when they buy something. It's not paid for by French people. It's not paid by Chinese people. It's paid by Americans.

NOBLES: You saw in my piece there, Tony Panza, who worked in the steel mills, he told me that, from his point of view, he and his fellow steelworkers have been the victim of a trade war for many, many years, and this is just balancing the playing field. Why don't you agree?

NORQUIST: Well, I think the president is quite right to point out that we have some challenges in the steel industry, in the auto industry, and that's why the first three things he did, beginning to reduce the regulatory burden, which has been so damaging to the steel industry and to the auto industry, and adding billions and billions of dollars of cost to American production, and then the tax cut, which has passed, reduces the tax that all the companies, whether they make steel or auto, pay, and expanding energy production in the United States, bringing down the cost of energy. These three things help both steel and the auto industry and every industry that uses steel or aluminum. So the president has focused on exactly the problems that the steel industry has, while also helping the auto industry. Lower taxes, less regulation, and bringing energy prices down by having more production here.

If this is a warning shot across the bow of the Europeans and other countries who are not allowing us to export a number of goods, not just steel or aluminum, but cars and other goods that we're trying to sell overseas and get some better negotiated deals, then as a warning shot, saying guys, you really have to think about the tariffs and the restrictions you have in Japan, in South Korea. We protect these countries, and they really treat us -- they put restrictions on rice exports, for crying out loud. This is not high-tech.

(CROSSTALK)

NOBLES: That's what the president is trying to do here, right?

NORQUIST: Yes.

NOBLES: From a negotiating standpoint, do you think he's just trying to set a playing field here for negotiations with these countries? Would you support it under those conditions?

NORQUIST: Well, to get people's attention, yes. The challenge with trade wars, trade wars are wars of choice. And once you throw the punch, you don't necessarily have control over what other countries do in reaction. There are protectionist forces in other countries that would like to take this as an excuse to shut down American exports of -- the Europeans have started on jeans and bourbon and agriculture products. We -- our agriculture products are much more competitive in the rest of the world. The world would love to throw tariffs up against our corn and rice and other products.

So the president's quite right that free and open trade that's fair benefits the United States, when we keep our taxes low and our regulatory burden low, and we deal with our trial-lawyer problem that are always suing companies like steel industries and damaging them.

[17:45:16] NOBLES: Grover Norquist, I'm sure we could talk about this for a long time but, unfortunately, we're out of time.

Thank you for joining me, sir.

NORQUIST: Did I mention that taxes are tariffs?

NOBLES: You did. You need mentioned that.

NORQUIST: And tariffs are taxes.

NOBLES: Only once though. A little disappointed. Now three times.

OK. Thank you, Grover.

NORQUIST: Thank you.

NOBLES: A big change of course, the Trump White House will now allow some hunters to kill elephants and lions and make them trophies. We'll talk with wildlife expert and activist, Jeff Corwin, about that, coming up.

But first, next week, we reveal our first "CNN Hero" of 2018. But before we do, an update on last year's hero of the year. Amy Wright of Wilmington, North Carolina, was honored for opening a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities. Now she's expanded her mission. Here's a quick update from Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY RIPA, CNN HERO CO-HOST: The 2017 CNN Hero of the year is Amy Wright.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST & CNN HERO CO-HOST: Amy Wright.

(CHEERING)

ARMY WRIGHT, CNN HERO: Oh, my gosh. I cannot believe this is happening.

COOPER (voice-over): Incredible night. But two months later, Amy has opened a second coffee shop. This one in Charleston, South Carolina.

(CHEERING)

COOPER: For most of the 17 new employees, this is their first job.

WRIGHT: People with intellectual disabilities aren't valued, so this coffee shop has created a place where people see their value.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: And Amy has major expansion plans.

You can watch Anderson's full update or nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero" right now at CNNheroes.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:51:14] NOBLES: The Trump administration is breaking from a promise to maintain a ban on importing African elephant trophies. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which is overseen by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, quietly announced the monumental shift in policy. It will now consider big-game trophies, specifically elephants and lions, on a case by case basis.

Joining me to discuss this is wildlife expert, Jeff Corwin.

Jeff, what changes for these animals -- what could change for these animals as a result of reversing this ban?

JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE EXPERT & ACTIVIST: Well, Ryan, a lot could change. Already, these animals are experiencing a catastrophic, almost extinction event from the black-market wildlife trades, specifically from poaching for ivory and rhino horn. So the idea that our government would now be on the wrong side of conservation history with regard to protecting these animals is absolutely mind-boggling.

NOBLES: And I have seen some argue that there's a conservation argument to big game hunting. Can you make a conservation argument when it comes to hunting animals such as these?

CORWIN: Look, when you're in an -- when you're an endangered species, when you are imperiled and facing extinction as a species, there's no reason, there's no logical excuse to hunt these species. This "Hunger Games" approach to conservation makes absolutely no sense.

In the history of our country, there has never been a presidential administration more hostile to conservation, the environment and wildlife than the Trump administration. So although incredibly tragic and poorly delivered, it is no surprise that this administration has made this decision with regard to the export of trophies from African lions and from elephants.

NOBLES: You know, it's interesting because, initially, the Trump administration pushed back on this. The president himself tweeted that he didn't seem to be in favor of it. Now they decide to roll this policy out kind of under the radar. He's even getting some push backs from conservatives, like FOX News host, Laura Ingraham. She spoke out about it. She tweeted this: "Please, Donald Trump, stick with your good instinct on this. We do not want to reward animal poaching. You will alienate Independents and conservationists." And then she used the hash tag, #respectallofGod'searth."

Now, we have seen -- you know, this is obviously somebody whose an ally of the president, but we have seen his sons pose with the trophies. Do you think the fact that his sons take part in big game hunting may be part of the reason that the Trump administration is reversing this ban?

CORWIN: Well, let's take Occam's razor approach. Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Interior, was selected by Donald Trump Jr. President Trump allowed his son, who is a big game hunter in Africa, with a very famous picture of him, notorious picture, with the 5:00 Earnest Hemingway shadow, with a dispatched elephant tail in his hand and a Bowie knife in the other. This is the man that selected the secretary of the Interior. So is there a connection? Can we lace these dots together? It certainly is an interesting question to ask.

Now, Ryan, you asked before about hunting. The difference between hunting in Africa and hunting in the United States, in the United States, we have a long history of a connection between hunting and conservation. We have the checks and balances in play. We've got a revenue stream that goes from hunting activities, that go directly at the conservation. We have well-established groups like Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trouts Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation that are essentially advocate organizations for people who like to hunt the animals but also lock up millions of acres of habitat and go and put a lot of their efforts into wildlife rehabilitation and restoration. The U.S. model is different than the African model. Ryan, if you were in Africa a hundred years ago, it was more than 10 million elephants. Today, there's only 400,000 remaining. We lose an elephant from poaching every 20 minutes. Zambia, one of the countries that this administration is making open for the export of trophies, had a population of over 400 million elephants about 70 years ago. Today, they have 20,000 remaining elephants. It's a big situation. And we are proving the wrong strategy in play that will likely push the number of species like lions and elephants to extinction.

[17:55:59] NOBLES: All right. Well, Jeff Corwin, wildlife expert, there was enormous outcry the first time this policy was installed. See what happens now.

Jeff, thank you for your time. Appreciate it.

And I'm Ryan Nobles, in New York. I'll see you one hour from now. That's at 7:00 p.m. eastern. That's when we expect Donald Trump to speak at a campaign rally. We'll bring that to you live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'll see you then.

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