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INSIDE POLITICS

Soon: President Donald Trump And Prince Charles To Meet For Tea In London; Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron Clash Over ISIS, Russia, Turkey At NATO Meeting; Donald Trump: Might Wait Until After 2020 Election For China Trade Deal; Donald Trump Jolts Markets By Saying No Rush To End China Trade War; Donald Trump Complains About Impeachment At NATO Meeting. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired December 3, 2019 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us. It is a contentious controversial day to say the least on the world stage for President Trump. On issues ranging from trade and impeachment to ISIS, Russia and climate change.

As the NATO alliance meeting in London continues this hour and as U.S. financial markets rear from the President's words a lot of moving parts in the hours ahead, so we're going to ask for your patience. We're waiting for President Trump, for example, to arrive for tea with Prince Charles. Later this hour the President moves on to Buckingham Palace for a reception along with other foreign leaders gathered for a big NATO meeting.

Just a short time ago raw words about the impeachment process and it's Democratic leaders backed during a meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and before that, an even more remarkable live session with the French President Emmanuel Macron. The two Presidents sat side by side on camera for 39 minutes, mostly polite but sparring on nearly every topic that came up.

Trade, Turkey, Russia, ISIS, the exchange underscoring how at odds this President's world view is, even with those who are traditionally the closest of U.S. allies. Let's get straight to CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is joining us live from London. It's just been remarkable, Kaitlan. It is supposed to be the 70th anniversary celebrations of NATO. All of the leaders want to project the unity, but?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, remember these are allies that are sitting down and it all got started at the President's first meeting this John, where he was asked about that comment that the French leader made last month about this brain death he feels NATO is experiencing in part that he put on President Trump and that withdrawal from Syria.

Now Trump fired back saying he thought it was disrespectful and nasty, and then of course just hours later the two were in the same room together, and it could not have been more tense than what we were seeing, John, which is a far cry from what we used to see between these two leaders when people used to describe them as having a bromance of sorts.

They used to be very chummy with each other. That's not what you saw today. They were disagreeing not only on NATO and defense spending but also on ISIS and ISIS fighters, with Macron pushing back on the President pretty frankly after the President made a joke saying essentially, do you want some ISIS fighters?

And Macron told the President no, let's get serious. May also disagreed over Turkey with the President touting his relationship with the Turkish leader. And Macron pushing back pretty hard, criticized Turkey for purchasing that missile defense system saying no, they could have bought one from Europe, but they chose not to. They chose to go to the Russians and that's not complying with being a NATO ally.

It was pretty stunning thing to watch as it all play out, John. And of course the question is what happens going forwards is the President is still here, he's still got several more meetings to go. He's going to be around President Macron, and of course what happened with the two were behind closed doors since it was already as tense as it could be in front of the cameras.

KING: Let's hear for more details on that as the day progresses. Kaitlan Collins, live in London appreciate it. With me live here in the studio to show me their reporting and their insights, Maggie Haberman, with "The New York Times," CNN's Jeff Zeleny, CNN's Military and Diplomatic Analyst Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby and Vivian Salama with "The Wall Street Journal".

Let's go through, Kaitlan just teeth some of them up. Let's just go through as you can see the two Presidents not just in what they said but the body language. This is President Trump and President Macron, here on the issue is Kaitlan noted the President leaned over - President Trump leaned over at one point and essentially said we have ISIS prisoners in captivity. Would you like some back?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have a tremendous amount of captured fighters, ISIS fighters, many of them from France, many from Germany, many from U.K. They're mostly from Europe. Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: It is the thing that you have foreign fighters coming from Europe. This is highly - the overall problem we have. Number one priority because it's not yet finished. We need to get rid of ISIS. It's not yet done. I'm sorry to say that, yes, we still have fighters.

TRUMP: This is why he's a great politician because that was one of the greatest non-answers I've ever heard.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Admiral Kirby, I want to start with you because you've been in the room for many of these, both in the public - with the cameras are allowed and then behind the scenes. Where the more difficult contentious diplomacy is normally done ones the cameras are out of the room. Have you ever seen an American President, we're going to go through some of the other examples. Have you ever seen an American President especially that was supposed to be a friendly meeting of the NATO alliance?

He's not sitting down with Putin, he's not sitting down with Xi, he's sitting down with the President of France essentially where President Trump says one thing and the President Macron repeatedly said, no, you're wrong.

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, no I have never seen that John, and even with Defense Secretaries or Secretaries of State that kind of candor is usually reserved for when the cameras are gone and you're behind closed doors. But even behind closed doors, with an ally like France, I've never seen that kind of contentious given and take no. It's very unusual.

KING: That's all our viewers who are seeing there, that's the scene of Buckingham Palace is a reception there, it is of course 5:00 in the evening in London right now. We'll watch the leaders as they show up. Separately the President Trump before he goes there is having tea, President and Melania Trump having tea with Prince Charles.

