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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  July 27, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. all right, top of the hour, 9:00 a.m. eastern. good morning, everyone. i'm poppy harlow in new york, and there's a lot to get to. breaking news just into cnn. we have learned that russian president vladimir putin says he is preparing to go to washington. speaking today he also extended another invitation to president trump to meet again. this time it would be a visit to moskow. our senior national correspondent sam kylie joins me with more. what else do we know about what putin said? >> reporter: well, he was very interesting in answer to a question from a russian journalist in the brits meeting in johannesburg. he said he was always keeping his campaign promises, and one of those campaign promises was to improve relations with
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russia. he said that he had extended and implied after the helsinki meeting, an invitation to the u.s. president to a summit in moskow and repeated his assertion that he was prepared to go to washington but there was a bundle of preparation that would be needed before such a meeting could be held. and also reiterating the russian position that there'll be opportunities for further meetings between now and a future summit, for example, in the fringes of the g-20 and other international quorum. so putin here is very much maintaining the warmth of that relationship and the position they're enthusiastic about a future sum. keen in particular to talk about restarting the start treaty negotiations which is for the treaty that's due to run out in a year's time, poppy. >> sam, thank you very much for that. i should just note we are going to hear from the president in just a few minutes.
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he's set to speak, we're learning from the white house, at 9:30 a.m. eastern time. let's go to jim sciutto. jim, i have a lot to get to you, but ahead of all this other reporting you broke last night, what do you make of vladimir putin's response here? >> well, listen, so here we are, what are we a little more than a week after a meeting that even republicans, a meeting that the russian president in helsinki, that many republicans were alarmed about. president trump as you'll remember seeming to take putin's word over the word of u.s. intelligence agencies on election meddling, et cetera, which the president in a rare instance on his return seemed to correct some of the statements there, dialled them back. so that meeting with putin not seen as a success, but it was very soon after that the president appeared to double down on this personal relationship with the russian president, saying he had invited him to washington. then we learned, well, that might be pushed back to next
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year as opposed to this fall. then we learned that the russian president might not be coming at all. he raised questions about it. now the president says he is willing to come and he's invited trump to moskow. once again we're all over the place on this. and i suppose the bigger question if and when this happens, poppy, is why. what are they talking about? if the president just stood next to the russian president and seemed to lean his way on many key issues including election meddling here in the u.s., there has been very little clarity as to what they agreed to in that meeting. you saw mike pompeo on the hill earlier this week. so we don't really know what happened in that meeting. so why are these other meetings happening? what has russia promised the u.s.? have they promised anything substantial? what is in the u.s. interest? you're in a place with still hard questions about the meeting that already took place and now you have new meetings coming up. >> right. and the timing here is very
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unclear about when this will be if it happens. jim, stay with me. let's me bring in our global affairs correspondent. let me get your read. one of the 'ings putin said is that he meaning president trump, has this invitation already, i told him about it, and putin wept onto say, he, trump, is willing to fulfill his campaign promises. saying he viewed their initial meeting in helsinki as useful. no word from the white house yet on this yet. what's your read? >> poppy, look, president putin's conference of developing countries when he was talking about this -- and what's happening here is you see president putin almost trying to help out president trump. you saw this at the press conference that the two men held in helsinki. i think president trump tries to
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act so deferential to president putin, you here president putin says, oh, well, president trump doesn't agree with me on crimea, president trump is fulfilling his campaign promises. it's almost as if president trump's deferential nature is almost becoming -- because the two leaders are not able to really get done in terms of the u.s.-russia relationship because of this politically charged atmosphere. pretty clear they spoke about another meeting. our understanding is that, you know, there wasn't much agreed to in the meeting. of course, we don't know. we do know that john bolton, the national security advisor is going to be meeting with his counterpart in the coming weeks, the officials are going to meet. they'll have something we call a
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track tier diplomacy and experts and other stuff trying to repair relations. but i do think the way president trump is trying to cozy up to putin -- >> sam kyley, back to you in moscow. talk to us inreaction in moskow among russians after the helsinki summit and how that may be influencing vladimir putin now, extending this invitation to president trump, to moskow and saying he's also going to go to washington? >> well, i think there were two approaches. the first is the sort of media reaction here as one of the influential programs, "60 minutes," one of the hosts after the helsinki summit said that mr. trump, the u.s. president smelt like a kgb agent after the helsinki press conference in particular. in particular it seems there where vladimir putin had to come
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to the rescue of the american president saying that i'mia, cre disagreed but president trump was very emphatic and we had different opinions. that sort of intervention which we've now seen again in johannesburg has particularly become embarrassing to the russians. so that's the kind of pr part of it, but then there's the real policy. these are two major super powers. they are engaged in an arms race. it is an arms race that the russians think they're ahead of, or ahead in at the moment. and there is an opportunity for donald trump to scale back things in the real world, putting aside the slightly awkward relationship that may be evolving in terms of this bromance of donald trump towards mr. putin.
