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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  April 6, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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the security questions between these two leaders. >> thanks, senator menendez, for joining us. we're going to continue our special coverage. you see the chinese president, the secretary of state of the united states and their wives. they are posing now for photos. our special coverage continues right now right here on cnn. all right. you are watching cnn. we have just even the leader of china, president xi, his wife, other dig nataries just deplane before they are swept off to president trump's club, mar-a-lago, where they will be holding talks, incredibly important conversations over the course of the next couple of days. i'm sorry, control room. talk to me one more time. >> secretary of state, yes, rex
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tillerson greeting him. if you're wondering where president trump is, he will be en route to florida momentarily. so we'll have those live pictures of that arrival next. but the first to arrive here is the president of china, president xi. let's go to jeremy diamond who covers the white house for us. you're somewhere in florida. i think i can tell by what is behind you. but let's talk about these pictures, u.s. military formal greeting before he's swept away. why are they in florida instead of the white house? >> yeah, you know, it's interesting. there was a lot of back and forth over who invited who to mar-a-lago versus the white house. the president's aides have said that the president decided to invite president xi to mar-a-lago. but really what's going to be interesting during these meetings is how much ground they have to cover and that's something they can do whether it's at mar-a-lago or at the white house, of course. this is going to be president
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trump's first opportunity to really tackle the bold campaign promises he made with regards to rebalancing the trading relationship between the united states and china. of course, that's something that president trump has railed against for years, even before launching his presidential campaign. and now he gets his first opportunity to try and make some inroads on that. so they are going to be discussing that. but the question is whether all of that will be overshadowed by the increasing urgency of the situation in north korea. the president, a senior white house official telling reporters just a couple days ago that the clock has now run out on north korea and as we know, a couple hours after that, the north koreans fired yet another ballistic missile. and so this is, of course, sending alarm bells ringing in washington. president trump has made it very clear that mr. xi of china will be crucial in terms of using china's leverage on north korea to try and get them to de-escalate and stop their
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advances in their nuclear program. so that's going to be at the top of the agenda. of course, coming as president trump as warned that if the chinese do not help, it's not going to be good for anyone, is what he said. and the u.s. will have to go it alone. unclear exactly what that action could be but president trump has made it clear that all options remain on the table. >> let's talk about some of the ups and downs. jonathan, let me begin with you as we stay on these pictures here. at one point, candidate trump said, and i'm quoting him, we can't allow china to continue to rape our country. not to mention when he picked up the phone and called the leader of taiwan, which certainly was not something that china would have wanted president trump to do. what do you think president xi is thinking going into this meeting. do you think he has an understanding of the president? >> no. i think he sees that president trump has gone back and forth on a number of issues.
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he just did it on syria where he said we can have bashar al assad in power and then after the gas attack, suddenly he's much more radical. also, he doesn't have a background in foreign affairs and certainly not beyond what he would have as a businessman, a background with regards to the chinese. so this is all kind of going back and forth and the state department, the majority of senior leaders in the state department, their posts are either empty or held by other people. >> in addition to that, here you have the leaders of the world economy leading. i was going over the other comments that president trump made about china. he talked about how he promised to stop the theft of american jobs by china. he acknowledged recently that this meeting will be a difficult one. what tone should president trump take? >> what tone to take.
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always the difficult decision. well, first the facts. yes, china has taken some u.s. jobs, no question about it. but it's really responsible for only a third of the manufacturing job losses. technical has played a role in terms of why jobs are going away. the currency manipulation issue is an interesting one. china has manipulated its currency over the last few decades to keep prices lower. that makes their export goods more competitive on the global market. actually, in recent months and years, they've been propping it up because they are worried about instability. it's not actually a great moment to be taking the sort of tough guy tone with china. i think it would be a savvy moment to say, all right, china, you want to play a bigger role, you want respect, step up, be part of our institutions, help out with various conflicts.
