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Trump Softens China Rhetoric as Fears Grow over Economy & Farmers Speak Out; Market Whiplash as China Threatens to Retaliate against Tariffs; John Hickenlooper Ends Presidential Campaign, Considers Senate Run; Sen. Cory Booker Releases Plan to Stem Hate Crimes Following Mass Shootings; Was Russian "Super Weapon" Behind Nuclear Incident. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 15, 2019 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We'll bring in financial expert, Alexis Glick, a former Wall Street executive.

I know your heart just goes out to farmers and what they're going through and how just thinking about having to do something else when you don't want to have to pivot and do that. I want to come back to that in just a second.

But, first, just on Trump. Here we are, China now threatens retaliation. Trump is like, whoa! Whoa! Whoa. He tweets, hey, talks are going well. I'll meet with you, Xi.

How worried is he?

ALEXIS GLICK, FINANCIAL EXPERT & JOURNALIST: He is worried and he should be. Because the bottom line is we are, because of the trade negotiations, at this stage in time, we are bringing ourselves into a recession.

If you look at the state of the economy, and particularly the state of the market, for the past year, things are pretty good. Tax cuts did increase capital spending and investment. We were doing well in manufacturing jobs.

But a period of prolonged uncertainty around trade is not good. Not just for the U.S. economy, but for the global economy.

And now this stage of limbo is starting to have a cancerous effect on the marketplace as a whole. We're seeing it in Germany where the economies contracted in the second quarter. We saw it in China. Their industrial growth is the lowest level in 17 years.

Let's look at the United States alone. Our deficit is ballooning. We're spending a trillion dollars more than we take in in revenue. We finally started to see in our last jobs report that the hourly workweek, particularly around manufacturing, is starting to shrink.

Farmers. Thank heavens that Vanessa is there talking to Cindy and farmers across the country. I work with 40,000 of America's dairy farmers. I have seen firsthand what they're going through. It is not just catastrophic, it is a situation where generations upon generations are losing everything. I have never seen anything like it in my lifetime. It is unbelievably challenging.

The thing right now, we just heard the European Central Bank come out a short while ago and indicate that, in September, when they meet, they're going to do some kind of fiscal stimulus and they're going to cut rates again.

The pressure is on the Fed to cut rates in September and October. We know that the president feels strongly about it. But it's not enough.

So right now, the number-one thing we can do is let's sign this U.S.- Canada-Mexico trade agreement the minute they come back from recess, number one. Two let's get a good deal on the table with Japan. And stop the rhetoric with China.

The biggest thing that worries me, Brooke, is that, in the last recession -- and there's no guarantee we're going into a recession -- the consumer has still been strong. We need to sort of calm the flame of the fire here.

Here's the difference. In the last recession, you had a group of global leaders who wanted to talk to each other, who knew how to talk to each other.


GLICK: Right now, you have an environment in which there's so much anger, so many fingers being pointed, that, right now, we need to figure out how we're going to collectively work together.

And that starts next week in Jackson Hole where Fed officials are meeting, economists from around the world are meeting. And hopefully, we'll start to see the tea leaves next week of, how do we do this on a coordinated effort. We need a coordinated effort to make sure the global economy does not go into recession.

BALDWIN: Let me quote this to you. This is a "Wall Street Journal" editorial board writing that, "The Navarro Recession II." So they write, "Wednesday's market moves are an omen of the future, not destiny. The key to avoiding the worst is to restore a sense of policy calm --" Sounds like what we're talking about when they come back from break. " -- and confidence. Stop the trade threats by tweet. Call a tariff truce with China, Europe and the rest of the world while negotiations resume."

GLICK: Bravo.

BALDWIN: How much confidence do you have in the administration, and others to do the right thing?

GLICK: The president -- first of all, the president understands that we need to stabilize. And he doesn't mean he's going to stop tweeting, of course. But at the end of the day, the reason he put off those tariffs is because he recognizes we cannot have an economy that is fading and tanking.

The last thing we do is cut consumer spending because that will inherently cut GDP and we'll be in a recession before we know it.

