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Iran's Foreign Minister's Surprise Arrival At The G-7 Summit; Clock Is Ticking For The Packed Field Of Democratic Hopefuls; President Trump Just Picked Up Another 2020 Primary Challenger; President Donald Trump Says A New Trade Deal With Japan Is Done In Principle; Environmental Disaster Unfolding In Brazil From The Fires In The Amazon; Dayton, Ohio Community Is Coming Together To Reclaim The District Left Devastated By A Recent Mass Shooting That Killed Nine People. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 25, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:17] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin in southern France. The leaders of the G-7 summit are gathering for an official dinner which is expected to start shortly. It is a unique moment of this three-day event in which all 70 leaders of the world's major economies are seen together, an image of unity coming as President Trump sends mixed messages over his growing trade war with China. Initially, the President saying he had second thoughts about the escalating standoff with Beijing. But then later the White House reversed course saying the president's only regret was not raising tariffs higher on the Chinese.
Adding intrigue and confusion amid this global tensions, Iran's foreign minister's surprise arrival at the summit to meet on the sidelines with his French counterpart, a Trump administration official calling the visit a quote "curve ball."
Earlier today, President Trump was asked about the news of Iran's Javad Zarif's arrival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, on a separate issue, there are reports that the Iranian foreign minister is coming (INAUDIBLE). Can you confirm that and if you plan to meet with him?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The Iranian official says he came at the invitation of France to review an anti-nuke commitment which the U.S. has withdrawn from. The French president says G-7 leaders are looking for a way to ease the growing tension between the U.S. and Iran.
CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is covering all these developments for us at the summit.
So, Jim, the Iranian foreign min minister showing up for the summit by the invitation of France.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
WHITFIELD: So a curve ball is how some White House officials are calling it but was this also a surprise to the other G-7 attendees?
ACOSTA: It sounds like there was not a lot of advance warning far lot of people here at this summit, Fredricka. The U.S. seemed awfully surprised by the whole thing. But I should mentioned a few moments ago when the President was asked about this, he had no comment. And so it sounds as though the President even though he has a lot to say about all the other subjects that are on the agenda at the G-7 didn't want to wade into this kind of territory.
We should point out though, the treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin was asked about the prospect of the U.S. or President Trump possibly meeting with Javad Zarif. And secretary Mnuchin said, well, the President has not put any preconditions in place for any kind of meeting of that sort. So they weren't really ruling out the possibility that that could take place. But Javad Zarif, the Iran foreign minister, tweeted a short while ago that he did meet with the French president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the summit. But it sounds as though he is just going to be meeting with French officials on this visit.
WHITFIELD: So it's interesting, Jim, because potentially this could be an opportunity, right. The President has said, hey, Iran, call me, let's talk further. This opens the door potentially to an opportunity to have some sort of face-to-face conversations on neutral ground. Would the White House want to seize on this?
ACOSTA: I think at this point, President Trump, as you know, with President Trump, you know, expect the unexpected. We saw this, you know, in Seoul, South Korea, when he met with Kim Jong-un, stepping across the demilitarized zone into North Korea. The President does like these big splashy moments. But it seems as though in this case, Fredricka, they weren't ready for that kind of big splash even on the beach here in southwestern France.
WHITFIELD: OK. And also I want to ask you about a conversation you had with the White House adviser Stephen Miller and that on immigration.
ACOSTA: That's right.
WHITFIELD: What did he have to say?
ACOSTA: Yes, that's right, Fredricka. As you know, he has been working along with other White House officials on this new administration rule that would allow the Trump administration and border authorities to hold children, migrant children, longer than 20 days down on the border. This has to do with the so-called Flores settlement agreement which requires that border officials release children after they have been in detention for 20 days. They can't hold them longer than 20 days. We pressed Stephen Miller on this. And the prospect of children being held indefinitely, longer for than extensive period of times than this 20 days in the Flores agreement. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: What about the people who don't want to see kids in --?
