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tv   Washington Week  PBS  August 24, 2019 1:30am-2:01am PDT

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robert: whiplash on the econo as president trump clashes with his critics. on robert costa. welcome to "washington week." president trump: payroll tax is something we think about, a lot of people would like w to see tt -- i'm not looking at a tax cut now, we don't need it.on we have a seconomy. robert: president trump pinballs on policy an lashes out at the fed chair. and china. president trump: we could be greatly helped with the fed would do its job and do a substantial rate cut. whether it's good or bad, short term, is irrelevan we have to solve the problem with china. on guns as he talks with the n.r.a. next
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in this is "washington week." fundis provided by -- ♪ ♪ >> oh. >> whatever they went through they went through together.el life planned. e what a raymond james financial advisor can do for you. app that uses voice recchogniti logy and teaches conversations. daily 10 to 15 minute lessons are voiced by native speakers and are at >> additional funding provided by koo and patricia yuen,
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through the yuen foundation,it cod to bridging cultural differences in our community. the corporation for publicin broadc and by contributis to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> once again from washington, robert: on friday, the trade war raged. china announced it would soon levy new tariffs on $ 5 blion in u.s. goods. president trump demanded that american companiesmmediately start looking for an alternative to china. sat standofft the duh jens industrialverage tumbling over 600 points, nearly after the markets closed, the president, as usual, punched back. hiking up his tariffs on china it capped off a turbulent week of predential feud and indecision on the economy and other issues right before the president heads to franc the g-7 meeting. joining me tonight for our discsion, ata kumar, white
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house correspondent and associate editor f politico. martha raddatz, abc news chief global affairs correspondent and co-anchor of "this week." dan balz, chief correspondent for "the washington post." and jim taxer lee, tax a economics reporteror "the new york times." dan, the president veering from advisor to advisor, idea to idea, what does itl all rev about president trump? day i think what we've seen -- dan: i think what we've seen this week, and weeks before but there's something particular about this week, the way he went back and forth, yourud the word pinballing in the open, i think that's a good description. there's sense that he doesn't know his own mind, doesn't know what message heans to put out and doesn't know other than fighting with china what kind of spill he wants. on the one hand, one day it'll say we're looking at tax cuts, ehe next day he'll say we are not. ay he'll say the economy is
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as grood as it can be, the next aday he'sacking the federal reserve chairman saying the economy should be better and he's holing it back. i think this was a week which he was the main driver of lack of confidence and instability in the economy. and that is a worrisome thing as the rest of the world and corporate executives try to figure out what they want to do about the future. robert martha, on that point, the rest of the world, as the president flies to france an prepares for the g-7 what do global leaders see in the president this week in martha: i think exactly what dan described, you describ it too, the trade war. he's coming into this meeting, i don't think he ever wareally ed to go t the meeting. it's his third meeting. enthusiastic aboutt. too now he can't go in there and brag about the u.s. economy. if they can bring up all tse her thins, the stock market and back and forth and back and lrth. but i think worders are worried.
