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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Trump OK with Court Justice Delay; China Responds With 60 Billion in Tariffs in Response to Trump's 200 Billion; Poland Wants Trump to Build A Military Base There; Pussy Riot Member in Stable Condition in Berlin Hospital. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 18, 2018 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Hala Gorani. This hour, we are waiting the hear from the U.S. President Donald Trump.

You're looking at a live shot of the East Room in the White House right now. Mr. Trump will be holding a joint press conference with his Polish

counterpart. That's expected shortly. We'll bring you that live. A short time ago as he was, by the way, in the Oval Office hosting the Polish

President, he answered a few questions. He talked about Brett Kavanaugh his embattled Supreme Court nominee and those allegations of physical and

sexual assault against him. President Trump is again blaming Democrats for the turmoil surrounding the nomination. This is what he had to say about

Kavanaugh. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a terrible thing that took place and it's frankly a terrible thing that this information

wasn't given to us a long time ago. Months ago, when they got it. They could have done that instead of waiting until everything was finished and

then awful spring it. That's what the Democrats do. Obstruct, resist. With all of that being said, it is a process and we all feel speaking for

all of the Republicans we feel we want go through the process and give everybody a chance to say what they have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: And that was Donald Trump just minutes ago at the White House about the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Now, the allegations against

Judge Kavanaugh to derail the nomination to the highest court in the United States and could set up an extraordinary showdown on Capitol Hill.

Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford have both been invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday but Republican

senate leaders say Ford has not yet responded to the invitation. They contacted her a few times and hasn't heard back. This comes as President

Trump slapped more huge tariffs on China and Beijing has now struck back. More on that shortly. Let's get the latest from the White House. Our

Sarah Westwood is standing by live. So, let's talk first what the President has said about Brett Kavanaugh. Still supporting, of course, his

nomination but saying he's happy for the process to play itself out.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Hala. President Trump is doubling down on his support of Brett Kavanaugh despite

acknowledging today he hasn't spoken with him nominee since the allegations were made public. He said he did that intentionally knowing he would face

questions of his contacts with Kavanaugh and said he doesn't believe the FBI should investigate the claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh and

hopes that the delay he is OK with, though, will be minimal and still wants to see Kavanaugh seated on the Supreme Court bench. Of course, as you

mentioned, Christine Ford has not yet responded to that invitation from the Senate Judiciary Committee and there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding

whether those hearings will take place. Republicans are saying that here Ford is given the opportunity. She says she wants to tell her side of the

story. Democrats, however, are arguing that there's not been enough time given for a thorough investigation to be conducted before she goes before

that committee so still unclear when or even if the Kavanaugh confirmation vote will happen.

GORANI: Brett Kavanaugh was seen entering the White House yesterday and today. Do we know what he's doing there since he hasn't met with the

President himself?

WESTWOOD: Hala, sources tell CNN that Kavanaugh came to the White House yesterday to prepare for potential interviews or hearings. He's been

making calls to senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the White House tries the plot a path forward. There's no certainty because with one

side of the equation locked in right now Republicans and Democrats are just not sure whether they will be able to get Christine ford's story into the

record before taking that confirmation vote with Kavanaugh Republicans want to see that happen next week. Democrats as they have all along criticizing

the pace of the process.

GORANI: All right. Initially that vote was expected for Thursday. That's delayed. We'll see if Ford responds to that invitation for Monday. Thanks

very much, Sarah Westwood. We will have more on that in a moment and take you live to the White House once President Trump makes his appearance at

the news conference with the Polish counterpart. I want to talk about the escalating trade war between China and the United States. By the way, what

I have here, a prop for you. This is a list, the tariff list imposed against China. It is as thick as a phone book.

[14:05:00] This is how many products. Everything from frog legs to meat of swine to live eels and the list goes on and on. Artificial waxes. Beijing

is hitting back after President Trump unleashed the biggest waves of tariffs against it. Let's bring in Christina tracking developments in New

York. OK. Let's first talk about the impact of the tariffs because there's a very long list of them.

CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: There is a very long list of them and the consumer here in the U.S. will likely feel it. One of the

business groups yesterday says that this amounts to a tax on the U.S. consumer. But in all the back and forth between China and the United

States, the bigger picture is being lost here, Hala, because the bigger picture is the administration here promised the American consumer and

American companies a better trade deal, a better economic deal with China and so far, that hasn't happened. In fact, the strategy of escalating with

China has only amounted in retaliation from China which we saw this morning. They retaliated by saying that China would impose tariffs on $60

billion of U.S. goods. It is not the same amount, not a $200 billion number but the fact is the Chinese do not seem at this juncture, that could

change over the next couple of hours, ready to come to the table and talk about some of the issues, the systemic issues, the real issues the United

States wants China to address.

GORANI: Whose economy does this hurt more?

