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INSIDE POLITICS

Crucial Trump-Xi Meeting Tomorrow Amid Trade War; Trump Meets with Leaders of Japan, India at G20; 6.6 Magnitude Earthquake Near Anchorage, Alaska; White House: Trump and Saudi Crown Prince "Exchanged Pleasantries". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 30, 2018 - 12:30   ET

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


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[12:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's been long and hard. We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, and we got there. It's great for all of our countries.

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JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Prime Minister Trudeau noting no tensions with Canada still quite obvious and yet those are dwarfed by the trade stair down between Washington and Beijing. The president has a working dinner tomorrow with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. White House aides believe there is a path to dial back the U.S.-China trade war but the president says he's not sure he wants to reach a deal before a broader round of tariffs against Chinese goods kick in January 21st.

And that is the fascinating question. I want to come back to the Trudeau issues in a moment. But the president just moments ago said he sees some good signs heading into the meeting with Xi Jinping. Many of his aides have been telling him, Mr. President, look at the foreign economy here, look at what happened to the election in the Midwest. It's time to at least dial this back or hit the pause button.

But this is the president just yesterday, just yesterday saying, you know, we have an idea how to get out of this, but I'm not sure I want to do it.

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TRUMP: I think we're very close to doing something with China but I don't know that I want to do it because what we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs or taxes. So I really don't know. But I will tell you that I think China wants to make a deal, I'm open to making a deal. But frankly, I like the deal we have right now.

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KING: Is he just negotiating with Xi at this dinner or is he negotiating with himself or with his own team, if you will? MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, one of the problems about, you know, Trump's negotiations with the rest of the world is that they just don't know when and if they can ever trust his word to be his word. I was in the -- in Canada for the G7 when you'll remember he signed with the other world leaders, Trudeau not the least of them, the communique, the sort of agreement that all of the world leaders who would assemble there had done. And then left on Air Force One and promptly rescinded the agreement, took it back essentially.

You know, the signing of the new trade deal is a step in the right direction from the perspective of other world leaders that OK, we got to a point he -- we got him to a point where he actually signed his name on a deal and said, OK, this is -- I'm going to stick to this now. But the clip that you played is exactly the opposite.

When the world leaders sit down with him, they don't know from day to day or minute to minute is what he says going to stick.

RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: But from a negotiating standpoint politically, it makes sense for him to keep talking tough until he's actually got something to show and some sort of concessions from the Chinese to hold up and say this is what I got. I mean, the president was successful and a lot of Republicans even on Capitol Hill were not sure he was going to be able to renegotiate NAFTA. And the reason she was able to do this is because of this tough talk. You know, a lot of the business community was worried that Mexico and Canada were concerned and because he was talking tough, like, you know, if we don't have a new deal, then whatever, I'm just going to blow it up. He was able to deliver on the PAC and huge campaign promise that he ran on.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the question going forward is whether or not they can actually get ratified because of course Congress has the role in implementing the legislation. We have not seen the details yet of this agreement and that's going to be the real sticking point. They're not going to be able to get this done in a lame duck session at Congress. It's going to have to be when the Democrats take control of the House. And, you can't amend a trade bill because of the rules so that means

you have to accept it essentially about as it where it stands.

So, will Nancy Pelosi agree to that? She suggested in her press conference today that, you know, that she needs to see the details herself. Chuck Schumer had a similar that -- there are many Democratic support in the Senate. So, we'll see. It's going to be difficult potentially to fill that promise.

KING: And you saw -- you hear from some of the west lawmakers, foreign state lawmakers particularly complaints about how the tariffs affected the climate back home. Now the president said he's playing a long game that he's willing to take the short-term turbulence to get China who is been, you know, a bad actor in the trade scenario for decades back to the table. This is the message from the Chinese side. We talked about the domestic politics. In the China Daily today, this editorial, "No party should count on the other side to do all of the giving without getting anything in return. Beijing wants a deal just as Washington does. And it is willing to cooperate with Washington in dealing with concerns about trade if they are fair-minded. Should there be any other aspirations such as taking advantage of the trade spat to throttle Chinese growth, then an agreement is unlikely to be reached."

