tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC March 6, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
night in sweden? i'm back because yesterday i wasn't here and you had a wild ride at the end of the 2:00 hour. >> yes, we did. >> with sam nunberg. >> i imagine you would have been standing there screaming don't get off the phone. >> when people would have said it's time for you to finish your show, i would have said keep going. are you done? >> i'm done. good afternoon, everybody, i'm ali velshi. this year we're going to hear from president trump and sweden's prime minister in a joint press conference. things could get heated. in the backdrop of today's event, the biggest one for today is the ongoing saga of ex-aide sam nunberg that started yesterday and his fight against special counsel robert mueller's subpoena. now a federal investigative agency has found that kellyanne conway, one of the few original staffers at the white house, broke the law. more on all that in a minute. but first, president trump and the swedish prime minister have
just wrapped up a meeting on topics ranging from national security to transatlantic relations. last hour the president reacted to news that north korea is willing to negotiate on denuclearization. >> i hope so. i want to see what happens. we're in very close contact. we have come certainly a long way at least rhetorically with north korea. it would be a great thing for the world. it would be a great thing for north korea. it would be a great thing for the peninsula. >> the president did not comment on his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that sweden publicly condemned and the european union threatened to retaliate against. it's not just world leaders unhappy with trump's plans. today members of his own party urged him to proceed with caution, warning that tariffs could launch a trade war. >> it should be acknowledged that there is a problem that needs to be addressed here. we just want to make sure that it's done in a prudent way that's more surgical so we can
limit unintended consequences. >> there is a lot of concern among republican senators that this could sort of metastasize into a larger trade war and many of our members are discussing. >> even the president's own chief economic advisor gary cohn is pushing back against the idea. he is setting up a parade of senior gop lawmakers, donors and business groups to try to convince the president that his tariffs will damage the economy. with me now is -- at the white house is nbc news geoff bennett. geoff, let's talk about what's on the books for now. we've got this joint press conference with the prime minister of sweden. we will have two questions to each of the leaders? >> that's right. the way it usually goes is the u.s. press get two questions and then the press following the world leader, in this case the swedish prime minister, that side also gets two questions. at the very top of the list will have to be tariffs.
look, the swedish prime minister is the first eu leader to meet with mr. trump since the announcement last week about the tariffs, as you rightly point out, as really sparked concern about a trade war with world leaders, with u.s. allies and with republican leaders on capitol hill. paul ryan was on the record expressing his concerns but today we saw mitch mcconnell add his choice to the chorus of republicans. we could get more clarity on this by the end of the week. i'd say definitely by saturday when he's supposed to be in pittsburgh to host a campaign rally, which conveniently is in western pennsylvania, which as you know is the heart of the u.s. steel industry. one of the reasons why the president seems to double down on this issue is because he thinks it will heparilp republi hold on to a key house seat there in pittsburgh. so expect to hear about tariffs, also expect to hear about north korea. the president said that north korea seemed to be acting positively, that was the phrase he used about north korea. quite a change from the president referring to kim jong-un as rocket man some months ago.
and russia. sweden has taken steps to russia-proof its electoral system in ways the u.s. has not. >> geoff, the u.s. office of special counsel, which is different from robert mueller's investigation, has said that white house counselor kellyanne conway violated the hatch act. tell us about this. >> reporter: well, it goes back to november and december when kellyanne conway ain a couple o tv interviews was advocating for roy moore, then the republican alabama senate candidate. based on what she said, the office of the special counsel said that she violated the hatch act. take a look at what she said in those interviews. >> doug jones in alabama, folks, don't be fooled. he'll be a vote against tax cuts. he's weak on crime, weak on borders. he's strong on raising your taxes. he's terrible for property owners. >> so vote roy moore? >> and that's why the media are trying to boost him. >> so vote roy moore? >> i'm telling you that we want
the votes in the senate to get this tax -- this tax bill through. the only endorsement that matters in this race is president trump's, and when he came out questioning the ideology and the vote of doug jones, he'll be a reliable vote for tax hikes, he'll be a reliable vote against border security, a reliable vote against national security and keeping isis in retreat, a reliable vote against the second amendment, against life, he's out of step for alabama voters according to the president. >> reporter: so there's the evidence and here's the response from the white house attributable to hogan gidley. he said kellyanne conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate. she simply expressed the president's obvious position that we have people in the house and senate who support his agenda. in fact kellyanne's statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the hatch act as she twice declined to respond to the host's specific invitation to encourage
alabamans to vote for the republican. so he is saying conway was simply expressing president's position. >> thank you very much, geoff. it's primary day in texas, the nation's first primary for 2018. early voting figures suggest there's a lot of enthusiasm. the number of democrats who have voted early up 105% compared to the last midterm cycle with republican voting up just 15%. the big question is will we see democrats out in force at the polls today. we've got the story covered. garrett haake is in houston. but first msnbc's national political correspondent steve kornacki is here to break down what this all means for november. steve, the consequences for those of our viewers who have not been following the texas race closely, what's up for grabs here? >> a couple things, first of all, look, democrats trying to get the house back, they need 24 seats nationally. they could get some in texas. but bigger picture here, something democrats have been talking about for a long time and think they might have a shot
at this week, winning statewide in texas, turning the state blue. ted cruz, republican incumbent senator will be challenged by beto o'rourke. to put in perspective the scale of the challenge the democrats face, this is no ordinary task in terms of flipping a state. the last time texas went blue in a presidential race, you've got to go back to 1976. most of the pictures were black and white back then. jimmy carter, one-term president, democrat from the south, that's the last time democrats won a presidential race in texas. last time they won a senate race, remember this pair, dukakis, benson. they lost that election, but on the same day lloyd benson was re-elected to the senate from texas. the last democratic victory there, 30 years ago. the last time any democrat won any statewide race in texas, 1994, a full generation ago. that's what they're up against. why do they think it could be different this year? there are a couple different factors. number one is one we've been talking about for a long time.