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let's have china give rather than be put on a defensive position which never works well also in china with the chinese. they get very nationalistic. >> that's one piece of the conversation. general hertling, you're joining us as well. we know that north koreans tested more than 20 missiles alone this year. that's the most they've ever done. they keep trying to be provocative. they tested one this week. you and i were talking 24 hours ago and you were talking about you wouldn't be surprised if they launched another while he was in florida. how much interest would china have in helping the u.s. with regard to north korea? >> well, that's the interest point, brooke. the entire u.s. population is watching this visit and saying, what are they going to do about north korea? and mr. trump has stoked people saying i'm going to get them to fix north korea. that's probably not in the top
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three of what china is interested in. they are interested in taiwan relations, in what is going on in the south and east china sea. they are wondering what's going to happen with ttp and the very move that, as you just mentioned, the difference in what mr. trump said yesterday about syria. china and russia voted down the u.n. resolution on condemning syria the last time around. so all of these things are at the forefront of the chinese interests and just going in to any kind of negotiation or engagement with another government's primary official, thinking only of your side, is not a good thing. you have to determine what they're looking for and how you come to a meeting of the mind. as we ramp this up and say, hey, it's all going to be about getting china to take care of north korea, that's not one of their major interests. they might be able to help but they are going to want a little tit for tat on this issue and some of those things are both economic and security the way
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they see it, not the way we see it. >> president xi now officially in florida. we're waiting for president trump's arrival and that will happen within this hour. we'll take that live. let's pivot to syria. president trump may be about to retaliate for the atrocious crimes committed by the syrian president against his own people. we are now getting word that president trump has told some members of congress that he is considering u.s. military action in syria barbara, first to you, what else did the source say about the president's plans? >> i think we have to be very cautious here, brooke. we don't know if the president has made a decision. all indications are at this point he has not. but he is letting it be known around washington that he's considering it, that he's thinking about it. so what do we know?
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that the u.s. military always has options that it can pull off the shelf to deal with a crisis like this. they've known about the chemical weapons capability of assad for months and they are ready to deal with it if the president gives the go ahead. there's potential realistic options on the table, something quite limited, perhaps striking the air field where the aircraft who conducted that deadly strike took off from or you could do a wider operation. you could try and take out all of assad's capability, rockets, barrel bombs, the storage, the manufacturing facilities. but there's a practical limitation that the russians are in syria and if you're going to strike a number of targets, you're going to want to make sure that the russians are not there, nobody is looking for a wider war at this point. so indeed we'll have to see what, if anything, the president
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decides and which way he wants to go. something very limited or sending a message to assad or something more significant. brook? >> general hertling, you heard some of the options here. from your perspective, what do you think the most effective footprint would be? >> i don't know, brook. here's the question. what's the end state? what is mr. trump trying to do? is this a retaliatory strike? if show, the u.s. military can do that on certain targets. sure, very easy to do. is it more of a strategic targeting where you get multiple targets? then it becomes tougher but you can still do it. it comes back to the question, what are you trying to achieve? the military can do just about anything the politicians tell us to do. but the question becomes, what is the politics by other means that we're attempting to achieve here. the civil war in syria has been going on for five years.
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there's been certain mistakes but because of the chemical strikes which is horrific, now suddenly that takes priority over five years of bombing hospitals and civilian populations with the same kind of barrel bombs where tens of thousands have been killed and suddenly i hear a lot of members of congress saying we need to strike right now. to what end? i'm a military guy. you better give me a mission and tell me what to do and that is not coming clear. the passion of striking seems to have overwhelmed many in washington. what i'd say is, we've seen this movie before where you're talking about regime change. if there's not someone there to take over the regime, it's not good. if you're just doing retaliatory strikes, you look weak. it probably is not going to affect assad's potential given that he has both russian and iranian allies fighting alongside of him.
