Return to Transcripts main page
HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Dow Plunges as China Retaliates for New U.S. Tariffs; Four Ships Sabotaged Near Strait of Hormuz; Trump Greets Hungarian Prime Minister; Viktor Orban Is Anti-Immigrant and Nationalist. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 13, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, Happy Monday, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight Donald Trump's foreign policy is reverberating around the world. Stock markets are getting a hammering after China hits back in the trade
war. I'll speak to a former U.S. commerce secretary and ambassador to Beijing. Several oil tankers have been sabotaged in the Gulf. We'll look
at how this adds to the growing tensions in the region. And right now in the White House, populist is about to meet populist. President Trump is
about to host Hungary's controversial Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.
We want to take you right to Wall Street for our breaking news. These very, very tense times between China and the United States on trade. The
Dow Jones down more than 600 points. The blue chips are down I mentioned there after China announced it's hitting back against steep U.S. tariffs
with a tariff hike of its own.
Investors very much rattled by the escalating trade war and they are heading for the exits. The question is, what will soothe -- what will calm
nerves. Let's get straight to Cristina Alesci, she is live at New York Stock Exchange. What are investors telling you about what their biggest
concern is, Cristina, you're on the trading floor?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: They're sending a clear message to Trump and his administration that they don't think the tariffs are a
good thing despite what the President says on Twitter. They don't think it's going to spur domestic growth or global growth. And that's what we're
seeing play out on the board today. I've been here on the floor all day and it has not changed.
What you're seeing is investors pricing in the possibility that this trade war gets worse before there's some kind of a deal. The two sides do not
have an incentive to get together right now. China wants to show its strength in the retaliation as we get closer to the 2020 election, however,
that might put some pressure on President Trump to go ahead and negotiate a deal because I bet you he does not want to see this kind of movement on the
stock market on the campaign trail.
Also, U.S. consumes might feel the pressure and we might begin to see the impact of these tariffs on the U.S. consumer and that comes through with
the data, that might put pressure for the U.S. to come to the table as well.
GORANI: What are the worst stocks and industries here. These are U.S. importers who pay the tariffs. Importers pay the tariffs and then it's
passed onto consumers. What are the stocks most severely affected by this?
ALESCI: It's really -- it's a pretty broad line. The stocks that rallied the most this year and last year, are the ones that are getting hit the
most. Even though some of these stocks aren't technically feeling the direct impact of the tariffs, technology stocks, for example, are feeling
that because, again, investors are pricing in lower global growth and this trade war going back and forth and that's just not good for consumers and
sentiment in general especially when you look at business investment not good for that.
One thing to point out here, Trump likes to blame the fed chairman for declines in the market. But this is all Trump's doing.
GORANI: Thanks very much. Live at the stock exchange. A recap there of our breaking news. This is affecting moves on Wall Street, China's
retaliation vowing to slap tariffs on U.S. goods after the United States announced that it was imposing tariffs on more U.S. goods as a result of
these trade talks breaking down. President Trump of course as we've been reporting on this program over the last several weeks has been very
critical of his predecessors handling of trade sayings the Obama administration let China get away with murder.
He tweeted that. I'll be joined by the former treasury secretary who served in the Obama administration. He was also U.S. ambassador to China.
So he has a perfect perspective here for us on this story. And I'll ask him what needs to be done to calm things down between the two countries and
also how he responds to that Trump criticism.
[14:05:00] Turning to claims of sabotage now. The UAE says four oil tankers were targeted. Two of them belong to Saudi Arabia, you're seeing
images of the aftermath. It comes after Iran might attack U.S. ships. Iran is suggesting it could be a plot to disrupt regional security. This
as the U.S. Secretary of State suggesting it could be a plot to disrupt regional suggesting it could be a plot to disrupt regional security. This
as the U.S. Secretary of State cancels a visit to Moscow to instead fly to Brussels to talk about Iran with his European counterparts.
We're across the story on several fronts, Nic Robertson is in Abu Dhabi, Fred Pleitgen is in Iran. What are you hearing in Tehran about these
concerns that this could escalate into something for violent, that conflict could happen according to one European foreign minister almost accidentally
between U.S. and Iran?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think those concerns are very real here. If you look at the Iranian
government, they've been critical of the Trump administration. They've confused the Trump administration of what they call both psychological and
economic warfare against Tehran saying the Trump administration through those sanctions is trying to bring Iran to its knees. At the same time you
have a lot of commanders from the revolutionary guard who say, look, if America is going to escalate the situation, that Iran is ready.
One of the things that they keep talking about is Iran's ballistic missile program which they say could be a real threat to American assets here in
this region. Here's what we learned today. An Iranian naval show of force just as the U.S. deployed an aircraft carrier to the area. Imagine this is
their aircraft carrier he said. 6,000 personnel are on board. They're a target for us.
