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CNN: Trump Likely To Make Emergency Declaration Amid Coronavirus Pandemic; 2020 Campaigns Confront Coronavirus; Trump: Fed Must "Lower The Fed Rate". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 13, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: They just don't know where he is. They're waiting to hear our colleagues are camped out by a door where Kevin McCarthy will come back from the White House. We hope soon and we'll have some form of papal smoke, and we'll know whether there's a deal.

But it is in Trump's hands. He needs to be forcefully behind this or else very few Republicans will vote for in the House. They can pass it in the House with Democratic votes. But if they do that, Mitch McConnell and Republican Senate will not pass it. And Wall Street will have a lot to figure out.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Right. So the President needs to send a clear signal here. And this is happening. I want to come back to the legislation in a minute, but it's happening at the very moment. The President is also preparing for a press conference, in which they're told he's going to have an emergency declaration.

He has resisted that. He has resisted that in part and there's been a lot of political criticism because we are in an election year. And the President has tried to minimize the coronavirus throughout declaring a national emergency or declare some emergency declaration does elevate it to a point, a lot of people would say, Thanks Mr. President, it's about time. But he has resisted this.

VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: A lot of sources are telling me, John, that he's also really stuck between a rock and a hard spot in this because the President does realize that the economy is something that's going to be very crucial for him moving forward.

And so limiting travel to extreme measures, like we've already seen and what we may see even further, that's something that the President has been very reluctant to do, because his advisors keep telling him, you know what, you do this, and you're really going to hurt the economy. But at the same time, he has expression is yours as well saying, you know what, this is an extraordinary time, we have to take extreme measures.

And so also, you know, any kind of stimulus, any kind of, you know, money to the economy to help the agencies deal with this, this is something that at the end of the day, on the one hand, he does feel like it's going to be the right response. But on the other hand, he worries that it's just going to shake the markets.

And keep in mind, his press conference today is scheduled for 3 o'clock before the markets closed. That's going to be something very, very important to watch because the reaction of the markets based on whatever he says today is going to be something that he's going to take very seriously.

KING: That's an excellent point. We'll see if it starts at 3 o'clock these things --

SALAMA: Of course.

KING: -- quite late. But that's a very important point about you will get live, you will get live invest your reaction if the President starts on time.

And another reminder today, we're waiting to hear from the President. We expect an emergency declaration. That's a big deal. It's a big deal. It elevates the wording, the language of the crisis, and allows federal responses. He's right now is the House Republican leader. He's at the White House. We assume with the President but at least with the President's team, trying to figure out whether to sign off on this bill.

And there's more evidence today that this is hardly the end. Listen to the Treasury Secretary here. They passed an emergency response a week or so ago, just to get some money into the system mainly designed to ramp up the public health. Now, they're talking today about a vote on a package first in the House, there would be sick leave, some aid to the state's, free coronavirus testing, more money for the research and vaccine development. But more of a government -- and listen to the Treasury Secretary here, saying, and then we're going to assess more deeply the economic impact. And we'll probably have to come back with bailouts starting with the airline industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we determine which industries are to be saved? Do we save cruise ships? Do we save airlines? Do we save restaurants? What do we find is worth saving and what are we willing to let go of?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I can tell you the airlines I've met with or spoken to all the airline CEOs. That is the next priority on my list only because, again, it's critical that we have domestic airline travel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We know two crises are exactly the same. But there's a lot of parallel here, a Republican White House, George W. Bush bailed out the auto industry, did some things to help bail out the financial industry. And it was an atheroma to Republicans in terms of their philosophy of government. President Bush took a lot of heat. But he said, it was absolutely necessary and he was going to do it. It sounds like the Trump administration is preparing to come back with something similar.

MELANIE ZANONA, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Right. And Republicans are really going to have to walk the plank. That's part of the reason why McCarthy is at the white house right now. They want a commitment. They want a tweet something at the conference. They need something stable, so they don't have the rug pulled out from underneath them, because they don't even know a price tag on this bill.