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there's a huge potential for this to ramp into a bigger war. if that's the end state, then okay. but we better know what we get into before we get into it. >> excellent point. what about russia? jonathan, let me pose that to you. in listening to ambassador haley at the u.n., she said how many more children have to die? and then as president trump was blaming assad, he mentioned not once russia. this is a president with 35% approval rating. a quipoll out yesterday. what do you think? >> i think several things are clear. one is that people are rarely asking, what is the view of all of these things and these options from the viewpoint of vladimir putin? because syria has been a great victory for the russians. and piled on top of their
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victories, of course, in the left bank of ukraine and in crimea and also in georgia in 2008. so he might be able to tolerate limited action. and the second action will push the russians to say, we have got to retaliate. not necessarily against the allied forces but maybe in order to demonstrate that russia remains the number two tower in the world today. and i think that's a major problem because if you look at donald trump back in the fall, he was very pro-russian, we can get along with russia. now he's switching to he's very anti-russian. the russians are undoubtedly puz sdplel sdpl zelled about where is the real donald trump, which i think many americans are. it's critical that we take into account for russia and secondarily and lesser but still important as mentioned iran, that for them this has been a great victory and they can not
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be seen from their perspective. not our perspective. to their perspective to have won these great victories. we're going to be in a difficult position if we argue that the rhetoric is loud and triumphant but pushes the russians and iranians to take measures that we certainly don't want to see them take. >> sure. >> and it's difficult when the president doesn't have any history with -- outside of business with the russians. >> and many of these senior positions, as you pointed out a moment ago, still have not been filled and pointing out that the backdrop of all of this would be this investigation into trump campaign ties to russians. gentlemen, thank you so much. we're going to leave it there. we've been watching and waiting for air force one to land in florida ahead of this massive meeting with president xi of china. two other stories we're following, the u.s. senate invoking the so-called nuclear option, making this historic rules change in the u.s. senate. clearing the path for president
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trump's supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. the question is, will this forever change congress and bipartisanship as we know it? also, abrupt about face. the chairman of the house intel committee devin nunes announcing he will step aside into the investigation of russia's meddling in the 2016 election. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. whoever threw it has to go get it. not me! somebody will get it... ♪ (dog barking) anyone can dream. making it a reality is the hard part. from the b-2 to the upcoming b-21, northrop grumman stealth bombers give america an advantage in a turbulent world. and we're looking for a few dreamers to join us. it's my decision ito make beauty last. roc® retinol, started visibly reducing
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welcome back, i'm brooke baldwin. devin nunes is now stepping aside, at least temporarily, from this investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. election and any ties between the russians and the trump campaign. this comes after his secret meeting at the white house over surveillance issue, a meeting that raised questions about where the chairman's loyalties lie. the backlash forced that committee to breakdown but now the house ethics committee confirms it is investigating him. house speaker paul ryan said this just a short while ago. >> first of all, devin nunes has
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earned my trust over many years for his work that the intelligence community does. he continues to have that trust. i know he's eager to show that he's followed all proper guidelines and laws. in the meantime, this process would be a distraction to the investigation into russian interference in our election. so chairman nunes has offered to step aside as the lead republican on this particular probe and i fully support his decision. >> manu raju is there for us on capitol hill. why the sudden change? >> reporter: well, he came under enormous pressure, no doubt about it, brooke, for that decision for him to brief the white house a couple of weeks ago on the surveillance information and not disclosing how he got that information later revealed that he learned about it on white house grounds, did not bring it to his committee beforehand, later briefed the president. it looked like he was a bit too cozy for the white house at a time when they are looking into
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russia and the alleged contacts with the trump campaign and that came before his decision to abruptly cancel a public hearing in which it would show more of the alleged contacts and coordination. the question is, did he cancel it to help the white house? that led to all of those calls for a recusal from democrats and nunes dug in telling me repeatedly he's not going to go anywhere, democrats can say whatever they want. but the decision was really a final straw, a sign of the enormous pressure that he was bound to face. nunes got wind that the announcement was coming in light of the concern that he may have revealed some classified information when he discussed whether or not any of those trump communications were picked up incidentally. now, brook, it's unclear whether paul ryan urged nunes to step aside. i asked at that press
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conference, did you want nunes to step aside? he did not answer that question. his office has not said other than they met last night and that speaker ryan supports chairman nunes' decision but now this decision pave as way for the investigation to precede under the leadership of a republican from texas who will lead this investigation. democrats say they believe they can work together with conaway to produce a bipartisan result. >> we'll see. manu, thank you so much on chairman nunes. meantime, on the senate side, historic change on capitol hill today. the senate republicans nuke nuked a filibuster over the judge neil gorsuch to the r - supreme court. republicans invoking the nuclear option to the judge could be confirmed with a simple majority. 55-45. here was the majority leader moments before today's vote.