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i mean this does not -- this isn't just about the.s. economy. this is about the global economy and he's abto go smackn the middle of it. robert:s there goi to be a collective response to the towdown or iss america alone? martha: i think there has to be some sort of global response in some way. whether it'll do any od, i talked to peter navarro last sunday and he ticked off al the gs that are going to happen, some sort of global response anh will happen but there were a lot of ifs in that. so far tt.y're not coming through on those. robert: global leaders rattled by the trade war. so are the u.s. ins. should they buckle up? jim: absolutely. policy uncertain i something that holds back investments. where to make the dollar about invested, where to build the next plant, they want to kno at the rules of the road are going to be, that's why we have
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an international trading system. the president has tossed a lot of cha intohat. it's absolutely true right now that global trade uncertainty is like six times larger than it normally is. that the president has gone out and basically every day we m tweetse it possible that the tariff rates will change on china. if you're a retail for the america trying to figure out where to source the next shoe, you need to know ifhere'so going tariffs next week or if there's going to be tariffs next month an what rat they may be and in one has any confidencen that. the president himself seems t not actually know what he wants other than to win. anso whilee wait to see what victory may look like, the economy really islowing down and that is the back drp of all of the pinballing as you all put it that we've seen this week. robert:be anita, martha broughtp the white hou trade jay-z vicor. when you're at the white house talking tout sources a what
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happened this week who do they say is in charge? anita: we hear peter is impacting the president, influencing the president. other aides are ot on board with this. he had a meeting today, the treasury secretary called int this. he met with his trade advisor, robert lighthizer but everyone is saying it's about peter really it's abt the president he doesn't really know what he wants to do. but i think you have to t a step back and look at where he's coming from the economy was the g he always had inin his pock for his re-election. he veered off to 20 other topics but it was always there ashahe thingwas going to get him through the election and he's just really starting toeel like it's not going to happen. robert: larry kudlow, steven, mnuchether it's navarro or president trump, is anyone countering them in terms of argument inside? anita: it feels to me le the first year or so there were more people in the white house
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pushing back at the president andow it's less so. i remember, you're talking about tariff, he threatened tariffs there's no one in the white house who -- no one wanted it no one wanted to tell m. martha: but he's clearly nncerned. they can say we' concerned, we're not concerned. all you had to do is watch this wild week an know how concernedi donald tru about it. he may not be getting any pushback on the economy itself t politically, they know this could be a big problem. robert: what is he concerned about? just the economy or is it his owne-election in 2020? martha: i thi both. because they're tied togetherer very, closely. urely he's worried about the economy as well, but politutally it could be pretty disastrous if the economy tks. you see him blaming others and donald trump does that a lot. it's not m fault, it's the media's fault. for wantinges recon, he
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claims. it's someone else's fault that thist'appenedful jerome powell's fight. he's in that blame game which is an indicator tt he's worried. robert: what does the president want here, just to go on what we re tking abo with martha? does he want economic war, political war? is that his message for 2020? or is he seeking a deal with chino does he wantass the usmc. jim: he wants to pass the usmc, the trade agreement he wants to bee-elected. as anina said, the economy has been his stronge calling car lowest unemployment rate in half a century. stock mark at various times doing very, very well. other indicats of continued growth. there are science the horizon of slowing and perhaps worse. we don't know. all of tha puts at risk his political future. the other thing we know about him is he wanted to have awi fit china. he has talked about that,
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predating his arrival on the political stage, that he felt that we were being tak advantage of in trade agreements and he wants to go after china., the problem he's gone after an adversary that's proved as tough and as wiley as he is and there see to be no way right now that there's a simple solution to this. and that's theeal risk. >>e wants the federal reserve to give him a rate cut. dan: he does believe the feds' policies are holding back greth. we are not growing anywhere a close t fast as he promised we would after the tax cuts. said at least 3%, maybe 4%, might be 5%. we'll be lucky to hit 2.5%. could be worse. i think th president has a different view of the global economy than any ofis predecessors since world war ii. he believes when otherie countrs do well, america does poorly he
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needs to defeat them almost in economic warfare. that'shat he wants with china. he wants to bring american k companies brom china. which is a totally different way of looking at the world than business executives have seen the last 20 years where they see china as a place we want to sell into, a place where we canso ce cheaper products. robert: what's driving china?hi martha: i think one thing you see here, you can look at esident trump and say, boy, maybe he was right about this in the benning. maybe we are being taken advantage of.t srting this trade war with china, china is just coming right back at him. and you know, today, looking at that, ok, they're going to do that, i'll take it up to 15% then. you have to say where does this end? i don't think china has ai for this where this ends. it doesn't look like we have a plan exactly for where this ends. dan: the others a -- >> the other aspect is t the
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president has done this without anyupport from allies. that's a major criticism, from others, including allies. that he's donehings to push allies away at a time when amo united front might have more impact on china. we don't knowhat because we are not seeing that right now. that it's america alone and so far it's not worked. robert: whe are the republicans? where is the business community, are they pressuring the white use? anita: the business community, farmers, everybody they represent, said today they don't like this. they were frustrated with china but he shouldn't go thisout. when i go to trump rallies an talk to trump supporters, i know we've been saying ts for a couple years but the number one thing they say is not about immigration,ot about the economy. it's that he's out there fighting for them and they lov it. they eat it up. they're going to eat it up and love this until perhaps the
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economy does go down. so they say it's ok he didn't get a dealith china. other pesidents would h stopped. he's going at istt. robert: what's the reality with the economy there's a trade war. the marks are up, they're down. what's the reaty of the economy? jim: the reality is we're still growing. we're doing better most of the rest of the developed world. was slower in the last quarter than it had been the quarter before. it's not projected to be great in the next quarter. as the world slows down, we are at risk of catching sort of thal sionnary fever, if you will. i think that's the big worryat these trade moves could be disastrous to business investment which is already kind of plummet eting. if we see more of it, youould see an actual pullback in the american consumer which has been really carrying the recovy and if they stop spending money, then growth really could turn sout robert: does this change the democratic race for president?
