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U.S. President and U.K. Prime Minister Remarks at G7 Working Breakfast; Trump: Johnson is Right Man to Deliver Brexit; Hong Kong Demonstrators Hold Different Rallies One Day after Unrest; Brazil's President Sends Military to Fight Amazon Fires. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired August 25, 2019 - 02:53   ET



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

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): All right, welcome back. We interrupt our regular programming. I told you we were keeping an eye on the meeting with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. Let's listen in; we got this video a short while ago.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody. We're having a very good meeting -- a very good series of meetings. Last night, we had dinner. It worked out. I think it was fantastic.

BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: It was fantastic. We covered -- well, we covered three subjects, actually. We were going to cover 10 subjects, but in the end, we did three.

TRUMP: Three that we'll talk about.

JOHNSON: We do three in detail.

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you have any advice for Boris Johnson on Brexit?

TRUMP: He needs no advice. He's the right man for the job. I've been saying that for a long time. It didn't make your predecessor very happy. But I've been saying it for a long time: He's the right man for the job.

JOHNSON: You're on message there.


JOHNSON: I'm grateful -- I'm very grateful for that. And we're looking forward to having some pretty comprehensive talks about how to take forward the relationship in all sorts of ways, particularly on trade. And we're very excited about that.

TRUMP: We're having very good trade talks between the U.K. and ourselves. We're going to do a very big trade deal -- bigger than we've ever had with the U.K.. And now, they won't have it. At some point, they won't have the obstacle of -- they won't have the anchor around their ankle, because that's what they had. So, we're going to have some very good trade talks and big numbers.

JOHNSON: Talking of the anchor -- talking of the anchor, Donald, what we want --


JOHNSON: -- is for our ships to be able to take freight, say, from New York to Boston, which at the moment they can't do. So, we want cabotage (ph).

How about that?

TRUMP: Many things -- many things we're talking about.

JOHNSON: That would be a good thing.

QUESTION: How fast do you think you'll be able to make a trade deal?

TRUMP: Pretty quickly. We don't anticipate any problems. Before, we were sort of stymied. Well, I was stymied by the other side because nothing went -- nothing got done on the other side, as you've seen from Brexit.

This is a different person and this is a person that's going to be a great prime minister, in my opinion.

Boris, it's only my opinion.

JOHNSON: No, look, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to dissent. I'm not going to discourage you from that, Donald.

But obviously, I have memories of American trade negotiations in the past and I have a formidable respect for U.S. trade negotiations. And I know that there will be some tough talks ahead, because, at the moment, you know, we still don't -- I don't think we sell a single joint of British lamb to the United States.

We don't sell any beef. We don't sell any pork pies. And there are clearly huge opportunities for the U.K. to penetrate the American market in the way that we currently don't. And we're very interested to talk about that with you.

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think that you will invite Putin to next year's G7, sir?

TRUMP: That, I don't know. We did discuss it. We had a very good discussion on Russia and President Putin and a lively discussion, but, really, a good one. And it's certainly --

JOHNSON: It was lively.

TRUMP: It's certainly possible. It's certainly possible. We'll see. QUESTION: Mr. President, are your allies pressuring you to give up the trade war with China?

TRUMP: No. Not at all. I haven't heard that at all, no. I think they respect the trade war. It has to happen. China has been -- I can only speak for the United States. I can't say what they've been doing to the U.K. and to other places. But from the standpoint of the United States, what they've done is outrageous that Presidents and administrations allowed them to get away with taking hundreds of billions of dollars out every year, putting it into China. So, the answer is, nobody has told me that and nobody would tell me that.

QUESTION: Mr. President, any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?

TRUMP: Yes, sure. Why not?

QUESTION: Second thoughts? Yes?

TRUMP: Might as well. Might as well.

QUESTION: You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?

TRUMP: I have second thoughts about everything.

QUESTION: Are you going to declare a national emergency on China?

TRUMP: Well, I have the right to, if I want. I could declare a national emergency. I think when they steal and take out and -- intellectual property theft, anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year and where we have a total loss of almost a trillion dollars a year -- for many years, this has been going on -- in many ways, that's an emergency.

I have no plan right now. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now. We're talking. I think they want to make a deal much more than I do. We're getting a lot of money in tariffs. It's coming in by the billions. We never got 10 cents from China. So we'll see what happens. But we are talking to China very seriously.

QUESTION: Are you concerned about how the market is reacting to the tariffs?

TRUMP: No. The market is doing great. Our country is doing great. Everybody was telling me, yesterday, people are trying to copy the formula. We've cut taxes way down. We got rid of regulations -- large numbers -- more than any President has gotten rid of. And we're doing very well. Our country is doing fantastically well.