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you can't suggest that the russians are not frankly delighted about the way this is going, that everything is still being played out of the putin camp. it is the americans that are constantly being force into reacting. so on this occasion forced into reacting to an invitation to moskow, it's the first real evidence we've had such an invitation was extended and it was extended in private. >> as you said was already extended. the president knows about it and yet this is the first we're hearing about it. david, two questions for you. one, putin said in his answer to the journalist's questions this morning, in order for them to have this second meeting there have to be, quote, necessary conditions. didn't elaborate. what would those be? and secondly, putin said two things. he would come to washington or the president could go to moskow. if summit 2.0 were to happen, what's better for the american
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people? for the president to go to moskow or putin to come here? >> the conditions, i'm not sure what they are. i think this is an effort by putin to disrupt politics. you had a roll back from trump's aides, they tried to cleanup the security summit and now putin is sort of creating all this confusion. and the question is sort of will trump, will he personally for whatever reasons wants to meet with putin and it seems like that was off. the white house said there would be no meeting until next year or the mueller investigation finishes, and now putin has created chaos. and i'll be very curious to see how president trump personally responds to the this invitation. >> we have a lot more to get to on the economy this morning. u.s. economy we just learned
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grew at its fastest pace in almost four years. gdp at 4%. the president said yesterday we will be happy with anything that has a four in front of it. this has a four in front of it, but it's not -- it's a great number. o it's been accomplished before. >> the last three presidents have had a 5% reading in a good quarter. will it be a whole year of growth, that remains to be seen. 4.1%, bouncing back from a weak 2% in the first quarter. 9.3% exports gain, that's a really remarkable gain. and as our colleague calls it, not a sugar rush but a soybean rush. you had all these soybean sales ahead of expected retaliation from china. all these orders front loaded.
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>> that could be seen as a one time -- an artificial ballooning of this. >> the sugar rush, soybean rush, could come back in the next quarter. tax cuts and businesses are having record profits right now, so you have business investment. consumers, that spending was up about 4%. that's a very strong number. again, a bounce back from kind of a weak first quarter. and that's probably a little bit of those tax cuts and also just confidence -- confidence for people who are spending more money and government spending about 2%. some of that, a lot of that probably defense spending. you saw that huge spending bill. but the soybean in particular, sibean shipments from 9,400%. and economists now are trying to pick apart what is the
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stockpiling in here and what's the natural strength and will it continue into the third quarter? the president promised 4% economic growth. and a bounce back from a weak winter, and now what happens. is the trade war going to be a threat for growth going forward? >> it's good to see will it last. ahead the president set to speak 9:30 eastern time. he will speak on the south lain and take questions this as we get breaking news on russian president vladimir putin saying he's ready to go to washington. next. liberty mutual saved us almost $800
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liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ this morning a denial from president trump, his latest and strongest so far saying he had no prior knowledge of that now infamous trump tower meeting with the russian lawyer on june of 2016. a meeting that donald trump, jr. who agreed to host it called, quote, such a nothing. well, this morning the president writes, quote, someone is trying to make up stories in order to
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get himself out of an unrelated jam. that someone of course is michael cohen, long time trump family lawyer, fixer and confidant who's now under criminal investigation himself. and he's now claiming that the president did know about the meeting before it happened and knew that russians were offering information damaging on hillary clinton to the trump team and then signed off on the meeting. jim sciutto broke the story. he joins me now from washington. what have we learned and what is the significance of it? >> we're in a situation now where it's the president's word against his former long time perm attorney michael cohen. with the difference perhaps michael cohen is telling people he's willing to tell robert mueller this. he's willing to testify before special counsel. the headlines of the story, michael cohen says that president trump knew before the trump tower meeting and he knew that the russians were going to offer dirt on hillary clinton in that meeting. michael cohen says he knows this because he was in the room when