The U.S. says it deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf and sent both bombers and anti-aircraft batteries to the Middle East. After
the U.S. said it detected Iranian military movement that could indicate a threat to U.S. bases in the region. Before leaving for Brussels, Secretary
of State Pompeo with a warning for the Iranians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: An attack on American interests whether it's an Iranian proper or an entity that is controlled by the Iranians, we
will hold the responsible party accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Iran accuses Trump administration of escalating the situation. Iranian Parliamentarians are saying it's out of the question for now.
Americans are not worth having a dialogue with. They can't be trusted for talks. They're not worthy of dialogue and they lie about their intentions
for meetings and talking with us. If they want a dialogue, they wouldn't have threatened us militarily. Many Iranians are suffering under tough
economic sanctions are concerned the situation could escalate into an armed conflict with devastating consequences.
Certainly a very difficult situation for so many people in Iran. A lot of foods aren't available anymore. The currency of course has been in an
extreme tailspin for a very long period of time. Now many people have a real concern that the security situation could get out of hand as well,
GORANI: There are real concerns. We heard as we were mentioning before from European foreign ministers. We know the U.S. Secretary of State who
is due to go to Moscow instead went to Brussels to talk Iran and Nic Robertson you're in Abu Dhabi. Do we know who's behind these attacks two
of which are Saudi oil tankers?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We don't. And we don't know precisely what was used to target them. We don't know how it
was done either. And what I can tell you from looking at it, it's hard to -- it's hard to imagine something like this could sort of go unnoticed on a
ship of course these events were noticed afterwards we were told by in some cases water being discovered in the engine rooms of the ship. But one of
those ships has such a sizable show at the back of it it's hard to imagine anything that could have done that less than something flying at it,
something hard and strong flying at it at a great speed.
[14:10:00] A gaping hole, another a nautical mile or so away, listing slightly, and another with U.S. flagged boats inspecting its damage a few
miles from them. Three of the four vessels impacted Sunday by what authorities are calling sabotage. They were at anchor along with 140 other
ships near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
What we understand happened here is that a call came in early in the morning indicating that possibly there was water in the engine room of one
of the vessels. Within a couple of hours, a total of four calls has been registered that something was out of the ordinary with a number of vessels.
The incident a few miles from the Iranian coast at a global strategic choke point. One fifth of the world's oil passes through comes just days after
U.S. officials raise concerns of an Iranian or Iranian proxy attack on shipping in the area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATES: An attack on American interests from an Iranian-led force, whether it's an Iranian proper or an entity that is
controlled by the Iranians, we will hold the responsible party accountable. President Trump has been very clear about that. Our response will be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group is headed into the seas around here supported by B-52 bombers and a missile battery system as
tensions mount. Iranian's foreign minister called the sabotage incidents alarming and regrettable, calling for clarification of the exact dimensions
of the incident.
It's not clear what caused this sabotage, how it was perpetrated or even for that matter who perpetrated it? Emirati Authorities clearly
investigating but what we know is the events are deeply troubling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN ABDULLA AL-HAYYAS, UAE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY: This isolated event which happens. It's causing concern for us. However we are believing the
authorities are taking full measure to ensure sure such events will not happen again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: What the authorities wanted us to see as well here, Hala, was their port facility despite claims over the weekend by Iranian that there
were seven vessels alight, that the port facility is up and running as normal and that indeed is how it appeared to us. I've been there before
and they also wanted to get across the point that all of these boats that are at ship, at anchor there, 140 of them, they're there, they're not
running away, they're not scared. But they're concerned for obvious reasons.
GORANI: How were these sabotage attacks carried out? Were they explosives? Were they stuck to the bottom of the vessels? What more do we
know how this was carried out? Also I imagine there's some sort of security system around some of these vessels, how was it that this happened
without anyone noticing?
ROBERTSON: I think part of the picture here, there isn't a sophisticated security system around those vessels. Anytime you've had more than a
hundred vessels there and there aren't vessels patrolling around, my understanding at least so far that several of the -- of these -- this
damage occurred below the water line. In several vessels, only in that one could you see the damage. One of them was listing. The damage was below
the water line. You're --
GORANI: What I mean by -- exactly. If it's under the water line, presumably, this means that this is rather sophisticated, a diver, or some
sort of device that is capable of going under these giant vessels in that body of water. This should give us more clues right away.
ROBERTSON: It should. The investigation very, very close to their chest. They're saying that the relevant authorities are investigating. The port
official people we talked to said they were confident that the authorities here would get to the bottom. What we did see at the back of one of the
Saudi vessels there, we could see four small U.S. naval vessels, U.S. inspecting t damage.
