Return to Transcripts main page
Cease-fire in China Trade War as Trump Freezes Tariff Increase; White House Confirms Trump Had "Informal Conversation" with Putin; Final Words From Father to Son; Remembering President George H.W. Bush's Life In Public Service; U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Denies MBS Connection in "The Washington Post" Journalist Murder; Inside the Bush-Clinton Friendship; Mexico's New President Vows Transformation; Iran Tests Medium-Range Ballistic Missile. Aired 5- 5:30a ET
Aired December 2, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, has died.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, George Herbert Walker Bush, do solemnly swear.
We are Americans. Peace and security, freedom and the rule of law.
I love being president. Love working at trying to help people do themselves proud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you discuss with him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had no discussion. We had no discussion.
TRUMP: We had no discussion.
GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Tried again to muck around in our elections this last month and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines.
TRUMP: And battles sometimes make great friendships so it's really terrific.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning to you. President Trump is back in the United States as America mourns the loss of a former president. We've got live pictures here of Air Force One. This at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christi Paul. We are so glad to have your company here.
President Trump, as you can see there, getting ready to deplane with word of a possible cease-fire in his trade war with China coming in this morning. This is according to the White House, $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods are on hold now after President Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Meanwhile, preparations are underway right now to honor the life and legacy of former president George H.W. Bush. A memorial service tomorrow begins a week of ceremonies that will recognize America's 41st president.
BLACKWELL: Let's start this morning with the announcement from the White House. President Trump has agreed to delay imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese made goods.
PAUL: The decision is one of several breakthroughs following the president's meeting with China's president. CNN's Sarah Westwood joining us now.
Sarah, what else have you learned?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. After the 2.5-hour dinner meeting in Buenos Aires, the American and Chinese president emerging, claiming they've had a breakthrough in what have been contentious trade talks over the past several months.
Effectively they've agreed to a delay in the escalation of the trade war. But the president will keep those 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. He won't increase them to 25 percent, as he was scheduled to do on the 1st of January. That essentially gives his administration about a month or a little bit more to negotiate more concessions from China.
And in exchange China at the moment is agreeing to increase significantly its purchase of American agricultural and industrial products. The president saying that if this deal with China were to go through, it would be one of the largest deals ever struck in the history of this country. That's something he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
But it's yet to be seen if he can achieve the kind of concrete progress that would lead to the elimination of tariffs altogether as both sides have said they wanted. This administration has been pushing to get other kinds of concessions from China beyond just tariffs, such as stopping its intellectual property theft when it comes to American companies doing business in China.
Meanwhile, the president also touted a potential breakthrough in that relationship with North Korea, saying potentially in January or February the president could sit down again with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He said that, at some point, he could expect the North Korean leader to come to the United States.
And he told reporters aboard Air Force One that his administration is considering three different sites for the second summit with the North Korean leader. No word yet as to where that will be. But January or February, that's coming up soon. So the president potentially setting himself up for yet another sitdown with the North Korean leader.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.
Live pictures here of Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews. The president making a lot of news on his flight back from Argentina, as Sarah discussed, talking about this pause, at least, in tariffs with China. Also the summit that could come up in the next, we're talking weeks now, we're into December.
The president says it could happen in January or February. And also potentially, as has been suggested by congressional leadership, a pause by at least a week, stopgap, funding measure to get beyond the state funeral for George H.W. Bush before they get to a funding -- a partial shutdown of the federal government.
PAUL: One of the other things making news in the last 24 hours has to do with Russia and --
PAUL: -- President Vladimir Putin, who is sticking to his position on the ongoing conflict with Ukraine after a brief meeting with President Trump on the sidelines there of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
President Putin told reporters, quote, "He has his position on that and I have mine."
This coming just days after Russia captured three Ukrainian ships and 2 dozen sailors near Crimea. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance following the latest from Moscow.
Matthew, what is being made of President Putin's comments there?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi. I think there was some disappointment expressed by the Kremlin that this meeting that they had been planning so hard for at the sidelines of the G20 never took place.
They were expecting a two-hour head-to-head meeting between Presidents Putin and Trump and they only learned about the fact that it had been canceled in the same way that we all did, when President Trump tweeted unexpectedly from Air Force One as he was en route to Buenos Aires, saying that he had canceled that meeting because of the fact that Russia still held 24 Ukrainian sailors custody and three Ukrainian naval vessels after it had intercepted them on the Kerch Strait, this narrow strip of water between the Russian mainland and the Crimean Peninsula.