So China essentially saying here we have our limits. They're warning the president coming in, don't to push for too much because our economy has been teetering a little bit too. So be careful.

ELIANA JOHNSON, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: I think that's exactly right. And Trump I think views this issue more narrowly through a, how much money is coming in versus how much is going out. He's very transactional. But there others in the administration, Steve Bannon was the primary one who said China is the primary geopolitical threat to the United States. Its growth needs to be curved. And to the extent that the president is adapting some of those views, I mean, that's really what that editorial address is.

And Obama administration to a certain extent viewed China that way when they talked about the pivot to Asia away from the Middle East.

[12:35:02] And it's unclear to me whether -- and I should say within the Trump administration it's Vice President Mike Pence who's been sounding those notes with his trip to Asia, abroad. And really -- I think the New York Times had an article today about the potential start of a new cold war with China rather than with Russia.

Unclear to me whether the president views China as the next major geopolitical foe of the United States or whether it's merely a trade issue for him.

KING: It'd be fascinating. That's the (INAUDIBLE) with the big tomorrow night with Xi and Trump. We'll see how that one plays out.

As we go to break, a little tradition here in Washington playing out today. The Supreme Court justices taking a break from their busy schedule for the annual class photo. You see the newest member, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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TRUMP: -- Abe of Japan and we just had a great meeting and we're having now a what we call a (INAUDIBLE). The relationship between our three countries extremely good, extremely strong. I think with India making stronger than ever. And with Japan, I think stronger than ever.

We're doing very well together. We're doing a lot of trade together. We're doing a lot of (INAUDIBLE) together. A lot of military purchases and we're going to now have a little discussion between the three of us. So thank you very much.

Comments? (Foreign Language)

[12:40:06] NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I think this is a very good occasion for our three countries. Countries which have shared values, Democratic values. Japan, America, and India together. We will be taking a big role together for world peace, prosperity, and stability. I'm also happy that both of countries are our strategic partners. Both of them are very good --

KING: You're listening to the translation there. President Trump meeting with the prime minister of India, Mr. Modi to the president's left, your right on the screen. Prime Minister Abe of Japan to the president's right, the left of your screen. This is part of the G20 summit in Argentina. Trade economic development issues are a big concern for the president as he has this meeting down in Argentina, saluting -- these are two of his friends, this is a meeting in which the president has canceled a big meeting with President Putin. He's decided to minimize a meeting with the president of South Korea and the president of Turkey. But he is going head with this public meeting with two men with whom he has much better relationships with and some of the other leaders. The prime minister of Japan and the prime minister of India.

As we watch the president play this out, we were talking earlier, this normally is the big trade, economic development, and there's always something. There's always some -- whatever else is happening in the world, Russia and Ukraine is one of the issues right now. The Saudi crown prince is at this meeting. Everyone has been waiting to see if the president will have any interaction with the crown prince.

Just listening to see if I hear the president's voice. Sorry for the pause there.

As you watch -- as we watch the president play out on the world stage, it's still always fascinating even though (INAUDIBLE) with a two-year mark and that, he's mad, he thinks Robert Mueller is trying to mess with him if you will to use the president's language. And there are giant trade issues including with Japan. The relationship with India right now a little bit of tension when it comes to some trade and economic issues. But with Japan, Prime Minister Abe has been upset about some tariffs on his products.