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donald trump's son, donald trump, jr., came to then candidate trump and told him about the meeting. and in addition to that cohen says, our sources says or cohen claims i should say, our sources telling us that in addition to that president then candidate trump, rather, approved of that meeting going forward. so a lot michael cohen says he's willing to testify to the special counsel, and that account if accurate would of course contradict multiple denials over the course of the last year from trump and all of his surrogates. have a listen. >> no, i didn't know anything about the meeting. it must have been a very important meeting because i never even heard that. >> did you tell your father anything about it? >> it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. >> let's focus on what the president was aware of, nothing. he was not aware of the meeting,
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did not attend the meeting and was only informed about the e-mail very recently by his counsel. >> last night on our air to our colleague, chris cuomo, rudy giuliani and the president's current attorney tined in saying that the president did not know about this, but also spending most of his time attacking the credibility of michael cohen. in fact he told cuomo, giuliani did that cohen has been a liar arb, he's lied many times last week, he's been a liar all his life, which was striking because here is how rudy giuliani described michael cohen just two months ago. have a listen. >> he doesn't have any incriminating evidence about the president or himself. the man an honest, honorable lawyer. >> the man is an honest, honorable lawyer. that was just on may 6th, a little more than two months ago, poppy. but last night rudy giuliani and saying that the man who worked for the current president for more than a decade is and has
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always been a liar. >> before you go, it is very important to note michael cohen testified under oath before house and senate committees last year. do you know anything about what he said to those lawmakers in that private testimony under oath about this trump tower meeting and whether the president knew or not? >> this is what i know. i spoke to a source familiar with michael cohen's testimony before the house intelligence committee, and this source says michael cohen did not testify before that company, that the president husband advance knowledge of this trump tower meeting. and we checked again and neither the democrats or republicans report on the russia investigation mentioned michael cohen saying the president had advance knowledge of this meeting. did michael cohen change his story on this, it appears he did. and i'll add this, poppy. what his lawyers are saying is
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that michael cohen now wants to tell the truth, now he wants hoe country over his former boss, the president. >> we don't know what he testify today the senate intel committee behind closed doors on that front. also this story, the former employee of the trump organization calls it the ultimate nightmare scenario for the president. not talking about michael cohen, the president's now former lawyer. i'm talking about the top money man, the chief financial officer, allen weisselberg reportedly being called in to testify. for many people waking up this morning this will be the first they've heard of this man who's so entrenched in the trump organization, and frankly has known the president and worked with him deeply for years. what are you hearing? >> i can't overstate allen
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weisselberg's role within the trump organization. poppy, let's put it this way, this is probably as close as prosecutors are going to get to an actual interview of trump himself about trump's finances, about his business. to put it in another way a former trump employee told my colleague, that allen knows where all the financial bodies are buried, every deal, every dealership, every sale. anything and everything that has been done, he knows every membership, anything you can think of. this is a perfect description of allen weisselberg's role based on my understanding of the trump organization. and it's a very clear indication that the prosecutors in the southern district of new york have crossed the red line in a way that mueller has not. and they're looking and they're talking to the president's chief financial officer. >> and he was hired back by the president's father. i mean that's how long he's been
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with team trump. >> that's correct. and when president trump left for the white house he entrusted the business to three people. don junior, eric and allen weisselberg. that's how entrenched allen weisselberg is with the trump organization. it is very significant prosecutors have requested an interview, information from him. that reporting according to "the wall street journal." >> thank you for your reporting. with me now our chief legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor jeffrey toobin. gentlemen, thank you for being here. let's begin, jeffrey, with what options allen weisselberg has now. >> unless he can take the fifth, i mean he basically has to talk. he's not a lawyer, so there's no attorney-client privilege issue,
