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INSIDE POLITICS

Moderate Senators in Spotlight Over Supreme Court Pick; Leftist With Trump-Like Qualities Wins Mexican Presidency; Courting Millennial Voters As 2018 Midterms Heat Up; World Retaliates Against Trump's Tariffs; Auto Tariffs Could Increase Cost of Cars. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 2, 2018 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Just those three under intense pressure, up for re-election in states the president won by 40- something points in West Virginia, 20-something points in Indiana, 20 or 30 points in North Dakota. Tough for them to break with the president but the liberal base of the Democratic Party is going to be demanding no votes from this Democrats.

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BUZZFEED NEWS: But nothing has changed the political calculus for them. They're still very vulnerable. They're still facing the same sort of situation here. So it's pretty -- it seems like they're going to vote the same way unless someone -- so unless the president picks someone totally different that they're not expecting.

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATE PRESS: And we've recently seen votes on some of these candidates, you know, for federal judgeships. And some of those Democrats have gotten on board. So there is some precedent to look at recently.

MICHAEL WARREN, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I just want to go back quickly to what Senator Collins said. I think it's actually a pretty broad statement there. I mean, she wants someone who's going to respect precedent. Well, we just heard from Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts that conservative jurists who have a more conservative view on Roe v. Wade and these legal questions can still I think consistently say I have a respect for precedent and recognize that. And that's what you're going to hear -- Mitch McConnell is not -- is managing this I think in a way that he's not going to allow somebody -- the president to nominate somebody who's not going to have some level of support from people like Collins.

KING: And they're going to coach that candidate --

WARREN: Yes.

KING: -- about how he answer the questions. McConnell working very closely with the White House on this. Chaos and a lot of policy fronts (INAUDIBLE) here. They have a system and a process here. We'll see if it continues to play out.

Up next, plus, a Trump-like candidate wins the presidency in Mexico. Both men say they want to get along. But can they?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:36:00] KING: Topping our political radar today, Mitt Romney not ready to sign onto Trump 2020. The Republican (INAUDIBLE) -- Senate candidate in Utah telling MSNBC he assumes the president will face some primary challenges and he was pressed on whether the incumbent then count on his support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said recently that you voted for your wife, Ann Romney --

MITT ROMNEY (R), UTAH SENATE CANDIDATE: Highly qualified, capable person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- for president in 2016. Will you vote for President Trump in 2020? You said you think he's going to get re- elected.

ROMNEY: It's too early to say who I will support. Yes, I did say I think he'll get re-elected. That's not an endorsement. I mean, you know, I also think that Gavin Newsom will get elected in California. That's not something I want to see, it's just something that's probably going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: President Trump today congratulating his soon-to-be new counterpart in Mexico on his election victory saying, he looks forward to working together. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a socialist. Like Trump, he struck a chord with voters fed up with corruption and the status quo. He's also promised to stand up for Mexico telling supporters last night after his victory, he'll work with the Trump White House provided Mexico is treated with dignity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF MEXICO (through translator): With the government of the United States, we shall try to find a relationship, a friendship, and cooperation for development. Always rooted in mutual respect and in defense of our migrant countrymen who work and live honestly in that country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This one will be fascinating to watch going forward. The new president of Mexico, like President Trump has been a skeptic of NAFTA. Although the new president has said he wants to make it work. And he's also -- like the man he's replacing said no with more colorful language about Mexico paying for the wall.

WARREN: I mean, look, there's a continuum here between people on the far right and the far left. A lot of the same sort of criticisms of trade, sort of the business influence on trade policy. You heard from Bernie Sanders in 2016.

So, in a weird way, you look at his campaign. It was very much sort of a regionalist campaign against the more elite north from the southern part of the country. There's a lot of similarities even if idealogically they seem to be polar opposites.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And I think we'll see what the personal connection is if there is a one at all between, you know, this president and that president. The president likes new leaders. Someone that he has a new relationship with. Not an existing relationship as with President Obama as they say.

