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CNN: U.S. And Mexico Talks To Avoid Trariffs "Did Not End Well" Last Night; Russian Destroyer Almost Slammed Into A U.S. Guided Missile Cruiser; Joe Biden, To Change His Stance On A Controversial Abortion Funding Rule. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 7, 2019 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, this Friday, you are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here. We may be just hours away from the start of the first Trump trade war that has absolutely nothing to do with trade. The President must sign, by today, his order to impose tariffs on all goods from Mexico in order for this to take effect Monday, as he has threatened.

Now, if this thing is imposed, the five percent tariff would be the first in a series of penalties that President Trump has promised, unless Mexico does more to curb undocumented migrants from reaching the U.S. border.

A high-level delegation from Mexico has been in talks in Washington DC for the last three days and CNN has learned that the talks quote, "did not end well" last night. This is all despite the fact that Mexico has offered to send six thousand troops to its southern border with Guatemala. Still the White House says, the negotiations are far from over.


MARC SHORT, VICE PRESIDENT PENCE'S CHIEF OF STAFF: I think we were encouraged that Mexico came prepared to put solutions on the table. But on Wednesday, I think we felt that they were wholly insufficient. They were set forward but insufficient. As negotiations continued yesterday, we were more encouraged that they came forward with some of the things that we put on the table Wednesday to say they were open to that. But, Kristen, there's a long way to go still. That's the bottom line.


BALDWIN: So, let's go straight to the White House to my colleague, Jeremy Diamond. And Jeremy, any sign the President won't be imposing these tariffs on Mexico?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: You know, it really seems unclear at this point, Brooke. We're getting a lot of different mixed messages from this administration, on the one hand, you know, we're hearing from a source familiar that last night the talks did not end well. At the same time, you just heard Marc Short they're touting some of the progress that has been made but also making clear that there is still a long road ahead for a deal to actually be reached. But let's see what the President himself is actually saying because he

just tweeted about it in the last hour as he is on Air Force One making his way back to Washington. He tweeted, "If we were able to make the deal with Mexico and there is a good chance that we will, they will begin purchasing farm and agricultural products at very high levels." He also says, "If we're unable to make the deal Mexico will begin paying tariffs at the five percent level on Monday."

But as you know, Brooke, there this deadline today that the President does have to sign this executive order by the end of the day, in order for those tariffs to be imposed and to be implemented on Monday. Which is when he said that they would be initially at that five percent level.

But it's possible, White House officials say that the President could sign that today and then over the weekend roll it back, if indeed there is a deal. So a lot, very much still in flux but those negotiations are still continuing today between the U.S. and Mexican delegations.

BALDWIN: Okay. Let me ask you, too, just about the jobs -- numbers that came out today, just 75,000 new jobs in the month of May, what's the White House's response to that?

DIAMOND: Well, it's certainly a concerning indicator especially when you look at the trade issues that are going on between the U.S. and China, between the U.S. and Mexico, now potentially as well.

The White House though is putting on a brave face saying that, overall the economy is doing well, touting the months of job growth in previous months. But again, this could be a concerning indicator, especially when you look also at the manufacturing index report, which is at its lowest level since October of 2016. So there are some signs that the President's trade spats with various countries, particularly the ongoing spat with China could be taking a toll on the U.S. economy --Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much, at the White House. And back to this Mexico tariff deadline. As the deadline nears a major national business group is putting the pressure on Trump. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says, it has the backing of more than a hundred associations as it plans to inform the White House of this today, quote, " ... imposing unilateral tariffs on Mexico jeopardizes a successful bipartisan vote on USMCA and approval of the agreement."

The USMCA is President Trump's trade agreement with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA. And Neil Bradley is the executive Vice President and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. So, Neil, welcome, nice to have you on.


BALDWIN: All right. So, the Chamber said that the Trump administration has to -- must abandon this policy, you tell me why. BRADLEY: Well, you were just talking about it. The jobs report this

morning -- 75,000 jobs well below what we all anticipated, what we like to see. The imposition of these tariffs -- the threat of tariffs is already dampening the economy. If we actually went forward and implemented the tariffs, it would be devastating to the economy.

Here's just one statistic for you, right? Small businesses are the engine of job creation in the United States, of the importers that would pay these new five percent tariffs on Monday if they go forward, 40 percent of those who would pay the tariffs are small businesses with less than 50 employees each.

[14:05:06] BRADLEY: We can't afford to do that to America's small businesses. We can't afford to do it to our economy.

BALDWIN: And so, when you say this to the White House what do they say back?