[14:15:13] It looked as if something -- it would have to be very large and going at great speed to render in and bend in the metal work or I didn't
see any indications of burning in that area. It seemed to be targeted at the water line to let water in. I reported there that at least one of the
calls that came in indicated water in the engine room. Look, the engine room doesn't take up the whole of the belly of the ship.
Someone knew where to target on the ship to get water into the engine room. My takeaway from this at the moment, it has to be a degree of
sophistication and, again, pointing out the fact that all these vessels weren't in the same place. It wasn't sort of a let's go in and just hit
that vessel and that vessel because they're close to each other. It was over a scattered area. Planning, preplanning. But it's such a tactical
message to send, whoever sent it, to the region, to the emirates, it was very -- it seems very carefully graded. No casualties.
GORANI: Nic Robertson, thanks very much.
The Hungarian Prime Minister has arrived at the White House. We have pictures coming into us from Washington. And there you have it. It's the
first time since 1988 that a Hungarian Prime Minister visits the White House. Victor Orban not unlike Donald Trump is not a fan of immigration
and the two men will be addressing the media from the White House a little bit later. We'll show you that as soon as those images come into us.
Russia's foreign minister says he'll discuss Iran when he meets with the U.S. Secretary of State tomorrow. As we mentioned, the secretary is in
Brussels today after ditching plans to visit Moscow. The UK, France and Germany were planning to talk about Iran, when Pompeo decided to join them.
Despite the change of plans, Russia is still expecting he'll have a frank discussion with President Vladimir Putin and other officials tomorrow.
Let's bring in Michelle Kosinski in Washington. Pompeo canceled this trip to meet with his counterpart. What's been the reaction?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: He's still going to meet with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov
This was only to meet with Americans at the embassy there and also some American businesspeople. What I'm being told is that the secretary, given
what has been happening with Iran, given the threats, given the fact that his European counterparts were already going to be meeting on Iran, he felt
it a better use of his time to postpone for now the meetings with Americans in Moscow, head straight to Brussels, have these one-on-one meetings with
each of his e-3 counters parts and go onto Moscow. These were productive meetings and he shared a lot of intelligence with his counterparts.
GORANI: And, Matthew, in Moscow, has Michelle just mentioned. The Secretary of State will meet Vladimir Putin, I imagine, Iran will be on the
agenda. In fact they've -- this has been confirmed there. What do we expect for the two men to talk about, to hash out? Because the concerns
about the Iran situation are increasing day by day.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are, but of course those meetings will be taking place in southern Russia where
Vladimir Putin is currently located. Secretary Pompeo will be flying directly there instead of going to Moscow. And having that face-to-face
meeting with the Russian President and of course with Sergey Lavrov the Russian foreign minister.
The sense you get from Russians is they're frustrated with the way this is being held, not just the fact there was this last-minute cancellation by
the U.S. Secretary of State, although one Russian lawmaker says this is feverish action. Harsh words there from a senior Russian lawmaker. You're
getting antagonistic atmosphere that Mike Pompeo will be flying into it. The Russian foreign minister says he's going to try to clarify with Mr.
Pompeo how the Americans are planning to get out of what he called the crisis with Iran which he said was created by unilateral American
[14:20:03] And so the Russians are laying at the feet of the United States all of the blame for provoking this nuclear crisis with Iran and ratcheting
up the pressure as a way of putting pressure on others to also kind of look at that nuclear deal for a second time. And they're not happy about it,
GORANI: And, Michelle, the U.S. is very much alone on this Iran nuclear deal. And today we heard from many European foreign ministers that they
thought it was a terrible idea for the U.S. to walk away and it's a mechanism in their minds that works. What does the U.S. want now from
Russia and from its European allies? What is Pompeo trying to achieve?
KOSINSKI: They want support on continuing -- we keep using the phrase ratcheting up the pressure. And we used that for North Korea as well --
GORANI: But the Europeans don't want this. The difference with North Korea is that the Europeans don't want this.
KOSINKSI: Here's the point he's going to make. When he meets with Putin, he's going to try to find that common ground that Iran is a destabilizing
force in Syria. Just from a practical as well as financial standpoint, Russia wants a stable Syria, that's why Russia has been backing Assad for
such a long time.
Pompeo is going to hammer that point again and again that Iran's influence in Syria long term is going to be destabilizing and maybe they can contain
the situation in certain ways as we've seen in the past with cease-fires. Very limited effects there. With European allies, by playing up the
continued threats from Iran, the EU has conceded that if Iran is going to conduct these kinds of activities and if it is not going to comply now as
it said it wouldn't with parts of the JCPOA, then there are going to have to be some consequences coming from the EU that's likely to be sanctions.
So Pompeo and team want to emphasize that and convince, if they can, European partners that the pressure is working better than trying to
salvage the shreds of the Iran nuclear deal.
GORANI: Thanks very much.