In that incident that took place on the high seas a week ago today, in fact. So this was the reason why President Trump said he canceled that long-planned meeting. President Putin in a press conference before he left Buenos Aires, saying that he had answered President Trump's questions on that issue but really failed to change his mind on that.
So it seems that they agreed to disagree on that issue. But the Kremlin still holding out the possibility there will be a meeting face to face, a proper sitdown meeting, in the not too distant future.
Basically saying, look, there are so many important issues that Russia and the United States have to talk about. We have to sit down and arrange a talk. If we don't, there will be tensions, more in the world. Back to you.
PAUL: Matthew Chance, appreciate the heads up so much. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Staying on the U.S. and Russia. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Russia tried to meddle in the U.S. midterm elections. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTIS: He tried again to muck around in our elections this last month and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Mattis says Russia's efforts to interfere in the U.S. elections has no doubt worsened the relationship between the two countries. Earlier this week, President Trump canceled a meeting with Putin that was set to take place at the G20 summit.
On Saturday, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Iran tested a medium- range ballistic missile. Pompeo said that test violates a United Nations resolution, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Now a Defense official the launch did not pose a direct threat to the U.S. But Pompeo's statement says the missile Iran tested has the capability of carrying multiple warheads. Moments ago, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman released a statement. He said their missile tests do not violate any Security Council resolutions.
Want to talk about something Victor had mentioned earlier as well. The government shutdown deadline is this Friday. But according to a source, lawmakers are hoping to postpone it until after former president George H.W. Bush's funeral.
They're planning on a one-week long stopgap spending measure that would tie government agencies over until that time. They're waiting on the White House to weigh in on the idea as well.
Former president George H.W. Bush, he couldn't say much before his passing but he did have the strength to say one last thing to his son. We have more on those moments coming up.
PAUL: Eleven minutes past the hour. Funeral services for former president George H.W. Bush will begin tomorrow. He'll be flown to Washington, where there will be an arrival ceremony at the U.S. Capitol and the president will lie in state until Wednesday.
BLACKWELL: That's where the public will be allowed to pay tribute. On Wednesday, family and close friends, they will hold a memorial service at the National Cathedral. President Trump has declared that a national day of mourning. President Bush will then be flown back to Houston for a second memorial service on Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.
PAUL: The motorcade will then take President Bush to his final resting place, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library. It's in College Station, Texas. Both Bushes, wife, Barbara, the former first lady who died in April, and their daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia as a child, are both laid to rest there.
Bush's non-profit, Points of Light is asking people to celebrate him by giving a day of service in his memory.
BLACKWELL: Near the end, former President Bush was increasingly frail. He had a form of Parkinson's disease and congestive heart failure.
PAUL: His last words, though, were to his son, former president George W. Bush. CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel has more for us.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've learned a lot about the final days and the final moments of former President Bush's life. We've been told that, in his final hours, he was surrounded by his family: his son, Neil Bush; his grandson, Pierce Bush and his best friend, James Baker.
But we've been told that his final words were actually over the phone. There was a speaker phone in the room and he was speaking to his son, former president George W. Bush, who we call 43.
And his son said to him, "Dad, you've been a wonderful father."
And President Bush Sr. responded, "I love you, too."
And those were his final words before he passed.
The story is also very poignant because there is endless fascination about the relationship between these two men. Each one of them used to say to me, Jamie, don't ask about our relationship. We're not into psychobabble.
But the fact of the matter is they were very close. And we recently spoke to former president George W. Bush about their relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GANGEL: Give me some words to describe your father.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Humble, driven, competitive, willing to listen to the other person, he was a great listener, thoughtful and a person who cared deeply about others who hurt.
One of the more very dramatic words for me came on September 14th at the National Cathedral. I was very fearful of bursting out in tears and the country didn't need to see a weeping president. Finished the speech and went back to the pew and sat down. And I felt his hand reach across Laura and grab my arm. It was just a small gesture but it meant a lot to me. It was a very sweet moment of fatherly love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GANGEL: We know that --
GANGEL: -- President George W. Bush, the son, in fact, will be one of the eulogists this Wednesday at that same place in the National Cathedral. The Bush men are known to be emotional, that they cry easily.
