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Trump Escalates Trade War with New Round of Tariffs; Trump Exaggerates Germany's Business Deal with Russia; Border Patrol Says NYC Mayor Crossed the Border Illegally; Parkland Student and Armed Protester in Texas Come to An Agreement; Sacha Baron Cohen Duped Palin. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 11, 2018 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You say that because China can't do quid pro quo here, obviously the U.S. brings in way more goods from China than we give back.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Correct. And anyway, it is much more effective to do it the other way.

CABRERA: What kind of back door retaliation?

QUEST: With tariffs, you put price on the goods. And because the company can pass it on to the consumer. You start making life difficult, regulatory restrictions, capital restrictions, joint venture restrictions, holding up goods in docks for certain inspections, watching raw materials, raw foods rot, and you make life difficult for U.S. companies wanting to do more business in China or starting new enterprise in China, suddenly you've got a more nefarious way of hitting the United States. And if you add on top of that the attacks against say soy farmers in the United States. Pork bellies --

CABRERA: I talked to lobster company today.

QUEST: Absolutely. I said earlier in the day, the tariff gains are very focused. They're on steel, aluminum. You can see the number of jobs created easily. Tariff costs are widespread throughout the economy. Thousand jobs here, hundreds there. Now excuse me. I have a match to watch. My country is playing!

CABRERA: Good luck to you. I thought you were going to watch the stock market. Not today. Richard Quest. Always good to see you my friend.

Private NATO dinner with president Trump and key allies is under currently way now. Before we go any further, we want to fact check some of the new claims from the president that the U.S. basically supports NATO and the accusation that Germany is beholden to Russia. In Washington, CNN national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. Jim, start with the president demanding other countries pay their fair share immediately. Is the U.S. being treated unfairly by NATO allies?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The truth is this has been something of a battle through multiple administrations, U.S. presidents trying to get NATO to pay more, not as threatening as Donald Trump, threatening the whole alliance, but they've been pushing. The U.S. dwarves NATO partners in terms of military spending and ability. I will mention transport aircraft. That's how you get troops to battle. U.S. has 5200 of them. Every other NATO member combined has just a little more than half that. That's one example of a place where the U.S. dwarfed the contributions of NATO allies. Look at spending. U.S. spends 3.5 percent more than that. Other NATO countries meeting 2 percent target, you have Greece that's above, little misstated, Greece has a bit of a financial crisis at home, that percentage is somewhat exaggerated.

U.K., Estonia, Poland on the eastern front of NATO are meeting that target. That U.S. figure a little bit misleading. The U.S. has more than NATO responsibilities for ITS military. It has U.S. troops and ships and aircraft stationed all over the world. Fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the 2 percent target, there are important NATO allies, France, Canada, Germany, among them. Germany the president's favorite target who are not meeting that goal yet.

But let's talk about that goal. Is it legally required? When was it meant to be? It was at a prior summit in 2014 that the members pledged that this was a goal, something they want to reach. But by 2024, that's still six years away. Now of course you have the president doubling that to 4 percent. I don't know many folks that take that seriously at this point, but the president at a minimum playing hard ball on meeting that goal far earlier than NATO members pledged to meet it.

CABRERA: He is singling out Germany. What about his claims that Germany is a captive of Russia?

SCIUTTO: Let's look at why he made that claim. Germany gets a lot of natural gas from Russia, about a third of it. Another third from Norway. Another third a little less than the Netherlands. And this is not unusual for Europe. If you look at the European Union as a whole, similar percentages. 37 percent from Russia, more than a third Norway, some across the Mediterranean from Algeria. A lot of that makes sense.

Russia makes a lot of natural gas, they produce it. They're physically close and do it cheaply. That's the issue here. After NATO invaded Ukraine, NATO allies made a pledge or at least a goal to reduce imports of Russian natural gas. Since then, imports have grown in large part because it is so cheap. Something the president might be holding in the back of his mind, U.S. natural gas producers would love to sell more natural gas to Europe.

[15:35:00] The trouble is getting it across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, you have to liquify it, put it on ships, it costs a lot of money. To this point, they can't compete with cheap Russian natural gas. That makes the difference there.

