tv Inside Politics CNN April 9, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
we're going to be talking about opioid today, opioid destruction and drug destruction. as you know, we strengthened up our southern border. last year we had record low numbers. this year they've gone up to a certain extent. it might be because our economy is good and people are trying to come into our good economy. but we're putting the national guard and military at the border. we're beefing up the border patrol. they've done a fantastic job. i.c.e. has done a fantastic job, and we will take care of that situation. we need a wall. whether you're republican or democrat, we need a wall. and it will stop your drug flow, it will knock the hell out of the drug flow, and it will stop a lot of people we don't want in this country from coming into our country. but right now, we're putting the military, we're putting the national guard, and we're not very strong borders. we have strong borders now, but
they'll be much stronger. with that the cabinet meeting will begin. we're going to be discussing a lot of different elements of what's going on. the country is doing very well. we've created 3 million jobs since the election. we have 700,000 jobs in the last number of months. they're doing incredibly well. it's very solid. our country is on very solid footing. when we do a deal with china, which probably we will. if we don't, they'll have to pay pretty high taxes to do business with our country. that's a possibility. but if we do a deal with china, if during the course of a negotiation they want to hit the farmers because they think that hits me, i wouldn't say that's nice, but i tell you, our farmers are great patriots. these are great patriots.
they understand that they're doing this for the country. and we'll make it up to them. in the end they're going to be much stronger than they are right now. don't forget, farmers have been trending downward. over an eight-year period their numbers have trended downward, in some cases significantly. so between nafta and china and all of the things we're doing, we're going to make them much better than they've ever been. but during this period of time, s s sunnier days are coming, you understand what i'm saying. it's not nice when they hit the farmers specifically, because they think that hits me. with that being said, we're doing very well on trade and trade deals. i think deals will be made. i think we'll make deals way lot of countries that have taken advantage of us, and we will be
reporting back to everybody. and we'll start our cabinet meeting. and thank you all, media, press. thank you all for being here. thank you. we're going to make a decision on all of that, in particular syria, we'll be making that decision very quickly, probably by the end of today. but we cannot allow atrocities like that. [ inaudible question ] >> he may. if he does, it's going to be very tough. very tough. everybody is going to pay a price. he will, everybody will. >> u.s. military action, is it off the table? >> nothing is off the table. nothing is off the table. [ inaudible question ] >> to me it's not, but the
generals will make a decision in the next 24 hours. not at all. the market is up today substantially. not at all. don't forget, our country will be much stronger when all of this is finished, just so you understand. these straight deals are horrible. our country will be much stronger. okay? that's very important. thank you, thank you. welcome to "inside politics." the president and his cabinet are talking about a lot of decisions, the chief among them saying russia is possibly responsible for an atrocity in syria. again the use of chemical weapons, again the victims being children. the president is getting advice from his military advisers that they should have a decision and be able to definitively assign blame within the next 24 to 48 hours. the president said action will be coming using terms like barbaric, atrocity, heinous,
horrible. this is about humanity. syria dominated the day here in washington. with me to share the reporting and their insights, julie hirshfeld davis, and jackie kosinich. over the weekend you get the pictures that are unspeakable. we'll show you later, and if there are children in the room, we ask you to turn the children away. the president responds just days from saying he wants to get out of syria asap, the president now pressed to respond. we heard secretary mattis now, the defense secretary, saying the thing that jumped out most to him was a year ago when the president used cruise missiles. russia promised, no more chemical attacks. now the president of the united states saying there will be a big price to pay. military options are on the table. he's waiting for the generals to come to him and say, sir, we are convinced it was syria, we're convinced these are the other
actors. define big price. >> big price from a military perspective would be another massive tomahawk missile strike from inside syria, which they could easily do. what i hope he means by big price is not just military action and retribution from this, but long-term pressure that can be applied, a diplomatic strategy to make for a better, more stable syria. that's what a big price would be, and to take a little action against russia for the work they've done on behalf of assad, maybe more sanctions against them. that's what a big price would really be. >> you have to wonder, for some reason assad thought he could do this again. there wasn't enough of a deterrent, even though they did send a bunch of missiles into an air field. he felt like he could do this again, and i think john mccain suggested that because he said last week he was pulling out of syria, maybe that's why? i don't think we can say that yet, but they need to answer that question. why did assad think it was all
right to do it again? did the white house not put enough pressure on russia, syria, a range of other actors in order to stop this and have them not do this again? >> to this point, senator mccain said, look, he's a retractible mess here. there's no doubt about that. mccain said we spent millions of dollars in the mideast, nothing has worked, it's a waste of money, let's get out. mccain is saying that's the message to putin and assad, trump wants to wash his hands of syria. for those of you who joined us at the top of the hour might not have heard the president at the beginning, but there were reporters allowed in the cabinet room. here's the president saying he's now reviewing this latest atrocity, barbarism he called it inside syria and he'll have a way they're going to react soon. >> it was an atrocious attack. it was horrible. you don't see things like that.