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: What Americans don't want to see are children being smuggled in record numbers across our border to take advantage of a loophole created by our court system. Americans want to see an immigration system that doesn't put children in harm's way. The only way to accomplish that end is to make sure that smuggling a child does not guarantee entry or admission into the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should --
MILLER: This change will dramatically reduce instances of child smuggling including instances of fraudulent families which we have seen a huge uptick in in recent years, again, to try to take advantage of the Flores ruling.
[14:05:11] ACOSTA: Then they get locked up in the U.S. They have been locked up on the border.
MILLER: This will end the incentive for child smuggling. And hopefully all decent people would agree. Our immigration system should have no incentives, no awards for the smuggling of children which is heinous and must be stopped.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do people --
ACOSTA: Thanks, Stephen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: So, Fredricka, you can see in the video there that Stephen Miller who is really the architect of a lot of the administration's controversial immigration policies did not want to answer the question about this prospect that migrant children could be held for an extensive periods of time down on the border if the administration is allowed to carry out this policy.
It's rather unusual that Stephen Miller would be talking about this at a G-7 summit. Typically these type of summits are really about foreign relations, you know, crises that are affecting all of these major world leaders. Stephen Miller even acknowledged to us that these migration issues did not really come up here at the summit, but yet he was anxious to talk about this very controversial policy that the Trump administration is pursuing down on the border -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And with that intentional use of the words, child smuggling, as in a blanket statement of all children being brought across the border. Very fascinating. Jim Acosta, thank you so much.
ACOSTA: That's right.
WHITFIELD: We'll check back -- yes, go ahead. Let me let you finish your naught.
ACOSTA: As you were mentioning, that's not always the case. Right. I mean, not every child who was brought across the border is smuggled across the border. In many cases, as you know, Fredricka, they are coming with family members, they are coming with their mothers and they are coming because they are trying to escape very bad situations in their country of origins. Very good point.
OK. We're going to check with you again there from France.
I appreciate it, Jim.
All right. I'm joined by Kim Dozier, a contributor to "the Daily Beast" and a global affairs analyst. Also with me, Steve Hall who is a retired CIA chief of Russia operations and a CNN national security analyst.
Good to see you both. Let me talk to both of you first about this. Issue with Iran, the foreign minister and this surprise visit to France upon the invitation from France.
So, you know, Kim, you first, what does this mean that Macron would invite Iran to the G-7 to the surprise of, perhaps, the other members? We know, at least, it's a surprise, the White House calling it, in fact, a curve curveball.
KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think it's masterful trickery by the French president to create the possibility of an opportunity of at least shuttle diplomacy. There are things he can say in person to the Iranian foreign minister, get an answer, and then go say them and get an answer from President Trump.
We might look back at this moment, if there are future talks with Iran, this could have been the thing that opened the door because from the European leader's perspective, they are fighting through national security adviser John Bolton who is seen as being against any form of a deal. Even against secretary of state Pompeo. By doing it now at this G-7, Emmanuel Macron hopscotches over all of those U.S. officials.
WHITFIELD: And Steve, according to Jim's reporting thus far it's just been the French counterpart and Iran foreign minister who have met. But presumably, you know, Zarif is still there in France. Even if this catches the White House by surprise, talk to me about what groundwork, you know, could be laid at the last minute if, indeed, Trump were to say, OK, let's take advantage of this moment and let's talk, even though they didn't have the advanced notice, but now can they get things in place, security wise, in which to have a face to face? STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, in one sense,
Fredricka, I mean, you have to wonder how much this administration does advanced preparing for really much of anything because the president goes out and basically just wings it when he wants to.
The Iran situation is a complex one. And I would agree with Kim that I think Macron has done a fabulous job, a really interesting job, of not only engineering the situation, but also managing the president of the United States to make him feel, you know, where Macron wants him to be on these issues and to open up the possibility as Kim was indicating that there could be some contact. So we'll just kind have to see what happens. It's taken everybody I think a little bit by surprise.
WHITFIELD: Right. And Maybe it wouldn't be Trump, himself, who would meet with Zarif, you know, but possibly Mike Pompeo who -- or someone else on that team, foreign diplomacy, who would be able to take advantage of the moment.