CABRERA: Jim Sciutto thank you.

Up next, the mayor of New York City responding to allegations he crossed into the U.S./Mexico border illegally on foot during a recent visit to southern Texas. What the Border Patrol is now saying.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responding to allegations he crossed the U.S./Mexico border illegally, a claim made by the U.S. Border Patrol. De Blasio was one of 20 U.S. mayors to make a trip to the border near El Paso, Texas last month when the alleged incident happened, a day after President Trump ordered the end of family separations. Part of his zero-tolerance immigration policy.

[14:10:00] Our Brynn Gingras doing just now to discuss. He's accused of crossing the border illegally? How did we get here?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Back up three weeks ago, when you mentioned he went with 20 other mayors from around this country to kind of get a little bit of understanding of what sort of facilities were going on at the border because of course the whole country is affected, but specifically New York being one of those cities that is really affected, more than 200 children have come to New York.

He wanted to see it. He was not granted access according to de Blasio and his spokesperson. So, what the mayor says he did is he and his team which included a detail from NYPD asked for permission to cross the border into Mexico to get a better look, view of the tent cities as he calls them, where the children were housed. He said that the customs and border patrol said they had to check with a supervisor, which they did, he was granted access, allowed to cross the border with passports through port of entry and come back.

That was his story. Three weeks to where we are today, we're learning the NYPD received a letter from CBP saying he crossed illegally. Didn't say in the letter that he was going to be put under arrest, more of an awareness thing. But certainly, it raises the question of politics in play here obviously, Mayor de Blasio being one of the mayors who has actively spoken out against this immigration policy from the president and Trump administration and had more to say at an event today in New York that had nothing to do with this, but he wanted to address it. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY: At no point did we disregard any instructions from federal authorities, period. So why suddenly weeks later is this letter showing up from the federal government? Well, it is another attempt to distract from an inhumane policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: So then right there he reiterates his view on the policy in general, and we did reach out to CBP to try to get some idea what exactly this letter said, why did they send it? We did not get answers.

CABRERA: Brynn, we know you will stay on top of it of course. Thank you.

Coming up, months after surviving a mass shooting, Parkland students embark on a legal battle. Ahead, the lawsuit filed against police for not stopping the gunman before he killed 17 students and staff.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Some parents of students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit today which alleges several Brower County officials, quote, "failed to stop the shooter during that attack" almost 5 months ago.

This as the same community, students and survivors has been working to turn their pain and experiences into a grass roots movement. They're calling it the "road to change" where they stop in cities across America to talk about gun safety, to help register people to vote. A few days ago, in Dallas students recorded an intense conversation with what they called counter protesters, called Open Carry Texas. They were challenged on things like mental health, arming teachers. And what happens next is remarkable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be accurate to characterize it what you are saying is guns are part of the problem, but it goes a whole lot deeper than guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a nuanced issue. I think the easy access in some of these areas to firearms does escalate violence, especially in Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those 150 hours of training mean nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we don't rise to the occasion, you fall to your most basic level of training.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. No amount of training can train you out of that instinct. That's my opposition to putting more guns in schools, which I'm sure you guys can understand, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't necessarily agree with it. I can see where you're coming from, I respect your opinion. That's fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why I asked them from the get go what the agenda was as far as Democratic policies, they said they're not anti- gun. They're for common sense. That's why we have been debating. They're not trying to take guns away, that's what I hear anyways. You hear a lot of things from inside. This is what America is about. Come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Our revenge has ended. With me now, Matt Deitsch is a former student, one of those at the center of that conversation. Matt, you're in that video. We see it end with a handshake. Tell me what the man in red, the red hat, said to you.

[15:50:00] MATT DEITSCH, FORMER PARKLAND STUDENT: The man in the red hat at the end of the conversation told me this was the most American thing he ever experienced, for us to come together, have a conversation about how to save lives. With counter protesters, there tend to be very few of them. They spout the same talking points as the NRA, same misguided truths. They attempt to sell us more guns. We tell them why that is not the way we actually ensure public safety.

CABRERA: Did you feel they were open to listening to you?

