tv Washington Week PBS June 8, 2018 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
>> america first or america isolated+si pn trump's trade policies and his nod to russia angers u.s. allies. as the president travels abroad we did into what it means there and at home. pres. trump: they don't mention the fact that they have trade barriers against our farmers. they don't mention the fact that they are judging almost 300% tariffs. >> president trump comes face-to-face with world leaders that he has infuriated onsu series of ises. from the iran nuclear deal to new tariffs on steel and aluminum. some say president trump is stoking division.
>> there should be no trade wars between allies. >> some republicans are warning that this strategy could backfire. presidential power. advocates argue that it is unlimited. pres. trump: i do have an absolute right to pardon myself dbut i will never have too it because i didn't do anything wrong. >> new indictments in the russia administraon -- investigation. charlie savage from the new york times and manu raju of cnn. >> this is washingtonweek, decorporate funding is pro by -- their leadership is instinctive. they understand the challengod of tay. they research the technology of tomorrow.
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-- the excellence in journalism foundation. the corporation for public broadcasting and my contribution to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, robert costa. robert: president trump was prepared for a fight on friday when he arrived for the group of seven summit in canada. even before he left washington, he was confronting longtime allies over trade policy on twitter. he made headlines when he insisted that russia sho bd be invitedack into the club of industrial democracy. from bang why are we having a meeting without russia bei in the meeting. they should be part of it. >> president trump received a cordial but not overly warm greeting from the other leaders. tension has been escalating over new u.s. tariffs he put on
imports of steel and aluminum last month. molly, the talk in canada -- is has been g -6 + 1. that the u.s. is deliberately out on a limb. why is he so committed to this approach? molly: he is simply pursuing the philosophy that he campaigned on om the start. this idea that his critics call isolationist, america fit or america alone, as you put it. that is, to the extent that he had a foreign policy pitch as a candidate, it was this combating of globalism. atmerica would act only in its own interest. this i nhe first summit at which he has been the proverbial skunk at the picc. he seems to enjoy that a little bit.
sometimes he seems annoyed because it is like there is a high school clique of european nations excluding him and talking about him behind his back. there are some very awkward interactions. what has changis is that there inally bite behind the bark with these tariffs. erhe first year of his presidency, he talked a big game and it wasn't clear what he would do. t he called the paris accord. that is a symbolic measure. there was tpp but with the tariffs, he signed them and then put them on hold. there was this idea that we can manageis him, s all bluster. now that they are real, things are tting serious and don't know what to do. robert: maybe he is not just trying to join the clique but y ou see a reemergence of a new world orderg say russia should
be invited back into this clubth afte left in 2014. they were booted out after going intohe ukraine. >> that was the most interesting thing. out of nowhere, no one even asked if russishould be brought back in. he came back inl anting to tre world by declaring, what about russia? russia has very little economy to speak of and they are still in the crimea, still messing around in the ukraine, apparently murdered meone in england. they have done nothing for a u.s. president to say they should be brought back in and rewarded to this most elite club in the world, as some put it. i'm not sure how that is a sign of strength, that they would welcome russia back without any concession or sign that they had done something wrong and were being punished. that is now what we are all talking about and
that we are talking about the curveballs. robert: we are talking about it, but is the president listening? on trade, you have gop senators this week taking a different position. mea, rus senator mccain and senator schumer ut with bipartisan outcry. om a few of those senators. >> we seem to want to punish our allies and befriend our enemies. >> this is an unguided missile because retaliation can occur in other sectors that hurt the economy. >> our allies are scratching their heads. >> what is going on? what is remarkable is that there is almost unanimity among the republican conference opposg new tarifn our allies. evthey don't bethis in terms of free trade policy. there is not rtmuch supbout
confronting president trump. it really shows the power that the president still has over the members. i was talking to jeff flaker earlis week, he said, this should be a layout. we all believe in free markets and free trade. we should stand up for this knowing that we disagree with the president. we need to push back. because of the president's pushback, the republican leaders are concerned. they don't want to get in a fight with him in the middle of a midterm year. some of them are saying they don't want to reign him in and hurt his negotiating ability. the build and bob corker has developed is not going anywhere because the president is opposed to it. mitch mcconnell, who is opposed to the tariffsoe not want to do anything legislatively to take on the president. robert: republicans are hands-off. why are so many world leaders hands-on with president trump?