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>> we need to restore the norms and traditions of the senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster. therefore, i vote under the precedent set on november 1st, 2013, is a majority vote on all nominations. >> phil mattingly is on capitol hill for us. i keep thinking of senator mccain calling the people who want to do this idiots and republicans wanted to change the rules forever. >> and among them, senator john mccain. this is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. in terms of policy matters, things that matter, ideologically to your party, there's no more important nomination that exists here and what we saw was republicans understanding that democrats simply weren't going to let this through. they had enough votes to block it, to essentially stop debate
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on this, decided to change the rules. there are a lot of finger pointing back and forth, who started this, did the democrats start it in 2013? nobody's hands are clean here but one of the biggest concerns is what this means going forward. that's what senator chuck schumer, the democratic minority leader had to look at. listen. >> in a post nuclear world, if the senate and the presidency are in the hands of the same party, there's no incentive to even speak to the senate minority. that's a recipe for more conflict and bad blood between the parties, not less. the cooling saucer of the senate will get considerably hotter. >> and brooke, that was a reference to the house which operates on majority rule and is known to move hot, move fast, where the senate traditionally slows it down and tries to find consensus that best reflects the
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country. it's important to note, this rule change today did not change the rules on legislation. so we'll still require 60 votes, at least 8 democrats for republicans to move anything forward legislatively. but as you know, the nomination for supreme court justice from here on out, until the rules are changed again, will only take a simple majority and you think about the calculation, regardless of party, if they only need 51 votes to move somebody through, it's clear that it would be more ideological and the place we've found ourselves in given the contentious relationship that both parties have on capitol hill. >> as you all keep pointing out, it's a slippery slope indeed. phil mattingly, thank you very much. the vote is supposed to happen tomorrow. still ahead, we're waiting for president trump's arrival any moment down in palm beach florida where he'll meet the president of china face-to-face, have those meetings for the next couple of days. also, more ahead, white
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house retaliation. sources saying that donald trump is discussing options for u.s. military action in syria. we'll take you live to the syrian border, next.
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breaking news out of the white house today, sources telling cnn that president trump is now considering military action in syria. retaliation for that chemical attack that has, as he called standing there in the rose garden, horrific, noting dozens of children have been killed. this comes a ever a survivor of the 2013 chemical attack in
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syria made a plea to president trump right here speaking with me yesterday. >> if i may say a few words directly to president trump. >> please. >> if you will give me the chance. >> please. >> mr. president, president president, please, please, in the name of every woman, child and elder who got killed by the assad regime, please come in and help us. don't make the same mistake that president obama did. you criticized president obama for failing to act when assad crossed the red line. now is the moment of truth. now you should show the world that those days are over. we can't just keep living in this unprecedented crimes against humanity. we can't just keep living like this. i would personally like to come to the united states and meet you and tell you my personal story and give you a firsthand account about what's happening in syria.
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>> that was kassem eid. you know, hearing these words at the white house, maybe military action, how does that ring for syrians who are meeting there, ben? >> well, for the syrians, obviously they are desperate for some sort of help. that is, those syrians who do not support the regime of bashar and assad or don't support some of the more extremist factions within syria. what we're hearing from the turks, however, is quite a reaction to the possibility of intervention. in fact, the turkish president erdogan just today said if there is an intervention in syria, it should be more than just words. he went on to say that we will do whatever is needed if intervention is the case. now, of course, turkey has long
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been an advocate for a regime change in syria. in fact, the turkish leadership was very frustrated with the administration of president barack obama. they felt they simply weren't strong enough and that the americans should have done more and therefore if the united states takes some sort of hard concrete action against the regime in damascus, at least in turkey, they'll have supporters. brooke? >> ben, when we were talking yesterday, you were saying for a lot of these syrians the words would just ring hallow, just words that they've heard for years. tell me just a little bit more about the people you're meeting there along the border. >> these are people who are desperate. they have lost everything. they are refugees or they have -- for instance, people we spoke to yesterday have fled in the aftermath of that horrific
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chemical attack early tuesday morning. it's important to keep in mind for the vast majority of syrians, they have lived in sort of a limbo for decades. they have lived under regimes in which they had very little say in what's going on and those who aren't living under the regime are living under the rule of rebel groups, jihadist groups that don't take much regard of what they say either. they are desperate for respite from this endless war in syria now into its seventh year with hundreds of thousands of people dead. now, would they welcome some sort of u.s. military intervention? that's questionable given what we've seen the impact of intervention by the united states in iraq, for instance. therefore, i don't think you'll find too many enthusiastic people welcoming an american military intervention in syria.