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a cfo client privilege. if he's called to testify he has to talk. the way prosecutors usually work or try to work is to have the actual financial records to confront a witness with. it's always better to show a witness documents so that they can't say i don't remember, i don't know the detail. it's often a complex matter to interview someone like a cfo who deals with a lot of numbers because you need to numbers first. but prosecutors can subpoena those, too. >> they can also immunize him and try to get him to talk that way. so many americans are unfamiliar with his name or his role. sq or even christine has reporting many in the trump organization weren't familiar with working with him day to day. everybody just heard he was at the top. >> just looking at that tape, right, this guy weisselberg worked for the trump
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organization for 40 years. we have a two minutes snippet. and you can see from that two minute snippet just how important weisselberg was. what do they have him doing? setting up this fake shell company trying to silence these former mistresses which could be a campaign violation itself. >> a former alleged mistress. at this point we're talk about one story. >> yes, but it's similar also to what they do with stephanie clifford. the way cohen and trump talk about it is he's the guy. as soon as weisselberg's name gets mentioned trump is like, we've got the right guy on it, he's going to handle the financial piece of it. there could be a lot there. >> on michael cohen, we know at least in front of the house committee michael cohen did not say what sources tell jim sciutto he's now saying, which is he witnessed trump being told
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about the trump tower meeting before it even happened. but our sources also telling cnn he doesn't have any recording or any other evidence. this is one man's word against another man's word. >> i'm not exactly sure jim said that about the house committee. i think what he said was his source said that cohen didn't say -- i guess the short answer to what i'm saying, was he asked the precise question, we don't know that. but the key issue now that there is clearly a conflict between cohen's version of what went on and the president's version and the president's son version is there any corroboration -- one thing he pointed to was other people were present when the then candidate was informed. what is their version of the facts? i think the issue now is which
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side has the corroboration? are their texts, are their e-mails, are their tape recordings that corroborate or incriminate michael cohen's version? >> stay with me. i have to get a break in again. we're waiting for the president to speak at 9:30 in just a few minutes on the south lawn. we will be right back.
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but behr premium stain y can weather any weather. overall #1 rated, weathers it all. find our most advanced formula exclusively at the home depot. we are waiting to hear from president trump. he is set to speak any moment on the south lawn. later today he will meet with his national security team about election interference. and that meeting comes only five
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days after he said the idea of russian interference was all a big hoax and three days after he said he was concerned about russia hacking the upcoming election but they would do so to help the democrats. there's a lot going on this morning. this also comes as we learned just a few moments ago that vladimir putin said he would come to washington, and also that he invited president trump to moskow. there's a lot to break down. jeffrey toobin and elle are still with me. on strong economic numbers, that's what's coming out, and he's also going to take reporter questions and you know they're going to ask him about michael cohen, about invited by putin to moskow. what's your read? >> on which topic? >> on the invitation to moskow from putin. >> it just won't end, right? they can't quit each other. on the one hand with vladimir
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putin anticipating a visit to washington, many have been following him, many are wondering how that benefits him at all? unlike helsinki where he's on level ground, he really would be shunned here. you had paul ryan saying they would not welcome him to speak with congress. there's not many upsides with bad headlines for the president with vladimir putin coming here other than the optics. i can't imagine president trump going to russia, but never say never. huge win for vladimir putin if that would be the case. under normal circumstances they would be meeting in argentina at the g-20 in november. >> we have the two minute warning the president is going to walk out here at any moment. rargera margaret, to you. this is a president who has not taken a single question about michael cohen and the tape that was released earlier this week, in fact banned our cnn reporter after she tried to get answers from the president about michael
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cohen and this tape. and now he's going to take reporter questions. >> we've seen a preview on twitter just a little while ago of how he might speak about it, if he were going to speak about it publicly in person today. absolutely on twitter refuting the idea, rejecting the idea he knew anything in advance about that meeting and suggesting that his former lawyer is trying to save himself and misleading people. so we will see if he does in fact take questions on this. but signaling so far on twitter what his strategy would be. >> jeffrey toobin, when it comes back to the issue of credibility, look, michael cohen has made his case clear to the me media and now the presidents is making his case clear. >> look, if there's anything we know in the last year and a half, nothing changes people's mind. the polls have not moved. they're basically 60-40 against
