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Trade Talks to Continue with China, Trump Not Adding Tariffs; Trump-Erdogan Meeting at G20; Trump Invites Kim Jong-un to DMZ; Biden Touts a Lifetime Committed to Civil Rights; Trump to Hold Final Press Conference as G20 Comes to End. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 29, 2019 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The United States and Beijing have just agreed to reopen stalled trade talks, according to Chinese state media, as the G20 summit in Japan wraps up.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In the United States, one day after a bruising debate, U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden is defending his civil rights record.

HOWELL (voice-over): And a hot time in France, temperatures there reaching an all-time high as Europe deals with a brutal heat wave.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world, I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen, CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: Thanks again for being with us, 2 o'clock in the morning here, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon in Osaka, Japan, where we expect in the next half hour to hear from U.S. president Donald Trump. He is set to hold a news conference, as he wraps up his visit to the G20 summit.

HOWELL: It's 3:00 am in Osaka, Japan, it is already an eventful G20. There may have been a breakthrough, as the president sat down with the Chinese president Xi Jinping. It was their first meeting since trade tensions between the two countries ratcheted up and trade talks broke down.

Now Chinese state media saying those talks will resume and the United States says it no longer imposes new tariffs on Chinese exports. There's no confirmation it but the U.S. side but after meeting with President Trump leaders were upbeat.

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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China. Excellent, I would say excellent, as good as it was going to be.

We discussed a lot of things and we're right back on track and we will see what happens but we had a really good meeting. We had a very, very good meeting with China, I would say probably even better than expected. And the negotiations are continuing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: After the news conference, Mr. Trump will head to South Korea for meetings with President Moon Jae-in. There has been talk that while he is there, Mr. Trump could travel to the demilitarized zone at the border of South and North Korea.

A few hours ago, he tweeted what North Korea calls a very interesting suggestion. An invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to meet him there, as Mr. Trump, said just to shake his hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I just thought of it this morning, we will be at the area. We may go to the DMZ or the border, as they call it. We will be there and I just put out a feeler because, I don't know where is right now. He may not be in North Korea but I said if Kim, if Chairman Kim would want to meet, I will be at the border and certainly we seem to get along very well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: We'll see if that happens and talk about that as our coverage continues here. Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is with us now and chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Sciutto following the developments in Osaka.

Hello to you both.

And Nic, I'll start with you.

As we wait to hear from the president, we know that he just met with the Chinese leader and it seems like trade talks may move forward.

How is that being viewed there?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He's talking about back on track, as we heard President Trump talking about them being back on track and we heard Shinzo Abe (sic), the host here, wrapping up.

His overarching message was one of finding commonality rather than differences of working together rather than provoking friction. That was his narrative, so broadly speaking, I think we would say this is kind of what we were expecting. We weren't expecting a breakthrough. We are hoping for this; this will calm and ease global markets and concerns that the trade war could ratchet up.

But I think everyone here is still going to walk away with the questions, what are the details, what is it that they will work on, the Chinese have indicated that they're going to work on certain areas now for discussion.

But what are the specifics and how long is President Trump going to hold off on his threat to raise tariffs?

Last time there was an agreement back in the G20 in Argentina to hold off for three months and it lasted for five months. China never agree to a timeline. So I think there's a lot of details we need to look at and there is a lot of comparison between how China, which has been downplaying this in the national press back at home, how they characterize the --

[02:05:00]

ROBERTSON: -- nature of what's been discussed and agreed and how President Trump characterizes it. We will hear from him shortly.

HOWELL: Nic Robertson, live for us. Let's switch to Jim Sciutto, who's also following the story.

Jim, from Japan, the president travels to South Korea where he meets with President Moon Jae-in and has signaled an invitation to meet briefly with North Korea's leader if interested. Tell us more about that.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This would be the third meeting -- I don't know if you can characterize as a summit; more of a handshake and photo op at the border.

But still significant the third face-to-face meeting between the U.S. president and North Korean leader, announced, floated in an extremely unconventional way but perhaps we should get used to this by now.

The president tweeted about it; none of the groundwork that would normally go into the advance of this meeting or even securing an assurance from the North Korean side that Kim Jong-un would show up at the border. So that's where we are now, will see if it happens.

There is a security element to this as well, because reporters have known for some time that this visit was a possibility -- not the handshake but the president's visit to the border. The president putting out there on Twitter now so the world knows that the president at least plans to go to the border later, whether or not Kim Jong-un shows up there for a handshake.