texas demographically is changing and becoming more diverse. the latino population is rising. the black population is rising a little bit too. these groups have been voting more and more democratic. there's also the fact that this is the trump midterm. midterms generally favor the out of power party. if the president's approval rating isn't that good, they could really favor the out of power party and that's what democrats are hoping. the most recent number in particulars, a 46% approval rating for trump. democrats would probably like that a little bit lower. but look at ted cruz, the inc e incumbent republican. his favorable score only sitting at 40%. so if the incumbent is not that well liked, if the president's approval rating is shaky or worse, a midterm climate, a state where the demographics are changing, look, in a normal year democrats probably don't have a shot in texas right now. in a bad wave against republicans, if that's what this year turns into, democrats could -- they call it the white
whale of american politics, flipping texas blue. but the circumstances could be there this year, we'll see. >> thank you for that introduction into this race that will be the first time for some people who are following this. 2018 is actually the first year in a quarter century that democrats have fielded candidates in every congressional district, and that means voters in today's primary have a lot of options. but the sheer number of candidates vying to represent the texas democrats in november has caused some friction within the democratic party. let's check in with one of our reporters on the ground, msnbc's garrett haake joins me now from houston. garrett, talk to you about the 7th district. >> reporter: yeah, ali, the 7th district is one of the top two districts democrats think they can pick up. it's suburban houston and wraps around the western side of the city. it used to be a safe romney/bush republican sort of district. george h.w. bush represented it back in the '60s. now it's a district that hillary clinton won by a very narrow
margin in 2016. it's got a lot of affluent, highly educated suburban voters. a lot of women in this district who particularly didn't like trump. that is the recipe the democrats are looking at as possible pickup opportunities. they have seven candidates in the texas 7th district. it has been a smorgasboard of democrats jumping in and battling with each other for this seat. so much so this is one of the few races anywhere in the country we have seen the dccc, the campaign arm of the democratic party, get involved to try to hobble one of the candidates in this race who had said derogatory things about the state of texas or about living in texas and had to apologize for those comments later. democrats covet the 7th district. the other district that i'm watching is where i'm standing right now, the district where i went to high school is the 2nd district where there's an open seat. republican congressman retiring. it's a conservative place but it's a little bit more tenable for democrats because it's an open seat and because of that
factor that steve mentioned, the trump factor. i talked to one of the democrats running for this open seat about exactly that a little while ago. take a listen. >> you know this year feels a lot different, i think, because of the election of president trump. people that we see are more energized and more motivated than ever to turn out. i think people were skeptical of this president even in november of '16. >> this is the beginning of what will be a long process. i think all of these races are almost certainly going to ending up in run-offs, but if democrats keep the energy up, they're still chasing that white whale, the opportunity to turn texas blue on a statewide level or flip some of those seats they need to regain control of the house. it will be for the first time in a long time a battleground in november. >> garrett, you're from the 2nd district in texas? >> reporter: that's right, that's right. my high school is -- the 2nd district looks like a coffee stain and wraps around part of the city. my high school, my parents' old house was in the 2nd district in
texas. >> i thought i knew everything about you, garrett. i didn't know. good to hear from you and glad we've got a hometown boy covering the primaries for us. in texas, gun control is on the minds of both republicans and democrats going to the polls amid the effort of the kids of the parents -- kids and parents at marjory stoneman douglas high school in florida. it's been almost three weeks and survivors are protesting for gun control. the florida state senate just voted to pass stricter gun laws in the state but the one thing it doesn't include that many students wanted is a ban on assault weapons. for more on why it's so difficult to get lawmakers to address gun control, i'm joined by a former lobbyist for the nra, richard feldman, he's author of "ricochet, confessions of a gun lobbyist." the nra is obsessed with fear mongering and wielding political power. wield political power they do. they are remarkably effective. as a former insider at the nra
and as a current insider in so much to do with gun politics, tell me what the nra cares more about right now. do they care more about what the industry says? do they care more about these boycotts from some consumer companies that we're seeing? what do you think they're thinking? >> well, i haven't been on the inside in some time now, but i'm sure that nra senior leadership doesn't care very much about the boycotts. people don't join the national rifle association to get a small discount on their next car rental. they join because they believe in the right to keep and bear arms and they look towards the national rifle association to do its best to preserve that critical freedom to the american people. things may change. i think it's great that the kids are getting involved in this issue, regardless of what side of the debate they're on. in a functioning democracy, the people have to be engaged.
