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CNN NEWSROOM

China to Retaliate Against Trump's Tariffs; Former Trump Critic Lindsey Graham Says Trump an Ally; Trump Gives Impromptu Interview on North Lawn; Questions Over Sarah Sanders Leaving White House; World Cup Fever in Full Swing in Russia. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 15, 2018 - 14:30   ET

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


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[14:31:41] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The world's two biggest economies are now war over trade in the week of President Trump's whopping 25 percent tariff on Chinese exports. China has just retaliated with its own tariffs against the U.S. It will also impose a 25 percent tax on $50 billion of U.S. goods.

Christine Romans, CNN Money chief business correspondent, explains the potential impact on American consumers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN MONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, the president this morning on his trade agenda, saying the U.S. isn't the one who started a trade war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The trade war was started many years ago by them, and the United States lost.

(CROSSTAKL)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So you're saying we're on the losing end of it.

TRUMP: Well, no, there's no trade war. They have taken so much. So last year, $375 billion in trade deficit. With China. We had overall over $800 billion over a period of years, each year, close to $800 billion in losses on trade. Not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So the China tariffs are back on. The president says trade with China is unfair. The situation, no longer sustainable. And he's targeting technology that China has vowed to dominate. Xi Jinping's made in China 2025 initiative. There will be a 25 percent tariff on 1,100 products, what the U.S. Calls industrially significant technologies like aerospace equipment, tech, manufacturing, medical supplies. U.S. Companies pay the price. They pay the tariff to the U.S. Government when they import these goods. Companies can either absorb the higher cost or pass it along to consumers.

Quick reaction from the Chinese commerce industry, which said the U.S. kept changing its mind and has now decided to launch a trade war. In fact, the tariffs tiff has been on and off. The White House first unveiled this list in March, actually, a bigger list. Multiple rounds of trade talks with China then, a tariff cease-fire, remember, in May. And then the recent summit with North Korea seen by many as a big win for China. But then today $50 billion in tariffs anyway.

The Chinese vow retaliation. The White House vows mortar I was if China targets American farmers or hurts Americans doing business in China. The U.S. move is punishment for China stealing trade secrets, for forced technology transfers from American companies, for cyber theft, years of it. And fulfills Trump's pledge to cut a trade deficit more than $300 billion a year -- Brooke?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Christine, thank you.

Both of the new tariffs will start to take effect July 6.

Now a trade war with China is just one concern Republicans on Capitol Hill have about what's going on at the White House. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican, South Carolina, was a fierce critic of Candidate Trump, but says President Trump has mostly been an ally, and some Republicans don't like it one bit.

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KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Some people say this is two-faced. Where is the Lindsey Graham of standing up to Donald Trump? What do you say?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I'll tell them when I think he's wrong. Let me just tell you about the critics. When I work with President Obama and I did on occasion, I was a hero. Now when I work with President Trump, I'm two-faced. I know how the game is played, and I don't give a damn. I'm going to do what's best for the country. I like the president. I want to help him. I hope he's successful. He's been a friend to me. And he says some things I don't agree with. So if you don't like me working with the President Trump to make the world a better place, I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:35:03] BALDWIN: Ho!

Correspondent Phil Mattingly, I mean, you know you've got this Republican Senator here saying he doesn't give a shhh -- thoughts?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So it's complicated. I think would probably be the best way to explain the current dynamics on the Hill. A couple days ago, Brooke, Republicans attacked one another in a closed-door lunch. Primarily over the trade issue, over amendment frustrations, over dealing with the White House, something Lindsey Graham was actually involved in.

Look, what Senator Graham laid out was actually I think kind of an important view into how a lot of Republicans look at this administration. Up with of the biggest struggles that Republicans have had, and I've talked to many of them, asked them specifically about this over the course of the last 15 or 16 months, is how best to communicate with this White House and with this president. The normal channels, the normal kind of operational gears that are involved in dealing with the White House between the Hill and White House officials. Don't really exist here. They more or less exist in 280 characters or by the phone.

So what Senator Graham is trying to say is, where there are moments that he is opposed to the president and those moments have occurred, even since the campaign, he will say something. When he's not opposed to the president, he finds that it's better to work behind the scenes and try and get something from him as opposed to coming out publicly.