BALDWIN: And he wants to be re-elected.

GLICK: He wants to be reelected. That's number-one on his agenda.

But number two right now, if I am sitting there -- if I'm negotiating, as Mnuchin and others are negotiating right now, we recognize that China has basically called our bluff. Whether they're going to devalue the currency, whatever other forms of manipulation they're going to do, they're going to do it.

The bottom line is, if you look at the farming industry here in the United States, because of all that lost business, that business is going to other areas around the globe.

The amount of time it is going to take to reclaim business lost because of the break in free trade in the United States -- one CEO said to me earlier today, he said, one thing. He said, Alexis, we need open markets. Open markets are critical to the global economy.

[14:35:03] So what the board said right there is spot on. The number-one thing we can do is calm the rhetoric down. Sit down, have an adult conversation, and figure how, together, we can create a free trade environment that's going to help all of us.

BALDWIN: Alexis Glick, thank you.


GLICK: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: -- every time.

Thank you very much.

GLICK: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

As one candidate drops out of the 2020 race, another, Senator Cory Booker, is unveiling his plan to battle white supremacy. We'll lay that out for you.

And why Stephen Colbert says President Trump is not welcome on his late-night show. His CNN interview ahead.


[14:40:02] BALDWIN: And then there were 23. The Democratic presidential pool just lost another contender. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says he's out.


JOHN HICKENLOOPER, (D), FORMER COLORADO GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Six months ago, I announced my run for president. In almost every regard, this journey has been more exciting and more rewarding than I ever imagined. Though, of course, I did imagine a different conclusion.

Today, I'm ending my campaign for president. But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.

People want to know what comes next for me. I've heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the U.S. Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.


BALDWIN: There's been quite a bit of speculation that Governor Hickenlooper may challenge Republican Cory Gardner for his Senate seat. We have been told not to expect an answer on that today.

He's called out America's rising tide of hate and says it threatens national security. Today, Senator Cory Booker is backing up his words with actions as he releases a plan to stem hate crimes.

Senator Booker says he would create a White House office on hate crimes and white supremacist violence. He would require federal law enforcement agencies to report to Congress at least once a year on the threat of white supremacy. And would direct the FBI to go back to calling white supremacy crimes what they are as opposed to the current vague terminology, racially motivated violent extremists.

CNN political reporter, Rebecca Buck, is with me now.

Rebecca, Senator Booker is seizing on what's going on right now in America, after El Paso and Dayton. He called out white supremacy and gun violence. Does his campaign believe he could peel away some Biden voters?

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Certainly, anything that happens in the context of this Democratic primary has to be viewed, Brooke, through the lens of Joe Biden being the Democratic frontrunner still in the race.

However, Booker has emphasized that with this plan in America, with the discussion of gun violence and white supremacy in America that's been going on, this is more of a moral moment, are the words he used, something that transcends politics. So he's wanted to focus on that, as he has this conversation.

Of course, in this plan, he's also focusing on President Trump and the White House's role and responsibility in the rising tide of hate and white supremacy of America.

This is something that Booker discussed in a powerful speech last week at the Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I want you to take a listen to part of those remarks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): You reap what you sow. The act of anti- Latino, anti-immigrant hatred we witnessed this past weekend did not start with the hand that pulled the trigger.

So from the highest office in our land, you see in tweets and rhetoric, hateful words that ultimately endanger the lives of people in our country.


BUCK: Now, Cory Booker is not the only Democratic candidate who has released a plan to tackle white supremacy in America. Julian Castro released his own plan.

And this has been at the center of the 2020 conversation among Democratic candidates. I was just at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend. And you heard many of the contenders talking about this, talking about what they would do as president.

So it's likely that this is going to remain at the forefront for some time to come -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Let's hope this is something that remains at the forefront. It should be.

Rebecca Buck, thank you very much.

BUCH: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just ahead on CNN, details on the mysterious explosion in Russia that killed five scientists in Russia and sent radiation levels there spiking. Families told to stay in their homes. Was it a so- called super weapon test?