So then, Kim, you know, what do you suppose is behind, you know, France's motivation to do this and not give the White House, at least the U.S., some kind of advance notice? I mean, yes, you said it was masterful, but is this also, you know, kind of a finger in the eye of the U.S.? Is it meant to embarrass, is it -- or is it, perhaps, meant to help create an opportunity?
[14:10:03] DOZIER: I think it's meant to tempt Trump's mercurial side. Look, here's a chance for you to just have a social needing. And also it's president Macron trying to take the global lead in dialing down the tension in the gulf and showing some leadership in the overall process to try to break the logjam between the U.S. unbreakable position and Iran's position, you know, they're at an impasse. So something extraordinary has to happen to break that.
WHITFIELD: So, Steve, while France, you know, may have caught, you know, some of the world leaders, you know, off guard with this invitation, President Trump also kind of surprised so many when he was pushing to allow Russia back into the G-7 summit, if you recall. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it's a work in progress. We have a number of people that would like to see Russia back. I think it would be -- I think it would be advantageous to many things in the world. I think it would be a positive. Other people agree with me and it's something that we're discussing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And we desperately need the follow-up of, you know, who are these, you know, a number of people who want Russia back because as far as we can see, the European union made its statement saying, you know, forget about it unless you're going to invite Ukraine and other G-7 members said, no, now it not the time, Russia has not earned its place back. So, you know, why does the President, you know, feel this is clever on
his part to push for Russia to return so that next year would be a G-8 as opposed to the current G-7?
HALL: You know, I have no idea why the President would think it's a good idea. But it's really critical for us to remember why it is that Russia was kicked out of the G-7 and G-8 to begin with. It was a whole host of really, really horrific activities on the international scene ranging from annexing neighboring countries, to maintaining war in the eastern part of Ukraine, to killing its own citizens on European territory, to, you know, getting involved in other people's elections and holding Americans hostage. Paul Wheelan (ph), I'm thinking of here, still in a Moscow prison. And when you behave like that and then Trump turns around and says we are going to reward that behavior by bringing you back in and inviting you to Washington next time, maybe, I mean, you just have to wonder why.
WHITFIELD: Because next year, Washington is hosting that G-7.
HALL: Absolutely. And in my mind, it brings back into the -- back into question the issue of what is it that is going on between Trump and Putin which makes Trump say things like, yes, despite all of that horrific stuff that you guys did, we will have you in Washington to join this group of democratic economically advanced countries. Neither of which Russia is.
WHITFIELD: Kim Dozier, Steve Hall, we will leave it there for now, thank you so much.
DOZIER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, President Trump versus former congressman Joe Walsh, yet another Republican challenger enters the race for 2020.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative. The country is sick of this guy's tantrum. He is a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And Democrats still hoping to remain in the race have just three days to qualify for the next debate. Who's in? Who's out?
Plus, CNN gets incredible aerial images of the massive fires burning through the Amazon.
We are live on the ground coming up.
[14:17:15] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. The clock is ticking for the packed field of Democratic hopefuls. The deadline to qualify for the third debate is Wednesday. The DNC raised the bar to qualify for its third debate in September setting a much higher polling and fund-raising threshold and only 10 of the 21 candidates have made the cut so far.
But tonight as CNN continues its town hall series, voters will get a chance to hear from two men not on that list yet, Montana governor Steve Bullock and New York city mayor Bill de Blasio.
Joining me right now to discuss, CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston.
Mark, good to see you. So it is much tougher to get a spot on the stage for this third debate than the first two. So what are the requirements? Why is it so much tougher?
MARK PRESTON, CN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Fred, if you go back to the first two debates on NBC then here on CNN, in order to get in you needed to hit a threshold of one percent in three separate polls. You also had to show that 65,000 people individually donated to your campaign.
We are in a different world now. That has now been upped to 130,000 individual donors and you have to get at least two percent support in four separate polls. So Democratic Party right now as they have said all along is trying to winnow the process. Because if you look at how many people are on stage right now, it is very difficult for people to get their message out at this time.