Let's keep in mind, so this is the type of vote that can come back and haunt these Conservative Republicans in primaries for years and years to come. So we'll just have to wait and see what the President says. I just talked to a source. I got off the phone with a few moments ago, who said McCarthy is there trying to get him -- trying to convince him that we will do more that this is just a down payment. We'll consider the payroll tax cut issue at a later date. But he obviously is itching for something much larger right now.

KING: And these are pieces Matt of, you know, a congressional bill, will you have bailouts later, a declaration of emergency. These are pieces of something that adds up to the question of presidential leadership. The President is in the spotlight right now. His Oval Office address was widely panned. The White House had to come out make corrections to some of the things the President is trying to tell the country. I got this. I'm in charge. Be assured. And they had to come out and correct things, which is not good.

And he's also been on Twitter. I don't even want to read it all. But going after Joe Biden and going after the Obama administration saying that, you know, they had a horrible response to the swine flu epidemic and that Joe Biden was horrible this. There were some factual mistakes in that. But even if it was 100 percent correct, is this the time to be doing that when the world is watching you, looking to show that the United States understands, maybe we've made some mistake in the past couple of weeks, but going forward, we got this.

[12:35:02]

MATT VISER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's the difference between teleprompter Trump and Twitter Trump. I mean, you saw the other night him talking about national unity. This is not a moment for partisanship. His Twitter feed this morning is all partisanship. And I think he's probably frustrated by Joe Biden's appearance yesterday, and sort of his own remarks.

But I do think that this is a moment and 3 o'clock he has sort of a redo from the other night to try and calm the markets, calm fears throughout the public, and provide some sort of different response. I think your analysis of 2008 is interesting. Why I mean, it does feel like that where this is the start of a multistep approach from the federal government.

And that launched the Tea Party. It launched this populist movement among Democrats. I mean, the parties are different parties now. And so the need to infuse more money into the system from the federal government is sort of a different political atmosphere at the moment. KANE: The biggest difference, the biggest difference is Trump's standing within the Republican Party right now. He's still at 90 percent approval or better with Republican voters. Bush had cratered at that point in 2008. So if he can get behind this forcefully, it can change the mood on Capitol Hill.

KING: And then we'll see as it goes forward, every day we'll be checking on all these different fronts and trying to add it all up into the point matches made.

Coming up the top 2020 presidential campaigns have told their staffers to work from home as the coronavirus crisis also impacts the campaign. Now, how will the candidates rise to the challenge?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:41:00]

KING: The coronavirus crisis is also reshaping the 2020 presidential campaign. A Sunday debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders is still on, but it has been moved from Arizona to Washington. And they will not be a live audience. States with primaries next Tuesday are taking steps to address coronavirus concerns. And the pandemic is changing the discussion with a giant focus now on leadership and crisis management, this from Joe Biden yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration. Public fears are being compounded by pervasive lack of trust in this President, fuel by adversarial relationships with the truth that he continues to have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A bit later in the day this from Senator Sanders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Prices we pay -- face from the coronavirus is on a scale of a major war. The number of casualties may actually be even higher than what the Armed Forces experienced in World War II.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It's fascinating to watch. And it's interesting because we just sort of don't know where this goes in the sense that Joe Biden is at home in Wilmington. Bernie Sanders is at home in Burlington. And they are delivering, you know, remarks to the press, but they're not out campaigning.

And again, let's start with this one, the subject of the campaign. Yes, there still debate when they have their debate Medicare for All versus building on Obamacare. But crisis management and leadership has become issue one, two, and three in the campaign right now. VISER: And the tone and the tenor of that debate will be interesting to watch. But it's hard to overstate how dramatic the reshaping of this presidential campaign has been over the past week. Joe Biden's campaign is no longer working out of its headquarters. Staffers are told to go home. People are working out of their home offices. The opportunities I think that Joe Biden's campaign sees was on display yesterday where he feels like he can be the soothing, you know, old institutionalists who can calm nerves.

And he's announced a group of advisers to help him deal with the coronavirus and policies to come up with. And they view that as counter to Trump. And to even today, you'll have Bernie Sanders has just announced that he's going to make an address at 2 o'clock. You have Donald Trump at 3:00 and Joe Biden doing a virtual town hall at 4:00. So you have on display, you know, all these candidates and how they deal with moments of crisis.

