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Trump Hiking Tariffs on Billions in Chinese Imports; G7 Leaders Brace for Trump's Arrival; Hong Kong Protests Enter 12th Week; Brazilian President Authorizes Armed Forces to Fight Amazon Blazes; Democrat Seth Moulton Drops Out of Presidential Race. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired August 24, 2019 - 05:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tweaked by Beijing's retaliatory tariffs, the U.S. president slaps higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, deepening an already deep divide on this trade war that's being played out, all ahead of the G7 summit.

President Trump expected to arrive in France this hour. We're monitoring that. But expectations for progress at this summit as a whole, well, the bar is low.

Also ahead this hour, thousands of protesters march for action in Brazil as fires in the Amazon rage and spark global outrage as well.

We want to welcome you in from the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: The G7 summit is how we start at 5:00 am Eastern time. The U.S. president set to touch down in France at this hour to attend the summit. As he arrives, we'll bring you that.

It's a chance for leaders of the wealthiest nations to tackle global problems. President Trump didn't want to go, considering it a waste of time. Last year's event in Canada has not been forgotten. The host this year, the French president Emmanuel Macron, has played down expectations for this summit.

He scrapped the joint communique that traditionally concludes each summit, saying it was pointless. Mr. Trump left behind a stock market reeling in the worsening dispute between Washington and Beijing.

It came after he said he'd hike tariffs on Chinese imports after China made a similar move on American goods. And Wall Street responded; the Dow Jones dropped more than 600 points. But the president brushed it off. He claimed he was only doing what previous presidents should have done all along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Look, China has been hurting our country for 30 years with the money they have been taking out. Other presidents should have done something about it and they should have done it a long time ago, whether it was Clinton or Bush or Obama, any of them. They should have done something about it. And they didn't.

I'm doing it. I have no choice because we are not going to lose close to a trillion dollars a year to China. And China understands that. I hope that with President Xi, I have a good relationship, but they understand we are not going to do it.

This is more important than anything else right now just about that we are working on.


HOWELL: That was the president before he departed. As we await his arrival at the G7 we have team coverage today. Steven Jiang following the trade war in Beijing and our Nic Robertson standing by in southern France.

We start with you, Steven. This announcement from President Trump about new tariffs. He claims the U.S. economy is stronger and can win the latest war.

What has been the reaction so far to the president's latest move?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: Well, George, the Chinese government has not responded to the latest move by Mr. Trump, which is hiking tariffs. State media have stayed quiet. I think the swiftness on Trump's tweets to counter the newest tariffs by China may have caught Beijing off guard somewhat.

I think you would expect them to say Mr. Trump's latest move only reinforces his trade bullying tactic against China and his tendency to flip-flop his positions and how it shows his insincerity of the talks between the two countries.

But the latest tariffs on China of $75 billion for U.S. goods, that's not a surprise. China has been promising to retaliate against Americans for some time.

Also worth noting, these newest Chinese tariffs were not matching America's tariffs dollar for dollar. That's because China imports a lot less from the U.S. than the other way around. China is running out of U.S. goods to tax.

That's why people were worried. That would, for example, mean what many call non-tariff barriers against American business, putting them on a black list for national security reasons or delaying their licenses or customs clearance. All of that could make American companies' lives very difficult in China. There could be potentially another --


JIANG: -- round of escalation in this trade war -- George.

HOWELL: Steven, we saw the president rip into his own hand-picked chair of the Federal Reserve in this dispute. Here's a tweet from the president. We'll talk about the part of the Fed chair in a moment.

But the greater question from this tweet, where he asks, "My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powel (sic) or Chairman Xi?"

He is classifying President Xi as the enemy.

JIANG: That's right. But he also told reporters earlier as we listened to the sound bite, he has a great relationship with President Xi.

So which is it?

Is Xi a friend or enemy?

He seems to be unable to make up his mind. Here in Beijing analysts have been saying Mr. Trump's actions and remarks really have only strengthened the hand of President Xi Jinping. Xi was facing internal criticisms. But now he can say, look, Trump is simply impossible to manage.

What China needs is a strong leader like himself so the Chinese government can defeat the American plan to contain its rise on the global stage. That seems to be the opinion of Beijing, according to analysts, George.