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martha: i don't know whether it changes the democratic race for president. certainly they don't want to talk about the enomy every single second of the democratic s e, that's not what tha abou they don't want to be -- they dent want to be seen asn look, we're hoping for a recession so donald trump will lose. they don't want to be in that. but i do think this is an issue unlike many otherik u immigration. unlike north korea.un unlike foreign policy, where people may not feel i if the economy softens and things turn bad, they will feel it. they may, if they don't live in a border state they may really pay attention to immigratio and just say wel the president is fighting for us. is is the kind of thing that could really change things. robert: for vice president bin, is p this part of whymo ats continue to rally around h? senator warren is catching but but i i because democratic voters are looking for seasoned hands among thisnstabble?
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dan: he's played and played hard this week the ectability card even so far as in an advertisement touting his standing in the polls as being better than any other democrat to go against president trump. but the other element that he is pushing, both explicitly and implicitly is, iit can go in on day one, i know what to do. i've got lots of een it up close. i've dealt with these issues over 40 years, whether in the senate or as t vice president. i can bri stability. i think that's why there are number of people who, even if they're not wildlenthiastic about s him,m to have, for now, and i say that, for now,ed gravitoward him. robert: let's turn to another ho button topic, gun control. the president has been all over theaphis week on where he stands in the wake of mass shootings in texas and ohio. prident trump: have an
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appetite for background checks. we'll be doing background checks. we have backgrounds. che but there are loopholes in the being checks. that's what i spoke to the n.r.a. about yesterday. at the same time, i don't want to take away people's second amendment rights. robert: anita wrote in politico th president trump has baffled lawmaker and ado kacy groups for weeks with his comments. democrats on the campaign trail have tackled the issue. >> when the president, even this president, says he's going to do something abo background today that he has consulted with they told him sorry, you can't do that, it raises the very simple question, who is in charge? robert: once again, we're asking yo l that question tonight who is in charge? anita: let me tell you what i'm g from the white house. it seems as if they're going back and forth or that he's going back and forth. let me tell you, the president, he is going back and forth but the president wants to put out a plan.