WHITFIELD: Right. So in our latest CNN poll, you know, voters were asked to name up to three candidates besides their current choice for the nomination. That they wanted to hear more about. Bill de Blasio got two percent. Steve Bullock got one percent. So what do these candidates need to potentially say tonight to get voters' attention?
PRESTON: Well, what we'll see tonight is two interesting visions for the Democratic Party. You will hear someone from a more urban area, of course, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of where I'm sitting in New York city and, of course, you have Steve bullock from Montana. They need to have a moment. They need for it to go viral and they have a possibility if that does happen to actually make the fourth round of the debates in October because for the reason of how this has all worked out is that there's a possibility that more people will be in the October debates than the September debates.
WHITFIELD: Got it. All right, Mark Preston, thanks so much.
PRESTON: Take care.
WHITFIELD: And of course, catch tonight's back to back live presidential town halls. Montana governor Steve Bullock takes the stage first at 6:00 p.m. and then New York City mayor Bill de Blasio at 7:00 p.m. It's all happening live tonight only on CNN.
[14:23:21] WHITFIELD: All right. President Trump just picked up another 2020 primary challenger. Conservative radio host and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh says he will challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. Earlier this month Walsh called Trump a con man who is bad for the country. Walsh previously said he was strongly considering a run but this morning, he made it official.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE WALSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have got a guy in the White House who is unfit. Completely unfit to be president. And it stuns me that nobody stepped up, nobody in the Republican party stepped up because I'll tell you what, George, everybody believes in the Republican party, everybody believes that he is unfit. He lies every time he opens his mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say that. You say everybody believes he is unfit. But one of the things the White House points to and the President points to often is just about a every poll shows than 80 percent support for the President among Republicans.
WALSH: May don't have an alternative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Let's talk more. I'm joined by Melanie Zanona, congressional reporter for "Politico" and Astead Herndon, national political reporter for "the New York Times." Good to see you both.
All right. So Melanie, you first. You know, Walsh, you know, he said many of his Republican colleagues privately agree with his opinion on Trump but are too afraid to speak out, in fact, tweeting this today, saying, it won't be easy but bravery is never easy. Is this a matter of bravery right now?
MELANIE ZANONA, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Some might call it brave. Others might call it unwise. I mean, look, it's going to be very hard to defeat Trump in a GOP primary. He is the widely popular with Republicans. He has a massive war chest. He has the benefit of incumbency. But if there is a recession or downturn in the economy, there perhaps could be an opening for these candidates or at the very at least it could spark a conversation about fiscal responsibility and perhaps pull Trump to right on some of the issues, unforced him to make some promises on reigning (ph) and federal spending.
[14:25:15] WHITFIELD: So Astead, you have now Bill Weld, you got Joe Walsh, possibly Mark Sanford. I mean, he has hinted about it but don't need -- I mean, what are the possibilities that they would get the party behind them, especially since more than 80 percent, you know, approve of President Trump?
ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, the possibility -- those possibilities are very low. This is a Republican party that's still principally controlled by the President. If you look at the midterm results, it kind of proves that. Several of the reasons Mark Sanford is no longer in Congress is partly because the GOP base has kind of ousted a lot of those critics of the President. We have seen the never-Trump Republicans had big moments in the media, have had big moments in terms of being able to raise money, are loved sometimes by Democrats. What they don't have is a constituency and a base and that's what you need to win in the GOP primary. WHITFIELD: Yes, Mark Sanford was as that, you know. I mean, that is
why he was ousted, you know, for his national office. But he said, you know, now is a different time. I mean, people are seeing with greater transparency, you know, exactly what they have in President Trump and he thinks now is the best time than ever to challenge him if he decides to officially go into the race.
HERNDON: I mean, that's the articulation I expect they would make. The problem is we just don't know -- we just don't have evidence of that on this front. The only things we have looking back at the last midterms is when President Trump weighed in in primaries, his chosen candidate would soar in polling almost immediately because the pace still respects his word on all of these issues.