ALESCI: That's an excellent question. Probably in the short term we've been seeing it hurt the Chinese economy but in the long term it will slow

down global growth and you hear many CEOs saying this is not good for business. We don't know what to do in terms of investment capital. Do we

keep it? Do we keep it dry or do we go ahead and make investments? As the global supply chain is changing. So, there's a lot of risk for business,

U.S. business, with this uncertainty and that may dampen economic growth at a time when that's been a positive story for the administration, a positive

story for Republicans heading into the midterms.

GORANI: Right. Christina, thanks very much. Trade wars usually end up hurting everybody if they drag on for too long. Trade will be one of the

topics that the two Presidents, the Polish President and Donald Trump, will discuss. They will be holding that news conference scheduled for a few

minutes from now. Let's get more on what to expect from the senior political analyst David Gergen in New York and Steven Collinson in

Washington. David, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, what did you make of what Donald Trump has said? Because he didn't tweet about it. Usually

going to the Twitter page and know what he is thinking. More measured saying he's happy for the process and delay to play out. What is your

impression?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: For Donald Trump, remarkably restrained, of course. I think, Hala, at the question at the moment is, is

Professor Ford going to testify or not? It's rather strange, frankly, we haven't heard from her team suggesting possibly she is having cold feet,

second thoughts under a barrage of criticism and nothing compared to what will happen walking in that room on Monday morning. With all the

television cameras and everything else. But the other possibility is she's plotting strategy because there are many Democrats and who believe that

before there actually is testimony there should be an FBI investigation. That's what the FBI does in part, checks out the backgrounds of nominees

for high post in American government and the Democrats want do go deep and have the FBI talk too a variety of players to find out whether, in fact,

Judge Kavanaugh is done a terrible disservice or whether, in fact, there's credible evidence to support Professor Ford but we can't do anything until

we know whether she is going to testify. In the meantime, the President has made it pretty clear today, in fact, surprisingly clear, that the FBI's

not going to do such a background investigation. He doesn't want them to. They don't want to. Strange this President often orders the justice

department to do things that seem unorthodox but on this one, remarkable restraint. Wonder why. But, you know, that's --

GORANI: David, what's your guess as to why he's restrained this time?

GERGEN: I'm sorry?

[14:10:00] GORANI: Why do you think he's showing restraint this time around on this particular topic?

GERGEN: Oh, I think he is showing restraint because he's under pressure from his own inside group to stay off Twitter and not get in the middle of

this because there is such a possibility, there's such a risk that if he comes out as he often does and attacks the accuser it will enflame the

anti-Trump sentiment and on the midterms they'll come pouring out and he because there is such a possibility, there's such a risk that if he comes

out as he often does and attacks the accuser it will enflame the anti-Trump sentiment and on the midterms they'll come pouring out and he could lose

the house and possibly the senate if there's more of -- if we wind up this process thinking this woman is terribly maligned and steamrollered by the

Republicans and that Kavanaugh goes in to the Supreme Court with a cloud and then we have two different justices on the conservative side, Clarence

Thomas and Judge Kavanaugh who are going to be deciding the abortion issue in this country, there's intense amount of opposition coming in from women

and frankly a lot of men.

GORANI: Steven Collinson, the confirmation of Kavanaugh seemed like a slam dunk a few days ago. What are you hearing about his chances?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think if the hearing takes place and Judge Kavanaugh comes across as a credible witness, there are

reasons for Republicans to continue to vote for him. The key question is, what will, for example, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake do? He is leaving the

senate after the next election. He has said that right now he wouldn't be willing to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh without hearing from his accuser

Christine Ford. There are also two other female senators who have been looked at as a possible defections among the Republican ranks because of

their views on abortion. Judge Kavanaugh expected if the case were to come before him to overturn the right to an abortion. That's Susan Collins of

Maine And Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. I think also this drama is also perhaps offering an out to Democratic senators who are running for re-

election in states where Donald Trump won comfortably in the 2016 election who are under pressure from their conservative voters to vote to confirm

Kavanaugh. This whole sort of drama about what allegedly went on 36 years ago may give them some excuse to line up with the Democratic peers but it's

very, very unclear right now how this is going to unfold and the crucial issue is whether Christine Ford does actually show up and testify in public

and also in the last few minutes given the option by Republicans to testify in private. If she wants to.

GORANI: And I wonder, David, if you were advising Trump on this, what would you tell him to do? Because would the Republicans have time to come

up with another nominee, vet that nominee, hold hearings and confirm him or her?

GERGEN: Extraordinarily unlikely they could do it in such a limited period of time. If I were advising the President now, my advice would be

extraordinarily important that she be treated fairly and it's obviously important to you that Kavanaugh be treated fairly and you're best off

finding a course that convinces the public that it's all been done by the books, there's been no railroading, no pressure. People are respectful of

the fact that women in this country have often been battered and abused and the cases brushed aside and this has to stop. And I think it's going to --

there's enormous pressure now coming from the hinterlands in this country to make sure she's treated fairly and the Judge, too. I think that

requires an FBI investigation to be completed and doesn't take much time. To be completed before they have the hearing.

