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Trump Calls Escalating Trade War "A Little Squabble" But Small Businesses Impacted; "Champions For Change," David & Lauren Hogg Spearhead School Safety Debate; Actor And Comic Tim Conway Dead At 85. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 14, 2019 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:00] LT. STEVE DORRIS, BAYTOWN, TEXAS POLICE: Was sent to the hospital. But like I say, if you've ever been struck with a taser, it's a very painful experience.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some residents question whether the shooting had to unfold the way it did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not going to say every officer is a bad officer but, honestly, I feel like he didn't have to do her like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen anything like this from any officer in Baytown.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Ed Lavandera with the report. Ed, thank you so much.

Now to the trade war with China. This is getting worse. Even though the president calls it, quote, "just a little squabble" and the markets are up today, we will ask the owner of a mom-and-pop shop whether he shares the president's same confidence.

And plus, saying good-bye to another Hollywood legend. My memories with Tim Conway, ahead.


[14:35:20] BALDWIN: The president today called the U.S trade were with China a "squabble" and blames China for its recent escalation with each country imposing tariffs on the other as high as 25 percent.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a deal that was very close and then they broke it. They really did. I mean, more than just -- more than renegotiating. They really broke it. So we can't have that happen.


BALDWIN: The Dow is rebounding solidly in the green after the 600- point tailspin over tariffs a day ago.

But while Wall Street is seeing some recovery for today, that is far from the case on Main Street.

And that brings me to the next guest, Tom Vari, who owns Brandywine Lighting Gallery in Delaware.

Tom, nice to have you on, sir. Welcome.

TOM VARI, OWNER, BRANDYWINE LIGHTING GALLERY: Thank you very much for having me.

BALDWIN: So you have a mom-and-pop store and you're all about customer service and almost everything that you sell is made in China. So that said, how does this affect you?

VARI: Yes, that is -- that is absolutely true.

Now what is -- what is interesting is all light fixtures mainly come from China. It is not just my store. Lighting fixtures across the country, 90 percent are purchased through China. There's only a few companies that are made in the United States. So no matter whether you buy from me, which is a small showroom in Delaware, or whether you buy from a big chain across the country, you're buying products that are made in China. And it does affect us all.


VARI: When you are small like me - well, when you are a small company like me, I could only talk for myself, we are unable to bring in new current new current products that we would love to put on our showroom floor for our customers.

It affects us financially if the -- they are not stocking items because they are hit with these tariffs then we can't buy the products from them because everything is being cut back. The venders are hurting, so they in turn hurt us with a little bit of the tariff increases. Increases are anywhere from 15 percent to 25 percent this time in the lighting business. So --

BALDWIN: So you either don't get the items from the supplier or getting notes from the suppliers, I imagine, saying, sorry, but we have to up the price which, in turn, I imagine, economics 101, you up the price for your customer?

VARI: That is true.

Now what we're trying to do -- we are small and we have a nice -- a nice community that deals with us. Very good builders and contractors that are loyal. And we try and keep our prices down. Even through the first round of tariffs that happened, we kept prices down.

But what is happening now is, with the second round, there's only so much you could hold back. At some point, we're going to have to raise ours also.

So we're one of many stores and companies that are hoping that a deal is made.

BALDWIN: Sure. I understand. And it puts you and others in a tough spot.

Let me play a clip for you, Tom. This is the president talking today about this.

VARI: Sure.


TRUMP: All you have to do is build or make your product in the United States.

If they want, they could buy from someplace else other than China or could -- really, the ideal is make their product in the USA. That is what I really want. Yes, we're winning though.


BALDWIN: So you heard the president there and you smile. Tell me why you're smiling.

VARI: Well, that is a great theory. But it took 50 years for us to move products like lighting over to China. It was a slow move.

All lighting fixtures were made in the United States. And over time it took -- it took all of our companies and all of our venders to start buying overseas for whatever reason it was. That is not -- that is not my bag. I don't understand that part of it.

But now -- but now that it is there, you just can't close up shop over there and expect people to open up here. It will take years to open up here. And you can't retool and teach people how to build products over here without prices being extreme. You can't do it that way.

You can eventually do it. But you can't just pull the rug out from under all of us currently buying at decent prices and raise our prices so people start building items back here again. It won't happen that fast. It will hurt small businesses like me, not just in the lighting business but other businesses also.

[14:40:20] BALDWIN: Yes. It is not like that. And there's long- lasting damage.

Tom Vari, with Brandywine Lighting Company, thank you, sir, very much. Best of luck to you. Appreciate you coming on.