I mean, even on things like fiscal responsibility, we're yet to see the base hold the President's feet to the fire on that front. The reason you don't have many congressional defections to the President is because there is a fear of crossing that line. He has the -- he has the base kind of by the throat. And until that changes, I don't expect to see the Welds, the Sanfords, the Walshs to get much traction.
WHITFIELD: OK. So Melanie, you know, Bill Weld when he made his announcement in April, he did tell our Jake Tapper that he would quote "fear for the Republican if the country had Trump as president for a second term." Former representative mark Sanford As I just articulated, you know, also said he is considering a run. But in that latest CNN poll, you know, Trump has this more than 80 percent approval rate, so was there a real like likelihood that anyone stands a chance or if they get into the race that in any way it kind of undermines the president's lead?
ZANONA: Well, there is a chance it would bruise Trump heading into the general election. Perhaps some of these candidates could even court independent or wealthy liberal donors who are interested in achieving that mission right there. But at the end of the day it's going to be very hard to actually achieve any progress here when it comes to beating him in a GOP primary.
But I would also point out that the White House is clearly nervous about the economy which is supposed to be their strongest selling point heading into the election. Publicly, they are expressing confidence but privately, they are talking about ways to shore up the economy through a number of proposals. And so I think you're seeing Trump feeling the heat. And that's why he is lashing out on twitter and trying to line up scapegoats in case the economy does take a downturn.
WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there for now.
Melanie Zanona, Astead Herndon, good to see you both. Appreciate it.
ZANONA: Thank you. WHITFIELD: And right now, take a look at these live pictures of
France, world leaders arriving for the official G-7 dinner. We will take you there live.
[14:32:23] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. President Trump while abroad says a new trade deal with Japan is done in principle. The agreement is centered around agriculture, industrial tariffs and e-commerce. It's expected to be made formal next month when the two leaders meet at the U.N. general assembly in New York.
And while the President strikes a deal with Japan, in principle, his trade war with China is only ramping up and keeping world leaders and markets on edge. This morning, Trump was pressed on whether there has been pushback from other leaders at the G-7.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are your allies pressuring you to give up the trade war with China?
TRUMP: No. No, no, no. I haven't heard them -- I think they respect the trade war. Has to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?
TRUMP: Yes, sure, why not. Might as well. Might as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have second thoughts about escalating the war?
TRUMP: I have second thoughts about everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about how the market is reacting?
TRUMP: No, the market's doing great. Our country is doing great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. The president says no pushback. Listen to one of his fiercest international allies, UK prime minister Boris Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I just want to say, I congratulate the president on everything that the American economy is achieving. It's fantastic to see that. But just to -- our view on the trade war, we favor trade and peace on the whole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: On CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Larry Kudlow, the President's top economic adviser was pushed on those comments you just heard from the UK prime minister. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How are you responding to yet criticism from world leaders about the U.S. strategy on chin that China?
LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER: I'm not sure how you portrayed that. I was in that meeting.
BOLDUAN: What do you mean? That was a quote.
KUDLOW: Well, that they be a quote. Sometimes you're taking a quote out of context. Let me try to generate some context. Again, I was in that meeting for two hours with the world leaders. Indeed, I participated in the meeting. First of all, all those world leaders, every single one of the seven leaders, the G-7 --
BOLDUAN: Larry, what's out of context? Because we just rolled video. What is out of context with that quote?
KUDLOW: If I might just finish my thought, please. I was there. I heard every single one of those leaders agreed that China has exercised continuous debilitating and destabilizing unfair trading practices. Every single one of those leaders said that. And they expressed support for President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:35:04] WHITFIELD: All right. Joining any right now, economist Ben Stein.
So, Ben, you just heard, you know, Larry Kudlow there argue that all world leaders are in support of the president and then you also heard Boris Johnson, I'm just going to rearticulate what he said, I want to congratulate the president on everything the American economy is achieving. But just to register the think (INAUDIBLE) of our view on the trade war, we're in favor of trade peace on the whole.