HOWELL: It is important to see these tweets. We'll bring it up in a moment. But official White House communication labeling President Xi as an enemy, it's interesting to see that nuance as the trade dispute continues on. Let's bring in Nic Robertson now.

Nic, as you watch this division that leaders are facing at the G7, juggling, heading into the summit. Mr. Trump is celebrated as the catalyst to a lot of that division on the world stage.

Are there any bright spots for progress or might we see the divides deepen here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Certainly on the issue of a trade war with China, that's going to raise concern. There was concern coming into this and you would expect leaders like Emmanuel Macron and others try to give President Trump their guidance on how this could impact the global economy and the negative effect it could have all around the world and on the United States, of course.

You know, president Emmanuel Macron has played down expectations of getting agreement and getting this joint communique. But I think he very much sees himself as the international leader who can step up on the world stage and try to take leadership, where President Trump is sort of going America first, looking at America's interests, not looking after the bigger global picture, if you will, in a multinational way. To that end, president Macron again, breaking a little bit with the

tradition that these kind of summits, is going to have a speech ahead of the summit in a couple of hours' time, where I think we can expect him to lay out what he thinks is important.

So the ray of sunshine if you will for the French president is to at least try to shape the agenda until the rest of the world -- why it's important, whether it's the fires in the Amazon rain forest, whether it's dealing with Iran, tamp down the escalating trade war with China.

But President Trump is coming to this -- into this G7 all fired up about president Macron as well, warning him very clearly about digital taxation that president Macron is planning. This is how President Trump has framed his response.


TRUMP: I don't want them doing anything having to do with taxing unfairly our companies. Those are great American companies and, frankly, I don't want France going out and taxing our companies; very unfair. And if they do that, we'll be taxing their wine or doing something else. We'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before.

It's for us to tax them. Other than that, I have a good relationship with -- as you know, with Macron, as you say. I think we'll have a good couple of days.


ROBERTSON: Perhaps that's something of a warning for British prime minister Boris Johnson because Britain until now has been known to follow France's lead. Johnson wants to have a very good conversation with Trump himself.

HOWELL: Nic Robertson has been following this live as well as Steven Jiang. Thank you both.

Let's talk now with Natasha Lindstaedt, who teaches government at the University of Essex.


HOWELL: Good to have you.


HOWELL: Natasha, we're expecting President Trump to arrive in France at the bottom of this hour. He's been questioning why he even has to attend as he touches ground.

What kind of reaction do you think he's going to get?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, I think, as has already been reported, the U.S. is becoming more and more isolated under Trump. And the last G7 in Canada was a complete disaster. He sent the whole thing into disarray by refusing to sign an accord on climate change.

And then he was also making attacks at prime minister Trudeau of Canada that didn't make really much sense at all. There's a sense that the U.S. is sort of on its own. It's becoming more isolated. Trump is becoming more unpredictable.

Remember, the U.S. is supposed to be looking on issues. It's supposed to be one of the world leaders on security, trade, hopefully the environment. And instead, because Trump's policies are so out of touch from what western European leaders and Canada and Japan, they're trying to figure out how to do things on their own, how to get around Trump, deal with Trump.

They're probably hoping to hold out and wait it out until a new president comes. But they don't think they can deal with him.

HOWELL: Before leaving, he increased tariffs, spiraling the U.S. into a deeper trade war with China. But it didn't stop there. President Trump also called on American businesses to do this.

In a tweet, he said, "The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP.

"Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA."

He insists he does have the authority do that. Certainly the Chinese president does.

But do you believe President Trump can do the same?

LINDSTAEDT: I don't believe that he can do the same. I'm really startled by this tweet because it sounds like something Stalin would say or the leader of a command economy, that he's just ordering to leave or find alternatives. That's not something a U.S. president can automatically dictate.

I think it showcases how little he understands about the U.S. economy and its relationship with China. They're each other's biggest trading partners. They're completely intertwined. What he does to China, we'll see retaliation from China.

And that has knock-on effects to U.S. businesses and to consumers and, of course, that's going to be very, very important when it comes to 2020. All of these different trade wars that he's been initiating with China are going to eventually lead us into a recession.

And, you know, we're going to see U.S. voters not so happy with that if he continues with these types of policies.

HOWELL: Let's touch on that just a bit more facing the big hurdle on the home front. The concerns about a growing recession. Mr. Trump compared the U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell, a man he handpicked, he appointed this person, compared him to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

If we have it, let's put it up.