I mean, you people want a recession because you think maybe that's the way to get Trump out. Maybe that's the way we get him out.

But I don't even think that would even work, because, look, if there's anything, it's -- you know, we've got to go into trade negotiations to get it right. But, ultimately, it'll be many times what it was before. Our country is doing really well. We have horrible trade deals and I'm straightening them out. The biggest one, by far, is China.

JOHNSON: Yes. Look, 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 register the faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war, we're in favor of trade peace on the whole and dialing it down if we can.

QUESTION: Are you in favor of trade peace with China?

JOHNSON: Well, we think that, on the whole, we're -- the U.K. has profited massively in the last 200 years from free trade and that's what we want to see. And so we're keen to see -- we don't like tariffs on the whole.

TRUMP: How about the last three years?


Don't talk about the last three. Two hundred, I agree with you.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, have you made clear that, in any trade talks with the U.S., the NHS will be off the table and (INAUDIBLE)?

JOHNSON: Not only -- not only have I made clear that, but Donald, the President, has made that very, very clear as well. And so there's complete unanimity on that point.

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you have plans today to announce a trade deal with Japan?

TRUMP: We're very close to a major deal with Japan. As you know, Prime Minister Abe and I are very good friends and -- really good friends.


TRUMP: We've been working on it for five months. Bob Lighthizer is here someplace.

Bob? Do you want to say something about the deal with Japan?

ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: I'm going to say that, presumably, something will be announced after you meet with the Prime Minister of Japan. That's all I'm going to say.

TRUMP: We're working on a very big deal with Japan and we're very close to getting it. And, frankly, I think what's happening in China helps with respect to Japan. But it's a very big deal. It'll be one of the biggest deals we've ever made with Japan.


Thank you all very much.

VANIER: All right, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, they've been holding a one on one working breakfast on the sidelines of the G7 summit in southern France, it is their first face-to-face meeting, since Mr. Johnson became the British prime minister.

Brexit looms large over this year's summit and Trump called the British leader the right man to lead the U.K. out of the European Union, you just heard that. He was asked, did you give Boris Johnson any advice on Brexit?

He said, he needs no advice, he's the right man to carry out Brexit.

Mr. Johnson vows it will happen by October 31st, with or without a deal. The president also predicted a trade deal between the U.S. and U.K., would happen soon after. Nic Robertson is covering the summit for us.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think, this is Boris Johnson, will have got what he wanted from this meeting here. He got the affirmation from President Trump that he is the man, to do the Brexit job. Boris Johnson interjecting to say he's on message on that, he is our message on that, vintage Boris Johnson, if you like, always ready to jump in with a joke to help along.

But also I think important for his home audience, knocking down issues that could hurt him politically at home. Asked if part of this, what Trump described as a huge trade deal with the United States in the future, as being a possibility, Johnson was asked if the British health service will be part of that deal, would that be on the table and he said no, very clearly. Both Trump and I have been very clear on this. That is off the table, not on the table, that will be politically damaging for Boris Johnson back home.

But the overall tone of this has gone well, he's able to sort of say, Trump saying a tremendous job with the economy but at the same time, tout what he thinks and what other leaders here think, that President Trump is perhaps going a little bit, you know, off piece if you'd like, that Boris Johnson pointing out that free trade has done Britain very well over the past several hundred years.

Trump then saying, well, what about the last three years?

So clearly, some sort of friendly banter, they've had a lot of phone calls in the run-up to this meeting today but I think that ticks the boxes for Boris Johnson. He is able to get his points in that are politically important at home but also on message, very friendly with President Trump and that is what he needed here today.

VANIER: Nic, you mention this, on the issue of the U.S.-China trade war, Donald Trump was asked, are your allies pressuring you to end the trade war with China?

Trump immediately answers, no, not at all. But then seconds later, and you alluded to this, Boris Johnson says, well, actually we do prefer trade peace.

ROBERTSON: Yes, I think it's very typical of Trump, he hates criticism. I think the world is fully aware of that now. And his immediate instinct when criticized is to hit back, so any idea that he's been criticized here by the other leaders, he knocked that down very quickly.

But then takes it on his own terms, if you will, and seems to indicate that perhaps he's having second thoughts about the way he is handling the tariffs and escalating trade dispute with China, he has asked another question to make sure that the journalists in the room, they are fully understanding what he is saying, that he understood the question from them.

