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Trump: "DACA is Dead," Blames Democrats; Trade War Fears as China Makes Good on Tariff Threat; Teachers Protesting in Two States; Border-Bound Immigrant Caravan Sparks Trump's Concern. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired April 2, 2018 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:27]

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning. I'm Ana Cabrera in for John and Poppy.

For a second straight day, the president continues his attacks on DACA, on Mexico, on Democrats, and the filibuster rule, all of it apparently spurred by reports of an immigrant caravan heading toward the U.S./Mexico border. Now the president is due to make comments at the Easter Egg event in just a few minutes.

And CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the White House with more for us this morning. Kaitlan?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. Good morning, Ana. The president has been on quite a roll this morning, continuing that tweet storm from over the weekend, continuing to talk about Mexico, saying that their border laws are more effective than those in the United States, even though that conflicts with something he said just recently saying that Mexico is allowing too many people to pour into their country, causing them to then come to the United States as well.

But we're seeing the president continuing with these, as you saw just there now, saying that DACA is dead because Democrats didn't care. But then seconds later, he says that everyone is hopping on the DACA bandwagon. But of course, anyone who is crossing over illegally now would not be eligible to qualify for DACA, so that is an important thing to note there. But overall, what we're seeing is much different language from the president on DACA than what he has said in the past. And look at just this, what he said just yesterday on Easter Sunday as he was going to church, compared to what he said beforehand about DACA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA. And we're going to have to really see.

Very, very tough subject. We're going to deal with DACA with heart.

This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love, truly, should be a bill of love, and we can do that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Now, part of the reason the president could be making these comments could be going on such a tear about DACA today here, Ana, is because of who he spent the weekend with while he was in Palm Beach for the last few days. We know that he was with several people, very few White House aides, the top White House aide who was there is actually Stephen Miller, who's a very hardline immigration proponent. But then also several people who are on the Fox News payroll as you can see there, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity, Bill Shine, the former co-president who stepped down last year. He also is with Don King, several others.

So that could be part of the reason the president is going on such a tear about this. These people, we are told by sources, telling my colleague Kevin Liptak that they essentially communicated to the president that the base is unhappy with him because they believe he hasn't followed through on his immigration promises that he made on the campaign trail. And clearly the president is trying to rectify that situation by tweeting a lot about it this morning.

CABRERA: The president also tweeting about Amazon this morning.

COLLINS: Yes, another tweet just coming in from the president, several tweets now, even though he's scheduled to be on the south lawn here any minute.

This about Amazon, "Only fools or worse are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. They lose a fortune," in all caps, "and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country, not a level playing field!"

Now, that's something that the president has said often, he thinks that online retailers, or this brick and mortar stores just aren't on the same playing field anymore. But that sentence right there, in the middle, is quite interesting, Ana. He says this will be changed. Now, that comes after several rants from the president about Amazon and the Post Office last week and when asked about that, the Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters that there were no actions planned at this time on behalf of the administration. But clearly we'll have to see if the president actually is signaling a policy change or he's simply just venting here, Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us, thanks so much.

Joining us now from "The Boston Globe," CNN political analyst Matt Viser, CNN political commentator, Doug Heye and CNN political contributor and former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter.

So, Matt, the president's tweets today and over the weekend, he's come out hard with this hardline immigration rhetoric, similar to what we saw during the campaign. Why go there and why now?

MATT VISER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Kaitlan hinted at this, but, you know, in this White House proximity is power. And you saw who he was with over the weekend. Stephen Miller, a hardline immigration adviser, was with him as well as Sean Hannity and others. And I think this is a reflection of him, you know, sort of doubling down on his campaign rhetoric, which we heard a lot about this during the campaign. He seemed to veer in different directions at different moments and I think that's what's making it hard right now for members of Congress in both parties trying to figure out what exactly the president wants on DACA because he sort of talks about it in different ways at different moments, whether he wants a solution to it, at one point he tried to tie that to the border wall funding which Democrats sort of reluctantly agreed to do. And then he sort of backed away again. So whether or not he wants an actual solution to this is kind of up in the air.

[10:05:15] CABRERA: Mayor Nutter, this tweet specifically, "DACA is dead," he writes, "because the Democrats didn't care or act, and now everyone wants to get on to the DACA bandwagon. No longer works. Must build wall and secure our borders with proper border legislation. Democrats want no borders, hence drugs and crime!" So what should Democrats do with this?