Obviously, Brooke, we saw this week Senator Bob Corker really going off at Republicans for not saying more publicly. Senator Jeff Flake, as well. Well, key point. Senator Bob Corker and Senator Jeff Flake are not going to be here next year. You have the political dynamic, as well. Look at the poll numbers, Republicans, the party, support President Trump. So you have all of these different dynamics here. You have issues like trade war, Republicans are opposed. But there's really no consensus in terms of, how do we actually get what we want when we disagree with the president? They're nervous about the politics, and they still aren't totally sure what the best avenue is to communicate those concerns to the guy who sits in the Oval Office.

BALDWIN: Complicated, indeed. But I got you.

Phil Mattingly, well explained. Thank you so much from Capitol Hill.

Coming up next here, President Trump making history on the White House lawn today, becoming what's believed to be the first sitting president to just roll up to the media. And there are live shots positioned there on the North Lawn. And what an interview that was. We have details, just ahead.

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[14:41:30] BALDWIN: This morning, President Trump did something no other president has. He unexpectedly walked down the White House driveway right to the cameras of FOX News and gave this impromptu 30- minute interview. The White House press corps saw this happening, this whole gaggle, and then 19 minutes followed. It was nothing sort of a spectacle, to borrow a line from Brian Stelter. It was like the president's Twitter feed had come to life.

Talking about that is our political analyst, April Ryan, who is a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

April Ryan, good to have you on.

I always think of you for all the White House perspective. You have been covering, you know, so many administrations for more than 20 years, and I just -- you know, have you ever seen a president walk on out of the residence or the West Wing and roll on over to Pebble Beach like that?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Never, ever, never. Never, ever. But let me say this. Typically, a president will walk out of the residence on the other side and go through the colonnade, walk down the l-shaped colonnade outside of the Rose Garden -- well, it trims the Rose Garden. Into the Oval Office. Or even go through the colonnade to go through the West Wing to go to the Oval Office. This was something unprecedented.

This president, I guess he wants to continue to celebrate his 72nd birthday that was yesterday and giving America a gift, to see something different. You know, he walked out into the driveway, in our area. So once you come into our area, you're fair game. He walked from the residence, from wherever he came from in the residence, and walked down that driveway portion of the West Wing, where the briefing room is. He walked by the briefing room area, made that turn, and went to pebble beach to FOX News, and reports -- that is our area. If we see someone who is news worthy, we run out of that room, put our microphones in front of them.

And that is a principle. That is the president of the United States of America, who has been making news since before he became the president. So, of course, it's all about access. We want to hear what he has to say. We want to know what's going on. What he's thinking. Because it affects the American public. It affects the world. So it was a prime opportunity for reporters to get to him before FOX News. "FOX & friends." and after "FOX & friends." he was fair game. And I don't care what anyone says.

BALDWIN: He talked about a lot and we have been fact-checking what he said. Let me get some of Pamela Brown's reporting in, one of our senior White House correspondent. And one of the questions was on this House compromise immigration bill, and so despite saying otherwise this morning, we're being told now that the White House says President Trump misunderstood the question, and, yes, he does, indeed, support the compromised immigration bill. Misunderstood it, April.

RYAN: Misunderstanding, you know, when you're the president of the United States and a reporter asks you a question, and particularly when you're watching a news channel in the morning and you continue to watch the news, the understanding is on you. You're supposed to understand. This is a very serious issue. There have been major debates waged in the White House. This just goes back to this president who touches his base, who is still a novice in a lot of ways.

And, you know, orthopedic surgeon on some issues, there's no room for error. But right now he's still I guess basking in the glow of his base, and in approval numbers that are rising where he can make a mistake. But this is a critical issue. And when you have people chiming in, bringing in religion on immigration and just when it's supposed to be separation of church and state and conflating this because religious community does not like this, this is bad. He needs to stand firm and know what he's talking about when he talks on this issue that is affecting millions of people in our borders.

[14:45:22] BALDWIN: Lastly, you sit there, day in and day out, asking questions of Sarah Sanders. And I know just recently her future has come into question. There had been reports that perhaps she would leave her post by the end of the year. She, of course, stood there earlier this week and said, well, hey, nobody asked me what I think or what my deal is. And the president commented on it this morning.

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TRUMP: Sarah loves this job. And she has announced, not with me -- I read that same report. Somebody put it out, I think it was CBS, when she said it was a false report, fake news. But at some point, I'm sure she'll leave, like everybody leaves and we'll get somebody else. But Sarah has done a fantastic job. No, I don't think she's leaving. In fact, she was very insulted they came out and said that, I don't think she's leaving.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you make of --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: In fact, she was very insulted when that came out, so I don't think she's leaving.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you make of the back and forth between her and the press? Because sometimes it gets --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, I think the press -- I think the press treats Sarah very unfairly. That White House Correspondents' Dinner --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORT: Some feel she's not answering their questions --

TRUMP: Well --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- so they're going to ask again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I don't know if you heard it, but he's obviously standing by Sarah Sanders, and she publicly stood by the president. Obviously, there's been turnover in that job with Sean Spicer. She's been in the role for a while. Hasn't she?