It's an official communication from the White House. There it is.

"My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powel (sic) or Chairman Xi?"

Here's what he had to say about his relationship with Powell.


TRUMP: No, I am not happy with Jay Powell. I don't think he is doing a good job at all. I don't think he is much of a chess player. I got him, so, that's what I have.

Do I want him to resign?

If he did I would not stop him.


HOWELL: There's how the president feels. That's the relationship between these two men.

Are you surprised by this comparison of him to President Xi?

LINDSTAEDT: I'm surprised on one hand but then I'm not. On one hand he's saying President Xi is the enemy and then at other times saying he has a great relationship. To compare the Fed chair to an autocrat is just insane. I've never heard of a president attacking the chairman of the Fed in this way.

Fortunately, the Federal Reserve is an independent body. It's about as independent as it can be. It doesn't seem to be affected by all of Trump's tweets and attacks. It has to be that way because it plays such an important role in managing the economy.

The issue is, with these types of tweets and all the different comments he makes about the economy, they do affect overall economic --


LINDSTAEDT: -- outlook. We've seen the stock market plunge because of the tweets. What economies don't need is uncertainty and that's one of the big issues here. His tweets are creating uncertainty.

HOWELL: All right. Natasha Lindstaedt, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

For the seventh time in the past few weeks, North Korea is again firing missiles. The South Korean military says it detected two short-range projectiles what they thought to be ballistic missiles fly over the sea on Saturday. It's the latest in a series of tests with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un thumbing his nose at U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Let's go live to Seoul, South Korea, for more. David Culver has more from Seoul.

What have you learned?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just the latest launch, the ninth since May, another working weekend for South Korean leadership as they convened early. The National Security Council trying to assess what's going on. We know these were two projectiles thought to be short-range missiles that went about 380 kilometers.

We here in Seoul are certainly within range of them. What we've seen in recent launches is an enhancing of some of the technology that North Korea is using. According to military defense experts, they seem to be sharpening their ability to potentially evade South Korean and U.S. military defense systems.

The president of the United States, President Trump, was asked about this as he headed to the G7. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Kim Jong-un has been, you know, pretty straight with me, I think. And we're going to see what is going on. We'll see what is happening. He likes testing missiles. But we never restricted short- range missiles. We'll see what happens.


CULVER: When he says that, he's talking about the relationship he has directly with Kim Jong-un, which dates back to the Singapore summit where they said you can't go forth with nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Trump seems to be allowing these short-range missiles. But even those are threatening to South Korea; we're within range as well as Japan and tens of thousands of U.S. troops.

HOWELL: The backdrop here very important as well. These two allies, South Korea and Japan, which are aligned in defense against North Korea, find themselves in the middle of this bitter dispute that limits how they share intelligence about North Korea.

CULVER: It's frustrating, George, for military officials. You and I talking right here, it's as though we would have to go through a third party to communicate and that's what the U.S. role would be likely going forward if in the next 90 days they don't come to an agreement on how to keep this general security military agreement in place.

Otherwise, today would be a case in point with the launch that we saw. Anything that was gathered data-wise or surveillance-wise from South Korea and they wanted to relay it to Japan, they would have to go to the U.S. The U.S. would say to South Korea, do we have permission to reveal this data to Japan, they'd have to get permission and do it.

You're talking about a delay, if it ever gets to who it's supposed to. It could be very inefficient.

HOWELL: David Culver, thank you for the reporting.

Still ahead here, chaos breaking out in Hong Kong. Protesters there taking to the streets and the protests seemed to have taken a violent turn over the 12th weekend we've seen this playing out. We have a live report ahead for you.

Also ahead, I will speak with a climate scientist about the global impact of the fires raging in Brazil and what we do to help.





HOWELL: Take a look at these live images playing out in Hong Kong where it's 5:21 in the afternoon. Authorities fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, the demonstrators marching for a 12th straight weekend in a row.

Earlier the subway system shut down services, this in anticipation of the protests. This is one of several demonstrations taking place this weekend.

Again, you're looking at live images playing out, protesters determined to keep up the fight, frustrated by the extradition law that has been shelved. Many of the protesters also concerned about Mainland China having more influence in Hong Kong. We'll continue follow this, of course.

But let's go live in Hong Kong with our Andrew Stevens on the ground with this.