We were talking about this, joking about it earlier in the program. He began a photo op with the president earlier today, congratulating the president on his giant midterm victory. The president's party was shellacked in the midterm elections but it's Prime Minister Abe's way of trying to stay nice.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. And, you know, there was some real concern I think initially -- what's interesting if you think with Japan, there'd be a lot of concern about the president's small (INAUDIBLE) towards North Korea. And all of my sources told me that when the Japanese have come to the U.S. or when their ambassadors speak to lawmakers, their concern is far more about tariffs and trade than it is about American policies toward North Korea, which is fascinating to me just how much the president's attitudes and policies on trade are having a global impact and overshadowing some of his foreign policies even when he is favored (INAUDIBLE) on North Korea which he was doing before he talked about his loving relationship with Kim Jong-un.

KING: And with every president, the personal is paramount in the sense that you get along with your fellow leaders. He is close with Abe, he's also close with Xi. And yet, he has big issues, big problems, if you will, in both relationships right now. In which, he has essentially said -- the president so far has held fast. You may not like it but he's held fast saying, you're my friend, I like you but I'm holding firm in these trade issues.

SHEAR: But, you know, to Rachael's point before about the fact that the president is willing to, you know, talk tough as a way of -- as a negotiating tool to push these leaders, he's also willing to risk these relationships, right? I mean, that seems to be his modus operandi, is that he talks about how great the relationship is with Xi at the same time that he's willing to, you know, push tariffs that are infuriating to Xi. And it's a sort of back and forth between you're my friend, you're not my friend, you're my friend.

And, you know, that has seemed, you know, so far to at least bear some fruit both in the North Korea setting as well as -- as in some of these trade agreements.

RAJU: Yes. And it's also fascinating to see Trump, how he deals with people privately versus his public rhetoric, his Twitter feed, going after often times China, sometimes -- Japan has been part of that, often times people he's criticized here in Washington. But then when he meets them face-to-face, a much different Trump. More polite Trump, it's a very friendly relationship that goes back and forth.

Then his critics will say he says one thing privately and does something different publicly. But that's just the way he is and whether that works for him remains to be seen.

[12:45:00] And, question two, is how did some of these foreign leaders who may not quite understand the style take it particularly when they are the recipient of some Twitter attack.

SHEAR: But they're figuring it out. I mean, the Japanese prime minister's, you know, praise of the election, you know, victories is an example of how they're figuring out how to handle Donald Trump and that one of the ways is praise him effusively and that works.

JOHNSON: I think that's why we're also fascinated by these global conferences to see how the president relates to global leaders, how they relate to him in turn. And the fact that they're still -- the sense that global leaders have figured him out or not, you know, the spectacle of it all. It sort of why we all love to --

BADE: Watch.

JOHNSON: -- watch them unfold.

KING: It's fascinating to watch it play out. A quick break, but as we take the break, please stay with us. We're tracking some breaking news now, trying to get some preliminary information on a 6.7 magnitude earthquake outside of Anchorage, Alaska.

We'll have more information from the weather center right after a very, very short break so we can check everything out. We'll be right back.

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[12:50:11] KING: Get you back to that breaking news now out of Alaska. A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hitting just outside of Anchorage.

Allison is in charge in the CNN Weather Center. So Allison, what do we know?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So I just got the print out here for this tsunami and I'm going to read this to you exactly what it says. "The earthquake with a preliminary magnitude we now know it is a 6.6. This is based on all available data. There is no tsunami threat from this earthquake."

That is the latest information that we have right here. They will continue to monitor this situation again because of its close proximity to the water. This earthquake is very close to Anchorage, Alaska. That's where we're getting right here.

All of these bright yellow colors that you saw there, that's the people that are in those areas that claim that they felt it and they felt decent shaking, not just light shaking. Again, around this general vicinity, you are probably going to have a lot of people even up around with still some of the other surrounding towns that likely were able to feel it.

Now this particular earthquake was at a depth of around 40 kilometers, give or take. A lot of these numbers will adjust back in fort in the coming -- in the short minutes after it takes place because they have to take a look at all of the data. Again, for reference, right here, this is Anchorage. All of this yellow area you see here, this is people that felt either strong or very strong shaking. The green areas indicate either light or moderate shaking.