and i think as these kids get more and more involved in the issue and learn more and more about how complicated really this whole set of problems really are, they're going to see that there are no easy answers and there's certainly no simple solution. >> why can't we ever hear from the nra about something that might feel easy, like raising the age on buying one of these ar-15 type guns to 21 from 18? whether or not it would solve any problems, it would have solved the florida problem possibly, but why can't -- the nra has a mantra that says any kind of gun control will lead to the ultimate of taking people's guns away? >> well, i've never -- you know, so much of our language dictates and determines how we see issues. >> right. >> the words "gun control" versus "gun rights." i can turn it around and say that, well, i've always been in favor of gun control laws that
in fact are intended to and do in reality keep guns out of the hands of violent predatory felons, unsupervised juveniles and dangerous mentally disturbed individuals. in fact, almost all americans, pro gun, anti-gun, agree to that. the devil is always in the details. how do you do it in a way that doesn't impact 120 million americans who didn't misuse their gunds. >> right, which is most gun owners. and i think you're right. we all have to learn to have a better conversation. and i'm very much in favor of that. as a gun owner, i'm very much in favor of that conversation. i have begun to think that the nra is not capable of having that conversation. they're not capable of any nuance in this discussion whatsoever. >> well, i think nra is very good in legislative affairs. they have their ear very close to the ground.
they know what's going on on capitol hill and in 50 state capitols. but perhaps they have decided that -- and i understand it certainly. after a horrible event like what happened in broward county, there's not much nra can say that's going to be helpful or useful right away in this debate. but certainly there are lots of americans that are very knowledgeable about these complicated issues. and make no mistake, there are three distinct sets of issues involving the intentional misuse of guns, the negligent misuse of guns and the deranged, crazy use of guns and we have to separate those issues so that we don't end up in this big food fight that we did after newtown and nothing gets accomplished. >> i'm with you on that. you're a hard guy to pin down but i'd love to have this conversation on an ongoing basis, so make yourself available and we'll continue to
have this conversation. >> i'll always be available to you, ali. >> thank you, my friend. richard feldman is a former gun lobbyist. up next, we're taking you to the heart of canada's steel country as it braces itself for a possible trade war that could have an impact on almost 50,000 jobs in one ontario city alone. and here's a live look at the east room of the white house where we are awaiting a joint press conference with president trump and the sweden prime minister. we'll bring you that as soon as it happens. do you want the sames and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time for power e*trade. the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. looks like we have a couple seconds left. let's do some card twirling twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online.
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a live look at the east room at the white house where we're awaiting a joint press conference with president trump and the prime minister of sweden, stefan lofven. that's expected to start in a few minutes. we'll bring it to you when it does. something that's sure to come up, tariffs, so we want to look at exactly what they are. tariffs are a tax or duty on specific imports or exports. the tariff would put an extra cost on imported steel or aluminum rather than paying for it out of profits, companies typically pass this on to the consumer, which means you end up paying more for items that use either of these products. the goal is to increase the price of certain goods to make them less attractive to consumers. the idea goes that people will purchase some goods domestically and that spurs a particular industry. the u.s. currently has trade agreements with 20 countries around the world. some of them are bilateral, meaning it's just us and them, some of them are multi lateral,
like regional and global organizations. the u.s. is involved in two regional trade agreements, the north american free trade agreement, nafta, and the central american free trade agreement, cafta. the president's trade announcement has thrown a wrench in talks and beyond these regional agreements, we're a member of the world trade organization, a body that referees trade between its 164 member nations. the wto helps to mediate disputes between countries even if they don't have a direct trade agreement. now, if the president's tariffs escalate to this level and he ignores a decision that is unfavorable to the united states, it could set off chaos for global trade, which is not exactly good or an easy win as the president likes to say. one country that is particularly worried about all of this tariff talk is one of our closest allies and our biggest trading partner, canada. the treasury secretary says our neighbors to the north have nothing to worry about as long
as nafta negotiations go well. >> to the extent that we're successful in renegotiating nafta, those tariffs won't apply to mexico and canada. but we look forward to the president releasing the specific details and working with other people. we're not looking to get into trade wars, we are looking to make sure that u.s. companies can compete fairly around the world. >> despite his confidence, the country's steel industry, canada's steel industry is bracing for a worst case scenario. diedre joins me now. >> reporter: hey, ali. well, that comment that you just ran by secretary mnuchin earlier today, he said that he didn't want to start a trade war, but i think a lot of folks here in canada would disagree with that. the stakes are incredibly high for hamilton, ontario, the heart of canada steel industry. canada manufacturers 16% of u.s.