Andrew, what more can you tell us?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, George, we've seen for the first time in nearly two weeks the police actually using tear gas on the streets of Hong Kong. It's been a relatively quite period here in Hong Kong. It hasn't stopped protests (INAUDIBLE) until today.

We saw thousands of protesters gathering in this industrial area of Hong Kong. They surrounded police on two sides, surrounding a police station here. The police keep their distance behind some makeshift barriers. (INAUDIBLE) who were hurling insults and (INAUDIBLE) and various -- you know, they're trying to rile police up.

Police did deploy riot troops. But they took it all until the protesters started early what looked like lumps of rock and brick and some bars were thrown as well. (INAUDIBLE) acted very quickly. They charged the protesters, they cleared them out. We counted at least a dozen tear gas rounds they fired. Also (INAUDIBLE) as well and they pushed the protesters hundreds and

hundreds of meters away from the police station. (INAUDIBLE) behind me now (INAUDIBLE). They're regrouping. (INAUDIBLE).

So it's not over yet. Certainly they have scattered protesters here, as I say, and this is first time in something like two weeks. You see the police using tear gas. As you say, 12 weeks now, George, they've been protesting.

HOWELL: All right, David (sic), live in Hong Kong. And it is noteworthy to point out that the protests we're seeing right now, this is a turn from what we've seen before, very peaceful protests with many, thousands of people on the streets there in Hong Kong. We'll continue to watch what's happening there and bringing you developments live.

Still ahead, fires continue to rage in the Amazon and it could be causing yet another devastating setback in a fight to minimize the impact of climate change.

Also ahead, protesters in Brazil take to the streets. They're demanding the government do more to fight the fire.





HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from ATL. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following this hour.


HOWELL: The climate crisis, Brazil's president is now calling in help as fires continue to ravage the Amazon at a record rate. Jair Bolsonaro is sending military personnel and equipment is to help fight the fires. Brazil's environmental agency is also hiring temporary firefighters.


HOWELL: But world leaders want more to be done. They want more action. Some European leaders say they could block a trade deal between the European Union and the South American bloc that includes Brazil. Mr. Bolsonaro sees it differently. Listen.


JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are always open to dialogue based on respect, truth and an understanding of our sovereignty. Other countries have expressed their solidarity with Brazil, offering means to combat the fires in line with Brazil's position with the G7.

Forest fires exist all over the world and that cannot be the basis for possible international sanctions. Brazil continues to be, just as it is today, a friendly country that is responsible in its protection of the Amazon.


HOWELL: Now about 1,700 miles away, 3,000 kilometers away, protesters hit the streets, spelling out SOS.

Do you see that?

They were plunged into darkness during the daytime because of the smoke from the flames.

Journalist Shasta Darlington is following this.

It's good to have you with us. Other political leaders like President Trump have reached out to help. But there's been no direct response from Jair Bolsonaro, who has a very protectionist view.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. So far Bolsonaro has not accepted any of the international offers to help put out fires. He did tweet after the conversation with Trump, saying Trump respects Brazil's sovereignty in relation to the protection of the environment.

He also thanks other world leaders, who he says have shown solidarity as he faces what he calls it a campaign of fake news. In the meantime, he's sending in the army as you mentioned. He addressed the nation last night, said the army will provide assistance to firefighters and volunteers, as pockets of the rain forest continue to rage out of control.

These are fires that experts say are largely manmade, with cattle ranchers, farmers and loggers setting the blazes. And environmentalists saying Bolsonaro is to blame, saying his policies, combined with the fact he's defunded the agencies tasked with cracking down on the illegal activity, have sent the message that anything goes.

So they are setting these fires and trying to clear more land. In fact, Bolsonaro really didn't respond to this emergency, despite the fact that two states have declared a state of emergency, until days or even week after the fires started. And even then, only under intense international pressure, with countries threatening to stop buying Brazilian beef, much of which comes from the Amazon.

The trade deal you mentioned and, of course, the leaders saying the Amazon fires should be on the agenda at the G7 summit, which has infuriated Bolsonaro, who points out, we don't even sit at the table. How can you discuss this -- George.

HOWELL: Talk more about Bolsonaro's suggestion that it's a regional crisis. Is that the case?

DARLINGTON: He's not wrong. There are fires in neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay as well. This is the traditional burning season, when farmers burn their land to prepare for new crops.