So how do you internet the reception of the President's trade war?
BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Well, I don't think the American people are really too concerned with what Boris Johnson has to say. I don't think you and I should be that concerned about it. But I think the whole world should be concerned about the idea of a global world trading war and we are begging for a recession if that happens.
Trade is an enormously important part of the economy. Trade is an important part of the economy for all countries. Less so for the United States than other countries. Even so for the United States. Why are we starting this trade war with China? Why can't we keep it quiet? Why can't we have confidential conversations? Why do we have to have these threats and all this loud balderdash about we don't need China, we are going to tell our firms to pull out of China. And by the way, this idea of telling our firms to pull out of China, that is socialism. The President has said we are not going to have socialism in the country ever but that's -- WHITFIELD: And then you heard Kudlow this morning say, you know, he
was, you know, taken out of context. He really didn't say that. He didn't mean it. And he has not ordered, you know, companies to stop doing business with China. But everyone heard what they heard.
STEIN: Well, they heard what they heard and it's in the newspaper. It is in black and white, one might say. And it is clear that he is telling people to pull out. He is using this bogus idea of the -- of a world trading scheme where we don't do business with tariffs, selling narcotics to the United States, but this isn't the case with China.
I mean, China is a gigantic international trading partner of the United States. China is a big, respectable country in terms of its trade. Yes, they are doing some things in the technological theft area that are extremely unfortunate and they have to be stopped. But in terms of trade, we can't just bow out of trading with China. That would be ridiculous. I mean, like would be like vowing out with trade with Canada or Mexico which is something Trump has also thought of. We have got to get peace. Peace is a beautiful word. And peace in trade is a beautiful word, too.
WHITFIELD: And while you and I are talking, Ben, we are also looking at pictures coming in. These are world leaders who are going to be in attendance of the G-7 dinner this evening. So we are seeing a variety of shots of people. And that's what folks are seeing.
So, you know, you said maybe the U.S. shouldn't be, you know, too caught up with what the UK has to say, but the world view does matter, particularly on this stage. I mean, the President has now come out during the G-7 while this trade war with China is going on. But the same time saying in principle there's an agreement with Japan.
Is that the President's attempt at making up for these great losses as a result of, you know, increased tariffs from both Beijing and the U.S. toward China?
STEIN: I'm not sure we have had greatly increased losses so far. We have had losses, to be sure, but I'm not sure we've had greatly increased losses. But, yes, of course, Mr. Trump wants to show he is a free trader. Any capitalist wants to show he is a free trader. We want free trade.
Adam Smith, the father of free market economics, said we do better with free trade. There's no doubt about that. Tariffs are a very blunt instrument to use to try to get free trade. Tariffs are idea. It is like locking people up in prison to make theme free. It doesn't work very well.
We have got to get an agreement with China whereby we're not straddling them. They're not straddling us. We are just dealing with them on a base of an open hand and friendship and I believe it can be done.
China is incredibly important power. My old boss, Mr. Nixon, decided that -- recognized it and everybody recognized it, says that China can not be mess with. They are big economic power. Big military power. Cannot mess around with them. Got to treat them with great respect.
WHITFIELD: So a lot of Americans may kind of glaze over when they hear this conversation, you know, about these tariffs, about, you know, the back and forth between the U.S. and China, but then it will make a huge difference when they feel it. We know that farmers are already feeling it but for the average consumer, you know, they start noticing, they are unable to pay for something or they are not able to get a product that they're accustom to, that's when it really makes a difference --
STEIN: It makes a huge --
WHITFIELD: Yes, that makes a difference.
STEIN: A huge difference.
WHITFIELD: So what might they expect on the horizon in your view, a matter of weeks or months even?
STEIN: Well, in weeks or months we'll definitely get this solved. If we don't get it solved, there's going to be a worldwide recession. But we got to get this solved. Look, the basic idea is we want to buy the best possible goods we can from abroad at the best possible prices. That's in large case China. They are the world's most efficient manufacturer in many, many cases, not all, but many, many cases. We want to buy from them and we want to sell to them.