steel imports and 43% of aluminum imports, so there is a lot at stake here and particularly in hamilton, the chamber of commerce says that tariffs represent a worst case scenario and could affect as many as 40,000 jobs here. so there's a lot of uncertainty, as you were saying. trump and mnuchin want to tie this to nafta. canada would rather negotiate nafta on its own and get an exemption for these steef tarif -- steel tariffs. we've been talking to workers and many of them have been here more than ten years. they saw what happened during the 2008-2009 downturn. and they say that they're just as worried now. have a listen. >> it's a big stressful time because they don't know what their future may hold for their jobs. job loss and downsizing. >> everybody is worried. that's the talk of the town. everybody is not sure what's going to happen, right.
uncertainty is killing everybody. >> reporter: uncertainty being the key word here that is being felt not just amongst steel workers in hamilton but amongst steel and aluminum executives throughout the country. and i also asked some of the workers on the ground here and executives what do you want trudeau to do? do you think he can be as tough back with president trump? and they said they sure hope so. >> it will be interesting to see whether that is actually the case. this is obviously a very complicated relationship between these two countries. as much as we talk about a trade war, it's not really something canadians and americans want to do because of the strength of that relationship. thanks very much for your reporting. any minute now we'll be taking that live press conference with president trump. he's likely to face a slew of questions over all the latest developments in the russia investigation. and sam nunberg could well be at the top of the list. this guy, the former trump campaign aide, made a series of
often contradictory and some said bizarre comments yesterday. he's set to appear before a grand jury on friday. joining me, stan, this nunberg guy is something else. chris matthews used to say that carter page is like the kato kaelin of this situation. sam nunberg is like that. he gives a lot of interviews, he says wild and wacky things. he was dismissed from the trump campaign because of some racist posts on social media and now he comes out yesterday giving six or seven interviews talking wild stuff, including that he wasn't going to respect the subpoena and wasn't going to show up. now he says he's going to. >> that's right. i think if you love a circus, you love a sideshow, and this is a sideshow but it's a really interesting one. it's had a 24-hour life of its own from can you believe this to all at once it's scandal porn as somebody called it to almost people feeling sorry for him
because of things happening, whether medication or alcohol or whatever. >> he says he's going to testify now because he got a subpoena for the grand jury and then he's going to go into treatment. obviously we wish him well in that. but in and amongst all the noise yesterday, there were some things that were intriguing to people like you who follow this russia investigation. it is that sam nunberg, who's trained as a lawyer himself, seems to have gleaned some information about a direction that robert mueller's people could be heading? >> i think that he -- yes, robert mueller has to interview him. first of all, he may have information. he may have heard something that leads to something else or confirms something. that's the substantive point. second, he can't have somebody saying i defy you and getting by with it. third, if he didn't talk to him, even if he has nothing to say, he's the first person -- nunberg is the first person when this thing wraps up that would hold a press conference and say can you believe i knew everything and they didn't call me so that's
why they have to wrap this up and interview him. whether he has something of substance, based on what we have seen, it looks unlikely. and i assume mr. mueller feels the same. but you'd never know. >> right. and that's an interesting point, right? this is what donald trump calls a witch hunti. the fact robert mueller is asking all these people. the president is saying this is a witch hunt. if i ask for all communications with everybody else you'll find something incriminating. >> you can understand calling ia witch hunt when you go far afield. but once you have a special prosecutor, he or she has to go far afield, otherwise you don't know what you may have missed that may have been important both optically and substantively. >> and to be clear, what mueller is asking for of these people, including sam nunberg, is texts, e-mails, communication. so he's not looking for
circumstantial stuff, he's looking for evidence. >> oh, i think that's right. the subpoena that's been shown and waved around is very basic and very inside the box. it is not looking for something that is unusual in the way it defines what they want. what matters is -- at this point is what it is he is saying. if he spent four and a half hours or so talking and they want him to go before a grand jury, clearly he has the ability if he wants to to take the fifth amendment. i guess that that's probably not going to happen. >> what's the significance of the fact that he's spent hours interviewing with this -- with the investigation and then he gets a subpoena for the grand jury? what does that mean? >> well, it could mean a couple things. it could mean that they did in fact find something they want to follow up on and they want the grand jurors to hear it and they want to hear it under oath. that's one. the other possibility is that they want to close him off. as they said before, they want him under oath so there can be no second guessing of what it is that he said. >> especially for these guys that like to go on tv. >> that's right. and i'm sure this came as a