as bad as the news is around the world, you just don't see those images. we are studying that situation extremely closely. we are meeting with our military and everybody else, and we'll be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours. we are very concerned. when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity. we're talking about humanity. and it can't be allowed to happen. so we'll be looking at that barbaric act and studying what's going on. >> momentous moment, anyway, in the sense the president right there making clear he's considering military action against syria. i would say the steaakes are m g magnified by the point the admiral made. this happened again. and number two, vladimir putin
saying for the first time over the weekend singling him out by name is a bad actor, saying to reporters he may well be responsible here. what is the response to the question? >> you may be right. it's clear that his impatience to get american troops out of syria, those 2,000 troops are there fighting isis -- >> a different part of the country. >> -- a different part of the country. they're not there at least now, and there is no indication with people i talked to in the white house or the administration that there is even consideration of having troops on the ground to counter assad. the fact is, we saw last year when the missile strike happened, that the president sees these images, takes these chemical weapons attacks very seriously, mwants to show the world he's not going to stand up for that. he's sort of in the position that president obama found himself after he made a comment about a red line. his was just a comment. donald trump's is actually a
precedent. the last time this happened, he sent in tomahawk cruise missiles to take out the air field where the chemical attack originated. in fact, he's under more pressure that it is the case that even though the troops that are on the ground are doing something different, it will be seen as a retreat from the part of the world that is demanding american intervention and demanding global intervention to stop atrocities that take place. >> it's the inherent attention that the president constantly faces, isolation tendencies and things he espouses on the campaign trail. and talking about americans around the world trying to exert that military power overseas. the question from last year when he launched those missiles into syria, even though he got a lot of praise from those republican hogs, a lot of people said, where is that policy?
if he does go the military route, there are lots of questions. >> you also have russia flat out lied to him. they said years ago, fine, we will make sure this doesn't happen again. russia saying this is a hoax. well, the pictures from the ground and the reports from credible groups tell you it's not a hoax. putin is not just lying to the white house but to the rest of the world. fred pleitgen is here. fred, if you heard the president say in the next 24 to 48 hours, he's going to have a response, i assume since you're in the assad regime you must expect, at least at a minimum, another round of crude missile strikes? >> reporter: i think that is certainly what they fear. the assad government said they had nothing to do with any sort of chemical weapons use. that was originally done in douma, in that area. and we have to remind our viewers it is portable images.
it's important to see as well. it certainly seemed as though the people on those viz yoed, especially children, have huge problems breathing, and thenl a dozen people were killed as soon as. that very hairy that was encircled as switched hands. the russians say they already have experts in there. they say they have no traces of chemical weapons used, but at this point in time, it does not seem as though there is any reason for the russians to stop international investigators from going into the area. it's going to be very interesting to see whether the russians allow that and whether the teams are there. >> the president saying the russians and the syrians have not allowed access to that area
to collect the evidence, if you will. a major change in president trump inching closer and closer to calling president putin a foe. iit was the last song of theh my brnight. it felt like my heart was skipping beats. i went to the er. they said i had afib. afib? what's afib? i knew that meant i was at a greater risk of stroke. i needed answers. once i got the facts, my doctor and i chose xarelto®.