KING: And that at that moment, as this plays out, again, in a campaign, we don't know where it's headed, as Matt noted, camp telling Joe Biden staff to work from home. There's no events on the skin, no big public events with crowds on the schedule for any of these candidates, Joe Biden doing essentially a Skype town hall, you Skype into people.

At the time, brand new "Washington Post ABC News" poll out today. How is the President handling the response to the coronavirus? Forty-three percent of Americans approved, 54 percent disapprove. Like many things about the President closely tracking his overall approval rating right now. But that there's your early marker in the sense that, you know, we're just weeks into this federal -- big federal response and the questions about it.

So, you know, keep this for in middle of March, 43percent, 54 percent. The question is, where's -- which way is it headed.

SALAMA: And it's always easier for everyone on the sidelines to criticize, obviously, when you're in a position of power for people like Biden and Bernie Sanders that they can kind of look at it. And they have a case study now to apply their policies. Obviously, if when you are actually in the leadership role, it's a little bit different. But the President obviously has been widely criticized because of the slow roll response to this whole entire crisis.

And we'll see how it plays out. I mean, and this is going to be something that they are now seizing the opportunity. We don't know if we're going to see a crisis of this magnitude for a very long time. We haven't in a very long time. And so it's an opportunity for them to now come out and say, not only am I a better president, but here's how I would apply my policies such as, you know, free health care, access to free health care, in the case of Bernie Sanders, where he says people need free testing and these kind of issues.

It's their opportunity to really shine and have a real life case study that they can showcase and tell voters why they're better.

[12:45:00] KING: And as you watch it play out, it's interesting see, this is from a piece, Matt, you're part of in "The Washington Post" saying, the 90 minutes between Biden and Sanders comments. The Dow Jones industrial average lost a couple hundred points, the volatile political moment in some ways echo the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign, when a financial collapse prompted dramatically different reactions from Barack Obama and John McCain, giving Obama an opportunity to make the case that he'd be a calm and competent leader.

Again, we don't know how this is going to end up. But now these candidates at a very interesting mathematical moment in the Democratic primary, Biden has pulled away to the point where you know, Sanders says he's going to stay in the race. But if Biden has a big day on Tuesday, and these four states, the math now is improbable for Sanders. He could get close to impossible for Sanders. The question is that either said both candidate essentially asking Americans, close your eyes. Which one of us do you see as president managing a crisis like this?

ZANONA: Exactly. And it really plays to Biden's strength I would argue because he has tried to make the message the American people that I will return us to normalcy highlighting Trump's chaotic presidency thus far. But look, the way these campaigns are being run could really have an impact on the actual outcome.

Biden, for example, has to cancel a number of online fund raise or in person fundraisers he's doing online. That's something that could be a real disservice to him. He struggled with fundraising Trump and the RNC have a much more robust online funding operation. But then you could argue with Trump really could, you know, lose out from not having these big mega rallies where he really thrives in those sorts of environments.

KING: Right. It helps his mood to stuff.

ZANONA: Exactly. Well, he blows up steams in those environments.

KING: Our leadership is the big question but all those pieces underneath fundraising campaign, structure, organization, actually meeting voters, exciting voters, all of that still big giant uncertainty as we go through this.

Up next for us here, the economic impact of coronavirus goes well beyond Wall Street and its woes. Moments ago the Canadian Prime Minister holding a press conference about his wife's positive coronavirus test.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I will remain in self isolation for 14 days. I want to be clear, I have no symptoms and I'm feeling good. And technology allows me to work from home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:50:24]

KING: President Trump's anger and frustration on full display again today. He is lashing out at the Federal Reserve because he is frustrated with the economic pain we are seeing as the coronavirus public health challenge escalates. This is the President's tweet, the Federal Reserve must finally lower the Fed rate to something comparable to their competitor, Central Banks. Jay Powell and group are putting us at a decided economic and physiological disadvantage. Should never have been this way. Also stimulate.

We assume the President meant psychological disadvantage. We assume that. In any event, the tweet comes as Wall Street closes out a very volatile week. Thursday stocks tumbled to their worst percentage loss since the 1987 Black Friday. There is a rebound today. But look at the past week, right here. That is not a chart that makes you happy if you pay attention to investments.