surprise to everybody. that is to say how sam nunberg handled himself yesterday. >> in the end, though, mueller does seem to be focussed on a few specific matters, whether it's with manafort or that june 9th meeting in the white house and he's looking for corroborating evidence on these matters or for somebody to tell him something he doesn't know. so he either wants to confirm what he knows or get information on something he suspects. >> confirm what you know, let's confirm it, take it from 80% to 90%, or find something new or both. that is entirely possible. a guy like nunberg is a somebody that hangs out -- remember, he was dismissed early. >> yes. he was with the campaign for a very short time. >> but he still listens to things and hangs out. he's almost like a sponge. you never know when you squeeze that sponge what kind of dribble comes out of it and you have to do that. >> all right, stan, thanks very much. be sure to catch "mtp daily"
tonight at 5:00 eastern. roger stone, who sam nunberg called his mentor, the one guy he won't talk smack about, is going to be one of chuck's guests right here on msnbc. let's go to the east room at the white house where kristen welker is standing by as we await the joint press conference with president trump. wow, that thing has filled up since we were last looking at it. swedenes prime minister is going to be there. kristen, what are we expecting? >> reporter: i think you're going to hear a range of questions this afternoon, ali, including what you were just talking about, sam nunberg, some of those allegations that he made yesterday during his cable news blitz. the fact that he said that the president may have done something wrong during the campaign. he also indicated in one interview that candidate trump was talking about that meeting with donald trump jr. and a kreml kremlin-linked attorney a full week before it took place, so expect that to get some attention as well today. plus nunberg made the accusation that perhaps the special counsel is focused on president trump's
business dealings. remember, the president said he would likely see that as crossing a red line. so there are a range of topics to dig into on that front. of course the big breaking news today, the fact that the office of the special counsel said that kellyanne conway violated the hatch act by talking about the alabama senate race. the white house has pushed back against that forcefully. president trump will likely get some questions related to that. and the fact that he has stood by her. she has been one of his longest serving advisers. she goes all the way back to the campaign. she's one of the people who came on board and helped him win and helped him with his messaging and his outreach to women voters. and then that other big topic, ali, that you have been digging into throughout your hour, the president's threat to impose new trades on steel and aluminum imports, despite the fact that a number of top republicans have warned him against that. yesterday president trump said he doesn't think it's going to prompt a trade war. but remember, last week he said
trade wars are good and they're easy to win. to try to drill him down on some of that and whether there may be some exemptions, for example, for canada and mexico. so a lot on the table here. and then of course the relationship between the united states and sweden, the various issues that they're dealing with together from security to north korea. the president making headlines on that earlier today when the two were meeting in the oval office. the president expressing really remarkable optimism in the wake of north korea putting the potential of talks on the table. so we'll have to try to drill down on whether or not that's going to happen in the near future, ali. >> we will await the press conference and see what comes of it and let's hope the president takes some questions so we can get more information on the things we're looking to get answered. kristen welker at the white house for us. another topic we could hear about is sanctions against russia. not unless somebody asks about it, though, because the president doesn't tend to talk about this kind of thing. but his treasury secretary, steve mnuchin, announced that the treasury department will be
taking action, more than six months after congress passed a bill enacting those sanctions. >> i expect in the next several weeks we will be moving forward with sanctions on russia as a result of the act. so i can assure you that both in my discussions with the president, he is fully supportive of the work we're doing. >> the announcement came as the u.s. director of national intelligence, dan coats, said it's highly unlikely that russia will attempt to meddle in the 2018 election. sanctions target -- highly likely. sanctions cover key russian officials for meddling with the u.s. presidential election, including action against an oligarch list. a version was released by the state department last month. i'm joined by evelyn farkus. >> thank you for having me, ali. >> this is a confusing one because congress in a bilateral way approved these sanctions
against russia. we have had all sorts of excuses out of the white house about why they haven't been put into place, including the fact that you don't need the sanctions because the threat of sanctions -- i mean sort of nonsense coming out of the white house. finally today we hear from the treasury secretary that they will actually be doing something about this. >> yeah. so i actually believe the treasury secretary, that he is intent on doing his job, on doing what congress asked him to do. i have my own sources in the administration and i believe that everything that they have done so far, so the list of oligarchs, which is one part of the sanctions, we know we were laughing at the public list, but that the classified list, the secret list that congress has, it's a real list. and i think the russians are nervous about that list. so i think mnuchin is on the right track with that. and also with the other part of the sanctions, what he said today that he wants to do it. my sources inside the treasury department tell me he means it. the question is the white house. i don't believe it, you know, when he says that the president supports it.