We'll watch that as we see those pictures as well. Another example is just here. Obviously Macron and let's be honest.

[12:05:00]

KING: Macron has his own politics as well. He sees Angela Merkel fading in Europe. He's trying to emerge as a dominant figure. He believes this is in his interests back home in France. But again, President Trump says, I would like to have a good relationship with Putin, President Macron says, yes, but.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think we can get along with Russia. I think it would be a good thing to get along with Russia.

MACRON: It is important to have a strategic dialogue with Russia. We must do so without naivete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Kaitlan teed this up. They did begin friendly. Remember, they had the big dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Macron started off thinking I can be sort of the Trump translator the Trump whisper for Europe at a time the President was very critical of the alliance that relationship has changed dramatically. And again, President Macron essentially without using the words I think you are wrong.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Once upon a time we were writing stories about their handshakes. This is now where things are. I think it is striking not just that Macron is essentially sticking up for what has been the traditional position of the U.S. and its allies in terms of Russia but you're seeing that I think increasingly there is a sense among global leaders that there is no benefit to standing there like many have done and engaging in sort of pleasantries.

It's not getting them what they want? It's not changing what President Trump does? It's not changing what he says? And I think that what you're seeing now with Macron is a harbinger of what you're going to see from other leaders in the coming months, which is basically to just stand there and openly disagree with him, as opposed to what we've seen before which is diplomatic niceties that you would see in previous administrations that they just don't see the utility anymore.

KING: Right. And one more example is as Trump had the conversation was, is Turkey, the President essentially just green lighted the Turkish military operation inside Syria. You know Presidents doesn't like that word but United States essentially pulled out so there was possible for Turkey to come in.

The President speaks fondly of Erdogan and invited him to the White House after all of that. Even though the Turks have their own human rights record, democratic record, I'll put it that way. Listen here again remember Turkey just purchased, over the objection of all the NATO allies, including Washington, a Russian Missile Defense System. It came up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I can only say we have a very good relationship with Turkey and with President Erdogan - I do. I can't speak for the President of France.

MACRON: How is it possible to be a member of the alliance, to work with office to buy from others to be integrated? Technically it is not precedential.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: If you just - not only what he said but the body language, Macron leading - sitting next to the American President saying, huh?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Also saying it in English which he doesn't always do, so that was by design. I was just struck by watching this, just the change in their relationship from that very beginning as you were saying Maggie. The world leaders have seen that they get nothing for being nice to him, nothing at all for being friendly and solicitous.

But it's impossible to subtract all of Macron's own politics. That is a big part of this but beyond it, using the words naive. Essentially he is calling President Trump naive for wanting to be so nice to Vladimir Putin. After being around the world so many times with this President watching this dynamic, this to me is the most fascinating. And as we're watching a 2020 election, if he wins a second term, which most sitting Presidents get reelected, so it's a very tight 2020, what will a second term be like? World leaders know what President Trump is doing? So we'll see how the rest of these meetings unfold. But I would think that he would have to be furious by that, essentially slapped down a bit, by Emanuel Macron. And boy, that is not how their relationship started.

KING: Right, naive on Turkey naive, on Russia wrong on trade. Macron just went at him.

VIVIAN SALAMA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: He did. In fact, right after that clip that you just showed, he started to wag his finger at President Trump directly to say that you are essentially wrong in what you are saying. Remember, obviously, President Macron is a politician and he has his constituents to worry about.

He's worried about public opinion. There have been a lot of domestic issues in France, too, where his popularity is waning, and so a lot of what he's saying is trying to cater to the more liberal constituents in France.

But at the end of the day, this is part of the broader theme of President Trump putting allies in Europe in particular on notice where he has just made it very clear that he's not going to abide by the sort of traditional relationship that the U.S. had with European allies and he will make it harder for them. He wants them to pay their even share on the multi lateral alliances like NATO and other things and to contribute more.

Let's say even to Ukraine where he said the Europeans needs to be doing more with Ukraine to fight corruption. And so these are all issues that have further and further alienated the relationship as we've gone into year 3.

KING: And another issue that came up in the next meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, there is long been difference between the President of the United States and all of the NATO allies over climate change. President withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. He has questioned it but what is striking is what you see when you talk to diplomats from these countries, they often complain that the President Trump doesn't seem to read the briefing books or doesn't seem to care about the briefing books.

He doesn't seem to say why it is so important that Turkey buy NATO weapons systems not Russian missile systems?