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any question you ask. when we're like, oh, this is going to change things, whether it's the helsinki summit or the children at the border, nothing changes poll numbers. and i'm going to make the bold prediction this won't change poll numbers either. people have seemed to make up their minds and the mid-term elections seem to be the only event that might dislodge people -- >> and the economy is often what moves numbers and he's doing well on the economy. >> even that, one of the paradoxes of the trump presidency is you would think a president with an economy that seem tuesday be doing -- is doing as well -- >> and clinton in the middle of the lewinsky scandal had high poll numbers because the economy was doing so well despite the scandal. an upside down for this president on that front. >> it's what we call a paradox. >> and to support jeffrey on
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that thera, look, in worst case if voters and those who support the president specifically find out the president did not tell the truth and did know about this meeting ahead of time, the president would focus on the outcome of that meeting which we know they said was nothing, it was a nothing burger, they didn't get the information they wanted from the russians. so maybe the president didn't handle it right and he shouldn't have lied to the american public, but that the end of the nothing came of it and it's no big deal. >> i mean rudy giuliani, last night he's been lying for years, he's lying all his life, a man the president chose to be by his side on everything to be his quote-unquote fixer. >> i came up as a prosecutor in organized crime cases and this feels awfully familiar. when whenever you have a boss underlipg underli und underlinked scenario we have three stages.
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the first stage is when they're doing business together, potentially crime. stage two is when they feel trouble, subpoenas and they try to round up the people, keep them in line. and a few months ago rudy giuliani and trump was saying cohen is good man, he's a good man. and now we're in stage three when the boss sees the underling is going to flip and now it becomes he's a pathological liar a and never really trusted him or knew or liked this guy anyway. rudy giuliani and the president can say what they like about michael cohen now. but the southern district didn't pick michael cohen as a witness. that was donald trump who chose him and made him a lawyer. >> how do you think robert mueller is going to view all of this? what does this do with the t trajectory of the russia probe? >> all he cares about is getting the evidence from these people. get them in and force them to
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testify either in front of fbi agents or in a grand jury, look at the documents, look at the corroborating evidence, if it exists and draw his own conclusion. that's been the entire mo of this operation. >> as we wait for the president, again, he should walk out at any moment to talk about the economy, but you can bet questions will be about many other topics. this is ahead of this afternoon where the president will meet with his national security team on the issue of election interference. on a day we've learned that senator mccaskill's there was an attempted hack on her ahead of the mid-terms. and as the president tries to cleanup after the first putin summit saying, you know, that america's been foolish and blasting our intelligence community. and then, margaret, it comes as we've learned of this invite to moskow. tie it all together for us. >> i'm going to try. this meeting is at 3:00 this afternoon, in the situation room. it is unfortunately closed to the press, although if they'd like to invite us in, we'd be
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happy to come and cover it. who's going to be there? we know vice president pence is also going to be there. until now the very little bit we know about what the administration is doing proactively to try to head off election meddling in 2018 and beyond we know is a process that involves the department of homeland security. is the president going to shift control and coordination and messaging on this more into the the national security council realm, is john bolton going to play a top role, is the chief of staff going to play a top role, is he going to announce initiatives? this isn't a meeting the president himself would need to preside over or the sort of meeting the white house would need to announce. so the fact they have put it on the public schedule suggests the president wants to have a lever to message the public about it. but so far they've told us almost nothing about what would