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welcome back. more on this showdown in syria. the president saying moments ago that in 24 to 48 hours, he will have a response to a chemical weapons attack. as he does, the president for the first time dreirectly addressing the conduct of president putin. you see here, president putin and russia are responsible for backing animal assad, adding, quote, there will be a big price to pay. that criticism is a major departure. as a candidate and as a president, formerly compliments are what we heard.
>> i think i'll be able to get along with president putin. >> putin said good things about me. he said he's a leader and he's a genius. people say, you admire president putin. i don't admire him. i said he was a strong leader, which he is. putin likes donald trump. i consider that an asset, not a liability. we have a horrible relationship with russia. russia can help fight isis. >> i had a call with president putin and congratulated him on his electoral victory. >> we want to get along with russia. getting along with russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. maybe we will, maybe we won't. probably nobody has been tougher to russia than donald trump. >> john mccormick of "the weekly standard" joins our panel. john, we'll begin with you. this is a clear evolution of the president's tone, the president willing to call the president out. i guess now what comes in the form of action? >> there is some schizophrenia
in the form of the president's rhetoric and his actions. the actions in some ways have been a lot tougher than president obama. in particular, lethal aid to ukraine. what's tougher than that? i would expect something. >> the administration has done something, whether it's the pentagon or the sanctions from the department, but you're right, the president's actions have gotten progressively tougher. this is just moments ago the president tweeted out the first time by name he's called putin a bad actor and he was in a cabinet meeting just moments ago. does putin bear responsibility for this latest chemical weapons attack? >> does putin bear responsibility? >> he may, yeah. he may. if he does, it's going to be very tough. everybody is going to pay a price. he will, everybody will. >> again, the body language, the crossed arms from the president there. some people think he's been
pushed into this, but let's give in to the facts. he's in a tougher place now in this confrontation. the question is, what do you do about it? >> he has no chance but to at least ratchet up the rhetoric. last week he was asked whether putin was a friend or a foe, and he couldn't answer that very clearly. the question to me is whether or not he follows through and is consistently critical of putin. he still hasn't called him out publicly for election meddling or the poisoning of the former russian spy on british soil. john is right, the administration has imposed relatively tough sanctions. we have not heard those words from the president's mouth. a shift in his tone? perhaps. a lot of people in this town think he's naive and has been getting along with putin for so long, and clearly that's just been too hard to accomplish. >> there's a reason president bush, president obama -- president obama tried to reset putin, and it didn't work. there is a reason there's been three presidents who has not
been able to get along with putin. putin is not an honest actor. i think you pointed out in the last segment, president trump was lied to saying we're going to have these chemical weapons under control in syria. they don't. perhaps that's also what's pushing him to ratchet up his rhetoric. >> now you see again pressure from outside voices. susan collins says, mr. president, you should no longer have any illusions about just what you're dealing with here. >> if he doesn't follow through and live up to that tweet, he's going to look weak in the eyes of russia and iran. so this is a defining moment, mr. president. you need to follow through with that tweet, show a resolve that obama never did to get this right. >> don't get pushed into doing it based on putin's terms but on our terms. so let's get everything put together first and then act decisively. >> it so important that the president ramp up the pressure and the sanctions on the russian
government, because without the support of russia, i do not believe that assad would still be in office. >> the question is, no disrespect to the senators, words are easy, actions are harder, especially in these intractable problems around the world, and in president trump's defense, he inherited this mess. he's responsible, he's the president of the united states now. the question is what do you do? when you've already imposed in recent months, tough sanctions against the russians. how do you impose a tougher move in syria that imposes sanctions against russia? >> there has been a tougher administration against putin. what we haven't heard is the rhetoric against putin himself, and beyond that, if he does decide he's willing to take him to task personally and in a face-to-face way, what does that look like internationally. is he going to try to garner