So again, the further you get from that particular epicenter, obviously the lighter shaking you are going to feel. This particular earthquake, again, a 6.6, that's the latest numbers that we have at a depth of give or take around 40 kilometers. That's relatively shallow, it may not seem like that but typically anything that's 70 kilometers or less, we consider to be shallow. The shallower an earthquake, the more likely you are to feel it.

And, if there were a tsunami threat, the shallower the earthquake. That's obviously going to have an impact on a tsunami threat. However, the papers that we were just given, again, based on all available data as of now, there is no tsunami threat from this particular earthquake, but they will continue to monitor it.

And again, there could be aftershocks. There are likely to be aftershocks from this. They will likely to have several in the four and the five range. Some of those will have to be monitored as well for a potential tsunami threat because often the aftershocks do not occur at the exact same location. They can be several miles away, putting some of them perhaps under water.

So again, these are going to be things that we will have to keep a close eye on in the coming minutes and really kind of monitors any damage reports start to come n as well in the coming minutes.

KING: And we'll keep on top. All right, Allison, appreciate the hustle into the weather center just as this broke. We'll keep our eye on this one. Obviously continue to track what happens here and get word from Alaska officials as well.

Allison Chinchar, appreciate the hustle. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:56:24] KING: We just want to bring you the latest now on the breaking story out of Alaska. Authorities now saying it's a 6.7 magnitude. It's gone back and forth from 6.7 to 6.6. Now they are saying, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hitting just outside of Anchorage.

A tsunami warning is in effect for the coastal areas of Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai Peninsula. We're now hearing that CNN affiliate KTUU has been knocked off the air due to this earthquake. The news (INAUDIBLE) telling CNN the station has had reports of items falling off shelves. Now we hope that's the extent of this but we'll keep watching this obviously, see if there are aftershocks, any more damage. We'll bring you the breaking news as we continue throughout the day here.

Just some other big important news. The president this hour in Argentina. We told you throughout the hour for the G20 summit. Not on his schedule, a meeting with the Saudi crown prince, the controversial Prince Mohammad bin Salman. But the White House now telling reporters the pair, quote, exchanged pleasantries at a leader session. The president telling reporters, moments later in a photo op, quote, we had no discussion.

Now this obviously is important because of the relationship in some disarray although the president says he standby Saudi Arabia after the brutal murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA says it has concluded with reasonable certainty, clear certainty, the crown prince was involved in orchestrating it. The president won't go there, the president says essentially give them a pass. The relationship is so important, we have to keep going, but they're being very careful at this meeting not to have pleasant optics.

RAJU: Yes. And look, we're heading into a critical week next week dealing with this in -- on Capitol Hill. The Senate is moving forward on a vote on something dealing with Saudi Arabia to go after the crown prince himself. Potentially even to try to end the U.S. involvement of a Saudi-led war in Yemen. This is what the White House and the administration are pushing hard against. The Trump administration wants to -- it looked like they're very close to Saudi Arabia, but in some ways, they're in an island because there's a lot of resistance to what Saudi Arabia did and pushed back coming from his own party.

KING: Let's just look at the president's body language here when he's asked that question, what did you discussed.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what did you discussed with MBS?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. Come one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President --

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

(INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Just trying to shrug it off there in the sense. But -- does the president understand the bipartisan -- this is like the Russia sanctions debate. The White House kept thinking it won't happen, it won't happen, it won't happen. Congress passed big Russia sanctions. The Congress is about to get in his face on this.

SHEAR: That seemed like he did -- at least on this moment that he does understand. That if he was seen as being too close to MBS at the meeting that that might be a problem.

KING: All right, we'll watch that play out throughout the day.

JOHNSON: Surely he's happy there's no photo.

KING: He's surely happy there's no photo. You're right

Thanks for joining us today in the INSIDE POLITICS. Appreciate your patience with the breaking news. Hope to see you back here Sunday morning as well up early 8 a.m. Eastern.

Have a great day. Brianna Keilar starts right now.