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these people want just some sort of peace. >> seven years now, this war. ben wedeman, thank you so much for your reporting. we appreciate you. coming up here, we are watching and waiting. the west wing. only few know what actually happens behind those closed doors but new reporting indicates there is plenty of paranoia and unrest among the president's top staff. gloria borger, jamie gengel will be here with me. they have the details. don't move. my insurance rates are probably gonna double. but dad, you've got... with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. indeed. it's good to be in, good hands. are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec® it's starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®.
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sources inside the white house are telling cnn that the top level staffing roles are being re-evaluated, maybe even replaced. most notably, as we've been reporting here, steve bannon was abruptly removed from his post on the national security council. there are also theories swirling around chief of staff reince priebus. the president doesn't even ask him for advice. all of this, son-in-law jared kushner and ivanka trump expand their roles in the west wing. i have two ladies here who are in the know. it's jamie gengel and gloria borger. ladies, this is an incredible read on there are details about how these folks in the white house are obsessing over face time with the president, he's consistently asking outsiders, quote, what do you think of my team. jamie gengel, how is the
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president feeling? >> very simply, donald trump is not happy. when was the last time -- donald trump used to like to talk about his poll numbers and ratings. when is the last time we heard about it? he's not happy about the controversies or the failure of health care and not happy about the poll numbers, that he doesn't seem to be doing well. i think what we're seeing is he is recalibrating, looking around, saying how do we fix this? newt gingrich one said to me, you can't tell donald trump what to do. he has to figure it out. he's figuring out that it's not working. maybe not this week, maybe not next week, but i think we're going to see some changes in the staff and who -- some new rising stars. >> that was a tease. gloria, what's your scoop? >> well, look, you know, this is a very top-heavy white house. there are lots of cheeks here.
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the president likes to bring people into his office and talk to a lot of people and it's also a white house that has different ideological views. bannon on this sort of more - populist ideological view and the spectrum and then you have the gary cohen, former president of goldman sachs, dina powell who is now on the national security council. you have the more establishment republicans. and the conservatives jokingly called him the democrats inside the white house. and i think they're all kind of competing for the president's brain and for the president's time and the president, as we all know, is not necessarily as ideological as anybody else inside it his white house. he just wants to win and he
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wants to be successful and you add to this brew the fact that he's got family inside the white house. not only is it top heavy but you have his daughter and you have his son-in-law and they are very actively involved and that makes for a very, very difficult white house to run. >> but back on steve bannon and he's on the plane heading to florida with the president to meet with the president of china, we pulled video of steve bannon because you don't often see him from out and about. has his role been diminished? >> i think his role has been diminished and i think it was purposeful. clearly general mcmaster wanted it diminished. i'm told that the alliance he once had with jared kushner has broken apart. if you recall during the
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campaign, people were remarking, gee, that's a funny couple. jared kushner has never been known as a populist and steve bannon and i think that relationship has really frayed at this point. >> and then with regard to jared kushner, jamie, what does his rise and how -- sort of the secretary of everything, how are others within the white house feeling about that? >> i was joking the other day, he's become the zelleg of the trump administration. he's every place. look, donald trump is -- i swore i wouldn't say it, but he's pivoting. not the way we've expected. he's pivoting to jared and ivanka because they are people he trust and pragmatic. they are not ideologues. they also have one ideology and that's being loyal to him.