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be rolled out by the president himself in terms of paolicy. >> let's also bring in steve moore, thank you so much, who was a senior economic advisor to president trump during the campaign. just setup for us what you think we're going to hear from the president here. 4.1% gdp in the second quarter is very strong. maybe he'll come out with wilbur ross, his economic secretary, who knows. >> this is very strong number we've got. it shows the economy is really now firing on all cylinders. when you combine this with the really solid employment reports we've seen over the last, you know, six months or so, it shows that we've got an economy that trump knows what he's doing when it comes to getting an economy moving. you can't read too much with just one quarters growth, but i was looking at some of the
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numbers underlying this high gdp report. and one of the things i found very hopeful for the future is business investment, what they're investing in. new plant, new equipment, new technology, which leads to more jobs that has surged. so there's a lot of business optimism out there, and i'm sure donald trump is going to have a big smile on his face when he talks about these numbers. >> let's also to be fair here, but it into context because there were four times during the obama administration where you did have quarterly economic growth over 4%. at the end of 2014 he had 5.2%. all past three presidents have had at least one quarter with 5% here. you know there's a lot of concern whether this is sustainable for the year. >> poppy, you make a good point after one quarter of growth, these numbers do bounce around a lot. what we've seen the last six quarters now is a bump up in growth. i call it the trump effect,
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where we were growing at 1.6% in obama's last year in office, and the economy is -- >> sorry to jump in. we're looking at the president's team, a lot of them walking out smiles on their faces. wilbur ross is there, secretary steve mnuchin there as we wait for the president. continue until we get to the president. >> me? >> yes, go ahead. >> just saying that, you know, the investment numbers look really good. i think trump has really caused a kind of confidence boom among businesses and consumers, and that's where the numbers have really turned out very strong in the last quarter. >> can i just ask you, this quarter, and i'm not trying to be a debby downer. these numbers are good, but i do know from the big exports that china and the like were buying up products from the u.s. like
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soybeans especially ahead of the tariffs and they were doing it to save money. so couldn't this number be artificially inflated? >> maybe, but, look, there was a big deal that was made this week -- >> let's listen to the president. and there is is vice president pence next to him. >> good morning. moments ago the numbers for america's economic growth for gdp were just released. and i am thrilled to announce that in the second quarter of this year the united states' economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1%. we're on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years. and i will say this right now and i'll say it strongly, as the trade deals come in one by one, we're going to go a lot higher than these numbers and these are great numbers. during each of the two previous administrations we average said
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just over 1.8% gd growth. by contrast, we are now on track to hit an average gdp annual growth of over 3%, and it could be substantially over 3%. each point, by the way, means approximately $3,000,000,000,010 million jobs. think of that. each point. you have one point, that doesn't sound like much, it's a lot. it's $3 trillion, and it's 10 million jobs. if economic growth continues at this pace the united states' economy will double in size almost ten years faster than it would have under president bush or president obama. perhaps one of the biggest readings in the report, and it is a big one is that the trade deficit -- very dear to my heart because we've been ripped off by
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the world -- has dropped by more than $50 billion. $52 billion to be exact. it's dropped by more than 50. think of that. the trade deficit has dropped by more than $50 billion. and that's added and adding 1.2 gdp. that's a tremendous drop. we haven't had a drop like that in a long time. you'll have to go back a long time before you find it. by increasing growth to 3% over the next ten years that would mean 12 million new american jobs and $10 trillion of new american wealth at least. and that's not including the fact that since i was elected we've created approximately $7 trillion of new wealth. the year before i came into office, private business
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investment grew at only 1.8%. last year it jumped to 6.3%. that was my first full year, and we had to do a lot of things to get it to grow. and this year it's growing at 9.4%. so that's a very tremendous increase. there hasn't been an increase like that in many, many years, decades. and i think the most important thing and larry kudlow just confirmed to me along with kevin, that these numbers are very, very sustainable. this isn't a one time shot. i happen to think we're going to do extraordinarily well in our next report next quarter. i think it's going to be outstanding. i won't go too strong because then if it's not quite as good you'll not let me forget it. but i think the numbers are going to be outstanding. we've accomplished an economic turn around of historic proportion.