It's a moment to remember, that, if this third meeting happens, what progress has been made on the actual substance of negotiations with the North. These are about North Korea denuclearizing, giving up or limiting its nuclear program, going into it, by the administration own definition, success would be denuclearization by North Korea, unequivocal denuclearization.

And during that time period and these face to face meetings, North Korea has taken no steps to denuclearize. In fact, some of the concessions they made, the president has touted, North Korea is no longer abiding by. For instance, North Korea is no longer returning the remains of lost U.S. service members during the Korean War. That has stopped and North Korea has at least begun again missile testing -- short range, not intercontinental -- but this was one of the confessions that the president touted as a sign of the value of these talks.

So those things of North Korea has backed off, there has been no progress on denuclearization and yet the president offering here what is in effect, normally in these negotiations, something of a reward or a sign of progress that the president is willing to meet with the North Korean leader at the border without any concessions or progress on the actual substance of the talks.

But again, unconventional; that's the nature of this presidency and the nature of his approach to talks with North Korea. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by it. Historically it would be a remarkable moment to have the U.S. leader and the North Korean leader shaking hands at this border. We'll watch to see if Kim shows up.

HOWELL: And we're continuing to watch, of course, these live images, Jim, as we await this news conference, the U.S. president due to speak there.

And to Jim Sciutto's point, there have been many photo ops, we are anticipating possibly a handshake with the North Korean leader, if he's interested in it. So we will continue to wait and see what happens with that. Jim Sciutto, thank you.

ALLEN: Let's go back to Nic Robertson.

As we wait for this news conference, two sticky questions that could come up, sticky to say the least. Perhaps President Trump's off the cuff remark about Russian meddling in the presidential election. We still don't know when he met with Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia whether the killing of Jamal Khashoggi came up as well.

ROBERTSON: I think there's a lot of things that people want to ask and want to get into those issues, the nitty-gritty of what has been agreed with China and there may be questions about his most recent bilateral a few minutes ago with the president of Turkey.

President Trump seemed to indicate that if Turkey goes ahead with buying these missile defense systems, the S-400 from Russia, their most sophisticated surface-to-air missile system, if Turkey goes ahead with that, there's a possibility that maybe they wouldn't face the most stringent sanctions.

And the very latest this week from the acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper is that if Turkey goes ahead -- and this has been the narrative from the U.S. administration -- if they go ahead with those purchases and take delivery of that missile system, the key part here being here take deliver of it, which is expected sometime fairly soon. Perhaps by the end of July or this summer. That will cut Turkey off from purchasing the F-35 sophisticated fighter jets. Turkey is a NATO ally --

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ROBERTSON: -- so this question may well come up. They might want specifics from the president of what he was meeting about that. But yes, on Mohammed bin Salman, President Trump was full of praise for the crown prince, the effective leader of Saudi Arabia, when he had breakfast with him this morning, applauding what he called a revolution.

They both seemed to be verbally patting each other on the back, Mohammed bin Salman very thankful to President Trump. But that key issue of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, again, people want to know and will ask the president, did he bring that up?

And all the indications are that the president wants to move beyond that issue. As far as President Putin, I think President Trump is going to face those same questions again, why are you not confronting this Russian leader, who your intelligence services are telling you may be about try to meddle again in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, never mind the previous one?

ALLEN: We thank you, Nic Robertson and Jim Sciutto, we'll talk to you again as we dissect what happens in this upcoming news conference. Thank you both.

We will bring in now Amy Greene, she's an American political science researcher from Paris and she joins me now live.

Amy, you've been listening to the developments here from the G20 summit. We want to ask you first about this steps with China and the United States as far as trade.

How would you characterize the announcement that the U.S. won't impose more sanctions but will start resuming their conversations again?

AMY GREENE, POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCHER: Right. Thank you so much, Natalie. I think what we can see is the approach as the two reporters just mentioned, both the United States and China are perfectly aware that neither country has an interest in any protracted conflict, economic, political or military.

It's obviously great news for this trade relationship that the United States has walked back the threat of $300 million of additional tariffs. It's possible as well that it was a tactic in playing hardball, perhaps to get China back to the table, perhaps to drum up additional effort in the United States' attempt to restart the dynamic with North Korea.

In any case what we can see is that the United States is in a position where its president cannot take the risk of a protracted trade war with China. The economy is perhaps the one positive thing that Donald Trump has going for him right now.