DEITSCH: At first, they weren't because they spouted hateful things at our people coming to attend our events. We decided to try to engage them, talk about why they had so much hate. These groups are full of people who are racist, white supremacists, misogynistic. Come from a place of heavy ignorance. A lot of it is misinformation, misguided. Through education,

CABRERA: Did you have any eye-opening moments or as you've been traveling and talking to different groups, are you learning more about the other side of the gun debate and their point of view?

DEITSCH: Here's the thing about the other side of the gun debate. A lot of the talking points are incredibly misguided, and we have to live in reality. We have to live in the country and what is happening right now. And what is happening right now is people are dying. 96 people die every day from gun violence. A lot of those are suicides and red flag laws, universal background checks can help save those lives, too. We tell you exactly how to come together and help save lives and so when we have the conversations, telling us arming teachers is the right way to solve the problem, that's giving up. That's saying there's no way to keep a bad person from coming into the schools and kill children. We say, no, this is not normal. We can stop this from happening if we talk about the policy that is will work.

CABRERA: Matt, thank you very much for your time.

DEITSCH: Thank you so much for having me.

CABRERA: Coming up -- sorry, Matt. We didn't mean to cut you off. How a comedian duped Sarah Palin into an interview and how she is responding to it.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Sarah Palin accusing, quote, evil Sacha Baron Cohen as duping her. He's promoting a Showtime series of "Who Is America" with a classic go-to interview technique getting famous people to do and say silly things. Let's talk it over with Brian Stelter. Sarah Palin, furious, calling Cohen truly sick and exploitive. What went down?

BRIAN STELTER: She said that she was duped by this production crew because Cohen, the famous comedian, portraying a disabled veteran with a wheelchair and asking for an interview with Palin. She said she agreed to the interview under that impression, under that idea and then it turned out to be this comedian. We know very little about the show that Cohen is working on. It is a secret an announced a few days ago by the showtime network and it's a seven-part series so apparently Palin is one of the episodes, but the show is such a secret, showtime won't confirm she is a part of it. We don't know if it will air or not. My bet is that it will air and somehow, he'll have an excuse or defense why he was being to disguise himself as a vet to get the interview.

CABRERA: Do we know when she realized this was a trick?

STELTER: Some point in the interview, she came out and shared this in the past day or so to try to make a point to try to explain that this is how she was set up and that Sacha Baron Cohen and the network to donate money to charity, turn it into a positive and make donations to a charity. I have asked Showtime for comment about this. They won't say a word or admit that Palin is part of the series. I suspect that when the show starts to air this Sunday we'll start to hear from him about why he did it. After all, Palin's not the only person he apparently duped.

Dick Cheney in the promo for the first episode. We can show you part of the video of the promo. You see a few seconds of Cheney and the former vice president at one point signing a waterboard kit and hear the joke there. It seems like Dick Cheney went away with it. We don't know how he was duped or if he was duped. We don't know what the background was and according to Matt Drudge the famous blogger, it's not just Palin, it's not just Cheney, it's also Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders, Alberto Gonzales. People on both sides of the aisle that have been in one way or another -- I don't want to say victims because we don't know yet. But they have been sitting down with Sasha Baron Cohen.

[16:00:00] CABRERA: Obviously his whole schtick to be outrageous and spark controversy and him dressing up as a disabled veteran, people could say he's making fun of a disabled veteran.

STELTER: I think he's going to have a lot to explain, perhaps a lot to defend and because right now the network's going off of this idea that all good press is good press and just staying totally secretive and they are not defending it and they are not explaining it. But the head of Showtime did say in a statement the other day without confirming that Palin was involved, he said behind the elaborate set- up is a genuine quest for the truth about people, places and politics.

Maybe Cohen has a big point to make. Maybe is going to make that point through this seven-episode series. But for now, we don't know. In fact, there's a secret screening of the series tonight in New York and in order to attend, you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. So, you can't even admit that you were at the screening ahead of time. That's how secretive Showtime is making this.

CABRERA: Interesting.

STELTER: We'll see on Sunday when it airs to the public what it is like. CABRERA: I'm curious.

STELTER: At least. Exactly.

CABRERA: Thank you so much.

STELTER: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you for joining me. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.