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GOP's Corker Gets Emotional After Democrats Shift Vote; Trump & Macron Address Media During Meeting; Trump & Macron Sit Down to Second Meeting With Pence, Cabinet Secretaries. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired April 24, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It really was an amazing gesture. What do you think moved Senator Corker so much, though?

SEN. ED MARKEY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think it was probably the combination of the fact that Senator Isakson was delivering a eulogy at a funeral, and the very rare moment in the Trump era where people were trying to show personal courtesy to one another. And by the way, it happens on a daily basis in the Senate, where on a personal level, people are still friends. But the overarching environment within which we work is one of bitter acrimonious partisanship. And so I think that's why this was a moment that will stand out. But it is not, unfortunately, from my perspective, as we're now talking about Ronny Jackson, talking about Scott Pruitt, talking about pulling out of the Iran deal, likely to affect the larger atmosphere within which we are continuing to work in the Trump era.

BOLDUAN: I sure would like to see those daily personal connections play out more publicly more often. It is good to note it when it happens.

Thank you, Senator.

MARKEY: It was a beautiful -- it was a beautiful moment, we hope that it is going to be replicated, but it is only with our fingers crossed that we -- that we express that hope because the atmosphere in general just doesn't lend itself to that.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Well, hope springs eternal. Keep the fingers and toes crossed.

Senator, thank you.

MARKEY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Any moment now, we'll hear from President Trump, live from the White House, in a joint news conference with the French president. After everything the president already said this morning, can only imagine what is going to come next. Stay with us.


[11:35:10] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- meeting and it turned out to be a long meeting and could have gone on for another two hours. We discussed a lot of things, a lot of problems in the world, a lot of problems that we think can be solved. We have come a long way just the two of us, I think, as understanding we talked about Iran, we talked about Syria, we talked about a lot of subjects that really are big, big, hard situations. And we think we have solutions to a number of them. So we're going to continue that now and then. And then Emmanuel and myself will meet again, I think, after this meeting. But we wanted to get the opinion of some of the experts in the room. We have great experts on both sides. So we wanted to get the opinion of some of the experts.

Very good numbers are coming out on our businesses. You're seeing the numbers that are getting released on our companies and our businesses. They're very strong. The economy is -- has been really incredible. Unemployment now is at the lowest point ever in history in many, many states. The states were enumerated last night -- late last night the numbers came out and we hit the lowest unemployment numbers in many decades in some cases and in some cases the lowest numbers, period. It was just reiterated that unemployment for African-American families has been the best in history. For Hispanic families, the best in history. For women, the best in 18 years and that's very close to going much higher than that. It is something very special. We're very happy about that.

The president and I working on trade. The trade with France is complicated because we have the European Union. I would rather deal just with France. The union is very tough for us. They have trade barriers that are unacceptable. Our farmers can't send their product into the European Union easily, as they should, and we accept their product, so we have to make a change. And they understand that. And we're negotiating. Wilbur and Steve and everybody, we're negotiating with the European Union. But it has been very unfair for a long time. We had a trade deficit with the European Union of $151 billion last year. That's unacceptable. This has been going on for many years, and that's unacceptable.

The Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will be going to China in a few days to negotiate on trade. China is very serious. We're very serious. We have no choice but to be very serious. You know we have put on very substantial tariffs. And that will continue unless we make a trade deal. I think we're -- we have got a very good chance of making a deal. As you know, they just stated President Xi -- terrific guy and friend of mine, but he's representing China and I'm representing the United States. President Xi made a speech four days ago where he said China will be opened up. It is not opened up right now. They trade with us, we can't trade with them. They did $504 billion last year. We did $120 billion. That's a tremendous imbalance. We can't have that. So we're going to have a delegation at their request go to China. They came here recently and we're going there. That will be good.

The European Union, we are going back to that. We are negotiating with the European Union. They had their representatives come here. And I think we're negotiating very, very seriously.

NAFTA, as you know, is moving along. They have an election coming up very soon. And it will be interesting to see what happens with that election. But we're doing very nicely with NAFTA. I could make a deal very quickly but I'm not sure that's in the best interest of the United States. We'll see what happens. But we're doing very well.

And South Korea, on our trade deal, we're doing very well.

And as far as North Korea is concerned, we are going to be having a meeting with Kim Jong-Un. And that will be -- that will be very soon. We have been told directly that they would like to have the meeting as soon as possible. And we think that's a great thing for the world, that's a great thing for North Korea, and South Korea, and Japan, and France, and everybody. So we're having very, very good discussions. Kim Jong-Un was -- he really has been very open, and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing. Now, a lot of promises have been made by North Korea over the years. But they have never been in this position. We have been very, very tough on maximum pressure. We have been very tough on, as you know, trade. We have been very tough at the border. Sanctions have been the toughest we have ever imposed on any country. And we think it will be a great thing for North Korea. It will be a great thing for the world. We'll see where that all goes. Maybe it will be wonderful and maybe it won't. If it is not going to be fair, and reasonable, and good, I will -- unlike past administrations I will leave the table. But I think we have a chance of doing something very special with respect to North Korea, good for them, good for us, good for everybody.