He said, look, I second guess myself on a lot of things. It is, in essence, what he said. So we heard from the U.S. president, knocking down the idea that he could possibly be criticized by these other leaders. It's --


VANIER: All right, Nic, respectfully, let me interrupt you. I want to listen to Trump and Johnson there for a second.

JOHNSON: Want to clear up some of the (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) many different deals. But we're having a good time (ph).

As far as U.K. and the United States, we're working (INAUDIBLE) a trade deal. I think that will work out very well. So thank you very much, see you later.

VANIER: All right, we didn't get a whole lot more information, this was after --


VANIER: -- this working breakfast between the two delegations, the American and the British delegation. Donald Trump reasserting that he believes they are going to be able to reach a deal, a trade deal, between the U.K. and Britain, quickly in fact, after Brexit occurs.

Let me get to CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. He joins us from Berlin.

Let's pick up on that issue. Boris Johnson now needs powerful friends. He is looking down, staring down the barrel at a Brexit could happen in less than two months. A bit more than two months now, the 31st of October. He's going to need powerful friends, when he's out of the E.U. and he is going to need some kind of trading partner. Donald Trump is ready to give it to him.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yes, this is what he was hoping to get out of this meeting and, of course, we will have to see down the road what the details look like. If anything, the current standoff between the United States and China should also provide Boris Johnson with some kind of indication as to how difficult these deals are to strike.

President Trump is also being careful that a big deal with Japan is about to be announced. And this is the sort of the dangling carrot, one could say, for Boris Johnson. Ultimately for him, simply getting that language out of Donald Trump was important.

What the deal will look like, what restrictions will look like, what the standards on trade, something to look at later. For Boris Johnson, all of this is a single issue, it's Brexit or not, with a general election hanging over him at some time in the United Kingdom.

The goal is convince the Brexit-supporting British electorate, let us not forget, it remains a divided issue in that regard, that he is the candidate that is in the best position to deliver some type of Brexit.

VANIER: Dominic, I want to go back to the pictures we were just looking at, Boris Johnson, Trump, I think we can hear a bit more.

TRUMP: Thank you, folks

You know this is?

Does everybody know?

He's going to be a fantastic prime minister, I can tell you this. We're having very, very good meetings. (INAUDIBLE).

JOHNSON: We are going to do a fantastic deal. We wanted to clear some of the (INAUDIBLE) in our path.

TRUMP: Fantastic many deals. We're going to do many different deals, but we will have a good time. As far as U.K. and United States, we are working on a big trade deal, I think (INAUDIBLE) very well.

So thank you very much, see you later.

VANIER: All right, OK, we heard the full thing again and the full thing was Donald Trump saying that Boris Johnson is going to be a fantastic prime minister and Boris Johnson saying that we are going to get a fantastic deal, a fantastic trade deal between the U.K. and the U.S.

Look, Dominic, the thing with those comments, you just don't know what you make of them. In all honesty, we are not there behind closed doors. Unless something leaks, it is hard to know the exact tenor of the conversation between two delegations and two world leaders.

The only thing, the one thing I can make out from this is they are both, at present, wanting to project a union between the U.S. and the U.K., wanting to project a strong connection, an alliance between those two leaders.

THOMAS: Yes, let's also remember, it's between two leaders and two very particular leaders. The makeup of the G7 has changed dramatically. President Trump, as much as he complains about meeting of the G7, is much more comfortable now than he was let's say when he first went three years ago or what happened in Canada.

He has alongside him Boris Johnson, a leader, who is totally sympathetic to his America first agenda and so on.

Shinzo Abe (sic), with whom he has struck very strong relations and also, the fact that the Italian situation, where the prime minister who has resigned, nevertheless attending it, driven out by the far right.

So the landscape of the G7 has changed completely and President Trump has many allies there at the moment.

The problem though, for Johnson, is that, first of all, back home, President Trump's comments are controversial and Boris Johnson was not elected. He is the result of the product of an internal Conservative Party takeover, some would even call a coup, by the Brexiteers. He has yet to face the British public on these particular issues.

And we know the British public and the Parliament are not keen when it comes to a no deal Brexit. So all of these questions right now are merely, simply issues around optics. And President Trump weighing in and saying that Johnson is a good prime minister is itself a rather provocative statement.

VANIER: You say optics, still undeniably, it's a much better relationship between Trump and Johnson at this stage, than it has been between Boris --


VANIER: -- between Trump and the former British prime minister, Theresa May.

THOMAS: Well, yes, but you could argue that the relationship between Boris Johnson and many world leaders is difficult. We have to look at what it is that these different leaders represent?

We have the whole issue of climate in Brazil right now. He is very close to Bolsonaro, but Bolsonaro is a very controversial leader, a far right leader, as indeed is Boris Johnson.