VARI: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: You've got it.

VARI: Appreciate it very much. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just in, fascinating pictures from the secretary of state's meeting with Vladimir Putin. We'll show you what is happening. Plus, what happens if you hold a congressional hearing and the key witness doesn't show up? Why the House Judiciary Committee may be about to find out. Will former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, be held in contempt? We have new details on what is on his schedule.


[14:45:10] BALDWIN: This week, we're bringing you stories of remarkable people making lasting impacts around the world. And we're calling the series "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE," our chance to revisit the amazing change makers we've covered in the past and have never forgotten. The passion inspires us as they continue to change the world.

Parkland, Florida, now a city sadly synonymous with gun violence. In the year and a half since 17 people were murdered at their school, the students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School has spearheaded a national debate about school security and gun rights, and fueled an international student-led movement.

And leading that charge a brother and sister who survived by hiding in their classrooms, David and Lauren Hogg. They have become political and cultural forces inspiring thousands of people, including my friend, Alisyn Camerota.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Another deadly school shooting.

I am in Parkland, Florida, scene of the latest school shooting.

This is the site of the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.

When I got the call that Parkland happened, and yet another school shooting, my heart sank. I have kids that I send off to school every day. And I know that they're no safer than the kids at Parkland were.

I flew down to Parkland. The next morning, we were on the air first thing.

We're joined by two of the shooting survivors.

David Hogg was one of my first interviews. Something was different right away.

DAVID HOGG, GUN CONTROL ACTIVIST: No legislative action is taken. All we have now is more guns and more chances for things go wrong.

CAMEROTA (voice-over): A senior at the time, he took cover in a classroom during the shooting, and worried about his sister, Lauren, a freshman.

(on camera): He gripped the whole country's attention. DAVID HOGG: Please, take action.

CAMEROTA: He turned right to the camera and already beseeching leaders to jump into action with him.

DAVID HOGG: You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together and overcome your politics.

CAMEROTA: Even in the hours after they had been through the most hideous tragedy imaginable, they were already trying to change the world.

Lauren, how are you feeling?

I felt the same way when I met Lauren Hogg.

LAUREN HOGG, GUN CONTROL ACTIVIST: Thinking about the victims. And I know there's a reason why I made it out that day and that reason has to be to make change.

CAMEROTA: The "never again" hashtag propped up because they didn't want this to happen again.


DAVID HOGG: We say no more.


CAMEROTA: They've traveled around the country and met other survivors of gun violence. They got the laws changed in Florida. They're not letting the lawmakers forget it.


CAMEROTA: What are we looking at here?

LAUREN HOGG: This is our art installation. As I put up the hundreds of crosses and Stars of David, I thought of my friends last year. We wrote things like "teacher, doctor," to represent not only the people who were taken from gun violence, but taken from society they are in.

CAMEROTA: You wanted to get the attention of lawmakers?

LAUREN HOGG: That is why we did it here. Because we wanted people walking between breaks and leaving work and their action is leading our sisters and brothers and moms and dads to die every single day.


CAMEROTA: When you hit obstacles, how is it that you have been able to stay energized?

DAVID HOGG: By looking back at the success that we have had. We focused on youth voter turnout and raising youth voice because we know it is not Democrats or Republicans to solve this issue. It has to be human beings that solve this issue.


CAMEROTA: Is it true the Parkland students were your inspiration to run for office?

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): Absolutely. I stood up and decided to run to flip for the federal seat after Parkland. I was devastated that here again we had children that were the same age as my son that were gunned down. It would be a tragedy if I didn't stand up. Ad then letting down my son and his legacy and every other family or victim that I have cried with over the last seven years since Jordan was murdered.

Each generation culturally has a cause. Sitting at the lunch counters, walking out of classrooms, it is the same thing. This is the civil rights movement that these young people are fighting for.

DAVID HOGG: Change is here.

We need a Congress that goes out there and talks about this issue and gives us a deadline of when they're going to actually be able to stop gun violence.

CAMEROTA: David graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018. He's taking a year off from his studies to focus on activism and he plans to attend Harvard this fall.

LAUREN HOGG: I feel as though in the last year we have made an abundant amount of progress. Honestly, how young people have realized their power is the thing that I find to be the most profound.


[14:50:15] REBECCA BOLDRICK, MOTHER OF DAVID & LAUREN HOGG: They are change-makers. I see both of them really changing the conversation in this country about gun violence and then going forward and being leaders in our country.