He constantly tells us the success of the stock market but the reality is that tariffs don't impact the stock market; they impact the American worker when all is said and done. So this also becomes a domestic politics and reelection issue for the president. Were he to continue playing hardball with China, were talks to freeze and were the tariffs to take place, ultimately, it would affect the American worker in states where the president won against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and is currently in the polls significantly behind certainly Democratic adversaries for 2020.

So there's an international component as well as an economic component but we can't overlook the domestic political component as well.

ALLEN: We appreciate that differentiation that you made. Because the stock market has been soaring but that's not the only indicator here of who or how this could hurt the U.S. citizens and businesses if it continues.

We've been mentioning North Korea and a surprise overture that President Trump made to Kim Jong-un it. Kind of like, hey, why don't we meet up at the DNC for coffee?

You never know if it's necessarily anything that could be of substance but does it make sense, why not?

He is there.

Or does it sound like a farfetched idea?

GREENE: The president mentioned that it was a completely unpredictable overture, something he thought of and decided to tweet. Obviously Jim Sciutto reminded us that it's not the case that this had been in discussions off the record for several days.

Diplomacy is better than not having diplomacy. At the same time, the United States, since Trump initially met with the North Korean leader, hasn't really obtained anything. In fact, North Korea has systematically walked back on its concessions, the very few that it made.

Essentially we have an initial meeting that puts the two leaders on equal footing on the world stage. Then in the second, of course, a round of the talks, the U.S. president stormed out because of a lack of any progress and clearly that was too high to surmount.

There is absolutely no indication that anything -- and the reality of the situation has changed that would make this potential handshake at the DMZ any success. Bold moves are part of what make great diplomatic moments in history. But of course, those --

[02:15:00]

GREENE: -- bold moves are fueled by on the ground expertise by a corps of the diplomatic officers who are working sometimes for many years to slowly craft a nation's approach.

So the bold gestures are fueled by this expertise, which, by all accounts, no longer exists in the State Department because it has been gutted of that. So when you have a presidential or an official approach toward a hostile country like North Korea, which hinges entirely on a presidential win, it's true you can ask yourself, what is the follow-up?

What could realistically be the success when the adversary sees the position of the country, being the United States, ultimately shifts according to the whims of the president and the president's particular sense or appreciation of the moment?

So perhaps there will be a handshake, perhaps there won't. But it's not clear from the past that any potential future meeting at this stage, will bear any significance.

ALLEN: Political science researcher Amy Greene, we appreciate your insights and your time. Thank you.

GREENE: Thank you Natalie.

HOWELL: Next here on NEWSROOM, the former U.S. vice president pushes back after being hit where it hurts: his voting record. We'll have the latest for you. Stay with us.

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HOWELL: 2:19 in the morning on the U.S. East Coast and 3:19 pm there in Osaka, Japan, where are we are waiting for the U.S. president Donald Trump to take the podium for a news conference, this after a full day of meetings at the G20 summit. We'll continue to monitor this and bring you the event live as it happens.

The U.S. Democrats hoping to be president will spend the weekend trying to capitalize on Thursday's debate. It was the party's rating matchup in TV ratings history.

ALLEN: How about that?

A long time ago before the election, people taking an interest, 10 candidates fought it out but now some of them are having to do a bit of damage control. Here's more from CNN's Kyung Lah.

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KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day after the debate, Joe Biden defending his record on civil rights.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I respect Senator Harris. But we all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can't do justice to a lifetime committed to civil rights.

LAH: Speaking to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a civil rights organization.

BIDEN: I never, never, never, ever opposed voluntary busing.

LAH: He's reacting to the debate confrontation with Kamala Harris. She challenged Biden's past when he opposed federal mandatory busing to desegregate schools.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.

LAH (on camera): What is it that turned tonight, that made you discuss that?

HARRIS: I just think that on, some of these issues, it's that the American public deserves to know how we come at our priorities. There are millions of people in our country who have personal experiences with this. And that voice needs to be on stage.

LAH (voice-over): A breakout moment, fueling a throwback tweet and making headlines.

Fund-raising jumps at the Harris campaign to its third best day.

HARRIS: America does not one witness of food fight. They want to know how we're going to put food on their table.

LAH: Supporters wished Harris well. Back on the trail just hours after the debate, 2020 hopefuls with an army of media, staged a visit to the Homestead facility. The candidates didn't follow known protocol, attempting to visit the unaccompanied children at the migrant shelter to highlight Trump administration policies.

HARRIS: We need a new president of the United States.