BRADLEY: Well, they're focused on a different problem, right, an unrelated trade problem -- and they're right to focus on. We do have a crisis at the southern border and they simply say that this is the tool that they have available. We're trying to steer them away from tariffs to other tools.

BALDWIN: Can you also just explain that specifically when the Chamber has said, a $17 billion tax hit would be a result of these Mexico tariffs. Who would be paying for that, business owners, or consumers?


BALDWIN: How does that shake up?

BRADLEY: All of us, right. So, in some instances it's a business that's importing something that goes into a finished product. So auto manufacturers all over the United States import parts from Mexico that then go in to their plants. So that the automaker would pay the tax first and then ultimately the consumer would pay it on the car or in the car show parking lot.

All of us who go buy avocados or tequila for summertime margaritas, we're going to pay that tax because we're buying products straight from Mexico.

BALDWIN: You're speaking to the people when you talk to Tequila. But, it's so much more than that and I hear you out clearly.

BRADLEY: Of course it is, yes.

BALDWIN: Of course. I mentioned the Chamber's statement about the USMCA and I was asking what kind of pushback you guys were getting from the White House. Have you or of course, has the Chamber spoken to President Trump directly? And what is the sense you get as the deadline is -- this is hours away from being signed?

BRADLEY: Yes, we have talked to the White House extensively since Thursday night. We're in constant contact with them, you know. Jeremy said it earlier best. It's unclear, there are mixed signals coming out of the White House and we're waiting to see what the President decides to do this evening.

BALDWIN: What are you doing in terms of Congress? Are you working toward getting senators to maybe build a veto-proof majority to try to stop this?

BRADLEY: We are, we've been in contact with Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate, explaining to them what we see is the consequences of these tariffs on their respective states and on industries that are important in their states and urging them to speak up and to contact the White House themselves to let them know --

BALDWIN: Do you think those certain Republicans will speak up?

BRADLEY: I think they already are, right, so we saw reports earlier this week coming out of the Senate Republican launch where there was no support expressed for these tariffs and frankly a lot of concern.

BALDWIN: Okay Neil Bradley with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Thank you very much sir. Good to have on.

BRADLEY: Thanks for having me, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Now, to an extraordinarily close call in international waters. The U.S. Navy sent CNN this video of what officials call a near collision, as a Russian destroyer almost slammed into a U.S. guided missile cruiser in the Philippine Sea.

Russia's Pacific Fleet is denying the U.S. account, claiming the American ship instigated the whole thing and that it actually happened in the East China Sea. Pay attention with me as we look at the video here to the wake created by this Russian ship.

So, two Navy officials tell CNN it could only come from a steep turn at high speed. You saw it there. This morning's provocation is actually the fourth military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia in just the past couple of days.

CNN national security analyst Shawn Turner is the former communications director for U.S. national intelligence. So Shawn, welcome back to you.


BALDWIN: And of course, I want to ask you about these confrontations as a whole, but first just your reaction to what the Navy is calling a provocation from Russia.

TURNER: Yes. You know, look, this was an absolutely startling provocation on the part of the Russians. As you pointed out there's -- it's not unusual for the Russians to be provocative, for the Russian military to engage with the U.S. military both at sea and as in the air. But what's particularly startling about this engagement is that you had a U.S. Navy ship that was involved in active operations to recover helicopters at sea. And so, for this vessel to approach at that speed clearly violating

the maritime international law of staying a thousand feet away put those sailors, not only on that ship, but also the military personnel who were flying those helicopters at risk.

BALDWIN: Let me point to something, this is what our own Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr points to. We'll play the video and you can actually see some of these Russian sailors -- her word was "sunbathing." You see these guys?


BALDWIN: So, you know, is this obviously provocative, nefarious, or just being negligent?

TURNER: Yes, you know, I think it's probably a little bit of all of the above. Clearly those individuals who were laying out on the deck, who were sunbathing, who were just going about their day -- it's pretty clear that they were not aware of what was happening at the time. But the aggression that we've seen with some more senior members of the Russian military is an aggression that has not been kept in check, certainly by the Russian government, certainly by Vladimir Putin.

[14:10:02] TURNER: And so, I think that it's a case in which whether it's in air or at sea, Russian soldiers are kind of, you know, running those troops - they are not fazed by this. Clearly though, there was an understanding on the part of this Russian vessel that this American vessel was engaged in active military ops. So, from that perspective, this makes this a particularly startling provocation.

BALDWIN: A former commander called actions like this harassment, but two of this month's incidents were cases of the U.S. intercepting Russian planes, do you think the harassment goes both ways or is it an act of deterrence?

TURNER: Well you've got a look at what the purpose of these engagements are. If the U.S. engages with a Russian aircraft, oftentimes, it's because that Russian aircraft is not where it's supposed to be or is approaching an area that is patrolled by the United States. And so, you see these engagements in which the United States attempts to communicate clearly with the Russians that they are not in an area that they should be operating it.

On the other hand, when you look at this video and you look at some of the more recent provocations on the part of the Russians, you have U.S. vessels operating in international waters or operating in international airspace, and you have Russian vessels approaching them, and oftentimes, what we really have to look at here is the clear violation - look, with regard to maritime vessels, it's a thousand yards and certainly in the air you know there are rules with regards to how far these aircraft are supposed to stay away from each other and their rules about the communication.

So, I think there's a different purpose with regards to when Russia is doing it versus when the United States is doing it. BALDWIN: Shawn Turner, you have been excellent on this. Thank you

very much.

Just in, new CNN reporting on what led Joe Biden to change his stance on a controversial abortion funding rule. Plus, new details on the suspect who the feds say plotted to attack Times Square with grenades and explosives and -- I don't know if you've seen these pictures today, just terrifying images of this lesbian couple beaten and bloodied during a homophobic attack. Arrests have been made. We have the details for you. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


[14:17:06] BALDWIN: Nasty -- nasty woman, that is the latest insult from President Trump hurled at the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: People like Nancy Pelosi that - honestly, they don't know what the hell they're talking about. I think she's a disgrace. She's incapable of doing deals. She's a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.


BALDWIN: Nasty. Apparently, it is the adjective of choice for this President in describing men but in particular women. Nancy Pelosi, Meghan Markle, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, April Ryan, Carmen Cruz, Hillary Clinton -- watch.


TRUMP: Well she was probably very nasty. A little bit of a nasty wit. The same thing with April Ryan, I watch her get up. I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser. She doesn't know what the hell she's doing.



HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. FORMER FIRST LADY: My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as well Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is to replenish the ...

TRUMP Such a nasty woman.

CLINTON: ... the Social Security Trust Fund.


BALDWIN: Yes, this nastiness goes all the way back to the campaign trail. But you know what women did? They started a movement -- a rallying cry. They made t-shirts, they created a Nasty Woman Tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They even started a Wikipedia page, look it up, "Nasty woman." Listen, Trump is a businessman. So it makes sense that he would use

the same word over and over. He's trying to brand them. He is hoping it sticks. Whether it is speaking up, but you know what, I actually think he's scared of them -- scared of some of the female reporters at the White House asking tough questions. Nasty -- scared of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and what she might do "nasty." And if nasty is what he calls women who are outspoken, who used their voices, who have opinions, well then stay nasty America.

A dramatic reversal from Joe Biden after years of supporting the Hyde Amendment. The Amendment says Federal funds can't be used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is at risk. It is a position his campaign reiterated just two days ago. But last night, at a Democratic party gathering in Atlanta, he said this.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I make no apologies in my last position and I make no apologies on what I'm about to say. I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right. If I believe healthcare is a right as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code.


BALDWIN: And in stating this reversal, the former Vice President cited abortion restrictions that have recently passed in several states. CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz is in Atlanta and I'm also joined by CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger. But before we get into this, let's just go through the recent timeline. So on May 4th, Biden told a supporter, he commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment, here that was.

[00:05:08] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an ACLU Rights For All voter and I have one quick question for you and that is, will you commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment which hurts poor women and women of color?

BIDEN: Yes. And by the way, ACLU member -- I got a near perfect voting record my entire career.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard you did. But I'm glad you just said you just said you would commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment.

Biden: No, no. Right now, it has to be -- it can't stay.


BALDWIN: So, you heard him and say, "It can't stay," but on June 5th, his campaign says that he misheard that voter and stated that Biden still supported the Hyde Amendment. Now, social media blew up, many of his Democratic rivals attacked him on this very point, and then last night he reversed course. So, Arlette, to you on this, because you have the new reporting. Why

did he make this about-face?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, you had that criticism that came from his 2020 rivals and also from abortion rights group, but my colleague, Jeff Zeleny and I are learning that there were members of Biden's own campaign team who were pushing him to reverse course.

And here in Atlanta, yesterday, before he made that speech, several aides including senior adviser Symone Sanders made a forceful and direct case to the Vice President for why he needed to now go against the Hyde Amendment. They were arguing that this disproportionally affects women of low income and women of color. And ultimately, that helped Biden lead to this change.

This is a measure that he has supported for decades now and he really had kind of dug in with that statement that you mentioned earlier this week, saying that he backed it. And well, one person that I spoke to also said was that, there had been intense discussions about this matter for the past week before they released that statement. That they made it very clear to the former Vice President what some of that backlash might look like.

And this person said to me that, Biden has now surrounded himself with a diverse team of voices -- that basically reflect what this country looks like, and that he took their words, he took their arguments, and heard that. Biden campaign officials are kind of pushing back on this notion that he made this decision because it was politically expedient.

They say that he actually listened to the merits of the case, which ultimately led to this reversal --Brooke.

BALDWIN: We know that Biden is this devout Catholic Gloria, right, who personally opposes abortion.


BALDWIN: But he has always said, he doesn't think he should impose his own religious beliefs on others, the Hyde Amendment gave him some cover on this saying, he didn't support federal funds going for abortions helped him thread a needle, right, with more conservative faction to the Democratic Party.

BORGER: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: But that cover is now gone. So how do you think looking ahead more moderate Democrats react to this?

BORGER: Well, and it's the general electorate at large.

BALDWIN: Of course.

BORGER: I mean, if you look at the polling on this Hyde Amendment with the general electorate, more than half say, no Federal funding should not go to pay for abortion. And so, what he's done -- he is clearly understanding where the party is.

And I know that the folks in the Biden campaign are saying, it wasn't just because it was politically expedient, and I think you have to take him at their word, in the sense that he's got a lot of people around him now that he didn't have around him in the last campaign, or when he was in the Senate -- Symone Sanders, being one of them.

Saying, the world has changed and that is what he is now saying, which is the world has changed. You've got all these state legislatures passing anti-abortion legislation, making it very tough for women who want to get an abortion. And so, he's taking that into consideration. The optics of this is we, you know, we always talk about with politicians is -- why didn't he do this from day one rather than wait all the time? So you don't have that time line up there.

And the answer to that is, I think it took him a while, and Arlette can speak to this, I think it took them a while to get to this position and to really understand its impact. You know, when you've been in politics for, you know, half a century, sometimes it's difficult to kind of figure out where the world has changed to.

BALDWIN: Arlette, it's okay. Phone calls happen live on television, it's all good.

BORGER: I don't know. I hope it's not the body people, yes.

BALDWIN: Good one, good one. It is interesting though, how he said he won't apologize for supporting it in the past, but Arlette, he takes a similar tone on the crime bill, so what about the crime bill?

SAENZ: Yes, I mean, that's going to be one issue going forward. You know, one of our sources told, my colleague Jeff Zeleny, that this doesn't really signal the start of an apology tour.

The crime bill is an issue that he is going to have to address over and over again. And while he may not be ready to completely flat-out apologize for the entire bill, he is going to try to find ways to kind of explain some of the decisions that were made, and also understand the current context of this moment.

[14:20:07] SAENZ: But that is certainly is an issue where you've seen his rivals go after him time and time again, and it will certainly continue especially as you get closer to that debate.

BALDWIN: Here's some -- Gloria, I want you to respond to this. Some of the criticism, right, this is Rich Lowry, a "National Review" editor tweeting, "This is not the move of a confident frontrunner and shows that whatever Biden's relative moderation compared to the rest of the field, it will be eroded through this process." Do you agree?

BORGER: We don't know the answer to that. I understand Rich's point completely, which is that Biden now has been trying to run a general election campaign and kind of make him believe like he doesn't have to win the primaries, and he's got all these opponents out there, he doesn't have to pay much attention to or argue with. But that isn't the case. This is the beginning, not the end of the

primary season, and there is more to come. But, you know, getting back to the crime bill for example, he has said it didn't lead to mass incarceration. Kamala Harris has disagreed with him and said, "Oh yes it did."

So, he's going to be attacked. There is -- I don't understand why politicians believe generally -- there is something wrong with them saying, "I change my mind." I mean we have seen it in this Democratic primary a bit. People saying, I voted for something that I regret. But there's nothing wrong with people saying that was 25 years ago and here is how I have evolved on an issue.

I mean, Barack Obama did it on gay marriage for example. So, maybe we'll be seeing more of that. I don't think that's unhealthy but it has to be real, you know, it can't be just seen as being politically --

BALDWIN: Political -- it needs to be an authentic evolution. I think, it was President Obama's word. Gloria Borger, great point. Arlette Saenz, thank you very much for your reporting -- and you can call that person back now.

Right now, a man accused of plotting an attack on Times Square is facing a judge. What we are learning about the plan and the intended targets. We'll be right back.