LAUREN HOGG: It is still hard to think of myself as an activist because, honestly, I never had it in mind when I started speaking out. And I was just a kid upset my friends were murdered in my school.


DAVID HOGG: I look ahead to the future. I can't wait until we pass our first piece of legislation. It will be an impactful moment.

CAMEROTA: What is your greatest achievement?

DAVID HOGG: That we can lead and are leading together with other generations. I know we can end this issue.

CAMEROTA: I'm so impressed with the kids. All of us thought maybe this will peter out or be busy with school but they haven't given up. They're just as strong a year later. They just are as energized as the day I first met them.


BALDWIN: And Alisyn is with me now.

I love you for doing this.


BALDWIN: You have kiddos and drop them off at school and you have the same thoughts that parents do across the country and it gives me goosebumps to think back to March for Our Lives in D.C. Tell me what David and Lauren are up to.

CAMEROTA: They want federal legislation. They did something remarkable and they got Florida, where people feel strongly about their guns, to change the legislation in the wake of what happened in Parkland.

Now they want it on a national scale. So of course, they want universal background checks and want to ban high capacity magazines. They want more federal dollars to study gun violence. And that is what they are setting sights on.

So what they were doing in D.C., we saw, they were going from lawmaker to lawmaker, and just making them hear their plea and setting that art installation up outside of the windows of the capital so lawmakers couldn't miss it and had to walk by it.

BALDWIN: The fact that we have continued to cover school shootings -- there have been 35 this school year. I talked to a 12-year-old last week on this show who was describing to me in Colorado --


CAMEROTA: I saw it.

BALDWIN: -- he was holding this baseball bat --


BALDWIN: -- saying -- totally brave -- how he was ready to go down fighting and he was 12. And I'll never forget him. It is just our kids don't feel safe.

CAMEROTA: We don't have to live this way. I feel as though -- it is not how we've received this is our new normal. We don't have to send our kids off to school every day just crossing fingers and hoping they are not sitting ducks. We could fix this.

Australia had a mass shooting and they fixed up. Other companies have given us a blueprint on how to do this. We are better than this. We don't have to live this way.

BALDWIN: Thank you very much, Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: You've got it.

Alisyn Camerota.

And we'll share inspiring stories all week long. Tune in this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for an hour-long "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" special.

President Trump today denying reports that his administration is considering a plan to send more than 100,000 troops to the Middle East. And it comes as Iran sends a clear warning to the U.S.

Plus, any moment, another Democrat officially jumps into the 2020 race.


[14:58:07] BALDWIN: TV fans are mourning the loss of another Hollywood legend. Celebrated actor and legendary comic, Tim Conway, has died.


TIM CONWAY, COMEDIAN & ACTOR: At the end of their trunks like that.


CONWAY: And this trainer making them stand up on their back feet like that and they had their trunks stretched like that.


CONWAY: And then this monkey would come out and --



BALDWIN: Conway, best known for his costarring role on "The Carol Burnett Show," was 85. His publicist said Conway passed this morning at his Los Angeles home after battling a long-time illness.

Carol Burnett telling CNN that she is, in a word, "heartbroken."

In fact, a number of years ago, back in 2012, I interviewed the cast of "The Carol Burnett Show" about some of their wilder moments.


STEVE MARTIN, COMEDIAN & ACTOR: It is a sign of peace.

BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS: Ask him where he's from.

BALDWIN: Steve Martin, this was 1978, this is his "wild and crazy guy" phase. How do you keep a straight face when you are staring at Steve Martin

or wearing that?

VICKI LAWRENCE, ACTRESS: Well, I'm OK with the -- with that. What I'm not OK is with Tim Conway.

BALDWIN: Tim, how did you keep a straight face?

CONWAY: Well, I'm a very compassionate actor --


CONWAY: -- and have gone to many dramatic schools. And --


BALDWIN: She's laughing. She's laughing at you.

LAWRENCE: He is the troublemaker.


LAWRENCE: He was, of all of us, the non-rehearser and the troublemaker.

CONWAY: Blame, blame, blame.


BALDWIN: I remember that. Conway won multiple Emmys. He was also famous for his role in "McHale's Navy." He most recently guest- starred on an episode of "30 Rock."

We continue on. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

[14:59:50] We are keeping a very close eye on Russia where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just wrapped up a meeting with Vladimir Putin. Secretary Pompeo has called the trip a good-faith effort on behalf of both countries, saying that President Trump is, in Pompeo's words, "committed to improving ties between the two countries and very much wants better relations."