Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Interview with Jamie Dimon; Judge Unseals Documents from Michael Cohen Raid; Justice Breyer Reads Immigration Dissent From the Bench; President Trump Demanding General Motors Reopen Ohio Plant Shut Earlier this Month. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 19, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Of course. All right, keep us posted. Those pictures are just stunning. Dianne (ph), thank you.

Ahead, how strong does the CEO of America's biggest bank really think the economy is? Plus his read on the 2020 race. And the fundamental question I ask Jamie Dimon. Is Washington working?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Is our government competent right now?

JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: I think the most competent and capable we see is certain mayors and certain governors at a local level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: You didn't hear him say the federal government is competent. That conversation, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:35:11] HARLOW: Just how strong is the U.S. economy right now? I ask the head of the world's biggest bank by market cap, JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon. And does he think the president's tariffs on China are working? His answer might surprise you. Plus his take on 2020. Here's the second part of our exclusive sit-down with Jamie Dimon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Let's talk about the state of the economy. How confident are you right now, that this bull run can continue to? If it's three more months here, we're going to be at a record.

DIMON: Yes.

HARLOW: How are you feeling?

DIMON: It looks pretty good. You know, if you look at the underlying data, we're still growing at two percent-plus. Consumer confidence is still quite high, and business confidence. You know, capital expenditure is still going up in spite of what you

read about. And of course, you and I can make a long list of these problems, which may disrupt this one day. And that may be 2020, 2021, 2022. And it may not be one thing. It may just be a confluence of factors and events that, you know, the proverbial straw on the camel's back that, looking back, "That's what did it."

HARLOW: So what is that thing that keeps you up at night on that front?

DIMON: I think just bad policy we don't fix. There are serious issues around trade. We want the issues seriously looked at and resolved.

On the other hand, you know, a trade -- I looked (ph) at (ph) -- we've had trade skirmishes. But a trade war? Yes. Every time you see that it might end up badly, you see the effect in the market place. So a trade war wouldn't be a good thing. And, you know, I do believe that both the U.S. administration and China are trying to get to a proper deal.

HARLOW: What does it mean if we do not see a comprehensive trade deal in the next few months?

DIMON: Well, in the long run, America will be fine.

HARLOW: So we heard last week from former White House economic advisor Gary Cohn, who said pretty bluntly, tariffs, quote, "don't work."

DIMON: Yes.

HARLOW: And he pointed to the numbers we saw, that stunned me. I mean, you've got an $891 billion trade deficit, $419 billion deficit in goods, both records, after the president said, you know, "I can solve this." Is Gary Cohn right, they don't work?

DIMON: I would -- I -- I like Gary. I -- let me say I agree with him. They don't work technically because they cause all these various things --

HARLOW: Yes?

DIMON: -- but if the president were here, he'd say, "They worked. I got them to the table, and no one else did."

HARLOW: So was the president right?

DIMON: So -- so as a negotiating strategy, it might have worked. Yes.

HARLOW: On the personal income tax side, you -- I mean, you've said many times, you're willing to pay more in taxes. You've said we should have a progressive tax system.

DIMON: We do have a progressive tax system. HARLOW: And the focus should be on helping people at the lower end.

Do you support a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the wealthiest Americans?

DIMON: I understand that we have to fix all these other things that might cost money. But I think if you are a Democrat or a Republican, that you should justify what you're doing.

You know, no one believes that just sending more money to Washington is going to fix some (ph) of the broken (ph) problems we've got. So, you know, to me, you've got to link the two. If we're going to tax people more, we should justify what it (ph) is. And so --

HARLOW: So you --

DIMON: -- and we have a progressive tax system. But I think the government's got to justify how it spends money better.

HARLOW: I think the fundamental question, there, is you have Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez saying 70 percent marginal taxes on the 10 millionth dollar and above. Or you have Elizabeth Warren, who's running for president, saying a wealth tax on all of your assets over $50 million.