And no question, when he is memorializing and celebrating his father's life on Wednesday, it's going to be a very emotional speech -- Jamie Gangel, CNN, Washington, D.C.
BLACKWELL: All right, Jamie, thank you so much.
It's been 12 years since the last presidential funeral in the United States. Let's bring in our presidential historian, Tim Naftali, who is also the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library.
Tim, welcome back. It's been 12 years since the country said goodbye to former President Ford. But just a couple of months ago, we saw similar services for Senator John McCain.
What will you expect over the next several days, the style, the tone of the tribute? TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, first of all, the ceremonies for a president involve a state funeral for the most part. That was not the case for Richard Nixon but that had a lot to do with his unique history.
But that means that it's a funeral for a former commander in chief, a former President of the United States. There are rituals associated with the passing and the final ceremony for a commander in chief. That's why we will have a day of mourning.
The flags will be at half mast for 30 days. So part of the protocol is a protocol that is established for all commanders in chief. And, by the way, Ms. Bush, whom I had the honor to meet with President Bush three years ago, she told me that planning for President Bush's funeral started when they were in the White House.
NAFTALI: That the tradition set by Jackie Kennedy, actually, the tradition is that the first family begins funeral preparations when they're in the White House, lest, you know, some unfortunate incident should occur. So the Bushes have been thinking about this final goodbye for over 20 years.
PAUL: So Tim --
PAUL: -- I wanted to ask you about that, because we saw with Senator John McCain, and, again, we know that it's different, but he had quite a hand in crafting his memorial.
Do we know or do you expect that President Bush has some requests for this?
NAFTALI: Well, I don't have -- well, I -- well, I know from Ms. Bush, obviously they selected the eulogists. In fact, she said to me -- I didn't know her well, but I had a remarkable -- thanks to Jon Meacham, who will be one of the eulogists -- I had a remarkable day in Kennebunkport with both of them and Jon.
She told me, one of our problems, Tim -- and she had a wry sense of humor -- is that our eulogists keep dying because they've selected a group of people to speak on behalf and for the president. They made those choices 20 years ago and, sadly, a number of them have passed from the scene.
So the family's very, very involved. And the fact George Herbert Walker Bush would have been very involved in selecting those who would speak about him and for him next week.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about this current president. He was not in attendance at Barbara Bush's funeral, was not at Senator McCain's funeral. But the White House has said that he will attend former president George H.W. Bush's funeral. This will be the first time that President Trump will be with President Obama; the former first lady, Michelle Obama; with Secretary Clinton, former President Clinton and from our knowledge, the first time they've even conversed since the inauguration.
What do you expect?
Anything more than just boilerplate pleasantries that we'd expect from a president and former presidents, even considering the context of the vitriol over the last year and a half?
NAFTALI: Well, I hope that the focus of these events will be the life and service of George Herbert Walker Bush. And if the focus remains where it should be, then the incumbent president, President Trump, should be civil and should shake hands and should do what the leader of the United States should do at the national service for a former commander in chief.
As I said, there are a lot of rituals associated with what's going to happen. This will be a state funeral. It would have been an absolute insult to the flag --
NAFTALI: -- if George -- if Donald Trump had not been there. It's a requirement. It was not a requirement for the President of the United States to be at the funeral of a former first lady. It was not a requirement of the incumbent President of the United States to be at the funeral of a senator.
But it is a requirement for the President of the United States to be at a state funeral for a former commander in chief. So Donald Trump absolutely has to be there. But one would hope that Donald Trump would remember that the focus is on a past president, not on himself.
BLACKWELL: All right, Tim Naftali, always good to have you.
NAFTALI: Thank you both.
PAUL: Tim, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Former president George H.W. Bush's joint chief of staff chairman, General Colin Powell, and his secretary of state, James Baker, as we just said, also his best friend will --
BLACKWELL: -- "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. Catch that at 9:00 am only on CNN.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You've been watching CNN's NEW DAY with Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell. I'm George Howell. "INSIDE AFRICA" is next. But first your world headlines right after the break.
(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Live with your world headlines, I'm George Howell. This is CNN NEWS NOW.
The U.S. president is back in Washington, D.C., after attending the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Donald Trump returning after striking a deal with China that would give both sides another 90 days to reach a comprehensive trade pact.
He and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, reached the agreement during dinner on the sidelines of that summit. The U.S. said it would delay hiking tariffs on Chinese imports for now while talks continued and China pledged to buy more U.S. goods and services.