Still to come, we'll get another check on the Dow Jones as China's retaliation against U.S. tariffs sends stocks deep into the red once again.
We're down almost 2.5 percent. We'll take a look at the trade war that's triggering the trade war with the former ambassador to China. Stay with
[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: Donald Trump has generally not seen eye to eye with Europe, but he's meeting with a European leader who shares many of his views. The
Hungarian Prime Minister is visiting the White House. He endorsed Donald Trump very early on, congratulated him very early on, and the two men share
similar views in terms of certainly how they -- what they think about immigration, he's someone who's taken control of a vast majority of the
country's media platforms that have gone under government control.
The government has supported laws that criminalize helping migrants in the country. There you have it. This is two men whom I'm sure have a lot in
common. Stephen is here with more. Men whom I'm sure have a lot in common.
By the way, we're waiting for this pool spray to come to us from the White House and I know Donald Trump has made some comments on China and when it
does reach us, we will air it for you. Trump says the U.S. had a deal with China, he says it was 95 percent there. And he says it was China's back
tracking essentially that collapsed the deal, Stephen?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, and I think what's going to be interesting is to see how long the President sticks to this position
on China. We've seen the stock market tank. He's basically gambling on his biggest argument for re-election which is the U.S. economy and there
are many economists who fear that a long term trade war with China could not only damage the economy but could submit Trump to political pain in the
Midwest, especially among farmers, places like Iowa, Michigan, swing states that Trump has to win in 2020. Right now it looks like he's standing firm.
I think the question is going forward, how much pain is the President prepared to take on? Is he going to do what he often does which is incite
a crisis, escalate it, and then back down and have a deal which he then says is a great deal? We saw that with the NAFTA agreement, or is he going
to stick to his guns with China and what is essentially an attempt by the United States to change the framework of the Chinese economy itself.
GORANI: And, Stephen, he's talking about Iran, I imagine a reporter asked him a question about the tensions with Iran. He says we'll see what
happens with Iran. If they do anything, it will be a big mistake. What's his strategy with regard to Iran here?
COLLINSON: I think that's a very good question. I don't really know anybody in Washington who really knows where this is going apart from these
steps. Eventually we're going to come to a point where Iran has to decide whether it stays in the nuclear deal with the urinations if they can
provide some help to its economy or pull out.
If that happens, we're going to be in exactly the same place we were before the Obama administration concluded this Iran deal with the United States
have to consider whether it's going to take what would be very risky military action if Iran resumes enriching uranium which the U.S. says is
the path towards a bomb. It's difficult to see in the long term where this is going. The administration believes that of its economic pressure on
Iran is going to crank up the pressure on the regime that it may not be sustainable.
If you talk to many Iran experts, they don't believe that's the case. In fact there's some evidence that the U.S. maximum pressure campaign is
unified the leadership in Iran rather than pulling it apart.
GORANI: Quick last one on the Prime Minister here. This is a Prime Minister who has said and done things that have angered Europeans and the
European Union passing laws criminalizing the simple act of even providing information to a migrant in Hungary. This is an extreme anti-immigration
position that Hungary has taken. Obama did not welcome Orban, George W. Bush did not, but now Donald Trump is, why?
COLLINSON: This is exactly the kind of populist national leader that Donald Trump likes. He's as you say had a very hard line on immigration.
He's cracked down the press. The President has his own autocratic tendencies even though they are reigned in by the U.S. system. The fact
that he's sitting in the oval office right now rather than being condemned by the White House shows you how Trump has changed policy towards Europe.
[14:30:00] Orban has been undermining the European Union, Trump has done much the same with his support for Brexit, with his remarks on NATO, with
his tariffs and trade wars against the Europeans. This one example of why relations with
Europe are so bad. U.S. officials say that the visit is merited because they want to keep Orban for going too far from the orbit of Russia or
China. But this is someone who, you know, has quite a lot of synergy with President Trump.
GORANI: Stay with us, because once we hear from Orban and Donald Trump, we'll to that. Let's take a quick break. We'll be right back with a lot
[14:30:21] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right. Donald Trump says he is going to meet China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin at
the G20 Summit which happens next month. This, of course, amid an escalating trade war or trade tensions between the two countries. And
China, of course, is retaliating as we've been reporting for these steep U.S. tariffs. That is all sending stocks on Wall Street into a tailspin.
The Dow is deep into the red. Almost 600 points.
U.S. President Donald Trump just said America cannot let China take advantage of it any longer, but he also says, as I mentioned there, that he
expects to meet the country's leader.
So our next guest has unique insight into this escalating trade war. Gary We have the former U.S. ambassador to China. He also served as commerce
secretary in the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Thanks for joining us. So the president of the United States is saying he will meet Xi Jinping at the G20. At the same time, he says China keeps
taking advantage of us and it can no longer go on. What do you make of the current situation?
GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well, this is an untenable position, because it's American consumers and companies that will be hurt.
The president says this is a tax and it's a tax that will be paid for by China. That's absolutely not the case, because the tax is imposed, so the
tariff is imposed on the importers of those Chinese goods. It's paid for by the American companies that are placed these orders and it will be
absorbed by those Americans companies or passed onto their customers.
And the latest round of tariffs really target items that American consumers use every single day, whether it's clothes and other consumer goods.
They're the ones who are going to be paying this tax, and that will affect jobs in America and certainly the disposable income that Americans have.
GORANI: But I guess the calculation --
LOCKE: Obviously, American companies and the American government -- obviously, we have legitimate concerns, deep concerns about China's trade
and economic policies, but tariffs are the wrong way to go.
GORANI: And the calculation that the president is making is the economy is essentially booming. It's almost at full unemployment. That if he keeps
this going for a few weeks, potentially even longer, that the impact on the economy wouldn't be so great and he's seen as a tough negotiator with his
base. Do you agree with that?
LOCKE: Well, he's -- he is a very tough negotiator. He's banking on the fact that China will capitulate, but there are some fundamental differences
that China will not agree to. And I think that it's a tougher, tougher problem than the president understands.
[14:35:01] Just as -- I mean, some of the positions of the American government keeping all the tariffs in place, even after an agreement is
reached of making China change some of its policies is unacceptable to the Chinese. So they want equality, they want to know that if they remove
their tariffs on American goods, that America will remove tariffs on those Chinese goods.
Probably, it's a good thing to keep some of those tariffs in place as a way to force China to live up to its agreements and its commitments. But the
Chinese view that the -- they're making all the concessions and America is not.
GORANI: Well, the president has essentially blaming China saying the deal was 95 percent there. They backtracked at the last minute and the reports
are that they perhaps backtracked on the idea that there should be some sort of verifiable, enforceable mechanism to force China to comply in terms
of the theft of intellectual property.
That that's where it all broke down, that China potentially saw this as an encroachment on its sovereignty. You know China very well. Do you think
this is something that would have made them back down? And if so, what's the way out?
LOCKE: Well, I'm not going to get into the details because I don't think any of us really have our privy to the exact back-and-forth going on.
But clearly, one of the issues that America has is, how do we make sure that China lives up to whatever commitments it makes and how do we enforce
it? And that's whether or not, you keep some of the tariffs in place. Obviously, America has the option of re-imposing tariffs if they felt the
Chinese were violating the agreement. And so those are some of the sticking points.
But again, America has -- American companies, the American government, and not just American companies and governments, but foreign governments and
companies, as well, have had long-standing problems. And I really felt that it should have been a unified effort among all the western countries
that trade with China. So that's not America doing this on its own.
I think there are many other tactics that we could have used that would be equally effective, gotten the attention of the Chinese without resorting to
these taxes or these tariffs, which are taxes imposed on American companies and American consumers.
GORANI: Ambassador, we are -- thank you so much for your time. We're going to go to the White House where the president is speaking. He's
hosting the Hungarian prime minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's OK. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe. We'll be discussing NATO. As
you know, Hungary is a proud member of NATO. And we are -- we barely gotten to know each a little bit. And we'll be discussing trade and lots
of other subjects. We'll be meeting with representatives of Hungary later on, with the prime minister. And we'll spend some very good time together.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much for being at the White House. Thank you very much. It's a great honor. Thanks.
VIKTOR ORBAN, PRIME MINISTER OF HUNGARY: May I have a word?
TRUMP: Yes, please.
ORBAN: So, president, thank you very much for the invitation.
TRUMP: Thank you.
ORBAN: May I just say here that we are proud that so many Hungarians contributed to the tremendous progress of United States? I'm very happy to
be here again, and, may I say, to be young again. It was 20 years ago, first time here. I have some expectations for this meeting this afternoon.
First of all, to strengthen our strategic alliance. Then, to discuss global political issues because so many changes are going on, and we have
some similar approaches. And I would like to express that we are proud to stand together with the United States on fighting against illegal
migration, on terrorism, and to protect and help the Christian communities all around the world.
So, president, thank you very much for the invitation.
TRUMP: And you have been great with respect to Christian communities. You have really put a block up, and we appreciate that very much.
So we're going to have some meetings now. A lot of subjects under discussion. And the relationship is very good with Hungary.
Thank you all very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what's your reaction to China's decision today to retaliate on tariffs, and the market reaction to that?
TRUMP: Well, the reaction is very simple. China has been taking advantage of the United States for many, many years. I'm not just talking about
during the Obama administration. You can go back long before that. And it's been taking out four hundred, five hundred, six hundred billion
dollars a year out of the United States. And we can't let that happen.