[14:48:31] BALDWIN: A missile explosion in Russia leaves five nuclear scientists dead, causes radiation levels to soar, and raises new questions about what was being tested. The Kremlin says, quote, "Accidents happen." But that's about all they're saying. So could the mystery about this missile test involve strategic weapons touted by none other than Vladimir Putin?.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As often the case in Russia, slow drip of information about exactly what happened near the Arctic Circle, where this explosion seems to have caused radiation, some of it appears may be drifting in the direction of Scandinavia.

Slowly, people learning more and more about the missile that may have been fueled and driven by a nuclear reactor. A bid for Russia to find a new generation of cruise missiles. But it so far doesn't appear to have been entirely successful.

(voice-over): The tiniest traces of radiation recorded on the Norwegian northern coast, say Norwegian officials. A radioactive I.D. they said from an unknown source, which isn't harmful to people.

Could this be more fallout from Russia's accident in the Arctic, which sent radiation levels soaring and killed five scientists during an apparent missile test? And what is the "Skyfall" known as the 9-M-370 in Russia.


WALSH: Announced by President Putin in March 2018, it was lauded as a new generation of unstoppable nuclear-reactor- powered cruise missile that would render U.S. missile defenses obsolete.


[14:50:10] WALSH: They claimed it had unlimited change and can fly around the world multiple times before approaching its target from an unpredictable anger.

The point is the technology is secret, yet most analysts believe it uses a nuclear reactor to heat air propelling it forward while expelling nuclear waste.

The U.S. called their version Project Pluto. It was abandoned in the '60s because of the trail of damaging material it leaves behind as it flies. Basically, a dirty bomb with wings.

DR, MARK GALEOTTI, SENIOR FELLOW, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE STUDIES: This is a doomsday weapon. It's not something that could be deployed in anything other than a full-scale nuclear war. A cruise missile that can stay in the air for a longer time but, at the same time, it's belching out radioactive plumes behind it.

WALSH: These satellite images show an apparent launch site in 2018.

Does it work? U.S. officials told CNN it's being tested a few times, but never fully successfully. The truth is, we just don't know how close success it is now. Leading to the question, why would the Kremlin try to show off technology that doesn't seem to fly.

GALEOTTI: Vladimir Putin's Russia is trying to puff itself up. It's trying to look more militarily formidable than it is. They don't like the fact that the test failed. The fact that we're all no talking about the latest Russian military technology is something of a plus.

WALSH: Yet, the risks the Kremlin appear to tolerate in pursuing this new arms race mean a more dangerous world could be ahead.

(on camera): So there are many other missile programs, it seems that Russia has been more keen than you think to publicize. As you heard there, it may well be because they're trying to make their military capabilities seem bigger than they are. But certain, now with many missile treaties being whittled away at by

Washington and Moscow, deep concerns potentially about this new arms race. And obviously, too, of course, the immediate regional impact if Russia has more accidents like this.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


BALDWIN: Nick, thank you very much.

More on our breaking news now. Israel banning two Democratic Congresswomen after the president's urging. Hear how Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is now responding.

Plus, Stephen Colbert's interview with CNN. Here's the headline, he will not be inviting the president onto his show.


[14:56:16] BALDWIN: Late-night television hosts have become leading critics of President Trump. But one of them, Stephen Colbert, says, heading into 2020, the president is not welcome on his show.

Here's what he shared in a candid interview with Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "A.C. 360": Would you want to have Trump on your show again?

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: The quick answer would be no because I -- it would be hard for me to be properly respectful of the office. Because I think that he is so disrespectful of the office, that it's hard to perceive him as I would want to perceive a president in terms of their status and dignity and their representation of the United States.

So I just think, for safety's sake, it wouldn't be a good idea.


BALDWIN: You can watch the whole interview with Stephen tonight on "A.C. 360" at 9:00 p.m.

Ahead, new revelations about Jeffrey Epstein's cause of death inside that Manhattan jail cell. Reports of multiple broken bones in his neck. What that tells medical examiners.