i'm not sure. >> the bottom line is that the treasury department is an executive agency so now we're moving this out of congress where it's been done into the executive. so now it's either mnuchin is telling the truth or the white house is not going to do it. >> right. and i think ultimately treasury can do it. the other thing is they gave congress ammunition, that secret list. everything else that treasury idoing, they also did a report to congress about additional sanctions. what would it look like if they sanction the sovereign debt. right now u.s. banks can help russian companies. u.s. banks can help them with their debt. if we wanted to really clamp down, the u.s. government would say you can't do that. the u.s. government would restrict their access to the swift system. >> this is how we did it to iran. >> we could go a lot more hard core with them. >> but this is not -- the average martian showing up on earth evaluating the data would not suggest this is the kind of thing president trump is keen on. >> no. >> he has never given a full-throated response to russia. he's not doing the most basic stuff. so all of this head room that
you are itemizing that we have in terms of sanctions with russia -- >> i think that the treasury department will do it bit by bit because at the end of the day, it's the law. congress said they have to do it and congress, as you said, is unanimous. congress speaks for the american people. they'll continue to clamp down. and the other thing we have to remember is the entire intelligence community, the national security community, they're all worried about russia. the only way to get russia to behavior frankly speaking is make it painful. if they don't feel the pain, putin will keep on going. >> but taking the country off the swift system, it did work for iran, it did bring them to their knees, it shot inflation up. people couldn't export things. that is such a big move that you have to have decided that you are really targeting this country and you really want them to stop. >> yeah. >> i'm not sure we've got that commitment in america. >> it's a problem. i mean, look, honestly under the last administration the one i worked in, the obama administration when i was there, now granted that was before the attack on our elections and on
our democracy, but even then people were really worried. the people who deal with the economy didn't want us to do it. i get it. but the reality is -- putin is threatening us again. threatening our democracy, fake news. he's talking about new nuclear weapons. >> and the president is walking out now with the prime minister of sweden. we will listen in. evelyn, stay with me for analysis of this afterwards. >> thank you very much. thank you. i'm honored to be joined by prime minister lofven of sweden. at our first meeting in the white house. sweden is one of our oldest and closest partners and was among the firs offer the united states an unsolicited treaty of friendship, a treaty signed, believe it or not, in 1783. that's a long time ago. my daughter, ivanka, had a wonderful time watching american and swedish athletes compete in the recent men's curling final
at the olympics. that was something, huh? that was a little upset. but that wasn't expected, but that's okay. we'll take it, right? all of the athletes should be immensely proud of the great job they did. the prime minister and i have just concluded a series of very productive meetings. the relationship between the united states and sweden is one based on shared values, including respect for individual rights, the rule of law and human dignity. these common principles are the foundation of our partnership and we have had a great partnership for many years. we look forward to exploring further opportunities to increase our security and our cooperation in every other way, and we encourage nations around the world to share responsibility for our common defense. we appreciate sweden's leadership on the united nations security council and look very much forward to working together in the coming months. the united states is also
grateful to sweden for advocating for americans detained in north korea. i particularly want to thank the swedish government for its assistance in securing the release of american college student otto warmbier, last year. terrible, tragic event. we continue to pray for otto's parents, fred and cindy, two terrific people, over the tragic death of their son and we remain determined to achieve a denuclearization of the korean peninsula. there's been a lot of news on that today. hopefully it's positive. hopefully it will lead to a very positive result. in economic matters, we are striving for a relationship grounded in fairness and reciprocity. the united states is one of the largest investors in sweden, and the swedish investments in the united states support over 200,000 american jobs. earlier this afternoon i heard from several swedish business
executives, some of the greatest in the world. where are you folks? please, some of the great executives in the world, people i've known for a long time and certainly know of. and they're investing tremendous amounts of money in the united states and supporting also vocational training for american workers. we are grateful for those investments and we are committed to working with sweden to pursue even greater economic cooperation. we're also continuing to pursue bilateral agreements to advance mutual prosperity. i'm pleased that sweden intends to procure the patriot air and missile defense system, finest in the world, in a deal worth over $3 billion. this system will increase stability and security in the baltic sea region. a strong and balanced economic relationship strengthens security and prosperity in both
of our countries and this is just the beginning. we have a lot of things that we're working on, and we're working on them really very hard. mr. prime minister, i want to thank you again for joining us and i want to thank your great staff who we met with and your great business leaders. it was a very interesting and productive meeting. the longstanding friendship between our people anchored in our shared beliefs and values has greatly enriched both of our countries, and this is just the beginning. our relationship has never been better. an honor to have you here. thank you. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. president, for a warm and generous welcome. it is a true pleasure to be here at the white house. this year sweden and the united states celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations, and this meeting reaffirms the strength of our relations.
the history has shown that our two nations share fundamental values and interests such as democracy and human rights. we also share a strong partnership that continues to evolve. today we have discussed how to further strengthen our countries' prosperity and security. as for prosperity, sweden is one of the largest per capita investors in the united states, and my country may not be big, but we support directly and indirectly almost 1 million jobs in the united states and some key executives of the companies that provides these jobs are also here with me at this visit. at the same time, the united states is our most important foreign employer and many u.s. companies play a vital role in providing investment and creating jobs in sweden. president trump and i have discussed how you are nations can support jobs and growth.