They're fundamentally trying to address the inequality issue. And I mean, do you think they're misguided, both of them, on that front?

DIMON: If you look at policy, you and I would say we need infrastructure. We need education. We need to reform a whole bunch of different stuff. And just taxing more people is not necessarily going to do that.

So I agree about (inaudible) lower (ph) and (ph) I've already said I agree on, like, doing a lot more for the earned income tax credit.

HARLOW: Yes.

DIMON: Like, I agree to spend a lot more on education, a lot more on -- and I would do that as a sine qua non. I wouldn't spend that much time saying we shouldn't be doing it.

But, you know, all my wealthy friends are going to say, "Well, that's just money going to Washington, it'll be wasted. They won't actually use it for that. They'll use it to pay off their own special interest groups, and friends, and friends of this or (ph) that." So they have to be linked. You can't separate taxation from "Is it effectively done?"

HARLOW: I mean, this gets to what you wrote in your shareholder letter last year. This line struck me. "The need for solutions through collaborative and competent government." Is our government competent right now?

DIMON: I think the --

HARLOW: As a whole. DIMON: -- the most competent and capable we see is certain mayors and

certain governors at a local level. So if you actually go around the country, there are places that are doing great. And local mayors, local governors working with community organizations. That could be schools, that could be people who train people. Working with business, working together to fix that city. It works.

HARLOW: So not Washington?

DIMON: Our federal government, if you look at it over time, has gotten more and more ineffective, you know? And I want (ph) us (ph) to say, the most important thing to fixing the problem is recognizing the problem. And I don't personally care whether someone's a Democrat or Republican. Everyone involved in inner-city schools would say, "It doesn't work." Right?

HARLOW: So you, yourself, have said that your heart is a Democrat, but your brain is more Republican right now. What do you make of the direction the Democratic Party's going in as a whole right now?

DIMON: There's a lot of people running. Some are qualified, some are completely inexperienced, by the way, which I find shocking, that they would consider themselves qualified. I'm not going to give you their names.

[10:40:01] HARLOW: You guessed my follow-up question.

DIMON: But let it -- let it sort out.

HARLOW: I'm sure you saw this Gallup poll a few months ago. The Democrats as a whole now in America, have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism.

DIMON: These are slogans. So traditionally, socialism is where the government owns the means of production, companies. Now I don't think even the Democrats want that. I think what some people mean when they say "socialism" is, social democracy like they have --

HARLOW: There is a democratic socialist running for president.

DIMON: But a social democrat means stronger welfare nets and training programs, sharing the wealth a little bit more. I think those are fundamentally different things.

But even the people who are saying "socialist," I don't think they mean just give the government more and more to do. Because a lot of Democrats I know that want a more equitable society. They wouldn't say that's the solution. So --

HARLOW: So you're not concerned about --

DIMON: I'm concerned about bad policy.

HARLOW: OK.

DIMON: Let's us sort it out. A lot of these folks have to describe what they mean more. They're not going to -- you're not going to get away with just saying, "socialism." You have to say what that means. How you're going to effectuate it. How is it good for the average American.

HARLOW: The Green New Deal. Larry Kudlow, the president's chief economic advisor, a few weeks ago said it will literally destroy the economy. Is he right?

DIMON: I don't spend much time worrying about things that I can't effectuate. Can you focus on climate change in an intelligent way that doesn't damage (ph) the economy? Yes, you can. It's called CO2 emissions taxes, or trading. There are a couple ways to do it. So you'd better do it wisely because you could hurt the economy, which hurts everybody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: All right. You can listen to my full interview with Jamie Dimon. It's all up on the podcast this morning. That is my "BOSS FILES" podcast. Subscribe on iTunes.