So, we'll see. At some point, they'll have a meeting. At some point, he'll travel here -- I don't know if President Trump will travel to Mexico or not. He hasn't yet. Of course which is unusual on it's own right. But we'll see what type of a bond they forge.

KING: But incredibly important, the economic relationship, neighbors, security, drug trade. So we shall see that one going forward.

Up next for us here, the battle for millennials and why President Trump's Republican Party should be worried about its future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[12:43:05] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE United States: -- in the prime of your life. Actually, most of you aren't even in the prime of your life. You'll be in the prime of your life in about 15 years. I'm going to make it as long as possible.

And there has never been a better time to be young and to be American. Never been a better time. The opportunity now is incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was the president in good spirits there last week. That was a White House event aimed at courting millennials. But the numbers don't lie. In this critical voting block, it's leaning left as we watch to see the millennial impact on the midterm elections. Let's go through some of the numbers.

So, what do younger voters think of the president? Not so much. Voters 18 to 29 in a peer survey, 63 percent, nearly two-thirds disapprove of how the president is handling his job. Only 30 percent approve. Part of it is, they don't think the president gets them, understands them, respects them.

Nearly six in 10, voters aged 18 to 29 said the president is not too much or no respect at all for them. That's part of the generational gap with this president and younger voters.

The big question is, what about November? The midterm elections, control of Congress. Well, look at this. Among all younger voters here, Democrats plus 20. Among the women millennials, Democrats plus 44. Among men, the Republicans have a slight advantage, but that's not where the Republican Party needs to be.

This is a giant opportunity for the Democrats if they can get these younger voters to come out in a midterm year. That's not always easy. Last week we had that stunning upset in New York. The millennial candidate there says, guess what. Young people want to get involved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: People try to identify who was the most likely person to turn out. And what we did is that we change who turns out. It was eight minutes until the polls close, and these two like teenage looking kids came up to me. It was like, we just voted for you. And I was like, how old are you? And they're like, 19. And I was like, oh, 19 years old voting in an off year midterm primary election?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[12:45:06] KING: With us to explain those numbers and explore the power of the millennial vote, the host of the Pollster podcast, Democrat Margie Omero, Republican Kristen Soltis Anderson. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a powerful messenger for millennials. Is she right nationally or is she only right in her district in the Bronx and Queens? Are millennials ready to turn out as part of a blue wave?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, I think you're seeing millennials like a lot of other groups really excited on the left. I was just part of a poll navigator research been coming out every month. And we just did an over sample of millennials. And among millennial Democrats, you had a majority, more than Democrats overall say that they were following this election more closely than ever before. You didn't see that with non-Democratic millennials.

So it's something specific about millennials. It's also Democratic groups generally.

KING: I saw your tweet about the Pew numbers especially the plus 44 among younger women. As a Republican, is it the president? Is it something else? And is there anything that can be done between now and November?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: The Republicans' problems with young voters did not begin with Donald Trump. This is something that the party has been facing since the era of Barack Obama. Where younger voters broke heavily very for Democrats and Republicans kind of thought, you know, it's not a big a deal. They'll eventually become Republicans as they get older.

But millennials are now into their mid-30s and they have not come back to the right. So it's a problem for the party long-term. Short-term in this midterm, I think Republicans are assuming that millennials will not turn out to Margie's point. They're assuming that, look, we need to lose them by lot. And if they don't vote, as long as we're running up the numbers with seniors, we're fine.

And I think that's a scary gamble. Because I think you have a lot of millennials who may be lean to the left who perhaps didn't turn out in 2016. They didn't like Hillary Clinton. They didn't like Donald Trump, they stayed home.

The stakes feel high right now. They have now seen a year and a half of the Trump presidency. Some millennials like him, about three out of 10. But the rest, less enthused with what they're seeing. And so if those young people decide that they're so upset with what they have seen that they'll actually turn out. That's going to be the problem for Republicans.

KING: A subset of the conversation, I'm not sure this will show up on television. But this is the New York Times Sunday review. The millennial socialists are coming. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, there's candidates from Boston in here.