[12:10:00]

KING: If you're going to say you have a good relationship with Putin also working but you have to behave better when it comes to Ukraine. The President doesn't put those parts in. Climate change came up, and the President was asked that President and Prime Minister Trudeau asked about the differences on climate change. This was the President's explanation. He was asked about climate change and this is what we got. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Climate change is very important to me. I also see what's happening with our oceans where certain countries are dumping unlimited loads of things in it. They tend to float toward the United States. I see that happening and nobody has ever seen anything like it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This is where the incoming gets pretty striking, and, frankly, damning about the President of the United States. Dumping trash in the ocean is a serious problem. It is not the cause of climate change. So you can say I'm for clean air, I'm for clean water people should stop dumping trash in the ocean. That is not a serious answer from a world leader including the President of United States.

KIRBY: It has nothing to do with climate change. Ocean garbage is a separate issue all by itself. I just think he - my sense is that he can't accept the signs of climate change because then it runs counter to his political arguments about what he's doing with EPA and all these other deregulations moves and pulling out of Paris?

But climate change is a global problem. When he gets up and says something like that, he just further I think convinces foreign leaders that the United States is not to be counted on for U.S. leadership. And the Macron thing, this is exasperation with the United States, and I think they're just going to start driving past this.

If Jeff is right and he gets reelected, can he bar the door in terms of anybody being able to listen to and respect American public opinion on global matters including climate change?

KING: Well, certainly one of the reasons that Macron is trying to assert himself. We're going to take a quick break. We'll continue the conversation more on the NATO Summit. We expect to see the President of the United States with Prince Charles in just a moment than a big reception. And part of the events today, the President not only sparring with other leaders, at one point undermining his Secretary of State and then quickly cleaning it up.

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[12:15:00]

KING: Welcome back, more now on the President's tumultuous day at a meeting of NATO leaders in London. The President as we speak on his ways in a - we're told to tea with Prince Charles. We'll bring you pictures of that as soon it happens. Then the President moves on to a reception in Buckingham Palace with the other NATO leaders and some other global leaders brought in for these important conversations in London.

Earlier today the President said something that not only set off the global turmoil but sent U.S. financial markets reeling. The DOW down I think we can show it to you, it has been down about 400 points from the last couple of hours. That's because the President, you see it minus 389 there, the President earlier today during a meeting with a NATO Secretary General said that he thinks it might be best if the U.S. and China essentially set aside their trade negotiations until after next November, November 2020 and the Presidential Election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And by the way, I'm doing very well in a deal with China if I want to make it. If I want to make it - stuffs they want to make it, it's if I want to make it. You're going to find out very soon. In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now and we'll see whether or not the deal is going to be right. It's got to be right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This one is fascinating because of the politics here at home in the sense that this is the issue on which the President has been perhaps most consistent. I'll only take a deal with China if it's a good deal. He knows, and his campaign team tells him be careful.

Look at Wisconsin, look at Michigan, look at Iowa. There are farm states out there where his trade policies and the tariffs are testing the support of his people and the President essentially saying, huh, fine with me. Is that honest or is that a China you better give or else I'm willing to wait you out?

HABERMAN: I think that we've seen a version of this President say - I agree with you but I think he's all in on this in a way that he's not usually. He often leaves himself some wiggle room.

KING: Even though this is hurting him, I mean, everyone start to talks about him being motivated by him. This is an issue on which sometimes he hurts himself.

HABERMAN: He believes in tariffs. There are a couple of core impulses that Donald Trump has been consistent about and there are not many for the last several decades, but one of them is about tariffs. It's not a surprise that this is something that he has doubled down on. He has been told repeatedly that he's hurting himself and watching the stock market collapse potentially.

He always says look it goes down a little bit and then it goes back up, so everything that you've said is not true, advisers who are telling me to back away from this. He is taking a gamble. His gamble is that he is going to be right.

But when he says things like, maybe after the election we'll see what happens, that isn't actually indicative of a plan that is just essentially getting through answering questions.

ZELENY: He also believes that his supporters will never abandon him. He believes that the - you know his core supporters, the farmers and others, will not abandon him. We'll test that proposition if he doesn't do a deal, but I'm not quite sure this to me also sounded like a negotiating thing. He wants to draw attention to this that he is in charge of this, not President Xi. But I think that the majority of his voters will stick with him. We've seen zero evidence - exactly he spent a lot of time in Iowa and other states. Every person I talk to, they believe the President will get a good deal at some point and it's worth the short- term pain, if you will.

So we'll see what happens with this year, but it will test a theory if all of them will stick with him. The manufacturing sector already showing signs of weakness here and there is worry out there.

SALAMA: That's right, even the campaign officials I talked to, they believe that the farmers plan ahead and this is something that they're used to. For them waiting for a deal with China is not a make or break situation at this moment.

[12:20:00]

SALAMA: But to Maggie's point, the President does have those impulses of tariffs and that's why this entire negotiation has been far from the get-go where China has insisted that if it was going to get the big colossal deal that President Trump wanted from the beginning. He has to ease up on tariffs, and he refused to do that even as his advisers told him you have to do this if you're going to get a deal. And so what was supposed to be this massive deal is now at phase one deal that is also now fraud and we don't know what the future is?