GORANI: And this has echoes of, Steven, Anita Hill testimony in 1991.

COLLINS: Yes.

GORANI: This is a different era, right, because this is the me-too era. And what Anita Hill was alleging against Clarence Thomas today you could

argue potentially caused a bigger problem for him during his confirmation hearings. So, it's a completely different -- yes -- time.

[14:14:00] GERGEN: Hala, the context changed enormously. There's much more sensitivity now to bringing down -- these allegations of very

prominent, powerful men, person after person has fallen. Even from within the senate itself. But it's also worth pointing out, if there is a hearing

on the Republican side the majority side in that committee there are 11 members. They're all white men. The Democratic side there are ten members

in the judiciary committee. Four of them are women. So, you have a -- you have that dynamic at play, as well.

GORANI: Steven, quick last question to you on what we're expecting at the White House. The President is hosting the Polish President. They have a

lot of ideological overlap. He visited Poland. Hundreds of thousands of supporters greeted him in Poland although some were bussed in from other

parts of the country. What is he hoping? What is the President hoping to get out of this?

COLLINS: I think it was interesting that the President in his photo-op in the oval office this morning rather said that Poland was a brave country

and rather characteristically seemed to be favorable towards Poland because he got such a warm reception when he gave his big speech about Europe there

last year. In terms of what we can expect to see in this press conference, I guess from the Polish side he's going to get some questions about NATO,

possibly U.S. policy and his own policy towards Russia and Vladimir Putin and clearly a very sensitive issue in Poland. It's interesting to see who

the White House chooses to ask questions in this forum because they may want to avoid further discussion of the Judge Kavanaugh issue and they may

choose some conservative journalists. I think perhaps would expect to see something about the tariffs which you mentioned earlier on China. That's

something that the President does want to talk about but if it's a sort of mainstream journalistic outlet I guess we hear another question about

Kavanaugh and although the President perhaps went as far as he wants to go on that issue and calibrated remarks in the oval office which we were just

talking about.

GORANI: Yes. Whenever foreign leaders visit the White House and expect the questions to have absolutely nothing to do with their country. When it

comes to American reporters. Thank you very much, David and Steven. As we were telling our viewers there, we are expecting the news conference to

start any minute. Now, poll and was the first country that President Trump visited. The country's former foreign minister joins me and Nic Robertson

is here, as well. Hello. So, sir, first of all, the Polish President is probably very happy to visit Washington, happy to invite Donald Trump to

Poland where Donald Trump didn't bring up anything of the judicial purges going on that have drawn the ire of EU and talked about the threat of

Islamic terrorism and big bureaucracy. What is Poland hoping to get out of this do you think?

RADOSLAW SIKORSKI, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER, POLAND: Well, first of all, remember that in Poland the President is not the head of government. So,

the Polish President is mainly concerned with foreign and security policy. And here, of course, the United States is Poland's most important ally.

And most important supplier of modern military equipment, as well. We used to have a common agenda in spreading democracy when Poland was seen as a

huge success in transforming from communism to democracy and free market but I'm afraid both countries are in trouble on that score so that's not --

no longer an important Polish American agenda which I regret very much.

GORANI: But what's the Polish-American agenda now in your opinion?

SIKORSKI: I think security issues. Poland, governments and the one I worked for, have encouraged the United States to beef up its security

guarantees under nature to Poland with actual military presence by signing the agreement to establish the missile defense base in Poland which is

slowly being built. First American soldiers showed up in Poland in 2014. But they're on a rotational basis. And President Duda would like to pin

down the United States to what we all wanted to do, which is to encourage the U.S. to establish a permanent base. And quite right, too. I think

there is a strong case for that.

[14:20:00] GORANI: In fact, I just want our viewers to listen to what President Duda said in the oval office. Just a -- I should say President

Trump reacting to something President Duda said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Security, Poland, to me, almost as important as it is to this man. I can't say as --

ANDRZEJ DUDA, PRESIDENT OF POLAND: Please. As important. We'll build Fort Trump in Poland today, Mr. President.

TRUMP: It is very important to me. Special country. Brave country. I think one of my best moments was making that speech in Poland. People

liked me and I liked them. They're very, very exceptional people. The security of Poland is very important to me and very important to our

country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Nic Robertson, this one to you. It's interesting now the U.S. President remembers really crowd sizes and whether people liked him and he

mentioned that again. So, what the President of Poland wants is a closer security cooperation because of the concern, concern that they have with

regards to Russia.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: So that translates into President Trump's commitment to NATO. The United States committed

those troops. We just heard the former foreign minister there mentioning that. This was about 800 troops, NATO troops, with a U.S. base command and

control center there that would encompass the NATO commitments and the Baltic states, as well. On the ground that is solid. The President will

want to make sure, the President of Poland wants to make sure that everything President Trump said about the concerns of NATO, the countries

not paying the way, we have to see what they do, is going to be focused on what commitment does he get from President Trump that that's just rhetoric

and bluster? Likely to hear President Trump say again how he's done so well at NATO increase their defense spending of all the countries that are

part of NATO. This is something he does like to mention. So, we may hear him say that in that kind of context. But there's no doubt and just read

President Trump's speech there in Warsaw last year, there's no doubt there were many gaps and pauses where he waited for applause and the crowd

shouting Donald Trump, Donald Trump. As you mentioned, many were bussed in from the countryside, the rural communities support the government.