LAH: But Harris had a debate stumble of her own.

LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan? All right.

LAH: After the debate, Harris tried to explain her answer.

HARRIS: So the question was, would you be willing to give up your private insurance for such a plan.

QUESTION: That's not how it was asked. That's what you heard. Right?

HARRIS: That's certainly what I heard.

LAH: The Medicare for all plan Harris says she supports would effectively eliminate private insurance, with few exceptions, such as for elective surgery not covered by the federal plan.

The topic has tripped her before. HARRIS: I don't know if your insurance company is going to cover this. Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on.

It was in the context of saying, let's get rid of all the bureaucracy. Let's get all of the ways..

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, not the insurance companies?

HARRIS: No, that's not what I meant. I know it was interpreted that way.

LAH: The debate also challenged Pete Buttigieg. He was asked a question about the officer involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, where he is mayor. The question was on why black officer representation, the percentage of officers who are black in South Bend, has not improved while he's been mayor.

And the mayor saying very simply, quote, "because I couldn't get it done" -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: The back and forth between Biden and Harris will surely be one of the memorable moments so far in this very early 2020 campaign.

HOWELL: Our Tom Foreman looks at which of the two did or didn't and get their facts straight on busing in the 1960s.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the sharpest attack of the debate. Kamala Harris lighting into Joe Biden for opposing racial busing decades ago.

HARRIS: And, you know, there was a little girl in California, who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. And she was bused to school every day and that little girl was me.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And it brought a quick rebuttal.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You mischaracterized my position across the board.

FOREMAN (voice-over): So what do the facts say?

Harris was truthful about her childhood, growing up on this corner in Berkeley. She was part of the second elementary school there to experience busing in the late 1960s, the school tells CNN.

As she would eventually write, "I only learned later that we were part of a national experiment in desegregation."

And while she, a young black girl, was attending a mostly white school, Joe Biden was becoming a U.S. senator.

TAPPER: Around that same time, then senator Joe Biden changed his position on busing and became anti-busing. He joined with Jesse Helms.

I don't even know if you know this. But --

HARRIS: I did not know that.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But it's true. As courts --

[02:25:00]

FOREMAN (voice-over): -- ordered a lot more schools to promote integration by busing kids from predominantly black schools to largely white ones and vice versa, protests, often violent, broke out coast to coast. And Biden indeed began pushing back. Listen to what he said this week in 1977.

BIDEN: I happen to think that the one way to ensure that you set the civil rights movement in America further back is to continue to push busing because it's a bankrupt policy.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And now...

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America, what I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.

FOREMAN (voice-over): That split hair likely won't satisfy proponents of the policy. Still, Biden has long promoted civil and voting rights for African Americans and better housing policies to make sure black families can live and go to school where they wish.

FOREMAN: In short, the record shows that Biden has fought for racial equality, even as he has refused to embrace the politically contentious issue of busing, joining the chorus of critics who have long said the benefits do not outweigh the social upheavals -- Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

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HOWELL: All right, Tom, thanks.

We continue here on NEWSROOM, we're monitoring this news conference that's taking place soon. It's set to take place in Osaka, Japan, with the U.S. president. Stand by for it.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen, here are our top stories for this hour.

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HOWELL: CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is in Osaka, Japan, where we're standing by for this news conference with the U.S. president to speak at any moment now.

Jim, given the various meetings Mr. Trump has had with various issues discussed, what are you expecting to hear, the key issues out of this news conference?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think we're just a few minutes away from the president getting this press conference started in Osaka, Japan. We have a room full of journalists who've probably never been this quiet in their entire life here. But yes, the president just wrapped up his role in the G20 summit here, essentially the meeting that everyone was watching the most, which were those high stakes talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

As you just mentioned a few minutes ago, they're now saying that the U.S. has agreed to not impose any new tariffs. We'll wait to see what the president to say about that when he comes out here in a few moments.

But it does sound as though there is some sort of cease-fire for the moment in this trade war that has been going on between the United States and China over the last several months.

Before we heard that news, the president made some news on his own when he suggested that he might be meeting the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the demilitarized zone when he gets to South Korea later on.

He will be spending the night there in Seoul and will meet with the South Korean president, President Moon tomorrow. So we may see another counter between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. I'm sure the president will be asked about that.

But, of course, the news that made headlines around the world earlier today was when the president was with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit and at one point seemed to joke about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Essentially saying that Vladimir Putin, don't meddle in the 2020 election. He did that with a smirk and a laugh.