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when i came into office 1.5 million fewer prime age americans were working than eight years before. we had lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous administration, and you all know they say, well, you have to lose manufacturing jobs. it'll get worse and worse. manufacturing jobs are obsolete. no, they're not obsolete. they're the greatest jobs we have. more than 10 million additional americans had been added to food stamps in past years, but we've turned it all around. once again we are the economic envy of the entire world. when i meet the leaders of countries the first thing they say invariably is, mr. president, so nice to meet you, congratulations on your economy. you're leading the entire world. they say it almost each and every time. america is being respected again and america is winning again
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because we are finally putting america first. everywhere we look we are seeing the effects of the american economic america. we have added 3.7 million new jobs since the election. a number that is unthinkable if you go back to the campaign. nobody would have said it. nobody would have even in an optimistic way projected it. we are in the midst of the longest positive job growth streak in history. new unemployment claims have recently achieved their lowest level in almost half a century. the african-american unemployment rate has achieved the lowest level in recorded history. african-american unemployment is the best it's ever been in the history of our country. the hispanic unemployment rate has reached the lowest
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rate in history. the asian has reached the lowest level in history. women unemployment rate recently reached the lowest level in 65 years. soon that will be in history. give it another two or three weeks. veterans unemployment is at its lowest level in 18 years. that number is rapidly going up. on top of which we just received and won from congress choice where veterans can go out and see a doctor if they can't get service, the service that they deserve. unemployment for disabled americans has hit a record low. lowest in history. more than 3.5 million americans have been lifted off food stamps, something you haven't seen in decades. 3.5 million americans have been lifted off food stamps.
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that's because they are able to go out and get a job. and they're going to love their jobs. 95% of american manufacturers are optimistic about their company's outlook. that's the highest level also in history. that's an old survey. been around a long time. manufacturing wages are expected to rise at the fastest rate in over 17 years. business and consumer confidence has reached historic highs. so far this year, american exports are up nearly 20%. i've only been here a little more than a year and a half. over the same period, in the year before i took office, we have become a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957.
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we have gotten rid of tremendous amounts of regulations which allows us to do things. we still have tremendous regulations on clean air, clean water, the environment. it's very important to me, very important to everybody. but we had unnecessary regulations that were hurting our economy and hurting our country. we have eliminated a record number of job killing regulations. with the help of republicans in congress, we passed without one democrat vote the biggest tax cuts and reform in our history. the democrats want to end that and raise everybody's taxes. that will be a disaster for our economy. as a result, more than 6 million americans are now enjoying new bonuses, better jobs and far bigger paychecks. every single democrat voted against the tax cuts. every single one. we didn't get one vote. they voted against working families. they voted against small businesses. not good.