it's a crucial issue for sweden. that means embracing new sustainable technologies, which permit our economy to grow and at the same time reducing emissions, and how we can secure good jobs in a labor market constantly changing due to automation and digitalization. sweden and the united states are two of the most innovative economies in the world, and we see great opportunities ahead. swedish prosperity is built on cooperation, competitiveness and free trade. i am convinced that increased tariffs will hurt us all in the long run an as a swede i support the efforts of the european union to achieve trade with fewer obstacles and as few as possible. turning to security, the president and i have discussed some key regional and global security challenges, such as the
situation on the korean peninsula, but also the developments in sweden's neighborhood. we also addressed the constructive cooperation between sweden and the united states in the united nations security council. i would like to underline that the transatlantic link is strong and it remains crucial to responding to global security challenges. sweden is a military nonaligned country but we build security in partnership with others and we greatly value our broad security and defense cooperation with the united states. one important example of that is our joint efforts to fight and combat terrorism. sweden and the united states stands shoulder to shoulder in the global collision against isis and in the resolute support mission in afghanistan. these vital military efforts
must go hand in hand with strong political, diplomatic and also civilian support to create sustainable results. so in conclusion, as we celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations, we are also planning for shared prosperity and security for many, many years to come. once again, i thank you, mr. president, for constructive and successful meeting and for the very warm welcome that both my delegation and i received. thank you so much. >> thank you very much. thank you very much. john? >> thank you, mr. president. you spoke about north korea in the oval office so i'd like to turn to trade, if i could. my understanding is that the prime minister came to you with a message from the european union commission president saying you put tariffs on steel and aluminum, we'll slap you back with punitive tariffs on bourbon an jeans and motorcycles that you talk about from wisconsin. are you still planning on going
ahead with these tariffs? there are some people in your party who have suggested it's not a good idea. and prime minister lofven, what's your perspective on tariffs and what message did you convey to the president from sweden and from the european union? thank you. >> well, the united states has been taken advantage of by other countries, both friendly and not so friendly, for many, many decades. and we have a trade deficit of $800 billion a year. and that's not going to happen with me. we have been mistreated by many, sometimes fairly, but there are really very few instances where that's taken place. and i don't blame the countries, i blame our leadership for allowing it to happen. when i was in president xi in china, as an example, we lose $500 billion a year on trade. we have a deficit of
approximately $500 billion a year with china. and we're doing things with china which are very strong, but they understand it. but i was with him and i said to him in public, i said, look, i'm not blaming you, i blame our people for not doing a better job for allowing this to happen. but it's like that with many countries other than smaller -- the european union has been particularly tough on the united states. they make it almost impossible for us to do business with them and yet they send their cars and everything else back into the united states. they can do whatever they'd like, but if they do that, then we put a big tax of 25% on their cars. believe me, they won't be doing it very long. the european union has not treated us well. and it's been a very, very unfair trade situation. i'm here to protect -- one of the reasons i was elected is i'm protecting our workers, i'm protecting our companies and i'm
not going to let that happen. so we're doing tariffs on steel. we cannot lose our steel industry. it's a fraction of what it once was. and we can't lose our aluminum industry, also a fraction of what it once was. and our country is doing well. the massive tax cuts and all of the deregulation has really kicked us into gear. but i have to work on trade deals. we're working on nafta right now. and if we're able to make a deal with canada and mexico in nafta, then there will be no reason to do the tariffs with canada and mexico. but again, other countries we won't have that choice. unless they can do something for us. as an example, if the european union takes off some of the horrible barriers that make it impossible for our product to go into there, then we can start talking. otherwise, we're going to leave it the way it is. so the fact is we've been mistreated as a country for many
years and it's just not going to happen any longer. >> how do you avoid this escalating into a trade war? >> well, we'll have to see. when we're behind on every single country, trade wars aren't so bad. do you understand what i mean that? when we're down by $30 billion, $40 billion, $60 billion, $100 billion, the trade war hurts them. doesn't hurt us. so we'll see what happens. you know, you can also take it in some cases we lose on trade, plus we give them military where we're subsidizing them tremendously. so not only do we lose on trade, we lose on military. so, and hence, we have these massive deficit numbers in our country. we're going to straighten it out and we'll do it in a -- in a very loving way. it will be a loving, loving way. they'll like us better and they will respect us much more. because even they say, right now, they say, we can't believe we've gotten away, i mean, two countries have said, we cannot
believe, to be honest with you, we've gotten away with this so long. now, one of them made that statement before i got elected. he said, i can't believe i made that statement before i got elected, but it's one of those things. we have to straighten it out. we really have no choice. >> mr. prime minister, how forceful was your message to the president on what the consequences will be if he goes ahead with tariffs? >> first, trade is a european union mandate, so we're a member of the european union. it's european mandate to handle the trade issues. as a member of the european union, i think it's important for us to try to find a way to cooperate between the european union and the united states. i fully understand and respect the president's view that we have to look after his own country, the country that you're leading. i understand that fully. that's my primary task as well.
but for me, leading a small country, depending on open trade, we -- the best way for us is to do that with others because our export equals to 50% of our gdp. so for us, it is crucially important that we have this open and free trade. today also, i believe, that the supply chains are very, very complicated to see. i know that, for example, when we sell our fighter aircraft which is a very good aircraft, the content is perhaps 50% american. so we want this to be -- to be resolved in cooperation and when it comes to steel, yes, we have an overcapacity in the world. that's obvious. but at the same time, it is china that is producing about 50% of the steel in the world. so, and european union, perhaps,
10%, and less than that. so to summarize, i think it was a pity. again, it's a european union mandate, but it was a pity, also, that the ttp notions ended because perhaps with negotiations and talks we can come into a situation with the european union and united states can cooperate. i think that would be a very good solution. >> just to add maybe a little bit further, if it you talk china, i've watched where the reporters have been writing 2% of our steel comes from china. well, that's not right. they transship all through other countries and you'll see a country that doesn't even have a steel mill is sending us 3% steel for our country, then many countries are doing it. it comes from china. so china doesn't send us 2%. they send us a much, much higher level than that.