And with that, thank you all very much.

Mr. President, would you like to say something?

[11:40:48] EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President, for his words.

I want together again before the press conference just to say that we had very good discussion on Syria, on Iran, the overall region, and some other very important topics regarding our security. And I think we -- we have to work together because we have always worked together on issues and it is very important to preserve the stability of this region. And I think what we want to -- what we want to do and for the rest of our people is precisely to preserve stability, sovereign states without -- as for the trade issue, you presented your perception of the situation and you were fair to remind everybody that the bilateral relationship is balanced between France and the U.S. And I think it is very important to bear in mind that between -- regarding so important issues it is important to make a trade war. We have to deal with common global challenges regarding our trade. One of the global challenges is definitely overcapacity and we have to fix the situation. I think we have now to work fairly on that. We need several discussions and several discussions as you mentioned. But I think our willingness is precisely to preserve them. This framework and to work very closely together in the middle and to deal with this current destabilization of trade situation.

As for the other aspects, we discuss as well about the Paris agreement, and our common challenges regarding climate. I have to say that our business people, our scientists work closely together, and we want to increase cooperation. We know everything about the treaties and the international agreements, but I think beyond that we have a lot in common to work on. And we will follow this discussion in the coming weeks and months. And now we will have an opportunity to go into details on a lot of the issues.

Thank you very much again, Mr. President, for the very direct and fruitful discussion we have, you and me, and to discuss with your vice president and your secretaries on these issues. Thank you very much.

TRUMP: Well, we have had a great relationship. Just about everything. And too bad it is not just us doing the negotiating for the rest of the world. But we have had a great relationship. And our trade situation with France by itself has been very good. The trade product and the trade deals that we do with France -- unfortunately, European Union represents to a large extent France and we've had a pretty unfair situation with the European Union. But a very fair one with France. That will continue. That will always continue. We will always be very close to really our oldest ally. When you think of it, France is our oldest ally. And we will -- we are going out of our way to do that.

I think we really had some substantive talks on Iran. Maybe more than anybody else. And we're looking forward to doing something, but it has to be done, and it has to be done strongly. And they've very much have been butchers, and we can't allow that to happen. So we understand each other. And we'll see how that comes out.

And we could have at least an agreement among ourselves fairly quickly. I think we're fairly close to understanding each other. And I think our meeting -- our one on one went very, very well.

I hope you feel the same way.

MACRON: Definitely.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Emmanuel. Thank you.

Thank you, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Let's go. Make your way out. Let's go. We're finished here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make your way out. Let's go.


TRUMP: You'll find out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Let's go. Everybody out.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go, please. Let's go.


[11:45:29] BOLDUAN: Do I wonder what Vice President Mike Pence was whispering to President Trump right there. President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron sitting down for

their second meeting of the day, this time with an expanded group, including the vice president and some cabinet secretaries.

Let me bring in right now CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins, CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, and chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

Jim, first to you.

I'm pretty sure you probably picked up on this one. I'm pretty sure you probably picked up on this one as well. But when Donald Trump was talking about North Korea, he said that President Kim -- North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-Un, acted -- has been very open and very honorable in how they have been dealing with, I guess, planning out their meeting to come. What do you make of that?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is quite a strong adjective to use for a dictator of a nation that imprisons its people, right? What does he base that on? What concessions or assurances rather has the U.S. been given behind the scenes particularly when Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, soon to be if confirmed secretary of state, went to meet with him. Seems to be signaling that the North Korean leader was signaling that there would be -- that this would be a fruitful discussion. And we don't know what that is. There are a lot of questions as you know, Kate, about what, for instance, Kim actually means when he talks about denuclearization. Does that mean giving up his nuclear weapons when, in fact, that is something that from their perspective they depend on for their very survival. So very strong words to use. Perhaps he was given a hopeful indication via Mike Pompeo when he met with him face to face. It is remarkable thing.

Also, frankly, a remarkable turn from the language we heard just a few weeks, a few months ago, "fire and fury" --

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: -- "Little Kim," right, "my button is bigger than your button." What led to that change, is there substance behind that change. That's something we know when we see what the deliverables are from this summit.

BOLDUAN: Also makes you wonder what the families of the three Americans who are still being held in North Korea are thinking --


BOLDUAN: -- when they say President Trump has been very open and very honorable in -- to this point.

Nia, your take so far? They haven't even had their press conference yet. That's supposed to be coming, supposed to be behind schedule at this moment, likely. But supposed to be coming up this hour still and the president and Emmanuel Macron had a lot to say already today. NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: They have. And a

very warm display of this friendship, right? You hear the president over and over talking about how great this relationship is. They were at the White House, initially, and kind of sharing hugs and handshakes and here they are at this very meeting. We'll see what comes out of this press conference.