GORANI: Sir, the U.S. President didn't mention at all what the EU is troubled with when it comes to Poland and I realize this is -- it is not

the head of government but coming to Poland doing with the judiciary. Was that seen as a green light in Poland to go further?

SIKORSKI: On the other hand, the President Trump administration did intervene when there was the appearance of a threat to an independent

privately-owned U.S. owned Polish TV station. But in that sense, you know, both countries are no longer paragons of democracy and both Presidents are

in trouble. There's talk of impeachment in Washington and equally talk of consequences for breaching the constitution by the President in Poland. In

that sense, neither of them is a moral authority to the other.

GORANI: Mr. Sikorski, thank you. Nic Robertson, we'll stay in contact with you as we continue to wait for the news conference to start. This is

the live image from the White House. The podiums are ready. The reporters are in place. The two leaders should be making their way to the podium any

minute now. We'll bring you that live. We'll have more news after the break. Stay with us.

[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: To a story that's played out in a way some might have considered unimaginable. The leaders of north and South Korea shaking hands, clinking

wine glasses or as you can see here waving from the balcony of a theater in Pyongyang. It was on the first day of their summit in the North Korean

capital and both sides recognize there's huge obstacles, they at least put on a unified front for the cameras. Paula Hancocks has our story.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a flight that takes just over an hour. But one of South Korean President has not made for 11

years. Moon Jae-in received a warm welcome from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the third time they have met, the first time the first ladies

accompanied from the start. A North Korean military guard replicated what greeted him on the south side of the DMZ. They know the power of a good

image and this was one of them. Driving through the streets of Pyongyang, Mr. Moon barely stopped waving. Thousands of residents lining the streets

chanting unification as they had likely been told to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(through translator): It's an enthusiastic welcome. And our citizens are hoping for a greater result at a faster rate like the results we achieved

this year.

(through translator): Because this spring has led to autumn in Pyongyang we need to reach a good outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANCOCKS: But the smiles and hugs were accompanied by an article saying the U.S. is totally to blame for the deadlocked negotiations stubbornly

insisting on disarmament first, other issues first. A reminder to President Moon that chief negotiator of Washington and Pyongyang, the two

positions are far apart although the article was careful to blame conservative politicians for, quote, gangster logic and not Trump himself.

Three days of pomp and ceremony, meetings, dinners, concerts between two leaders who appear to have built a rapport. Kim Jong-un said after three

meetings me and President Moon have become really close and he said also thanks to Moon that the U.S./North Korean relations are improving. Warm

words for the leaders, side visits of the first ladies, we have to wait and see if it's accompanied by agreements or concessions. Paula Hancocks, CNN,

Seoul.

GORANI: German doctors say there is a high probability that a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot was poisoned. The doctors treating

Pyotr Verzilov say an undetermined external substance affected the nervous system and some good news and that is that his life is no longer in danger.

Atika Schubert spoke with Pyotr's loved ones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the latest images of Pyotr in a Berlin hospital, awake but confused, whatever attacked the nervous system

clouding his brain. Cared for by the women closest to him.

VERONIKA NIKOLSHINA, VERZILOV'S PARTNER: You know, right now, he's not in that condition.

SCHUBERT: Not at all?

NIKOLSHINA: Not at all. He is not -- he just a few days understand that he's in hospital and then he probably is poisoned but he said poisoned by

food or did he eat something bad? So, he doesn't want to go in there right now.

SCHUBERT: So, he's still sort of in a very intensive care? He's still in and out and not fully aware of what happened?

NIKOLSHINA: Exactly, Yes. In all we didn't explain him. What happened. Because he just study how to do simple things. What we teach now is from -

- like for the child. Teach him as a child.

SCHUBERT: Reporter: He has been a thorn in the Russian government's side for years staging protests with punk band pussy riot, critical of the Putin

government calling for political prisoners to be released. This summer charging the pitch at the world cup final dressed as police officers with

girlfriend and fellow political activist veronica, a stunt that landed both in jail. It was at his court hearing that she believes he may have been

exposed to poison losing his sight and then his ability to walk. After in a Moscow hospital, the family scrambled to fly him to Berlin. Specialists

of Berlin's hospital say it is with high plausibility that he was poisoned but have yet to identify the source. Russia's foreign ministry made no

comment on the suspected poisoning referring to Russian law enforcement and so far, not responded to CNN requests. His family and friends spoke to

reporters after the doctors' announcement. For his wife, Nadia, founding member of Pussy Riot there is no question what happened. They say he was

poisoned.

