Return to Transcripts main page


Arizona Importers Warn against Tariffs; Trump Meets with Theresa May; Trump and May to Hold Press Conference. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 4, 2019 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:31] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The first round of President Trump's tariffs on products from Mexico are set to go into effect next week and business people in Arizona are afraid they will lose millions of dollars as a result.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is live in Nogales, Arizona, with the story.



Today business leaders here in Nogales, Arizona, near one of the busiest ports along the southern border, are preparing to meet to discuss how they are going to prepare for what they're calling unprecedented tariffs that could cost businesses behind me millions of dollars.


YURKEVICH (voice over): This month, Jaime Chamberlin is expecting truckloads full of grapes from Mexico. But he wasn't expecting to pay tariffs.

JAIME CHAMBERLAIN, PRESIDENT, CHAMBERLAIN DISTRIBUTING: So 5 percent for now is absolutely horrible. Going to 10, 15 percent, 20 percent, I can't even -- I can't even imagine.

YURKEVICH: Chamberlain imports 100 percent of his fruits and vegetables from Mexico to his warehouse in Nogales, Arizona. If the president's tariffs take effect next week --

CHAMBERLAIN: We have red peppers coming out of Sinaloa.

YURKEVICH: Chamberlain, who voted for Trump, will pay more to bring his produce across the border.

CHAMBERLAIN: These are not good ideas and this is not the way I would do things. But this is the way the president is choosing to do things because of the Congress that we have. You know, I'm not always going to be on the side of the president.

YURKEVICH: The U.S. imports $26 billion of agricultural products from Mexico each year, and manufacturing dwarfs that.

RICHARD RUBIN, PRESIDENT, JAVID LLC: We're shipping $450 million annually across the border. For my customers to pay an extra $100 million, I'm not sure that they're going to stick around.

YURKEVICH: Richard Rubin owns 26 factories in Mexico, importing materials for American companies which he says provides millions of U.S. jobs.

RUBIN: Mexico is our friend, right? Mexico deserves the respect and the dignity. It's not a business, it's a country. And this should be solved through diplomacy.

YURKEVICH: Guillermo Valencia brokers trade deals between U.S. and Mexican companies.

GUILLERMO VALENCIA, PRESIDENT, VALENCIA INTERNATIONAL: We're throwing punches in the dark because we don't know what to expect. We know that we have to take this president serious. Some people are saying he's just threatening. But we can't just assume he's just threatening.

YURKEVICH: As the broker, Valencia ensures tariffs are paid. His company imports and exports products to Mexico.

VALENCIA: This is a component for a major U.S. manufacture that's producing electric cars.

YURKEVICH (on camera): So this could be in someone's back seat one day?

VALENCIA: Absolute -- it will be in someone's back seat one day. So if you haven't bought this car yet, there's going to be an increased cost to this car.

YURKEVICH: Because of the tariffs?

VALENCIA: Because of the tariffs, right. And it could be up to 25 percent. And it could be more because if this product went back and through a couple of times, depending on the amount of times, it could be 50, 70 percent. Tariff, upon tariff, upon tariff, upon tariff.


YURKEVICH: Everyone we've spoken to says one thing is for sure, the added cost will ultimately get passed down to the American consumer, and that means things like your refrigerator, your car and even beer could cost more.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That is how tariffs work. They just do.

All right, Vanessa Yurkevich on the border for us, thank you very, very much.

President Trump and the British prime minister, Theresa May, they've been meeting behind closed doors for the last hour or so at 10 Downing Street. They've been talking about trade and a number of issues. Within minutes, they're expected to walk past that area right there you're looking at. They're going to leave 10 Downing Street and walk to a courtyard where they will hold a joint press conference.

CNN's Pamela Brown is there.

Pamela, what do you expect to hear when the two leaders take that stage?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of issues at play here. You know, yesterday here in the U.K., the visit was all about pomp and circumstance. Today it's all about business, John.

President Trump had a business roundtable earlier today with British and American business leaders. He has had talks with the prime minister, Theresa May. And it appears that trade has been a centerpiece of the discussions today. In fact, the president said that he believes a substantial trade deal could be reached between the U.S. and the U.K. But there's one big issue, of course, the U.K. would first have to leave the E.U. And it's far from clear exactly how that would happen.

Now, this -- these meetings today really come at an awkward time because the prime minister, Theresa May, is stepping aside at the end of this week. And the country is in political turmoil. It's grappling with its identity amid this debate over leaving the E.U. So while there's been all this talk about the special relationship between the U.K. and U.S., there are certainly cracks in that relationship on some key issues, on Iran, on climate change, on China. The U.S. has made clear that it wants the U.K. to black list the Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The U.K. has not committed to that.

[08:35:33] And then, of course, there's this issue of President Trump saying repeatedly that he believes that British intelligence spied on his campaign. And so that is one of the questions that could be asked today, what is he basing that on and did he bring that up in his meeting.

So there are several issues that will be discussed. But, again, it comes at an awkward time with the prime minister stepping down in just a few days.

Back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Pamela Brown for us in London.