We're in a very strong position. Our economy has been very powerful, theirs has not been. We've gone up a lot since our great election in 2016.
And if you look at the numbers, they've gone down quite a bit.
We're dealing with them. We have a very good relationship. Maybe something will happen. But we're going to be meeting, as you know, at the
G20 in Japan. And that will be, I think, probably, a very fruitful meeting.
[14:40:03] But we're taking in, right now, hundreds of billions of dollars. We are taking in billions of dollars of tariffs. And those tariffs are
going to be tremendously -- if you look at what we've done thus far with China, we've never taken in 10 cents until I got elected. Now, we're
taking in billions and billions.
Now, it went up, as of Friday, very substantially. It's 25 percent on $200 billion. So now the total is 25 percent on $250 billion. In addition to
that, we have another $325 billion that we can do if we decide to do it.
So we are taking in tens of billions of dollars. We've never done that before with China. We've never done that before with anybody, frankly,
because we've been taken advantage of on all of our trade deals, practically.
This is a very positive step. I love the position we're in. There can be some retaliation, but it can't be very, very substantial, by comparison.
And out of the billions of dollars that we're taking in, a small portion of that will be going to our farmers, because China will be retaliating,
probably, to a certain extent, against our farmers.
We're going to take the highest year, the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers, which is about $15 billion, and do something
reciprocal to our farmers, so our farmers can do well. They'll be planting. They'll be able to sell for less, and they'll make the same kind
of money until such time as it's all straightened out.
So our farmers will be very happy. Our manufacturers will be very happy. And our government is very happy because we're taking in tens of billions
of dollars. I think it's working out very well.
Again, we do much less business with China than they do with us. If you take a look at $100 billion versus $600 billion. And just so you
understand, we don't have to pay any tariffs, if you're a manufacturer in this country. You pay nothing.
Open your division or open up your product. Have it made in this country as opposed to made in China. Or, if you don't want to do that -- and that
would be the ideal, that's what it used to be a long time ago when we were smart, when we had an economy that was really something very special.
Now, we're having a period of tremendous growth and tremendous success like we haven't seen for a long time. But in the old days, we made our product
and we took our product, and that's what it was. Now we go to China, we buy it, not anymore.
And if they don't want to pay tariffs, make it here or buy it from another country that's a non-tariffed country. So whether you go to Vietnam or so
many others, you can do that.
So, the bottom line is we are taking in tremendous amounts of money. It already started as of last Friday, but it really started seven months
before that. It's in the form of tariffs or taxes, and it had a tremendous impact.
If you looked at the first quarter -- which is always, historically, the worst quarter -- we were at 3.2 percent. People were very surprised.
Well, a lot of that was the tariffs that we were taking in from China. So we're in a very good positon and I think it's only going to get better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can you guarantee a trade deal with China by June 1st?
TRUMP: We're in a great position right now, no matter what we do. Yes, I think China wants to have it because companies are already announcing that
they're leaving China, because they can't do that. They can't compete if they're in China, with the tax.
So what a lot of companies are going to be doing, quite naturally, is leaving China and going to other countries so they don't have to pay the
tariff. That's something that's a problem for China. They don't want to have that. And we don't want to have that necessarily happen to China.
But we had a deal with China. It was 95 percent there. And then, my representatives -- as you know, Secretary Mnuchin and Bob Lighthizer --
Ambassador Lighthizer-- hey went to China and they were told the things that were fully agreed to we're not going to get anymore; they're going to
un-agree to them. That's not acceptable.
I said, "Good. That's fine. Put on the tariffs." And again, so we have tens of millions of dollars pouring into our coffers -- the coffers of the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you at war with Iran? Are you seeking regime change?
TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake. If they do anything. I'm hearing little stories about
Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We'll see what happens with Iran.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you meet with President Xi directly at G20?
TRUMP: I'll meet with him directly, yes. I'll be meeting with President Xi of China. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about President Putin? Will you also meet with him?
TRUMP: Yes, I will be meeting with President Putin also.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Russia, Secretary Pompeo is there -- or is heading there. What message do you have for him to send to Putin?
[14:45:00] TRUMP: I think the message is that there has never been anybody that's been so tough on Russia but, at the same time, we're going to end up
getting along with Russia. It makes sense to get along with Russia.
Nobody has sanctioned Russia like I have. Nobody has talked about the pipeline going to Germany and various other places like I have. I said
it's very unfair -- having to do with the United States and NATO.
There's been nobody that's ever done -- and if you really look at something big, our energy business -- we're now the biggest in the world. We're
bigger than Russia. We're bigger than Saudi Arabia. We're bigger than anybody. That all happened since I've become President, because I've made
it so that you can do that. And we're taking in a lot of money.