international support for some really tough steps here? without an american president being willing to challenge vladimir putin on the world stage in the way barack obama tried to do after he discovered he couldn't work with him, that's a very tough lift. the obama administration couldn't do it, even though they had long since determined that russia was not being a helpful player here. the question is whether the trump administration will be able to marshal some sort of support for action against russia, and what that looks like. >> it would be great, i guess this is an opinion, if he would take some of the energy and vigor he turns on the, quote, unquote, fake media and go after the russians. the russia statement on syria, it's a hoax. no. it would be nice if the president made putin responsible. will john bolton's opinion
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welcome back. urgent business to say the least for the security adviser of mr. trump. president trump held a prison meeting. the book on bolton is he doesn't do carrots. he looks to strike first and solve the problems of foreign entanglements later. might bolton's instincts clash with the boss's world view? his hawkish nness may be
overstated. bolton said, quote, my belief is diplomatic crises, 99 and 44/100ths percent of the time can be resolved with public diplomacy. that's my view. to those who say i'm going to start a war, that's what i think. when you have apparent use of chemical weapons against syria, what is the question goianswer with john bolton? >> he was one who was advocating, leave troops on the ground, have a robust presence there, so what happened in iraq after troops pulled out of iraq doesn't happen with syria. that was his position in the
past. you might agree he was arguing for a pretty muscular response here. it remains to be seen whether john bolton will do that. i do think with what we know about the way he conducts himself, he's not liking to be much of a check on the president's impulses, which are, as you said, a little schizophrenic sometimes. it's america first and we need to take care of ourselves at home, but also in some cases very hawkish, that we need to strike out. we also know that john bolton in the past has advocated against helping with syria in the chemical attack. but he's also advocated the legal case for a preemptive strike there, and now that the president will be engaging in these talks, we think possibly, in the next seven weeks. it will be interesting to see how he tries to fit himself into the debate.
>> since leaving the george w. bush administration, he's been on fox news quite frequently, he writes for the journal and "new york times." if you pick up the "wall street journal," he says, the legal case for striking north korea first, and to stop iran's bomb, bomb iran. he's making his case here. he says, yeah, i was out of government. i was being provocative at times on purpose stating what my view was then, but now i work for the president. >> i've written i don't know how many articles and op-ed pieces. i can't count the number of speeches. i've had countless interviews, maybe the majority of them on fox in the past 11 years. they're all out there on the public record. i've never been shy about what my views are. but frankly what i've said in private now is behind me, at least effective april the 9th, and the important thing is what the president says and what advice i give him.
>> the job, in its purest form, is to take the incoming from the secretary of defense, take the incoming from the secretary of state, take the incoming from the u.s. ambassador, nikki haley in this case, and make a fair and objective compilation for the president. here's your advice, sir. make your decision. but if you have that proximity to the president, you also get to, if it's an even call, tip the scales a little bit? >> these new advisers, bolton and kudlow on the economic side, people have very different views on the key issues than the president himself. in reports of john kelly's influence waning, are his views adaptable, let's say, on these key issues? i think he will have some sway initially, but how long will