Again, we are awaiting the British prime minister and the president. They will arrive where Pamela is any second now.

CAMEROTA: That will be fascinating to hear what they have been discussing behind those walls right there.

BERMAN: All right, live coverage of the president and the prime minister right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:40:42] CAMEROTA: All right, everyone, we are standing by, waiting for President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May to walk out of those 10 Downing doors right there. That's 10 Downing Street. And we're looking for them to walk out. They are supposed to be on their way to this courtyard nearby at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where they will be holding a joint press conference where our Pam Brown has just reported to us that she is awaiting them, as are all of the foreign press and national press there.

So we just saw Jared Kushner leave 10 Downing Street.

BERMAN: So it must be close.

CAMEROTA: It must be close. I mean I think that we are told that they're supposed to be having their press conference in about four minutes from now and they were going to make the walk over. But the weather has turned, as Clarissa Ward told us, as it so often does in London, and so now they are debating whether or not they're going to do that drizzly walk over there.

So let's bring in our CNN correspondents on the ground. We have Clarissa Ward and Abby Phillip.

Abby, what can you tell us about what's happening at this hour?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you it's definitely drizzling. The weather has gotten a little chilly and windy. And -- but as of right now, we're waiting to see what they say when they go over there into that room.

We are also tracking President Trump and whether he -- whether he will actually have sit-downs with some of the people who have been trying to replace Theresa May. Now, this has been an open question, will President Trump sit down with Boris Johnson, will he sit down with others who are in the running to replace Theresa May. And there is some indications that they're working on those things, that maybe -- that perhaps there have been -- there has been a phone call as opposed to a sit down with Johnson. And so we're working on confirming that.

But I think as of -- as of right now, it sounds like some of these meetings might -- might be happening later in this -- in the afternoon and they might not be all the people that we originally expected. There was some talk of Nigel Farage being among the people the president might meet with.

We still, at the -- as of right now, don't have any indication that that is happening. But it could be that the White House is trying to work out who exactly will sit down with the president, who he might speak to over the phone, and who he might not sit down with. As he tries to end this meeting on a more positive note, not doing anything too much perhaps to antagonize Theresa May in her final days as party leader, as she is on her way out the door, figuratively, of leadership. BERMAN: As you're looking at the right-hand side of your screen, at

the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that courtyard, in the front row you can just see the back of his head on the -- in the middle aisle. That is Donald Trump Junior. Eric Trump there as well, and Tiffany Trump, who we don't necessarily often see quite as much as she's a law school student, I believe.

Clarissa Ward, our chief international correspondent, you were the first to report the weather is terrible. I want to give you credit for that scoop today.

But I do want to ask you also, Clarissa, when a U.S. president does appear in London, the British press often has a number of questions.

What do you think is the foremost question of the British press on their mind for President Trump this morning?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the president is definitely going to face some tough questioning from British journalists, reflecting the interests of Britain's at large. I think particularly he's going to be asked about his repeated essentially meddling in the British political system, weighing in on who he thinks would be a good prime minister, weighing in on who he thinks should be leading the Brexit negotiations, weighing in frequently on Prime Minister May's handling of the whole Brexit negotiation issue. So I think he'll be quizzed on that. I think he will almost certainly as well be asked about his decision to tweet that the London mayor is a stone cold loser, just as he was landing here in the U.K. He may well be asked also about his comments to "The Sun" tabloid in which he said I didn't know she was nasty, talking about the duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

So those are some of the questions he may be asked, but he also will probably be pushed on some more substantive policy issues. And here I'm thinking primarily of the trade agreement, which he has now dropped several hints about, a big trade agreement being in the pipeline. There may also be questions about areas where there have been a difference of opinions between the two countries, particularly I'm thinking on the issue of Huawei, the Chinese company that the U.K. is working with to develop their 5G network, but also on the Iran deal. And I'm sure, as well, some journalists will be asking potentially about the Mexico tariffs.

[08:45:11] So I think you can expect to find a wide array of challenging questions, both in terms of policy, and bilateral geopolitical issues, but also in terms of simple behavioral issues and some of the less charitable comments and political meddling that he has been accused of here in the U.K.

BERMAN: All right, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, our Pamela Brown is on the scene there, has some reporting on who the president will and will not meet with. So, stand by. That's next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: All right, we are following breaking news for you.

You can see the split screen on your screen. To the left is 10 Downing Street. That's where President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May are behind closed doors meeting. They were supposed to have already set out for the location on your right, that is the courtyard, where they'll be having this joint press conference. But the weather has not, unsurprisingly, turned in London. And so now we're told that they will not be making the drizzly walk to that courtyard. So we're just waiting to see what these two leaders have been talking about for the past hour or so and what, if anything, they've agreed to.

BERMAN: Yes. And this might be the most complicated or most tenuous moment of the president's entire trip to Britain. Yesterday was full of the celebration and the pomp. Today is the meetings with the government, the British government, Theresa May. And this news conference is really the president's -- the most open chance that the press will have to ask him questions, both the U.S. and the British press. And if there is going to be a moment of controversy, it would be here.