HOWELL: The Russian president Vladimir Putin says he briefly met with the U.S. president at the G20. He says they discussed Russia's naval clash with Ukraine. Mr. Trump cited the incident in the Kerch Strait was the reason he canceled his formal meeting with Putin.
The Trump administration is doubling down on its support for Saudi Arabia. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, declined to comment on the CIA's assessment that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, personally ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that there is no direct proof of that. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Obviously, sitting in an unclassified setting, here's what I can say. I have read every piece of intelligence that is in the possession of the United States government.
And when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there's no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That is an accurate statement, it's an important statement and it is the statement that we are making publicly today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: You'll remember Jamal Khashoggi was murdered during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul back in October. The Saudis have continuously denied that the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was involved.
The U.S. secretary of state also accusing Iran of violating a U.N. Security Council resolution by testing a medium-range ballistic missile. The resolution bans Iran from engaging in any activity related to ballistic missile capabilities of delivering nuclear weapons. A U.S. Defense official tells CNN the launch does not appear to pose a direct threat and intelligence on it is still being assessed and addressed.
Israeli police say there is enough evidence to indict the prime minister of that nation, Benjamin Netanyahu, in a third corruption probe. The charges could include fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
The Israeli leader is accused of advancing regulatory benefits to the controlling shareholder of a telecommunications firm in exchange for favorable news coverage. Israel's attorney general will decide whether to prosecute. Mr. Netanyahu denies the allegations.
In Mexico, a new leader has taken the helm on Saturday. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as the president, becoming the country's first leftist leader in decades. In a speech before Mexico's congress, Mr. Lopez Obrador vowed to fight rampant corruption with impunity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): The mandate of the people starts today, the fourth political transformation of Mexico. This could seem to be pretentious or exaggerated.
But today is not just the start of a new government but it's the start of a change in the political regime. From now on, there will be peaceful and orderly transition but, at the same time, it will be deep and radical. Corruption will end, as well as impunity, which is impeding the development of Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: In Central America, four nations are making efforts to curb the flow of migrants to the United States. Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras signed a plan on Saturday which includes a fund to generate jobs and to tackle rampant violence and poverty.
The Honduran president took a selfie with newly minted Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the Guatemalan president, Jimmie Morales, to mark the occasion.
In France, the government is considering measures to curb protests, violence, including possibly imposing a state of emergency. More than 400 people were arrested Saturday after protests turned violent there. At least 133 demonstrators and police officers were injured. CNN's Paris correspondent Melissa Bell has this report.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The tear gas and the scuffles began early. All around the edge of the perimeter, the police had set up to prevent a repeat of last week's violence on the Champs-Elysees. The Yellow Vests had warned that this would be part three of a protest against the hike in the fuel tax, which helped pushed the price of diesel up 16 percent this year.
But the hike on which the French president has refused to back down was just the spark of a protest, now aimed more broadly at the cost of living in general and the liberal policies of the French president in particular.
Ahead of today's protests, authorities had warned that more radical anarchist elements might once again infiltrate demonstrations that were supposed to be peaceful. The so-called casseurs, intent on violent action.
Tear gas, stun guns and water cannon were used by police. Cars were burned and shops damaged and looted by protesters. Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence from the G20 summit in Argentina.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): No cause justifies that security forces are attacked, shops pillaged, public or private buildings set on fire, pedestrians or journalists threatened or that the Arc de Triomphe is sullied.
Those guilty of this violence do not want change nor improvement. They want chaos. They betray the cause they claim to serve.
BELL: By the afternoon, some of Paris's most expensive neighborhoods were the scenes of confrontations between riot police and protesters with a roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe changing hands between the two several times.
France's interior minister tweeted to condemn the violence, calling it an insult to the republic. Violence that spread more widely and lasted longer than it had last Saturday, even though the numbers out on the streets of France were down.
This was a scene around so many of the roads that lead on to the roundabout that is around the Arc de Triomphe, the focus of so much of the action today, so much of the violence that we have seen and late into the evening, still police services struggling to contain the anger, the violence, with tear gas canisters still being fired late into the night. Already the Yellow Vests have said that they will be back again next week -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
HOWELL: Melissa, thank you. We'll continue to follow events there in Paris and throughout France. Of course, thank you for being with us for CNN NEWS NOW. "INSIDE AFRICA" is next and, at the top of the hour, more on the death of former president George H.W. Bush.