Now, this is a handful of young candidates running in Democratic primaries. But I just want to show as I come to (INAUDIBLE).

Look at the map of the House of Representatives in the United States of America today. You can sell this message maybe on the coast on the east and the coast on the west. But if you look at the bulk of America and all that red, that's the House of Representatives.

Is this a blessing for the Democrats or is it potentially a risk for the Democrats to have these young candidates who are for Medicare for all, who are saying let's abolish ICE? Does that help the Democrats nationally or hurt?

OMERO: Well, you have candidates in primaries around the country running different kinds of races. And some of -- you know, there are places where there are competitive primaries, there are places we haven't had primaries yet. So everybody is -- most smart candidates are tailoring their message with the people that they represent and the people in their district. So I don't think there's any one primary or race that really is indicative of what the national dialogue will be like headed into the general election.

I also think it's beyond labels of any one kind. It's really about which party and which candidates are really trying to turn the page on what Democrats and Republicans can agree on which is we have a very toxic environment in which party is not really addressing that. Is trying -- is either making it worse or pretending to not, you know, not want to have that conversation.

KING: And how much is it, the specific issues and the toxic environment? And how much is it you look at the numbers about millennials, don't feel that Trump understands them or respects them or gets them. Pick the term for it.

If you look at the leadership in both sides, the Republican Party leadership actually lot younger than the Democratic Party House leadership. If you put up there, on the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi, 78, Jim Clyburn, 77, Steny Hoyer, 79, 40s and 50s when you go to the Republican side.

Should that be an opportunity or are all of them too old from the millennial perspective?

ANDERSON: I would say, I don't know that any of those folks, with all due respect to the folks on my side of the aisle, you know, necessarily get what young people are about. And, you know, it's not just about age. Bernie Sanders, to his credit, he's not a young, cool guy but he had a kind of cool with young people because he was authentic. He seemed like he cared about them. That he showed up.

And I think all those politicians that you just put up on the screen could use a little more time with millennials, spending a little more time caring, paying attention. I think for a lot of young voters, Republicans have opportunities. Currently, the youngest woman in the House of Representatives is a Republican.

There are opportunities there. But Republicans have to show up and take them.

KING: Is there any doubt, Margie first, Kristin you finish the conversation, that they will show up this year? That's always -- in a midterm election year, we all know the rules. I've been doing this for a long time, you know, elderly voters tend to show up all the time.

People who are closely identified with the party show up. The Republicans think they can use the Supreme Court to gin up their base.

[12:50:02] Millennials are not known as your most reliability midterm election constituency, forgive me. Are we sure this will be different or do we think this will be different?

OMERO: Well, so far looking at the specials, the off-year elections we've had, the primaries. You've seen a real surge in turnout on the left that I think, you know, is going to continue. Now, obviously, it's far away if you're a voter. It's far off if you're working it. (INAUDIBLE) around the corner.

But so -- I think we're going to see this enthusiasm really continue because the stakes are really high for so many groups.

KING: If you're a Republican trying to bend the arc, what do you do?

ANDERSON: I think every Republican needs to run like you're 10 points down. Don't assume that the millennials will stay home.

KING: Don't assume they will stay home. All right, ladies, appreciate you coming here. Let's do this again.

Up next, the president now says he wants to put tariffs on cars. What that could mean for you at home if you're looking to buy one?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back. New pushback today against the big Trump trade tariffs. Tariffs the president says he wants to make even bigger.

[12:55:01] Canada slapped $12.6 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. goods just yesterday. China says it will add $34 billion of tariffs to the U.S. trade bill. Stock market open down. You can see at midday, they're still down about a 100 points. That's better than it was earlier today.

The trade tremors are real. And have Republican allied groups warning the president against doing more. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just today went up with a new website. The message to the president embedded in the URL www.thewrongapproach.com.

The president wants to expand his tariffs to cars coming into the United States. Automakers here in the United States say that would be a mammoth mistake. Drive up prices, hurt the -- drive apart the United States and the European Union.

