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Trump Attends Official Welcome Ceremony; NYT: Facebook Executive Sandberg Asked Staff to Research George Soros; Cowboys Snap Saints' Winning Streak in Upset; Steph Curry Inspired by Girl who Wanted his Shoes. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 30, 2018 - 10:30   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: -- of these rooms with President Trump. They have no plans to meet as of right now, but there are a lot of questions about whether they might interact with each other. And if they do, will President Trump say anything about the murder of "The Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We already know that the White House has been reluctant to push back on Saudi Arabia over this issue. President Trump has justified it for -- based on the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, but again, a lot riding on this weekend. And it's all starting now. They're all sitting in this room.


PHILLIP: President Trump having a lot of opportunities to interact with folks here today, Poppy.

HARLOW: And we just saw the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who signed the USMCA, the new trade deal with Canada, Mexico and the United States. We just saw him there. Again, as you mentioned, Abby, making that comment, a direct message to President Trump to lift the steel and aluminum tariffs. When I interviewed Trudeau just a few weeks ago, I asked him, will you sign this trade agreement if those tariffs are still in place. Some see it as leverage if you don't? He said he would and they did this morning. All right, Abby, thank you.

Also new this morning, union leaders from the soon to be closed General Motors plant in Ohio attempting to make somewhat of a Hail Mary plea to the CEO of GM, who according to CNN affiliate, WFMJ, they hope to meet with Mary Barra in Detroit to talk about future plans for the plant. As of now, it is set to lose 1,500 nearly employees next March when it shutters.

Let's discuss with Ohio congressman Democrat Tim Ryan. Lordstown is in his district. Good morning.

REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Good morning.

HARLOW: You spoke with Mary Barra yesterday on the phone. Obviously, you're not pleased at all with what is happening. And you say she was receptive. That's your word. What does receptive mean for the nearly 1,500 people in your district who will be without work in March? RYAN: Well, let's be clear, there were no promises made or any kind of innuendos that something was going to happen. There's a union contract that's moving forward in the next few months. And that's going to have a lot to do with where the next products go.

But we were talking about the future. I mean, I don't want this plant to lay there idle. GM looks like they're making investments in the future cars and the future technologies. We want that future to be in Lordstown, Ohio. This has been a legacy plant since 1966. Our community is tied intricately with the General Motors plant there, and we want their future to be in Lordstown, Ohio.

HARLOW: Yes. I've spent a good amount of time there, talked to those workers, you know reported around that plant. I get it. It is the lifeblood of that community in many respects. You tweeted last night that a path forward for you, and for everyone in this, means working with the president. So that made me wonder if you are supportive of the president's threat to strip all subsidies from General Motors in the wake of this news.

RYAN: Yes, I don't think hurting General Motors is part of the path forward. I'm going to work with the president. I had a five-minute conversation the other day with the vice president. I have been playing phone tag with the incoming Republican governor in Ohio, Mike DeWine. We're all going to work together to make this happen.

But look, we need General Motors to be a successful company. We have thousands and thousands of people getting General Motors pensions in our community. So to hurt them, to potentially hurt their company, is foolish because now we're going to lose 1600 jobs and then we're going to damage and maybe bankrupt the pension. So we don't want to do that. We want to work with General Motors, as upset as we all are.

HARLOW: So, let's play this out, because as you know, the president of General Motors, Dan Ammann, said you know a matter of months ago, talked about the future in many respects being in you know, obviously, driverless cars, but also in driving services, right, that they can make multiples by selling rides versus selling cars. So if that's the future, and you have, you know, thousands of autoworkers in your district who are the best they can be at making cars but aren't necessarily trained on future technology on the computer systems that make -- that you would use in the future of driverless vehicles and also ride sharing services being dominant. What do you do about that? I mean, what is the role of government in helping these workers? Retraining, reskilling these workers so those jobs don't go to San Francisco, don't go somewhere else.

RYAN: Right, exactly. You hit the nail on the head. It's by having an intentional governmental policy which we don't have now and we haven't, both a governmental comprehensive industrial policy with our investments, our tax code, grants, our infrastructure, broadband, all of these things pushing in the same direction to make sure we're making and manufacturing things in the United States. Not just in auto but across the board. And then also having a robust and kind of a targeted training program that are modern. I mean our training programs aren't modern. [10:35:06] And so, we need to engage these workers and bring them through a training process. I also think we need wage insurance while they're going through that process so they're not taking a big hit. But we need to be innovating on the governmental side -

HARLOW: Right.

RYAN: -- to be able to create the public/private partnerships.

HARLOW: You could also argue there's a real onus on the corporate side to do it themselves. I mean big telecom companies have retrained their workers realizing that the future was different, right? I mean there's an onus too on the private sector.

Before you go, I got to ask you about Nancy Pelosi and the future of the leadership.