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you really have to unpack a lot out of that. It is a good thing that Twitter upped the character count for him. First of all, the president complaining about DACA is like a guy who sets his House on fire and then complains at its neighbors didn't put the fire out. He has no idea what he wants to do. He has got a roller coaster of ideas in his mind. "Fox & Friends" is apparently now the new White House policy office and the president blew it up with no plan whatsoever, has then blown up every other plan that has come along, even some of his own ideas.

And so, he just likes to keep talking about it because as was mentioned earlier, he talked about it a lot on the campaign it a good talking point for him and his base. He has no intention of actually trying to solve the problem that will be left to members of Congress to try to figure this out, and put something on his desk and force him to sign it.

CABRERA: Well, one could argue, though, that this could be good news for Democrats in a midterm election year. That this could fire at Democrats. However, has your party done enough to actually claim the higher ground here on this issue? Because the truth is, Democrats didn't dig in their heels to make sure protection for Dreamers was included in this spending bill, for example.

NUTTER: Well, you know, the spending bill is pretty big bill. It has got a lot of stuff in it. I think that the two leaders, two minority leaders, Senate and the House, have a much better idea of what they're trying to accomplish. The budget may not have been that particular moment. But it is evident that the president will not seek a particular solution, the Democratic Party's position on DACA is very well known. And the members of our party do understand that we're committed to this issue, but the president will just continue to flail around about it, and I think that the Republicans are actually getting very nervous that they need a solution going into the midterms later on this year. CABRERA: Doug, the president has opened this door for us to do a quick fact check and remind people that the president himself and his administration rejected multiple proposals that would have given him his money for this border wall he so adamantly wants in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Did the president ever really want a deal?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we know that he wants to claim credit for big deals and big beautiful deals. It is not clear that he wanted a deal necessarily or that he knew what that deal would be. But ultimately we're still in the context of this being an election year, which always complicates things. We also know that Congress and I've gone through a lot of fights and struggle myself, has had a very hard time doing anything on immigration, and when you try to do anything on immigration, you get burned.

And so, I know in the previous hour, Lynn Sweet said this was on the back burner. I go further. This is not only on the back burner. It is on the back burner of the farthest oven -- furthest part of the back of the kitchen. This is not going to happen this year solely because we know that we had problems in the past of doing this, then you add midterm election politics in it, it is a lot to tweet and talk about it. But substantively I think the status quo will remain for the rest of the year.

CABRERA: Guys, let me switch topics because another issue that is catching a lot of attention right now are these Sinclair Broadcasting Television ads that are read by news anchors. They're promos for the Sinclair stations, local stations and local markets. Take a look at what we're talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA HEADLEY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I am Fox San Antonio's Jessica Headley.

RYAN WOLF, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And I'm Ryan Wolf.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTERS: Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Treasure Valley communities.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTERS: The El Paso Las Cruces communities.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTERS: Eastern Isle communities.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTERS: Michigan communities.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTERS: But we're concerned about the troubling trend irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Matt, why do you think this is hitting such a nerve?

VISER: Well, I mean, I think that it is - you know, it's across the country, in all these local markets, local TV. They have a powerful broadcasting network that is different from the national news media. And so, I think that anytime that you have influence aimed in those markets, it feels a little bit different than sort of national media outlets.

CABRERA: Mayor, should we be concerned?

NUTTER: We should be very concerned. You know, I kind of had to laugh to myself, it really sounds like probably the soundtrack in Donald Trump's mind.

[10:10:00] And why he's often so confused, but then, you know, goes on a Twitter tantrum pretty much every weekend now after all this stuff. The power of that media is when the gentleman just mentioned, in the local markets, again, is what is driving his policy, if there is any, but really more his politics, talking to the base, repeating all of these messages and really trying to dumb down any idea of what real news is and what facts are, and, you know, this is his style.

CABRERA: How do you see it, Doug?

HEYE: Well, first and foremost, I think about the journalists who are affected by this. We look at these videos and say why are they doing this? It is very clear. Their jobs are on the line. I think we know that the first reporter who stands up and says something about the First Amendment and how they're not going to do this is not only going to be hailed as a hero, for the press, but also get another job very quickly. The problem is, the third and fourth and fifth reporters who do that probably won't get that same benefit and that's, I think, why we're seeing so many continuing to read off this very same script.