And also they have been extremely good customers for our bonds and our other indebtedness. I don't think we want to spit in their face. I mean, they have not treated us that badly. And the idea that they are stealing from us right and left, maybe that's true in terms of economic and technological progress but we can stop that, surely, without having a full-scale trade war.
[14:40:28] WHITFIELD: Ben Stein, always a pleasure. Thank you.
STEIN: Always a pleasure for you, madam.
WHITFIELD: Thank you. Appreciate it.
All right. CNN is on the ground right now as a massive fire burns through the Amazon rain forest. You're looking at aerials coming in right now. It's already having global consequences. We will take you there live, next.
But first, in this week's Wander Must, we take a look a some of the best food trucks in the south.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the B&B of Tennessee from the grilled cheeserie (ph). The "b" stands for bacon and butter milk cheddar and pair that with a seasonal jam. Right now it's a caramelized apple and shallot jam. We are taking comfort food and elevating it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are root town food truck Asheville, North Carolina, and this is the pork and pimento cheese sandwich. What makes our pimento cheese different is we don't use mayo. We use dill pickle juice as a binder. We are going to cap this and we add pecan smoked pork. It takes two southern staples and combines them together in one delicious bite.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are a Valentina's Tex-Mex barbecue in south Austin and this is our real deal Holyfield taco which is made with refried beans, bacon and a nice slice of brisket. Everything in Valentina is (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). It is all made with love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in Charleston, South Carolina, with braised in the south food truck and this is our southern fried shrimp and grits. We do use local grits, we use a little bit of milk, a little bit of heavy cream, butter, and we finish with a little bit of cream cheese. This fried shrimp will get a little bit of crunch.
There you go, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Digging out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So good.
[14:46:15] WHITFIELD: The environmental disaster unfolding in Brazil from the fires in the amazon is becoming a full-fledged global political crisis. G-7 leaders today said they will try to help the impacted countries as quickly as possible.
Brazil's president shrugged off the fires at first but now says he is sending more than 43,000 troops to battle the flames in what looks like an attempt to dampen the international outcry.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been on the ground covering these fires.
So, Nick, you have some new images to show us.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We just returned from three hours flying above the Amazon fires. And I have to tell you, it is quite extraordinary, Fred. It's the sort of thing you kind of get warned about as the apocalyptic nightmare if, for example, humankind didn't tackle the climate crisis. Well, it's already here with us now. And we just, frankly, I think, were stunned by so much of the trip we spent unable to see further than about 500 yards away from us. Barely seeing the floor we were flying over a lot of the time. The smoke was simply that thick. A one point we had to climb high enough to get out of it.
The images you are seeing are a moment when we got to the edges of the fire and able to see more clearly how the destruction actually moves. A line of fire moving its way often through Savannah often hit hitting trees and forests taking them on as well. And below really no signs of life.
The arguments to those who say the deforestation and the fires that the come from it is, in fact, going to benefit people of Brazil, say that it encourages agriculture. We simply saw a lot of bewildered and smoking showed cattle down there. Very little signs of human life. I saw one bird, tragic really, in the amazon, a foray of life it's supposed to be, one bird the whole time we were in flight. No firefighters, no army where we are and this constant shroud of smoke. It has blown over us here in Porto Velho since the morning. I feel it coming back at some point, too. And really it's staggering to see what should be beautiful Amazonian canopy. This should stretch around you for miles, half invisible so much of the time and the rest of it raging with flames.
I have got to tell you, you know, it's very rare for us to see a moment we didn't see destruction that previously had been put in place by early deforestation or some kind of smoke blocking our vision. The flames were new, the ones you are seeing there and it is raging, frankly, not slowing down.
WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness.
WALSH: The world going to look on but probably has to help, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Yes. So much at stake. So much incredible wildlife. And of course, so many people living in very small villages and pockets throughout the amazon.
Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Keep us posted.
All right. Ahead, stars Dave Chapelle, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, descending on Dayton, Ohio, to honor the victims and support the survivors of that mass shooting that killed nine people. We will take you there live next.