KING: That said in pieces it's going to kick it at home. I want to move on to another issue. The President was asked a pretty straightforward question. Steve Hahn of Reuters asked it. The Secretary of State has been on the record several times in the recent days in press conferences, interviews on another network. Tweets in both English, he saying the United States stands by the protesters in Iran protesting against their government right now. Here's a question to the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned earlier the Iran protests. Does the United States support these protesters in Iran?

TRUMP: I don't want to comment on that. But the answer is no, but I don't want to comment on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Quickly after the meeting, and you could see the Secretary of State's displeasure, he was sitting in the front row, you could see his displeasure whether it was just with that or the entire performance Secretary Pompeo can answer to that. But the President tweeted pretty quickly after, and then in his meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, before they even got to the questions, President Trump saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We do support them totally and have supported them from the beginning. The question was asked do we support them, I thought, financially. We haven't supported them. I don't know that we've ever been asked to support them financially, and, you know, if somebody asks, maybe we would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, the question was not asked financially. I also want to be fair to the President having been in those rooms, in those grounds, it's loud. People are jostling around so the President could have misheard the question. But it seems pretty straightforward, and you would think at a NATO meeting, especially given all the activities of what Mike Pompeo has been up to lately, he had to know that question was coming at some point.

KIRBY: Sure, I mean, Pompeo tweeted about it just a day before that we do stand with the people of Iran. So you would hope that the he was briefed, that you're going to make it a question about the protesters and what they're doing. But I could be that he misheard it.

I've been in those rooms too it's pretty loud and distracting. I think also whenever he hears Iran, he just automatically goes to the negative because he's so Anti-Iran and what they're doing in the region. I could be wrong, but I think he hears Iran he thinks, okay, that's bad, I'm going to shoot it down.

HABERMAN: It was rare actually to hear him acknowledge that he heard it wrong frankly. Usually there is a refusal or acknowledge that he had some role in misunderstanding something, and I was more struck by the walk back and how he answered it that supposed to getting it wrong in the first time.

KING: And quickly you'll have to hang several hours never mind this disagreement with your Secretary of State, there are people risking their lives risking in prison in Iran and out there in the streets. You might hang for a little while because you wanted to clean it up so it was a quickly enough by the President.

All right, we'll continue this conversation. Up next, the President is abroad, but his attention also at home on a very important few days ahead in the impeachment debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:25:00]

KING: A reminder we're waiting for the President to arrive for tea with Prince Charles. We'll show you pictures of that as soon as it happens. But today also a critical day in the impeachment inquiry back home in Washington and a day the President have been complaining about the proceedings from abroad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think it's very unpatriotic. I don't think I should be censured if I did something wrong, I did nothing wrong. The Democrats have gone crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Today the House Intelligence Committee viewing and then later this evening they'll be voting on its impeachment report. We expect that report to become public sometime soon. The Republicans have published their own rebuttal of what they expect the majority to say.

Tomorrow that Judiciary Committee takes the impeachment reins with public testimony from four constitutional lawyers about the standards for impeaching a President. Now we're still weeks away from any Senate trial. But the President today says that is the only venue he would let key witnesses who he claims can exonerate him come forward and testify.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: When it's fair, and it will be fair in the Senate, I would love to have Mike Pompeo, I would love to have Mick, I would love to have Rick Perry and many other people testify. But I want them to testify.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Rachel Bade with "The Washington Post" joins our conversation. I'll come back to whether we should believe that or not in just moments. But in terms of today, Intelligence Committee members get to go in, read this report in private, make any suggestions if they think there's a semicolon missing or they want to change something, but by tonight the Democrats will essentially put out their public case, hand it to the Judiciary Committee and we expect articles of impeachment drafted how quickly?

RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think you're going to see them as soon as next week. It sounds like for my Democrats sources, I mean, the Democrats are still planning to get this done before the Christmas time season or the holiday season.

In order to do that, they're going to need to start marking these up next week. Obviously this is a key handoff that we're going to see tonight where Adam Schiff is going to sort of lay out the case for the Democrats that the President abused their power. And then tomorrow you know if we thought this looked partisan before over the past two weeks.

I mean, it's going to be a circus in the Judiciary Committee tomorrow. You've got some of Trump's top defenders on Capitol Hill who is already planning procedural hurdles that they're going to lob at Jerry Nadler who is a Chairman of the Judiciary Committee try to blow this whole impeachment hearing up.

But basically tomorrow they're going to take these facts and they're going to try to argue that what Trump did constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors and is therefore impeachable and so it's going to be a real rhetorical bow and highly partisan.