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Trump on China: I Have No Idea What's Going to Happen; Dow Falls Ahead of Tonight's Trade Deadline for China and U.S.; No Intel to Indicate a Decrease in Iran's Intentions; Elizabeth Warren Has Rolled Out 12 Policies Since Launching Campaign; Boston Red Sox Divided by Racial Lines on Trump White House Visit. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 9, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] TRUMP: DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- one of the highest official in China is coming. You know, you heard he wasn't coming. He's coming. I will say this. Once the tariffs went on, they upped the meeting. It was supposed to take place originally on Thursday.

Then about five weeks ago they said, how about Friday? How about next week? I said what this is all about. And I said, that's OK, let's -- don't worry about it. Let's take in $100 billion a year and we put the tariffs on and made the statement and then they upped the meeting. How about let's go back to Thursday. So I have no idea what's going to happen.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All of that uncertainty has sent the Dow down about 165 points right now. Half an hour before the closing bell. David Lynch is global economics correspondent for "The Washington Post." So David, a pleasure. You know, listening to the President earlier, do you see all of this maneuvering as art of the deal negotiations and him speaking out today, do you see that as a wise move?

DAVID LYNCH, GLOBAL ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think there have been a lot of twists in these negotiations over the past year or so. And some of it has no doubt 11th hour brinksmanship. U.S. officials are also quite annoyed at what they see as Chinese backsliding on commitments that the U.S. thought China had agreed to. So there is a substantive element to this that the President's reacting to. But he's in good company when he said he doesn't know what will happen tonight because no one else does either.

BALDWIN: Well, I was reading just today about how the U.S. and China have really a history of misunderstanding one another. Right? Both sides appear to think that they have the other over a barrel which then caused tensions to rise. Undoing sessions of hard-fought negotiations. How easy or not will it be for them to come back to this table?

LYNCH: Well, the good news is they will be back at the table as you say in about two hours. But they'll be dragging historical baggage with them on both sides. The U.S. is determined -- the Trump administration is determined not to repeat what they see as the failures of the last 20 years. Where the U.S. entered into numerous dialogues and agreements with China and ultimately felt that China didn't live up to its promises.

The Chinese of course have their own historical memories, they go back farther to the 19th century and early part of the 20th century when foreign powers treated a very weak China badly. Forced it to open its markets to foreign goods. And so there's an internal political dimension in China where Chinese President Xi Jinping cannot be seen to be giving into American demands.

BALDWIN: He does that, though, as the President praises the letter, he received and his wonderful relationship. But yet plays hard ball over tariffs. They speak in an hour and 1/2 from now. David Lynch, will be watching closely. Thank you so much.

Also happening before then, moments from now President Trump will hosting the Boston Red Sox at the White House. But the team's manager will not be there and neither will several others. Why he's specifically is not showing up and how these events are becoming so totally racially divided.

Plus, I have a plan for that. It has become the new go-to applause line for Senator Elizabeth Warren. And at least one analyst says it proves she is the only 2020 Democrat who fully grasps what is at stake this election. I'll talk to him next.


BALDWIN: Just into us here at CNN, we're getting word about where tensions stand between the United States and Iran. Days after the U.S. announced it was deploying bombers in the carrier strike group. So let's go straight to the Pentagon and our correspondent there Barbara Starr. And so, what's is the story, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Brooke. Well U.S. officials are telling CNN that as of right now they see no indication that Iran is backing off. No decrease Iranian intentions or capabilities in posture of their malicious that would indicate they are backing away. Continuing to plan for a possible attack is the words that U.S. officials are using about Iran. No intention of backing off at this point.

So what are we talking about here? The threat continues. That Iran has missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf and that they are threatening U.S. forces ashore. Possibly at air bases or U.S. military bases up and down the Gulf and even into Iraq. This is the big concern. The deterrence, that aircraft carrier, those B-52 bombers, they are arriving in theater as you say. But Iraq apparently not quite yet getting the message that the U.S. is so serious about this.