RYAN: Let me say this. Press secretaries come and go. I've seen many from Mike McCurry, who was -- he was my first press secretary, from the beginning -- from the second term of Bill Clinton, the beginning of the second term I was there with Mike McCurry to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. They come and go. He stands by her, but at the same time, he did say, she could leave. She will at some point leave.

This story was floated by someone within the White House. There's turmoil within that White House press shop. You better believe -- yes, there's. There's in fighting. And someone stabbed her in the back. The question is who. CBS has not backed down on that story and it's not fake news.

So what I did hear from someone, Brooke, that we both know, and you've had on your show, they said, you know, a couple months ago there would be an elegant exit for Sarah Huckabee Sanders. So I want to see how elegant it will be, because we know when people in that White House start floating stories, ultimately something happens. The question is, will it be the way they say at the end of the year or even before? You know, the president has stood by people before and then they're gone the next week. So it remains to be seen.

You know, I feel bad for Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She is a mother of three kids and I know she takes this personally and she loves her job. Even though we've had our public -- interesting moments, you know, she's a woman in this job. And I guess she feels when she comes to that podium, she has to deal with the audience of the president of the United States, and also has to be tough in that room of men with some women peppered through.

But, you know, let's see how it plays out. Sarah Huckabee wears her feelings on her sleeves, away from the podium. And I know she's hurting by this. And trying to figure out where it came from. But someone leaked this story purposefully.

BALDWIN: I got you. Got you.

OK. April Ryan, thank you, as always.

RYAN: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Amid a very public spat with America's allies, President Trump showing new love to Mexico and Canada, thanks to a big sporting win. How he is taking credit for bringing the World Cup to North America.

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[14:53:11] BALDWIN: President Trump is taking credit for getting the 2026 World Cup to come to North America after slamming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all week long for comments he made at the G-7 summit. The United States, Canada and Mexico won this joint bid this week to bring the international soccer tournament here. And so this is what the president tweeted: "Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the USA, Mexico and Canada, I worked hard on this, along with a great team of talented people. We never fail. And it would be a great World Cup."

The president sent three letters to FIFA, pledging an easy visa process for players and fans traveling to the states for all these soccer matches. And 2026 will mark the first time the World Cup will be shared by three host nations. And now, World Cup fever is in full swing over in Russia, where at the

moment, Spain and Portugal have taken to the pitch for the world soccer championship. Fans are clamoring for seats. The global sporting event only happens once every four years, so you can imagine tickets are tough to get. And the World Cup is trending today all across the world, even here in the U.S.

So CNN sports anchor, Amanda Davis, live in Moscow as Spain and Portugal compete for the coveted FIFA trophy.

And, Amanda, I understand this is one of the biggest matches of this stage in the World Cup.

[14:54:37] AMANDA DAVIS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. Absolutely, Brooke. And the group of fans behind me here in Red Square gathered to watch on the TV screens will confirm that. Olympics fans will remember Sochi, though, as the home of the 2014 Windsor games. This month, though, it's transformed into a World Cup venue, and the stadium that housed the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies is right now playing host to, as you said, arguably the biggest match of the group stage.

As Cristiano Ronaldo dramatically had a coach sacked two days ago. The whistle has just gone to mark halftime and Ronaldo has scored twice to put Portugal 2-1 ahead. Earlier on, you had to feel for one of the biggest stars of this tournament, Mosul of Egypt. Think of Steph Curry of the Warriors. Nearly fit, but not quite. Forced to sit on the sidelines, picking every ball with his team, but unable to do anything about them, conceding a last gasp goal to Uruguay that condemned his side to defeat. And to add injury, it was on his 26th birthday, as well. The good news, though, the player arguably the best in season is due back against the host, Russia, on Tuesday. It's set to be a big one -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Love it. And love the Steph Curry reference.

Amanda, enjoy Moscow and these games. Thank you so much. We'll talk again.

Just ahead here on CNN, back to our breaking news, a judge sends President Trump's former campaign chair to jail today, as he waits for trial. New details on Paul Manafort's case.

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