So it is perhaps not surprising that President Trump would have had more difficult relations with a leader who was not aligned with him on so many of his nationalist, protectionist and immigration policies. Trump is very close to people who are very close to him politically and ideologically.

And those that oppose him, those that criticize him, those that put into question his policies, are immediately and systematically attacked by him. So I think this is what we are seeing here. These are allies, ideological allies.

VANIER: CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas, thank you very much, we will be speaking again. Two more days of the G7 left. A new round of Israeli airstrikes rocked the Syrian capital on Saturday. Israel's military says they targeted Shia militia and Iranian forces near Damascus. They reportedly foiled what Israel calls an attack of quote, "killer drones."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also hinted his country had a role in recent attacks in Iraq. Shia militia there have blamed Israel and the U.S.

This video tells a frightening story. Huge parts of the Amazon rain forest, burning out of control.

But is that the whole story?

We'll get a wider view from our meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Plus protesters hit the streets of Hong Kong once more, less than 24 hours after clashes erupted there. We will be live at the scene, when we come back.




VANIER: In Hong Kong, different rallies are underway right now. On one side, protesters who continue to demand more democratic liberty. On the other, police family members want more respect shown to the police force.

These rallies coming just one day after clashes erupted between authorities and democracy protesters. Let's turn to our correspondents covering both these events. Andrew Stevens at the pro- democracy protests and Kristie Lu Stout at the police supporters' rally.

Let's start with the pro-democracy protesters, Andrew.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: That's right, if you wanted to get a graphic, illustration of commitment of these protesters, (INAUDIBLE) pro-democracy groups showing, this is a great example. There is thousands and thousands of protesters here, snaking through this sports ground and then turning up the hill and walking toward their final destination, which is about 40 minutes away (ph).

But you've got to put this in context. There is torrential rains --


STEVENS: -- here in Hong Kong, in the nearby area, pretty much (INAUDIBLE) the city all day. So (INAUDIBLE), thousands and thousands --


VANIER: All right, Andrew, I'm going to have to cut you off. I can't hear you very well, so we're going to fix the audio issues.

Let me go to Kristie, she is with the -- she is on the other side at the protests of the pro-police protesters, for lack of a better word.

Kristie, what can you tell us, what do you see?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Cyril, (INAUDIBLE) here in the central business district of Hong Kong, and about a few hundred people gathered behind me at a rally that's organized by family members of the police.

Now the organizers say that they are not here to defend police tactics; rather, after 12 weeks of nonstop marches, protests, violent clashes, enough is enough. They have been sharing their stories at this rally

One woman, a relative of a police officer, stepped forward and said that the police officers remember why they joined the force to begin with, and even though they understand why certain protesters may need to be arrested, they should also remember why they joined the force.

And, in addition to that, to not constantly be enemy of the police. Cyril, as you know, there have been serious allegation leveled at the Hong Kong police force. They have been accused of excessive use of force, of using (INAUDIBLE) as decoys.

The Hong Kong police have defended themselves, saying that they gave a big warning and they accused some (INAUDIBLE) the protest being excessively violent themselves.

Ahead of the weekend, I attended a (INAUDIBLE) police briefing, where senior police officers of the Hong Kong police shared their side of the story. They reiterated, if the police, if the protesters, rather, use violence, they will use force.

That played out yesterday as you saw those violent clashes as we returned to Hong Kong yesterday in the Kowloon area. They also said that there are certain elements of the protest movement that are not peaceful.

But as for the people gathering here, what they want for is peace. They want (INAUDIBLE) solution, they want to minimize conflict (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: Kristie, I was going to ask you, but you started touching on this.

How do you -- what factors into whether a protest goes off peacefully or not?

Because it seems like sometimes you get weeks and weeks and everything goes fine. Then you'll have multiple days of violence. And it is unclear what will trigger that.

STOUT: That's right. The trigger could be an agitator; the trigger could a police officer acts out of line. The trigger could be a (INAUDIBLE) violent protester. There has been, as you pointed out, a relative period of peace here in Hong Kong. That peace broke yesterday, amid those violent scenes that played out in Eastern Kowloon.

From our reporting, from our crew that was there in the field, they witnessed some protesters wielding metal batons, one holding a baseball bat, throwing petrol bombs. According to the police force, they constantly reiterate this line, if you use violence, we will respond with force. And that's how we see these violent clashes (INAUDIBLE) -- back to you.

VANIER: Let's check back in with Andrew Stevens.

Andrew, what are you seeing?

What is the protest like what you are?