but it's called transshipping. so it doesn't look good when it all comes out of china, so they send it through other countries. and it comes to us. and it's putting our steel mills out of business. our aluminum mills are going out of business. and we need steel and we need aluminum. and you know there's a theory that if a country doesn't have steel, it doesn't have a country. and it's true. so this is more than just pure economics. this is about defense. this is about the country, itself. but, again, remember this, we lose $800 billion a year in trade. and i think i was elected at least partially on this issue. and i've been saying it for 25 years. our country's been taken advantage of by everybody. by everybody. almost everybody. and we cannot let that happen any longer. not for our companies and not, most importantly, for our workers. so we're not going to let it
happen. please. >> okay. tina, tt news agencies. >> hello, mr. president, thank you for hosting us. you mentioned that sweden has helped united states with north korea. how do you see your collaboration in the future to create a future of peaceful korean peninsula? how do you see sweden's role there, how do you view the collaboration? and as a follow-up to that, as i may, mr. president, i know that you follow the development in sweden closely, especially when it comes to immigration politics. now that you spent some time with our prime minister, how do you view sweden in general? what is your take? and also on our immigration politics. thank you. >> you have a wonderful prime minister. i have to say. we've gotten to know each other. certainly, you have a problem with the immigration. it's caused problems in sweden. i was one of the first ones to say it.
took a little heat, but that was okay because i proof proved to right. but you do have a problem and i know the problem will slowly disappear. hopefully rapidly disappear. but as far as our relationship with sweden, it's going to be only stronger, only better. both in a military sense, in a trading sense, and an economic sense. you know, sweden is a, i think the largest -- the eighth largest investor in the united states. and they like me very much because the market is up almost 40% since election day. so i made a lot of these business geniuses look even better. so they like trump. but, you know, it's been up very substantially. but i believe sweden is about the eighth largest investor in the united states. and that's quite an achievement. >> on north korea? >> we've been working on north korea. sweden has somewhat of a relationship with north korea. we've been working with north korea, as i said. otto was really brought home,
unfortunately, in very poor condition, but otto was brought home largely with the help of sweden. they're terrific, terrific people. people from sweden, swedish people, are fantastic people. i have many friends in new york, in washington, from sweden, and they are fantastic people. thank you. >> mr. prime minister, how do you view sweden and north korea and the u.s.? >> we have to find a dialogue. i know it's not -- it's not easy, but that's the way it has to be. it's a very dangerous situation. we need all to be very concerned about the development of nuclear weap weapons, but we must look at the peninsula, the region, the world, and this has to do with world peace or something else. so the key actors is obviously the two countries, south and north korea, as well as united states and other big countries. they're the key actors. we've said that we can provide -- we can be a channel
or do whatever we can to see that the dialogue is smooth. not being naive. it's not up to us to solve this problem. but we can definitely with our presence on the peninsula both in south and north, we have an embassy in pyongyang, for example, we had it since 1973. with that relation with north korea, i believe that they trust us. we're a nonaligned country, military nonaligned country and i think we can, if the president decides, the key actors decide, if they want us to help out, we'll be there. >> thank you. really terrific. daily caller, please. >> thank you, mr. president.
since my first time before you, i thought you might indulge me with two questions. first, sir, do you believe that north korea's recent willingness to talk is sincere, or is it an effort to buy time for their nuclear program and to what do you owe this recent openness to talk? >> me. no. i think that they are sincere. but i think they're sincere also because the sanctions and what we're doing with respect to dmort cr north korea, including the great help we've been given from china, they can do more but i think they've done more than they've ever done for our country before, so china has been a big help. i think that's been a factor. but the sanctions have been very, very strong, and very biting. and we don't want that to happen. so i really believe they are sincere. i hope they're sincere. we're going to soon find out.
>> you would like to see some change in the people around you, does that include your attorney general jeff sessions or either of your cabinet secretaries? >> no, i don't really want to talk about that. i just said that the white house has tremendous energy. it has tremendous spirit. it is a great place to be working. many, many people want every single job. i read where oh, gee, maybe people don't want to work for trump. believe me, everybody wants to work in the white house. they all want a piece of that oval office. they want a piece of the west wing. and not only in terms of it looks great on their resume, it's just a great place to work. it's got tremendous energy. it's tough. i like conflict. i like having two people with different points of view. i certainly have that. and then i make a decision. but i like watching it. i like seeing it. i think it's the best way to go. i like different points of view. but the white house has a tremendous energy. we have tremendous talent. yeah, there will be people, i'm not going to be