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in the first three months after tax cuts, over $300 billion poured back into the united states from overseas. we think it's going to be in the end when completed over $4 trillion will be back into our country. apple alone is bringing in $230 billion. and they're building new plants. they're building a magnificent campus. they're going to be spending their money very wisely, but they're spending it in our country, not some other country. that was made possible by the new tax cut and reform plan. at the same time, we are finally cracking down on decades of abusive foreign trade practice. we were abused by companies. we were abused by the companies within countries. but in particular, we were abused by countries themselves. including allies. abused like no nation has ever
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been abused on trade before. because we had nobody watching. they stole our jobs and they plundered our wealth. but that ended. yesterday, i was at granite city steel in illinois. it was an incredible sight. we had an audience of steel workers. some of the roughest, toughest people you have ever seen. half of them had tears coming down their face. i don't know if these people ever cried before in their life, to be honest. half of them had tears coming down because we opened a tremendous united states steel plant. they are opening up seven other plants. the steel industry is back. they are open for business. we need the steel industry. the tariffs did it. nobody mentions the fact that these plants are creating
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tremendous numbers of jobs, tremendous. billions of dollars are pouring into the united states coffers. billions of dollars. we're getting jobs. we're getting money coming in. we're respected. eventually, the steel prices will really start to go down. because all of these new plants are going to be competing against each other. we won't have foreign countries dumping -- that's the word they use, dumping -- steel all over the place and destroying our factories, destroying our plants, destroying our companies and destroying our jobs. since i was elected, we have added 400,000 new manufacturing jobs. remember, that was the obsolete deal. obsolete. i used to say, why is it obsolete? we have to make things. manufacturing jobs are among our best jobs. we're just getting started. we have also liberated millions
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of americans from the crushing burdens of obamacare. the cruel individual mandate penalty is gone. that's where you pay a lot of money for the privilege of not having to buy bad health care and pay for it. it's gone. nobody thought we could get rid of it. that was the most unpopular provision by far, probably on anything, but certainly in obamacare. obamacare is now on its last legs, fortunately. through associated health plans, we're giving americans the ability -- just opened. millions of people going to be signing up, millions and millions. we're giving americans the ability to join together to purchase much better and more affordable healthcare and health insurance, including bidding across state lines. all of the insurance companies are going wild. they want to get it. you can have great health care at a much lower price. it will cost the united states
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nothing. nothing. think of that. will cost us nothing. that's secretary acosta, secretary aczar is coming out with another health care plan, somewhat different. result, the same. much less expensive health care at a much lower price. will cost our country nothing. we're finally taking care of our people. finally, there's another matter that's of profound importance to me and i wish to discuss it right now before we leave. because there's nothing like what we have been working on, so important for the lives of not only americans but lives all over the world. at this moment, a plane is carrying the remains of some great fallen heroes from america
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back from the korean war. they're coming back to the united states. mike pence, our wonderful vice-president, will be there to greet the families. and the remains. and i want to thank chairman kim for keeping his word. we have many others coming. but i want to thank chairman kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me. i'm sure that he will continue to fulfill that promise as they search and search and search. these incredible american here ro heroes will lay at rest on sacred american soil.
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in some cases they were younger, great grandfathers, my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father, they asked if i could do something about it. i would look at them. we don't get along too well with that country. they said, whatever you could do. it's something that was very important to me. many people have asked that. i have asked the vice-president and others to just pay a special tribute. and they will do that. we honor the sacred memory of every incredible american patriot who fought and died in that war. in everything we do and every action we take, we are fighting for loyal, hard working, patriotic citizens of our blessed nation. we're making our country great again. we're respected again all over the world.
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our military will soon be stronger than it has ever been by far. that in itself will produce thousands and thousands of jobs. nobody makes equipment like we do. nobody. whether it's planes or missiles or any form of military equipment, we make the best in the world by far. we're making it possible for our allies to buy that equipment quickly where they don't have to wait for two-year approvals and more. we're doing great. i'm very honored to see that 4.1 number. perhaps i'm even more honored to see that deficit shrink -- the trade deficit shrink so much. with that, i would like to ask the chairman of the council of economic advisers and my good friend larry kudlow if they could step forward and say a few words. thank you all very much. it's a great day. >> thank you very much, mr.
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president. thank you for your leadership and for the faith that you put in me when you offered me this job. thank you for standing up for our veterans. my father and uncle fought in the korean war. you can't imagine how much it means to those veterans you didn't forget their comrades. as an economist, it's my duty, sir, to remind that we should not make too much of one number. how often do we hear economists say that? when i think back to the first time i met with you in the oval and we talked about your vision about how to make america great again, you might recall that in the end i agreed, that stuff ought to work. the fact is that if we look at the data today that we can see the proof in the pudding that the president's policies are working. it's not just in the top line. it's in the details. the president said if we deregulate the economy and have a tax reform that there will be a capital spending boom. the factories will come back to america. if you look at the data, the


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