So the big question is of course, why is Iran doing all of this? U.S. intelligence community, U.S. military officials still trying to puzzle that out. They have chatter, intercepts of you will, of Iranians plotting and planning they say. Expressing the intention to attack the United States forces. Are the militias doing this on their own? Is it being directed from the central government in Tehran? This is the big question. And officials are saying there may be multiple answers to all of that.

It may not be a very clean answer. But certainly overall tensions still not back where the level of lowered tensions -- not back where the U.S. wants to see them.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: We got it. Barbara Starr, thank you.

Now to this.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, don't come to Iowa without having some ideas about exactly how to make that change. So I got a plan.

The answer is yes, I have got plans.

I got a plan.


BALDWIN: I've got a plan so says Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Senator. She wants to be at the top of the 2020 Democratic pack. Senator Warren is hoping those four small words "I got a plan" will have a massive impact on her bid for the White House.

"Time" magazine is definitely taking notice. Take a look at this. Warren's love of the nitty-gritty details landed her and the phrase that has become synonymous with her campaign smack dab on the magazine cover.

And since jumping into the race exactly three months ago, the Massachusetts Senator has rolled out no less than 12 policy proposals. Tackling everything from the opioid epidemic, to breaking up big tech, to universal free college, which she would pay for with yet another plan, taxing the rich.

But Senator Warren isn't stopping there. She also wants to clean up corruption in politics, unveiling a bill last sum that would among other things require the IRS to release eight years of tax returns for all Presidents and VP candidates while forcing both the President and Vice President to divest from any assets that could be a conflict of interest.

And that Bill is just one reason my next guest said the Senator is the only Democrat who understands what he calls the threat posed by President Trump. Greg Sargent is an opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an author of "An Uncivil War, Taking Back Our Democracy at An Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics." So Greg, nice to have you on.


BALDWIN: So in your column you write that Senator Warren treats Trump as both, quote, a unique threat and a symptom of so much of what has gone horribly wrong. Tell me what you mean. SARGENT: Well, there is a debate underway among Democrats right now

over whether Trump is merely an aberration. After which if he's gone will everything revert to normal very quickly or is, he symptomatic of many long-running pathologies and deep structural problems in our economy and politics.

And my argument is that Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate who's comprehensively rolled out both proposals and made pronouncements that respond to an understanding of Trump as representing kind of both of those things. He's both a continuation of all of these pathologies and structural problems in our politics but also a severe exacerbation of those things. And so she has responded to both of those.

BALDWIN: And as she has responded, when you listen to her words and see her actions there, as much about President Trump as they are about her Republican colleagues. This is how she responded to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his declaration that the Mueller report was case closed. Here she was.


WARREN: There's plenty to be outraged about in special counsel's report. But no one here is pitching a fit that Democrats didn't win the election. No, what is at stake here is the Constitution of the United States of America. Will Congress do its job and fulfill its constitutional duty to serve as a check on the President. The answer from the majority leader in his Republican colleagues is no. Case closed. Case closed. Instead of protecting the Constitution, they want to protect the President.


BALDWIN: What did you think of that? And if I may add to that, despite all of your praise, she is still lagging behind Biden and Bernie, 8 percent compared to double-digits to those two.

SARGENT: Well, on the polls it's really true that she's struggling to break through with the broader Democratic primary electorate, at least if the early polls are any indication. But it is early. I think of her candidacy kind of as a little engine that could. Thinking long- term chugging along, one proposal after another. Kind of fearlessly taking on the impeachment question.

In terms of what she said on the floor there, the reason I thought that was so powerful and important was that she's both targeting the fact that Trump represents a unique threat to the rule of law, but also talking broadly and expansively about the ways in which Republicans -- the Republican Party is enabling all of those things. And some -- a lot of the Democrats sort of choose one track or the other but she's really making a comprehensive case on both tracks.

BALDWIN: OK. Greg Sargent, all in clearly on Senator Elizabeth Warren.