they thought they could convince him to come into the mainstream of diplomac outlook yet they seem disappointed time and again. molly: for the first year, it did seem like he was all bark and no bite. this has been a constant feud inside the white house over trade. there is a faction ofnti-free trade advisors who speak to the president's cut, like light heiser, peter navarro. they have been pushing him to follow hisenstincts. trs the most deeply held belief that trump has politically. is something he has been talking about -- america getting screwed. this has been a tenet of his speech since before he entered politics. however, the conventional republican thinking is conventionally opposed and moste of the white hs conventional, conservative republicans.
there has been a tug-of-war around him. they have put him off and placated him. hepe the first six months arguing over whether there would be a border adjustment tax. he wanted his tarriff. there was ait group in the house who he said, bring me my terrorist, and they wodn't -- tarriff, and he wouldn't do it. ashe is soy distracted and so easily waylaid -- he wts to make everybody happy all the time. he likes to try to split the difference and have it both ways. he was successfully put off of this for a long time. because other countries could see how successful flattery a i, strategy -- we have seen the saudis do it and we have seen the chinese do it, there was a fun that t president was schooled enough in foreign affairs that they could sweettalk him. robert: flattery is not enough.
it doesn't seem like the present is paying a political cost for these moves on the political stage. we had a poll this week that six of 10 americans are satisfied with the economy. there does not appear to be a revolt against his trade policies. charlie: the fact that the economy is roaring gives him little room. even if the economy is damaged by a trade war and retaliatory tariffs, we are still atull employment and people are doing quite wl. relative to how they have been ever since the slow but steady s.escalation of thi now he is enjoying the peak of . at some point the party will end d maybe that will look differently. we should remember that his unorthodox he o -- unorthodoxy on trade has been one of the
core appealing things to his insurgent campaign that put trust into the republican nation, along with things like immigration. he is feeling more confident about the presidency, he has figured out where the levers of power are or have decided he doesn't need to listen to his advisers whow say swn or we will get back to you next week -- and its not just about trade. finally pulling out of the iran deal. we are seeing 2018 looking more active tn 2017 did in of therh activity versuoric balance. robert: let's talk about north korea. present trump will fly directly to singapore, ahead of his summit with north korean leader kim jong-un. when asked if he felt prepared for the high stick is what the president said. pres. trump: i think i am very well-prepared. don't have to prepare very much. it is about attitude and
willingness to get things done. robert: secretary of state mike pompeo is traveling with the president. he appeared cautiously optimistic that the meeting could change tor course of hi >> the fact that our leaders are coming to the table shows they are serious. , bert president trump's goal for secretary pompe complete, verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization of the korean peninsula. fo9r kim, easing trade sanctions as well as keeping conventional weapons and his military. when you think about congress watching this, they see the president having a major momen, but many are having a major moment. manu:nt people o give the president a chance. they don't want nlear war and what to see if there is an agreemt t. the presidems so eager.