And we are continuing to follow the breaking news this morning. Documents supporting the FBI raid on the home office and hotel room of the former president -- of the president's former attorney Michael Cohen, are now available to the public. What they are saying, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:46:15] HARLOW: All right. We're following breaking news. Michael Cohen -- on Michael Cohen. A judge has unsealed hundreds of pages of documents connected to the FBI raids last year, of Cohen's home, office and hotel. Let's bring in our senior justice correspondent Evan Perez.

I know you guys are still poring through these because there's so much here. There's some significant redactions. But in terms of what's not redacted, what stands out to you most?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one of the things that stands out the most, Poppy, is the fact that the prosecutors here went back as far as 2015 to try to look at what Michael Cohen was communicating about -- now, we don't know what the significance of this is. There had to be some reason that they gave to the judge, why they wanted to go back that far.

We also know, obviously, that part of the focus here was on the possible campaign finance violation, whether or not there was a campaign finance violation in the payment to those two women, including Stormy Daniels.

And so what we don't know, though, is exactly what's behind these 20 pages of redactions. We do know that there is an ongoing investigation that the U.S. Attorney's Office is essentially now leading this investigation with the forthcoming Mueller investigation, coming to a close. And we expect that that's going to be an investigation that is going

to continue. The president's own lawyers believe that the prosecutors there are going to keep looking through, digging until President Trump leaves office. The question is, you know, what happens then.

The president is protected from any charges while he is in office. The Justice Department says that you can't charge a sitting president. Once he leaves office, that's an open question.

HARLOW: Right. It is. And in terms of what else we're learning, the special counsel got warrants to search three of his e-mail accounts, looking at --

PEREZ: Right.

HARLOW: -- e-mails Cohen sent and received from January 2015 all the way through 2017. And then, of course, this was referred to the SDNY in 2018. How significant do you think that is?

PEREZ: Well, I think that the -- the issue here is, you know, it appears to be a big volume of documents. And they even were able to -- Poppy, they were even able to essentially follow him. They had a register -- a pen register where they were able to see calls that were coming in and out, and essentially snooping on him as he continued to communicate.

Keep in mind, some of this investigative activity happened just after Mueller took over this investigation in 2017. So they were able to, in real time, essentially, see what was coming and going from Michael Cohen's communications.

And I think that's, I think, one of the -- one of the things that's -- if you were Michael Cohen, if you're the president, if you're anybody who was communicating with Michael Cohen at that point, that is something that probably would concern you, you know?

HARLOW: Yes, I do. Evan, thank you very much. Update us as you get more.

We do have breaking news right now from the Supreme Court. The high court ruling that the federal government can detain immigrants who have criminal records. And they can be detained even years beyond when they've been released from custody. Joining us now is our Jessica Schneider with more.

Yes, it's an immigration ruling. So it's very significant. How big is this one?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was really on statutory interpretation. But, Poppy, nonetheless, this was a ruling on immigration law. And it came down in a five-four vote, right along those ideological lines.

And liberal justice Stephen Breyer, he read his dissent from the bench. And that's something that's rarely done except when a justice believes that the majority's opinion is particularly troubling. So let me lay out the details on this case. This involves a provision

of immigration law that allows federal authorities to detain immigrants who have committed certain dangerous crimes without a bond hearing, after they've been released from criminal custody.

So the question, here was, "When exactly can ICE detain these immigrants for deportation proceedings without that bond hearing? Does it have to be immediately after the immigrant was released from criminal custody? Or could it, perhaps, be years and years later if ICE just happens to pick them up?

[10:50:11] Now, the ACLU said it has to be immediately after their release from criminal custody. But the Supreme Court today ruling and, really, siding with the Trump administration, that even if it's years after the immigrant was released from criminal custody, ICE can in fact pick that immigrant up and hold them in detention without bond while their deportation is being considered.

So Justice Breyer, as I mentioned, dissented really vociferously here, saying that this opinion represents a, quote, "serious constitutional problem." And then he said this as well. He says, "It runs the gravest risk of depriving those whom the government has detained, one of the oldest and most important of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law."