But I think, first of all, the fires in Brazil, the sheer number, have caught the world's attention; 80 percent more than the year before. Most of the Amazon is in Brazil.

But I also think what's interesting has been the difference in response. We saw the president of Bolivia quickly responding to the emergency there, accepting international aid to help put out the fires.

His tweet has been on fire as he sends out pictures of planes dumping water, aid supplies coming in. He's admitted it could be the farmers and ranchers, showed sympathy for them. But at the same time, he has really tackled this head on, George.

HOWELL: Shasta Darlington following this story. Thank you, Shasta.



HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Tom Crowther, a professor of environment systems science at ETH Zurich and climate scientist at The Crowther Lab joining us from Zurich, Switzerland.

Good to have you with us.

And we just lost him. That tends to happen when we have computers and satellites in play.

Again, the questions about what's happening right now, many people are concerned about how long these fires continue and what is the overall impact, also the ability to stop anyone that's out there that could be lighting these fires. It is a major crisis that's playing out in the Amazon and we continue to follow it for you here.

Making their case: Democratic candidates for the U.S. president speak to the party faithful at the DNC summer meeting. Stay with us.





HOWELL: Brazil's president is now calling in help as fires continue to ravage the Amazon at a record rate. Jair Bolsonaro is sending in military personnel and equipment to fight the fires. Brazil's environmental agency is hiring temporary firefighters but world leaders want more done.

About 1,700 miles away, some 3,000 kilometers, protesters spelled out the letters SOS in the streets of Sao Paulo. Earlier this week the city was plunged into darkness during the daytime because of the smoke from these fires.

Let's try this again with Tom Crowther, a professor of environmental systems science at ETH Zurich and climate scientist at The Crowther Lab.

It's good to get you back. I want to get your reaction to all of this that's happening in the Amazon.

TOM CROWTHER, ETH ZURICH: Ah, yes. It's unbelievably concerning. It's so unsettling not only because it's come in the light of this new evidence, that we can have such a powerful impact on climate change if we were to manage forests and ecosystems effectively.

When we see this huge scale of destruction as a result of human decisions, it's absolutely devastating.

HOWELL: What do you think will be the impact of this on the entire planet?

CROWTHER: I think that's a good question because this isn't a regional problem. The Amazon is -- you know, they're often referred to as the lungs of the Earth. This is a huge chunk of forest that draws down about a quarter of all the carbon that forests pull down across the globe.

It's an immense carbon store. So losing these forests not only pumps a huge amount of existing carbon into the atmosphere, which will accelerate climate change, but it also limits the ability of its ecosystems to capture that carbon dioxide that's we're emitting. HOWELL: We spoke with you a few weeks about your study, eliminating carbon emissions by planting more trees but we're seeing the opposite in the Amazon. Farmers and ranchers there are clearing large areas of forest.

Where do you suggest trees be planted?

CROWTHER: Yes, you're absolutely right. The potential for restoring forests has such incredible power to offset the damage. But if we're losing more forests than we're gaining, then we're at a net loss.

Conserving the existing forest is an absolutely essential part in the fight against climate change. In fact, the existing forests already store more carbon than any regenerating forest could. That's the most important component, this whole process, stopping the loss of, you know, old growth. Amazonian forest is a top priority.

HOWELL: If this happens every year, what can be done really to replenish?

CROWTHER: So it's certainly right that we see deforestation every year. We also see natural fires every year. [05:45:00]

CROWTHER: But the really concerning thing here is that it seems to be the result of political decisions that have increased the opportunity for local land managers to use burning techniques to try and gain land for agricultural practices.

And that's the really concerning thing here. So it does suggest that, while global scale restoration of forests can be done by all of us, stopping this deforestation is a political issue and we absolutely need world leaders to get behind this absolutely crucial issue.

HOWELL: Look, we appreciate your time and, of course, we'll continue to monitor events in the Amazon as these fires continue to rage. Thank you.

CROWTHER: Thank you.

HOWELL: The Amazon is not the only major forest that's under assault. You can get more information about how you can support nonprofits that are working to protect the Amazon and rain forests around the world. You can find that at



REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): Well, I mean, just look at the polling. You've got Warren and Sanders at about 15 percent, Biden at about twice that but no one else really even close. And I'm not saying that that's a good thing.