that last? will the president get tired of him? we know the president doesn't have patience for a lot of his advisers. >> mcmaster did the weekend show sometimes, we didn't see him all the time. is john bolton going to be more of a physical presence for the trump administration? >> i think that remains to be seen. the president has made it clear, as experienced with mcmaster, he's able to disagree with his aides whenever possible. i don't think it will swing in a real different direction. >> bolton has to be careful, like so many other advisers, not to put himself out there too much, because the president doesn't like that, either, if his advisers get too far ahead of where he is in the press. >> a key moment for the president. we'll keep watch. mark zuckerberg prepping for his capitol meeting over facebook. my mom's pain from
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topping our political radar today, facebook ceo mark zuckerberg on capitol hill. zuckerberg meeting with lawmakers today ahead of national televised grillings of how facebook didn't take responsibility for data. he says, we didn't take a broad enough responsibility. i'm sorry and i'm responsible here. larry kudlow --
>> is he trying to behave like an adult as a major corporate leader, or give me phony-balo y phony-balonephony-balone phony-baloney dungarees? >> for the record, mark zuckerberg did have on a suit and tie today. mississippi swarz in the first female senator, cindy hyde-smith. she is only temporary. that raises the number of female senators to 23. u.s. attorney john loush asked to step in and solve a dispute. on saturday president trump accused the department of, quote, stalling and keeping
documents of hillary clinton's e-mails. loretta lynch responding to comey's 2015 testimony saying she softened the clinton e-mail testimony to call it the, quote, clinton matter. >> you want to call it the clinton matter, he wants to call it the clinton investigation. to the extent it bothered him, did he go to you and question your credibility with regard to the clinton case? >> it was a meeting like any other that we had had, where we talked about the issues. we had a full and open discussion about it. >> he didn't raise any concerns about it? >> and concerns were not raised. >> concerns were not raised, loretta lynch says. quickly on this one, the bigger issue is the dispute between the republican justice department and republican congress over producing documents. jeff sessions seems to be seeking a middle ground here, bringing in a prosecutor saying, you handle this, deciding if
it's appropriate. a good call? >> did she issue any documents about the e-mail investigation that the republicans believe was not handled appropriately? that's the reason the president is pushing for these documents to be produced. you can undercut james comey just as he's coming out very publicly right now. this is expected to play out not only on the hill, but this report is released in the coming weeks, it may not look favorably on james comey. >> he has a book coming out so we'll see james comey a lot in the next couple weeks. let's talk about mark zuckerberg. larry kudlow said he doesn't like dungarees and hoodies. this is a giant challenge for zuckerberg and his company, and for all the social media companies, because there are legitimate questions raised here. is he ready? he's not shown in recent years that he's willing to take the knocks, if you will. >> they certainly have been
prepping the heck out of him for him to be ready, and you saw from the statement you were just reading that he does appear to be coming in here with a lot of contrition, and, i get it, i'm responsible, the buck stops with me, which goes a long way, i think, but i'm not sure it goes as far as he needs to go. he's going to be facing both republicans and democrats who are livid and channelling their con ststituents and the public about what's going on here and what they need to do to prevent it from happening in the future. i do think he'll have a tough road even if he is prepared. >> especially because they weren't forthcoming initially, because the drip, drip, drip coming from facebook. we knew this, we knew that, it was this many million, this many million. he'll have to answer that and whether they were hiding anything. >> it's rare we have a pinata moment in washington. up next, the president's economic team can't seem to get its stories straight. are we in a trade war or not?
welcome back. trade one of the items on the president's cabinet meeting this morning. calling on china for what he calls unfair trade practices. but this morning his message, a bit mellow. >> we have a situation with china where we have a very good relationship with china, and i think we'll maintain that relationship. with that being said, china has been taking advantage of the united states for many years. they have really done a number on this country. and i don't blame china. i blame the people running our country, i blame presidents, i blame representatives, i blame negotiators. >> so far, as you can see in the bottom right of your screen there, markets are up on this monday. but there is a great deal of uncertainty because of statements like that from the president and for statements by his economic team.