So far, I mean, you see two men who are very different, right? President Trump is 71. And Emmanuel Macron is 40. But they do seem to have this bond, and symbolically that's very important. We don't know substantively what that is going to mean. You heard President Macron there saying essentially this is the beginning of something, we'll see what happens in the months and weeks on any number of issues, the Paris climate deal for instance, the deal -- the Iran nuclear deal. Can Macron use his charm to convince this president to stay in the deal? Is there a better deal in the offing? We'll see. The president is, for instance, said before that maybe the United States would get back into the Paris agreement in terms of climate. Is that something that is going to happen? They use very different language, right.


HENDERSON: You have Macron talking about a global challenge, he's very much seeking common ground, he's very much a globalist. And President Trump speaking more like a nationalist, speaking more like a dealmaker for the United States, who wants the best deal for this country, and isn't necessarily concerned with this global community that Macron speaks of.

BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, really quick, I want to get your take. When I heard from the president, he also said that, between Emmanuel Macron and him, they already had substantive talks on Iran. I think he was saying also that they're fairly close to an agreement among themselves. I think he was still talking about the Iran -- the Iran nuclear deal here. This coming after you and I already discussed that a warning that the president issued to Iran from the podium.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, quite a change in tone there, Kate, from what we saw in the Oval Office just a few minutes ago, earlier this hour when you and I were first talking. The president was angry while speaking about the Iran deal, almost borderline threatening, saying if the United States did pull out of the Iran deal and did restart their nuclear program, essentially saying what the consequences of that would be made. But in this meeting, they're saying, Macron spoke, and he could have gone on speaking with him for much longer. He does think that they've some progress on their talks about Iran so far, he said. He said there at the end that he thinks, quote, "They may have an agreement on Iran between the two of us soon." He was talking about Iran there. That's interesting because, of course, Kate, we know part of Macron's mission while he's here was to get the president to keep the United States to stay in the Iran deal. Those prospects seemed very slim since we heard from the president earlier this hour. Those prospects are very dim. But there the president seemed very open to that suggestion. Of course, the United States, the White House has not said specifically what their Plan B to the Iran deal would be. They said they wanted a better deal. Just yesterday, Sarah Sanders was saying she believes the president is the best negotiator to have at a table for something like that. But the question is where they're going to end up where they leave. They've had the pomp and the circumstance, but now they're at the business part -- Kate?

[11:51:09] BOLDUAN: Yes. I feel like I just to need to end this with, but, wait, there's more. We're looking at live pictures on the screen of inside the White House where the president and President Macron will be holding a joint press conference any minute now.

Stand by guys. A lot more to come.

We'll be right back after this.


[11:55:47] BOLDUAN: We are following breaking news. You're looking at live pictures from the East Room of the White House where Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will be taking to the lecterns in just a second, holding a joint press conference at the White House. Facing reporters and facing cameras now for the third time this morning. Let's see what happens when they do. Should happen any minute.

Still with me, Kaitlan Collins, Jim Sciutto, Nia-Malika Henderson.

Jim, to you.

What we just heard from President Trump, I wanted to get your take on. We've heard a lot. But what I'm talking about specifically was when the president was talking about the Iran deal and his discussions with Emmanuel Macron, and he said something to the effect of, they're fairly close to an agreement, at least among ourselves, when it comes tight ran deal. What could that mean?

SCIUTTO: I was reading over his words again and again. Agreement among ourselves, presumably, he was talking about France and the U.S. And one possibility Macron was going to try to convince the president of is adding a second agreement, in effect, that would handle Iran's missile tests, right, in post-sanctions for its missile tests, et cetera. Also extend the life of the original Iran deal. It has some sunset provisions in there. Was the president referring to kind of a partner agreement that would address some of the president's concerns with the original Iran deal? That's a possibility. How you do that just between the U.S. and France, if that's what he's referring to, without Iran's agreement, I don't know. Are they talking about imposing additional penalties on Iran for its missile tests, et cetera? Not clear. But that's a possibility. And let's hope he adds some clarity in the press conference.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly what I was about to say, Jim.

I mean, Nia, there's now more questions to ask the president when he begins this joint news conference. What's your first question? HENDERSON: You know what, what does he mean in terms of this Iran

deal? Is this something that's actually going to happen? I think more substance on any of this is going to help, on Iran, Paris, Syria, anything like that. Just more details.

BOLDUAN: More details on multiple fronts today.

HENDERSON: Yes, multiple fronts.

BOLDUAN: Great to see all of you.

We're all standing by.

Thank you so much.

We're all standing by at the White House. President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron expected to take questions any moment now.

We're going to sneak in a quick break. We'll be right back.