NADEZHDA TOLOKONNIKOVA, CO-FOUNDER, PUSSY RIOT: It will be really dangerous for him to go back because probably it was an assassination

attempt, and if not, it was intimidation. Because probably he knew something that he wasn't supposed to know and we have a suspicion what

could it be but we cannot talk about it without Pyotr's consent.

SHUBERT: She was due to play at the Chicago Riot Fest, when she found out about the poisoning, she performed with a banner that read, "We will those

who poisoned Pyotr Verzilov.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: We want to make an investigation and we -- yes, we want to punish those who poisoned Pyotr. That's why -- partly, that's why he's in

Berlin because, here, we have a chance to have really independent investigation.

SHUBERT: Both Nikulshina and Tolokonnikova believe they, too, may be in danger if they return to Moscow. But for now, they are focused on his

recovery. Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: So we are still waiting for President Donald Trump and President Andrzej Duda of Poland to make -- to walk to the

podiums there. There's a joint news conference that was scheduled for about 20 minutes ago.

It appears as though there's some activity there. And people are holding up their cellphones taking photos and video of the two leaders.

Let's listen in. This is happening at the White House. This is after a meeting between the two men.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I'm very honored to host the president of Poland, friend of mine, President Duda. And Mrs.

Duda. Thank you very much for being here. Great honor. It's lovely to have you at the White House. We spent some time in the oval office. And

we accomplished a lot.

Melania and I are deeply grateful for the incredible welcome the president and Mrs. Duda gave us in Warsaw, Poland, last year. It was a very

exceptional day. Extraordinary. It's wonderful to have them both with us in Washington today. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

During my visit last summer, I had the privilege to stand before the monument to Warsaw uprising and address the people of Poland about our

shared commitment to defending our heritage and our civilization. It was an experience I will always treasure and I will never, ever forget.

Not far from where we stand today, another monument in another square, the statue of General Kosciuszko in Lafayette Park reminds us that the bonds

between our people go all the way back to America's revolutionary war.

This year, the United States and Poland are celebrating 100 years of Poland regaining its independence and nearly 100 years of U.S./Polish diplomatic

ties. It's a long time. I'm thrilled to say that the alliance between our nations has never been stronger. With you and I at the helm. Do you agree

with at? Thank you, Mr. President. Glad he said, yes.

ANDRZEJ DUDA, PRESIDENT OF POLAND: Yes.

TRUMP: In our discussions, this afternoon, President Duda and I agreed to bolster our robust defense ties. We will enhance cooperation in military

relations, intelligence, missile defense, technology, and training. I'm proud to report that Poland has recently purchased a state of the art

patriot missile system. It's a great system. We make the greatest military equipment, by far, anywhere in the world. And it's made right

here in the USA.

We are grateful for Poland's leadership on defense spending and burden sharing in NATO. I want to commend Poland for meeting its NATO defense

spending obligations and I'm glad that it plans to increase spending beyond the two percent minimum obligation. Thank you very much for that.

I'd like to share my gratitude to the people of Poland for their contributions to NATO's resolute support mission in Afghanistan and the

coalition to defeat ISIS. We've made tremendous progress with respect to the defeat of ISIS. As you've seen.

We also understand that you can't have national security without border security, both Poland and the United States understand that strong nations

must have very strong borders. The president and I, likewise, are exploring opportunities to advance energy security.

The United States and Poland are deeply committed to energy diversity all across Europe. No nation should be dependent upon a single foreign

supplier of energy. Poland has worked tirelessly to increase energy independence nationally and across Central Europe. It is constructing a

new pipeline, a highest technology, from Norway to Poland and it recently built a liquefied natural gas import facility.

[14:35:18] Last year, the United States was proud to send its first export of LNG to Poland. And soon, our nations will launch a high-level

diplomatic exchange on energy security. And Mr. President, we are now, as of a few months ago, the largest producer of energy in the world. So that

was -- that's a big statement.

President Duda, I also just want to talk to you about the CCC Summit where Central European leaders were working hard to increase energy market

access, reduce energy trade barriers, which is something we have to get done with respect to the European Union. The trade barriers. They make it

very difficult for the United States. And to strengthen energy independence. The United States firmly supports these goals and we are

eager to expand commercial ties all across the region of Europe.

In our meeting today, the president and I discussed our bilateral economic relationship at length. Poland has experienced more than a quarter of

century of uninterrupted economic growth which is a very big statement. Very few can say that. And we look forward to further enhancing trade,

investment, and commerce between our two great nations.

My administration is committed to realizing a future of prosperity and opportunity for all Americans. This month, we celebrated the highest

employment level in U.S history. We are right now employing more people. We have more workers in the United States than at any time ever in U.S.

history. I look forward to partnering with President Duda as we grow our economies together.

Mr. President, thank you for joining me today. Poland has chosen its place among the free and independent nations of the world and as a loyal ally and

strategic partner of the United States and we greatly appreciate that. We welcome the next 100 years of friendship between our two nations. Mr.

President, thank you very much. Thank you.