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so he's going back to them. just to circle something that gloria said about steve bannon, i cannot tell you, from the republican establishment's point of view, how happy they are to see this demotion or things change with steve bannon. it may not be ding-dong the witch is dead but maybe he's on his way out. he makes the republican establishment very, very nervous. they feel he's taking trump in a different direction. so they're really hoping that this is moving toward people, like gary cohen, dina powell, those are two people who may very well be -- economic adviser. dina was just moved into the nsc, got a promotion there.
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both of them are very close to jared and ivanka. >> jamie, thank you very much. gloria, thank you as well. speaking of the president, at any moment now we'll be seeing air force one touching down in palm beach, the airport there. live pictures ahead of this crucial meeting with the president of china xi jinping. we'll take you there live. also ahead, we're learning that secretary of state rex tillerson will be speaking in florida as well there in west palm. the topic unclear at the moment. we'll take that live as well. lots going on. stay with us.
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that, and i am better looking. i heard that. when it's time to get organized for retirement, it's time to get voya. here we go. secretary of state rex tillerson about to address palm beach florida. >> i want to thank president
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trump and members of this cabinet to join him here in florida, mar-a-lago, to spend time with our chinese counterparts. it's going to be very useful to all of us. it is an honor to receive the chinese delegation at mar-a-lago and build on the dialogue that i began last month in beijing with president xi and other leaders in china. in the past 40 years, the united states and china have developed deep ties and this administration is committed to ensuring these ties endure for the next 40 years. we do desire to establish policies that maintain a constructive, cooperative and results-oriented trajectory. part of those priorities is an economic relationship that is fair on both sides. today will be a time to exchange candid views on the nature of the u.s./china relationship and we look forward to additional
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discussions in the future on topics of mutual importance. as president trump has said, the chief goal of our trade policies is the prosperity of the american worker. to that end, we will pursue economic engagement with china that prioritizes the well-being of the american people. we're also looking to make progress with china on areas of foreign policy, those that serve our interests as well as the region's. and we're hopeful china will find way to have influence over north korea to dismantle their missile programs. whether it's using their authority on the u.n. security council or utilizing new power, to ensure security and stability and economic prosperity in northeast asia. yet even as we share a desire to work together, the united states
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recognizes the challenges china can present to american interests. we renew our strong commitments to our allies in asia and around the world who have been valuable partners in preserving shared values and security interests. similarly, the united states will protect our citizens and our institutions against cyberattacks. on other areas of disagreements, such as human rights and religious freedom, the united states will be firm in representing our core democratic values and advocating for the right of all people who live in freedom. the trump administration remains dedicated to working with china to our mutual goals of respect, security and prosperity. as we do so, we will not shy away from frank discussions which are necessary to narrow our differences. i hope president xi, first lady and the entire chinese delegation enjoy their visit to the united states and we look forward to our discussions with
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them. thank you. >> obviously the events that have occurred in syria with the chemical weapons attack here in the past day i think have just horrified all of us and brought to the front pages and to our television screens as well the tragedy that is part of the syrian conflict. there is no doubt that syria, the syria regime under the leadership of bashar al assad are responsible for this attack and i think further it's very important that the russian government consider carefully their continued support for the assad regime. >> does assad have to go? >> assad's role in the future is uncertain and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that
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there would be no role for him to govern the syrian people. >> and what steps is the united states prepared to take in order to remove him from power? >> the process by which assad would leave i think requires an international community effort, both to first defeat isis within syria, to stabilize the syrian country, to avoid further civil war and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to assad leaving. >> so will you and president trump organize an international coalition to remove assad? >> those steps are under way. >> have you been talking about that with other leaders. >> we are considering an