listen to these three statements. you tell me if you understand the white house policy. >> remember, this is a process, right? no tariffs have been implemented yet. >> that plan is being implemented that includes both tariffs to recover the damages china inflicts as well as investment restrictions. >> there is the potential of a trade war, and let me just be clear. it's not a trade war. >> senior people working for the same boss, there is clearly a tug-of-war. you see the tug-of-war over this policy right there. >> you have some advisers, like larry kudlow, who do not believe in tariffs. we have peter navarro whose whole career has been about being tough on china. he's clearly called for a strategy. they've clashed. the president wants to be talking very tough about this, and if you listen to what his advisers say behind the scenes,
it's that he wants china to know they're serious and china needs to be forced to the table to make some kind of accommodation here. but this has gone way beyond that point. in november, he said, i'm not blaming china. that's a way of saying, don't blame them. they're taking advantage of our feckless policy. it's not clear how he wants to change it. >> you made this point earlier. larry kudlow is having these daily conversations with reporters, which the boss might stop at some point, where he says don't blame us, blame china. the president just said don't blame china. >> we should listen to the president on this one because that's where it's coming from. he also has a good personal relationship with president xi, and i don't think you can underestimate that because the president likes to be liked and the two of them seem to have a good rapport. if he's battling china, he doesn't want to squander that
relationship he has with the china president. >> he's saying, why did we go through this trade war if it's about to be implemented? i just you to know, understandable reasons. looks now from inauguration day to a 144-day term. president trump is now eighth behind fdr, president reagan, theodore roosevelt. if you're scoring it just from inauguration day, his rankings are a bit lower there. whatever your view on tariffs and trade, the way they've talked about this, the way they've gone about it, is causing a lot of volatility in the markets. >> if you're a member of congress that looks at this, they have completely advocated the responsibility of their
authority. it's picked up about two co-sponsors, a spokesman tells me, cory gardner of colorado, jeff flake of ohio. >> if the president does back off, he feels enough pressure from his base that this is hitting rural america very significantly. the president himself acknowledging that today, they're upgradeing. up next, a new republican candidate for senate in florida. republicans are happy, thinking it could be a big takeaway for the democrats.
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fascinating and controversial races kicked into high gear today. former director rick scott made it known he is running for senate. >> so today, with my wife by my side, i am announcing i am running for the u.s. senate for the great state of florida! we can change washington. we must change washington. we will change washington together. let's get washington to work! >> now, scott's approval ratings are up, and his response to the parkland shooting included signing new gun controls. democrats can't lose this seat if they hope to win back the senate next year. they wasted no time welcoming scott with this tough on-line ad. >> when his title was governor, he cut $1.3 billion from education, raised property taxes and refused federal health care aid that would have covered almost a million floridians.
now rick scott wants to be called senator. but if he didn't look out for you here, he didn't look out for you there. >> our new rankings also contain this shift. let's stay in florida. rick scott, republicans look at him and say he's won two really close tough races. that's a good thing because he's battle tested. we could flip that and say he won those two races just barely in 2012 and 2015. pretty weak opponents, let's be honest. so you could look and say is he up for this in a blue year. >> it's going to be one of the closest races in the country. he hasn't had a. undoubtedly. i think when you look the map.
on the senate side, it's really going to be. who are fighting to keep their seats. florida could be one that flips. we could see an election day where where the democrats win. >> rick scott signs a bill that he knows republicans oppose. rick scott has been a strong supporter of this president. the president has been a strong supporter of this governor. here's what he said, i consider myself rick scott. i don't consider myself any type of anything. if it's good for us, i'm going to support what the white house wants to do. if it's not good for florida, i'm going to oppose.
i'm not going to be a rubber stamp for anybody. that tells me this is a guy who thinks, in this blue year, the best thing for him is not to move to the middle but be not so far right? is that fair? >> voters will be able to remember two terms of rick scott and whether they want to get rid of bill nelson over that. i don't think they will. i think the environment is so democratic that this isn't going to be the race that decides or flips the republicans this year. >> but you can bet that quote will end up in an ad and layered over some things that rick scott has done that aligns himself with trump. they're going to be tying trump to him at every turn, in part because of the amount of money that's going to go to florida. we can't stress enough how expensive this race will be and how the government will look for any advantage to keep this state blue. >> you can also imagine how that quote might turn up in donald trump's quotes and i think he'll
be designated in some way from rick scott. >> he's got bad ratings from the nra. he doesn't think that will help him tremendously in southern florida. there is much to watch from now to november. thanks for joining us today. thanks for watching "inside politics." wolf starts right now. have a great day. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 8:00 p.m. in damascus, 9:30 in tehran. thank you for watching around the world. let's begin with breaking news. president trump responding to the suspected chemical attack in syria. the president is warning of tough action in the united states and he said a decision on the exact response is is cocomi soon. here's what he said just a little while ago. >> it was an atrocious atta