CABRERA: Matt, clearly this information is an issue. We saw it in the election with the Russian bots, the Pizza Gate controversy, recent attacks on the Parkland students, videos and false information, so some may say what is wrong with local news anchors addressing the fact that there are fake news stories out there, certainly that people should be aware of?

VISER: Well, I think the responsibility for local news anchors is to clarify what's real and what's fake and where there is a hidden agenda, and where there are facts and objectivity. And I think that this kind of campaign obscures that. It doesn't clarify it. And so, I think that, you know, local news is something that a lot of people rely on for their information. And the fact that this is being driven on, you know, some sort of national corporate way I think is also problematic for local viewers and small and medium sized communities across the country.

CABRERA: Matt Viser, Doug Heye, Mayor Michael Nutter -- one last word real quick.

NUTTER: Just, you know, the local viewers are expecting a certain level of independence and integrity in the local markets. The fact that this is a coordinated campaign with 100 plus stations all at the same time and that someone was able to put that clip together is indicative of a serious problem in our Democracy and it goes back to the First Amendment issue. CABRERA: Gentlemen, thank you for the conversation. Have a great rest of the day.

NUTTER: Thank you.

HEYE: Thank you.

CABRERA: Also, this morning, trade war fears, a lot more real as China makes good on their threat for tariffs on the U.S. Alison Kosik is joining us now with the details.

Alison?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We saw China, you know, threaten that it would retaliate and now we're seeing China make good on its trade threats. It's actually stoking these fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China. Beginning today China is going to slap tariffs on 128 U.S. products. That's a 25 percent tax on eight American goods like pork and recycled aluminum. 15 percent tax on 120 other products including fruit, nuts, wine, steel pipes.

OK. So, you look at this $3 billion. It is actually a small portion of the hundreds of billions of dollars that's actually shipped between the U.S. and China each year, but if you look at them politically, these tariffs really are strategic. Take pork. Look at the map. The pork producers council warns that this is going to have a significant impact on rural Americans and of the top 10 pork producing states, eight voted for Trump in 2016

Now, clearly these tariffs are retaliation against President Trump's duties on foreign steel and aluminum that went into effect two weeks ago. China has said it doesn't want a trade war but warns it is going to take measures that are necessary. So, we see these tensions between China and the U.S. get only worse. Especially since the president has long accused Beijing of unfair trade practices that steal American jobs and he's got more trade actions in the works like tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Now, this is important to note, because experts are warning that if Trump does actually take action on these bigger tariffs, that could spark an all-out trade war. That would be devastating for companies, household names that you see there, it could be devastating for consumers as well, we could see prices go up. And that is part of the reason we are seeing markets now in the red today. Not too much in the red because you're seeing sort of this first wave of tariffs come in. But, Ana, the worry is if President Trump takes that sort of second wave of action, we'll see China take action in kind, we could see perhaps China put tariffs on huge exports like soybeans, you know, China imports a huge number, more than 50 percent of its soybeans right here from the U.S.

CABRERA: You'll be watching the markets, of course, as we move forward. Thank you, Alison Kosik.

Still ahead, thousands of teachers in two different states are walking out. They're hitting the streets, massive rallies underway right now. We'll take you there live.

Plus, the president is tweeting about immigrant caravans heading to the U.S./Mexico border. But who are these groups and what exactly do they want?

We're minutes away now from hearing from President Trump at the White House. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:19:16] CABRERA: Teachers walking out of classrooms across Oklahoma. Look at these live images right now. They're rallying at the State Capitol, demanding better salaries for themselves, more money for their schools. It is about 30,000 educators expected at this rally.

And Bill Weir is joining us from Oklahoma City with more.

Bill, what can you tell us? I know you've been speaking to a lot of the teachers there who say they're suffering.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a decade of pent-up frustration, Ana, that has come to a head here in recent weeks. The teachers in Oklahoma way at the bottom of education spending for a long time, a state much more generous towards oil pumpers and gas trackers than educators in the classroom. They said they had enough.

[10:20:00] Legislators were shocked into action, actually passed a package of tax increase to fund a fraction of what they're after, but they say they're staying out. Tulsa school districts are closed indefinitely. 2They're going to uphold teachers at the end of each day to say how long they will stay out. Just to get a sense of what it is like to educate in a state like Oklahoma, I spent time with rural and urban teachers and found that to educate here is also to learn the art of hustle and survival.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEIR: Donna ross, the goal is to fill her classroom with such energy.

DONNA ROSS, 3RD GRADE TEACHER: High five, one, two, three.