My strong suspicion is, George and Natalie, there will be at least one reporter in this room who's going to ask the president what exactly was going through his mind when he made that comment with that smile on his face earlier during this G20 summit.

We can't ignore the headline a few minutes ago, that the women's soccer team beating France in the World Cup, the president earlier this week issued a challenge to one of the team's star players, Megan Rapinoe. It may be one of those questions if this press conference that goes on for some time.

We saw that happen after the Hanoi summit, with Kim Jong-un. The president may take a lot of questions in this room and so that may be one of the surprise questions that comes out of left field.

But obviously, the big focus and concentration will be on these high stakes trade talks with China. Exactly what the president got out of those talks and just when these two leaders will meet again.

Back in the United States there's been a lot of discussion on how these tariffs have been hurting American consumers and American farmers, people who are essential to the president's reelection campaign efforts heading to 2020.

ALLEN: All right, Jim, thank you so much.

Let's go to Jim Sciutto, covering the G20 summit news conference.

We want to talk to you more about this overture by President Trump to perhaps have a handshake at least with Kim Jong-un at the DMZ when he arrives in South Korea.

SCIUTTO: As with so many ideas, plans and announcements, the president tweeting this out, seemingly to the surprise of the North Koreans, their official reaction was that they did not receive an official request.

But the president making this Hail Mary pass, you might call it, when he goes to the DMZ tomorrow. This would be the third face-to-face meeting between the U.S. president and Kim Jong-un. Keep in mind, a third meeting with no progress on what the White House has said is the goal --

[02:35:00]

SCIUTTO: -- of these talks, which is the denuclearization of North Korea. No steps by North Korea to denuclearize. In fact it's the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that North Korea continues its program and to expand its program.

In fact, two of the concessions that North Korea has made, separate from its nuclear program, one, the return of the remains of U.S. service members killed in the Korean War and, two, stopping its missile testing.

Those remains are no longer coming back to the U.S. and North Korea just a few weeks ago did some more short-range missile testing, so the question is, what substantive has been accomplished from those talks.

And what substantive will come out of a handshake at the border?

Typically these kinds of meetings are scheduled and arranged as a reward for progress. Particularly one like this, where the president is effect going to the North Korean leader -- going right up to the North Korean border at the DMZ. And yet the president seems to be interested in the possibility of that picture.

To be frank, it would unprecedented, the U.S. president shaking hands with the North Korean leader at the border that divides the North and South and has, since the end of the Korean War some 60 or 70 odd years ago. But again, it can't be divorced from the fact, that on the essential question North Korea ending its nuclear program with no progress there.

Yet the president wants tomorrow to have another face to face meeting with the North Korean leader. We will see what happens.

ALLEN: If it happens, we will see if it's anything beyond a photo op and a historical meeting there at the DMZ.

At the same time, Jim, is it risky to do this, after the meeting there in Hanoi was basically a flop?

SCIUTTO: Yes, we were there in Hanoi. There was talk of some small bore agreement and even on the smaller issues, nothing major was expected there on denuclearization but even on the smaller issues they couldn't make progress and here we are, a few months later, four or five months later. And the president wanting to meet again with no progress and some backtracking, basically, by North Korea on other concessions that they made.

So absolutely risky but this is a president who seems to treat the fact of meeting as a victory, as it were, for him as opposed to the actual results of those meetings with North Korea. We'll see if North Korea accepts the offer, because you might say it's risky for them as well, this North Korean leader under enormous economic pressure at home and he hasn't been able to get what he wants out of these talks, which is the relaxation of the U.S. and international economic pressure. So risks involved for both sides here.

ALLEN: Yes, especially as we see the 2020 election and more and more Democrats speaking up, giving comments in these debates that are forthcoming. Jim Sciutto thanks again. We are waiting for the president to step to the lectern.

HOWELL: Now let's bring in Jim Acosta, again in the room, waiting for this news conference.

We talk about the 2020 election you can't help but talk about the U.S. economy, which is doing well right now. There is some news from Chinese state media that talks will resume, there will be no new sanctions from the United States. That news has to be wonderful news, as the markets here, what is coming out of this G20.

ACOSTA: That's right, George. We should point out the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and chief of staff Mick Mulvaney have just entered the room here. So it does appear we're getting closer to this press conference getting started.

But I think the global financial markets are going to be breathing a collective sigh of relief after the outcome of these talks between the president and Xi Jinping, the fact things have not ratcheted up further is going to come as a big relief to those financial markets.