With us to discuss, Lisa Delpy Neirotti, I hope I got that right, professor and director of sports management program at the George Washington University and Jeanna Smialek of the New York Times. Well, let's start with the markets. Now, the markets mean a lot to people who have investments, who track investments. But to most of America, the markets still have a ripple effect. If market value is dropping so much, that means the value of maybe your employer or some businesses in your community. Where are we in sort of assessing how bad it is going to be?

JEANNA SMIALEK, FEDERAL RESERVE AND ECONOMY REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think we are at the very early stages at this point. You know, most people most analysts I follow say that they still don't believe that the stock market has really hit its floor yet. They think that stocks are going to continue to decline.

I think the other thing that is really relevant here is what we're seeing is some problems in sort of the intermediation markets. So the money flows in between banks, which comes at a real risk of credit conditions tightening. And, you know, as we see those financial conditions tightened, it can be harder for you to get alone or for your small business to get alone. And that's when you have real pain, especially at a time when we know a lot of households and businesses are going to be having cash flow issues tied to the coronavirus.

KING: Right. And the American consumer drives the American economy. And one way the American consumer drives the economy is by going to Disney World or Disneyland or by going to a Washington Wizards game or Washington Capitals game here in town or an NBA game. Baseball seasons now postponed, soccer season is now postponed. Mark Zandi at Moody's Analytics thinks, you know, $14 billion a month spent on theme parks, sporting events, and entertainment, things will be a $7 billion hit just this month.

When you think about this and the impact of this both on the on sports and the culture part and then out of the economics, where's your head go? LISA DELPY NEIROTTI, DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I mean, the impact is huge, especially on those part time people who are referees or coaches or concessionaires ticket takers, people working in restaurants, hotels, this is where that, you know, ripple effect really is going to make an impact on the people who depend on entertainment for their livelihood.

KING: Right. And the question is, if you've seen some of the team owners and some of the team players say, they will contribute to funds to try to keep especially the people who have those part time jobs, who may not have guaranteed benefits. But that is part of the big debate here in Washington as well, for those workers. One of the things, you know, if you look at the market headlines, mortgage rates increase this week despite the kind of coronavirus turmoil.

Here's why I haven't missed the chance to refinance. Thirty-year mortgage rate rises amid economic upheaval. Coronavirus fallout cut interest rates, so why did mortgages get pricier? Why is that happening? It's sort of counterintuitive when you see, you know, oh, well, all the markets are down, yields are down, why can't you refinance?

SMIALEK: I think it just underlines how crazy things are out there. So what we saw was a huge wave of refinancing activity that came immediately after the Fed made that 50 basis points, so half percentage point, interest rate cut in an emergency meeting last week.

We saw a real rush to refinance. As a result, banks are having trouble processing those refinancings. And so that sort of pushed the rate up. The other thing that's happening is you're having some trouble when banks make new mortgages. They're having trouble selling them off their books, which allows them to then make more. They sort of bundle them up and sell them off of securities.

And so you're just seeing this whole market just not function sort of in an efficient way. And that's really pushing these mortgage rates up a little bit. They're still pretty low. But they're just not as low as you would expect them to be given the situation.

KING: How much can you or how comfortable are you trying to look around the corner? March Madness gets canceled, that's a finite thing. Baseball season gets postponed. We don't know. Baseball season is long. It goes on much of the year. As you try to look around the corner and say, life will come back to normal. These things that are important for us for escapes, sports events, culture events, are important for us for escapes, but they're also critical for our economy. What do we know?

NEIROTTI: I think in the short run, we have to, you know, make these exceptions and forgive our pleasures for the or hopefully to cut this virus short and get back to our normal routine and get back to the sports that we love so much.

[12:55:06]

KING: That's a great way to put, to cut short and just try to be patient I guess and listen to the people who know better than we about what we should do even if they get a few things wrong. They're trying.

Thanks for joining us in Inside Politics, hope to see you back here again on Sunday morning, 8:00 a.m. Eastern, much more in the coronavirus crisis then as well, a lot of news today. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage after a quick break. Have a great day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:08]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN --