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Remembering McCain's Influence on U.S. World View; Trump & Mexican President Speak on Phone, Announce Trade Agreement. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired August 27, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFIARS ANALYST: John McCain was somebody who knew from his own personal experience what it was like to be denied freedom. It was a very visceral, personal thing for him to stand up for dissidents. Whether in Russia, or Burma, other countries around the world, he was always championing the people who were the victims of oppression. And that was -- that's the mark he wanted to make, and that is the legacy that he will leave behind.
NOBLES: Kori, Senator McCain was often an advocate for the opposition in Russia, which automatically him a constant critic of the Putin regime. He said when George W. Bush said he could see in Putin's soul, McCain said he saw KGB. Russian state television announcing the news without any tribute. They called McCain an implacable opponent of Russia. If he's somewhere looking down and seeing that report, what do you think he's thinking about?
KORI SCHAKE, SENIOR FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER TO JOHN MCCAIN'S 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: He would be delighted to have the organs of Putin's Russia state, saying those kinds of things. I can hear John cackling. He not only loved that he had called Putin out in that line about seeing in his eyes and the letters KGB, he cackled delightedly about it ever afterwards. John welcomed the opprobrium of oppressors. He always felt, as Max said, he felt so deeply associated with the cause of people working for freedom.
NOBLES: Max, there has been some level of criticism for Senator McCain's approach to foreign policy, how hawkish he could be. Everyone remembers, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran. He seemed to jokingly talk about a military action with Iran. He suggested that U.S. troops may have to stay in Iraq for 100 years or so. How will history judge his hawkish tendencies?
BOOT: There's no question that Senator McCain did not get everything right. I didn't get everything right. Nobody gets everything right. He was very -- as always, he was very big about owning up to his mistakes and learning from them. For example, just in the last year or so he talked about his regret for supporting the war in Iraq. What we need to understand is that he was not some kind of mindless super hawk who just wanted to bomb countries for the fun of it. He was somebody deeply knowledgeable about U.S. foreign policy. I think he deserves kudos for the stance he took on foreign policy, even when it wasn't popular to do so. In 2006 and 2007, he was very critical of the Bush administration for the policy they were following in Iraq, but unlike most of the people in U.S. politics, he did not say we need to withdraw, which would been the expedient path for him. I would not reduce him to some kind of caricature hawk. He understood the cost of war very deeply in a way that few of us do. He supported the cause of freedom. He supported the armed forces. He supported an expansion of an American role abroad.
NOBLES: One other criticism he's facing in the wake of his death, Kori, is his decision to select Sarah Palin as his running mate. You wrote about that decision in an interesting take. Let me read part of what you wrote: "Let us also recall the message he sent that many did not want to hear, the revolution is coming, and Republicans need to find ways to address the concerns of voters who supported Sarah Palin and would eventually bring Donald Trump to the White House."
What do you mean by that?
SCHAKE: I have seen a lot of criticism that McCain created the phenomenon that made Donald Trump president. I think that has it exactly wrong. The kind of criticism piled on Governor Palin and granted she proved herself inadequate to the task. But it's also true that the way people were talking about her and about John's choice and even now, the kind of disrespect for their fellow Americans and for the concerns and anxieties of their fellow Americans is something that John always struggled against. He always tried to pull fellow Americans together and to reach across the divide. I think he doesn't get nearly enough credit for that from the people that objected to the choice of Governor Palin.
BOOT: I would say I do think that the choice of Palin was a major mistake. It was something he admitted that before his death. A degree with Kori, I would not blame the direction of the Republican Party on the fact that he selected Palin. This trend was there long before that and long after that. This was a blip into the kind of party and others of us no longer recognize.
[11:35:07] SCHAKE: By the way, John McCain struggled to right.
NOBLES: Kori, would you say --
SCHAKE: He was Trump's critic.
NOBLES: Kori, would you make the argument his goal was to unify the dispirited factions, not drive them apart, which may be an argument as to how Donald Trump conducted himself?
SCHAKE: To address their concerns, treat them with respect, make clear we have common endeavors we need to get to work on. That's what John devoted his political energy to. That's his most beautiful legacy. It shows why both Barack Obama and George W. Bush, the two people who defeated him for the presidency, are the people that he wanted speaking at his funeral. Because he wanted to send a message of unifying the country.
NOBLES: Max Boot, Kori Schake, thank you so much for sharing your memories of your former boss. We appreciate you being on.
BOOT: Thank you.
NOBLES: Any moment now, President Trump set to make an announcement on trade with Mexico. We're still monitoring the situation. The president actually has spoken in the Oval Office. As soon as we get that tape to provide you, we will bring it to you on the air. Stay here.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a big day for trade. Big day for our country. A lot of people thought we would never get here because we all negotiate tough. We do. So does Mexico. This is a tremendous thing. This has to do -- they used to call it NAFTA. We're going to call it the United States/Mexico Trade Agreement. We will get rid of the name NAFTA. Has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA for many years. Now it's a really good deal for both countries. We look very much forward to it.
I believe the president is on the phone.
You can hook him up. Tell me when. Are we in?
It's a big thing. A lot of people waiting.
You want to put that on this phone, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump.
TRUMP: Thank you.
[11:40:45] ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translation) (via telephone): President Trump, how are you? Good morning.
TRUMP: Thank you, Enrique. Congratulations. It's a fantastic thing. We have all worked very hard. Your brilliant representatives are sitting right in front of me. I thought we would congratulate each other before it got out. I know we will have a formal news conference in the not too distant future.
PENA NIETO (through translation): Thank you very much, President Trump.
I think this is something very positive for the United States and Mexico. The reason for this call, Mr. President, is first of all to celebrate the understanding we have had between both negotiating teams. On NAFTA. It's an interest we have had for quite a few months now. To renew it, to modernize it, to update it. And to generate a framework that will boost productivity in north America. It is our wish, Mr. President, that now Canada will also be able to be incorporated in all this. And I assume that they are going to carry out negotiations of the sensitive bilateral issues between Mexico -- rather, between Canada and the United States. And I am really grateful, Mr. President.
I want to say that I greatly recognize and acknowledge your political will and your participation in this. And I want to bear my testimony, Mr. President, and my acknowledgement to both negotiating teams. Especially the team that is headed and led by Mr. Robert Lighthizer. And also the accompaniment and the support we get from the White House through Jared Kushner.
And I also extend this recognition to the Mexican team. They are listening to you. The foreign minister and the secretary of the economy. Yes, this has been a negotiation that has taken months. It's been difficult and a very hard negotiation all together with difficult moments, of course. But I truly acknowledge now the fact that we have been able to reach an agreement that we are about to make public. And this is the result of good understanding and good work. And I, of course, I am quite hopeful that now Canada will start discussing with the United States the sensitive bilateral issues.
Congratulations. I'm very grateful and I am attentive to your comments.
[11:45:40] TRUMP: Well, Mr. President, thank you very much. It's an honor. You have been my friend. It's been a long time since I traveled to Mexico where we got to know each other quite well. We actually had a good meeting. Some people weren't sure if it was a good meeting, but I was. I have a lot of good meetings that a lot of people aren't sure if they were good or not. It's been a long time.
This is something that's very special for our manufacturers and for our farmers, from both countries, for all of the people that work for jobs. It's also great trade. It makes it a much more fair bill. We are very, very excited about it. We have worked long and hard. Your representatives have been terrific. My representatives have been fantastic, too. They've gotten along very well and they have worked late into the night for months. Extremely complex bill. It's something that I think will be talked about for many years to come. Just good for both countries.
As far as Canada is concerned, we haven't started with Canada yet. We wanted to do Mexico and see if that was possible to do. And it wasn't from any standpoint something that most people thought was doable when we started, if you look at it. You remember at the beginning many people thought that this was something that just couldn't happen because of all of the different factions, all of the different sides and the complexity. We made it much simpler, much better, much better for both countries. Canada will start negotiations shortly. I will be calling the prime minister very soon. We will start negotiation. If they would like to negotiate fairly, we'll do that. They have tariffs of almost 300 percent on some of our dairy products. So we can't have that. We're not going to stand for that. I think with Canada, frankly, the easiest thing we can do is tariff their cars coming in. It's a tremendous amount of money and it's a simple negotiation. It could end in one day. We take in a lot of money the following day. I think we will give them a chance to probably have a separate deal. We can have a separate deal that we can put into this deal.
I like to call this deal the United States/Mexico Trade Agreement. I think it's an elegant name. I think NAFTA has a lot of bad connotations for the United States because it was a rip off. It was a deal that was a horrible deal for our country. I think it's got a lot of bad connotations to a lot of people. So we will probably -- you and I will agree to the name. We will see whether or not we decide to put up Canada or just do a separate deal with Canada if they want to make the deal. The simplest deal is more or less made. It will be simple to do and execute.
But I will tell you working with you has been a pleasure. Speaking with and working with President-Elect Lopez has been absolutely a very, very special time. You both came together for your country. You worked together. I think that's important for the media to know. We have a small amount of media in our presence. Like everybody, the media should know the president and president-elect worked closely together. The president felt it was important the president-elect liked what he was seeing. Our teams worked together. Our teams were really well unified. And your team was very well unified. I was very impressed with the fact that the two presidents came together and worked out something mutually agreeable. It's an incredible deal. It's an incredible deal for both parties. Most importantly, it's an incredible deal for the workers and citizens of both countries. Our farmers are going to be so happy. My farmers, the farmers have stuck with me. I said we were going to do this. Mexico promised to immediately start purchasing as much farm product as they can. They're going to work on that very hard.
As you know, we're working -- unrelated to this, we're working very much with other countries. China is one. They want to talk. It's not the right time to talk right now, to be honest with China. It's two one-sided for too many years for too many decades. It's not the right time to talk. Eventually, I'm -- in the meantime, we're doing very well with China. Our economy is up, it's never been this good before, and I think it's only going to get better.
But, Mr. President, you've been my friend and you have been somebody that's been very special in a lot of ways. We talk a lot. We talked a lot about this deal. I'd like to congratulate you and Mexican people.
[11:50:30] PENA NIETO (through translation): Thank you very much, Mr. President.
I highly recognize this, especially because of the point of understanding we are now reaching on this deal. And I really hope and I wish the part with Canada will be materializing in a very concrete fashion. That we can have an agreement the way we proposed it from initiation of this renegotiating process. But today I celebrate the agreement between the United States and Mexico because we are reaching a final point of understanding,. And I hope that in the following days we can finalize the formalization of this agreement.
Something additional, Mr. President, you have already mentioned it, it has to do with an involved and committed participation of the administration and the president-elect of Mexico. As you know, we are now going through a period of transition and it has been possible to create a highly unified front between the negotiating team of this administration and the people appointed by the president-elect of Mexico. To be of service and to participate in this agreement in this understanding, to reach the point we are now reaching. The president- elect has been aware of everything that has been happening, and I have also had the opportunity of talking to him directly and personally on the progress being made. You have also had direct conversations with president-elect. The things that we have to do, I hope we have the space to do it, would be to sign, to toast a good toast with tequila, of course, to celebrate this understanding.
TRUMP: Enrique, I think that's exactly right. And you know the good relationship that I've already established with the president-elect. I was very impressed with him, I must tell you. He was terrific in every way and he wants -- you know, he loves your country like you love your country, you want to do the right thing. We're really doing the right thing for all of us. So I really enjoyed that. Please send him my regards and I will speak to him very shortly. But this was great that you were able to do it together. I think doing it mutually as opposed to just you doing it, or even just him doing it, I think a mutual agreement between your two administrations was a fantastic thing. I suggested that early on, and I think it was immediately embraced and I think it was a fantastic thing that you were able to do it, and with great spirit. It was great coordination and spirit, so I think that is really just great.
You know, one of the things that I'm excited about is you're going to be helping us at the border. You're going to be working together with us on agriculture. You're going to be working in many different ways and we'll be working with you in many different ways. It's a very comprehensive agreement.
[11:55:07] So, Enrique, I will see you soon. I think we're going to have a very formal ceremony. This is one of the largest trade deals ever made, maybe the largest trade deal ever made. It's really something very special the two countries were able to come together and get it done.
I just want to thank all of my people, Bob and Jared.
And, gentlemen, you have been really great the way you've worked so long. I know you've been going up until 3:00, 4:00 in the morning and then getting in at 8:00, so I just want to, on behalf of the United States, I want to thank you very much. I can say that Mexico is very proud of you, very proud of you. Thank you all very much.
Enrique, I'll see you soon. I'll talk to you soon. And congratulations and job well done. PENA NIETO (through translation): Thank you, and congratulations to
you. And to the negotiating team. We will be waiting for Canada to be integrated into this process.
I send you affectionate hug and all my greetings to you and all my regards.
TRUMP: A hug from you would be very nice. Thank you. So long. Thanks. Good-bye, Enrique.
OK. So we've made the deal with Canada. It's a very --
TRUMP: It's starting. We made the deal with Mexico and I think it's a very good deal. We're starting negotiations with Canada pretty much immediately. I can't tell you where those negotiations have gone. It's going to be -- it's a smaller segment, as you know. Mexico is a very large trading partner. But we -- we've now concluded our deal and it's being finalized.
And, Bob, when would you say it would be signed, actually formally signed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, would likely be signed at the end of November because it's a 90-day layover period because of our statute. But we expect to submit our letter beginning to Congress on Friday.
TRUMP: And so that starts the process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And 90 days later, it will be signed.
TRUMP: We have an agreement where both with Canada and with Mexico, I will terminate the existing deal. When that happens, I can't quite tell you, it depends on what the timetable is with Congress, but I'll be terminating the existing deal and going into this deal. We'll start negotiating with Canada relatively soon. They want to start -- they want to negotiate very badly. But one way or the other, we have a deal with Canada. It will either be a tariff on cars or a negotiated deal. Frankly a tariff on cars is a much easier way to go. But perhaps the other would be much better for Canada. We're looking to help -- you know, we're looking to help our neighbors, too. If we can help our neighbors, that's a good thing, not a bad thing, so we're going to start that negotiation imminently. I'll be speaking with Prime Minister Trudeau in a little while.
So I want to thank everybody.
I want to thank you, what a great job you've all done, and it's been -- it's been a long one, but a lot of people thought this was not a doable transaction. It's going to be great for our people. And again, I want to thank you, folks.
We'll see you at the signing and many times before that, I'm sure.
So congratulations to the people of Mexico, great job. Thank you very much, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain? Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, everybody. Let's go this way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, let's go.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: You've been watching the president inside the Oval Office highlight what he is calling a renegotiated trade agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. The Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, was on the speaker phone there. The president said the two countries intend to ditch NAFTA and enter into this deal. The president claims it will be better for U.S. manufacturers, something he campaigned very hard on, also American farmers.
I want to go straight to CNN's Cristina Alesci and to CNN senior economic analyst, Stephen Moore, who are both joining me now.
Cristina, let me start with you.
Let's get a little bit of context, a lot of context when it comes to what the president did, what he can do without Congress, first of all, and where Canada is in all this, because NAFTA, of course, is in agreement with Mexico and Canada.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, those are the two major questions, what will Congress do and will Canada also sign on, which is also very important. Look, this news conference or this conference, whatever it was, it was a lot of congratulations, light on details --