WEIR: The kids never suspect that she works two other jobs to survive.

ROSS: I've been up since 5:00 a.m. this morning.

WEIR: She drives for Uber and caters weddings because a master's degree and 20 years' experience barely brings a living wage in Oklahoma.

MICHAEL TUM, SPECIAL ED TEACHER AND VETERAN: You can see where my net pay was less than $1200. I was being liberal.

WEIR: Just over a thousand dollars.

TUM: Correct. WEIR: That's for -

TUM: That's one month.

WEIR: That's a month.

The most desperate, sell blood, and some like this former marine and special ed teacher rely on church soup kitchens to eat.

TUM: I've helped at food banks, I've helped deliver food. I've helped do all those things. I honestly never thought I would be on the receiving end. I have to swallow my pride a lot and I hate asking for help.

WEIR: This state has long been the state with the deepest cuts to education. But something about the West Virginia strike helped turn Oklahoma anger to action.

ALBERTO MOREJON, 8TH GRADE TEACHER: I got on Facebook, typed in Oklahoma walkout, teacher walkout and nothing popped up. I was, like, why not be the guy that makes the group? Now it has 72,000 people.

WEIR: And it just started with you sending it to a couple of teacher friends.

MOREJON: Couple of teacher friends and they invited other teacher friends and next thing you know, it just exploded. I mean you don't get -- you don't get 72,000 people to agree with you in three weeks if it is not a problem.

WEIR: Just the threat of a walkout was enough to force the first new taxes here in 28 years. Enough to give teachers an average raise of 6,000 bucks. It is a fraction of their demand. So, they're still walking. But for how long? And how will this affect Arizona, where teachers there are staging the next red state revolt.

The difference between a strike and a walkout is you're not defying the school, the superintendent is behind you, but could it turn into a strike if things got nasty?

MOREJON: A lot of the superintendents say that they support teachers, and they support what teachers want to do. So, I feel like as long as teachers want to stay out to fight for what we're fighting for, I think there will be lots of support.

WEIR: Teachers are not the only frustrated public servants in Oklahoma. State troopers have to ration gasoline, prisons are overcrowded, social workers are strapped, but at the same time, oil drillers, and gas trackers enjoy the most generous sweetheart subsidies of any state in the country.

JAMEE COMBS, MIDDLE SCHOOL COUNSELOR: At one point in time our lightbulbs were every other lightbulb in the building.

WEIR: Meanwhile, classes are crowded, they're on a four-day week and the math teacher mows lawns. TIM COMBS, MATH TEACHER: We do better at this than we do the school teaching as far as the money goes.

WEIR: Is that right? You make more money cutting lawns.

TIM: Yes.

WEIR: Do you service the lawns of your students?

JAMEE: Yes.

TIM: Every now and then, we will.

WEIR: Similar reality for Miss Ross, who would like to do more teaching than driving.

And was spotted waiting tables by one of her fourth graders and was mortified.

ROSS: He just said that Miss Ross, you really work hard you work a lot of places, don't you? He said, you must be rich. I said, I sure am.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEIR: Nobody gets into teaching to get rich, for sure. But it is an interesting negotiating tactic when you know the teachers side gets paid more emotionally than financially and it will get harder for them to stay out as we get longer -- as parents put more pressure on them to get back into the classroom. Ana, what is interesting is this started in West Virginia, and it is really been sort of a red state teachers' revolt that spread to here. We're seeing similar demonstrations in Kentucky this morning, Arizona is rumbling. Dire Straits in Kansas. So, a lot of years of cut, cut, cut is -- has its cost. At least in the outrage we're seeing here today.

CABRERA: And I have a family full of educators, my heart does go out to those people in your piece, Bill, who clearly are working hard on so many different levels. We really appreciate your reporting there, thank you for bringing that to us.

Right now, at the White House, thousands of peeps are gathering for this year's Easter Egg Roll. The president set to speak in just minutes. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:29:27] CABRERA: We have this just in to CNN. The second wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, has died. Winnie, along with her husband a major figure in the fight against apartheid. She was 81 years old.

This morning, President Trump is demanding Mexico take action over a so-called caravan of immigrants who are right now heading to the U.S. southern border. Just hours ago, the president wrote, "Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large caravans of people enter their country. They must stop them at their northern border which they can do because their border laws work."

As for the caravan, here is what we know here. This group is Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which means the people without borders. And they say their primary goal is to flee violence and political unrest in Central America and seek asylum either -