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appropriate response which violates all previous u.n. resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements between parties including the syrian regime, the russian government and all other members of the u.n. security council. it's a serious matter. it requires a serious response. thank you. >> appreciate your time. thank you, everyone. >> okay. so that was the first time -- i think that is the most amount of words uttered publicly in front of cameras from the secretary of state rex tillerson. let's just put it plainly, hearing from him as we're now watching pictures of air force one touching down in palm beach. we're about to see president trump get out of that plane, head out to mar-a-lago in his meeting with his chinese counterpart xi jinping. let me underscore the key words that secretary tillerson used. first talking on china and outlining the importance of this
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meeting over the next couple of days and of course highlighting north korea and saying that china can be a part in the strategy with regard to north korea and dismantling the nuclear weapons and also acknowledging the challenge in those discussions as well. but he was asked about syria and this is the important piece. he acknowledged how horrible, how horrified he's been, of course as we all have been, in seeing these pictures of dead children after this chemical attack in syria, reinforcing what we finally heard from president trump yesterday, that yes, indeed, it was bashar al assad responsible for that attack. but he mentioned russia in a way that president trump never mentioned russia yesterday. let me just be precise and look at my notes. said the russian government needs to consider carefully its continued support of the assad regime and a question was thrown in about removing assad and he said, quote, those steps are underway. i have a number of people
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standing by. david is here with me, dana, lonnie. david, since you're sitting next to me and we were watching secretary tillerson very closely, to me, i want to start with syria. let's start with that. he was addressing the media and, two, his remarks on the assad removal. >> right. it's all quite remarkable. we heard more words from rex tillerson than we have in the entirety of being secretary of state. he asked if there was a coal ligs a ition and he said that was under w way. president obama was never able
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to develop a coalition. the french were the only ones behind him. he pulled out of that and left the french hanging. >> it's important -- and general, do i have you with me? >> i'm here, brooke. >> here's my question. we don't know a lot. we don't know, as we're hearing sources telling us that president trump is considering some sort of involvement in syria. what we don't know is that it could be retaliatory or it could be longer term. i mean, what are some of your questions as you're hearing also from secretary of state rex tillerson just now? >> i think what we really have to look at, brooke, is the applications of all elements of international power. we have political power, diplomatic power. we have to use that to isolate russia. at the same time, you've heard the president and the secretary
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now be very explicit that this is a line and i actually believe that a line has been crossed and this president and administration is going to do something about it and so the first step is to isolate russia somehow so they can politically save some kind of face, get them to back off and then you've got to know where the delivery mechanisms are and where the weapons are to really do something concrete here. if you recall several years ago when president obama drew his line, he actually had secretary kerry broker a deal with the russians that ultimately did nothing and so now we've got to get the russians out of the picture, know where their stockpiles are, where their weapons are and delivery mechanisms are and i think that president trump is going to destroy those meetings of weapons of mass destruction. >> general, stay with me. jim askos sta acosta is joining
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well. i want you to set up this incredibly important next couple of days for both of these presidents and also the words from the secretary of state moments ago. >> that was extraordinary what you heard from the secretary of state a few moments ago. keep in mind, it was several days ago when the secretary of state indicated that, well, we're just going to have to deal with bashar al assad being the leader of the syrian regime. this chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of children, it appears, has changed that calculus. and so you're now hearing the secretary of state almost changing u.s. policy on a dime here saying this was a serious situation that require as serious response, warning the russians that they need to rethink their policy when it comes to syria and support for bashar al assad and indicating that the united states, at this point, appears to be looking at military options. brooke, in the last several
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minutes, the president touched down here in florida. >> we have it. we have live pictures of the president and melania. >> he did spoke his head back and took a few questions from reporters and the question was asked do you think assad should leave power? president trump said i think what assad did was terrible. i think what happened in syria is an egregious crime, shouldn't be allowed to happen. have you talked to putin about this? at some point i may. i have it. at some point i may. do you think assad should leave power in president trump, i think what happened in syria is a disgrace to humanity. he's there and i guess he's running things so something should happen. finally, brooke, have you told members of congress that you plan to use military action? the president saying i don't want to mention that but the answer is, no, i haven't. there's a slight nuance in the reporting there and we reported that he has spoken to members of congress about the possibility of a military response. the question here was, well, do you plan to use military action in syria and he seemed to be