We will see what happens in the days moving forward. You mentioned the Democratic race unfolding right now, we know the president watched some of that over here in Japan and even put out some tweets during the middle of all of this, I think he tweeted just one word, boring.

So my guess is somebody in his room will perhaps ask the question of this handicapped this Democratic field. I did talk to a senior White House official earlier on during this, who said when they saw in Japan all of those Democratic contenders at the debate raised their hand said they would support providing a health care to undocumented immigrants, which was essentially a gotcha moment, they felt inside the White House and in the Trump campaign a piece of video that they might save for later, they feel that that's an animating issue for the president heading into the 2020 campaign.

It's one he's used with some success in the past. Having said all of that, one of the things --

[02:40:00]

ACOSTA: -- that emerged from that debate last night that's been the talk of the political world over the last 24 hours, is this fiery exchange between Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden.

I suspect the president may be asked about some of that as well. But there's no shortage of issues for this president to talk about. But clearly, the outcome of these talks between the president and Xi Jinping and the fact of the trade war did not escalate at this G20 summit is something that's going to be welcomed around the world.

The president is counting on this U.S. economy holding steady and if not improving to the 2020 campaign to boost his chances. I suspect when he will come out here in a few moments, he will be talking about the economy and talk about the stock market and be talking about the outcome of these talks with Xi Jinping. It is very likely that the markets are not going to be reacting negatively to what happened in Osaka.

HOWELL: Let's remind our viewers what's happening right now. Jim, stand by for a second, we're seeing these live images coming from Osaka, Japan, from the G20 summit, where Donald Trump is set to take the podium any minute now.

Jim Acosta is also in the room, standing by and awaiting the president.

So when you talk about the economy, you talk certainly about Mr. Trump and his comments around the tensions between the U.S. and China. That could play out positively, given the news coming out of the G20.

But let's talk about the news coming out of that meeting with Vladimir Putin. The president's comments about election meddling, how might that play to the U.S. audience?

And what sort of questions may come out of that in this news conference?

ACOSTA: I think, George, if you contrast the reaction we saw after the president's comments at the G20, when he was joking around with Vladimir Putin about meddling and saying don't meddle in the next election. I think there is a sharp contrast that's going to be drawn between the reaction in Washington to what the president said today and for example what he said in Helsinki almost a year ago, when the president appeared to take Putin's word over that of the U.S. intelligence community when it came to election interference.

There was a sharp reaction on both sides of the political spectrum. Last time around, this time around, there were some, I guess some jaws dropped that the U.S. president had this warm and jovial exchange with Vladimir Putin over the topic of meddling.

But it didn't trigger the same kind of negative response out of Washington that we saw a year ago, when everybody around the world saw what happened coming out of Helsinki. So I think that the president is going to be asked about this because one of the questions coming out of that exchange with Vladimir Putin is, what's going through his mind.

Was he really joking when he said that?

What was with the smile and the grin and smirk when he had that exchange with Putin. The other thing he may be asked about, he had this very pleasant exchange with Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. There's a lot of questions, especially in the community of the press around the world, why is the president not really going after Mohammed bin Salman a little more strongly on this issue of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi?

The president was asked about his during one of those pool sprays that we see during the summit and the president did not take the question, he did not answer the question when he was asked about Jamal Khashoggi and Mohammed bin Salman.

We were told by the White House in a statement, a readout of that meeting between the president and Mohammed bin Salman that the human rights issues were raised during their discussion. But there is no clear indication that the president brought up the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

And that's a matter of great importance to the members of the free press. Not just the United States but around the world that the United States make a strong stance when it comes to press freedom in the face of those kinds of attacks on journalists around the world.

It's something that we saw and was underlined in the president's exchange with Vladimir Putin as well. People are turning to this side and I'm looking over here as well. Ivanka Trump, president's daughter and senior advisor, just came into the room.

One of the things we should point out about these talks with China, is sitting at the table along with the secretary of state and the chief of staff was the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump. She was also at the table with President Trump and Xi Jinping.

So the president should be coming out shortly, all indications are that these officials are sitting down, the president will be coming out in a few moments. In terms of exactly what went on in that room with Xi Jinping after all the reporters were escorted out as you saw earlier today in our coverage.

ALLEN: As we seem to be minutes away from the start of this, we want to ask you, when was the last time that President Trump held a formal news conference like we're about to see?

[02:45:00]

ACOSTA: Well, Natalie, he has these brief exchanges with us at the White House from time to time. He takes questions in the Oval Office and so on. We have the makings for a press conference that we haven't seen since the end of the Hanoi summit with Kim Jong-un.

I'm just putting a rough guesstimate here, but it felt like dozens of questions because it went on that long, took a number of questions from U.S. reporters, a number of questions from foreign reporters.

And I remember because I was in the room on that day, he was randomly selecting for reporters, who I don't even think he recognized or knew from covering him. And so you could have that same sort of press conference unfolding here in just a few moments.

The president may be here to head off to South Korea and move on to that next part of this trip to Asia. And he may just come in and take a few questions from reporters. We'll have to see exactly what is on his mind.

But after that Hanoi summit, that went on for a good hour. So a number of questions from reporters gathered around the room from the United States and the foreign press corps. So we may see something along those lines here in just a few moments.

But it has been some time since we've seen the president in this kind of setting. Obviously has the potential for making a lot of news.

HOWELL: Give us a sense of the spirit of this G20?

As we await the U.S. president, who's going to take the podium at any time. It looks like the tone and spirit set by the host country and prime minister Shinzo Abe (sic) was to find common ground among leaders. This with a president who is known to kick up controversy with adversaries and allies.

How was this G20 for Donald Trump?

ACOSTA: Well, I think the G20 summit is very similar to what we've seen previously. They are becoming I think dominated more and more by autocrats and dictators who make up part of the group of countries that are part of the G20.

So you're seeing these interactions, to American viewers back at home, they may be wondering what's going on here when they see the president interact with some of these autocratic leaders.

But it is sort of the way these summits are shaping up these days. I will tell you, I thought it was very interesting, you talk about Shinzo Abe (sic) and how he was calling for a common ground and a relaxation of some of the friction that we've seen on the world stage, especially in the trade realm.

But I thought one of the more striking moments of this G20 summit, was the very icy encounter that you saw from the outgoing prime minister, Theresa May from the United Kingdom, and Vladimir Putin. There was just a sharp contrast between Theresa May and her interaction with Vladimir Putin and President Trump and his encounter with Vladimir Putin.

I think it goes to show you what we're starting to see at these G20 summits. It's just my own observation as I've been covering these, you're seeing more and more, I think, a retreat of the dominance and influence of democratic countries like the United States. And a rise of more autocratic and dictator-like countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia and so on.

And the sphere of influence, it seems, is shifting somewhat when you see these G20 summits take place.

Some of that tone is set by the president of the United States and how he interacts with many of these leaders. Some of the president's critics point out he does seem a little more cozy at times and is quick to that he's not going far enough, that he is a lot more cozy at times with some of these autocratic leaders than he is with long- standing U.S. allies.

I suppose, George and Natalie, when the president comes into this room and starts taking questions, he may hear some of that as well.

How is it he has these very friendly relationships with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, Mohammed bin Salman and so on?

And you see more frosty relations between the president -- and he's willing to sound off when it comes to trade relations with Japan, when he heads to the United Kingdom and makes comments about Theresa May.

Why is there this dynamic?

Where does that seem to shift from foreign trip to foreign trip when he goes around the world, it's something that we're starting to see more and more from these gatherings, when these foreign leaders get together for these types of summits.

HOWELL: CNN's Jim Acosta is in the room, the U.S. president Donald Trump due to take the podium anytime now. We will take a short break, but will be back the minute Donald Trump, the U.S. president, takes the podium. Stand by. We will be right back.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

HOWELL: On the stage, the U.S. president Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan, at the G20 summit, let's listen in.

[02:52:00]

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some of you will be coming with us. I understand that we may be meeting with Chairman Kim. And we will find out. We spoke with the people. Kim Jong-un was very receptive. He responded stop and so we will see because tomorrow we are going to the DMZ.

I said, while I'm there, I'll shake his hand. We get along. There have been no nuclear tests, there's been no long-range ballistic tests, gave us back our hostages, which was great and a lot of good things are happening over there.

So I let him know we will be there and we will see. I don't -- I can't tell you exactly but they did respond very favorably.

I want to thank everyone for being here today. There's a lot of press, a lot of press is outside, too. They are less happy than you are.

But the G20 summit has been fantastic. Prime minister Abe has done an incredible job, as he always does. And he hosted it very beautifully. You know where it is going to be next year, I think. Most of you know where it's going to be next year. It's going to be in a very great part of the world. And we will be announcing exactly what is happening.

But this was a really good summit and really well done, so professionally done. This marks my third visit to Japan as president. Melania and I are -- we just left Tokyo a short while ago, as you know, a very short while ago, where we were the first state guests to their majesties, the emperor and empress of Japan. And that was thrilling. First time in 202 years that an event like that took place. So that was quite exciting.

And I am thrilled to be back. I always like being back in Japan. I had a great relationship. We have never been closer to Japan than we are right now. Over the past two days, leaders from the world's largest economies have convened here in Osaka, which is a tremendous city.

You fly over and you say, does it ever stop?

It is big, it's beautiful, it's clean. And it is really -- the job they do with industrial manufacturing and lots of other things is really incredible. We had a very productive conversation with a number of the leaders of not only nations but business leaders here in Japan.

And together -- we put together a lot of ideas and a lot of challenges for the future that we will be able to meet and get things going very well. Our meetings also touched on women's economic empowerment.

You probably saw that Ivanka Trump was -- she did a fantastic job. And also a fantastic job in getting jobs for a lot of people within our country, almost 10 million people. The importance of resilient and secure infrastructure, we discussed that at great length.

The need to uphold the rule of law --

[02:55:00]

TRUMP: -- and the critical importance of achieving a future for international trade that works all of the time for all of the people. In addition to the working sessions, we had a lot of working sessions. Many of you were at the working sessions. I had tremendous bilateral meetings with many of the heads of state.

And just some of them are Australia, Japan, India, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, the U.K. And I met with Mexico also, with the representatives of Mexico, who have done an incredible job. They have really stepped up to the plate. I appreciate it and I want to thank them.

They have 6,000 troops at their southern border by Guatemala. And it is very hard to come in now. And they just ordered -- really it was somewhat of a surprise, 16,000 troops at our southern border. Their immigration laws are very strong. Ours are a disaster, our are a disgrace to our country. We have loopholes and asylum that -- we could fix the asylum very quickly. We could fix and get rid of the loopholes. But we could get rid of the loopholes and we would have absolutely no problem at the border.

But if you watched the debates, if you call them debates, whatever they were, they don't really -- I think they want open borders, I guess, even though four years ago, they wanted walls to be built.

I heard we just had another judge ruled against us on a section of wall. And that is a disgrace. We will appeal it right away. 9th Circuit, as usual. They go right into that 9th Circuit.

The good news, I put a lot of judges in and a number of them are in the 9th Circuit now. And it is very unfair. It is very unfair when a judge can do what they do, where a judge in a certain area can close down a country.

But we also had a big victory last week with the wall. We had a the judge in D.C. who gave us a very big victory. So we are building a lot of wall. But we had a ruling just yesterday late from a judge in the 9th Circuit, again. So we are immediately appealing it and we think we will win the appeal.

There was no reason that that should have happened. And a lot of wall is being built. And again, Mexico is doing a real job. Our Border Patrol they're doing incredible work and ICE is, they are just special people. Law enforcement generally is just special.

So with that, I just want to say that these meetings have been great. The one that I guess most people are interested in is China. We had a great meeting, President Xi. And we have known each other for as long as I'm president.

And many of you were at the event in China a year ago when -- I have never seen anything like it, the -- it was beautiful. We talked about it. We had dinner last night, President Xi and a number of us. And it was something really incredible, in Beijing.

The red carpet was rolled out for all of us, for this country, for our country. And we had a great meeting. And we will be continuing to negotiate. I promised that, for at least the time being, we are not going to be lifting tariffs on China.

We won't be adding an additional tremendous amount of -- we have, I guess, $350 billion left, which could be taxed or could be tariffed. And we're not doing that.

We're going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal. China is going to start -- they are going to be consulting with us. They will start spending money even during the negotiation to our great farmers in the Midwest. I call them the great patriots, because that is what they are. They are patriots.

And China will be a tremendous amount of food and agricultural product. And they will start that very soon, almost immediately. We will give them lists of things we would like for them to buy. Our farmers will be a tremendous beneficiary.

You know, if you look at farmers, from 15 years before I came into this position, the farms and the farmers have had a hard time. You look at that graph, it was down, fairly steeply down. A lot of it was because NAFTA was a terrible deal.

Now we have the -- I spoke with Nancy Pelosi last night about the USMCA. That's Mexico and Canada. And it is now before them and they will have to make a decision but that is one that the farmers love, the manufacturers love, the unions love. It is a great deal for this country.

[03:00:00]