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and he's getting pressure from both sides, right. obviously se iso worried about losing supporters and his based ving gun vol that would be very, you know, very strong. and so he's looking at that and he's thinking what can i do? i want to be the one that aer these two mass shootings that comes up with something and finally gets something den. he's looking ator things. his language was confusing but what he is going to be doing is putting out a plan when congmere back and it will include changes to background checks. not perhaps unirsal background checks. he's not going to say more people should get checked when they're making purchase but he'll say that theackground check system is flawed which it is, andhat more federal agencies and states should be putting records in there. so it's a way for him to say, hey, i'm doing background checks but not doing a big bacround check. robert: wayne la pier son the phone with preside trump this month saying we don't support background checks and they're one of the biggest supporters of the g.o.p. t marthat's so interesting
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what the white house is thinking and how they do that a can he frame that in a way that doesn't offend the n.r.a., i mean, we've all heard him talk about it's the men,lly ill what do we do about that? do we have an extra background check with that? and how they figure out how to t do that. it's a pretty fine line. i can see a way they probably could please the n.r.a. and some of theonstituents. robert: is the n.r.a., jim, in a weakened position, they've begun throh spending scandals, wayne laier has cleaned house at the bod. m: you would expect if there was a time tt the n.r.a. would be weakened, this one it but it doesn't seem that way. they're able to get the president on the phone in a way that a lot of advocacy groups wish they can. what they were before these scandals hit but it would be wrong to count them as anything less than a force in washington right now. robert: what holds president
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trump to the issue of gun control? ist fear of losing the suburban voter in 2020? dan: i think this issue so encapsulates the difficult chce he has in his re-election campaign. on the one hand he has to hold his base. that's stating the obvious. but he has to hold that base. and anythg he might do to suggest he's moving toward a more, you know, encompassing position on gun control, puts that at risk. on the oth hand, given what happened in 2018, the degree to which the suburbanote med against the republicans, ub particularly suburban women, not to do something, not to do something on an issue that enjoysg overwhelm support among democrats, independents and reblicans, says to those voters, you don't count.vo i'm not listening to you. he's going to -- he'sng g to try to come up with something that threads that needle. rtha: and frame it in that way.
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anita: he's getting pushed by so many republicans, not his trump prepublicans, but otherple saying, you have this opportunity. take it. to get se of these, pick up some of these other volters and say, i accomplished something. so he's getting really pushed very hard. martha: but go to the rallies and you hear people at those rallies and you talk to t se voters and those voices are in his head as well that we can't have any sort of gun control and issue and that's whathey'll tell you it will be. roinrt: not to bring every back to the economy but these are voters who would -- >> these are voters who you'd think would be extra sensitive to at a time when the economy is looking weaker because they have bieconomicuroncerns. in polling it's 70% of independents say they're worried out the national economy. you would be -- i would think looking for ways to court those vote in some other way if you're worried that that economic base is coming out f underneath them. robert: who would want this in the republican party? c susalins up for re-election in maine, cory gardner up forn
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re-elect in colorado? dan: you'd think any senator who is up for re-election would like this robert: what about senate majority leader u mcconnellp for re-election in kentucky. dan: he's indicatedn:e'sre ined in doing something. but how far he'll go i don't know. robert: is ivanka trump a force in this white house? anita: she's calling members of congress and is worki on the issue, spoke with her father about hit. but i hearing on capitol hill some of these republicans d't nt her involved. her father calls her liberal. calls her a democrat. that's not someone they actually want to work with when they're up forel rtion. it's not going to look good for them. while she's out there doing things, therere some peopl who wish she wasn't. red flag law, something that's watered down? martha: that might be the kind of thing it could end up being is thated flag law. sort of just from his rhetoric,
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the past week, tndt s like it would be more likely something he would do. anita: you know this about the president, but sometimes when he's out there talkg about tax cuts, universal background checks, all different things, he's waiting to see wt people think. he goes and watches television to see what people are saying aboutwh it. are republicans thinking about it. he wants to put the ideas out there. robert: he's doing that with the economy as well. jim: payroll tax cut, he was for it, then he wren't, now w not sure. he said that we -- he'd be open to other tax cuts, capital gains for ilation, then he was backing away from that. nbert: in one or two words what's comint on the economy? >> chaos. martha: oh, jim. jim: trying to be the positive guy. anita: add some words to make us feel better? robert: coming up next on t with the washington week extra," we'll speak more on these
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ises. i'm robert costa, have a engrea we [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪ >>orporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> babbel. ro languageam that teaches real life conversations in a nea uage such as spanish, more. , german, italian and babbel's 10 to 15-minutes willsons are available as an app or online.on more informaon >> financial services firm raymond james. additional funding is provideg by koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differenc
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in our commuties. the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.u. thank
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