HOWELL: That's Seth Moulton, now a former candidate for the president for the U.S. Moulton says it's now a 3-way race and warns that an overly liberal platform will make it harder to beat Trump. He says he will run for re-election to Congress and campaign for whoever gets the Democratic nomination.

Moulton made his announcement at day two of the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting. That's where some candidates made their pitches to their party. Our Leyla Santiago has this report.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than a dozen candidates took to the stage right here in San Francisco to speak to the faithful, the DNC, in a series of meetings that they're having here for their annual summer meeting.

Now many of those candidates had some themes that you saw across the board. They were all really trying to promote unity in the party, get folks hyped up. Many of them spent some time using some pretty strong words against Donald Trump and bashing the president that is currently in the White House. All of them made their own case for electability. Now what

electability looks like is what you saw that sort of differed between the candidates. Some of them saying it looks like something that's big and bold and a swing to the left and others saying it's a bit more centrist way to appeal to independents.

That is what is at the heart of the debate when it comes to messages for Democrats. Speaking of debates, that was also a bit of a controversy here. Some of the candidates have not qualified for the next debate, criticized the DNC and the rules to qualify for the next debate, especially Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Tulsi Gabbard.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The DNC process is stifling debate at a time when we need it most. We're rewarding celebrity candidates with millions of Twitter followers, billionaires who buy their way onto the debate stage and candidates who have been running for president for years.


SANTIAGO: All the candidates need to have 130,000 unique donors and have at least 2 percent in four or more qualifying polls. Only 10 have done that to date and we'll see how once they make the stage on the debate, how they'll argue their case for electability -- I'm Leyla Santiago in San Francisco.


HOWELL: U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just finished treatment for pancreatic cancer. A court statement says there's no evidence of cancer in her body right now. The 86-year old leads the court's liberal wing, which is outnumbered by conservatives, 5-4. This was her fourth bout with cancer.

For the first time, the U.S. government has allowed cameras into one of its family detention centers. This facility in Dealey, Texas, can hold up to 2,400 people. Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed off the cafeteria, the hair salon and medical facilities. Until now, the U.S. could only hold children for 20 days but a new rule detains families together until their asylum court cases are settled.

So the line here is the president reportedly did not want to go. But now Donald Trump is set to land in France.

The question, is the G7 ready for what plays out in this summit?





HOWELL: The G7 summit world leaders have come together. They've started to arrive in southern France for this annual event. And the U.S. president Donald Trump is expected to touch down at any moment now. We're continuing to monitor and will bring it to you live.

The host of this year's gathering, French president Emmanuel Macron, has downplayed expectations and says there won't be a final communique. Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is following this.

Nic, what is the expectation once the U.S. president arrives?

ROBERTSON: What will he say?

What will be his first tweet?

I think when Trump lands overseas, there's quite often a tweet just as he's landing, Emmanuel Macron knows he's going to expect quite tough pushback from President Trump on the issue of taxation on U.S. digital companies, all digital companies but France is taking the lead on raising taxation on companies such as Amazon and Google. President Trump is pushing back and says he'll tax French wine.

But the bigger, broader issues here, I think we can expect macron to set those out when he gives a speech in a couple of hours. He met just yesterday with the Iranian --


ROBERTSON: -- foreign minister, so we can expect Iran to be part of the discussion here, we can expect Emmanuel Macron to put that on the agenda, we can expect him to try to take the lead and want to get President Trump to accept that if Iran can abide by the JCPOA, the joint international nuclear agreement that he pulled out of last year and has put increasing sanction on Iran since then, that can alleviate some pressure on Iran.

Macron is also drawing attention to the fires in the Amazon, saying our house is on fire. So he's going to put some of the bigger issues, social inequality, gender inequality, economic inequality, on the agenda here. He'll talk about that.

We'll expect him to mention the climate, of course. We'll also expect him to address some of the -- some of the other issues here that are important. He's invited some African leaders, African organizations to the summit, putting an emphasis on the difficulties in North Africa and the Sahel region.

So in terms of president Macron, there's going to be a lot he wants to get out of this and a lot will depend very much on President Trump, what he says when he lands and how he and what he says sets the agenda.

HOWELL: Nic Robertson live, the president due there at any moment. Thanks for joining us for this hour of NEWSROOM. For our viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For our international viewers, "INSIDE AFRICA" is ahead.