HARLOW: You're the one who ran against her in 2016 and got 63 votes on that. Your fellow member of Congress Kathleen Rice says you and she and other members of Congress were in a meeting with Pelosi on Wednesday and that you brought up to her, the group, the importance of the transition. What is her plan for transitioning out of leadership and the future of leadership? What Congresswoman Rice says, she says those concerns were, quote, "dismissed outright." Is that what happened? Did Nancy Pelosi dismiss your group outright?

RYAN: Well, it wasn't -- she wasn't receptive. She was not. And you know, hopefully we can continue to have those conversations. But you know there are a lot of people who feel they have to vote their conscience. They have to vote their congressional district with regard to moving forward.

And look, the Democratic establishment is a very powerful, powerful establishment. And we are trying to bring change to the Democratic Party. And so, you know, we're going to continue to have those conversations, but everyone's going to vote their conscience in a few weeks and we'll see where things end up.

But again, too, the Midwest is not well represented in the Democratic leadership here, too. I mean our top six positions are coastal. The most inland state is New Mexico. There's nobody in the Midwest. We were able to get Cheri Bustos in for the D Triple C chair, but that's our political arm, not our internal operations. We have to re-engage back in the Midwest if we want to be a national party again.

HARLOW: You're talking to a girl from Minnesota. I hear you.

RYAN: All right.

HARLOW: Congressman, Tim Ryan, thank you for being here. And please to everyone in your district -

RYAN: Thank you.

HARLOW: We're thinking about them a lot right now. We appreciate it.

RYAN: Appreciate that. It's been a rough week. Thanks.

HARLOW: Quick break. I'll be back in a minute.


[10:42:04] HARLOW: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently told Facebook staff to look into investor George Soros. This is according to a new report this morning in "The New York Times" that Sandberg was directly involved in the company's response to attacks by the liberal billionaire. She reportedly wanted to know if Soros was betting against the company.

Let's go to my colleague, CNN business correspondent Hadas Gold. She joins us from London. So Hadas, this is what, days after Soros called Facebook and Google menaces to society in Davos at the World Economic Forum. Sandberg was there but not present for the comments, and then e-mails and wants to know, you know, what's his financial stake in Facebook? Is he shorting the stock? What is the significance here?

HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, I mean Poppy, a COO of a company asking for research into why there's a billionaire is saying such bad things about their company is not that unusual. And most COOs would want to know backgrounds into what was going on. The issue here is sort of the shifting stories and the shifting narratives we're hearing from Facebook about how much Sandberg knew, how involved she was in the research into George Soros, and what that says about Facebook's leadership at this moment.

So, let's go back. A few weeks ago, we had that "New York Times" investigation about Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg and the leadership of Facebook. And then there we learned that they had hired this firm called Definers to do public relations for them. And part of what Definers did was tell reporters, oh, we should look in George Soros and his connections to these campaigns against Facebook, which some people said fed into these sort of anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories surround George Soros.

Initially, Facebook said Sheryl Sandberg knew nothing about this, wasn't involved. Then, last week, we had that night before Thanksgiving where the head of communications for Facebook -- the outgoing head of communications took the fall for all this, that it was his fault. He hired Definers. And Sheryl Sandberg said, oh yes, I might have gotten some e-mails about this. And then in the last few hours we're now getting from Facebook that actually Sandberg herself had actually directed some research into this.

Now, Facebook is keeping these two things separate, Definers and Sheryl Sandberg. Let me read to you just a statement from what Facebook said just now. They said, "As Elliot," which was the outgoing head of communications said last week, "we researched potential motivations behind George Soros's criticism of Facebook in January 2018. Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook. That research was already underway when Sheryl sent an e-mail asking if Mr. Soros had shorted Facebook's stock. Sheryl never directed research on Freedom from Facebook. But as she said before she takes full responsibility for any activity that happened on her watch."

So like I said, not unusual for a COO to do this, but the issue is the shifting narrative of how this was all done.

HARLOW: Yes, it certainly is. All right, Hadas, thank you for updating us. Appreciate it.

Happening now, President Trump is attending the welcome ceremony at the G20 Summit in Argentina. All of this as he's trying to strike a major trade deal with China this weekend, more on that next.


[10:49:06] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. Right now, President Trump is attending the welcome ceremony with members of the G20 in Buenos Aires. This comes as Trump faces a crucial meeting tomorrow with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Just this week, President Trump is sending China a major warning, threatening to slap $267 billion additional tariffs on China, that would hit things, he says. He wouldn't even rule out iPhones, for example, if they can't reach a trade agreement or at least an agreement to talk about an agreement.

With me now, White House economic policy reporter for the "Washington Post" Damian Paletta. Good morning, good to have you.


HARLOW: So how much pressure given the domestic situation at home for the president is President Trump under right now on the world stage to have some good news like a trade agreement or framework with China to come home with?