The president knows the risks, but listen here. His commerce secretary says the boss won't be easily persuaded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, I think all these claims about the sky is falling are at best premature and probably (INAUDIBLE). But there's no bright line level of the stock market that's going to change policy. The president is trying to fix long-term problems that should have been dealt with long time ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And there's every evidence, every piece of evidence says that Wilbur Ross is right. The president thinks he's right here. And that he wants to scare people, disrupt people, force people to pick up the phone and call him saying and say, OK, we'll take a better deal.

LUCEY: Yes, that's right. He's -- he really views this as a key campaign promise, a key reason he's in the White House. And so far he really thinks that this is working.

I think one thing to watch, though, is -- and we're going to see more unless something changes, you know, more tariffs with China at the end of this week. And from then, is if we start seeing more complaints from the pea constituents. If you start hearing from you know, soybean farmers in Iowa. If the call from, you know, carmakers got louder, if that stuff starts of changing the calculus.

KING: But so far the administration pushing back. This is what could shift the calculus. You, the American people including Trump voters.

This is from Toyota. So consider the source, what Toyota says, if these tariffs fully go into effect and you go out to buy your new Camry, guess what, you're going to pay $1,800 more because of bunch of several different aluminum and steel and other foreign parts and the like tariffs. Will that do it?

ZELENY: We'll see if it does. But I think the job loss potentially in some red states in auto making areas could have a much bigger effect. Look at just the entire economy that's changed in the last 20 years or so. Look at all the autos being manufactured in South Carolina, in Tennessee, in Alabama. What are those red state governors saying to the president?

Governor Ivey in Alabama is speaking out directly. Governor McMaster in South Carolina who talks to the president often, he has not said a peep about that. But if people lose their jobs at the Volvo plant, the BMW plant, that is something that is probably I think more significant than, you know, a more expensive Toyota.

KING: The president's view is there might be disruption in the next year or so but he thinks it all be settled by time he runs. But to a Republican in 2018 has worries, one of the so-called globalists the president does listens to occasionally Anthony Scaramucci, who is the White House communications director for 10 or 12 seconds, but he's still in contact with the president. He's a hedge fund guy in New York and he says his message to the president is watch it, you're approaching the danger zone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The escalation of the trade rhetoric is causing a loss of confidence. That's very, very bad for market psychology. And so, I'm just sending up a warning flare to my friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that the president is damaging the country in creating a trade war with our closest ally across our border?

SCARAMUCCI: I would say not yet, no. I don't think any real damage has happened yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But will it happen if he doesn't reverse course?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I think that the market is telling you that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: Look, I mean, the president is on an island. I guess Wilbur Ross is there, Peter Navarro is there as a couple of other people. But, in the White House, in the administration, in Congress, Republicans don't like this. This was a tweet from Chuck Grassley, an ally of the president yesterday. He said, "@realdonaldtrump, when you and I discussed ethanol, I told you people in Iowa were nervous about EPA, not serving you well. I added people were more nervous about your tariffs. I should have emphasized how trade could detract from the economic (INAUDIBLE) because of good tax and deregulation policy."

The Republicans are trying to do everything you can. I think you're going to hear more like this.

KING: But the president -- this is -- he has been more consistent on this issue than even immigration. This goes back to its way before he was a candidate. To the point where staff is now preparing legislation that would allow him to opt out of world trade organization rules so they can show it to the president to make him happy knowing Congress would never pass such a thing. So it sort of an exercise to please the audience of one? PARTI: Right. Earlier, Republicans weren't standing up and saying anything but now the message is not subtle. They're going up there talking to the president and they're telling him that this is not going to work. Including the chamber which Republicans need the chamber to spend millions of dollars to help them elect Republicans in November.

KING: That the president will compute. Fascinating economic story. We'll keep at it. Globalization is the economic story of our time.

Thanks for joining us today on INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here this time tomorrow. Jim Acosta is in for Wolf Blitzer. He starts right now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Jim Acosta in for Wolf Blitzer. It's 1 p.m. here in Washington, thanks for joining --