STEVENS: Well, Cyril, at the moment, there is a crowd, there are thousands and thousands of people here, snaking their way through this sports ground, in a place called (INAUDIBLE), which is a pretty gritty industrial area. You'll see behind the protesters, there are a lot of housing estates here.

But there are thousands here, who are braving the conditions. And it is very, very wet, it's been very wet all day, the forecasts are it'll remain wet. Snaking through these grounds and then going onto one of the main streets, through (INAUDIBLE), on their way to a park, which is the gathering point, about 40 minutes or so away.

But it is a pretty good illustration of the commitment these demonstrators are showing to the cause. They are chanting, "Liberate Hong Kong," "An eye for an eye," which is a reference to a young protester whose eye was severely damaged by a projectile fired from police.

Several days ago, which has become a real rallying cry for the protesters. But again, what we see here is very familiar ground, particularly on the Sundays, where you get a big crowd turning out, a pretty broad cross-section of Hong Kong society, still expressing their views about the government's refusing to listen to them, about their demands for democracy, about their demands for completely scrapping the extradition bill and having a fully independent inquiry into police actions we've seen so far.

Now in its 12th week, it is showing no signs of petering out at all. What we saw last night, Cyril, we were covering these protests, again, it started peacefully but it deteriorated quickly, as groups of hardcore protesters basically provoked police. There were rocks thrown, there were paving stones --


STEVENS: -- bars, wooden poles thrown at police, who responded with tear gas to disperse the protesters. We saw that repeated time and time again, 6-7 times, throughout the evening, late into the evening. So you have that sort of issue going on as well. VANIER: Andrew Stevens, reporting live; Kristie Lu Stout, both of you are in Hong Kong, where it is the middle of the afternoon right now. Two demonstrations underway, this is a day after protests got violent yesterday. We will continue to monitor that through the afternoon. Thank you.

Brazil's president says he is sending in more than 43,000 troops to help fight the fires scorching the Amazon. He blames the fires, the worst since 2013, on warmer weather. His critics say that he is at least partly to blame, by calling for the Amazon to be developed thus leading to farmers setting fires to clear land.

Now world leaders at the G7 summit want to put the fires on their agenda. Nick Paton Walsh has details from Brazil.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The view now, this tributary of the Amazon should be clear. But the smoke from the fires have masked much of it all day. You can smell it the air here, in Porto Velho, it's a town that knows fully well the disaster unfolding further down the highway that drives into the heart of the Amazon.

We drove down that ourselves and remarkably police said to us that actually the fire surge at night because they're started then deliberately by those who seek to get rid of the forest canopy and use the land, the deforested land, for agriculture.

Remarkable that it seems, according to police, many of the fires they come across are in fact started deliberately. Some say that president Jair Bolsonaro has essentially provided a climate where that is permissible, thinking they can get away with it.

He said the Amazon is a resource that should be used by the people to enrich them, and even echoed that in a speech on Friday, when he addressed international criticism of his stance on the Amazon. He appeared to accept the scale of the problem with the fires but still tried to suggest they were still part of the annual dry season's burn here.

But we are seeing the military, as he promised, begin to show up here, 43,000 are supposed to be heading to the Amazon in general. We saw one of the cargo planes landing in the few hours just earlier here, probably part of that broader effort.

But it is a mammoth job, here, there is no doubt of the science that is now 85 percent more fires burned than there were last year, an area every minute equivalent to 1.5 football pitches is being deforested.

And in the statewide man rundown of states (ph), there are the most number of fires. There is an enormous task here and the Brazilian army have experience in this but possibly not the logistical capability to deal with it fast. Many hoping for heavy rains during the week. They may get some lighter ones, starting Tuesday. Will that curb the effort or curb the spread of the fire?

Unclear and the broader question, too, now internationally, where does Brazil stand?

France says it's lying; the U.K. is clear, more must be done to save the rain forest here. The E.U. says maybe trade deals should be put on hold until the fire is under control. A lot of pressure on Brazil but really, this is a global challenge, the lungs of the Earth, at stake -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, in Porto Velho, Brazil.



VANIER: August 25th marks the 80th anniversary of the release of the classic movie, "The Wizard of Oz." And Google is commemorating the occasion in a rather magical way.

If you search "The Wizard of Oz," the results look -- at first they look normal but click on Dorothy's ruby slippers and you are transported back in time, to a world of black and white, not unlike Kansas all those decades ago.

But if you're not, a quick click of the tornado icon and you are back in the present, in glorious color.

All right, thank you so much watching for CNN NEWSROOM, we are continuing to keep an eye on the happenings at the G7 in France, I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll back with the headlines in just a moment.