PALETTA: I think he's under a tremendous amount of pressure, especially given the news from General Motors earlier this week.

[10:50:00] You know there are cracks that are beginning to form in this economy. You know, stock market has slid down quite a bit from its high a few months ago. And I think with this, you know, new Mexico/Canada agreement the president signed today, he's under a lot of pressure to have something that he can deliver to investors and to Americans from China. This has been ratcheting up pressure on China for a year. China is clearly unhappy, and China wants to cut a deal, and I think the president is under a lot of pressure to be able to deliver something.

HARLOW: Do you think that means he's going to give a little bit more than perhaps he would have had the events of the last 24 hours not transpired here at home?

PALETTA: I think there's a really good chance. I mean the president approaches a lot of these things like a real estate deal. You start out way off in one direction and then you know kind of plan to come back into the middle when the deal is finally cut. HARLOW: Right.

PALETTA: So there's a chance that his rhetoric with China has been a bit overblown. Even he would admit that, but he wants China. He wanted to get their attention. And he has their attention.


PALETTA: The question is, is he going to keep the hard line or is he going to, you know, see the events of the past few days and say, hey, I got to cut a deal. I got to get you know the pressure off a little bit.

HARLOW: Can I ask you about human rights abuses in China because the administration has said the president will bring this up with Xi Jinping. You know obviously you have the horrific treatment of the Muslim eagers, more than a million of them in China. You also have two young Americans, 19 and 27 years old, who have been held in China, not able to leave China, I should say, since June, but the president showed us with Saudi Arabia sort of where he places the value of human rights versus economic issues, right? So, when it comes -

PALETTA: Exactly.

HARLOW: -- to the president having a trade talk with China, how far do you expect he will go on these human rights abuses?

PALETTA: I mean human rights have always taken a back seat with President Trump in terms of these economic agreements. You know clearly in the Saudi Arabia case, you know, he almost dismissed a lot of the things that happened, because he said of the, you know, importance of the U.S. economic relationship with Saudi Arabia. Unless you hear it from the president's mouth, unless you hear the president himself bring up the China, you know, human rights situation, I don't think we should have high expectations much will be done. It is one thing for his staff, Secretary of State, to bring it up, but it's a whole other thing for the president himself to say it. Even in a Twitter post, we haven't seen that yet.

HARLOW: Right. Or to say look, I'm not agreeing to x, y, and z on a trade deal unless you give x, y and z on human rights.

All right, Damian, good to have you. Thank you so much.

PALETTA: My pleasure. Thank you.

HARLOW: President Trump's former campaign manager must wait three more months before learning his sentence. We're talking about of course Paul Manafort. A federal judge just made that announcement. We're on top of it.


[10:57:30] HARLOW: It is a Texas sized upset, as the cowboys put the NFL's hottest team, The Saints, on ice. Coy Wire has more in the Bleacher Report. Good morning. COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. The Saints had won 10 in a row behind the NFL's highest scoring offense in this week's sports illustrated cover boy, Drew Brees. But the cowboys were thinking the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Quarterback Dak Prescott was masterful completing 24 of 28 passes including this touchdown to Ezekiel Elliott, but the defense then was time to shine. They were physical. Huge hits like this one on Saints running back Alvin Kamara. No penalty called on this one though. Dallas had a goal line stand. They sacked Drew Brees twice and then put this one on ice, with an interception with just about two minutes to go. The Saints held to 176 total yards. That's their lowest in the last 17 years. Cowboys win 13-10.

Now, we're atop the iconic hotel here with Jeff Aldridge, a tiny lose here though tells the big SEC matchup tomorrow between number one Alabama and number four UGA, and I got to tell you, we're here all weekend for our TUMS Ultimate Tailgate.

It's going to be fun but we want to share with you a story about Warriors star Steph Curry. He's making a little girl's holidays extra especially. 9-year-old Riley wrote Steph a letter saying that all she wanted for Christmas, Poppy, was a pair of Curry 5 shoes for the new basketball season, but online, there were only listed in the boy's section. Well, Steph saw her letter and wrote a hand-written note right back, not only did he get Under Armour to put the shoes under the girl section. He told her that he's sending a surprise. Listen to this.


RILEY MORRISON, 9-YEAR-OLD BASKETBALL PLAYER: So surprised to hear from such a busy person. I was not expecting anything like that. I was just expecting Under Armour to see it, not say anything, and fix it. So - and then I wasn't expecting him to say he would give me the Curry 5 and then the Curry 6.


WIRE: Curry, whose daughter is also named Riley, also invited his new friend Riley to his international women's day event next March so they can meet, Poppy.

HARLOW: I love this story for so many reasons. And I was already a Curry fan, and now I'm even more. So he should definitely come on the show Monday and do an interview with us about it, right, Coy?

WIRE: I'm on it for you, girl.


HARLOW: Thank you, my friend. Have a great weekend. And thank all of you for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.