Look, our country is doing really well. We've probably never done this well before, and it's going to continue. We have tremendous signs. As far
as the deal with China is concerned, believe it or not, it's very important, but it's a very, very small part of the kind of numbers that
we're doing right now, since my election.
TRUMP: Will you pursue the $325 billion in tariffs? The additional tariffs -- are you going to pursue --
TRUMP: I haven't made that decision yet. We have the right to do another $325 billion at 25 percent in additional tariffs. That is a tremendous
amount of money that would come into our country. I have not made that decision yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Don McGahn be held in contempt of Congress?
TRUMP: I don't know anything about what's going on. I can tell you that there has never been anybody so transparent as the Trump administration.
And it was no collusion and no obstruction. And we're wasting a lot of time with that stuff. But the Mueller report came out. It was a very good
report for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you concerned about democratic backsliding in Hungary under this Prime Minister?
TRUMP: Well, people have a lot of respect for this Prime Minister. He's a respected man. And I know he's a tough man, but he's a respected man. And
he's done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration. And you look at some of the problems that they have in Europe that are
tremendous, because they've done it a different way than the Prime Minister. But I'll let him speak to that question.
Mr. Prime Minister, please.
ORBAN: "From the people, by the people, for the people." This is the basis for the Hungarian government. So, it's a government which is elected
by the Hungarian people several times, so we are happy to serve our nation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about democratic reforms, sir?
ORBAN: We have a new constitution accepted in 2011, and it's functioning well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you talked about --
TRUMP: Don't forget they're a member of NATO, and a very good member of NATO. And I don't think we can really go into too much of a discussion
unless that's mentioned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You talked about transparency, sir. If you're so transparent, why continue to block these House Democrats who are looking
for information --
TRUMP: Because they're asking for things that they're not entitled to. I could ask them. I assume, if they ask me, I could ask them for the same
kind of thing. They wouldn't want to do it. All they're doing is trying to win an election in 2020.
And I think we're in very good shape. We're have the strongest economy we've ever had. We have the single best employment numbers we've ever had
and unemployment numbers.
You know, it's very interesting, but, Mr. Prime Minister, as of today, we have the most number of people working in the United States than we have
ever had at any time in the history of our country. Almost 160 million people --
ORBAN: Congratulations. Congratulations.
TRUMP: -- are working. So, that's a big -- that's a big number. I just saw the final number. We're close to 160 million people. If you look at
African-American, Asian, Hispanic unemployment, it's the lowest number it's ever been.
So we're doing really well. And all the Democrats want to do is find any way they can to stop it. They're putting their own personal goals ahead of
the country, and you can't do that. You just can't do that.
And we have a wonderful Attorney General. He's done a very, very good job. And I'm sure it'll all work out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On your campaign, sir, will you commit to not using any information stolen from a foreign adversary? Will you make that
TRUMP: Well, I never did use, as you probably know. That's what the Mueller report was all about. They said, "No collusion." And I would
certainly agree to that. I don't need it. All I need is the opponents that I'm looking at. I'm liking what I see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you concerned about the attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East?
TRUMP: We'll see what happens. It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens, I can tell you that. They're not going to be happy.
They are not going to be happy people. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean by that, sir?
TRUMP: You can figure it out yourself. They know what I mean by it.
OK. Does anybody else have a question other than these two? Any questions for the Prime - are there any questions for the Prime Minister, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what can you tell us about this American citizen that was rescued by the French in Africa?
TRUMP: Yes, the French did a great job. The French did a great job and we appreciate it very much. And I've already communicated that feeling. We
worked with them on intelligence, and we were able to get that person back. And we thank the French very much. Great job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is she? Who is she? Or what was she doing there?
TRUMP: I don't want to -- I don't want to tell you that now. I'll tell you at some later date, I'm sure. OK?
[14:50:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The farmer aid package, sir -- the $15 billion. Can you elaborate on what that looks like or where that's coming
TRUMP: Well, it's being devised right now. It's something that has taken place over the years. And if you would like, speak to Sonny Perdue,
Department of Agriculture.
We love our farmers. We take care of our farmers. Our farmers have been incredible. No country can get in the way of our farmers. Our farmers are
great patriots and they've done a fantastic job. So our farmers are going to be very well taken care of.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The U.S. President hosting Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister. He congratulated him on protecting Christian communities. That
was before he took questions saying he put a block up. Of course, Hungary put up that fence during the 2015 migrant crisis.
He also talked about China tariffs bringing in billions to the U.S. economy without mentioning, of course, that in many instances, it is U.S. importers
who pay those tariffs and passing on those costs most often to consumers.
His own economic adviser admitting, Larry Kudlow, that this trade war, in fact, harms both economies, the U.S. and the Chinese economy.
On Iran, some tough talk. They won't be happy. They shouldn't try anything. And he congratulated the French on that hostage rescue operation
in Burkina Faso, in which one American hostage was freed.