DUDA (through translator): Your Excellency, distinguished Mr. President, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted that in this year so

important to Poland, the year of Poland regaining its independence. We celebrate our 100th anniversary of it. I'm able to be hosted here, that

I'm at the state of the president of the United States at the White House at Washington.

And also, from this perspective, from the perspective of the centennial, Poland regaining of independence. This fact is a huge importance for

Poles, both those living in Poland and those living abroad, especially the 10 million Poles living in the United States. This is a huge symbolic

importance.

One reason for that is that the matter of Polish independence was one of the important points of the policy of U.S. President Wilson. It was

precisely President Wilson before 1918. He was the one who put Polish independence on his agenda, on the agenda of his policy. That happened

amongst others. Thanks to a great polish composition -- a composer and a musician, Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

That it is a fact that Poles experience back then a lot of good from the United States and from the president of the United States. Because there

are no other words to describe the fact that that great state indicated to Poland and defined Poland as the country who should be reinstated back on

the map of Europe and on the map of the world and it was reinstated on the map 100 years ago in 1918.

And I'm absolutely delighted that today as polish president, I can be here at Washington, sit at the same table with the president of the United

States and sign an agreement which is deepening our strategic partnership and renewing that strategic partnership.

I'm talking here about the agreement on the strategy partnership agreement was signed in 2008 between our two countries and then it was signed by the

ministers of foreign affairs. And today, this renewed version, the version which has been updated because a lot changed over the 10 years.

[14:40:05] This renewed version of the strategic partnership was signed personally by myself and President Donald Trump and I would like to express

my deep gratitude to you, Mr. President, for that fact.

This agreement indicates the most important aspects of our cooperation and our friendship. It also set new paths for the future -- tightening our

defense cooperation, tightening our cooperation in the area of security and energy business. Tightening our cooperation in the broadly understood

sphere of the business.

Also, in the aspect of the already mentioned cooperation as part of CCC initiative to which Mr. President has just alluded. I came here to

Washington right from the summit of the CCC Initiative, the first business forum organized as part of the CCC initiative. The United States was

present there as the part of the CCC. And thank you, Mr. President, for that. Thank you for posting your representative for that meeting.

And all the leaders who held their speeches there, said in a very clear way about the need and hope for cooperation with the United States of America,

regarding the renewal and building of a new infrastructure, road infrastructure, railroad infrastructure, energy infrastructure, both

concerning electricity and the transmission of gas in Central Europe along the north-south axis. Referring here to the area between the Baltic States

through Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, all the way down to the Black Sea. And then through Croatia and Slovenia

to the Adriatic Sea.

This is the space in which we want to cooperate. This is the space in which we want to develop. Our cooperation with the United States is keen

part of the respect. Also, as far as providing energy security is concerned. Today, we talked at length about this with Mr. President. We

also discussed threats to energy security in Europe. To the possible diversification of supplies.

Without any doubt, such a huge, biggest threat right now is posed by the construction of Nord Stream II gas pipeline. We discussed at length about

this with Mr. President. I presented him the situation as it is. Unfortunately, we have to be clear and say that both from the German side

and from the Russian side, this construction has already been started. There's still some formalities going on connected with that laying of the

pipes at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

However this investment, without any doubt, threatens energy stability of Europe. And without any doubt, it also threatens Polish energy security.

Because it is a threat, there' is a threat of Russian energy domination, especially Russia mentioned that it's going to build more pipelines, Nord

Stream III, Nord Stream IV. This threat of absolute Russian domination in Europe in terms of gas deliveries is obvious.

What are the results of such a domination, ladies and gentlemen? We were able to see that ourselves a couple of years ago in Ukraine. Sudden

interruption of supplies. Of course, it had nothing to do with economic factors. It was connected only and exclusively with the political

blackmail. It was a fact. And it is obvious that today, we are making efforts and we are going to go to any lengths to protect ourselves from

that.

That's why we decided to construct an LNG terminal. That is why we also decided to receive the LNG gas from the United States. I'm really glad

that we have concluded such contracts. I'm glad that American companies are right now delivering LNG to Poland. And this precisely is a very

important element of diversification of gas supplies to our country.

And I firmly believe, thanks to the LNG gas terminal, thanks to expanding its capacities as far as the annual quantities of gas are concerned. We

are not only going to realize and safeguard our own energy needs, but I also hope that we'll be able to transmit gas further to our neighbors.

Through the development of the CCC initiative area, through the construction of interconnectors. These issues were all raised by us today

during our talks with Mr. President.

And last but not least, opening up to business would like to invite American business to Poland. There are better and better investment and

possibilities. Poland is experiencing a very dynamic growth. Of course, there are companies from the United States which have been present in the

Polish market for many, many years like General Electric which right now is implementing a huge investment concerning energy sector in the Poland

Conventional energy such as construction of the (INAUDIBLE) plan. That is a huge contract amounting to almost $2 billion.