[08:50:22] Abby Phillip and Clarissa Ward join us now.

Abby, again, you know, you were saying that there may be some people on the White House staff who are holding their breath just a little bit for this news conference, which is about to begin.

PHILLIP: It's always a moment where President Trump can do his own thing, can go off script, can talk about things, frankly, that don't have anything to do with this visit. I mean I can think of several topics, for example, that he is likely to be asked about and some of those Clarissa mentioned earlier, but tariffs. Just in the last week, the president announced tariffs on Mexico, threatening Mexico with economic consequences because of the border situation.

There's also, you know, the ongoing situation with impeachment back home and his views on that topic. This is where President Trump is really on his own. He gets to ask whoever he wants really questions and he gets to answer them however he wants. And sometimes that leads to really unpredictable things. So no one in the White House is going to stand before you and tell you they know what the president's going to say in a setting like this.

And, you know, I -- given the circumstances, I think yesterday was a pretty good day for him. He seemed, after landing, and after sending those tweets about the London mayor, after all that he seemed to be in a fairly good mood. So, you know, perhaps today he might not -- might -- be might be fairly on message. We just simply don't know and we'll just have to wait and see.

But there are a lot of topics for him to be asked about beyond just what he has experienced in the last 48 hours here in London.

CAMEROTA: Our Pam Brown is there in the courtyard awaiting the president and prime minister's arrival. And, Pam, you have some new reporting that you can share with us.

BROWN: That's right. I've learned from a British official that President Trump had a 20-minute phone call with Boris Johnson. He is a leading contender to take over for Theresa May as prime minister once she steps down at the end of this week.

Now, I'm told by this official that this conversation was friendly and that it was productive, but that Boris Johnson declined to meet with President Trump because he had a prior engagement that he had already committed to. President Trump, according to this official, was the one that offered to meet with Boris Johnson one-on-one while he is here in London, but it didn't work out. The source says that President Trump understood and said that he hoped he would be able to meet with Johnson at a later date.

But, of course, this would be a delicate time for Johnson to meet with President Trump because he is a leading contender for Theresa May's position. Now, President Trump has been very clear in his support of Boris Johnson. He has called him a friend. He has said that he thought he would do a very good job as prime minister. But he has stopped short of saying -- coming out and saying that he should replace Theresa May.

Back to you.

BERMAN: You know, Pam, thank you very much. Pamela Brown in that courtyard where we are expecting to see the British Prime Minister Theresa May and Donald Trump, the U.S. president, any moment now.

Clarissa Ward, our chief international correspondent, I want to bring you in because Abby was saying there might be White House officials holding their breath on what the president would say. The fact that Boris Johnson claims he rejected an offer to meet with President Trump tonight indicates to me that maybe there are some British figures who are holding their breaths a bit, too, as to what the president might say out loud when he walks out that door and to those podium moments from now.

WARD: Make no mistake, John, there are many British officials right now holding their breath because the reality is the Brits like to do things in a formalized manner. They like to stick to the playbook. They like the formalities, the protocols. And so there's a lot of concern.

Everybody remembers about a year ago that toe curling -- at times toe curling awkward press conference with President Trump and Theresa May where he had been criticizing her handling of the Brexit negotiations. He was talk being how Boris would make a great prime minister. And for Britain's, you know, that simply isn't done. It's just not done, John, and they find it incredibly awkward and rather difficult to sort of, you know, improvise their way around and to respond in an ad hoc manner that is simultaneously appropriate.

So I think Prime Minister May will have a challenge ahead of her, but given that she's only got a few days left on the job, perhaps she's even relishing the opportunity to, you know, send back a couple of salvos. I don't know. We'll have to see.

But, yes, absolutely, U.K. officials very much breathlessly and nervously anticipating this press conference, just as much as U.S. officials are likely to be.

CAMEROTA: Abby, we just watched a small cadre of White House advisers and others leaving 10 Downing Street. I could see Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Who did you spot?

BERMAN: And Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of states. Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to London.

[08:55:00] PHILLIP: Mike Pompeo, that's right.

BERMAN: They were all there walking out. The fact that they just left indicates that this is coming very, very soon.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's what you said about Jared, OK?

BERMAN: I did. I said once Jared left, I thought -- yes.

CAMEROTA: So I remember when you said that about Jared. And that was easily 10 minutes ago. So --

BERMAN: And Eric -- Eric is already -- Eric Trump's already in the front row.

CAMEROTA: OK. As is Tiffany.

So, Abby, we do think that they should be coming out at any moment because, frankly, they are a little behind schedule at this point.

PHILLIP: Yes, they should be coming shortly.

I mean, at the same time, the fact that these -- I think the fact that we saw that last contingent of very senior aides, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, these are people who would have been in the bilateral meeting with the two leaders, it's an indication that the formal meeting -- the working part of this meeting is likely over and now it's just a matter of going over to the location of the press conference, which should be happening shortly.

BERMAN: All right, Abby Phillip, stand by there. Pamela Brown inside that courtyard. Clarissa Ward, you as well.

We're going to take one more quick break. This news conference between the British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump set to begin any moment. We'll be right back.