[15:45:00] We've got a long way to go. The little engine that could. We'll see. Greg Sargent, thank you so much. SARGENT: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Right now President Trump is welcoming the World Series championships, the Boston Red Sox to the White House or at least some of them. And the racial divide as to which players refuse the invitation has certainly gone -- not gone unnoticed.


BALDWIN: Live pictures there from the White House. President Trump welcoming the 2018 World Series champs, the Boston Red Sox. It's sports tradition. It's become mired in controversy with this White House amid charges of a racial divide. Skipping the ceremony with President Trump, the team's manager Alex Cora and nearly a dozen Red Sox players who are all people of color.

Long time Boston-based sports journalist Steve Buckley tweeted this about the White House celebration. So basically, it's the white sox who will be going. Steve Buckley joins me from Boston. So, Steve, you took some heat for that tweet.

STEVE BUCKLEY, SPORTS JOURNALIST: Well, this has been a pet topic of mine for about 12 years now going all the way back to when Manny Ramirez didn't go to the White House when the Red Sox won the '07 series and I defended him. My take all along for years has been, if you don't want to go, don't go. If you do want to go, go with our blessings, and these players shouldn't be criticized.

The players who are there today shouldn't be criticized. The players who are not there should not be criticized. Now we do have a racial divide. I think that's pretty obvious. And the tweet I sent out was simply pointing out -- with a play on words -- that a large contingent of white personnel from the Red Sox were going and the players of color were not. This is nondebatable. And that's where we are right now. And it's not -- it's OK to have a discussion about this. It's not OK to criticize who goes and who doesn't go.

BALDWIN: Well, Boston management, they framed the issue. You know, the Sox, they say it's an issue of personal choice and not of politics. After you sent the tweet, you wrote in the "Athletic" that we should respect, as you're pointing out, the players' personal choice to go or to not go. But then you added, it gets complicated when you look at the roster of who's in and who's out. So do you mean the complication being simply the color of their skin?

BUCKLEY: Oh, it absolutely is. In this particular case given who is not there and given who the players and personnel who are there, it's impossible not have that discussion. And that's OK. It's OK for people who disagree on things to sit down and talk about, OK, why aren't they there?

It's the same thing with members of the New England Patriots who took a knee during the National Anthem. Which again, I have no problem with. And people who said, well no, that's an insult to our military. There was a player on the patriots whose father and uncle were both in the military. And this guy's eyes were glistening as he talked about it. In no way was he insulting the military.

So what you need to do is take a step back and ask yourself, why aren't these people there. Why are these people there? There are people who supported Trump who were there. There were people who didn't support Trump who aren't there. It's OK to have that talk.

BALDWIN: Right, and you pointed out what had happened in '07 with Ramirez. And now here we are in 2019. And, listen, we've covered a number of players from various teams who have chosen not to go to X, Y and Z events at the White House. And I'm just curious, do you think it's an effective form of protest?

BUCKLEY: To the degree we're having the discussion, yes. Because everybody who has any interest in this at all, baseball fans, fans of politics are asking themselves why these players aren't there. And if you can affect some kind of discussion through that, then that's OK. But what you can't, do -- and again, I'm repeating myself -- is to wave some kind of flag and say you should be there or shouldn't be there, but it's OK to have the talk.

BALDWIN: All right, Steve Buckley, thank you so much for your opinion. I appreciate it. Good to have you on.

BUCKLEY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just before this Red Sox event over at the White House, President Trump surprised reporters by sounding off on the subpoena for his son, Don Jr., which was issued by a Republican-led Senate committee. We have details on what they could be looking for.


BALDWIN: We are seconds away now from the closing bell. The Dow set to close at, obviously, under at least 100 points there. Ahead of last-minute trade negotiations between the Trump administration and China. Those talks are set to begin in about an hour from now in Washington, D.C. So stay tune for the fallout from that.

Before we go just a reminder that former FBI director, James Comey, will join Anderson tonight for this live town hall in Washington, D.C. So make sure to tune in only here on CNN at 8:00 Eastern.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you very much for being with me on this Thursday. Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.