These are the huge projects which are all being realized in Poland. But we want you to invite to Poland all business people, those who have got huge

economic projects here and who have got huge possibilities of investment. But we would also like to invite a smaller ones.

[14:45:10] Poland is a big European country. I believe it is an interesting partner where the United States and the U.S. business is very

much welcome and I want to assure you, ladies and gentlemen, about that. There is also a perspective of developing the activity through Poland to

include the CCC countries and this is something that we have been working on as a part of the CCC initiative.

We want to ensure also the communication possibilities and we also want to increase the opportunities for economic cooperation. We want also business

partners from the U.S. to join our projects. There are going to be a lot of communication, traffic related investments in every part of Europe -- by

American businesses to come. Because I believe that this opens up an opportunity for making joint business.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is connected, of course, with the issue of military security. I'm hugely delighted with the presence of U.S. armed

forces and the polish territory. I'm deeply satisfied with the decisions that were taken by Warsaw NATO summit in 2016 where the presence of the

military forces of NATO in Poland was guaranteed.

I'm also happy that we have in Poland American soldiers as part of our bilateral agreements. But I would like to invite the Mr. President to post

more American troops to Poland. We believe that the presence of the United States is a guarantor of security in our part of Europe. We ourselves want

to invest further. We want to modernize Polish armed forces.

Mr. President Trump mentioned the so-called V-Swat (ph) air defense system that includes the purchase of patriot missiles. We are implementing the

largest military investments, so far, as far as the Polish armed forces are concerned over the last 30 years. We want to implement more projects. We

want to buy more equipment. We also want to cooperate in the area of research and development as regards to military technology.

And I'm convinced that this cooperation between Poland and the United States will go on smoothly. I hope that Mr. President will make a decision

to deploy to Poland more U.S. units together with equipment.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was smiling when talking to Mr. President. I said that I would very much like for us to set up a permanent American base in

Poland which we would call Fort Trump and I firmly believe that this is possible. I am convinced that such a decision lies both in the Polish

interest as well as in the interest of the United States.

Poland is an attractive country. And first and foremost, it's got a very important strategic location in Europe. And I'm convinced that for the

interest of the United States, also, pertaining to the security of the United States itself, the presence of the U.S. armed forces in our country

is important also to protect American interests.

Mr. President, once again, thank you very much for this meeting. Thank you once again for this joint declaration that we're able to sign today. Thank

you for also adding this to the centennial of Poland regaining its independence and also to the 10th anniversary of our strategic partnership.

TRUMP: Thank you. A tremendous amount of LNG will be exported to Poland. We're giving them a pretty good price, but they're buying a lot of it and

that's going to be great.

I do want to say that while we're together, tremendous effort and bravery is being shown in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the area

that was so horribly hit by Hurricane Florence. I just got some clips of some of the things that the coast guard is doing and getting people to

safety and horrible, horrible conditions.

And I want to just salute all of the people that are working so hard. The first responders, law enforcement, the military, FEMA, the job they're

doing is incredible. It's incredible. So I just want to thank them very much.

And I think what we'll do is we'll take our first question from Emerald Robinson of One America News. Emerald?

EMERALD ROBINSON, ONE AMERICA NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. So, news today of a plane, a Russian plane shot down over

Syria. Russia is assigning the blame to Israel. Even though it was accidentally shot down by Syrian forces. Clearly, things are heating up.

There's concerns by many Americans, most Americans, that we might be involved in a war in Syria soon. You had hoped to bring troops home. But

clearly, things are changing.

What do you tell American people today about a possibility of war in Syria?

[14:50:09] TRUMP: Well, I just heard about the incident you have mentioned, Emerald. And it sounds to me and it seems to me just like based

on a review of the facts that Syria shot down a Russian plane. And I understand about 14 people were killed. At least. And that's a very sad

thing. But that's what happens.

But Syria, according to early reports, that's subject to change but Syria shot down a Russian lane. So that's not a good situation. We have done a

tremendous job in Syria and in that region eradicating ISIS which is why we're there. And we're very close to being finished with that job. And

then we're going to make a determination as to what we're going to do.

But we have eradicated ISIS in a very large area of the Middle East. These are people that will not be coming here because they're not around any

longer.

So we've done that in a very short period of time. Our vice president is here, Mike Pence. Our great secretary of state who really -- thank you

very much for the great job you're doing, Mike Pompeo. And we've been working very hard on this and they've done an incredible job over there.

But we'll make a decision fairly quickly. Thank you very much.

We do have a question for the president?

ROBINSON: Certainly. Thank you, President Duda. Clearly, you said you asked President Trump if he would consider a permanent base in Poland, and

of course, that also relates to Russia. What would you say -- or how did the president respond to your position to have a permanent base from

America in Poland? And then, also, do you currently have concerns over the U.S./Russia relationship?

DUDA (through translator): Well, of course, of course I told Mr. President about all the aspects connected with the permanent presence of the U.S.

armed forces in Poland. But first and foremost, I assured Mr. President of one thing. First and foremost, ladies and gentlemen, we cannot say that if

there are permanent bases of the U.S. armed forces in Poland, we will see a deterioration of security because that will lead to an increased Russian

activity and increased militarization of this part of Europe by Russia.