Our White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, is here once again. And Atika Shubert who's covered Viktor Orban extensively as well, joins me live from
Atika, I'm curious for your thoughts on Viktor Orban there and what he chose to say in the Oval Office, talking about the defense of Christian
communities around the world, for instance.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what he's consistently been saying, that he's basically building an alternative
to liberal democracy, what he has termed in the past as an illiberal democracy and that he sees himself as sort of the defender of Christian
And what he means by this is that he intends to keep Hungary, white, Christian and free of migrants. He has the zero tolerance policy on
migration. Refugees and immigrants have found themselves in barbed wire fenced areas called transit zones, and he's been extremely tough on this.
And that's what President Trump was referring to.
And he clearly -- I don't think he perhaps intended to say this, but because he was given this platform and asked this question at the White
House, he then proceeded to, you know, explain a little bit more about his vision of this. I think he will find that he has a lot in common with
GORANI: Yes, certainly. And this meeting comes at a crucial time for Europe, there are European parliamentary elections, Stephen Collinson, the
whole Brexit drama, crisis unfolding as well. And by appearing with Viktor Orban who's a thorn, really, in the side of Brussels with all of these
anti-immigration laws, and not taking in the quote that is required of migrants throughout Europe.
What is the U.S. president telling his European allies here?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think it's pretty obvious by this point that the president has quite a lot of contempt for the
We've seen that in the way that he's treated potentially the most powerful leader in the European Union, Angela Merkel, of Germany. He has a separate
trade fight going with the Europeans.
So by sitting there in the Oval Office and praising what many people will see as anti-European actions by Orban, actions that run against the moral
philosophy, if you like, of the whole European project, he's sending a clear message. He's going to be in London in a few weeks, President Trump.
And I think we're going to see, again, likely the president intervening in the whole Brexit debate, which is going to be another huge headache for
Theresa May, potentially even meeting some of the Brexiteers like Boris Johnson.
So the president knows what he's doing here. It's not like he's just trampling across European sensitivities. He's done it often enough now
that it's clearly deliberate.
GORANI: And the secretary of state canceling that minute -- that meeting, I should say, last-minute with Angela Merkel. I mean, you don't get the
sense that there's -- just a few days before the president hosts Viktor Orban.
Let's talk a little bit more about Viktor Orban within the context of Europe here. What does he want from Donald Trump to take back home, Atika?
SHUBERT: Well, really what he wants is the prestige. You know, you can argue that in the one hand, the Trump administration is much warmer to
Orban than any previous administration. I mean, he mentions, for example, Prime Minister Orban, that he hasn't been in the White House since the
Clinton era when he was first elected.
And since then, he's moved progressively to the right. The Obama administration shunned him, the Bush administration shunned him. Precisely
because of these very anti-democratic moves he had, squelching the opposition, you know, squelching free media, putting the -- making sure
that the courts had no independence. These are the kinds of things that really ring alarm bells, you know, in any democratic country, but
particularly within the E.U.
[14:55:22] What he's looking for then is some sort of legitimacy from the Trump administration. But it has taken him a long time. Even though, he
was one of the first to congratulate President Trump on his election victory, it's taken him nearly two years to get to the White House.
So it's a little bit embarrassing for him on the one hand that it's taking so long, but he's finally here and he's clearly going to try and make the
most of it.
GORANI: And it's not, Stephen, just Hungary, it's the Czech Republic, I mean, all these populist leaders that Donald Trump is very happy to host
and spend time with -- his first international trip was to Poland. Traditionally, that's not the case with U.S. presidents.
So the American president is positioning himself, ideologically, in Europe with these populist, anti-immigration, far-right leaders. And what you're
saying, Stephen, is he's doing this deliberately?
COLLINSON: Right. And, you know, he has a common personality traits with these leaders and it's not just leaders in Europe, of course. We've seen
him cozy up to autocrats all over the world, in Asia as well. Even though this trade dispute is going on with China, he keeps talking about his
relationship with Xi Jinping and admires how strong he is and said he once called him the king of China, because he has all these autocratic power.
So Trump, clearly, identifies with these kind of leaders.
If you look at what he's done inside the United States, he has taken, you know, exception to normal democratic norms and institutions. That's
something that's at the core of his presidency, it's this demagogic strongman leader. So I don't think it's that surprising.
And I think what's actually quite true of Orban to mention, immigration during the sort of conversation there. And the fact that the president has
spoken out in favor of Christian communities. That's something that's politically valuable to the president. He always tries to, you know,
reinforce his ties with evangelical voters in the United States who are a key part of his political base.
GORANI: Stephen Collinson and Atika Shubert, thanks very much to both of you.
I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching the program this evening. Always great to have you with us. Do stay with CNN.
A quick break and then it's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."