So, Poppy, this decision, with the five conservative members siding, in fact, with the Trump administration. This, of course, comes at a time when the immigration debate has been raging here in Washington. This particular case, really dealing with statutory interpretation here. But this coming down along ideological lines, five to four, with Justice Breyer really reading his quite scathing and dissatisfied dissent from the bench -- Poppy.

HARLOW: You're right. So significant because, as you said, they rarely -- the justices will rarely do that. Jessica, thank you for the reporting on that.

So, if you've noticed, the president has been battling General Motors for days now, after they closed down a big plant in Ohio. Next, we're going to talk to the workers there. Do they think the president has any power here?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:56:12] HARLOW: All right. President Trump is demanding that General Motors reopen or sell the Ohio plant that it shut earlier this month. The president promised auto workers he would save their jobs. Now he's calling on G.M. to close a plant in China or Mexico instead. Let's go to my colleague Vanessa Yurkevich. She's in Warren, Ohio.

Look. I mean, you and I, we've been covering this story a lot. You've been there multiple times in the last few weeks. I'm so interested in whether the people there, Vanessa, especially if they voted for the president, really think that he has the power to get G.M. to reopen or sell this plant. VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy. Well, yes,

some people think that he does have the power to put the pressure on. And others think that it's really not up to him. It's up to G.M. to bring these jobs back.

But we clearly know that the president is frustrated. He took to Twitter over the weekend and on Monday, calling on G.M. to reopen this plant here in Ohio.

But, you know, Poppy, I can't really underscore the impact that losing 1,400 jobs from this plant has on the local economy here. We spoke to a retired G.M. worker, and also to a waitress that works at a local restaurant here in town, who says that business is now down 70 percent. Take a listen.

RICHARD RUNTAS, RETIRED GM WORKER: Where was he at a year ago in that? I just -- no, and it's not helping. I don't think it's helping a bit.

LISA MILLER, HEAD WAITRESS: Not only did G.M. close, but other little factories folded because of it. And that was our bread and butter.

YURKEVICH: And, Poppy, the people who have lost jobs here are sort of in a limbo state right now. They don't know whether to sell their homes and take G.M. up on an offer to transfer to another location, or whether the United Auto Workers Union and G.M. can come to some sort of a deal to help bring a new car into this facility and potentially reopen work for them -- Poppy.

HARLOW: And also, there, Beto O'Rourke the Democratic candidate made a surprise stop there. Good timing, Ms. Yurkevich, that you happened to be there and get an exclusive interview with him. What did he say about the president's criticism?

YURKEVICH: Yes, we happened to run into him as he was driving through town. He was here to see the local union president, David Green. He heard about him on Twitter from the president of the United States, who tweeted about him.

And he said he wanted to come to town to see what he could do to help. Take a listen to what he had to say to me before he met with David Green.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After this country bailed out so much of the auto industry, and this country, through this president, cut a $2 trillion tax cut that flowed to corporations like G.M., which used it to buy back stock from their investors, not to pay their workers a higher wage.

And to add insult to injury, the president right now is tweeting at the United Auto Workers Union. Their leadership, and the very workers who are bearing the brunt of this disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YURKEVICH: And, Poppy, it's important to note that this is the first of four G.M. plants that are scheduled to close before the end of the year. So, Poppy, we shouldn't be really surprised if we hear from the president again on Twitter, talking about this story, as we look to the end of the year -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. And we know what he told Mary Barra, right? The CEO of G.M. And they had that phone call a few days ago. But G.M., you know, putting out that statement, saying, "Look, it's between us and the UAW, what we do with our plants.

Vanessa, thanks for being there, for bringing us that story.

Thank you all for joining me today. I'm Poppy Harlow. I'll see you back here tomorrow morning. "AT THIS HOUR" starts right now.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR, AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN: Hello, I'm Ryan Nobles, in today for Kate Bolduan.