[14:52:42] WHITFIELD: Authorities in California say the L.A. sheriff's deputy who claimed he was shot by a sniper made up the entire story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. KENT WEGENER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: There was no sniper. No shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder. Completely fabricated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Anhel Rinosa claimed he was shot Wednesday while he was walking to his car in the station's parking lot. It sparked an intense three-day manhunt. And you can see police scrambling in the images, but they never found a shooter. Authorities say Rinosa admitted he lied but gave no reason why. He will be fired and a criminal investigation is now under way.
And today the Dayton, Ohio community is coming together to reclaim the district left devastated by a recent mass shooting that killed nine people. This evening, thousands are expected to gather in the city's Oregon district for a free benefit concert honoring the victims. The event was organized by longtime Ohio resident and comedian Dave Chappelle. And a number of stars expected to appear including Kanye West and Stevie Wonder.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is in Dayton this afternoon.
What's going on?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, it's amazing what three weeks can do. We were standing on this very street three weeks ago not long after those shots rang out and witnessed this investigation in full swing. And, of course, the heartache and heartbreak that comes with these mass shootings. And then you look what's happening behind me.
This is the line for folks who are making their way into downtown Dayton's Oregon district for the event you told, you just mentioned a little while ago, it will be hosted by Dave Chappelle from Ohio. To this day, he still calls yellow springs home, which is a community just outside of Dayton. So there certainly is a sense of healing. And who better to describe some of that than one of the many residents who will be out here including Cathy Parson.
Thank you for joining us on the sidewalk. Thanks for letting me yanking out of line for a second.
Cathy, today will be about celebrating. What to you will be the main focus of today's event after what happened here three weeks ago?
CATHY PARSON, NIECE SURVIVED DAYTON, OHIO SHOOTING: The main focus for me is that hopefully the community can regroup their thoughts and the feelings that they have been -- you know, what they've been going through. Everything they've been going through. Like I said, we had a couple devastations here in Dayton. So I hope that the community can come together and, you know, and just kind of warm everybody's hearts. Yes.
[14:55:07] SANDOVAL: There's a time to celebrate and to laugh but to pay tribute to these victims.
PARSON: Pay -- yes. The families, my heart goes out to the families. The -- I'm just so devastated.
SANDOVAL: You are doing great.
PARSON: But I got a lot going on, but I'm just glad that the families are able to come out tonight and enjoy the fun activities that they have that Dave Chappelle set up for them. And I do appreciate the fact that he came out to do that for us. Oh, my God. I am so grateful for him.
But I had a niece that was actually here at the time when that happened. And so she -- it was, like, 9:00 the next day until we find out that she was OK, but thank God. By the Grace of god, she's OK. And so that's kind of how it affected me and my family. So just to have, see the community out here, everybody together, and we can just give thanks to the community -- city of Dayton, Dave Chappelle, and I just -- I'm just here to have a good time. SANDOVAL: Cathy, enjoy it. Thank you for taking the time.
PARSON: Thank you.
SANDOVAL: The best to you and your entire community.
PARSON: Thank you.
SANDOVAL: Thank you so much, Cathy Parson.
One of many people, Fred, who is going go back in line waiting for the moment to go inside. This is an event, again, there will be concert, there will be various speakers, organizers here, certainly not making public any specific folks who will be participating in this. But, of course, you just mentioned some of the names and there's all sorts of speculation out here on the streets as far as who is actually going to make it on that stage.
But, again, the main focus here and what folks including the city officials and one of the mayor's spokesperson is telling me, Fred, it's about the victims, it's about the survivors.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And you can see and feel how meaningful it is just by way of Cathy Parson sharing her experience.
Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval, appreciate it. And thanks to Cathy as well.
All right. Still ahead, take a look right now. All these world leaders together in a beautiful sundown Biarritz, France, all gathering right there for presumably the big class photo that takes place there. You see Japan's prime minister and Canadian prime minister there and of course you saw President Trump as well. They are all gathering for a big G-7 dinner.
We will be right back after this.