I want to say it clearly, ladies and gentlemen, very strongly militarization of -- for instance -- has taken place for more than 10 years

now. It is the reality that we live in today. As far as an aggressive Russian behavior is concerned, as far as increased military activity is

concerned, including increasing of the militarization of Russia has been conducting such activities in a systematic way and for the first time we're

able to see that in a materialized in Georgia.

In 2008, when the then president of Poland, President Lech Kaczynski, took other European leaders and they went to stop Russian tanks which were about

to attack the capital of Georgia. And from that moment, that military expansion has been developing. It's another leg was the attack on Ukraine.

And today, we can see an illegal annexation of Crimea.

Today, we are witnessing constant violation of international law in the (INAUDIBLE) so these are today political and the military facts of Europe

and the presence of the United States is only providing a guarantee of security and a possibility to defend. Because let me reiterate again, it

is only about the guarantee of security and defense of our part of Europe. That is a free world.

This is the most crucial issue right now from our perspective. From the perspective of Central and Eastern European countries and we are speaking

in one voice on this one generally.

That is why we wanted to ensure the presence of the United States armed forces and also we wanted to have the presence of NATO forces in our part

of Europe, as well. Of course, Mr. President and his staff, his advisers and also the Pentagon staff have come to consider all these issues, but

there is a whole range of arguments which are in favor of the fact that the presence of the U.S. armed forces in this area is absolutely justified,

justified today. That is due to the protection of the interests of the United States, as well.

So I'm absolutely convinced of this one. Because today, unfortunately, we are seeing international law being violated. Today, we are seeing

aggressive behaviors and I'm convinced that there is no more effective method of preventing a war than a decisive stance demonstrating that they

are ready any moment to repel a possible attack.

[14:55:05] And at present also means deterrence. At the same time, I'm convinced that when we have are -- when we have a strong military presence

in this part of Europe where there's a potential threat, then there will be no war happening ever.

TRUMP: And I think it should be pointed out that the president also said and he said it publicly that he would pay the United States, meaning Poland

would be paying billions of dollars for a base and we're looking at that more and more from the standpoint of defending really wealthy countries and

not being reimbursed, paid.

So one thing when we defend countries that can't defend themselves and they're great people and we should help them, we don't expect anything for

that. But when we're defending immensely wealthy countries and they're not paying for the defense to the United States, they're only taking advantage

of us and we are in discussions with numerous countries all of whom you know about payment. Payment. And we get along with them very well, but

it's not fair. That includes NATO.

As you know, I got $44 billion additional last year where they paid an additional. You can speak to Secretary General Stoltenberg who's the head

of NATO and he said he's never seen anything like it and this year that it would be even better.

But when a country is very wealthy and when the United States has been protecting them for many years at tremendous cost, cost like nobody in this

room would believe, it's time that they help with -- we call it burden sharing. They will do that. But the president offered us much more than

$2 billion to do this. And so we're looking at it. We're looking at it from the standpoint of, number one, military protection. For both

countries and also, cost.

A term you don't hear too often and you haven't heard too often over the last 25 years. But that's the way it has to be. Thank you very much.

Would you like to have a question, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Polish Press agency. I've got a question to President Trump. Do you share the conviction which we have

just heard a minute ago expressed by President Duda concerning that threat which is posed to the rich and not only to the rich by Russia? And do you

also share the view that permanent American bases in Poland are justified, not only due to the security of the countries in our region, but also, due

to the security of the United States?

TRUMP: I think it's a very aggressive situation. I think Russia has acted aggressively. They respect force, they respect strength, as anyone does.

And we have the greatest strength in the world. Especially now. We were being depleted under the last administration. We had planes that were old

and tired and didn't fly in some cases. They were getting used parts. This is the United States. It doesn't happen. We make the greatest planes

in the world and missiles in the world.

And have enhanced to put it mildly our military. It's literally being rebuilt as we speak with literally hundreds and hundreds of planes and

missiles and everything that you can imagine. They never had it so good because I got in Congress $700 billion this year. $716 billion last year.

That's far more than they ever anticipated.

I viewed it two ways. Number one, military, because it's always more important than anything else, including jobs. But number two is jobs. We

make everything here. So it's hundreds of thousands of jobs to make for us the best military in the world. And Russia respects that. They respect

that.

So, I am -- I am with the president. I feel that he's right. And I feel that, look, you look at the history of Poland and Russia. That's a long

and very complicated history. So certainly has a right to feel that way. Okay?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): A question to President Duda. After the meeting that you have had today at the White House, do you have

the feeling that the probability that polish expectations concerning president -- permanent American presence in our country are closer to being

implemented? Are they going to be a fact?

DUDA (though translator): Ladies and gentlemen, today, myself and Mr. President had a meeting, a private meeting and then we met also with our

staff.

END