they made such a big deal about sitting down for a meeting. it is significantarhat the sitting down but there are all of these things -- sarah sanders said there could be major commitments to denuclearize upfront before the meeting. all of that has gone away and this is just a meet and greet. they have really lowered the bar. the president wants aea so badly that he may rush into osomething not suitable them. he thing they are pushing on both sides of thl is any deal to be a treaty, which would sean that the senate would have to ratify that a two thirds majority. uithat would r bipartisan support. it is a high hurdlto get to that point. molly:as the concernlways been the trump will give away the store. that seems like ancient history. a couple weeks ago he did pull out of the summit. toany concerned about the
possibility, that was a relief to a lot of republicans, in fact. many of them coming out of the woodworkin s we always thought this was a bad idea. you don't hear from them anymore. that was a signal that perhaps he was not so committed to the photo op that he would do anything to get it. robert: is the power in that oto op for president trump? even if he doesn't get a commitment? molly: he believes that there is because he believes he is doing something unprecedented. m you heard y just yesterday, with the prime minister of japan, saying, all of these other presidents should have done this. i am cleaningp their mess. i am the only one who can do it. he is very invested in the idea. eth experts will tell you that it is also a propaganda victory for the north koreans. the north koreans have wanted this for decades. no previous u.s. president has been willingmo give it to t
because of the propaganda victory that itse reps, because of the legitimacy it confers on this regime. robert: can we see some things that come out of this? an end to the korean war, theof releasapanese refugees, and the continuation of the process. how would that be received if it were smaller bore? charlie: i don't feel 100% confident predicting the coming out of this meeting and north korea will completely denuclearize theeninsula. the notion that kim jong-un will ever agree to give up his nuclear weapon seems far-fetched. what seems realimeic would be ing like the iran deal with --hich trump abrogated. the elimination of certain missiles. certain adjusting'snd downsizings.
the notion that they will give upes at all seems crazy. there has been very little policy level substance preparation at the working group level between the countries. we didn't even think that there was going to be a summit. atest, this is a photo op and coe blessing of talks to inue. at that point, kim jong-un has a ctory. whether anything more comes out of that may be incidental. robert: let's turn to the russia probe. there is so much news every week. special counsel robert mueller filed an additional indictment on friday against paul manafort. he alsodded constantine: nick -- konstantin thkalimnik to e charges. mueller's prosecutors claim that
the men used encrypted messaging to contactne former bu managers to influence their d businesslings. metaphor is charged with money laundering, fraud,li and fng to discover -- to disclose his network. he maintains his innocence ao is failing tcooperate. . his trial begins in july. president trump tweeted days ago that metaphor came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short perio of tim when you think aecut what the l counsel is doing with paul manafort, with these initial indictments, is bob mueller trying to break paul manafort to get him to cooperate ? >> that is what everybody thinks. bob mueller is the sphinkx.
he does not speak. they're putting escalating pressure on paul manafort has the likeliest link if there was any collusion who would have been in a position tonow. now this looks like a move toward revoking his nd sending him back to prison before the trial would start. at the same time we have president trump talking about pardons left and right sending an unmistakable message that he is t willinguse that power without much constraint which can only mean, i hang there and don't flip. manu: to metaphor to cooperating, he has to be thinking this is a president whd feels emed about his use of the pardon. on his way to canada, he said he is considering 3000 pardons. hiat stage, a president suggesting that is remarkable, never mind saying he can pardon
himself. he has said repeatedly that hefo things paul ma has been treated unfairly. if your paul manafort and you see these charges piling up, you think, fight this out, and if i get convicted i will get pardoned, or maybe even before i am convicted. idmanafort may dto fight it out. robert: you have a terrific cover story in time magazine about the long evolution of the molar investigation -- mueller investigation. the manafort trial is set to start in a month. molar's report on the president's -- mueller's report on the president's conduct could come later this year. molly: we do not know what the time frame is. some of the critics of the president have said that this
has gone on too long. something the only investigation -- the only reason the g investigation ng on is because he has done nothing and as long as it is going makes the president look bad. if he is continuing to investigate, it would not be an unusual length of time for an investigation of this complexity to continue. we have seen steady progress. we have seen 19 people indicted, 5 pleaded guilty. 20 now, with the addition of kilimnik. every single that manafort has gent is that he is fighting this and not consider caving, including the fact that this new indictment is about allegedly tampering with witnesses. in addition to cupping a plea he is trying to lean on people not to testify robert: we will be tracking paul
manafort and his trial all summer. we have to leave you a few minutes early so you can support your local pbs station which in turn supports washingtonweek. our conversation will continue online on the "washington week" extra. l we wlk of a possible blue wave in november. you can find that later tonight at pbs.org/washingtonweek. >> funding for washingtonweek is provided by --
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